FOLK/WORLD Capercaillie Glasgow: Royal Concert Hall, Thu 5 Oct.
It's a little-known fact that the capercaillie, that big woodland grouse of the Scottish Highlands, speaks Swedish - the indigenous line having died out last century, and the bird re-introduced years later from Baltic stock. In the human population of the Highlands and Hebrides. the native Gaelic language continues its decline, even taking into account the rise in Gaelic- medium education, the feis movement, Government money, and the huge surge in popularity of ‘Celtic' music — which, spearheaded by bands like Runrig and Capercaillie, brought Gaelic language song to a big, new, popular audience. Symptomatic of the malaise is a recent Daily Telegraph quote praising Capercaillie singer Karen Matheson's voice, where the words ' English' and 'British' are given capitals whereas poor inferior 'gaelic’ has none.
So there's more than a little irony in the title of Survival Records, the Berkshire-based record company wholly devoted to Capercaillie projects — including their just-released DVD (including the live concert 2 Nights Of Delirium and promo videos) and their back-to-roots latest CD Nadurra (trans: Naturally) - somewhat of a return to the band's original, Argyll-rooted acoustic sound. On the eve of a major British tour promoting the new album, Donald Shaw — founder member, producer, musician, and husband of Karen - enthuses about his
Thankfully, these Capercaillie are far from extinction new accordion. 'Brilliant! Made by Roux in France for me. He's the same guy who makes the Salterelle button accordions. Same tuning, but with a piano keyboard and more basses', and about the band from the album. ‘We‘ve decided not to do any gigs now without Michael (McGoldrick, superb flute, uillean pipes and whistle) who's become so integrated into the arrangements that we wouldn't want to be without him, and we have had James (Mackintosh, drums from Shooglenifty) sometimes, but he's too busy, so we’ve been rehearsing a drummer from Manchester. Having said that, we’re actually trying to restrict the touring - now that some of the band have become parents! So we're not playing to live audiences so much, which makes it really great to get out there and do it.’
Busier than ever with record production (James Grant currently), music for advertising, film (Rob Roy was one) and TV (Tacsi etc), Shaw is also putting a lot of energy into his ground-breaking venture, Vertical Records a new, Scotland-based label, and seeking to create a new relationship between performer and record company. ’One of the reasons was to try and close the gulf in contracts between bands and the companies. To make sure that the musicians get a much better deal, have a much bigger percentage.’ With McGoldrick’s Fused already in the stores, Shooglenifty’s Solar Shears just out, and albums from Alyth MacCormack and Mystery Juice waiting to go, Vertical are obviously going straight up, honest. (Norman Chalmers)
Nadurra IS out now on Survrva/ Records
chrome world of forthcon’iing single 'Utopia,' ripe for soundtracking a 21st- century remake of Metropolis
There's a great sense of suspension between reality and dream, highlighted in the idyllic Swiss mountain pastures that adorn the album's packaging ‘l have an obsession with panoramic imagery, C/ech fairytales, the unreal,’ Goldfrapp explains 'During recording we had a picture postcard of an alpine cable car sitting on the mixing desk as inspiration | just love that stuff The title Felt Mountain ties up the panoramic: With the whole fairytale element in my imagination and in the
Goldfrapp Glasgow: 13th Note Club, Tue 3 Oct.
You may have already spied ‘Vocals
lison Goldfrapp' minutely credited on some of your favourite records 'lricky's t"/laxrnguaye, Orbitat's Iii-sides, Ava/it Hard by Add N To iXi But now, haying teamed up \.'.’llll soundtrack producer ‘v‘ltll Gregory, Goldfrapp's name boldly graces the cover of felt Mountain, an album aready being critically received as one of the year's most striking debuts
“v'lorking with other peoples' ideas and ‘./1‘sl()l‘-S is always restrictive and can get guite frustratrng,’ says Goldfrapp ’I
found that I didn't get enough out of other people, whereas Will was different Now we're dorng whatever we want, not conforming to any rules or fashion which some of the so-called "street" artists I've worked With tend to do '
Indeed, Felt Mountain eXists outside any trend besides a huge evolutionary leap from (whisper iti trip hop Goldfrapp's vocals a vampirzc Shirley Bassey stalk menacineg through Gregory's cinematic Vistas, whose reference points include lvlori‘icone, Barry and Baclalamenti, to best effect on the black sentiments of 'Lovely l-leacl,’ the luxurious dreaminess of 'Pilots' or the glistening glass-and-
songs.’ This rests alongside a lyrical tension between the organic and the lilt‘ChlelCdl' 'A kind of uncertainty about most things really '
It’s a beautiful record but she acknowledges that bringing all of this effectively to stage will in itself mean a lot more experimentation ‘Playing live is a very different medium for us, in terms of our set-up and the fact that we'll be so exposed It's early days though We've only played a handful of shows so far, \.vith keyboards, synths, a Violinist, drums and percussion, but \.ve'i‘e not really a band as such yet ' Introducing the first fairytale band of the century i'Jan F Zeschkyi
CLASSlCAL Paragon Ensemble 20th birthday celebrations
Glasgow: Royal Concert Hall, Sun 1 Oct.
Paragon Ensemble are celebrating their twentieth birthday in style. Apart from taking over the entire Glasgow Royal Concert Hall With concerts, community ac tiVities and education work, there are new commissions from a distinguished group of Scottish and international composers. Back by popular demand is Paragon's performance of Steve Reich's Drumming in a late night show to finish up \‘.’llll a spectacular bang
'lt \‘VIH be a whale of a nrght,’ says the ensemble's General tvlanager, Andrew Logan, 'ancl Drumming is certain to be a brilliant culmination to a whole day of actIVities' Demonstrating Paragon's versatility, the opening lunchtime concert features the gentler sounds of Mozart in his Serenade for 73 Wind Instruments ’We hope that this might introduce more conservative concert- goers to Paragon,’ explains Logan, ’especially to our Birthday Bash, an evening concert which features nine world premieres, including a lTldJOl' new percussion concerto by Martin Butler, vrho is a real rising star' The remaining nev: pieces are all short Logan explains, 'T'ney are basically by a range of composer‘s who have given a very specia: collection of birthday presents to Paragon '
Unstinting in their generosity are Scots such as lylacl‘vlillan, McGuire and McPherson, v.’hile from abroad come the sounds of Armenian Stepan Rostoinyan and Stanislaw Krupowic/ from Poland 'Nine \.'.orld premieres ll‘. one night may seem absolutely horrendous for someone who has never been to hear new music before,’ admits Logan, but the Butler is a romp, and ‘.“.'lll) soloist Heather Corbett, it \.'.lll be very Visually exciting too The others embrace a whole variety of different styles, so although you might not like one, you might like the next ' Each of the short pieces Will be developed into a bigger piece over the next fi\.e years, so the Birthday Bash gives the chance to dip a toe in the water Other future developments inclucle extending performances to Dundee, Aberdeen, Stirling and Ii‘.\.'erness, as well as Glasgow and Edinburgh ‘lt's a most \".'()ll(f0lftll frarncmork to shout even louder for contemporary music,' says Logan ‘We may be twenty years old, but we're also \venty years young and looking to the future ' Happy Birthday Paragonl (Carol lvlain;
Percussionist Heather Corbett leads the celebrations for Paragon
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