mm- Papal get ready
Cappella Nova. billed in The Herald as ‘the outstanding Scottish professional choir". is widely admired for its sense of adventure and innovation. The group‘s Mayfest concert promises to more than sustain that spirit. Going under the heading The Coronation of Pope Clement VIII in I592. it is a re— enactment of one of the most important events in the life of Giovanni Picrluigi da Palestrina. the outstanding Italian Renaissance composer who died in l594.
A celebration of the 400th anniversary of his death. the concert has been devised by Dr Noel ()‘Regan of Edinburgh University‘s Faculty of Music using manuscripts held by the Vatican Library which Palestrina would certainly have used. ‘Basically, the event is reconstructing a papal eor‘onation.‘ says ()‘Regan. ‘Pope Clement‘s being the last that Palestrina attended. with the concert taking the form of selections of music that would have been heard.‘ Although the papal election process in the present day is a fairly rare occurence. Pope Clement was the fourth new Pope in two years in Palestrina‘s time.
‘There are three stages.‘ explains ()‘Regan. ‘the first being the election. then the consecration to become Bishop and. ﬁnally. the coronation. This would have taken place over a few days. but Cappella Nova are taking excerpts from each part.‘ Alongside the music. the renowned broadcaster Tom Fleming presents a complementary commentary which. says ()‘Regan. ‘is based on contemporary liturgical diaries and ambassadors‘ reports.‘ The concert opens with [free .S‘at‘ertlos. ‘the first piece which the new Pope would have heard and then. in context. is the mass. In es I’t’rrrts.' As in 1592. the Mayfest performance will give opportunity for audience participation. if you want to practise it now. the final line is ‘Viva. Viva, Papa Clement.‘ (Carol Main) Cappella Nova play St Aloysius Church on Sat I 4.
The luck of
Craig McLean talks to a new queen of country.
No mess. no fuss. lris l)eMent's second album isjust called My Life. In it. she sings of comforting ‘C‘hildhood Memories'. of the stultifying and stale blue-collar existence. of taking stock and the pressure of an adulthood where ﬁnding time to grieve is a luxury. It is naked and introspective. but never cloying or wallowing. The muse and the music dovetail, blending a subtle. old-time country sound. After a succession of production-line Nashville stars crooning depressed mush in pressed denirns or big cliches in big hair. lris DeMent breaks the stereotype. She. at least. sounds like she means it.
‘I never invent emotions.‘ she says. ‘They've gotta be very real. or people will sense that and the song won‘t be worthwhile. I don‘t always write about myself — but even then it‘s circumstances that are familiar or the experiences of someone that I‘ve been close to.‘
It was while at college for the second time — ‘I tried to go to school, I tried to find something to focus on . but I never seemed to keep it together‘ — that the DeMent muse was kickstarted by a creative writing class. Given the close- quarters drama of her songs. it is hardly surprising that it was short stories that captured her attention. ‘l‘ve never been
um- Spazz _ anarchist
Billy Jenkins has been described as just about everything from a musical anarchist to an out and out lunatic, but no one has ever been able to accuse him of toeing the conventional line. (in anything.
let’s start with the music. ‘Spazz ian’, he once dubbed it, a phrase which will probably hang around to haunt him long after it has outlived its usefulness. lie attacked (an shibboleths with the same kind of ferocious energy which punk brought to bear on the excesses of rock, and no cow is too sacred to escape the Jenkins treatment, from Miles (“Scratches 0f Spain’) to flew Age music, turned upside down and inside out on the chaotically unrelaxing
very big on poetry. ljust became obsessed with these little stories.‘ She moved to Nashville. because That ls What You Do. still. if you want to be a country singer. She spent a year playing open-mic clubs. A friend gave her the number ofJim Rooney. a local producer who co-ran a publishing company and studio. DeMent liked Rooney‘s work with Nanci Griffith. Robert Earl Keen and Townes Van Zandt. Also. Rooney‘s business was based in a ‘big ol‘ house. and I like to carry on business in a house.‘
The pair instantly bonded. The first fruits of their collaboration was Infamous Angel. at bare-boned country record that was released in the UK last year. An A & R executive with Warner Bros in London had heard the original independent release of Infamous Angel.
E which had come out in America in
l992. Had it been the Nashville
Billy Jenkins ‘Motorway At Night’.
Music not business is Jenkins’s war cry (along with ‘brilllant’, usually roared out on stage after a particularly nerve-shattering bout of sonic and physical wrestling with his
establishment that had first cottoned onto DeMent. she wouldn‘t have been interested. ‘Nashville‘s more straight- ahead country-orientated. My music's not.‘ So she left Nashville after two years. but still records there. Now, with the acclaim coming thick and fast, is the soul-searching and rootless life over for his DeMent‘.’ Has the purgative element of Infamous Angel and My Life settled her? She pauses. ‘I think in a lot of ways it has. because I have to be settled right now. If I don't have some place in my head that‘s calm. then I wouldn‘t be able to deal with things. So I spend a lot more time finding ways to stay calm and centred.‘
But also. more importantly. ‘this is like a dream come true.‘ And she means that. too.
Iris DeMenI plays The Ferry on I 9 May.
guitar), and he has waged relentless ideological war on the commercial nature of contemporary music production. llis self-produced albums and cassettes (his stuff comes out on CI), but he likes the Io-fi medium, another anti-commercial statement in this age of the silver disc and BBC) bear the defiant logo ‘Warning: This Record Contains Music.’
Behind all the hilarious parody, shock-effect noise and deliberate casting-off of conventional technique and musical staples, Jenkins is a fine guitarist when he chooses to be. lie needs to be seen live to appreciate the full effect, but I advise you to leave all preconceptions at the door for his Mayfest visit, when he will perform with the East German band The Fun Home in what promises to be the least predictable gig In the festival. Give it a try - even if you hate it, you won’t forget it In a hurry. (Kenny Mathieson)
Billy Jenklns and the Fun liorns play at The Ferry on Thurs 12.
The List 6—l9 May l99411