t at Hank and Joe: showing a remarkable degree of pluck
But it‘s interesting. despite all of that, i still enjoy it when i hear some really line acoustic guitanplaying. Years ago, i wasn't into acoustic guitars very much in terms of all that strumming and backing songs. but i really enjoy playing them now as a lead instrument.’
in the 60s. guitar solos impressed by their sheer length. When Eddie Van Halen came along. they became pyrotechnic events. Satriani offers some hope that the indulgence was an 80s thing — excitement at new possibilities in technology and technique — and that guitarists might be settling down to let the technique serve the music.
‘l think excess and indulgence is just a necessary by-product of searching for invention. and everyone's just trying to have fun and do something interesting and push music a little further. so there’s always going to be the by- product. lt‘s almost like that laboratory where you’ve got the one great miracle cure. but it's at the end of a long list of failures.’
‘lt‘s like my son. Ben. who’s in my band.‘ says Marvin. ‘He does all this roaring linger-tapping stuff and weird. screaming harmonics. and he's got one of those pedals that you can adjust to play intervals of semitones, which sounds outrageous, or you can use it like a wah-wah pedal. but set it to go up an octave or two.‘
Got a band of his own he does all this with. does he?
‘He does it on stage with me. i don't mind. except when he does it on "Apache" . . .‘
Hank Marvin plays the Theatre Royal. Glasgow on Sun 10: Joe Satriani plays the SECC. Glasgow on Thurs l4.
nm_ Baka Beyond to the fore
The ‘World Music at the Assembly’ series ends with two concerts rooted in African sounds.
The musicians in Dade Krama are from cultures as distinct and separate as Nigeria and Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania and Gambia, but they have created a pan-African fusion of song and instrumental dance music using traditional instruments. llow familiar to Western audiences, the kora, mbira, and balafon are gourd harp, thumb piano and xylophone respective; but the band also uses the gonie, or single string fiddle, and the adunga, a nine- string version. Underpinning and driving all those instrumental textures are the rhythms of the diembe and talking drums.
Baka Beyond is a six-strong group generated from Martin Cradick’s enduring enthusiasm and respect for the Baka people of the Cameroon forests. The group line-up and music is essentially that of the core musicians and tracks from their recent Meeting Pool album on Rykodisc. ‘All of our material is based round the rhythms we learned from the Baka. They are fantastically musical. I think it comes from the fact that you can’t see far in the forest, so sound becomes very important; to navigate,
Rumble in the junglé? Martin Cradlck
find food, protect yourself, everything in their life has a sound, and they’ve evolved a rich musical culture. They are always singing and playing.’
‘We use samples from the recordings we made out there, played on keyboards, and as well as bass, drums and my guitar and mandolin; we all play percussion. There are Baka songs and even some in Gaelic by Kate Budd who, although she spent much of her youth in Kenya, has a Scots mother.’
‘We use the samples to create atmosphere: you can’t really feel an audience involvement when you’re using fixed backing tapes, and we want the audience to feel the music, get involved with it. What we play has more of a pulse than a beat. I’ve heard people who’ve come to see us describe it as having gone to concert and gradually found themselves dancing.’ (Konnan Chalmers)
Bade Krama, Fri 8; Baka Beyond, Fri 15, both at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh.
Prayer for Du Pre
Receiving its premiere this fortnight is the new cello concerto by Ronald Stevenson, written in memory of Jacqueline Du Pré. Scottish cellist Moray Welsh, who worked closely with Bu Pré in her final years, travels homeward from his London base to join the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for performances in both Edinburgh and Glasgow. Du Pre was, of course, a brilliant cellist before her life was tragically cut short, dying of multiple sclerosis in her 40s. ‘She would have been 50 this year if she had lived,’ says Stevenson. ‘I admire her playing on record very much because it is passionate and flamboyant, qualities that British musicians are not generally known for. Having said that, the concerto is an elegiac work.’
Lasting about half an hour, there are three movements to it. The first and last are predominantly slow but with quicker middle sections, while the central movement is predominantly quick with a middle section which is slow. ‘lt’s a scherzo and trio,’ says Stevenson. ‘The scherzo is an Hebraic festive scherzo in recognition of Jacqueline Du Pré’s marriage to Daniel Barenboim in Jerusalem and her conversion to Judaism, which is very unusual. They were married during the Six Day War in 1967 and thinking of
Ronald Stevenson: world premiere
these events brought in the tradition of Kol iiidrei, the Jewish Day of Atonement. I’ve also used an Israeli young pioneers’ hiking song because it was made in the very week of Jacqueline Du Pré’s marriage.’ Stevenson is no stranger to writing for cello, past work including Variations and Theme on the Bonnie Earl of Moray for Moray Welsh, and it is the instrument’s great capacity for melody which has made him welcome the opportunity of writing for it again. The concerto is subtitled The Solitary Singerfrom the poetry of Walt Whitman. ‘In a way,’ he says, ‘that encapsulates the tragedy of Jacqueline nu Pré and also emphasises the solitariness of melody in the 20th century.’ (Carol Main) The RSIIO with Moray Welsh perform The Cello Concerto by Ronald Stevenson on Fri 8 Dec at the Usher liaII, Edinburgh and Sat 9 Dec at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
Sticking to what you know and not going out on a limb seems to pervade this fortnight’s demo pile, but still throws up some dandy tapes reckons Fiona Shepherd.
Mull trio 7:11 seem to have changed direction more often than the Clapham Junction signal box. The current Beatles- Bowie-Squeeze stage in their erratic evolution is the best yet. Taking retro indie pop as their base they move off into dissonant territories with a scuffed-up production (deliberate? or was studio time just short?) and dog- eared arrangements that just about hold the songs together. Kitemonster stick to the tried and tested avenues of rousing guitar pop and while everything‘s coming up Beatles they can claim a certain currency.
Dougie Robertson And The Diplomats are already a popular draw on the Glasgow gig circuit and their ‘Thief Of Hearts' tape is an accomplished artefact but its tightly- executed bluesy roots rock should only be investigated by lovers of Van. Bruce and their various imitators. Gilded lil take an altogether more threatening approach to contemporary blues with the obvious boon of a vocalist whojust about keeps on the right side of Janis Joplinesque histrionics and Polly Harvey stealth.
The Diplomats and Gilded Lil may have the guts but Greenock‘s latest young tykes The Luci Baines Band have all the passion. Despite the occasional slip into Alarming territory. their tape exhibits all the punch and rockin' attitude of the Scream. Black Grape (particularly in the rasping vocals) and youngsters like Northern Uproar. Any band who can prompt favourable comparisons with The Who and The Clash at this early stage are definitely (adopts Top Of The Pops register) Ones To Watch.
However. a more inspired piece of pastiche comes from The lligh Tides whose one-song demo (brevity and impact - demoing bands everywhere take note) 'We Persevere (Dum Da Dee Dum)’ takes a Deacon Blue-esque. decline-of-Scottish- industry lyric and sets it to a lush. easy listening soundtrack pitched for effect halfway between Sinatra and The Walker Brothers. Never has Leith been so swoontastically celebrated.
Contact The List for hand contact numbers.
The List l-l4 Dec I995 37