Although taking place on a smaller scale this year, Glasgow Folk Festival has the honour of putting on a
; group who show just what
the real flamenco is all
1 about. Norman Chalmers
talks to ‘El lngles‘ of
This year‘s Glasgow Folk Festival
moves into the Tron Theatre for a week ofconcerts and sessions from Mon l7-Sun 23 in the Victorian Bar and the main auditorium. A varied programme includes a late-night basement blues club in the neighbouring Blackfriars Bar. top performers from Scotland. England and Ireland. and trips to the city by groups from Glasgow‘s twin cities of Rostov-on-Don and Turin.
The Festival has also secured a visit from Spain by a leading contemporary flamenco ensemble. Jaleo. from Seville. includes two dancers: Ramon Barrull. still in his twenties but regarded as one of the finest performers of his time: and Juana Jiminez. at twenty the youngest ofthe group. She learned initially from her family and her early experience in San Bernardo. a breeding ground of flamenco talent. Singer Paco Gill is a well known television and radio star in Andalueia. where flamenco is held in the highest respect. and guitarist Morito was born into a gypsy family ofﬂamenco artists and has made flamenco his life and career.
The final member. who also plays
1 guitar. is known in the group as El
lngles. the Englishman. So how did Peter Holloway become the other musician in this top ﬂight band‘.’
‘I started playing when I was about
Jaleo — an exhortation. a shout of excitement in a dance or a musical performance closely approximating the Scottish ‘heuch!’
fifteen. listening to guitar music on records. The bloke who taught me guitar played flamenco. I really liked it and bought more records. Then I got a Spanish guitar teacher. from Seville. and of course went on holiday to Spain. and began to learn the language. I would go over as often as I could when I became a peripatetic guitar teacher in Lancashire schools. but eventuallyl moved over there permanently to teach and study.
‘lt's not at all unusual. Seville is full of foreigners learning the music. There are lots of.lapanese there at the moment. It‘s like jazz. it‘s spread all over the world. But it has taken fifteen years to make me a good player. a player that the other musicians respect. And you have to live it. to get the feel ofit.'
The real music is worlds away from the degenerate forms performed as holiday cabaret entertainment. Peter feels that flamenco evolved from a process of intermingling and cross-cultural fertilisation of peoples caught up in the melting pot of Spain. The Payos are the Andalucian gypsy element. and they. with the Moors. the Jewish influence. and the fact that Spain is the birthplace of the guitar. have all contributed. But flamenco is not static and each generation takes the art further. Influences from abroad. from South America. from jazz harmony. are
incorporated and take root.
‘Thc two people who have revolutionised flamenco. and influenced nearly everyone playing now. are Paco l)e Lucia and (‘amaron I)e l-‘lsla.‘ says l lolloway. ‘Paco is the greatest flamenco guitarist there has ever been. and a lot ofguitarists now play like him. It‘s the dominant style because it‘s so attractive. And (‘amaron has the most amazing voice. subtle and delicate. but with colossal projection.
‘I love flamenco singing so much now. Maybe even more than the instrumental side! The singing sounds strange till you get used to it. It‘s not folk music. it‘s an art form like blues or jazz. and it needs a context. a tradition. But it‘s really difficult to not sound modern. The whole modern sound is smooth. not so rough and raw.
‘We are filming a documentary for (iranada just before coming to (ilasgow. and the researcher was asking about the future of flamenco. It‘s difficult to imagine where it will develop. Flamenco is at a peak at the moment. The technique is now superb. But ofcourse there are some purists who think the harmonies are too complex and jazzy!‘
J aleo play lllt‘ Glasgow Folk Festival, 'I‘ron Theatre on Frl'rlay2l . Tickets for all events are hookah/e in advance from Illt’ TI'UII Bot ()fflt‘t’.
Blacklriars in Bell Street, deep in Glasgow‘s Merchant City, has a well-established policy of supporting live music on the premises. Their latest venture, The Basement Club, is the
l brain-child of drummer Ian Copland.
whose jazz-funk band Ah Um are Sunday regulars in the upstairs bar.
‘I wasted up with the lack at a good venue in Glasgow,’ Ian said. ‘The problem with the usual free pub gigs is that the audience are just in oil the street. With the Basement Club, people are paying their admission and coming in here because they want to hear the music. There are a lot of good young musicians around, and a venue like
34Thc l.ist l4--27June 1991
this gives them the chance notjust to
play, butto develop theirown original
music, in a way the pub circuit doesn‘t.‘
The Club, which runs on Friday nights, has begun well, with good attendances to hear the likes of The Chick Lyall Quartet, The Nigel Clark Quartet, The Bill Wells Octet, The Andy Mitchell Quartet, and Sub-Atomic, again featuring Nigel Clark.
While Copland‘s broad policy is to promote modern jazz and young musicians, he aims to keep the fare as varied as possible. Glasgow badly needs a venue like this to continue to succeed; if it does, maybe someone in Edinburgh will also take note. (Kenny Mathieson)
Kirk Brandon '91
The witch hunts conducted by certain sections of the press in the early 805 left their mark on the victims. It took Factory Records and New Order years to shake off the slurs that they were Nazi sympathisers. and similar accusations haunted Kirk Brandon through Theatre Of Hate and his next group. Spear Of Destiny. Where did the papers get their fuel from, other than Brandon‘s blondc hair and Bundeswehr vests?
‘I don‘t know,‘ says Brandon. Perhaps because all the members were Caucasian! The music was quite aggressive. I can see that, but the sentiment, if anything. was socialist. although I don‘t like using that word.‘
After considerable sick leave, which he spent ‘walking the dog and writing‘. Brandon and most of the original Theatre OfHate are touring and recording again. under that name. Their old Wesrworld LP has also just been reissued, with a
hitherto-unheard second album to follow.
‘At the time. there was
nothing like it. Listen to the twelve-inch of “Westworld” — it was ahead ofits time. probably too way ahead. Cut-up film scores and stuff.‘ He hopes that the new Theatre Of 1 late will sound as different now as the original line-up did then, but the frontman, who learnt to play guitar from old blues records, has a problem describing it.
‘There are bits ofcajun in it and stufflikc that. South of the Mason—Dixon line, put it that way. I'll try to think of some reference points here . . .c‘mon. c'mon . . .it‘s not Queen lda. . . lfl was black,l'd say I‘d got more rootsy.‘ (Alastair Mabbott)
Theatre 0f Hate play Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow on Fri 21. Westworld is reissued on Burning Rome Records.