Skip to main content

Scot:Lands

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars
“The way to kill a song,” says radical folk singer Dick Gaughan, quoting the late Labour MP, Norman Buchan, before regaling the audience with a slow version of Hamish Henderson's masterpiece, Freedom Come All Ye, “is to make it a national anthem.” Gaughan has lost none of his righteous fire, nor the sense of humour that accompanies it in a glorious appearance at Scot:Lands, the nine-venue New Year's Day gadabout Edinburgh's Old Town for a feast of themed bespoke performances.

Gaughan was performing as part of High:Land, which saw Ullapool's Ceilidh Place reconstituting the venue's speak-easy vibe in the old Bristo Hall, where the likes of Nancy Nicolson and The Cast played short sets across two floors. Shetland Arts did something similar in Greyfriars Kirk, aka Shet:Land, with sessions from harpist Catriona Mackay and fiddler Chris Stout among others. Elsewhere, King Creosote formed a super-group with fellow traveller Withered Hand at Lobster:Land, the Pathhead Music Collective presented micro-gigs by Karine Polwart, Dave Milligan and others at Heid:Land and folk trio Lau transformed thre Roxy into Lau:Land.

Theatrically, there were mummers plays at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, a mini-version of Cora Bissett and David Greig's after-hours music-theatre compendium, Whatever Gets You Through The Night, and contemporary dance from Smallpetitklein set to a live Philip Glass score in a paper-strewn St Giles Cathedral. Best of all was New:Found:Land, a slow-burning candle-lit musical meditation in Old St Paul's church, which saw the band FOUND combine downbeat acoustic-led vignettes with pedal-steel and analog electronics augmented by Emily Scott's upright bass-playing and RM Hubbert's unique guitar flourishes. Performed in the round, its mix of ancient and modern was a near-ritualistic experience to treasure.

The Herald, January 3rd 2014


ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Michael Rother - Sterntaler at 40

"There's so much to do," says an uncharacteristically flustered Michael Rother. The normally unflappably beatific German guitarist, composer and former member of Neu! and Harmonia, who also had a stint in a nascent Kraftwerk, is packing for live dates in Russia and the UK, including this weekend's show at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow.
"It has always been my choice to take care of these things myself and not have a manager," he says. "Somehow for me the independent aspect of doing things is really important, but it has its disadvantages."
As well as playing selections from Neu! and Harmonia, the trio he formed with Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, Rother's Glasgow date will see him play a fortieth anniversary rendering of his second solo album, Sterntaler, in full. Rother will be accompanied by guitarist Franz Bargmann and drummer Hans Lampe, the latter of whose musical involvement with Rother dates back to Neu! days, …

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…