festival music


Kurtag: less is more Not renowned tor its promotion ot contemporary music, the Edinburgh International Festival this year does, however, present an evening at the Usher iiall devoted entirely to the music oi the Hungarian composer



Gyfirgy Kurtag. Most oi his works are chamber pieces. his aim in composition to say as much as possible with as tew notes as

Accompanied by his wiie, pianist Marta Kurtag, the Edinburgh programme opens with them both playing Jatekolr (games or playthings). Following on the line oi Bartok’s Mllrrolrosmos, the pieces use gestures ranging irom the uncoordinated ilrst attempts oi children playing the piano, to the very, very precise. These pieces demonstrate exactly why Kurtag’s work is so respected, it’s wit and

Although the premiere oi the complete version oi Songs of Despair and Sorrow remains, gone irom the programme are the string quartet pieces. To replace them and the -~... Orlando Quartet, there is the remarkable voice oi lldiko Monyok in 1., What is the word?, taken irom Samuel Beckett’s last work. Aiter seven years oi dumbness due to a road accident, Monyok was able to sing Kurtag, while still unable to speak. It is her great strength oi will which is the piece’s inspiration. (Carol Main)

Cyorgy Kurtég (Festival) Usher Ilall, 225 5756, 24 Aug, 8pm, £12.50.

Antonio Forcione: tret iest



“Arranged in a mad way for two guitars’ was Antonio Forcione’s completely understated description of Zawinul's jazz/rock classic 'Birdland.‘ a tour-de-force opener on the first night of his Graffiti residence with Neil Stacey. The former on nylon-strung. and the latter on steel- strung acoustic. but with intelligent use of electronic splitters and pedals. the two virtuosos use every fret and any other strikeabie part of their instruments to extract an amazing variety of sounds. Gismonte. McLaughlin. Baroque and

Latin collisions. Methenyesque rneanderings. high-speed humour. awesome technique and rhythmic togetherness overcame the few tedious tricks they indulged in. A delight. (Norman Chalmers)

I Forcione/Stacey (Fringe) Graffiti (Venue 90) 557 8330. 23/24 Aug. 10.30pm. £8 (£7). Antonio Forcione and Guests 25/26 Aug. 5pm. £6 (£5); 27-29 Aug. 10.30pm. £7 (£6); 30/31 Aug.

10.30pm. £8 (£7).


More than anywhere else in Scotland. the Highlands and Islands. and what remains of the Gaelic language and culture. are producing an amazing stream of youthful. gifted and energetic traditional musicians. both instrumentalists and singers. who are unselfconsciously confident about their music and its contemporary relevance. Pmiseuci Nan Eula". the Stomoway-based National Gaelic Arts Project is using the Fringe for a showcase series of concerts that links some little-known performers. like brilliant fiddler Iain MacFariane (in concert with other rising stars in Ceol Nan Gaigheal 0g). with Capercaillie‘s established piper and

fiddler Fred Morrison and Charlie McKerron. Plus the popular appeal of Tannas‘s eclectic approach to Gaelic vocal arrangements. the rhythmic. percussive excitement of fast- growing Scots/Cape Breton step dancing. and a ceilidh which has much more than two of Scotland's finest singers in lain MacKay and lshbel McAskilI. (Norman Chalmers)

I Scottish Step Dancing Show 26 Aug. 9.30pm. £6 (£4); Ceol lian Caidheal 0g 27 Aug. 9.30pm. £6 (£4); Morrison and McKerron 28—29 Aug. 9.30pm. £6 (£4); Tannas 29 Aug. 9pm. £6 (£4); Traditional Gaelic Ceilidh 31 Aug. 9pm. £7 (£5). All at Famous Grouse House (Venue 34) 220 5606.

