FOLK PREVIEW Big Big World Festival
Glasgow: various venues, Sat I6—Mon 31 Oct.
Big Big World 1999 hits Glasgow over the last two weeks of October. A mix of stars and newcomers, it brings together acts as diverse as Ireland's Altan, cult Canadian superstar Bruce Cockburn, England's quixotic Richard Thompson, contemporary aboriginal performance from native Australians Yothu Yindi (last here a decade ago), and new-wave shamen-rock throat song from Tuva's Yat-Kha. On the dance floor, if Columbian groove- maestros Sexteto Cafe exhaust the salsa addicts, California's Bobby Matos can re-ignite the Latin torch with his celebrated high-energy, wildly improvised Afro-Cuban jazz fusion. And if the party gets too much, there's a retreat in the transcendant voice of Yunchen Lhamo, who since her escape from Tibet has stilled the hearts of audiences from New York's Carnegie to London's Festival Hall.
Blues fans get Rory Block, who literally grew up with the blues - her parent's bohemian New York apartment was a regular stopover for giants like Mississippi John Hurt, Fred McDowell and the Reverend Gary Davis. Big Bill Morganfield is here too, with one hell of a pedigree — his father was Muddy Waters, arguably the greatest bluesman of the century. Even the Israelis and Arabs are joining the ceilidh, as the Trio Adel Salameh unites Palestine's star oud (lute) player with an Israeli percussionist and an Algerian singer. The African influence in contemporary jazz is heard in saxman Trevor Watts’ latest project (see below), while South Africa's Bheki Mseluku has already established himself as one of the world's great, and highly original voices on the piano.
A more ancient African vocal tradition, from the West African 'griot’ caste of hereditary music-making families, is brought bang up-to-date by Sekuba 'Bambino', Oumou
Elderly statesmen: Vieja Trova Santaguera
Dioubate and Kandia Kouyate, star singers from Guinea and Mali. And for the older generation, the retro-chic, the curious or the anorak rock historian, there's the Crickets - four of the original Buddy Holly band that gave the world Peggy Sue, That'll Be The Day and Not Fade Away.
Certainly not fading away is the current worldwide thirst for Cuban music. With the Ry Cooder/Wim Wenders film Buena Vista Social Club scheduled for a parallel Glasgow screening, Big Big World have welcomed back some of the film's stars, whose hugely acclaimed show opened and sold out last years festival. With a combined age of around 400, time is sadly running out for some of the five great singer/musicians in Vieja Trova Santiaguera, and for our chances of hearing their inimitable boleros, guarachas and sones. As Ry Cooder puts it, 'Salsa is boring, but there are good younger Cuban musicians coming through too. There are kids out there doing something good. It's never going to be this classic stuff we love, but that has been disappearing all over the world. These old guys are going to disappear in a New York moment and we can't sit around moping about it. The sun is setting on these people.’
I See Folk/World listings for details.
JAZZ PREVIEW Big Big World Festival
Glasgow: various venues, Sat I6—Sun 31 Oct.
Moire sax please: Trevor Watts
If the primary focus of the Big Big World programme lies in folk and world music, the festival has always
88 THE LIST 7-21 Oct 1999
included some jazz, and this year is no exception. Appropriately enough - and presumably not coincidentally - each of the three bands includes a strong ethnic music influence.
The duo of alto saxophonist Vaughan Hawthorne-Nelson and South African pianist Bheki Mseleku marks the return of the highly regarded pianist to Scotland after successful visits earlier in the decade, both with Courtney Pine and in his own right. Mseleku plays tenor saxophone as well as piano, and occasionally does both simultaneously.
Those with long memories may recall his partner as one of the bright young things of the British jazz scene in the late 805. Then known simply as Vaughan Hawthorne, he was a contemporary of the likes of Courtney Pine, Andy Sheppard and Steve Williamson, but was rushed into releasing a much-hyped debut album before he was ready to justify the publicity.
He attended Berklee College in Boston for a time, then slipped from sight, joining a Men’s Retreat in the USA, and running a shelter for at-risk youth. He returned to music in the mid
905 with a sound and approach heavily influenced by John Coltrane, and his meeting with the pianist should be an intriguing affair.
Trevor Watts has led various versions of Moire Music since the early 80$, extending his roots in jazz and free improvisation into a fertile meeting- ground with folk and ethnic musics, primarily from Africa and India.
The interplay between Watts’s keening alto and soprano saxophones and the propulsive rhythmic drive of bassist Colin MacKenzie, drummer Marc Parnell and percussionist Nana Tsiboe is always absorbing, and the band’s vibrant synthesis of their sources remains a powerful voice in British jazz.
For those with an inclination in a Latin direction, American percussionist Bobby Matos makes his Scottish debut with a band drawn from the London scene. Matos’s exhuberant Latin and Cuban rhythms are a guaranteed floor filler, and the gig will also feature The Bugalo Foundation and DJ Lubi Javonovic, both products of the Casa Latina club in Leeds.
(Kenny Mathieson) I See Jazz listings for details.
Musical news, feuds and rumours
THE GLASGOW GAY and Lesbian Centre are having a fundraising do at the Renfrew Ferry on Mon 18 Oct. Headliner Tom Robinson will be joined by Robert and May Millar and 015. Check Rock listings for details.
'WHY LET THE magazines tell you what to think‘I' ask Missing Records. who would like you to judge six of the best local live bands for yourself at their all day Rockfest. Far be it from us to attempt mind control, but we respectfully suggest that you check out Peeps Into Fairyland's set. Head to the Wellington Street branch, Glasgow, on Sun 17 Oct from 1pm.
NEW ACOUSTIC MUSIC week runs from Sun 10 Oct-Mon 18 Oct, and it's all set to challenge your preconceptions about fey, feeble folkies. A celebration of the burgeoning success of local acts like Polly Philips, Holly Tomas and Khaya, it also features US import Kate Jacobs (see Exposure), and numerous open mic nights for amateurs. Check listings for details.
CLASSICAL MUSIC STILL elicits groans and whimpers from many fashionable young folk. Polaroid is a branch of the cool-as-you-like FuncT festival that’s attempting to change all that. Top bands Ganger and Cool- Intel-Pro, and Yang Dls Freek Menoovers, will appear alongside 20th century classics including works by Stockhausen and Berlo, and a brand new clarinet concerto by Steve Arkell. The whole intriguing stramash takes place from 8pm at the Arches (221 4001) on Tue 12 Oct and costs £4 (£3).
NORTHERN EXPOSURE, ABERDEEN’S ambitious music-festival-cum-biz- conference, runs daily until Sun 10 Oct. Up and coming bands include La Chunky, Lunar Page, Storm Petrels and Silver Pill; talks include the Scottish Arts Council on music policy and Inspiral Carpets frontman Tom Hingley on his colourful career; established acts include Suckle, Bill Wells, and, closing the convention, Geneva. Details from call 01224 486930 e-mail adminOnorthex- swinternet.co.uk or check www.northex-swinternet.co.uk