{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"whatson","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/edinburgh-festivals-expo-fund-to-be-opened-up-to-celtic-connections-1-4664533","id":"1.4664533","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund to be opened up to Celtic Connections","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516275042751 ,"articleLead": "Glasgow’s long-running winter music festival will be able to access an Edinburgh Festival funding pot for the first time.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664532.1516231363!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Artistic director Donald Shaw is at the helm of the 25th Celtic Connections, which launches on Thursday."} ,"articleBody": "

Ahead of the launch of the 25th Celtic Connections on Thursday, organisers of the event have been told it is now be eligible for a share of the Scottish Government's Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund.

It is thought that the move will allow Celtic Connections to stage major shows in both Edinburgh and Glasgow in future.

The Expo Fund, which saw £2.3 million worth of grants issued last year, has supported some of the highest profile productions which have been staged in the capital over the last decade.

However it has traditionally only been open to the Edinburgh festivals themselves to apply to.

The government's announced has effectively given national status to Celtic Connections for the first time in its 25-year history.

Several productions have appeared at both Celtic Connections and the Edinburgh International Festival in recent years, including Karine Polwart’s Wind Resistance, Martin Green’s Flit, a live recreation of Martyn Bennett’s final album by the Grit Orchestra and King Creosote’s From Scotland With Love.

More than 100,000 people are expected to attend concerts at Celtic Connections, which will be staged across 26 different venues.

Donald Shaw, artistic director of Celtic Connections, said: “Our festival is constantly striving to create unique and exciting collaborations for home-grown talent to deliver a real legacy for our country’s musical landscape, whilst recognising the importance of engaging with outstanding talent from across the world to further enhance the acclaim for Scotland’s unique and evolving music tradition.

“We would like to thank the Scottish Government for giving Celtic Connections this fantastic opportunity through the Expo fund to further expand our musical horizons and creativity, from which we hope to build on the festival’s success and reputation.”

The announcement from the Scottish Government has come months after it agreed to provide an extra £5 million in funding for Edinburgh's festivals over the next five years.

Celtic Connections will be able to along for up to £100,000 for major projects and productions under the deal which has been negotiated with the government over several months.

It also helps stabilise the funding of the music festival, which has previously relied on the backing of Glasgow City Council and Creative Scotland.

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hylsop said: “The Expo Fund has made a massive contribution in cementing Edinburgh’s reputation as a world-leading festival city.

“Celtic Connections is renowned as a world leading international music festival and to mark its 25th anniversary, to recognise its status and its power to support the development of talent internationally, I’m delighted to announce that it will now be able to access the Expo Fund.

“Celtic Connections will be able to apply for up to 100k from the 2018/19 budget to support performers from Scotland to make the most of their career opportunities.

“Celtic Connections has grown into one of the world’s largest winter music festivals, boosting Scotland’s culture, economy and tourism sectors.

“The Scottish Government believes that culture must be at the very heart of Scotland’s development and engagement with the world. This ethos is crucial as we develop a culture strategy for Scotland.”

Alan Morrison, head of music at Creative Scotland, said: “This is terrific news for Celtic Connections as it celebrates its 25th anniversary.

"It is now firmly established as the winter destination of choice, not only for lovers of folk and traditional music, but also for anyone who wants to embrace culture on a global scale. This support will enable Celtic Connections to provide an even bigger, louder and more vibrant platform to showcase an outstanding range of work produced by Scottish artists.”

David McDonald, deputy leader of Glasgow City Council and chair of Glasgow Life, which runs many of the leading venues at Celtic Connections, said: "Celtic Connections has firmly established a reputation for bringing outstanding talent and works from all over the world to Glasgow and have a significant role in attracting visitors to Scotland.

"It already enjoys an enviable record of delivering programmes of extraordinary quality, innovation and creativity which can only be enhanced through access to Expo funding in the coming years.

"It is recognition of the tireless effort of the festival team and the artists and musicians involved that as we celebrate the 25thanniversary of Celtic Connections that, in years to come, they will be able to attract funding that will add further to its global prestige."

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4664532.1516231363!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664532.1516231363!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Artistic director Donald Shaw is at the helm of the 25th Celtic Connections, which launches on Thursday.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Artistic director Donald Shaw is at the helm of the 25th Celtic Connections, which launches on Thursday.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4664532.1516231363!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/retail/celtic-connections-given-green-light-to-access-edinburgh-festival-funding-1-4664499","id":"1.4664499","articleHeadline": "Celtic Connections given green light to access Edinburgh Festival funding","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516255200000 ,"articleLead": "

Glasgow’s long-running winter music festival is to receive Edinburgh Festival funding for the first time to help some of its biggest shows to also be staged in the capital.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664498.1516225374!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

Ahead of the launch of the 25th Celtic Connections, organisers have been told it is now be eligible for a share of the Scottish Government’s Festivals Expo Fund.

It has funded some of the highest-profile productions which have been staged in the capital over the past decade, but has traditionally only been open to the Edinburgh festivals themselves.

Several productions have appeared at Celtic Connections and the Edinburgh International Festival in recent years, including Karine Polwart’s Wind Resistance, Martin Green’s Flit,a live recreation of Martyn Bennett’s final album and King Creosote’s From Scotland With Love.

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hylsop said: “The Expo Fund has made a massive contribution in cementing Edinburgh’s reputation as a world-leading festival city.

“Celtic Connections is renowned as a world-leading international music festival and to mark its 25th anniversary, to recognise its status and its power to support the development of talent internationally, I’m delighted to announce that it will now be able to access the Expo Fund.

“Celtic Connections will be able to apply for up to £100,000 from the 2018-19 budget to support performers from Scotland to make the most of their career opportunities.

“Celtic Connections has grown into one of the world’s largest winter music festivals, boosting Scotland’s culture, economy and tourism sectors.

“The Scottish Government believes that culture must be at the very heart of Scotland’s development and engagement with the world.”

Donald Shaw, artistic director of Celtic Connections, said: “Our festival is constantly striving to create unique and exciting collaborations for home-grown talent to deliver a real legacy for our country’s musical landscape.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4664498.1516225374!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664498.1516225374!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4664498.1516225374!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-interview-us-violin-virtuoso-joshua-bell-on-reconnecting-with-his-scottish-roots-at-the-usher-hall-1-4664368","id":"1.4664368","articleHeadline": "Music interview: US violin virtuoso Joshua Bell on reconnecting with his Scottish roots at the Usher Hall","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516215912000 ,"articleLead": "

‘I actually come from Scottish descent, on my father’s side of the family,” says Joshua Bell. “Bell is a Scottish name, after all.” Caledonian connections might come as a bit of a surprise from the US violinist, one of classical music’s starriest figures, who returns to the land of his forefathers for a concert at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on 21 January. But to him, those roots clearly matter. “My father used to talk to me about his grandfather and great-grandfather, who fought in the Black Watch,” he continues. “So there’s something sentimental about playing in Scotland – and of course it’s a special place anyway.”

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664367.1516215909!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Joshua Bell performing with The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields"} ,"articleBody": "

So special, in fact, that Bell has a long history of performances in Scotland. Born in Indiana and now based in New York, he burst on to the classical scene with a debut disc of Mendelssohn and Bruch concertos way back in 1988 (despite his famously youthful looks, he’s been around for a few decades).

Since then, with an ever-expanding repertoire, he’s become famed for his slick, immaculate playing, for his faultless but unshowy technique, and, increasingly, for the breadth of his musical activities. His most recent Scottish performances were just last year firmly in the spotlight as a featured artist at the Edinburgh International Festival, across three concerts showcasing different facets of his musicianship – as a recitalist and chamber musician; as a soloist; and as an orchestra director.

It’s that last side to Bell’s musical activities – the most recent, in fact – that will be on show in the Usher Hall next weekend, when he both directs and plays as a soloist with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the renowned London-based chamber orchestra, whose music director he’s been since 2011.

When Bell took on that role, he was only the second figure at the ASMF’s helm since it was founded in 1959 by legendary conductor Sir Neville Marriner, who died in 2016. Becoming music director came as the culmination of an already long-standing and intimate relationship with the group, Bell explains. “It goes right back to 1986 – jeez, was it really that long?” he says. The occasion in question was for none other than Bell’s debut disc. “There are a couple of guys in the orchestra who still remember that time – but not too many now…”

The ASMF is a remarkable ensemble – one that Bell himself admires enormously – whose chamber proportions allow an intimacy and focus to its playing seldom encountered in larger symphony orchestras. “My real relationship with the ASMF probably started about 15 years ago,” Bell continues, “when I began coming as a regular guest. We started out doing lots of string music together, then small orchestral programmes, and organically I began taking more of a director’s role. So when they were looking for a new music director, it was a no-brainer for me.”

Despite its achievements, however, towards the end of Marriner’s half-century at the helm there was also a feeling that the ASMF’s aristocratic sheen and finesse had become a little… well, tired – not helped by perky period-instrument ensembles snapping at its heels in its core classical repertoire of Mozart and Beethoven. Under Bell’s leadership, however, it has rediscovered a new sense of energy and vitality – and, as Bell explains, taking the reins of the ensemble has also opened up new possibilities for him.

“It’s allowed me to ease my way into a conductor’s role,” he explains. “For concerts I still direct them from the leader’s chair, but in rehearsals I often just conduct them and don’t play. It’s a great way for me to learn how to interact with an orchestra as a conductor. It’s allowed me to feel comfortable in that role, so that now I’m taking on engagements with other orchestras simply as a conductor from the podium, which is very exciting.”

For the Usher Hall concert – the third on a seven-stop tour of the UK and Ireland – Bell will be directing from the leader’s chair in Beethoven’s buoyant Second Symphony. He directs the rest of the concert, too, but from out front in his more usual role as a soloist. The wild card of the programme is a piece with strong personal connections for Bell: an overture for violin and orchestra written specially for him by Tennessee-born bassist and composer Edgar Meyer. “He’s an old friend of mine,” Bell explains. “We go back to the early 1980s. When I was about 14 years old. Edgar was one of the American musicians I admired the most.”

