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ROCK Shed Seven Edinburgh: Assembly Rooms, Mon 2 Feb. From maraca-shaking tomfoolery on Richard & Judy to support slots for crumbly rock behemoths Aerosmith, Shed Seven have spent their relatively short career trampling gleefully over the Britpop rulebook. Shunning hip introspection in favour of unashamedly feel-good tunes and seemingly more content to wiggle and pout for teen-mag photo shoots than discuss the technical intricacies of their latest 8- side, it’s perhaps not surprising that the York-based foursome have been frequent victims of an overtly suspicious press.

’The music papers have hated us from the start, frankly,’ sighs Shed guitarist Paul Banks. ’I was young and pretty naive when Change Giver (their debut album, released in 1994) came out, so I had no idea of the reaction we would get. Even now I find it all a bit shocking, really. People could be so nasty.’

Indeed they could. Criticisms ranged from the snide to the downright vitriolic, with the majority suggesting that Shed

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Shed Seven got a ticket to ride

Seven were, perhaps, a little too free with their favours. Proper Britpop bands, it was decided, did not appear on Going Live. A low point, however, was undoubtedly reached in the form of a savage review that dwelt exclusively on the presumption that singer Rick Witter was, well, somewhat negligent in the personal hygiene department.

’That,’ intones Banks in his soft Yorkshire brogue, 'was the final straw. We felt as though we'd been beaten back into our corner after round one. It was around that time that I thought "just forget it. It’s not worth worrying about, anymore”.’

This new found determination spawned A Maximum High, a veritable treasure chest of sparkling pop trinkets that forced many to swallow their invective and grudgingly concede defeat. And now, after eighteen

months spent touring and recording in the Britpop-free U.S, the Shedsters' brazen riposte to any remaining doubters comes in the form of ’She Left Me On Friday'. With playing tighter than one of Witter's (in)famous polyester polo-necks, the single's Led Zeppelin-esque swagger not only indicates the direction of forthcoming album Let It Ride, but also serves as a sober warning to any straggling Britpop contenders. With their pop pants now cast brazenly to the breeze, the message, asserts Banks, is resounding. ’It's a balls-out, rock ’n' roll album and it shows that, this time, we mean business.‘

And any suggestion that the inglorious demise of Britpop has left Shed Seven without a home are swiftly countered by Banks: ’No way. The album speaks for itself. We’ll be playing the SECC by December, just wait and see!’ (Sarah Dempster)

FOLK Jimmy Crowley

Edinburgh: Tron Folk Club, Sat 28 Feb; Penicuik Folk Club, Tue IO Mar.

’Limerick was, Dublin is, and Cork will

be‘ is an Irish proverb that might be

coming true. Certainly the music in Cork is the equal of anything in the capital, as you’ll hear when two of the city’s great singers arrive in Scotland for some rare concert appearances.

Iarla O' Lionaird was a child prodigy sean nos singer -- the ancient, passionately intense, highly decorated, unaccompanied singing style of the

Jimmy Crowley: Cork's finest

Gael, later adapted to English -- and has found a Wide new audience as the voice of world mUSK favourites the Afro Celt Sound System. His latest solo album, and live show, features his amazmg (Gaelic) vocals woven through layers of programmed sound.

Jimmy Crowley is just as unique, but Sings mainly in English, and is a character who moved Micheal O’Suilleabhain to decribe him as ’a mu5ical icon in the Irish tradition. He sings out from his own ground to a world of listeners’. Christy Moore was equally fulsome when he remarked ’Jimmy and I have been on the one

road for many’s the mile, and my journey is always shortened when I meet him'

Crowley has a new four-piece band Coves that includes Cork's finest (VINCE? Millen, also fiddler with Nomos), and has a new album on the slipway. However, on the imminent British tour he plays solo, accompanying himself on bouzouki and guitar. His eclectic repertoire now includes many sea songs We come to love sailing more than anything, apart from music,’ says Crowley. 'The show has become an Ho icst representation of what I do there are always a couple of new songs, but I’m always getting asked for tine old ones

But c‘on't worry, he‘s not going to sleep, the humour and wit are still there. He’s not long finished a Cork UNVS’ISIIY degree in Folklore and Irish Language, he’s written a novel (’a romance’ he twinkles), and there's a folk opera, Red Patriots, set in 60s Cork when Maoist revolutionaries razed some buildings. But he admits to needing a live audience. 'My first love's the gigging.’ (Norman Chalmers)

I Iarla O’ Lionaird plays La Belle Ange/e, Edinburgh, Thu 26 Feb.

preview MUSIC

CLASSICAL Scottish Ensemble

Glasgow: Stevenson Hall, RSAMD, Fri 27; Edinburgh: Queen’s Hall, Thu 26.

Already established as a force with an eye for young instrumentalists on an upward curve, the Scottish Ensemble turn their attention to vocal talent on their next tour. Joining the group in an all-Mozart programme is Edinburgh born soprana Felicity Hammond, only 25 but already winner of Scottish Opera's John Noble award and last year's Kathleen Ferrier awards.

At a time when she is juggling such glitzy prizes and coveted professional dates with further study and lots of hard work at the RSAMD, it is a surprise to learn that Hammond only made the decision to be a singer relatively recently. 'It’s only in the last year or so that I've realised that I can do something with my voice,’ she explains. ’I did a Bachelor of MUSIC degree at London University and at that time wasn’t sure. I knew that I still had to do a lot of singing study but I felt a desire to come back to Scotland and to study with Pat MacMahon (singing tutor at the RSAMD).’

As a result of the John Noble award, Hammond will sing Papagena in Mozart’s Magic Flute with Scottish Opera in the autumn. ’It‘s a small role' she says, ’but nice to start off with.’

For the Scottish Ensemble, things are a little different. ’Mozart’s Exsu/tate Jubi/ate is a difficult piece of music and it’s always a piece you worry about, especially the top Cs at the end,’ reckons Hammond. 'The thing is, Mozart didn’t actually write these top Cs people just did it that way. The alternative has become the standard.’

Although switching between opera, oratorio, study and concert work is quite a juggling act, Hammond still finds time to relax. 'I love going out with friends, maybe to the cinema or out to the country. Or maybe we’ll get together , have a bottle of wine and a good old chat,’ says Hammond. ’If I’ve not got too much on, I can afford to have a good time but if there’s a lot of singing coming up, then I have to take it easy. Common sense really.’

(Carol Main)

Felicity Hammond: rising talent

20 Feb-S Mar 1998 THE US‘NS