(in top of the world
Norman Chalmers gets down to details with Glasgow’s four day world music festival.
The Big Big World comes to central Glasgow this October. when musicians from the Far East. Africa, India. the Mediterranean and the States take over the Ramshom Theatre and the Ferry. The choice on the opening night is between the Spanish Moroccan/ Palestinian duo of Eduardo Niebla and Adel Salameh, who articulate the cultural continuity of Moorish Spain in a virtuoso concert of ﬂamenco guitar and oud (North African lute). Niebla. well remembered in Scotland for his bravura performances over many years with guitarist Antonio Forcione, has recorded widely. including an album with Belinda Carlisle. Salameh is an acknowledged master of the rhythmic and microtonal nuances of his ancient instrument within Arabic music. but is not wholly bound by tradition. meeting and matching Niebla‘s passionate and spectacular improvisatory excursions. Meanwhile. down on towards the Broomielaw bayou. the two-steps and waltzes come tumbling out of Eddie LeJeune‘s little accordion as he sings/hollers Cajun songs in that distinctively strident archaic French. On the phone from the garage he runs in the heart of Louisiana. when I ask him about the new wave of band leaders like Wayne Toups. he is warmly accepting of a younger generation of players rocking the boat down in the swamps . . . ‘let me put it this way. I‘m very proud of youngsters taking up the accordion. because I lived through the period when our music was in a decline. and there were only a few
trying to keep it alive. I can't condemn them for playing in their own way. and anyway there are plenty of different ﬁelds. Wayne is a very good player and if he wants to sit down and play the traditional way he can very well do that. Of course he knows his market. But the important thing is that he introduces the music to people and they start to get to know it.‘
Although the ﬁddle was historically the main voice of cajun dance music. the simple one-row, diatonic push-pull button accordion has. over this century. come to symbolise the music and has certainly given it its honking. foot- tapping. open-air sound. Originally mass-produced in Germany. the instrument is the same as that pictured in endless tum-of—the-century photographs of Scots bothy chiels with their melodeons. Nowadays the cajuns make their own. and the beautifully constructed. highly sought-after hand-
made instruments have. like Le Jeune‘s.
four stops. giving access to four rows of reeds. a variety of tremolo sounds and a useful potential for volume when needed.
Other treasures in the Big Big World include a wonderfully sunny and danceable threesome from Madagascar. The Justin Vali Trio's infectious vocal
ll'Faly Kouyate on the kora
harmony and exotic instruments stole fhe show on their lAst outing in the UK.
Sharing that ﬁnal evening but in the other venue. N‘Faly Kouyate plays classy. contemporary kora (the West African harp-gourd) music from Guinea.
Saturday has African funk at the Fen‘y with Francis Faster and Captain Yaba. while nimble maestros of bamboo flute and percussion Guo Yue and Joji Hirota bring the music of China and Japan together.
Indian music is the starting point for the Friday collaboration of V ijay Kangutkar and Gerry Farrell. on tabla and sitar — and if you‘re fed up consuming and want some hands-on fun — try their Saturday tnorning Indian Music Workshop. lit/(lie I.eJeune. 'l’lntrs IO; S/maglenl/t): l-‘raneis l'llSIt’l'. Sat [2; Justin Va/t' 'l'rt'a. Sun I}; all (It the Ferry. (lit/e I’lat‘e. 'Iieketsjimn 227 55/]. lirlnarrlo Ntebla and Adel Salameh. 'I'lnirs I 0; Vljtl)‘ Kangutkar and (Jerry Farrell. l’ri ll: (Ila) Yue (tilt/.IUjl Hirota. Sat [2; N'l"a/_v lt’auyate. Sun I}. all at the Rams/torn Theatre. ()8 Ingram Street. 552 348‘). Indian ;ir'lll.\‘l(' Works/lap. Lark/ie/(l Centre. Ingleﬁelrl Street. Sat [2. Ila/n. information 424 I797.
It is not often that Webern sits next to Weather Report - not to mention the rather less well-known Wankenstein - in a string quartet programme, but that is par for the course in concerts by Mr McFall’s Chamber. A new group, born more by accident than design from its conception within the leda Trio, it is 8C0 violinist Robert McFall who is the driving force. ‘I have two teenage sons who play in rock clubs and bands,’ he explains, “and one particular night club, The Transporter Rooms in Edinburgh’s Cowgate, kept saying why don’t you get your dad here to play some avant-garde classical music. I told Peter Campbell- ltelly, the leda’s violinist, and as he is keen to put on concerts in
Mr McFall’s Chamber Quartet and musical cross-fertilisation team
unconventional surroundings, we did a performance.’
With sound engineer Alex Fiennes amplifying and enhancing the sound, the results were effective. ‘We did Webern, Arvo Part’s Fratres, Shostakovich, and an arrangement of the rock tune Bird/and by Weather
Report,’ says McFall. ‘Everyone was very enthusiastic and it gave us the appetite to go on.’ So, this time round, instead of making a club audience sit up and hear Webern, the sharp intake of breath will be the other way round as traditional classical audiences at the RSAMD hear Pink Floyd after their Purcell. Future aims include playing as much in clubs, arts centres and other alternative venues as in traditional concert situations.
‘It’s all a bit off beam really,’ says McFall, ‘but we’re trying to take people by surprise by mixing different styles of music.’ And the name? ‘Well, it was called Mr McFall’s Chamber by mistake,’ he says. ‘The first concert was arranged through one of my son’s flatmates. He knew I was a dad, so Mr McFall, and he knew it was something to do with chamber music, so it got in the literature as Mr McFall’s Chamber and it stuck.’ (Carol Main).
Mr McFaII ’5 Chamber play at the RSAMD, Glasgow, Sun 13; 880 Studios, 0ueen Street, Edinburgh, Fri 18.
Rodger Evans risks life and limb in the demos pile.
They can‘t pen a lyric for a quarter of Thomton‘s chewiest brick bat (‘I wanna be a tiger in the jungle of your love'. indeed) but Moth Conspiracy certainly know how to talk dirty in Spanish. They put you in mind of Miles Hunt on a backpacking holiday in Tibet with a brass section gone AWOL from the Salvation Army band straight out of a painting by Lowry. Not Oasis. then.
Risk are a live-piece who bill themselves as Edinburgh's premiere rock/folk combo. What they offer is pretty standard pub rock fare which. venturing once more into lyrical absurdity. asks: 'Does the walrus have a face'." Coo— coo-ca-choo over that.
Remaining in the pub. ignoring all phone calls from him/her indoors even if dinner was ready an hour ago. Bubblegum come across like Chrissie Hynde flicking that famous fringe out of her eyes in an effortlessly reﬁned manner while playing Joni Mitchell covers in a wine bar. Better than you might think.
Make it past the internal organ-liquefying rock angst of track one and you discover Edinburgh trio Crank in sinister lo-ﬁ Garbage mood swing. Better still is a spooky blues ballad that wouldn‘t be out of place on a Cowboy Junkies LP. Put it at the start of the tape. numskulls.
A personality crisis. as erudite swingers The New York Dolls observed. is not pretty. Space Monkey conceal the split when doing The Happy Mondays with a twist of Giorgio Moroder but go and blow it by revealing themselves to be disciples of the evil cult known as The Beautiful South.
Last up. fans of the Macarcna will not be gyrating to Ballboy unless willing to try that crazy indie kid dance known as The Jerky Turkey. Ballboy sound like Pavement playing Twister with The Darling Buds. a complement of liquorice allsorts if you‘re a sucker for both the above. I confess.
a new fLat? check out page 93.
The List 4- l7 Oct I996 39