In 1990 Roland Gift played Romeo at the Fringe. Almost ten years later, he returns to Edinburgh for a gig with his new eight-piece backing band at The Spiegeltent. He continues to act, but says he hasn’t been ’actively searching’ for work, preferring to concentrate on his music. However, he will star in Island of the Map Maker '5 Wife, due to begin filming in October.

With all the songs written for his forthcoming solo album (released in 2000), Gift says, ’lt’s just a case of recording them. Normally you write the stuff and go straight into the studio and put it all down.’ Instead he has been gigging around Europe where he ’stretched them out a bit to get a real feel for the songs’.

And the new sound? ’lt’s basically not a million miles away from the Cannibals - they were always my favourite band at the time!’

Familiar faces as well as classic FYC songs should rear their heads throughout the evening (Jennifer Alford)

I Roland Gift (Fringe) Beck’s Spiegeltent (Venue 87) 225 9999, 12 Aug, 11pm; 13 Aug, 7pm, £12 (£10).


’Calling all female Dis, dancers and musicians!’ is the word that’s been going around Edinburgh lately. Showcasing a variety of female acts from soul and jazz to poetry and hip- hop, the proceeds from these nights go to the very worthy Zero Tolerance charity to help combat domestic violence.

Co-organiser Rowena Wells, herself a jazz vocalist appearing on the bill, explains the conception of this unique show as ’an idea that performer Roisin O‘Shea and I had to involve as many females as we could. All the dancers, Dis and vocalists are women and we have tried to incorporate a wide variety of styles.‘ In the true spirit of the Fringe ’we want people to see outside their usual preferred musical style, and experience performances that they might not normally see.’

I: TllEllST 12-19Aug'1999


Acts involved include Shame from Leeds, Edinburgh regulars Swelling Meg and Henry’s Cellar Bar regulars Alice McLaughlin and Zandeli. With a veritable lucky dip over three nights, who knows what could happen? (Tracy Griffen)

I Recognition (Fringe) Recognition, Graffiti (Venue 90) 557 8330, 12, 19, 26 Aug, midnight, £6 (£5)

MUSIC PREVIEW Kati Szvorak And The Water Carriers

Kati Szvorak is one of those musicians whose accomplishments are truly astounding. The Hungarian folk-singer has been making music since the early 705, and in that time has picked up awards by the armful, performed thousands of concerts and recorded over twenty albums.

Hungarian folk-tales are the inspiration behind her music, and her mission is to keep this colourful part of her culture alive, ultimately aiming at opening a school which will draw together research, study and singing. She herself has spent a lot of time travelling, collecting folk songs from all around her country.

While she is a talented violinist, it is her voice which is the real instrument; simultaneously powerful and delicate, she brings the folklore of her country to life with each perfectly performed piece. Accompanied by her founpiece band, her Fringe set will consist of what she describes as ’uptempo folk dance-house’, an energetic, moving and uplifting style which will no doubt have the audience dancing ’til they drop. (Kirsty Knaggs)

I Kati Szvorak And The Water Carriers (Fringe) The Famous Grouse House (Venue 34) 220 5606, 16-19 Aug. 12.30am, £7.50 (£5.50).


Music was the last thing on Colin Reid's mind when he picked up an electric guitar in his early teens. ’My older brother was in a band, getting loads of female attention,’ he recalls, 'and I thought ’Aha!“. While the women didn't flock to him as expected, he did fall in love - with music. ’From then, I never looked back,’ he states.

Exchanging his electric guitar for an acoustic one, he set about teaching himself the tricks of the trade, becoming a master of finger-picking technique. His debut album is quite breathtaking in terms of pure skill, combining elements of jazz, blues, folk, classical and country, but his style is very much his own.

Relatively unknown until recently, this summer’s touring schedule of the major UK folk festivals has generated an enormous amount of interest. ’l’m absolutely blown away by the response,’ he says in something approaching awe. He better get used to it. (Kirsty Knaggs) I Colin Reid (Fringe) Famous Grouse House (Venue 34) 220 5606, 14 Aug. 9pm, £6 (£4).

MUSIC PREVIEW Ceol Na Ploba : Music 0

fThe Pipes

Anna Murray plays at From The Past To The Future, Queen’s Hall, Fri 3 Sep.

Over the last few years we've had Scots song, the fiddle, Gaelic song and the harp. Now the ’official’ Festival is presenting a major series of bagpipe recitals rooted (though not exclusively) in the Scots traditions. Alan MacDonald, award-winning piper, fine singer, controversial musical academic and native Gaelic speaker, has put together a magnificent nine- part concert series. It pulls together all the strands of Highland bagpipe music - from traditional chanter melodies and indigenous dance forms, through the rise of the military march traditions, ritual music and pipe bands, to pibroch, the great and uniquely Scottish classical music of the great Highland bagpipe. Small pipes, uillean pipes. Northumbrian and Lowland pipes are also featured; even the rarely heard English pipe, which like all other species of bagpipe, is in the throes of a revival.

A list of the performers, however, would reveal few women - a fact that's no surprise to Anna Murray. The young Gaelic singer and piper has already recorded a few CDs with her pipes, large and small, in a contemporary folk band context, and is set to take part in the final From The Past To The Future concert. She notes. ’In the mid 80s I was part of a three-girl ceilidh group in Lewis. We sang, danced, and we all played pipes. It was a novelty then. People are not so surprised to see women playing the pipes now - but there’s still the open-eyed reaction if a woman is goodl’ (Norman Chalmers) I Ceol Na Ploba: Music of the Pipes (International Festival) 16 Aug-3 Sep, 7.30pm, £12. Venues vary; check Festival music listings for details.

MUSIC PREVIEW Sketches of Mirror Man

On reflection David Thomas

Both solo and with cult band Pere Ubu, David Thomas has been making the outer fringes of rock a more human place for over two decades. The response to his Flux slot last year, fronting Two Pale Boys, was so overwhelming that he has been brought back for a headlining show, ’a summary or an extension or an

abbreviation’ of the full Mirror Man, which was performed at the South Bank. There were six singers in that production, but Edinburgh audiences shouldn't feel short-changed; Thomas will be accompanied by Linda Thompson, coaxed out of retirement for the first time, and Scotland's own Jackie Leven.

’There’s not actually any acting or anything,’ Thomas explains. ’People just stand forward and sing a song that’s being improvised underneath them. We discuss the characters and

,the narrative ahead of time and they

improvise according to what else is going on. The idea of Mirror Man is an extension of Two Pale Boys but with a broader range of voices and a more focused storyline. That's something I've been working towards over years and years and decades of assembling the techniques and tools and vocabulary to coordinate and focus entire productions on certain very specific themes and images and concepts.’ (Alastair Mabbott)

I David Thomas: Sketches Of Mirror Man (Fringe) Flux, Queen’s Hall (Venue 72) 668 2019/220 4349/0870 9070999, 15 Aug, 8pm, £11.