Celtic Music Radio’s presenters are out and about at many of the venues taking in concerts and performances throughout Celtic Connections 2013 here in Glasgow. Read their reviews here and in the Celtic Music Radio e-Newsletter.
One of last years’ Danny Kyle winners, Réalta returned to Celtic Connections, on Saturday night (19 January) in the Mitchell Theatre as part of their prize.
They were support act to The Shetland Bus concert and proved to be worthy of their place on the stage.
This four piece band from Belfast thoroughly entertained the audience right from the start with their adaptation of traditional Irish tunes, jigs, reels and slow aires.
Having recently released their debut album they were very comfortable on the stage and let their natural Irish humour come to the fore along with their undoubted musical talent.
The Shetland Bus concert made a welcome return to Celtic Connections two years after it first showed at the festival.
Shetland Bus is the story of Jan Baalstrud, a Norwegian resistance fighter during WW2, who bravely crossed the North Sea between Shetland and Norway at nighttime in a fishing boat loaded with weapons and explosives on a mission to help free his native country from the Nazi’s.
Jan and his crew were betrayed by a fellow countryman and his boat was attacked by a German gun boat.
The boat was sunk as the crew took to the emergency dinghies but not before they set their explosives to go off as the Germans approached.
Jan Baalstrud was the sole survivor and the story goes on to tell of his fightback and escape to freedom over Artic wasteland for over two months and how he eventually cut off his own toes to stop blood poisoning spreading throughout his body.
It is a story of great courage and bravery put sublimely to music written by Jenna and Bethany Reid and played tremendously by them and their band ably supported by the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland conducted by Andy Nichol.
The music reflected the sadness, courage, fear and ultimate joy as Jan Baalstrud eventually reached safety from the chasing Nazi’s in neutral Sweden.
The story was wonderfully narrated by native Shetlander Phil Goodlad who’s compassion and knowledge was hauntingly related to the audience.
They were captivated throughout as the story unfolded and gave a worthy and lengthy standing ovation at the end. On this the seventieth anniversary of Jan Baalstrud’s escape to freedom his story was wonderfully portrayed in superb musicianship and was even more poignant that a surviving relative of Jan Baalstrud was present in the audience.
Jenna Reid – fiddle; Bethany Reid – fiddle & piano; James Thomson – flute & pipes; Iain Sandilands – percussion; James Lindsay – double bass.
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig 40th Celebration Concert – Internationally-renowned Skye college celebrates with past and current tutors, alumni and students
Well what a great night at the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig 40th Celebration Concert on Saturday 19 January.
It was very entertaining with Mary Anne Kennedy as one of the presenters and a list of gaelic talent the length of your arm.
Julie Fowlis, Fergie MacDonald, Margaret Stewart and Christine Primrose to name a few.
It was like a clan gathering with old friends haulering and waving in the hall before the start and during the interval in the foyer.
A gig I was glad to attend.