Andrew Curry writes: The vast Celtic music festival that is Celtic Connections closed last weekend in Glasgow. Last year Salut! Live was lucky enough to be there in person. This year we have had to make do with the next best thing—which is listening to the two live studio shows hosted by the Northumbrian pipes player Kathryn Tickell for the BBC’s Music Planet radio show.
The format was pretty straightforward: each week they invited three of the bands playing at the festival to come in and play in the BBC’s Pacific Quay studio in Glasgow.
(The Scots-Canadian band Daimh: Picture: Daimh)
The first show is available on the BBC Sounds app for another seven days (until 18th February). The second show is available until 25th February, if I have done my sums right. It should be available to international listeners as well as those in the BBC. But if you’ve arrived here too late for that, there’s a Spotify playlist based on the shows at the end of this post.
The selection of guests was eclectic. In week one, they had the Breton band Barzaz, Beòlach, from Cape Breton in Canada, and the Canadian bluegrass banjo player Kaia Kater.
Kathryn Tickell is a relaxed interviewer and she talked to each band in and around their performances. Still, you have to admire a live one hour show that manages to squeeze in eight songs (in week one), and ten songs (in week two).
Barzaz were playing at the Royal Concert Halls immediately after the Planet Music show, and they literally had to pack up their instruments while the show was going out to get to their sound check on time. They have been around for a while—their first record was released in 1989–and they sing in Breton and are steeped in the culture of the region.
In week two, Daimh, based in the Scottish Highlands, opened the show. Daimh is pronounced ‘Dive’, and they’ve been going for almost a quarter of a century. They are an international band, with Scots and Canadian members, and the video here shows them performing at Celtic Connections eight years ago.
The line up was completed by the Scots harpist Catriona McKay and the Norwegian-Swedish three-piece Ævestaden, who play electro-tinged folk using a range of traditional Scandinavian instruments.
Their first song on the show, Draper, was based on a dream in which one of the band members found that she was naked in the street and everyone was looking at her, and she liked it.
I couldn’t find a video of that online, so here’s another song of theirs, Motorbat, about a woman hoping that her lover will return across the water to her. There’s a sample of a motorboat in there somewhere.
And if you want to hear a Salut! Live playlist featuring these artists, you can listen here.
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