Meyer is a fascinating figure, lionised stateside though lesser known in Europe, perhaps because of his distinctively American blending of classical music with jazz, blues and folk (especially bluegrass), all in an idiom that’s as immediate as it is invigorating. Anyone expecting a down-home hoedown, however, might be surprised by Meyer’s more classically-focused Overture, Bell explains. “We gave its world premiere at Vail in Colorado last year, and the musicians really enjoyed trying to figure out Edgar’s musical language, which is very rhythm-based. It’s quite mathematical.”

If he’s pushing the envelope with Meyer’s bluegrass-flavoured music, Bell is sticking to a sure-fire favourite to close the concert: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. “Everyone knows it, not just the core classical music lovers,” he says. How long has Bell been playing the piece? “Oh, forever, pretty much! Probably since I was a teenager. It’s a very personal piece – everyone plays it differently. There’s a lot of room for personal ideas and improvisations.”

With such a long history with the Four Seasons, how does Bell make sure he keeps it fresh? “Well, that’s a challenge for any piece,” he explains. “But with the Four Seasons, it’s about dedicating some time to it before the tour, trying to clear my mind to a certain degree, to allow myself to think of new ideas – which is much more difficult than it sounds when you’ve done something a thousand times. But you really have to re-evaluate: do I really want to do this, or am I just doing it this way because that’s how I’ve always done it?”

Coming up with fresh, perhaps even unexpected approaches draws on Bell’s warm relationship with his band. “On stage, you have to allow yourself to feel free to experiment and be spontaneous, and this orchestra is very good at responding to that – if I do something different, I can show it with my body language, and they’ll react immediately.” It’s clearly a fruitful partnership – and one that’s taking both the orchestra and Bell in new directions.

Joshua Bell directs the Academy of St Martin in the Fields at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, on 21 January, 3pm

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "David Kettle"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4664367.1516215909!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664367.1516215909!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Joshua Bell performing with The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Joshua Bell performing with The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4664367.1516215909!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/mark-beaumont-s-trek-centre-stage-at-edinburgh-mountain-film-festival-1-4663922","id":"1.4663922","articleHeadline": "Mark Beaumont’s trek centre stage at Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516198678000 ,"articleLead": "

EPIC journeys will be retraced when a film festival returns to the Capital for the 15th time.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4663920.1516198674!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mark Beaumont will speak at the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival"} ,"articleBody": "

The Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival will reveal kite surfing across the Greenland ice sheet, paddling through the Amazon in a self-made dugout canoe and a host of self-powered journeys. The festival combines the best mountain and adventure films with powerful presentation from some to the globe’s top adventurers.

Edinburgh-based Mark Beaumont leads the all-star line-up when he gives a presentation on his recent world record cycling trek around the globe.

READ MORE: Mark Beaumont back in Capital after ride around the world
Sarah Outen, who looped the planet using a rowing boat, bike and kayak will also present her story. Sarah’s ‘London 2 London: Via the World’ trip saw her tally up 25,000 miles on her four and a half year adventure.
The festival organisers will also welcome English climbing supremo Pete Whittaker and American mountaineer Kelly Cordes - known for her staggering ascents in Patagonia.
The two-day festival will also screen around 20 adventure films - featuring epic journeys by bike, kayak, canoe and kite-assisted skis, scary climbs, swimming with orcas, mountain biking and ski descents down some of the steepest mountain faces in Scotland.
Director of the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival, Stevie Christies, said: “The standard of films being submitted is so high that we’ve had to leave out some wonderful films.
“But the films that have made the final selection are fantastic and I know our audience will be thrilled and inspired by them.
“Our speakers will then elevate the festival to a new level.”
The festival will be held at its usual home at George Square Lecture Theatre.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4663920.1516198674!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4663920.1516198674!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mark Beaumont will speak at the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mark Beaumont will speak at the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4663920.1516198674!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4663921.1516198675!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4663921.1516198675!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sarah Outen, who rowed around the world, will tell her story at the festival","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sarah Outen, who rowed around the world, will tell her story at the festival","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4663921.1516198675!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/theatre/theatre-review-the-attic-festival-theatre-studio-edinburgh-1-4663613","id":"1.4663613","articleHeadline": "Theatre review: The Attic, Festival Theatre Studio, Edinburgh","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516188046000 ,"articleLead": "

THERE’S a tangled ball of wool lying near the studio door, with a fluffy red thread heading off down the corridor; and when we follow it – gently urged along by the show’s creator-performer Hazel Darwin-Clements, playing a little girl called Lucy – we enter the magic world of The Attic, the latest show from Starcatchers, Scotland’s specialists in shows for tiny tots. The wool belongs to Lucy’s grandma; and Lucy loves to potter in the attic with her, sorting through old stuff, trying on old clothes, acting out imaginary adventures and finding lost treasures.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4663612.1516188044!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Attic - Grandma (Gowan Calder), Lucy (Hazel Darwin-Clements) and David Paul Jones (Pianist) PIC: Greg Macvean"} ,"articleBody": "

The Attic, Festival Theatre Studio, Edinburgh ***

To say that The Attic is a show that lacks narrative is to put it kindly. As on its first outing in 2012, some of its efforts to fill out 45-minutes are so feeble that even a two-year-old might eye them with scepticism; and there’s something distinctly old-fashioned about the whole scenario, with the slightly dotty granny more like one of today’s great-grandparents than a brisk modern gran.

Yet the atmosphere created by Karen Tennant’s design, Craig Fleming’s lighting and David Paul Jones’s gorgeous and shapely piano score, which he plays live throughout, is absolutely irresistible, conjuring up that special zone of fun, play, and magic that children often enter with their grandparents.

And when, at the end, the show dissolves into a jolly participatory tea-party involving knitted cup-cakes and silly hats, the joy of the toddlers in the audience is as unconfined as their dance moves, as Gowan Calder’s affable granny invites them to join in a last celebratory tea-dance.

Further performances on 20 and 21 January

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Joyce McMillan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4663612.1516188044!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4663612.1516188044!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Attic - Grandma (Gowan Calder), Lucy (Hazel Darwin-Clements) and David Paul Jones (Pianist) PIC: Greg Macvean","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Attic - Grandma (Gowan Calder), Lucy (Hazel Darwin-Clements) and David Paul Jones (Pianist) PIC: Greg Macvean","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4663612.1516188044!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-review-bbc-sso-hear-now-city-halls-glasgow-1-4663090","id":"1.4663090","articleHeadline": "Music review: BBC SSO: Hear & Now, City Halls, Glasgow","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516126435000 ,"articleLead": "

The prerequisite for the typical BBC SSO Hear and Now concert is an open mind. It’s easy to dismiss the experimentalism that features in these unorthodox programmes as pretentious, especially when the programme notes, as on Saturday, stretch the bounds of useful comprehension. Better in these moments to close the eyes and simply soak in the experience.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616323.1516126432!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Conductor Ilan Volkov"} ,"articleBody": "

BBC SSO: Hear & Now, City Halls, Glasgow ****

We were listening, under Ilan Volkov’s no-nonsense direction, to the challenging sound worlds of Filipino composer Jose Montserrat Maceda and the American John Tenney, both of whom lived till just over a decade ago, and whose music seeks, and to my mind generally finds, an expressive language that is fresh and self-fulfilling.

Volkov opened with Maceda’s 1992 orchestral work Distemperament, which, with its harsh, mechanised dissonance, pseudo-minimalist vocabulary, and democratised reconfiguration of the orchestral groups, bore all the hallmarks of an updated factory-style Gebrauchsmusik. Hindemith for the new age.

The remainder of the concert focused entirely on Tenney’s quasi-sculptural creations, where his obsession with altered pitch colouring combines with his interest in electronic techniques to create something akin to live sound installations.

Diapason, powered by an elemental and intense organic growth, threw up unexpected echoes of Sibelius. The floor cleared for double bassist Dominic Lash and the solo work Beast, an hypnotic trip revolving around a single persistent note. Then Clang for orchestra, framed by a signature Stravinsky-like chord, between which the score evolves like a heaving, slow-motion soundtrack. All in all, music that spoke powerfully for itself.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ken Walton"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4616323.1516126432!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616323.1516126432!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Conductor Ilan Volkov","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Conductor Ilan Volkov","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4616323.1516126432!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-interview-django-django-on-their-eclectic-new-album-marble-skies-1-4663087","id":"1.4663087","articleHeadline": "Music interview: Django Django on their eclectic new album, Marble Skies","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516126170000 ,"articleLead": "

Django Django are impossible to pigeonhole. They’re constantly spooling through an eclectic mix-tape of genre-blurring sounds, from psychedelia and art-rock to house, techno, synth-pop, Krautrock, Jamaican dancehall, rockabilly, surf and even skiffle. That may sound on paper like an almighty headache, a messy punch-up at a record fair, but this London-based quartet have managed to knit their multiple personalities into one coherent identity. The distinctive dry-bliss vocals of singer/guitarist Vincent Neff and the galloping horseback beats of Tayport-born producer/drummer David Maclean are Django Django’s signature motifs, the glue that holds their disparate influences together. They sound like no one but themselves.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4663086.1516126166!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Django Django"} ,"articleBody": "

According to Maclean, the younger brother of Beta Band lynchpin John, their open-minded love of almost every genre of music was forged long before they met at Edinburgh College of Art ten years ago.

“When I was a kid,” he recalls, “I was into industrial strength techno music. People thought it was bonkers and unlistenable, but John Peel used to play a lot of that stuff and I was drawn in by it. People hated it, but he didn’t care about being cool.”

“You’re drawn to something because of the energy,” he enthuses, “so by now our record collections are full of everything from old jungle records and hip-hop and classical and God knows what. When you don’t care about genre then that’s it. It’s a bit like food, no one would ever say, ‘Oh, so you like pizza but you also like sushi?’ Well I love food, I love music.”

Released in 2012, their Mercury-nominated eponymous debut album was recorded DIY-style in Maclean’s bedroom. The more fluorescent follow-up, Born Under Saturn, was the result of their first visit to a professional recording studio. Their latest album, Marble Skies, brings them back to their self-sufficient roots, as it was recorded in their band HQ. That is, a warehouse in Tottenham.

Almost every day without fail, the band tumble into this work-hub to write, record and generally take care of essential Django Django admin. So what’s it like in there?

