Warwick Edwards, Director oi the Scottish Early Music Consort.

The popular appeal of early music on authentic instruments continues apace. especially in the recording world. but two live performances can be heard this fortnight in Edinburgh and Glasgow from the Scottish Early Music Consort. Their February programme. entitled O Rosa Bella. focuses on the music ofJohannes Ciconia. which translates. as the many Latin scholars among The List’s readership will know. to John the Stork. Born in Liege in the 14th century. he started his musical career in the papal court at Avignon. moving from there to Padua in Italy. where he died in 1412.

The remaining early manuscripts of his music are now scattered from Perugia to Paris and Oxford. and it is from these that 0 Rosa Bella originates. This medieval journey of music and romance has been devised by the Consort's director. Warwick Edwards. who says ‘the small number of surviving songs and motets cover an astonishing range of expression. In fact. they are a programme-planner‘s dream.‘ Making the dream come true are some of SEMC‘s regular performers. including mezzo-sopranos Eleanor Bennett and Fiona Milne. along with tenors Christopher Hobkirk and Iain Paton.

‘Some of the songs.‘ says Edwards. ‘demand extreme vocal virtuosity of the sort that will take your breath away.‘ Instrumental pieces. played by Christopher Field and Marjorie Rycroft on viellas. which are large five-string predecessors of the violin. and Warwick Edwards hirnselfon medieval harp. range from the complex to ‘those that will make you want to get up and dance‘.

j (Carol Main)

l The Scottish [far/y Music ( ‘onsort

i play the RS/I MI). ( Ilasgow on Fri 22. and Queen's Hall. Edinburgh on { Sat 23.

30'I'he List 22 February— 7 March 1991





Black to the future

‘ltnock knock knock?’ ‘WHO THE F' ' It IS THERE?’ In the recent time-honoured vernacular oi hip-hop, there ain’t no space ior pussy-looting around. The accent, direct Irom da neighbourhood, is In your lace and on your case; the sound is thrilling and killing and mad as hell. Now, as the rap revolution comes to the lore once more, but with a new hint on new age ethics, it’s the Brit crew who are doing all the running: Stereo MCs. London Posse, and the purpose oi our being here, Edinburgh’s Zulu Syndicate.

They are three: John, the boy Irom Lincoln who writes the tunes, and AJ and J irom Bristol and Wolverhampton, who supply the lyrics. ‘We just happened to meet in Edinburgh,’ says John. ‘We were all here ior diiierent reasons}

Zulu Syndicate came together in May oi last year. Aweek later they played their iirst gig in the Venue. Two weeks later they iound themselves supporting De La Soul in Newcastle. ‘That was just a iluke,’ John admits, probably being too modest. Alter all, the trio’s iirst demo, the hook that landed that support and the subsequent appearances with Proiessor Grill, Is an abrasive, crunching, ilawlessly compiled aiiair. All the more remarkable for being recorded on a basic tour-track, the demo Ieatures a

version oi The Chimes' ‘Heaven’ that beats the crap out oi the insipid

orginal, plus the stirring Aim-political tract that is ‘Black To The Bone'. “That song’s about a speciiic case oi a black policeman who said he liked nothing more than beating up niggers. And sometimes things have to be said about things like that.’

Saying such things in their inimitable style is what’s taking Zulu Syndicate Into the stratosphere. Hegoclatlons are continuing with Proiessor Grili's New York management company, the American record company interest is lilterlng through, and in this country the major labels are sitting up and taking notice ot a genuine rap crew with genuine grit. As the man says,

‘There’s something new happening over here . . .’ (Craig McLean)

Zulu Syndicate play at Chocolate City, The Venue, Edinburgh on Thurs 28.

A Harding reign

Hastings. Hardly the most kick-ass rock’n’roli town, is it? But John Wesley Harding is back in his hometown, brleily. An aiiclonado at John Prine, The Loving Spoonlul, and Creedence Clearwater Revival, who plans to have the strings on his next album arranged by Richard Carpenter, Harding spends most oi his time in the States, a prophet without honour in his own land.

‘Yeah, that is strange, but I’m not the Iirst—though it is kind oi sad to be In the same position as A Flock 0i

John Wesley Harding takes a deep breath.

Seagulls,’ he jokes. ‘Americans are much more attuned to the idea oi somebody who just writes songs and goes out and plays them. “Here Comes i The Groom" came out there last . January- it didn’t come out here till i August— and it did really well. The new i album's done even better, and it isn't out tortwo weeks. Here l’m doing eight I dates and a couple oi television things i in a week and a hall, whereas over I there I’m on the road ior three months j with a rock’n’roll band and it’ll be sold out.’

A proposed Edinburgh date has been , cancelled, to Harding’s annoyance. He é wrote or appeared in several plays at ' the Festival overthe years, beiore he i turned to music, and had, he claims, ‘a greattime' in the city.

‘l’ve done a bit oi acting, but that’s in America, in illms and stuti. I've lust been oilered something - a nice small part in a movie that would actually involve some acting, which I quite like i the sound oi. l was approached tor a


iilm, but I’ve just read that John

Travolta has got the part I was olieredl It was a real heavy movie about Borstal : kids in the 50:. But i decided that 5 playing an American lrom Memphis ' who was meant to be 34 was not the i best way to start my acting career.’ i (Alastair Mabbott) j i

John Wesley Harding plays The Studio, Paisley on Sat 23, and Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow on Sun 24.


Who is B.Boat? And why can‘t we see any pictures of him? Not. he says. because he‘s building up mystique.

‘Basically. that‘s just the way it is at the moment. The energy‘s been more in the direction of doing the stuff rather than the trimmings. In some ways it‘s like capturing stuffon tape and. unless it‘s just right, the image can be misleading. It‘slike images to songs some of the things I write can be depicted in pictures. but in a way that might detract from the possibility of people using their imaginations.‘

His name. it turns out. is Neil. he‘s been in bands as a bassist for 10—15 years. during which time he tried his hand at calypso. jazz. anything. Now. he tours solo with only a Strat. a practice amp and a handful of well-crafted songs.

’When you‘re on stage on your own.‘ he tells me. ‘without a band to setup a groove or a riff. you‘ve got to have that much more faith in the songs themselves.‘

His finest is ‘Limo For Jeremy'. a song about how political scandals can resonate down through time. Its attitude towards

: men in power suggests he

writes from a cynical stance.

‘I’m not cynical asa writer. no. but I‘m cynical

i about a lot of songwriting.

"Knees" was a response to one kind of rock song

: that‘s often more and

often less successfully to do with “Baby. you‘ve got me on my knees". The

i thingthat made me want to write that song was definitely as an antidote to

that. One thing that

; irritates me is the cliche of

word rhyme, the easy option that confirms that

' there wasn‘t much to say

in the song anyway.

i Often. it‘sjust a listof well-wornrhyming


8. Bragg can watch out. (Alastair Mabbott) 8. Boat plays at Basin Street, Edinburgh on Fri 22 and Monty’s. Dun/ermline on Mon 25.