Carmichael’s Ceilidh: The Life Of A Legend
Strathclyde Suite Sunday 20th January 2019
From Celtic Connections Festival 17 Jan to 3 Feb 2019
By DANNY MATHESON
When John Carmichael was asked to do this show he responded with “Who would want to come out and see an aging performer like me?” A sell out audience was the answer!
This was a show celebrating the life of one of Scotlands greatest musical talents. John, who recently turned 80, was in the first half chatting with Gary Innes about his life as an accordion player and the many highlights of his musical career. This was a story of a man born and brought up in Govan and took him from Govan Town Hall to Sydney Opera House and everywhere in between. A career that had him playing alongside the best musical talent around in some of the best entertainment venues throughout the world as well as on television and radio. As John regaled everyone with his tales it was quite apparent that had he not been successful as a musician he could have been a stand up comedian such was the humour he portrayed in his storytelling. A career that started off in teaching onto engineering and then onto music. He won his first accordion championship on the day his first child was born. Fortunately he didn’t have a child for every award he won as there would have been an over population crisis! Joining in with the chat in the first half were just two of the legends that John had played alongside, Alasdair Gillies and Fergie Macdonald
The second half of the show was Scottish dance music at it’s very best. John Carmicheal led a plethora of musicians including Celine Donaghue, Katharine Macleod, Patsy Reid, Alan Kitchen, Davie Bowan, John Sinton and Gordon Smith. There were also guest appearances from Allan Henderson, Gary Innes and the aforementioned Alasdair Gilles and Fergie Macdonald. This was over an hour of the best Scottish traditional music you are likely to hear coupled with some excellent singing from Celine and Katharine.
The word ”Legend” is all too easily used however in the case of John Carmichael this is a true legend.