“It’s a big room rammed full of synths and broken bits of drum kit,” Maclean explains. “Loads of vinyl and everything we’ve collected over the last ten years of the band and, I guess, 30 years individually. We talk about doing a clear-out every year but that never quite happens. It’s a mad studio stroke dumping ground.”

The band learned a lot from working with a skilled studio engineer last time around, an experience they’ve since adapted into their original working method. The winning result is a more concise record than its predecessor.

“We’ve reached a happy medium where essentially it’s DIY but we just know a bit more about recording,” says Maclean. “In terms of song length and the way it’s structured it’s much more disciplined. The last album was a body of work, it was just chucked in there without structuring it as an album too much. With this one we wanted to have an A and B side, you flip the record over and it makes sense like that.”

The music of Django Django is undoubtedly eccentric and sonically ambitious, but the reason it never descends into a self-indulgent orgy of wayward nonsense is because it’s always rooted in accessible pop-craft. They’re slaves to melody and big pop hooks.

“That was important from the start,” says Maclean. “I guess what we all had in common was our love of The Beatles. What always attracted me to them, even as a little kid, was how weird they made pop music. Strawberry Fields is a pretty out there production. It’s quite mad, there’s backwards tape loops and stuff but at the heart of it is a little pop song you can play on a guitar.”

For the time being at least, they have zero interest in creating a consciously avant-garde opus. “We could do that if we wanted to,” says Maclean, “We could do a very crazy ambient record, but it just doesn’t satisfy us so much. We want to be quite immediate and poppy, because we love pop music.”

Maclean’s preferred soundtrack of choice on his car stereo is shiny ’80s commercial pop. “It’s all about wanting to write those kind of songs while being playful with the production,” he says. “We’re always striving for that. I think we want to keep trying until we get it right. If we did something and realised we’d reached our zenith, we’ve nailed this thing, then maybe we’d all go off and do different things.”

Django Django then. Not your standard guitar band by any stretch of the imagination. They’re beady-eyed magpies, record-collecting Wombles, sonic adventurers with excellent taste, song-writing chops and a refreshing lack of musical snobbery.

“I’d hate to just be an indie band,” says Maclean. “Music and people are more complicated than that. We try to let the music lead us rather than package it into a box, we let it be what it wants to be. We’re just following it and not knowing where it’s leading us half the time. But that’s the fun of it, you go into the studio every day without knowing what you’ll end up with.”

Marble Skies by Django Django is released on 26 January. They play Dundee’s Tropicana & Vogue on 26 February, www.djangodjango.co.uk

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Paul Whitelaw"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4663086.1516126166!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4663086.1516126166!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Django Django","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Django Django","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4663086.1516126166!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-preview-big-country-s-bruce-watson-prepares-to-celebrate-35-years-of-the-band-s-iconic-debut-album-the-crossing-at-celtic-connections-1-4662614","id":"1.4662614","articleHeadline": "Music preview: Big Country’s Bruce Watson prepares to celebrate 35 years of the band’s iconic debut album The Crossing at Celtic Connections","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516103590000 ,"articleLead": "

Bruce Watson was an apprentice at Rosyth Dockyard when he teamed up with Stuart Adamson to form Big Country in the early 80s. As he prepares to celebrate 35 years since iconic debut album The Crossing, the guitarist tells Fiona Shepherd about the band’s early days

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662613.1516103585!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bruce Watson"} ,"articleBody": "

In December, Big Country and The Skids, those two Dunfermline rock behemoths, linked in spirit and bereavement, played a joint gig for the first time ever, raising funds for Paisley’s Loud n Proud rock school. For guitarist Bruce Watson, a member of both bands along with his son Jamie, this was potentially double trouble. “I try not to cross-contaminate the two bands if possible but I think our paths will cross in the future,” he says.

Both groups are very much active in 2018. Big Country are marking the 35th birthday of their stirring, soaring debut album, The Crossing, including a date at Celtic Connections. Meanwhile, The Skids’ 40th anniversary celebrations continue apace with the release of Burning Cities, their first new album since 1981’s Joy. Watson was never part of their original Skids incarnation but as a Dunfermline guitar-for-hire he was a candidate to join as a wingman to their trailblazing lead guitarist Stuart Adamson.

“At the time I was probably too young and I was still doing my apprenticeship at the dockyard,” he says. But the seed was planted for the driven Adamson and when he left The Skids at the turn of the 80s for unknown pastures new, it was to Watson’s door he came knocking.

“He said ‘we should get together and do some guitar thing’ and I just thought he was being kind,” Watson recalls, “but one day he just turned up at my flat and said ‘today’s the day’. The week after that we got ourselves a portastudio and got ourselves up to Townhill Institute [now the Townhill Community Centre in Dunfermline, for those who would like to make a pilgrimage] and started writing songs. Those songs became part of the first [Big Country] album.

“At the time it was just Stuart and myself, we never had a band. We had a drum machine and a synthesizer, which we would stick on an ironing board. We could have ended up like Soft Cell or Depeche Mode at one point because we were doing a lot of synthesizer stuff and we would just experiment.

“There wasn’t a time limit or pressure to come up with something because no one else was interested, but there was an end game, which was to come up with some really good songs.”

Ironically, given the synthesizers in the mix, their early demos were rejected by record companies who were focused on the nascent synth pop scene of the early 80s. Big Country, as they were to develop with their hearty guitars, unapologetic Celtrock anthems and flannel shirts, were at polar odds with the Eurochic sheen of the synth pop acts and the foppish poseurs of the New Romantic movement.

“The idea from the very start was to make it cinematic and as big as you can get,” says Watson. “There were loads of twin guitar bands out there like Status Quo, Thin Lizzy and AC/DC, and we loved those bands but we didn’t want to sound like them. They were very blues-based so we thought let’s stay away from the blues and play melodic lines straight and put loads of effects on them. If you can whistle the vocal melody and the guitar melody, that is the thing. You couldn’t go to school or college to learn about music, you just had to pick it up in little dark rooms above pubs, so I would just learn recording techniques off Stuart. Every song that Stuart and I recorded in the early days was almost like The Shadows without Cliff Richard – every track was an instrumental until Stuart took the cassette away at the end of the day to work on his lyrics and overdub his vocals.”

There were further false starts along the way. Brothers Pete and Alan Wishart – the former now better known as the SNP Member of Parliament for Perth – joined the band for a support tour with Alice Cooper, a trial-by-fire (literally, given Cooper’s stage antics) which only lasted a few dates before the budding band were asked/told to leave the tour. Rhythm section sessioneers Tony Butler and Mark Brzezicki were recruited instead to polish up some recordings and ended up getting the permanent gig, forming a stable foursome with Adamson and Watson through their 80s prime right up to Adamson’s devastating suicide in 2001.

Watson was a reluctant participant in Big Country’s initial reunion when the three surviving members came together in 2007 to mark the band’s quarter century, with Adamson’s place centre stage respectfully remaining vacant. However, moving forward, Watson had other ideas. “I always thought for Big Country to work you would need at least four or five people involved if you wanted to do the old songs justice,” he says.

He’s much happier celebrating the group’s 35th birthday with an expanded line-up which now includes vocalist Simon Hough and bassist Scott Whitley, serving that justice to a set of timeless songs, including debut hit Fields of Fire (400 Miles), the chiming ballad Chance and their title anthem In A Big Country, which forged their distinctive bagpipe-toned guitar sound, set the benchmark for their career and influenced young bucks such as Manic Street Preachers’ singer/guitarist James Dean Bradfield, who has been a passionate acolyte of Adamson’s playing over the years.

For Watson, it is an opportunity to revisit that most exciting period in a band’s life, when the right elements come together, spark off each other and produce a sound for band and fans to rally behind.

“It’s like losing your virginity,” he laughs. “It’s your first time and it was a good experience. Everything was new to me and I can remember a lot of stuff from that era. I was able to work in big studios with top class producers, just watching them, looking and learning all the time. It was a dream come true for me.”

Big Country mark the 35th anniversary of The Crossing at ABC, Glasgow, 26 January as part of Celtic Connections

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Fiona Shepherd"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4662613.1516103585!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662613.1516103585!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bruce Watson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bruce Watson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4662613.1516103585!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/theatre/theatre-preview-fleur-darkin-and-jemima-levick-on-blending-theatre-and-dance-in-the-lover-their-new-production-for-the-royal-lyceum-1-4662608","id":"1.4662608","articleHeadline": "Theatre preview: Fleur Darkin and Jemima Levick on blending theatre and dance in The Lover, their new production for the Royal Lyceum","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516103178000 ,"articleLead": "

It’s Fleur Darkin’s job as a choreographer to let her dancers’ bodies speak for themselves. That’s why one phrase leapt out when she re-read one of her favourite books, The Lover by Marguerite Duras: “When you let the body alone to seek and find and take what it likes… then everything is right.”

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662607.1516103173!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Amy Hollinshead and Yosuke Kusano in rehearsals for The Lover, co-directed by Fleur Darkin and Jemima Levick."} ,"articleBody": "

Letting the body take what it likes feels right to Darkin. “To me it feels so real, that we do exist with drives, hungers and libido,” she says. “Not many writers name it so powerfully.”

And by naming it, Duras seemed to be giving Darkin permission to trust her instincts. Working in close collaboration with theatre director Jemima Levick, Darkin is creating not simply a straight adaptation of the semi-autobiographical 1984 novel – and its companion piece, The North China Lover – for Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum – but a dance-theatre hybrid. Together, they are thinking as much about the language of movement as the language of speech.

“You look at Duras’ catalogue of work and it’s novels, films, plays,” says Levick. “She’s so bold as an artist. She’s open to other artforms exploring an idea. I like to think she’s smiling down saying, ‘Yeah, give it your best shot, ladies.’”

A novel that is at once experimental and passionate, daring and heartfelt, struck them as perfect for a show that would draw on their respective talents. “As a choreographer, I wouldn’t normally stage a book, but The Lover is fragmentary and open,” says Darkin.

Levick adds: “Her sensibility is not to be straight-down-the-line linear narrative. It weaves in and out. She creates texture and atmosphere. That is one of the reasons it felt like it had the space to become a collaboration as opposed to a straight play.”

