v LISTEN! 1
I The Mllle in Scotland Trust has announced the biggest music competition of its kind ever held in Scotland. with prizes worth £15.000— that‘sa total of 32 days of master-quality recording time in eight studios spread among twelve winners. The studios taking part are The Apollo. Palladium. Park Lane (Glasgow). Ca Va East. REL (Edinburgh). Seagate (Dundee). Heaven (Ayrshire) and Funny Farm l (Haddington). Each ofthe twelve winners will get a minimum oftwo days in the studio, with an engineer (this includes time taken to mix down the tracks they record). All the Scottish radio stations have voiced their support for the competition. so airplay for the resulting tracks can be , expected.
The way toenter isto send an existing demo tape to MIST Recording . Sessions Competition. ‘ Music In Scotland Trust. PO Box 183. Glasgow G3 800 before 18 June. including two first class stamps to cover administration (tapes. unfortunately. cannot be returned). Incidentally. entrants must be unsigned by any company.
MIST are trying to arrange some distinguished guests- , from radio. management. 1 record companies and the performing side — to make 1 uptheirZS-strongjudging panel. which should have completed its work by the end ofJuly.
And as ifthe poptabulous prizes weren‘t enough. BBC Scotland has promised to record a session with one ofthe winners.
I In the wake of West Lothian College‘s Music Management course. Stow College in Glasgow has decided that it might be a rather good idea to run their own HNC in Music Business Administration. The course. scheduled to begin in August. is composed of units such as ‘Preparing Financial Forecasts‘ and ‘lntroduction To Database Management Systems‘. but also the more specialised ‘Contemporary Music Issues' and ‘Principles And Practice Of Music Business Administration‘. researched and developed by the one and only Alan Rankine. solo artiste and _ ex-Associate. now very active behind the scenes. Application forms can be requested from the Course Tutor at Stow College, Shamrock Street. Glasgow G4 9LD.
l ‘ Off the page
Following a succession of revivals of past productions, Scottish Opera opens its Spring season with a new production of Don Giovanni, along with another look at their Aida. But, sadly, there is nothing to replace Tristan and Isolde, scheduled for this season but cancelled towards the end of last year.
Based on the Don Juan legend - inspiration for at least thirty other operas — Mozart’s Don Giovanni is an unscrupulous seducer who meets his end by being dragged down to Hell alter accepting the invitation of a dead man’s statue to dinner. The cast is a young one with Steven Page in the title role and Gidon Saks, the Israeli baritone who made his British debut to
great acclaim in the company’s recent Billy Budd, as Leperello. Both design and direction are by Tom Cairns, designer for Les Troyens in 1990. Although a big role, Giovanni does not hold too many fears for Steven Page, now playing the part for the fifth time. ‘There’s a new translation to contend with,’ he says, ‘which is never easy, because obviously there are similarities. But luckily this time I was able to work a bit with the translator beforehand.’ Luckily too, both Saks and Page have been with the company in Newcastle immediately priorto opening, Saks in Billy Budd and Page as CountAlmaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, which he describes as ‘pretty good training for this. We took the basic floor to Newcastle with us so that we could do some rehearsing there.’ Cairns’ design, he says, ‘is going to look quite different-the sets and some of the costumes are quite abstract, but I think it will be powerful visually’. Adding that, ’as far as handling the characters is concerned, it’s very traditional — as so often is the case with these so-called modern productions. There’s just no getting away from it, it’s an 18th century opera, with music, feelings and singing of that period.’ (Carol Main) Don Giovanni, Theatre Royal, Glasgow -25 April; 14, 16, 22, 27, 29 May; 3 June. Playhouse, Edinburgh—24, 26 June. See Classical listings.
um- Celt up!
The countdown continues to the first Scottish Fleadh. This celebration of Irish and Scottish culture was the brainchild of Vince Power, who runs the famed Mean Fiddlervenue in London. ‘I put on a lot of Irish bands there,’ he says, ‘but it’s only since I’ve been doing the Reading festival that I got the confidence to do something like this In the open air.’
There are no less than four Fleadhs taking place this year- Glasgow, run in conjunction with promoters Regular Music, London, New York and Boston - and Power is about to start negotiating for a Paris event too.
It’s not a strictly Celtic affair. This year’s London bill, for instance, Includes Suzanne Vega and Green On Bed. ‘We're trying to widen It a bit, or else It becomes the same every year. There aren’t the newer Irish acts coming up to take the place of the older ones. And from gigs at the Mean Fiddler, I know that these acts are very popular among the Irish.’
After attracting crowds of 30,000 annually in the three years since its inception, the Fleadh must feel like an established festival now. Does Power think that it would still carry on if the Mean Fiddler were forced to pull out for some reason?
‘I think it would, but it’s very difficult to get artists together and happy with their position on the bill - especially with the Irish acts. It’s no secret where
Commltment Andrew Strong
to find them, but everyone wants to headline, let on they’re more popular than they really are. I’ve built up a relationship with them over the years. Anyone taking this on would have to start building up that relationship from scratch.’ (Alastair Mabbott)
The Scottish Fleadh takes place on Glasgow Green on Sun 24 May.
Ornette Coleman — genius or charlatan? Kenny Mathieson considers the ease for the defence.
No contemporary jazz musician. not even Cecil Taylor. has attracted quite as much antipathy from more conventionally-minded musicians as Ornette Coleman. They said he couldn‘t play when he was in Pee Wee Russell‘s R&B band 40 years ago. they said it when he came to New York and turned jazz on its head in 1959, they said it again when he formed the electric band Prime Time in 1975. and they are still saying it now. as James Moody‘s comments in a blindfold test in the latest issue of The Wire testify.
Speak to any ofthe great musicians who actually worked with Coleman, however. and a very different story emerges. In the course of my own interviewing over the years. Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, Dewey Redman, Ed Blackwell, James Blood Ulmer and Jamaladeen Tacuma have all paid tribute to Coleman’s peculiar genius, even when they were unable to fully articulate the precise nature ofhis gift and musical concept.
The saxophonist came out of Fort Worth in Texas playing in blues and R&B bands, an earthy influence which has never been erased from his
32 The List 34 April — 7 May 1992