ama— Clyde country

Janette Sommers: home-grown country

lfthey can do it on Bute. then why not on Millpon as well'.’ The isle of Bute international Country Music Festival was launched last year (this year's event is on 22—24 Sept). and it has now been followed by a second festival just along the river in Millport. on the Great Cumbrae.

The inaugural Millport Nashville Country and Western Festival takes place in the town over the weekend of 4—7 August. and marks a notable milestone in its history. as Tony West. a local singer and a co-organiser of the event. explains.

‘This is the first festival of any kind we have ever had on Millport. The town is suffering the same problems of declining numbers as holiday resorts all around Britain. and we started out thinking about a smallish event which would encourage visitors to come over.

‘The Festival has really taken off. however we have a television set designer, Ronnie Bridges, who is doing up shop fronts along the Promenade in Old West style. and we will have four big marquees for the main music events. including two 500-seaters. We hope to attract around 6000 visitors. but it may even be more than that in the end.‘

Musically. it's going to be pretty traditional. but there will be a rare chance to hear singer Cleve Francis (the other black country star). who flies in from Nashville for the weekend in a show which also features Scottish singer Jeanette Sommers. lrish country star Philomena Begley will occupy the other main venue, and Des Walters will head a bill devoted to home-grown talent. with a range of other performers scattered around town.

Each of the headline acts will perform two shows per day on Saturday and Sunday, and there will be a late-night ferry back to Largs. linked to the evening concerts. Accommodation is already pretty much fully booked, but there will be camping facilities available (another first for Millpon). (Kenny Mathieson)

The First Millport Nashville Country

and Western Festival takes place from Fri 4-M0n 7 (ring 01475 530620f0r

details and tickets).

Two rings good

For the last concert before a Festival shut-down, Edinburgh Folk Club moves to the St Bride’s Centre, and invites you to listen, then dance. The Two- Hing Ceilidh - and, yes, it’s a dreadful pun - makes its way to the capital before circling back for eight and heading up north again. Following a series of solo and duet performances by fiddler and singer Mairi Campbell with guitarist Dave Francis, songwriter Gill Bowman, banjo player Jock Brown and harpist Corrina Hewat, the chairs are pushed back when the whole ensemble becomes a ceiiidh band and gets down to some serious willow stripping.

One of the most arresting solo sounds is Corrina Hewat’s small harp. While most people have heard Scotswoman Savourna Stevenson perform in a jazz/rock context on the clarsach or Scottish harp, Corrina is a relative newcomer. She was taught as a beginner by Christine Martin of Skye, then took a year with the doyenne of the pedal harp, Sancha Pileou, and finally, after deeply- appreciated instruction by the great Irish harpist Mairi Ha Chathasaigh, emerged from Leeds Musical College with an Honours Degree in Jazz and Contemporary Music.

‘I really admire Savourna, what she’s done for the harp and her composition, but I want to play music for a different reason. I want to make people dance!

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Music for people. I want to say, “Look what the harp can sound Iike.”’

She explains the name of her own band, Bachue Cafe, just back from the Dingwall Festival. ‘lt’s a multi-cultural venue in New York, and that’s the idea of what we’re putting together. Jauy crossover, whatever. I write it for harp with keyboards, percussion and fiddle. But I don’t approach it as “let’s do a jazzy thing with it”. I would like to get people up to dance. I especially want to see young people get up.’

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The ring’s the thing: Two-Hing Ceilidh

. Corrina has also found time to sing with lnverness-area all-women vocalisers The Fiesty Besoms, play as a member of Edinburgh’s Seannachie, travel to Brittany’s Lorient Festival with lshbel McAskiIl and Sheena Wellington and performs with the young harp and recorder player and candle-lit Manxperson, Emma Christian, during the Edinburgh Festival. (Horman Chalmers)

The Two-Hing Ceilidh plays St Bride’s Centre, Edinburgh on Wed 2.


The Manhattan project

Whatever else the 108 players of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland may come across in their summer course this month, the new commission by Dave Heath will certainly bring them something a bit out of the ordinary. Entitled African Sunrise - Manhattan Have, it is a percussion concerto written specially for the orchestra and percussionist extraordinaire, Evelyn Glennie, who is herself an ex-member of HYOS.

According to Heath, who is known to Scottish audiences as composer in residence with the BT Scottish Ensemble, a post he has held since 1993, Evelyn Glennie is extremely impressive. ‘When I first went to see Evelyn Glennie perform, the thing that struck me was not her marimba playing - which is spectacular but that she suddenly announced she was a “rock chick” at heart, set behind the drum kit and went wlld.’

This was welcome news to Heath, who had always wanted to write a piece for drumkit and orchestra. He then decided to base the second part

of the concerto - the Manhattan Rare section - on ‘contemporary rave music using drum-kit and the orchestra as a “sampled” orchestra behind.’ He also describes the pieces as becoming ‘more and more aggressive and complex until complete anarchy takes over.’

Although Glennie is totally at home with any percussion Instrument, it is with the marimba that she has been most drawn to public attention. The first section of Heath’s piece, African Sunrise, Is all for marimba and orchestra and, he says, ‘uses many different timbres of the instrument

Evelyn Glennie: taking Manhattan

from the low almost choral opening, accompanied by thunder and rain machines, to the virtuoso middle section and to the lyrical final section.’ To be a percussionist, you need to be not only a first-rate musician, but also very tit, running from one instrument to another. In concentrating on just one or two Instruments, Heath is considerater giving Glennle’s feet a rest, but It seems unlikely the same can be said about her hands. (Carol Main)

The National Youth Orchestra of Scotland play Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Mon 31.

The List 28 .lul- 10 Aug 1995 39