Set in French colonial Vietnam in 1929, The Lover is about a 15-year-old girl’s illicit sexual awakening in the company of a 27-year-old son of a Chinese millionaire. Recalled 50 years later, the affair seems as passionate, confused and intense as it ever was, not least because of the era’s divisive colonial culture and the girl’s dysfunctional family. Writer Deborah Levy called it “exhilarating, sexy, melancholy, truthful, modern and female”.

Darkin agrees: “There’s this real contradiction at the heart of Duras’ writing, because she’s keen for everyone to know she’s not sentimental, yet it has this undertow of affect and feeling. It’s a really emotional story even though she employs a lot of breaking techniques to keep you guessing.”

The choreographer read The Lover as a teenager (“the right age”) and was captivated. The two had identified it as a dream project even before they worked alongside each other in Dundee – Darkin running Scottish Dance Theatre, Levick at the helm of Dundee Rep. Only now Levick has moved to Stellar Quines have the pieces fallen into place.

Taking joint responsibility for the script and the staging, Darkin and Levick have cast both dancers and actors. Narrating the story, for example, is Susan Vidler, known for her compelling work for the National Theatre of Scotland and on screen in Trainspotting, while playing her younger self is Amy Hollinshead, a Rambert graduate who joined Scottish Dance Theatre in 2013. What mattered to the two directors were performers who were happy to cross the line between disciplines and who wouldn’t be fazed by the chopping and changing of the devising process.

“I see a lot of similarity between actors and dancers,” says Darkin. “If they’re given time, their virtuosity explodes and gives you the answers. They’re loving the exchange. And when you ask the dancers to do text, they’re phenomenal. They only dance if things feel authentic and so they speak from the same place as an actor.”

“Susan Vidler is bold, she’ll do anything,” says Levick. “She’s interested in dancing and dancers, she joins in with class and gives learning what they’re learning a go. It’s great seeing them learning from each other.” Darkin adds: “The dancers are virtuosic because they listen and they work. They’re not diva-ish. And guess what: Susan is the same. She wears her talent lightly, but when it’s in full force, she changes the air in the room.”

For their own part, splitting the work in the rehearsal room has come naturally. “We both want to tell the story,” says Darkin. “If I was to stand up for anything in terms of a dance sensibility, it would be that we don’t over-tell it. We under-tell it so that the audience have something to play with themselves. We’re always on a spectrum between everything being super clear at one end and wild imagery at the other, and we both play with that dial.”

“It’s so exciting having that other way of working in the room,” says Levick. “It’s a great way of having a look at yourself.” n

The Lover is at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, from 20 January until 3 February.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Mark Fisher"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4662607.1516103173!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662607.1516103173!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Amy Hollinshead and Yosuke Kusano in rehearsals for The Lover, co-directed by Fleur Darkin and Jemima Levick.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Amy Hollinshead and Yosuke Kusano in rehearsals for The Lover, co-directed by Fleur Darkin and Jemima Levick.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4662607.1516103173!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/aidan-smith-the-second-coming-of-punk-is-here-1-4662225","id":"1.4662225","articleHeadline": "Aidan Smith: The second coming of punk is here","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516082400000 ,"articleLead": "

Despite being dubbed ‘punk rock for snowflakes’ by one online wit, Shame are making Aidan Smith feel nostalgic.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662223.1516048876!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Charlie Steen, of Shame, on stage at the 29th Eurockeennes music festival near Belfort, eastern France. (Picture: AFP/Getty)"} ,"articleBody": "

I’ve always wanted to do a Jon Landau. That is, just for the hell of it, make a big, bold, bumptious prediction like the writer with Rolling Stone magazine who back in 1974 declared: “I have seen the future of rock ’n’ roll and his name is Bruce Springsteen.”

Ultimately, Landau was proved right. But he was subjected to a lot of sneering and Springsteen was subjected to a lot of scepticism. Nobody loves a smartass, you see. Would you believe me, though, if I said: “I have seen the future of punk rock – second time around – and their name is Shame”?

Shame are a young band who have just released their debut album to rave reviews. Now, it’s not 1974 anymore. Forty-four years ago popular music didn’t need a future; it was doing just fine and the top stars were selling millions of records and concert tickets. Two years later, of course, music got the revolution it didn’t think it required but palpably did: a sharp jab on the backside with a safety pin followed by a broadside of phlegm, the first coming of punk.

Today it’s a different scene. Some would call it desolate. Indeed, a few would claim music’s finished. The stars are either dead or sad parodies of themselves. Everything’s been said and done; there’s nothing new under the sun.

The attention-deficit generation don’t commune with their favourite records, don’t even collect records, pressing “Skip” long before the end. The music press is all but gone; no one wants to read their 5,000-word dispatches on magic and mystery and flying TV sets.

READ MORE: The Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan dies aged 46

Top of the Pops is in disgrace and can never return. And everybody and their mums and dads is perfectly happy to have Ed Sheeran as the soundtrack to their lives.

Except … except that when a new band emerge with a bit of attitude we still get excited. After failing to anticipate the first punk explosion, we’re determined not to miss the reprise. Thus Shame, a five-piece from South London, come along with their boisterous guitars and a song about Theresa May and right away they’re hailed as “the snotty spirit of punk rock defiance given an energy shot for a new generation”.

Are they? Can they possibly be? Will the kids even notice? (After all, one headline summing up the band goes: “It’s punk rock for snowflakes”). I feel I should be listening to their album Songs of Praise in the new black drainpipe jeans which I smugly wore to journalism college in 1977, knowing the rest of the class, including a future editor of the Daily Record, would be swishing across the concourse in their flares as usual. I feel I should be listening to it on puke green or unmentionable brown or splat-of-sick-shaped vinyl. Tragically those breeks no longer fit me. Tragically I must make do with an MP3.

First impressions? They sound like the Fall. Singer Charlie Steen has the same lugubrious, drawled delivery as Mark E Smith, but without much of the humour or any of the surrealism. In the comments underneath one of Shame’s YouTube clips, someone asks: “Is he old enough to be smoking?”

READ MORE: The greatest comebacks in music (and some of the worst)

In fact Steen and his mates are aged 20 to 21 while that remark makes me think of the best-ever description of Smith’s spectacularly unprepossessing demeanour: “Like a long-distance bus driver on a fag break.”

It’s often said that part of the problem with today’s music is that only poshos can afford a career in a band. This affects many of the arts: you need wealthy parents to be able to pay the college fees that are prohibitive for the less well-off – or, in the case of aspiring rock stars, can indulge you during the formative years of playing toilets and sleeping in the van. Hence the rise of the trust-fund musician, the gap-year popster.

I’ve no idea whether Shame are public school-educated but that didn’t stop the Clash’s Joe Strummer becoming an authentically angry voice of the disaffected, although to be fair, his back-story emerged later.

To be fair to Shame, they don’t seem to be setting themselves up as spokesmen of their generation, or the punky successors to the bands who outraged the Daily Mail before they were born.

Right now, our new heroes seem preoccupied with not copying any old gits. This is fine in theory but more difficult to bring off in practice. When Steen skulks behind his mic stand he’s evoking Johnny Rotten, while flipping the stand onto the shoulders is a Jim Morrison move.

As I say, it’s difficult to be original anymore but Shame’s frontman insists: “I think the idea of the leather jacket-wearing, womanising, drug-fuelled rock star should be burned.”

They’re feeling their way. “My brain is still developing,” says Josh Finerty, and bandmate Eddie Green concurs: “You can’t decide what you want in Subway, never mind what your musical legacy should be.”

There’s a suspicion that Shame are having greatness thrust upon them, such is the clamour for headlines like “An exciting new guitar band (finally!)”, hopefully confirming that music isn’t really dead after all.

They may also be having punkness thrust upon them. The Theresa May track, Visa Vulture, didn’t make it onto the album, suggesting the band may not ultimately think it representative of what they’re trying to say. Rather than the excoriating political diatribe you might have expected, it paints the Prime Minister as a lust object and Shame come across like the the sniggering sixth-formers they were until only recently. This band may not be the future, after all, at least not yet. Just very naughty boys.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Aidan Smith"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4662223.1516048876!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662223.1516048876!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Charlie Steen, of Shame, on stage at the 29th Eurockeennes music festival near Belfort, eastern France. (Picture: AFP/Getty)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Charlie Steen, of Shame, on stage at the 29th Eurockeennes music festival near Belfort, eastern France. (Picture: AFP/Getty)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4662223.1516048876!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/scottish-festival-organisers-told-they-may-have-to-rely-on-crowdfunding-in-future-1-4662294","id":"1.4662294","articleHeadline": "Scottish festival organisers told they may have to rely on crowdfunding in future","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516054601143 ,"articleLead": "

Festival and event organisers may have to rely on crowd-funding campaigns and donations from philanthropists to keep running in the face of the public spending squeeze, one of Scotland’s leading industry experts has warned.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662293.1516054656!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "VisitScotland director Paul Bush is one of Scotland's leading festivals and events experts."} ,"articleBody": "

Paul Bush, VisitScotland’s director of events, said organisers would have to be increasingly innovative to remain sustainable as they grapple with dwindling resources, spiralling costs and security concerns.

He has predicted the next decade will be “very tough financially” for the events industry

He admitted they were likely to have to increasingly demonstrating the wider impacts of their event on society in order to secure funding.

The Edinburgh Mela, Wickerman, Brew at the Bog, Perthshire Amber and T in the Park are among the festivals to disappear from the landscape in Scotland in recent years, while the new Argyll Gathering was cancelled last summer just two weeks before it was due to be held in Helensburgh.

Mr Bush also suggested “profit-sharing” deals with public funders may become increasingly common in future.

He said: “Scotland has been very successful and probably very lucky in the last 10 years in terms of its events portfolio.

We’ve hosted some of the biggest and finest events in the world, including the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup, the MTV Europe Music Awards.

“But we’re at a point now where the next 10 years will be very, very tough financially. We’ve already gone through a period of austerity. Whether that remains or not is hard to say, but the pressure on public finances will increase.

“Events will need to be innovative to remain sustainable.

“There will always be the traditional model of government grants towards stellar events that we still want to attract for economic or profile reasons.

“But I also think there are two or three models that we will need to think about carefully in future.

“Crowdfunding around community events will be quite interesting.

“Campaigns are often quite successful in raising and a lot of the events in our national programme are very community-focused.

“Then there are the music, arts or small sports events in far-flung corners of Scotland which might be attractive to benefactors or philanthropists.

