mm- Mod’s not


\_ J;

The yearly Gaelic Eisteddfod, the National Mod, moves round the country, and this October settles on Airdrie. seen by some as a bizarre choice in that the ancient town has never been known as a centre of Gaelic intercourse.

The fact is, of course, that many thousands of people attend the Mod from all over Scotland and from the farthest reaches of the globe. All the hotels for scores of miles around are fully booked and the bars and lounges of the town will resound to the language of the Garden of Eden, as Gaeldom goes on its annual spree. But the prevailing tone of the official Mod is rooted in a Victorian ideal, a somewhat artificial style of competition singing with piano accompaniment, the very popular choral arrangements and hundreds of smaller competitions.

But growing up around the Mod over the last few years has been a very vigorous Fringe which this year, less than an hour’s drive from Edinburgh or Glasgow. means a tremendous line-up of vigorous folk song and instrumental prowess.

The original Gaelic folk group tiro Na H-Ogataich rose to prominence in the early 70s and have recently been making somewhat of a comeback with their strong and anthemic singing. Their one concert in the central Fringe venue of the Tudor Hotel will certainly sell out.

Ireland‘s finest, Altan. Louisiana Cajun Star Eddie LeJeune’s trio and Breton harpist and singer Alan Stivell lead the international cast list with Scotland‘s Wolfstone, Battlefield Band. Anthea Cormack and Blair Douglas and Simon Thoumire’s jazz/folk trio performing in concert. (Norman



Alexander Baillie

llever mind what might be happening . about the proposed merger of the BBC

, Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the

Scottish Opera Orchestra for the

, moment. Both organisations are forging ahead this season with programmes which are as adventurous and challenging as have been seen in Britain over recent years. Among the BBO’s plans this autumn are two more

' series of their acclaimed Premiere concerts, which are special projects featuring music new to most Scottish ears.

Opening the first is the Scottish

Protection racket

premiere of John Tavener’s ‘The Protecting Veil’. First heard in 1989, it has now won itself something of a cult following. Scored for cello and string orchestra, ‘The Protecting Veil’ is a classical setting of a stream of Greek Orthodox Church music with the cello soloist leading 45 minutes of unbroken singing. On this occasion the solo role is taken by the outstanding Scottish-bom cellist Alexander Baillie, whose commitment to the piece is at least 100 per cent. Oescriblng it, he says, ‘lt’s incredibly beautiful. lt’s peaceful. it’s positive. It’s spiritual. All of that is undeniably true. it’s also soothing, healing, therapeutic.’

Based on a religious subtext on the Virgin Mary, the piece is in eight movements. ‘They’re punctuated by a returning refrain,’ explains Baillie ‘so that it is mapped out for the audience with clear pointers. The movements go in pairs - for example a slow

movement is followed by chiming bells I

- and the way that Tavener gets the

i orchestra to sound like chiming balls is very exciting and energetic. Mostly though it’s quiet and reflective, a bit like the typical format of a priest and congregational responses.’ It may be unlike anything you’ve heard before.

; For Baillie, ‘lt’s unlike anything I’ve had to play before. People will be

i knocked for six.’ (Carol Main).

; The Protecting Veil is performed by

1 the BBC 880 at the City Hall, Glasgow on Tue 12.

; DEE. Brain food

‘We’re on a mission,’ says Bad Brains’ ; guitarist Or llnow decisively. ‘lt’s the

5 same message to everybody, which is , basically know that .lah is God.’ It’s

9 one of the few things he does say

I decisively. So far he’s glossed over the creation of Bad Brains’ hybrid sound.

; llobody expected four Washington OG ; Bastafarians in the mid-70s to play

anything other than the reggae their roots demanded. But Bad Brains liked 5 Stevie Wonder, they liked punk.

I ilowadays, you like Stevie Wonder, you ' i like punk, so you fuse the two; but not :

in the mid-70s. Except Bad Brains did. j if you see what I mean.

: ‘llowadays, people can feel

1 something unique and different about i what we do, can sense a sincerity, sol 3 think that helped in understanding

1 what it was we were doing.’ That’s

; about as far as Or Know will be drawn : on that one.

In point of fact, though, Bad Brains don’t feel remoter unique these days. ; Their raw funk metal barrage sounded 2 like such a good idea, everyone

; copied them. Bad Brains are to funk

: rock what The Melvlns are to grunge - a half-familiar name, responsible for

i engenderlng a musical explosion. Of their undoubted influence on the likes i of lied liot Ohllli Peppers, Fishbone

_ true.’ I heard him shrug, you know.

; Of their new singer, lsrael Joseph-i, who replaced long-standing vocalist

. lift a year ago, he says, ‘The change he ; brought is just some new blood,

i y’know?’ Actually . . . I don’t know.

' The current album, ‘iiise’, sounds to

me mostly like Smashing Pumpkins,

f Pearl Jam or living Golour with some

3 dubby departures. it’s almost sad how

3 vanguard musicians are superseded by their creative heirs. But credit where

i it’s due, and eyes front for the searing I live incarnation back in Britain for the


Ian Can The jazz musician who also writes about the music is a well-

. established phenomenon. but not many have succeeded in doing both to the level achieved by Ian Carr, while simultaneously being a distinguished teacher (he became an associate professor at the Guildhall in London in 1982) into the bargain.

As a writer. Carr is best known for his excellent biography of Miles Davis (1982). which contains a great deal of perceptive musical criticism. but his

other books include Music Outside ( 1973). on the

British jazz scene of the

I time. and a less

satisfactory biography of

Keith Jarrett (1991).

It is maybe no surprise

that the Miles book is his

' best. The subject matter

seems closest to Carr's own concerns as a musician. They share an instrument, for one thing, and a common interest in fusion. a field in which Carr's contribution. notably through his band Nucleus. formed in 1969 and still active in the mid- 80s. was as influential in European circles as Miles‘s was in America.

His range. both as player and composer and

arranger. is broader than

that. however. stretching

from small groupjazz to full symphony orchestra,

. improvisations against

electronic timbres tojazz

big band. Carr sees no

need to demarcate his

various activities. but

i regards them as very

; much part ofa whole. His

latest visit to Scotland (he

was born in Dumfries)

i will pair him with pianist Chick Lyall. in what

J should be an intriguing meeting of two strong

musical personalities.

9 (their co-headliners on the current . first time in four years. (Fiona ' (Kenn Mmhicson) gzalmis) I M d F . , BTRISII tom) and, III BI‘MIII, 006"" g Shepherd) Ian Cayrr and The Chick e a 10M . 0 rmge’ vanous ; "I'm 80‘ "'0 “all” 0' W” l Bad Brains play WWI FISMIOIB and Th0 LyaIl Trio play at the Tron WW“? {‘"dm' ’5‘22 0cm”- 5“ ' Equations, Or llnow has this to say. Goats at Barrowland, Glasgow on Wed Jazz Cellar: Edinburgh 0'1 W" "-"'"83- E'WBII, ifthey say n, i guess that’s E13. Wed 13-


32 The List 8—21 October l993