Finlanda Vodka

Nordic NightsV

Friday 19, The Arches, 8pm.

Finland’s Varttina were an astonishing triumph at Celtic Connections a few years back and the ten- piece band continue to go from strength to strength taking their clever rootsy pop music world- Wide. They’re masswe in Europe, and in Japan remix masters Fantastic Plastic Machine reworked one of their tracks as a single, while the US is part of a regular touring schedule. In an exuberant display of stagecraft, three, and sometimes four up-front radio-mic’d female vocalists Sing traditional and contemporary Karelian songs in the most fabulous, disoplined harmony. It’s all backed by one of the tightest outfits you’ll hear: gUitar/bass/drums With sax, fiddle, bouzouki, accordion and the Finnish national instrument, the delicate little harp-zither called the kantele.

RECMMENDED Scots Women, directed by Brian

McNeill Sunday 21, Strathclyde Suite, Royal Concert Hall,

4“": ~‘i

_- 'My problem is that with all this talent I could stage ' the concert differently six times,’ says Brian McNeill, the multi-instrumental songwriter in charge of one of

the major Scots Women concerts. ’There are eighteen of them, plus the band.’ With drums, keyboard, harp, whistle, pipes, Brian’s fiddle and assorted instruments readily available, is he leaVing space for traditional unaccompanied song? ’Yes. It’s all based on Scottish tradition but in the widest sense - and everyone’s getting a song to themselves to do any way they want, but then we are going to get maybe four or five songs in big arrangements, with everyone up on

i stage.’ The unique convocation of female vocalists,

from veteran traveller Sheila Stewart to young Battlefield singer Karine Polwart, is also being recorded live by Greentrax.

Glasgow enjoys its own musical winter warmer as CELTIC CONNECTIONS continues. We pick out the hightlights of the last ten days of the festival.

Words: Norman Chalmers and Kenny Mathieson


4 Liam O'Flynn

with the Piper's Call

Monday 22, Strathclyde Suite, Royal Concert Hall, 7.30pm. Liam O'Flynn loves two things horses and Irish piping On his County Kildare farm he’s got both, and if his riding is unremarkable, his playing on the uillean pipes is, well, as good as it gets Not for him the showy, flash or increasmgly vulgar appropriation of the instrument into the tone palette of modern commerCial music, O’Flynn is from the long line of master pipers Vi. ho passed down the great traditions, giving the pipes and their related beautiful, majestic slow airs, a dignity and status unmatched in Irish music. But he'll have some fun as well, espeCIally when, he's Jigging and reeling in the company of his Piper's Call Band With guitar genius Arty McGlynn, barefoot fretman Steve Cooney, keyboard man Rod McVey, percussionist Liam Bradley, and a guest appearance by Spanish rec0rder virtuoso and gaita

(bagpipe) player Carlos Nunez

RECOMMENDED Vertical Records First Birthday l Showcase >

Saturday 20, Barrowland, 8pm.

Want to go to a birthday party? Get tight with Michael McGoldrick’s Band, groove deeply to Shooglenifty, and get flying on Mystery Juice? You can, courtesy of Vertical Records, the Glasgow record company run by Capercaillie’s Donald Shaw. ’We released our first record a year ago,’ says Shaw about McGoldrick’s powerhouse Fused. ’Amazingly, it’s selling more now than it did when it was first released, so things are going very well. Time we had a party.’ Other performers from the artist-orientated label are programmed as acoustic chill-out interludes, including Karen Matheson accompanied by James Grant on guitar, Gaelic singer Aylith McCormack, who comes with Quee MacArthur on percussion and Dave Trouton on piano, and Andrew White’s superb antipodean guitar playing.

24 THE lIST l8 Jan—i Feb 2001

RECOMMENDED Tony McManus, Soig Siberil and

Alain Genty with Skolvan A Tuesday 23, Strathclyde Suite,

Royal Concert Hall, 8pm.

In a re-run of their successful trio performance at last year’s Guitar Concert, Scots gUitar star Tony McManus brings SOig Siberil (guitar) and Alain Genty (bass) for a celebration of the mum of Brittany. He also introduces the group Skolvan, whose sax, bombarde, accordion, guitar and percu55ion antics make them the most important Breton band around. ’They build up huge spaces with these simple, seemingly repetitive melodies,’ says McManus who first performed wrth Genty in the French baSSist’s West Wind Orchestra, where he had to knuckle down to playing set chord sequences in the rhythm section. ’I learned a lot about preCiSion, and arranging. These Breton muSiCians, are Just so inventive in the ways they present traditional mUSlC.'