“There could also be a model around a joint venture, where you have the government, the event organiser and a third party come together to deliver an event.

“The third model would be where they would be shared profit. The government could seed-fund an event to get an event off the ground, then move away, but would get a share of any profits, which would be ploughed back into the events industry.

“We want to ensure we are investing in an event for the right outcomes in future - a better bang for your buck, if you like.

“We’ve got to look at the 360 degree life cycle of an event and what it does for health, education, society, young people, old people and local communities.

“The industry has got to be more savvy in demonstrating the benefits of an event and making sure it has a real impact.”

Mr Bush has oversee the staging of some of the biggest events in the world in Scotland over the last decade, including the Ryder Cup, the Commonwealth Games and the MTV Europe Music Awards.

Others on the horizon include the multi-sport European Championships which are being staged in Scotland in 2018, the Solheim Cup golf tournament ini 2019 and the Euro 2020 football tournament, which will see Glasgow host a number of matches in 2020.

Mr Bush added: It’s an exciting time for the industry if it grasps the opportunities.

“It to ensure that it is offering the right package to its customers. Scotland has a lot of authenticity, but event organisers have to ensure that there are bespoke packages around events, including opportunities that are sold at a higher prize.\"

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4662293.1516054656!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662293.1516054656!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "VisitScotland director Paul Bush is one of Scotland's leading festivals and events experts.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "VisitScotland director Paul Bush is one of Scotland's leading festivals and events experts.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4662293.1516054656!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/album-reviews-the-skids-neil-young-black-rebel-motorcycle-club-1-4661764","id":"1.4661764","articleHeadline": "Album reviews: The Skids | Neil Young | Black Rebel Motorcycle Club","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516021326000 ,"articleLead": "

The Skids commendably maintain their rage and energy, while Neil Young returns to form

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661763.1516021322!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Skids PIC: Gordon Smith"} ,"articleBody": "

The Skids: Burning Cities (Nobad Records) ***

Neil Young + Promise of the Real: The Visitor (Reprise) ****

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Wrong Creatures (Vagrant) ***

For those with the stamina and the appetite, the old age punk scene can be a pretty energetic place. Dunfermline punk veterans The Skids enjoyed their 40th anniversary year so much that they have extended celebrations into 2018 and, with the release of this first new album in more than 36 years, presumably won’t be retiring anytime soon.

Their brilliant guitarist Stuart Adamson died 16 years ago but his old compadres Richard Jobson, bassist Bill Simpson and drummer Mike Baillie have judiciously expanded the Skids family with the addition of Adamson’s Big Country wingman Bruce Watson and his son Jamie to the line-up.

On this occasion, honorary membership also goes to their producer and contemporary Youth, who has captured that brawny, bear-with-a-sore-head thrashing energy once more. As for the raw material, The Skids were always a cantankerous, questioning band, able to capture local and global concerns in their pugilistic punk protest songs.

Once again, they find themselves trying to make sense of turbulent times. The song titles alone - This Is Our World, Kings of the New World Order – signal the same old but still relevant concerns. For Jobson and co, these are not the days for subtle intimations and they take their own advice to “shout it from the roofs, don’t be discreet” on A World On Fire, one of the album’s strongest vocal hooks, with Watson layering on the bagpipe guitar licks.

As before, spirit outweighs skill across their changing musical landscape, whether on the heart-on-sleeve war requiem Desert Dust, the unhinged garage rock urgency of Kaputt, the (relatively) haunting Refugee or with the pacey, propulsive synth rocker Subbotnik, which sounds like a belligerent Shot by Both Sides, resulting in an album which stays true to their legacy, offering a hearty greeting but baring a troubled soul.

For a while back there it felt as if Neil Young was the only musician raising a stink about anything – sadly, the music often stank along with it. Happily, he sounds in better shape on The Visitor, his latest wildly eclectic – and, in some places, just wild – collaboration with current backing compadres Promise of the Real, a bunch of young(er) guns including Willie Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah, which was released late last year but is now available on vinyl.

Once more, Young goes straight for the political jugular, re-appropriating Trump’s campaign catchphrase on Already Great, which combines a gnarly, grungy sound with melancholy harmonies, burnished psychedelic guitar, plus jazzy piano in a loose but powerful protest anthem.

The thoughtful acoustic lament Almost Always is standard Young territory but he also rap-rant-raves over the band’s light, soulful refrain on the distorted blues of Fly By Night Deal and plays the fairground barker riding the sonic carousel on the playful Latin-flavoured Carnival, while MOR number Children of Destiny is, by turns, a booming, brassy anthem and beseeching, string-driven ballad from a steadfast artist determined to keep on rocking in the free world.

Having “toured till the wheels came off”, Californian leather boys (and girl) Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have simply checked the air and filled up their trusty machine with the same old indie rock’n’roll fuel on their eighth album – who knew there was life left in their wasted frames? Much of Wrong Creatures just sounds like out-takes from the latest Jesus & Mary Chain album and a couple of overlong numbers sag in the middle, but the sultry croon of Haunt, melodramatic swell of Echo, bluesy Little Thing Gone Wild and soused psychedelic lurch of Circus Bazooko revive the overall dynamics.


Shostakovich: Symphony No 6 & Sinfonietta (Alpha) ****

If any of Shostakovich’s symphonies testifies to the composer’s lighter charm, it is his Sixth. In this debut recording by the Estonian Festival Orchestra – a group created six years ago by conductor Paavo Järvi – that charm is spiritedly captured by the young musicians. The playing is deliciously fresh and alive, the passive grit of the opening Largo offset by the whimsical twists of the progressively faster Allegro and Presto. The final moments are a veritable riot of colour. Yet, as with all Shostakovich, there is a darkness lurking beneath the surface, which Järvi’s pungent vision forever hints at. The partnering work is Abram Stasevich’s strings and timpani arrangement of Shostakovich’s haunting 8th String Quartet, known as the Sinfonietta and written in response to “the victims of fascism and war”, performed here, to varying degrees, with daunting intensity, feverish venom and, finally, a mystical stillness in the closing bars.

Ken Walton


Chris Stout/Catriona McKay: Bare Knuckle (Bare Knuckle Music) *****

Mitts off indeed, but the first album in seven years from virtuosic duo of fiddler Stout and harpist McKay is a marvellously creative match, if still, characteristically, striking sparks.

The opening pulse of Seeker Reaper evokes the engine thrum of the Loch Fyne ring-netter – the boat with “a solan’s hert” – of George Campbell Hay’s incantatory poem of the same title, and the album continues to pulsate with life, as in the jubilant bounding of Dealer in Hope or the silverfish sinuosity of the title track.

There are contemplative moments too, as with the plangent fiddle strains evoking a lost age in Tingaholm, and a languorous South American excursion in Villa Lobos’s Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4 Prelúdio, while Louise’s Waltz, written for a departed friend, could as easily have remained a lament, but instead the melancholy coalesces and erupts into a defiant surge, the life-affirming energy of which permeates this whole album.

Jim Gilchrist

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Fiona Shepherd"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661763.1516021322!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661763.1516021322!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Skids PIC: Gordon Smith","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Skids PIC: Gordon Smith","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661763.1516021322!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-preview-jim-gilchrist-picks-his-celtic-connections-highlights-1-4661671","id":"1.4661671","articleHeadline": "Music preview: Jim Gilchrist picks his Celtic Connections highlights","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516016504000 ,"articleLead": "

Contemplating the roots music behemoth that is Glasgow’s Celtic Connections can induce a dizzying bewilderment akin to that induced by the annual first sighting of an Edinburgh Fringe programme. As the programme truncheons you with statistics – 2,100 artists participating in 300 events at 20 venues across the Dear Green Place – choosing just what to attend can be a challenge, although for those nervous of straying beyond the security of their preferred genres, the online programme helpfully lists them under folk, Americana, world, fusion etc. Such choices are always invidious, but here are a few to consider.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661670.1516016501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Shawn Colvin PIC: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music"} ,"articleBody": "

The opening 25th Anniversary Concert in Glasgow Royal concert Hall will be suitably celebratory, featuring Cherish the Ladies and Sharon Shannon, both of whom participated in the very first Connections, as well as many more who have played the festival since. The concert’s musical director is jazz-folk pianist Dave Milligan, who also performed in the original event.

A major development sees the festival move into the capacious Hydro for the first time, as violinist and director Greg Lawson reassembles his GRIT Orchestra, formed two years ago for a spectacular arrangement of the late Martyn Bennett’s eponymous album, this time performing music from Bennett’s Bothy Culture album, and, intriguingly, featuring an appearance by stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill, whose breathtaking YouTube video The Ridge uses Bennett’s music.

Back in the Concert Hall, other eclectically diverse headliners include the virtuoso fiddle-harp duo Chris Stout and Catriona McKay with the Scottish Ensemble, King Creosote and other guests including Brazilian singer Marcelo Preto and hugely popular songsmith Dougie MacLean, while the mighty Fiddler’s Bid share a bill with Finnish fiddle heroes Frigg. Also at the Concert Hall is electro-acoustic composer and pianist Max Richter with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and Malian diva Oumou Sangaré, while those perennial dust-raisers, Blazin’ Fiddles, will celebrate an anniversary of their own – their 20th – with US fiddler-songwriter Laura Cortese.

There’s a busy programme, too, at the Old Fruitmarket, ranging from the super-trio of Drever McCusker Woomble and Celtic Connections regular Brian Kennedy to a Bardic celebration on 25 January from the 12-strong Band of Burns, a cross-genre Northern Celtic Routes gathering curated by Swedish multi-instrumentalist Ale Möller, and a Dick Gaughan Benefit Concert featuring a stellar line-up paying tribute to Scottish folk’s most powerful conscience-jolter, currently battling ill health.

As ever, the festival presents a powerful bill of Americana, with, quite apart from the hugely popular, two-night Transatlantic Sessions, the Grammy-winning singer and guitarist Shawn Colvin, Colorado bluegrass outfit The Railsplitters (joined by Aberdeenshire balladeer Iona Fyfe, launching her debut album) and the potent vocal trio I’m With Her, featuring Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan.

