Among the plethora of events this month to mark the 200th anniversary of the death of Robert Burns. the concert by The Rowallan Consort promises something just a little out of the ordinary. Presented by the Georgian Concert Society. which specialises in concerts performed in a period setting on period instruments. the

Consort's programme not only delves into some unexplored Burns. but songs. dance and instrumental music from the Scottish court.

A varying ensemble. the Consort on this occasion is made up of lute. clarsach, soprano. guitar. viola da gamba and a dancer. Director and lutar Robert MacKillop explains, ‘Our repertoire is certainly expanding all the time as we dig up more and more music. It‘s got to be good. and thankfully most of what we have is first-rate.' Their first recording. released last year by Temple Records, confirms his claim. and a second release with Lowland ballad singer Andy Hunter featuring the Scottish Romance Grevsreel will no doubt enhance the Consort's reputation.

Hours of research have brought home to MacKillop the importance of the lute in early Scottish folk music. ‘We first hear ofit in the l3th century and it was central to the identity of Scottish music making for about 400 years. in the l7th century alone, at least 500

pieces were written for the

lute. Kings and queens played it, but its incredible contribution to our culture is not realised.‘ Changing people‘s opinion about the lute continues to be important to MacKillop and he is now doing the same with guitar. showing that Scotland has a tradition of guitar playing going back almost 300 years. 'Apparently Burns could play guitar to accompany himself. so using an 18th century guitar, I'll be playing these settings for the first time.‘ (Carol Main)

The Rowallan Consort play St Cecilia ’s Hall. Cowgate. Edinburgh on Sat 20.

l FOLK /.rAzz ;


Cafe society


Corrlna Hewat: going solo

Harpist and singer Corrina Hewat has been quietly establishing her name on

the Scottish folk scene over the past couple of years, but now seems set to make a genuine impact with the

release of Bachue Cafe’s debut CD, to


coincide with their Celtic Connections

appearance. The band brings together Corrina’s folk leanings with pianist David Mllllgan’s strong jazz influence, which is fitting enough when you

consider that the pair met up on the highly-regarded jazz course at leeds

‘I started out on my own on the harp, but it was very difficult to find a

teacher where I lived on the Black

Isle. I went to the BSAMO for a year,

but I didn’t get on too well there, then I went to Leeds and did the jazz

course, which suited me better.l would probably have done a

g traditional music course if there had

been one then, though. I was interested in folk before, but it was

only when I came to Edinburgh two years ago that I really started getting

involved with it.

‘l’ve done a lot of solo playing, and

, We been playing with Seannachie,

and with the Fiery Besoms in the

Highlands, but Bachue Cafe is the one ?

I really want to push. We play a lot of original material, mainly by me or David, and there Is a bit of crossing over Into jazz, but it is very rooted in

mainstream folk music.’ Bachue Cafe’s gig is already over, but

Corrina has two more solo slots lined up within Celtic Connections, as part of the My Ain Countrie concert (Sun 14), and as support to the Cauld Blast Orchestra (Tue 16), who also bring their own distinctive and invariably exhilarating synthesis of jazz, folk and just about everything else to Edinburgh (Sat 20) for an all too rare outing in what is effectively their home town. (Kenny Mathieson)

See Celtic Connections and Folk listings for concert details.

Grimm and

1 dare it

The new production for the New Year

from Scottish Opera is Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel And Gretel. Telling the Grimm brothers’ well known fairytale, it is Humperdinck’s first and most successful opera and, indeed, at just over 100 years old, the only one ever regularly performed


Singing the role oi Hansel ls Claire

Bradshaw, who was most recently seen with Scottish Opera as Cherubino § in Figaro last season. In a break from

; rehearsals, she says, ‘lt’s a fabulous

? opera and I love it. Maybe when

3 people think of Hansel And Gretel,

9 they think of With Your Hands You

Clap, Clap, Clap, but it’s not all nursery rhymes. It’s big, romantic and very moving. It’s a lot more accessible

then many operas and especially as we’re doing it in English, there’s no

need to think about unravelling a complicated plot. You can just sit back and enjoy it.’

The director is Mark Tinkler, whose production of The Grand Duchess of

E Gerolstein for Scottish Opera Go

Round was highly acclaimed last year. A singer himself, his understanding is much appreciated by his young cast. ‘He has very fresh ideas,’ says Claire Bradshaw. Traditionalists may be surprised, however, by the famous gingerbread cottage. ‘There’s a big

Sweet Inspiration: Claire Bradshaw plays

“m‘e' keeping her feet firmly on

egg instead of a gingerbread house,’ she explains. ’Although all the magic

way, Mark sees Hansel And Gretel as an Easter opera rather than a Christmas piece. It’s all about rebirth and regeneration, with Freudian influence so that Hansel and Gretel represent young adolescents entering puberty. They’re leaving the womb, leaving the cosiness of their parents and travelling a journey. The witch could be their mother - we don’t quite know. The best moment though is

big egg. The shells break open, seven

little children crawl out and with their ages going down to two and a half, it can be very unpredictable.’ (Carol Main)

Hansel And Gretel opens at the

Theatre Royal, Glasgow on Fri 12 Jan.

. Nothing to get ; Krauss over

Kenny Mathieson finds

unassuming bluegrass

: virtuoso Alison Krauss

hitting unexpected

commercial heights, while

the ground. and enchantment is still there in a big

Bluegrass is not the kind of music that

3 anyone would expect to see in the pop

charts. It developed in the hands of people like Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs in the 40s. drawing on the old- time fiddle music ofthe Southern mountain communities (which was in turn heavily influenced by Scottish and Irish imports), and has always been perceived as a minority taste. sustained

i but also contained by its own festival when seven little eggs come out of the;

circuit and loyal fan base.

An unassuming young woman from Champaign. Illinois. has blown all of that apart in spectacular fashion. With

four albums behind her. Alison Krauss

is not exactly a newcomt r on the scene. although her precocious talent on fiddle and her light, seductive vocals allowed

38 The List l2-25 Jan 1996