My first experience of Carlos was two years ago – also at Celtic Connections – when I saw him in two completely different concerts highlighting his versatility as a piper. This concert only cemented this fact as he introduced us to the idea of connections between the celtic nations and South America, hence the title of the concert – The Atlantic Corridor.
In association with the gaelic college Sabhal Mor Ostaig on Skye, plus funding form other sources, he set about tracing the links between Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Spain, which historically was a main sea trading route, across the Atlantic to Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Patagonia.
To aid this journey he was joined on stage throughout the concert by musicians from these countries including our own Mischa MacPherson & Innes White, Donald Shaw & Karen Matheson, a trio from Wales and two musicians from Argentina. Piper Angus MacDonald played The Battle of Glenshiel pibroch starting from the back of the hall, walking slowly down onto the stage and then back up again.
At the beginning of the concert, there was a lot of talking to give us the history behind the project, which I appreciated afterwards although it was becoming a bit tedious then. However once the music began to flow we had a torrent of it, culminating in the usual ‘Nunez Congo’ with the audience joining hands and dancing around the concert hall with all of the participating musicians on stage too including the first act, Rura (pictured).
This group came to prominence in 2011 as winners of the Danny Kyle Open Stage and prove what can be done from this platform when given an opportunity. They’re are five of them – Steven Blake, Jack Smedley, Adam Brown and David Foley along with singer-songwriter Adam Holmes all plying a variety of instruments from guitar, bodhran, fiddle and various pipes.
They opened with a tune called Dark Reel, taken from their upcoming second album Despite The Dark due for release in April this year accompanied by a tour which I would strongly advise you go and see if you get the chance. Adam Holmes joined them for a tribute to Burns and then we were entertained by various jigs and reels by the band.
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