Gaelic strands include the showcase Òrain nan Gàidheal / Songs of the Gael in the Concert Hall New Auditorium, featuring Julie Fowlis, Kathleen MacInnes, Karen Matheson, Griogair Labhruidh and many others; Fowlis is joined at the City Halls by Irish sean-nós star Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh while, at the CCA, Gaels Le Chèile @ Ceòl’s Craic presents young Scots and Irish Gaelic performers.

Other notable Irish visitors include KGB, not the secret police but that immeasurably more inspiring trio of piper Paddy Keenan with fiddler Frankie Gavin and accordionist Dermot Byrne, and Irish-American fiddler Liz Carroll with Trevor Hutchinson and Séan Óg Graham and Niamh Dunne, while two enticing Scots-Irish bills at the Strathclyde Suite are the Cathal McConnell Trio, the veteran singer, flautist and tradition-bearer joined by rising Scots singer Hannah Rarity and acclaimed young singer and bouzouki player Daoiri Farrell with Scots Border singer and fiddler Lori Watson.

In another genre altogether, those peerless jazz sparring partners Tommy Smith and Brian Kellock are at the Concert Hall’s New Auditorium, supported by award-winning young pianist Fergus McCreadie, while several tribute concerts include Arrest this Moment, celebrating the much missed Dundee surrealist Michael Marra, with his biographer James Robertson joined by Alice and Chris Marra, Karine Polwart, Rab Noakes and dancer Frank McConnell.

These are just a few of those 300 events in this 25th year of what has become the largest winter music festival anywhere, ranging from concert hall extravaganzas to gems of performance in intimate venues. Take a deep breath and delve into the programme for yourself.

Celtic Connections, 18 January to 4 February, celticconnections.com

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jim Gilchrist"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661670.1516016501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661670.1516016501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Shawn Colvin PIC: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Shawn Colvin PIC: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661670.1516016501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-review-the-skids-king-tut-s-glasgow-1-4661592","id":"1.4661592","articleHeadline": "Music review: The Skids, King Tut’s, Glasgow","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516011751000 ,"articleLead": "

THE Skids’ 40th anniversary year exceeded expectations so the Dunfermline punk veterans are running with it right into 2018, starting with two intimate shows at King Tut’s allowing the band to show off some new songs from Burning Cities, their first new album since 1981.They opened their account with the live debut of assertive album opener This Is Our World, and it quickly became apparent that a venue as small as Tut’s could not quite contain the sound and fury of The Skids, tempered though it is with age and Richard Jobson’s obvious delight at being on a stage with his bandmates – pinballing about for all he was worth in the tight space he thrashed out for himself.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661591.1516011746!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Skids"} ,"articleBody": "

The Skids, King Tut’s, Glasgow ****

In the end, the group, featuring original bassist William Simpson, drummer Mike Baillie and father-and-son guitarists Bruce and Jamie Watson, only offered two more newbies – the catchy call to arms A World On Fire and the propulsive, celebratory One Last Chance with skirling guitars in tribute to their late guitarist Stuart Adamson and Jobson so wrapped up in the intro that he missed his cue to start singing – making way for fan and band favourites from the first three Skids albums.

Charade and the folk punk rabble-rousing of Hurry on Boys connected on a primitive level, while there was no need to spell out the continuing relevance of Working For the Yankee Dollar, their groovy new wave takedown of the military-industrial complex.

The Saints Are Coming was as musically mighty and lyrically desolate as ever and there was enduring food for thought in their cautionary cyberpunk tale Charles with the continuing rise of AI.

Even the dumb thrash of TV Stars gained some piquancy with the usual roll call of Corrie characters replaced with the names of current politicians.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Fiona Shepherd"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661591.1516011746!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661591.1516011746!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Skids","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Skids","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661591.1516011746!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-review-scottish-chamber-orchestra-robin-ticciati-1-4661580","id":"1.4661580","articleHeadline": "Music review: Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Robin Ticciati","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516011570000 ,"articleLead": "

“This concert ranges widely” went the SCO’s own description of its concert. With music from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries taking in all the big musical styles, plus a couple of complementary Czech works thrown in, that felt like rather an understatement. There was a risk, in fact, that the evening might have ended up more like the first part of its “Chaos and Creation” title than the second.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661579.1516011566!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Robin TicciatiPhoto: Marco Borggreve"} ,"articleBody": "

Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Robin Ticciati ****

Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

It was indeed risky, unconventional programming, but it paid off magnificently, not only allowing the SCO players and conductor Robin Ticciati to show their exceptional mettle across a number of incarnations – from exuberant, full-blown period band, complete with a rippling continuo trio of harpsichord, theorbo and guitar, to rich, luscious, late-Romantic ensemble – but also setting themes and ideas skittering between the various contrasting pieces.

Ticciati ended up jiving arm-in-arm with his players in a wonderfully spirited account of Rebel’s Les élémens, a flamboyant pictorial evocation of the creation from the high Baroque, complete with chaotic dissonances and chirruping birdsong. Its Biblical subtext was echoed in Dvořák’s Biblical Songs, given a restrained but beautiflly nuanced reading by Karen Cargill, captivating and full of simmering power.

Dvořák’s Czech counterpart was Martinů, whose rarely heard Rhapsody-Concerto got a strongly defined, nimble account from SCO principal viola Jane Atkins, from bucolic idyll through to restless questing, and Ticciati closed with a punchy, sparkling Haydn “Miracle” Symphony. It was an evening of contrasts and connections, full of supple, thoughtful, invigorating music making.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "David Kettle"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661579.1516011566!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661579.1516011566!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Robin TicciatiPhoto: Marco Borggreve","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Robin TicciatiPhoto: Marco Borggreve","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661579.1516011566!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/theatre/scot-s-play-about-muhammad-ali-in-paisley-punches-above-its-weight-1-4660635","id":"1.4660635","articleHeadline": "Scot’s play about Muhammad Ali in Paisley punches above its weight","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515887265000 ,"articleLead": "

A controversial visit by boxing icon Muhammad Ali to Scotland at the height of his fame is to inspire a new comedy drama more than half a century later.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4660633.1515930713!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali) takes part in an exhibition bout at Paisley Ice Rink in August, 1965, with Jimmy Ellis."} ,"articleBody": "

The Greatest, which will get its world premiere during the Glasgow International Comedy Festival, will recall his infamous exhibition bout at Paisley Ice Rink in August, 1965.

Ali left the arena with boos from hundreds of boxing fans ringing in his ears after what they felt was a half-hearted performance against fellow American Jimmy Ellis.

But the debut stage play from journalist and stand-up comic Alan Muir will suggest Ali had been knocked off his stride the night before his Paisley appearance – after being flattened by a “ginger-haired Glaswegian”.

Billed as “a play packed with heart, smarts and enough punchlines to rival even The Greatest himself”, the show will have a week-long run at Oran Mor, in Glasgow’s west end, in March as part of its award-winning “A Play, A Pie and A Pint” series.

The Greatest is set in a care home, where an unlikely friendship is struck up following a chance encounter between Jimmy, a cantankerous pensioner, and Orwell, a cynical young video blogger.

Ali was at the height of his fame when he landed at Glasgow Airport in August 1965 before it had even been officially opened.

He had been crowned heavyweight champion of the world in 1964, when he also changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali after converting to Islam.

Ali was greeted by a ladies’ pipe band in Glasgow, where he also dropped into the city’s Oakbank Hospital, and he also visited the Ayrshire cottage where Robert Burns was born in 1759.

The visit was to be the only time that Ali would wear his gloves to fight in Scotland. But it was not an occasion for the boxer to recall with any great affection after he was heckled and jeered, despite him telling the barracking crowd: “All booing must stop when the king’s in the ring.”

Ali famously cancelled his hotel booking for the night and turned up at Glasgow Airport asking to be put on “the first flight outta here”.

Muir, 43, from Cumbernauld, said: “I’ve always been fascinated by Muhammad Ali. He was a true icon – both in and out of the ring. I was amazed when I found out he had visited Scotland in 1965 to take part in an exhibition bout in Paisley of all places.

“The more I uncovered about his visit to Scotland in August of that year, the more I knew I had to write about it. It was fascinating, funny and a slice of Scottish history I had never heard before.

“As fate would have it, it tied in perfectly with a play I was planning – featuring an unlikely friendship between a cantankerous pensioner and a young video blogger.

“The Greatest isn’t just a story about boxing – at its heart it’s about human connection and the importance of family – in whatever form it comes. I hope it’s also funny into the bargain. Jimmy in particular is a brilliant character to write – brimming with one-liners and gloriously profane insights.

“Orwell – his video biographer and confidant –is a great match for him, and the pair challenge each other as their unusual friendship grows. The Greatest touches on a range of themes – happiness, friendship, inclusion, masculinity and the perils of living in the past while you’re trying to hold on to today – and the small matter of whether the world’s greatest boxer was flattened by a ginger Glaswegian.”

The Greatest is being staged at Oran Mor a year after it hosted the world premiere of a new play inspired by one of Scotland’s most unlikely sporting heroes – Jocky Wilson. It recalled a famous incident when the darts favourite was travelling around the US playing exhibition matches, staying up so late that he was forced to hitch 400 miles to Las Vegas after missing his bus.

Muir added: “A Play, A Pie and A Pint is a Scottish institution and it’s a dream come true to be bringing my first play to life with them. They have a fantastic track record of producing funny, moving and thought-provoking plays. I’m so excited to be working with the talented team.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BRIAN FERGUSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4660633.1515930713!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4660633.1515930713!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali) takes part in an exhibition bout at Paisley Ice Rink in August, 1965, with Jimmy Ellis.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali) takes part in an exhibition bout at Paisley Ice Rink in August, 1965, with Jimmy Ellis.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4660633.1515930713!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4660634.1515930719!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4660634.1515930719!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Greatest is the debut stage play from journalist and stand-up comic Alan Muir. Photograph: Robert Perry","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Greatest is the debut stage play from journalist and stand-up comic Alan Muir. Photograph: Robert Perry","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4660634.1515930719!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/interview-esther-rantzen-1-4660181","id":"1.4660181","articleHeadline": "Interview: Esther Rantzen","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515801633000 ,"articleLead": "

Broadcaster Esther Rantzen is on the phone. She comes down the line, loud and clear, charming, polite, professional and she wants to talk.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4660180.1515780558!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Esther Rantzen, founder of Childline and The Silver Line Picture: Debra Hurford Brown"} ,"articleBody": "

She wants to talk about Childline, the child protection charity she set up more than 30 years ago to give vital free and confidential support to children and young people over the phone and online.

