l Welcome to the List’s continued coverage of this year’s Celtic Connections. ; Eileen Ivers
t ’ ‘.
The Famous Grouse
One of a handful of bands make celtic music truly popular again,
CAPERCAILLIE redefine world music. Words: Alastair Mabbott
It‘s not something that‘s normally pointed out. but there‘s a paradox in the business of rock stardom. That is. the most internationalist bands are the ones who appear at first sight to he insular. while the ones who set out to take the biggest chunk of‘ the international market are. deep down. the most parochial of all. What an Iraqi goatherd would make of Marilyn Manson or Alanis Morrisette we can only speculate. But give them a dose of (‘apercaillie ~ now that‘s something people across the world can understand.
‘I think celtic music is very ambiguous. musically. I think there‘s a lot of connections to cultures. whether it‘s in [Eastern Europe or Western Africa or the Appalachian mountain songs.‘ says ()ban—bred Donald Shaw. founder member of (‘apercaillie and the group‘s keyboard player and accordionist. ‘You find a connection so easily with celtic music. Obviously. a lot of that is historical. the very fact that as a tribe they travelled right through Europe. up the west coast of liurope and possibly even started in North Africa. But musically you find a connection with people when you‘ve been brought up with a music. and it‘s not something that you learn from a book. it‘s something that‘s part of you because you grew up with it. And when you meet other people like that. whatever culture. there is a connection there.
20 THEUST 21 Jan—4 Feb 1999
‘Celtic music has a lot of connections to cultures, whether it's in Eastern Europe or Western Africa or the Appalachian mountain songs,’
Over the next four pages we give you the highlights of the festival as well as comprehensive
Capercaillie: joining the dots from Oban to Oman
‘We‘ve done a lot of tours in places where you‘d think it was ridiculous for us just to be there.‘ Shaw continues. agreeing that the band have played a small but significant part in the political climate that led up to the Yes/Yes vote in last year‘s devolution referendum. ‘()ne time we played in the Middle East. we played in Iraq and Jordan and Egypt and the West Bank of Jerusalem. and it was only late on in the tour that we realised that we had been looked upon as a group with a slight political slant. 1 don‘t think that was anything to do with any lyrics that we were writing because at the time we weren‘t writing much. l think it was just that being a Gaelic group. in itself. I suppose. was a political statement.
"I‘here was a lot of real warmth from the people. and I think that warmth came from the point of view that. firstly. you‘re a Western band and you‘re making the effort to come out and play to these people. and. secondly. that it would appear that the music you‘re playing has a strong historical context of oppression.‘
In the States. meanwhile. they‘ve managed to re-define themselves a little. slipping out of the folk circuit and more into the world music scene. de—emphasising their Scottishness to avoid Scottish-Americans. as well as fellow—travellers of the l96()s folk revival. being disappointed by their synthesis of‘ traditional music and modern instrumentation.
But despite that. when the band start to take it a bit easier on the live front after (‘eltic Connections. they are thinking of returning to the more acoustic. song-
based pastures of the 198‘) album .S'irleii'aulking for
their next studio project.
"I‘o make an album in that direction would be a bigger challenge now.‘ Shaw admits. ‘but it‘s something that we‘re considering doing this year . . .
which means you probably won‘t hear of us for
another three years!‘
Capercaillie play Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sun 31 Jan
pyrotechnic Irish-American fiddler, is best known as a longtime star
Old Fruitmarket, Tue 26 Jan. One of the few top international
soloist in Riverdance.
’I can't wait, I’m so excited,’ she says of the impending Glasgow trip. ’I’ve
folk stars who hasn’t yet played Celtic 2 Connections, Eileen Ivers is finally making her (long-awaited) debut. A
heard nothing but raves about that festival from musicians I know who’ve
Actually, Ivers sounds pretty excited
about lots of things right now: her . new album, Crossing The Bridge is one, her first release under a major
new deal with Sony Classical. It features Bronx-born Ivers with over forty distinguished guests, drawn from the cream of the celtic, jazz and world ‘ music fields. Though she originally learned to play in strictly Irish
traditional style, since
forays into various fusion sounds. new record sees her (ad)venturing even further and more boldly than either of ; its predecessors. African, flamenco, and
hip hop, Latin
Caribbean styles all feature in melting pot, cooked up with lvers’ own uniquely vibrant, sparklineg vivacious
playing. ’It was more a natural progression from things I’ve always been interested in, than any kind of deliberate concept,’ she says. 'I just felt I really wanted to do it now, having been hanging out with all these great players, partly through Riverdance, partly through playing With a lot of other different groups. I wanted to I seize a moment because one thing I've learned in life is to go for these things when you're feeling excued by them, rather than thinking you can recapture
turning professional she’s been known for her
After two-and-a-half years with Riverdance, she’s also thoroughly buzzed by the prospect of resuming ;
being one of the first with her current
seven-piece band, most of whom feature on the album. (Sue Wilson)
Eileeen Ivers: finally makes her Celtic Connection
' her own live career, the Glasgow show ;