CLASSICAL Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Glasgow: Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Thu 4 Jun. Edinburgh: Festival Theatre, Fri 5 Jun.
Who's afraid of the big, bad wolf? It's a question to bring back childhood memories tinged with scariness. But if it goes something like 'Wha's feart o' the muckle, wickit wolf7', it somehow takes on an air of the wolf being right behind you. It is the ability of the Scots language to convey such direct meaning that Liz Lochhead has drawn upon in her translation of another wolfish story, Peter And The Wolf.
The specially commissioned version of Prokofiev's popular piece for narrator and orchestra marks the start of this year's RSNO ScottishPower Summer Proms. It takes pride of place in 'From Russia With Lazarev', a programme built round not only Russian composers, but also the orchestra’s charismatic Principal Conductor, Alexander Lazarev. Narrator of the story is much loved Glasgow-born actor Bill Paterson.
‘Everyone from Dame Edna Everage to Sean Connery has done Peter And The Wolf,’ Paterson says, ’but I’ve never done it before. But whoever is doing it, the piece
Husky voices: Liz Lochhead, Bill Paterson and friend
works best when people do it as naturally as possible. So, when Dame Edna did it, she did it as Dame Edna, and if Liz was doing her new Scots version, she'd do it as Liz.’
Intended for children, Prokofiev wrote Peter And The Wolf back in the Soviet Union after an extensive period in Europe and the US, and provided not only the music, but also the original text. Instruments of the orchestra are used to portray the characters in the story, Peter himself being represented by the full strings. When he and the various other characters appear — for instance, the bird is heard on the flute, the cat on clarinet - Paterson will introduce them with unforced simplicity.
'l'll speak normally,’ he says, 'but there are words like “scunner” and “slitter” which Liz brings in. There are good phrases that peOpIe know. She uses the word “squauchlin” for the duck to the cat. I don't think it's a word that really exists. but if a duck squauchles, you know what it's doing. The Glaswegianisms and Scottishness are lightly dipped in. It won't be Rab C. Nesbitt or Lallans, but, most importantly, 'the story will be getting across.’ (Carol Main)
I See Classica/ listings for details of all Proms concerts.
Symposium: kneecap whackers
it’s not so punk-poppy,’ reckons Cummins. ’lt’s darker and veers more to the rock side of things. It’s not just happy all the way.’
Part of the new sound comes from the fact that songwriting duties are now shared rather than left to bassist Wotjek Godzrsz, the man whose infectious creations launched a thousand moshpit frenzies. It’s all part of growing up, but On The Outside’s adolescent, joys-of-life lyrics don’t always sit comfortably with those beefed-up guitars.
Not that any of this will matter when Symposium take to the road. The most energetic live band in Britain haven't 4 even been hampered by a pogo-ing accident late last year that sent Cummins’ kneecap round to the back
Symposium Glasgow: Garage, Sat 6 Jun. Edinburgh: Venue, Sun 7 Jun.
'Yesterday I was suspended from the roof for an hour. They had me strung up in one of those lycra bodysuits like ballet dancers wear, covered in cold slime. You have to suffer for your art.’ Not normal behaviour, even for a
44 I'IIELIST 28 May- 11 Jun 1998
young rock ’n' roll star like Symposium singer Ross Cummins, but simply part of the video for the band’s current single, 'Bury You'. A soft verse, blasting chorus anthem, it hints at the ballsier approach the young West London quintet have brought to their debut album, On The Outside. Put simply - this album rocks.
’Compared to One Day At A Time [Symposium’s mini-LP from last year],
of his leg.
’My knee's back to normal now, really, although I wear a leg brace when I go on stage which pushes the knee round if I turn the wrong way,’ the singer explains. ’At first I had an electric wheelchair with a little speed control on it, so I whizzed around the stage. By the second song, I was as drenched in sweat as usual.’ (Alan Morrison)
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Fri 29 May.
A crucible of song, the great Galway group De Dannan has already given us, among others, Dolores Keane and Mary Black. Joining the ranks of the solo sorority is Eleanor Shanley. Brought up in Leitrim, everyone in the Shanley family sang. There were no record players, not even instruments, just song. It's what she loves, and does best. Her five years in De Dannan took her all round the world and propelled her literally from session singer to major international stages. She has fond words for all her old band buddies, but admits that 'l’m happier with just John McLoughlin on guitar. Now I’m not always hanging about waiting for the end of the instrumental break.’
While Shanley's new solo territory has introduced her to a wider audience, it hasn't endeared her to purists who see the move as a switch towards a country-tinged middle-of-the-road career. Shanley disagrees:
’I think that audiences are changing,’ she notes, 'and I'm determined to introduce more and more traditional material. When I sing 'Raglan Road’ or ’Carrickfergus’, (and ’If I Was A Blackbird', and Brendan Behan's ’Liverpool Lou’ from her latest Desert Heart album) the audience loves it — and not just home audiences. There is a huge awareness now of the ’lrish’ thing, and I find that the audiences now tune in to the songs - even the ones I sing in Gaelic — and they’re willing to accept and understand. U2 have helped — and Sinead O’Connor, and of course there's Riverdance — it gets blamed for everything, but Irish music is everywhere now.’
This Celtic version of the 605 blues boom is producing strange manifestations. She remembers arriving for the first time in Japan and 'being met by this Japanese guy who pulled out a whistle and started playing jigs. And later at the gig all these locals were set-dancing while we played. Better than I could do. Amazing. And they take it so seriously.'
Eleanor Shanley: boosting the Celtic boom