She wants to talk about the positive impact of fundraising on Childline, in particular about the efforts of Scotmid Co-operative who last year chose it as their charity of the year, raising more than £345,000 to allow Childline to answer around 85,000 calls, emails and online messages from children and young people in Scotland.

She also wants to talk about The Silver Line, the charity she founded in 2013 to do for older people what Childline did for the young – listen and help with a free, confidential 24/7 phone line to combat isolation, loneliness, harm and provide information, advice, as well as friendship through its telephone befriending service and conference calls.

And finally, she wants to talk to you if you have used Childline in the past in Scotland. She’d love you to come forward as she wants to meet you and hear how it helped. And if your name is Fiona and were a volunteer counsellor for the charity in Glasgow in the 1990s, she particularly wants to hear from you, as does Karen, a child you helped, now grown up, who would like to thank you.

“We would love to track down Fiona O, that’s what she called herself,” says Rantzen. “She was a Scottish volunteer counsellor who helped this child, now a young adult, who says she wouldn’t be here without the help she had. She showed me a copy of the letter Fiona had sent her. I would love to get a message to Fiona, because volunteer counsellors only see a snapshot. They don’t get to see the end of the story and Karen would like to thank her.”

Rantzen is not just a talker – she’s a listener too, balancing the yin and yang of communication with consummate ease so it’s a no-brainer that the two charities she has set up are all about listening to those in need. Esther is a do-er as well, and uses her skills to make things happen.

Now 77, she blazed a trail for women in the media, presenting the popular TV show, That’s Life! on BBC1 for 21 years until 1994. She also founded two national charities, fought in the 2010 General Election, was awarded an OBE, a Damehood, multiple BAFTAS and doctorates, and along the way managed to have a laugh. On That’s Life!, a magazine mix of hard items and humour, as well as getting us all to wear seatbelts (yes, there was a time when a lot of people just didn’t bother), raising awareness of child abuse and championing child organ donation, they also provided all the talking dogs (“sausages”) and rude vegetables a pre-internet generation required. On top of that she raised a family of three – Miriam, TV presenter Rebecca and Joshua, with award-winning documentary filmmaker Desmond Wilcox.

When Childline launched in 1986 it hit a nerve – 50,000 attempted calls the first night, and levels stayed that high for six weeks. “We couldn’t answer all those calls and prayed they would keep trying,” she says. “I still get emails from children who tried that first night and got through, and from those who didn’t but the knowledge someone was there gave them courage and confidence. I know from their emails that Childline transformed their lives and for the first time they had hope that things could change, that someone did care and it wasn’t their fault. That remains our message to young people: someone does care, they are valued and it’s not their fault.”

Thirty years on Rantzen is in reflective as well as optimistic mode, a timely Janus looking to the past and future of the charity she created and the challenges young people face.

“When I look back I’m amazed at those very first calls – often from red phone boxes where children had run in the middle of the night, with drunks banging on the glass – and for the first seven years or so the most common problem was sexual abuse because it had been the great taboo. They hadn’t been able to talk about it to anyone else and thought they wouldn’t be believed. They thought it was their fault, were extremely ashamed and guilty, and didn’t know how to ask for help. So things have improved since then.”

She goes on, “And now young people have mobile phones so they can ring safely wherever they are and can contact us online – 72 per cent of our counselling sessions are now done online. Also young people recognise more that sexual abuse is not their fault. Except when it comes to sexting, where they are persuaded to send explicit photographs. That’s part of the new dangers that have become more common with the internet. Because sexting has been normalised it leads young people into danger of being pressured into giving money or engaging in sexual activities and other things they are not happy doing, for fear images they have put online will be sent to friends and family.”

Yet while Rantzen highlights the new dangers that technology presents for the young – cyberbullying is another – she also points out the benefits of the internet age with most children having access to mobiles, tablets and computers.

“The internet is also a place that enables young people to get help from Childline, from our message board, through emails and one-to-one counselling online. A group of kids came to one of our Childline bases the other day and I said if you were really unhappy would you find it easier to ring up Childline or talk to us online and unanimously they wanted to talk to us online. They felt more comfortable, and it’s the way they talk to each other.”

Although more than four million young people have been helped over the years Rantzen is keen to reach more. “One in four doesn’t get through to us,” she says, and more money and volunteer counsellors are needed.

“Our money comes from the public, from fantastic people who do generous things and from those like Scotmid Co-operative and their customers who come up with the most ingenious ways of raising money. I personally think that the abseilers are out of their minds – and extraordinary and impressive.”

With the first Childline generation grown up, they are talking about their experiences and in turn fundraising and going into caring professions. “Saved children save other children,” she says. “Also we have outreach in schools and I think, I hope, Childline has become part of the language.

“But The Silver Line hasn’t and we need to spread awareness, because there are still too many who have never heard of it.”

The Silver Line is Rantzen’s other charity, the helpline she set up for older people who are feeling isolated or who suffer from intense loneliness who would love to have someone to talk to. It’s free, confidential and open 24/7, and aims to link older people to services that exist around the country, provide a befriending service to fight loneliness and also empower anyone suffering abuse or neglect, putting them in touch with specialist services. There are regularly weekly friendship phone calls, group calls and letters for those who prefer the written word or are hearing impaired.

Rantzen stresses the number: “0800 4 70 80 90. So people remember, we set it out this way – 0800 because it’s free, then who’s it for, 4, and it’s for the 70, 80, 90 year olds. Easy.”

The Silver Line came about from Rantzen’s own experiences after her husband Desmond Wilcox died in 2000, then her children grew up and left home. Writing about her loneliness in the media, she touched a nerve with the public and the idea of another helpline was born.

“I think it’s because I downsized and found myself living alone aged 71. For the first time I really did feel that loneliness and when I wrote about it was inundated with so much response. Some of the letters said how brave of you to be so honest and I realised there is a stigma attached to loneliness, to admitting it. Twenty five years earlier there had been a stigma attached to abuse happening to children and now there’s a stigma about loneliness among older people, so could a helpline be the answer?”

It was and since its inception in 2013 The Silver Line has helped more than a million and a half older people, “most of whom tell us they have nobody else in their lives they can talk to,” she says.

“Loneliness is usually associated with loss. Loss of a loved one – they’ve died, moved away or may be suffering from dementia so have moved away emotionally – or the loss of sight or hearing, or of a driving licence. It can be very painful but having someone to ring on a regular basis and people to talk to makes all the difference, gives them something to look forward to and to feel valued.

“Admitting to loneliness is a bit like being in a restaurant nobody wants to eat in. People feel it reflects badly on themselves and also they don’t want to be a burden on their families who might be struggling.”

Esther, however, has no fear of speaking out, publicly or privately. She walks the talk and she’s never off the phone, whether work-related, or to family and friends.

“I’ve got two friends I ring every day, probably about four times. And my late husband and I used to phone each other at least half a dozen times a day. So I’m very accustomed to the telephone being a lifeline in my own life. I think the telephone can be a heart to heart, mind to mind way of communicating with people, sometimes easier than face to face.

“With my friends we talk about anything and everything. Except Brexit! We don’t talk about Brexit. Politics is fine, Brexit isn’t. And Trump – the good thing about Trump is he’s not here so we can’t blame ourselves for Trump.”

She laughs. Has she always been a talker?

“I don’t know…. I hope I’m a listener too. It’s possible to be both.”

Still full of life, Rantzen doesn’t appear to be slowing down. The night before she’s done a public Q&A in a London theatre with her daughter Rebecca and would like to do more, there’s Childline and The Silver Line, two grandsons of four and two, and she was due to board a cruise to take in the Northern Lights this month. She’s always been good at juggling a busy schedule, but admits it wasn’t always easy when the children were young.

“It was terrible. I was guilty at work, not being at home, and guilty at home, not being at work. And my children sometimes use it against me,” she says, ruefully and laughs.

Did they ever threaten to phone Childline?

“In fact two of them have rung Childline and found it very useful. I don’t know what they said, but there you are…

“You see Childline works through the child and the child talks to them, and often it’s the parents who help their children get through on the helpline, and Childline helps them talk to their parents. So it’s a collaboration, all those who really care about the children working together.”

Despite the challenges of a busy career and home life, Rantzen only has two regrets, that she didn’t learn to dance as a child – “then I might have done better on Strictly [she took part in the second series in 2004], poor Anton, bless his heart”, and that she hadn’t learnt to cook better.

“Desmond was rather good,” she says. “He did a wonderful roast lamb with onion sauce. It was terrific! Gorgeous. Sunday afternoons...mmmm.” She laughs again, her voice warm down the phone. A phone call with Rantzen is a positive experience that also embraces the difficult subjects she’s made it her job to champion.

“I suppose as a journalist, I tend to look into dark corners and see if there’s a way we can focus a little light and improve things a bit,” she says. “That’s definitely a need in me, I suppose. I find that very satisfying.”

And a healthy injection of That’s Life! style fun. Rantzen has always been a big believer in the power of laughter.

“I think it’s important. In fact if I were prime minister I’d make it a law: everyone should have fun at least once a day. One of the sad things is when I ask our Silver Line callers what do you do for fun and so many of them say oh, I haven’t had fun for years. Fun’s just for young people. No, it isn’t!”

With our time up she’s going to fulfil her fun quota, enjoying Mel Brooks on BBC’s, The One Show, on iPlayer.

“I was watching that when you rang,” she says. “Mel Brooks is my hero. He’s brilliant. He’s 91 and just extraordinary. He always was a genius, and he still is, and people improve with time. If they’re lucky and keep their strength, people just improve with time.”

Childline, call 0800 1111, 
The Silver Line, 0800 4 70 80 90, 

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4660180.1515780558!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4660180.1515780558!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Esther Rantzen, founder of Childline and The Silver Line Picture: Debra Hurford Brown","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Esther Rantzen, founder of Childline and The Silver Line Picture: Debra Hurford Brown","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4660180.1515780558!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/under-the-radar-shredd-1-4660113","id":"1.4660113","articleHeadline": "Under the Radar: Shredd!","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515775516000 ,"articleLead": "

Glasgow satellite towns such as Paisley, Bellshill and Hamilton have long served as talent feeders for acts the metropolis claims as its own. In 2018 the Le Corbusier-inspired seat of learning, Cumbernauld, could soon be joining the list thanks to the self-described garage fuzz rock outfit Shredd!

