T in the Park, the Tennents Live Festival
intent on anchoring the whole swirling
thing with an insistent. primal bass riff. Elvis Costello And The Attractions are on full flight on Later. and they sound
When Brutal Youth — Costello‘s most recent album and the first to feature contributions from the massed Attractions since I986 — appeared. a curious thing happened. Almost as one. the music press sighed in relief that he'd made a record which sounded kinda like his old ones and had abandoned the paths that had led him to make those crappy. overblown albums that no one had liked or bought.
Curious. that is. because the same music press had hailed those albums (Spike and Mighty Like A Rose) as the masterworks they are on their release. and both had been Top Five hits.
What may have happened was that these reviews were a reaction to Costello‘s last side-project. 'l‘he Juliet letters. a mix of chamber group and vocals which. basically. you either liked or you didn’t. but which seemed to upset a lot of commentators when coupled with his ‘pop is dead‘ statements.
Also feasible is that Brutal Youth appeared around the same time as the papers were getting hot under the collar about the ‘resurgence ofthe punk spirit‘ (yeah. the one that never went away but simply evolved). and Brutal Youth could be seen in parts as a direct descendant of the '78 archetype This
Year's Model. ie a full~tilt blast of virulent garage and intelligent venom. It's obvious. though. that the
l arrangements oftracks like ‘20 Per
(‘ent Amnesia' and ‘Rocking Horse Road] while referring to the past. are the results of lessons learned during Costello‘s ‘Beard Years‘. and the rage
is that of a 40-year-old man. not a 23-
year-old. ()ne widely—stated opinion which does hold water. though. is that Elvis being
reunited with The Attractions for this
tour is a genuine cause for excitement. While the solo ‘Beloved Entertaincr' acoustic shows were astonishing and the Rude 5 tour for Mighty like A Rose was damn fine. anyone with memories
i including or prior to the ‘Spinning
I Songbook‘ Blood/lull (,‘ltot‘olute nights
will know that a special. sparking and totally wired alchemy is in the offing. Combined with the tensions between Costello and Bruce Thomas being worked out on stage. and The Attractions as a whole having something to prove since being unbilled as such on the album. anything is possible.
To paraphrase Woody Allen: if you don‘t get increasingly better the more you work at your thing. then you're an imbecile. There are enough imbeciles demanding your attention already. Give your time to people who deserve it. Guaranteed — no ugly drug music.
Elvis Costello And The Attractions play Burrow/and. Glasgow on Thurs l4.
mm Sweet sixteen
After its hanselling with Scottish variety and then the biggies of Scottish Opera’s resounding ‘Tristan And Isolde’, Montserrat Caballe and ‘Showboat’, the Edinburgh Festival Theatre’s next musical offering comes as something of a surprise. The Sixteen Choir and Orchestra under their conductor llarry Christophers performing Bach’s 8 minor Mass may at first glance seem a combination better suited to a more intimate or ecclesiastical venue. But the theatre’s General Manager, Paul Iles, a devoted fan of the group, is so convinced both of the theatre’s adaptability and The Sixteen’s potential to succeed in it, that he has not only programmed them for this month, but also for a further two performances later in the year.
In October, they return with Handel’s epic oratorio ‘Israel In Egypt’ and in the middle of December they make a seasonal appearance with their celebrated interpretation of “The Messiah’. Formed by Christophers in 1977, The Sixteen will be performing for the first time in Scotland and, although their impressive catalogue of recordings and broadcasts may be known to Scottish audiences, the Edinburgh Festival Theatre debut is an unmissable opportunity to hear them live with the sort of music for which
they are renowned. A flexible group ranging in size from sixteen singers - hence the name - to the sixty-strong choir which will appear for the B Minor Mass, their repertoire has become further enhanced through establishing The Orchestra Of The Sixteen in 1986. Those with good arithmetic skills will have realised that the 1993/94 concert season marks the sixteenth anniversary season of The Sixteen and, apart from the trip to Scotland, the ensemble is celebrating with a series of four special concerts at London’s South Bank, an extensive tour of Japan, a debut in Prague and visits to Rome, Barcelona, Madrid and the BBC Proms. (Carol Main)
The Sixteen play Edinburgh Festival Theatre on Sun 3.
Edinburgh’s Ross Theatre in Princes Street Gardens has ranked, open-air seating under a huge canvas awning and a summer fare of world music
; that’s the best value in the country. It’s all free. The District Council has
pulled together a high quality Africa- orientated line-up of bands for Saturday and Sunday afternoon concerts which end up, as always, with a large proportion of the
; audience dancing down at the front of
The series opens with dynamic young Malian singing star Oumou Sangare and her band which includes Western guitar, electric bass and violin with traditional instruments such as the kamelengoni, a harp-like relative of the kora. Her songs focus on the emergent role of women in last- changing contemporary West Africa.
The delightful Tarika Sammy from the island of Madagascar are back with a bigger line-up and a shorter name, the same mesmerising music, two singing
T in the Park, July 30th and 31st at Strathclyde Park
sisters and exotic instruments beefed up with a heavier rhythm section. Last year, they were a big hit touring the States, with appearances at Montreal Jan Festival, llew Orleans and Winnipeg Folk Festival.
Concerts later in July feature the accurately-named, hugely talented les Ouatres Etoiles, since the early 803 a Paris-based African supergroup who are all Zairean musicians of the highest order, central to the modern evolutionary explosion of African music, especially in the studio.
The European/American collision that gives us the modern version of Klezmer, that wild Yiddish music, has one of its best representations in llew York’s Illezmatics. Trumpet, violin, clarinet, accordion and vocals share the front line of this highly acclaimed, far travelled sextet.
From Accra in Ghana, the 30-strong master musicians in the Pan African Orchestra play traditional instruments in a highly scored modern idiom, using traditional rhythms, melodies and motifs, but reading from music stands in the classic western manner. The system of tuning and a musical notation that allows the huge diversity of instruments to combine symphonically has been evolved, partly on computer, by their director llano Oanso Ablarn.
And finally, Scotland’s own Clan Alba, with a musical soundscape from timpani to tin whistle, is also included in the Ross’s summer of world music. (llorman Chalmers)
Oumou Sangare plays on Sun 3 and Tarika play on Sun 10, both at the Ross Theatre, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburm.
The List I~I4July I994 41