Charlie McKerron: caper” and ceilidh


Among the very best of the crop of young Scots bands obviously going places is Deaf Shepherd. Already planning a follow-up to their attention-grabbing first album. piper and whistle expert Rory Campbell explains: 'We’re not changing direction. but we don’t want to be dominated by the Deaf Shepherd tag - fast reels. in your face - so on the instrumental side we‘re getting together strathspeys. hompipes and tunes with a varied tempo. We're still going to play fast stuff though. just vary it more.‘

Campbell's special talent is already being recognised. and :1 Fred Morrison-produced solo album is imminent: ‘It‘s called Mugaid A Phipir. “The Piper’s Whim". and we recorded it at Capercaillie's Secret Music with some great musicians. including my dad. who’s from Barra. singing in Gaelic. I used to talk to him about making a life in music. never imagining it would happen. but it has.‘ (Norman Chalmers)

I iieai Shepherd (Fringe) Famous Grouse House (Venue 34) 220 5606. 30 Aug. 9pm. £6 (£4).

* ‘k ‘k * WORLD CAFE

This impressive musical set in a former church taps into all the mystical power that sacred space can evoke. World Cafe

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neat Shepherd round 'ern up

follows four friends who ride the boom of the 80s and crash back to earth in the leaner 905. As the millennium approaches they redefine their relationships with each other and the world around them. if this sounds like petty middle- class angst you wouldn't be far wrong. Everyone in this show is so good looking it‘s like watching Friends set to music. But the music is good. Classy diva soul sung by evocative. commanding voices plus a chirpy script and stunning visual effects make this a show worth seeing. (Catriona Craig)

I World Cate (Fringe) World Cafe. Graffiti (Venue 90) 557 8330. until 31 Aug. 7.30pm. £7.50/£6.50 (£5).


The Edinburgh Celtic Gathering. under a mammoth marquee beside Waverley Station. culminates in ‘Probably The Biggest Ceilidh In The World'. led by the Whistlebinkies. who. finely representative as they are of the various threads of Scottish music. are no dance band. It will be up to their guests to get people on the floor. Earlier in the week there's energetic contemporary folkthrash from Toss the Feathers; youthful irish- style impetuosity paired with genial Geordie wrinkliness when Ceile share a stage with

world cm: mm set to music

Lindisfame. and established Scottish folk- and-beyond from The Iron Horse. here supported by a daft but talented student ceilidh band called the Porridge Men. who. by the way. are not all men.

Unless you want the folk police at your door. best avoid the evening with Scot FM's Scottie McClue. the International Fiddler‘s Rally and the Celtic Hearts show with Moira Kerr.

But for a real. gutsy. musically adventurous and authentically Celtic soul try cult In'sh chanteuse Mary Coughlan. (Norman Chalmers)

I Edinburgh Celtic Gathdtltig (Fringe) New Street Car Park Marquee (Venue 190). Toss the Feathers/Soul Truth 26 Aug. 8pm. £8 (£6); Iron Horse/Porridge Men 27 Aug. 8pm. £8 (£6); lindisiame/Ceile 28 Aug. 8pm. £8 (£6); Mary Coughlan and Friends 30 Aug. 8pm. £9.50 (£7.50); Biggest Cellldll . . . 31 Aug. 9pm. £8 in advance. £10 on the door.



A bravura mini-fiesta of classic and contemporary flamenco. this is a show that demands you surrender to your senses. With just one guitar. sometimes a small drum, and several pairs of clapping hands. the musicians build up their intricate. tumbling rhythms into long. thunderous. thrilling crescendoes. as the two dancers strut and stamp and quiver across the stage. their taut. graceful attitudes expressing agony and ecstasy with equal intensity. Elsewhere the music is quieter. more tranquil. delicate filigree figures accompanying the dancers‘ fluid, curvaceous movements. before a free- roaming. semi-improvised flute number takes off towards modern jazz territory. A compelling. seductive display. (Sue Wilson)

I Flamenco Puroi (Fringe) Diego Mora's ‘Abache', Cafe Graffiti (Venue 90) 557 8330. until 3| Aug. 8pm, £4 (£3).

Review star ratings

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The List 23 Aug-5 Sept I996 51