Scotia Nova; Songs from the Early days of a Better Nation
Strathclyde Suite Wednesday 20 th January
The partnership of Ian Green and Ian McCalman is an inspired one which produces works of pure genius. On the top of ‘Far Far from The Ypres’ they have scored again.
Firstly, a wee bit of background. This song collection was inspired by the referendum on Scottish independence of 2014, when the land was abuzz! After the publication of ‘Scotia Nova; Poems for Early Days of a Better Nation’, Ian Green, of Greentrax saw the possibility of a parallel project in song, and, with the help of Ian McCalman, Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis, got to work. From scores of entrants, a mere 18 were selected for the album, 17 of which were performed this evening.
This multi performer concert looked at the future of this great country (a big change from the regular backward naval gazing so prevalent). The songs varied from the rousing to the reflective; others worked hard on the tear ducts and there was even some punk. Folk giants such as Brian McNeill shared stage with comparative newcomers. The message is simply this. This country can be better, a united land of people from all walks of life.
A few special mentions:-
Chris Finegan opened the night with ‘The 19 th, looking at the feelings on the day after the referendum.
Fiona J. Mackenzie’s Gaelic ‘Croanan A’ Chamhanaich’ (Dawn Lullaby) performed as a trio in harmony fell into that ‘tear duct’ category.
Celtic Music Radio’s past presenter and singer songwriter Yvonne Lyon was on stage several times, joining others in harmony and with her own excellent ‘The Road Is Still Leading Us On’.
Scott Murphy of The Sangsters, sang of the homeless with ‘Duke Street To Jericho’ while ‘Pioneers’, written and performed by Duncan McCrone and Cy Jack concentrated on Caledonia’s welcome to those joining us from foreign lands.
Ok, I didn’t expect a punk band, but I did actually enjoy ‘It’s Up To You’ by The Tolerated. I must be getting more tolerant in my older years.
Gill Bowman’s ‘A Bonny Star’ about passing on the future of this land to the next generations and Mairi Campbell’s ‘O Man, Jock Tamson’, sung in Scots, about those who fall into the oblivion of drugs and drink, were magnificent.
For the finale, every performer took stage with the rousing title song, Scotia Nova, written by Alistair Findlay.
A final mention must go Gary West who compered the concert with wit and sheer enthusiasm.
I have been typing this review while listening to the album and having a fine a glass of red wine. Time for Horlicks and bed.