Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 30

Listen to the Foot Stompin\' Free Scottish Music Podcast No 30

Salsa Celtica - El Camino

Salsa Celtica - El Camino

In preparing this podcast I had two things in my mind – Celtic Connections and Robert Burns 250th birthday. I started of by choosing Salsa Celtica who play the Old Fruitmarket on the 24th January. I’ve always loved the bands fusion of latin and celtic. Their stage show really works and their energy filters through to the audience. They’re accompanied on the night by the Long Notes, a band featuring Glasgow’s Jamie Smith who was a finalist in the 2002 final of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award. The 2009 event is in the City Halls at 5pm on Sunday 1st February. If you can’t make it along it is also going out live on BBC Radio Scotland.

Next up is Rod Paterson. I’ve loved Rod’s singing since hearing him first in the Easy Club. As an aside I first heard the Easy Club on Radio Scotland’s Travelling Folk in the eighties. I remember sitting listening to the radio ‘taping’ the tracks I liked and the Easy Club came on with the title track of their first album. I was bowled over by their swing, arrangements and tunes and from that minute I was set apon the musical path I still foraging today. Amazing. Anyway I love Rod’s singing – he has such a rich smooth voice and his treatment of Burns is tops.

The next track is neither Robert Burns or Celtic Connections but a track I was set on programming in our last podcast. It features Shetland fiddler Debbie Scott and legend Peerie Willie Johnston and The Selkie’s Song is a re-release from 1985. It is amazing to hear Willie playing with his much vaunted style. It’s a swinging track and it’s great to hear both musicians in tandem with each other.

Our next Burns track is from Sheena Wellington. This is Sheena’s version of Ae Fond Kiss from her Hamely Fare album. This was the CD that was released with Sheena’s version of A Man’s A Man (For A’ That) that she sang at the opening ofthe Scottish Parliament in 1999.

The next track is from Luke Plumb and James Mackintosh’s new CD A Splendid Notion. I was listening to some of the new releases the other day and this one jumped out at me. I really like ‘raw’ albums where musicians do what they do without much else and this is one of them. The whole album is simply mandolin and percussion. I think this is a risk worth taking for musicians as it really bares the soul with no room to hide. Well done to Luke and James.

Our final track is from the Battlefield Band’s Home is Where the Van Is. This is one of the most exciting concerts for me at Celtic Connections. It is part of the festivals ‘Classic Album’ series and they bring together the original band lineup to perform. This was the first piece of music I ever bought myself. I got the cassette from the old Rae Macintosh music shop in Edinburgh. We had Silly Wizard and Jimmy Shand in the house but this was the first endeavour with my pocket money. I didn’t really like it a first. It was very different to the Silly Wizard LPs in the house. I grew to love it though and still listen to it frequently.

Keep up the practising!

56 key Wheatstone Aeola Tenor Treble ConcertinaWhilst in Ireland last week I was reflecting on as a Scottish musician getting older (38 this year) how do you keep up the momentum of doing the gigs when there are lots of younger musicians coming up through the ranks. Family and financial pressures tend to strip you of the major time you once had to practice and concentrate. In my case I don’t know where the time goes and the week is over! I have lately found myself promising to practice after the last gig and the next gig has arrived and I still haven’t managed to get my concertina out of the box.

Should older musicians stand back and let the younger ones through whilst we get on with running festivals, events – the farm? The older musician has lots of experience gained from years of gigs and stage performance and surely has more to offer an audience apart from not being ‘new and trendy’.

This maybe looks like self-pity but I suppose I’m using this as a call to action (for myself at least). Scotland’s music will be much stronger with a large depth of musicians of all ages. Scottish musicians like Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham, Dick Gaughan, Battlefield Band are all at the top of their game playing all the time, recording and making DVDs (check out the new Battlefield Band DVD). Are they just more single minded than other musicians?

I need to find regular practising time again (rather than sporadic gasps) learning lots of new tunes, creating new ideas and improvisations, calling promotors and putting myself out there. I’ve always said to myself that I will still be playing at 80 and in order to do this I better step up my work rate.

While I’m at it check out the latest Foot Stompin’ newsletter featuring new releases from our great Scottish musicians young and old!