This evening was part of the fortnight-long programme of events which made up the memorable 5th Burgess Hill Fair Trade Festival.
Since its low scale launch at the behest of Pilgrim Harps in 1982 and its growth as an adjunct to the Edinburgh Folk Festival in the Teviot House library during the 1980s, the Edinburgh Harp Festival has developed into a truly international event attracting players, students and aficionados from all over the world to its 'new' home at Merchiston Castle School on the outskirts of Edinburgh. It moved there from the more confined Pleasance complex in 2001 and has continued to flourish in the extensive buildings and grounds.
Were you ever below on the side of Knockcroghery,
Meadows all ripe on a bright summer's day?
'Twas there I first met with sweet Molly Dougherty,
Laughing and singing and making the hay.
Traditional music festivals spring up for all kinds of reasons, but in some cases they seem to arise from the very stones of a place, and the above song (written by Peadar Kearney, an uncle to the influential Behan family: Dominic, Brendan et al) has been the anthem for the monthly village singers’ club for 20 years now.
Political songwriting, and sterling musicianship were the orders of the day when Home Service appeared at Lichfield’s Guildhall.
The village hall was packed at Fillongley on a cold, dark and drizzly night, the music glowed within, and, peppered with this transatlantic duo’s humorous anecdotes of life, was extremely well-received. The sets included a mixture of original songs and tunes written by the pair, interspersed with traditional folk music and blue grass (Hickman on vocals and acoustic guitar, with Cassidy on violin).
With their well-honed stage show, harmony vocals, and road-tested collection of traditional folk songs and instrumentals the Tannahill Weavers turned Wade Street Church into an intimate Folk Club.
“It’s a miracle to be here,” grinned Carlos Nunez, “as yesterday evening we were locked in Heathrow because of the snow!” Nunez had indeed made it to Celtic Connection’s premier venue, the Royal Concert Hall, to perform on the first Saturday of the 2013 festival.
The Merchant City in Glasgow is a place hoaching with bars, restaurants, and miles of glittering fairy lights.
St Andrews in the Square isn’t the easiest venue in the whole world to find, as I found out on Sunday, 20th 2013 when I went looking for it armed with a recalcitrant GPS, and a driver who refused to listen to directions.
When finally located, the soaring spire of the 18th Century Georgian style church through the icy wind and spitting snow was a more than welcome sight, and not just because of the promise of a nice hot bowl of Cullen Skink in the subterranean warmth of Café Source nestled underneath it.
St Andrews in the Square is the centerpiece of an elegant square tucked away off the High Street in the heart of Glasgow’s Merchant City. The former church has to be one of the most beautiful venues used at Celtic Connections.
The Royal Concert Hall is not my favourite venue. It is, just as it says on the ticket, first and foremost a concert hall, and as such is a little too formal for my tastes, what with the strictly assigned seats, and the audience all packed in like willing sardines.
That being said it lives up to its name as a concert hall of royal proportions, which was handy as an nice roomy royal-sized stage was needed to accommodate the celebration of Yorkshire singer Kate Rusby’s 20th year in the music industry, and the many special guests who helped make her concert at Celtic Connections such a joyful affair as she celebrated the release of her 11th album called, accurately enough 20.