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the humour and overall quirkiness of the performance. Arrive early to acquire the precious seats. (Jennifer Alford)

. Polly Phi/lips (Fringe) The Tron (Venue 9) 226 0937, 29 Aug, 8.45pm, £5 (£3).


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Joining the Dots: Paul Kelly

No Australian whose growing pains occurred in the late 705 or early 805 could help but be influenced by the music of Paul Kelly, firstly with his backing band, the Dots, and later as a solo performer. There was always a romantic twist to his music, the lyrics of which had a ballad feel, but were generally performed in a bluesy, hard rock style. In British terms, perhaps the nearest parallel in terms of both market and music would be the early Lloyd Cole. These days, Kelly is an elder statesman of 02 rock, his influences spread far and wide. Asked to define his music, he shows the same reticence as most thinking musicians. ’The nearest you'd come to would be country soul, but there's a really eclectic mix in the current band’s musical roots,’ he says. ’There's a lot of R & B influence there, though.’ (Steve C ramer)

& Paul Kelly (Fringe) Spiegeltent (Venue 87) 225 9999, 31 Aug-4 Sep, 9.30pm, £8 (£6).


Taking note of the great success of the Eastern European music showcase at last year’s Graffiti, Stornoway-based Proiseact nan Ealan decided this year to use the venue to promote the culture of the far West the songs and music of the Scots Gael. And in two of the twenty concerts and ceilidhs, Scots and Irish artists are reunited in a common heritage. Celebrated Lewis traditional singer Mairi Smith has been part of the musical discourse between Erin and Alba for the last twenty years, and reflects Gaeldom's new confidence. 'It’s time to re-possess our own language,’ she adamantly states. ’In time people will come back to the voice, the song. It’s happening in other


countries in Japan, for instance, where there's been a great rise in interest in Gaelic music. it's what they don’t have amid the industrial clash and stress -— the soothing qualities of the plaintive single voice.’ Adding Flora MacNeil (Thu 26 Aug) and lshbel MacAskill (Fri 27 Aug) two more of Scotland's greatest singers to Ireland’s O’ Domhnaill singing siblings (of Bothy Band fame), Laoise Kelly’s (Bumblebees) virtuoso harp, and the best of the flute, fiddle and step dancing, you have the best concerts of authentic traditional music at the Festival. (Norman Chalmers)

. Ceo/ Chalumchil/e (Fringe) Gaelic Graffiti, Graffiti (Venue 90) 557 8330, 26 Aug, 4. 75pm, £8 (£6); 27 Aug, 7.30pm, £70 (£8).


Lapp of honour: Soile lsokoski

To be taken seriously in the world of opera, there are certain tough nuts you've got to crack. One is London’s Royal Opera House; another is much- feared critic Hugh Canning. But when Finnish soprano Soile lsokoski made her UK debut in 1997 in Jonathan Miller's production of Cosi Fan Tutte, the Sunday Times writer was ecstatic. ’The finest Fiordiligi Covent Garden has seen in years,’ was his pronouncement. ’Her arias were superb and she is a moving actress.’

Born in Lapland, lsokoski returns to the Edinburgh Festival recital platform alongside her permanent piano partner, Marita Viitasalo, for a programme featuring songs by Mozart, Schubert, Grieg, lves and Strauss. She's simultaneously playing to her strengths some have dubbed her one of the greatest interpreters of Mozart today - while stretching out from traditional German language leider.

With London and Edinburgh already in her pocket, her big target is the New York Metropolitan Opera; but she’ll have to wait until January 2002 for that nerve-wracking debut.

(Alan Morrison) . Soile lsokoski (International) Queen’s Hall, 473 2000, 4 Sep, 77am, £5-£19.


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