HE]:- ' FOLK nounour '

liens Tbeesink The growing number of folk clubs in Scotland is another sign of the healthy revival of interest in acoustic music of all sorts. with our own traditional music at the core. and an eclectic acceptance of everything from Javanese gamelan to music hall or the blues.

Celebrating the continuing vitality of the folk scene. The Living Tradition is a new bi- monthly glossy magazine. published from Kilmamock for i internationaldistribution. l


Carefully British/American in its initial approach. you will find no articles on i sequenced didgeridoo or Zimbabwean pop bands. but 60 pages of commentary and reviews of source singers. I instrumentalists. styles. history. bands. recordings and performance of the mainstream Anglo/Celtic . tradition. '

Accompanying his wife Heather. who has one of Scotland‘s finest voices. 1 Pete Heywood. the editor | of The Living Tradition I plays the reopened } Edinburgh Folk Club next week. so get your copies i there or by subscription. ,

Glasgow's Star Club brings back another great ' female singer. heard l infrequently now in | Scotland. when it presents I Jim and Sylvia Barnes. i late of Kentigern and The Battlefield Band. The Linlithgow Club has the incomparable vocal artistry of Archie Fisher with his vast repertoire of self-penned. stolen. and traditional Scots song.

But just to show that we Scots are not parochial or conservative. the Star ; Club and the Edinburgh I Folk Club present one of their most popular guests: , Dutch-born. Austrian resident. top quality bluesman Hans Theesink and he even wields an electric guitar! (Norman Chalmers)

Heather Heywood plays Edinburgh Folk Club on Wed 15; Jim and Sylvia Barnes play the Star C lub, Glasgow on Thurs 16; Archie Fisher plays Linlithgow Folk Club on Mon 20; Hans Theesink plays Edinburgh Folk Club on Wed 22 and the Star Club, Glasgow on Thurs 23.

marm- Random elements

Kenny Mathieson previews an imaginative celebration of the controversial influence of John Cage on modern music.

Few figures in 20th Century music have generated quite so tnuch bile. odium and mouth-foaming fury as the late John Cage. That is an achievement of sons in itself. but those who have found his music. and the ideas which underlie it. to be rather more congenial. would argue that his influence has extended well beyond the role of béte noir to the musical conservatives.

Neil Wallace, the programme director at The Tramway. is clearly of the latter school ofthought. The series of six concerts which make up Centre Cage are intended. as publicity officer John Dodds explained. to constitute not only a tribute to Cage‘s own music. but to reflect the continuing importance of his work on that of a younger generation of American composers.

‘Cage's musical ideas were very advanced for their time. and they are still having a profound effect today. We wanted to include composers like Glass and Reich partly because they have been influenced by Cage. but also to make the programmes a little more accessible for people who don't already know Cage‘s music.

‘Neil was also very interested in the connections between Cage's work and theatrical presentation. and his links with choreographers like Merce Cunningham. and although there are no actual dance pieces, some of the music. like the Song Books which Cappella Nova will sing in the opening concert. does involve elements of theatrical


Wallace put together the programmes on ‘a collaborative basis' with the various performers and ensembles involved. Following Cappella Nova’s presentation of the Song Books and Litany for the Whale (Tue 21). the Smith Quartet will perform two concerts (Wed 22—Thurs 23) which place Cage alongside music by the likes of minimalists Philip Glass and Steve Reich (his masterly Different Trains). New York avant-garde guitarist Elliot Sharp. and America’s greatest living composer. Elliot Carter.

Pianist Darryl Rosenberg devotes his first concert to Cage’s greatest piano work. the Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano of l946—50 (Fri 24). and the second to composers George Crumb and Morton Feldman (Sat 26). The closing concert sees the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra move into slightly unfamiliar territory for them. with a programme which places Cage's Concerto for Prepared Piano and The Seasons alongside more populist offerings by Reich and Michael Torke (Sun 26).

Unlike the Musica Nova Festival in l990. which Cage attended. no one is playing 4' 33‘, his notorious silent piece in which the musician(s) do not play for that time. and the ambient


John Cage: genius or charlatan?

noise around the listener becomes the music. You can buy a recording of it these days. though. and why not. since the aesthetic dimension of the piece remains unaltered in concert or at home.

Like many of his ideas. it combines a dazzling crankiness with a serious perception. Cage's development ofthe ideas of chance and random occurence in his music opened up to allow the sounds of everyday existence to be included in music. or. as he put it. ‘if one feels protective about the word "music". then protect it and find another word for all the rest of the sounds which enter through the ears.‘

Some of the sounds which make up Cage's uneven music are less than enthralling. it has to be said. but the Tramway programmes contain some of the very best of it. For the newcomer. it may require considerable setting aside of both prior expectation and prejudice. but there are rewards to be gained in doing so. and The Tramway are to be congratulated in their initiative in mounting such an imaginative tribute to the old charlatan. Or should that be genius? Decide for yourself.

Centre Cage is at The Tl'tllilit‘tl)'ff()ln Tue 21-5101 26. See Classical listings for details.

Back to nature

Two sensations tor you to chew over and vigorously identity with: bathing in an open-air pool oi warmed nectar while the sun kisses your lily-white flesh; and standing reeling and helpless while trattic whizzes passed on all sides. One is the feeling most sentient creatures will encounter on contact with 18 Wheeler’s debut single ‘ilature Cirl’; the other is the teeling 18 Wheeler experience when pondering their existence. Can you guess which description tits which teellng, readers? Here’s singer/guitarist Sean Jackson to clear up the riddle.

‘I don’t really know why anything happens with this band. Things lust seem to happen to us and we just go along with them. It’s nothing to do with us really.’

18 Wheeler “just happened’ to emerge trom the ether a couple at years ago, played some shambolic gigs under the twin influences ot inebriatlng liquor and Teenage Fanclub, ‘extradited’ their nihilist bassist, reshuttled the line-up, and started atresh late last year with the promise ot a deal with Creation subsidiary August.

‘We started ott really noisy,’ says

their now-bassist Alan tlake. ‘lt came

as a great shock to us to realise that Sean could write songs. They just appeared from nowhere. Then we had to get a bit serious because it was obvious we couldn’t continue with me playing drums and Chris playing bass because we were utter mince.’

‘We did this gig in Aberdeen - the last one with Chris,’ says Sean. ‘lle got a bit carried away and it ended up with a large part of the audience wanting to kill us and that wasn’t really much tun. But we continued because we had the chance to make a record. It nave Barker (their boss at August) had hated our tape we’d not be going now.’

This catalogue of negativity is alleviated, however, by the possibility that 18 Wheeler will get to record their debut album at Abbey lioad Studios. ‘With Phil Specter,’ they lest. no we detect a glimmer of ambition amid the selt-deprecation? (Fiona Shepherd) llature Girl is out now on August Records. 18 Wheeler support Redd Itross at The Cathouse, Glasgow on Sun 12.

30 The List 10—23 September 1993