The Arches, Glasgow, Sat 24 Jan

‘l’m from Thurso,’ explains Jim Sutherland. ‘A lot of the bands are from up there, from Shetland and Orkney. lt’s a sort of northern band. You might imagine snow. I think the music draws from Scandinavian pop.’

He’s talking of Cold Weather Dancing, his Celtic Connections Commission for two Edinburgh- based singers (Anne Sophie Linge Valdal from Norway and Sara Thokozani Kamwendo from Sweden) in an 11-piece acoustic/electronic band with lighting effects. It boldly goes where, as is usual with Jim, there are no preceding footprints.

‘I started off by writing 20 minutes or so of a pseudo-classical folk piece. You know. The sort of thing that’s become a cliché, with orchestral players and all that. But in the end I kept the title and changed the plot.’

Sutherland’s musical excursions range from the ground-breaking


Barrowland, Glasgow, 28 Jan

One of the most enduringly musical recordings produced Over the last few years is the one by Ale Miller and Aly Barn a conjunction of the Scots fiddler and the mandola and wind multi—instrumentalist from Sweden who sport similar sounding names. The album revisrted Bain's early Shetland airs and dance music but is not. according to the fiddle maestro. an album of Scottish musrc.

‘Old Shetland muSic is much more Scandinavian than Scottish.‘ Bain insists. ‘That's why we can play together so well.‘

Bain is also a neighbour of Moller's in s0uthern Sweden. now that he spends arOund three months of each year there. Celtic Connections audiences Will get a chance to hear the pairing and the big band when MOIIer brings his unique World Heritage Orchestra to Britain for the first time.

‘lt's a great thing he's doing.‘ continues Bain. 'He's trying to open up people's idea of what is Swedish music. Many in the orchestra are musicians who live in Sweden but are from somewhere else Africa. China. the Middle East. It's about realising potential. and generating new ideas. enriching the culture. And it's very relaxed. We all sit about on stage. and get up and play in different line-ups. as well as all together. It's great fun ' (Norman Chalmers)

innovations of the Easy Club’s revivifying Scottish trad through film and TV scores (including Taggart) to spells with Plant and Page and the Chieftains, UK dance harmony, groove based, down beat, chart success as a composer/ producer, and his own dark jazzpop them as urban folk songs.’ band the Lanterns.


Rain and Moller (inset) find links in their ‘heritage’

You should be dancing. . . yeah! ‘lt’s my first outing as a songwriter since the Lanterns. The new songs are quite austere, but with contrasting islands of

more mellow, but rocking. I think of

(Norman Chalmers)

It’s all her fault


From Women's Aid worker to workI-tr‘avelling singer in a few years. Karine Polwart's star is set to rise even further With the release of her first ‘solo' album. Fault/Ines. She's appearing at Celtic Connections not only as lead singer in the Edinburgli-based band Scots Irish band Malinky. but in quite a few other events. as she ruefully admits. ‘I think I've taken on a bit much.' she says. ‘I‘m singing in Jennifer Port '53 New Veices commission, and in Dick Caughan's Guitar Concerto. She is also part of the Unusual Suspects (the 40-str'ong Roots Orchestra put together by electro harpersinger‘ Corrina I-Iewat and pianist Dave Milligani. but they're all things I really want to (.‘I().'

Then there's her own gig. shared with the uniquely wayward. higth musical. and interesting take on English traditional music of Jim Moray. Polwart is set to use it as a showcase. not for her celebrated reading of traditional Scots song. but for her own powerful songwriting.

'I'm gorng to do the songs from the record. The whole album. And I'll have the core band from the recording. plus Fraser Fifield [pipes sax whistle player with Salsa CelticaI'. Her new songs might come as a surprise to the conventional folk fan they move into areas that are much more contemporary in structure and thought. shot through With defiantly articulate lyrics.

'I'n‘. interested in songs.' she says. ‘Whatever the id:om And like the ballads. I love the big nar'r'atiyef (Norman Chalmers)

I Mali/My play Fri (30 Jan, New Voices: Jenn/fer Port rs on Sun I Feb and Dick Gaug/ran's Guitar Concerto is on Sun I Feb. all at the Royal Concert Ha/r’. Glasgow.



THE THREE TREASURES Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Sun 25 Jan

3: the magic number

Song. dance and music. the "Three Treasures: Na Tri Seudan' of innovative bagpipe maker Hamish Moore's Celtic Connections performance. is part of a movement to re« integrate our national traditional art forms in the face of the increasingly remote (It:iii;1it(ls; ()f competitive piping. the modern instrumental folk session scene or the populist values of the commercial recording world.

“We're trying to re connect the rhythms of hard shoe percussive dance. the Gaelic language. social dance and the music.' says Moore.

‘And we are doing so with a repertoire of mainly old tunes. many that have been forgotten. or high— Jacked into competition style.'

With three fiddlers ~ from Daimh. Calluna and Llan de Cubell- drummer Mattie Faulds. five dancer's cltoreogr'aphed by Francis McConnell and eight pipers including Allan MacDonald. I inn Moore and Angus MacDonald whowrll all perform on specially made matched sets of silver“ mounted ebony pipes in A. modelled on originals made in l 781'). Ihe bottom line is you'll have to nail the audience's feet to the floor.

(Norman Chalmer'si

’~ lei ~'- THE LIST 41