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4660112.1515775514!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Shredd!"} ,"articleBody": "

The trio kicked off last year with the EP Every Time We Meet I Want To Die, which was followed by the singles Cobra and our favourite, Flight Of Stairs. Moreover, sell-out headline shows along with slots at Stag & Dagger, Tenement Trail and the BBC 6 Music Festival, led to the band being crowned best newcomer act at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards.

Plans are afoot to record a new EP in the spring to be followed by an album and UK tour later in the year. In the meantime, Shredd! play Edinburgh’s Sneaky Pete’s on 30 January and Glasgow’s Stereo on 16 February. soundcloud.com/shredd-music

Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon run the Born To Be Wide music industry events and seminars. Their next events take place on 1 & 2 February. www.borntobewide.co.uk

Under the Radar is in association with Off Axis, a free touring and gig swapping network enabling artists to play shows and festivals to guaranteed audiences in over 75 UK towns and cities, and build fanbases nationwide – be part of it https://whatisoffaxis.com

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4660112.1515775514!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4660112.1515775514!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Shredd!","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Shredd!","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4660112.1515775514!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/film/film-reviews-darkest-hour-three-billboards-outside-ebbing-missouri-eric-clapton-a-life-in-12-bars-1-4660109","id":"1.4660109","articleHeadline": "Film reviews: Darkest Hour | Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri | Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515775305000 ,"articleLead": "

Despite Gary Oldman’s Oscar-baiting performance as Churchill, an underpowered script filled with wafer-thin characterisations undermines his good work in Darkest Hour

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4660108.1515775301!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kristin Scott Thomas and Gary Oldman star as Clementine and Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour PIC: Jack English / Focus Features"} ,"articleBody": "

Darkest Hour (PG) **

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (18) ***

Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars (15) **

The most memorable scene in Joe Wright’s Ian McEwan adaptation Atonement was a five-minute unbroken shot of James McAvoy wandering along Dunkirk beach in a sort of fever dream, his character’s status as a small cog in a hitherto mishandled war reinforced by the way Wright’s drifting camera took in the surrounding carnivalesque chaos of an outflanked army beating a hasty retreat to the sea. That ability to slip from a micro to a macro view of the Second World War in a single shot is replicated in multiple different ways in Wright’s new film, Darkest Hour, which itself zooms out from the Dunkirk miracle to dramatise the back-room politicking surrounding Winston Churchill’s appointment as Prime Minister in the weeks preceding it. As Wright’s vertiginous camera repeatedly takes us from the chaos of the ground to the entomological serenity of the air (and vice versa), he reinforces the global importance of the decisions being frantically debated by the British government in these crucial moments of May 1940. Sadly that visual bravado isn’t enough to combat a script – by The Theory of Everything’s Anthony McCarten – that seems intent on sounding everything out in the manner of The King’s Speech. Even though there’s a natural overlap between the two stories, Darkest Hour does itself no favours trying to evoke the reassuring nostalgia of that film by setting out to mythologise Churchill once again as Britain’s greatest Briton.

From the moment we’re introduced to Gary Oldman’s prosthetically enhanced Churchill – dining on a breakfast of brandy, cigars and fried eggs; a plinky-plonk score signposting his irascible, rebellious nature – it’s clear this isn’t going to be a particularly nuanced account of his life, even if Oldman does sneak the odd trace of Sid Vicious into his portrayal of him as the establishment’s most anti-establishment figure. Sticking two fingers up to the appeasers who want a negotiated peace, Winston is the only one in the government who understands that a protracted and devastating war will be necessary to protect British sovereignty from the threat of Hitler. Yet that’s also one of the sticking points of the film. Though it reminds us that thoughts of appeasement didn’t vanish the moment Neville Chamberlain resigned, the weight of history is surely great enough to render unnecessary any need to turn Chamberlain (Ronald Pickup) and foreign secretary Viscount Halifax (Stephen Dillane) into the moustache-twirling antagonists they’re presented as here. Their wafer-thin characterisation feels like a very laboured attempt to shoe-horn in a Brexit analogy, one that falls apart thanks to a rather fanciful scene late on in which Churchill makes the decision to go to war after consulting with the great-unwashed on a tube ride en route to parliament.

Naturally it all builds up to the famous “fight them on the beaches” speech signified by the title – yet the rousing patriotic uplift of that oft-invoked piece of oratory has already been poignantly interrogated and undercut by the final moments of Christopher Nolan’s superior Dunkirk. For all Wright’s talent and Oldman’s Oscar-baiting transformation, Darkest Hour is less than the sum of its parts, a high-school-level history primer destined to be forgotten the moment the awards season is over.

As a grief-hardened mother determined to keep the recent rape and murder of her daughter in the minds of the local police, Frances McDormand is so good in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri it’s impossible not to be on her side – no matter how irrational she becomes, no matter how unpleasant her views . In a world of bigoted, violent and none-to-bright men, her character, Mildred Hayes, strides through the titular (fictional) town like an avenging angel, ready to tongue-lash priests, drill holes in vindictive dentists and kick bratty teens in the crotch whenever they get in her way. As written and directed by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges), she feels like the embodiment of the current “Time’s Up” moment – a necessary expression of rage who’s mad as hell and isn’t going to take it any more. She’s a force of nature, trapped by circumstance in small town purgatory and McDonagh fans the flames of this metaphor by puncturing the somewhat absurd plot with several arson attacks, one of which sets Sam Rockwell’s hate-filled, racist cop on a path to redemption that feels a little too easily earned.

That’s not to fault Rockwell’s performance (he’s almost too good), it’s merely to point out the limits of setting up the world of Ebbing as a symbolic playground rather than a town that’s properly rooted in reality or the history of the South: the film’s scabrous exploration of prejudice remains very much on the surface. Still, McDormand’s blazing performance is impossible to deny.

Running through his troubled childhood, his myriad addictions and the tragic death of his toddler son, the documentary Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars makes a case for the virtuoso rock guitarist’s credentials as an authentic bluesman, albeit one whose dedication to the purity of black American music was called into question when he drunkenly championed the racist policies of Enoch Powell in the mid-1970s. To

the film’s credit, it confronts Clapton on this, but oddly fails in the much easier task of celebrating his musicianship thanks to the bizarre absence of any decent archival performance footage of him in his Yardbirds/Cream/Derek & the Dominoes prime. ■

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Alistair Harkness"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4660108.1515775301!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4660108.1515775301!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kristin Scott Thomas and Gary Oldman star as Clementine and Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour PIC: Jack English / Focus Features","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kristin Scott Thomas and Gary Oldman star as Clementine and Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour PIC: Jack English / Focus Features","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4660108.1515775301!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/regions/dundee-tayside/dundee-named-one-of-the-world-s-most-design-savvy-cities-1-4658251","id":"1.4658251","articleHeadline": "Dundee named one of the world's most 'design-savvy' cities","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515765225055 ,"articleLead": "Dundee has been named of the seven most \"design-savvy\" cities in the world months ahead of the opening of its long-awaited V&A waterfront museum.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4658250.1515608283!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dundee's 80 million V&A Museum of Design is due to open to the public later this year."} ,"articleBody": "

The city was rated alongside Tokyo, Paris and Toronto by American broadcasting giant CNN in an article on its website.

Also cited as one of the leading "metropolises in the up" were Tbilisi, in Georgia, Muscat in Oman, and San Miguel de Allende, in Mexico.

CNN hailed Dundee as "the cultural comeback kid" in the article. It has been published just days after Dundee was named alongside Abu Dhabi, New Orleans, St Kitts, Los Angeles, Fiji and Borneo by Bloomberg as one of the world's "hottest destinations" to visit in 2018.

Dundee's new museum, which has been in the planning stages for more than a decade, is due to open in the "second half of 2018," with work underway to fit out the attraction designed by the leading Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.

It will host permanent displays charting Scotland's design heritage, as well as host regular exhibitions drawn largely from the V&A's own collections in London.

CNN's article stated: "It was once the UK capital of cash register production, but the decline of traditional industry and loss of jobs in the 1980s saw Dundee adopt a plan to reinvent itself as a cultural centre.

"A massive £1 billion regeneration masterplan kicked off in 2001 and the resulting transformation of the city has started to take hold, with the Dundee waterfront scheme set to hit crucial landmarks in 2018.

"It may have had its 2023 European Capital of Culture bid scuppered by Brexit but the city's under-construction £80 million V&A Museum of Design will open its doors within the next 12 months, placing it firmly on the international art map."

Gillian Easson, director of the Creative Dundee network, which recently published a five-year strategy to boost the creative industries sector in the city, said: "We're delighted to see Dundee in this list of top global cities for design and culture.

"We hear people talk about what Dundee 'will be' like in the future, so it's great to know the city’s current cultural scene is already on the map alongside many must-visit international destinations.

"As we celebrate 10 years of Creative Dundee this year, there’s an ever-increasing amount happening right across the city, from ambitious urban developments, to incredible community gardens, great events/shows and exhibitions, and brilliant local artists, musicians, designers and creative spaces. We're glad to see the growing recognition of our city and look forward to giving a typically warm Dundee welcome to visitors when they arrive."

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4658250.1515608283!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4658250.1515608283!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dundee's 80 million V&A Museum of Design is due to open to the public later this year.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dundee's 80 million V&A Museum of Design is due to open to the public later this year.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4658250.1515608283!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/stars-lined-up-for-glasgow-comedy-festival-s-16th-birthday-1-4657513","id":"1.4657513","articleHeadline": "Stars lined up for Glasgow comedy festival's 16th birthday","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515543688265 ,"articleLead": "

Alexei Sayle, Ed Byrne, David Baddiel, Bridget Christie and Mark Thomas will be among the big-name performers at the forthcoming Glasgow International Comedy Festival, organisers have revealed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4657512.1515543756!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alexei Sayle will be among the special guests at the Glasgow International Comedy Festival in March."} ,"articleBody": "

A record 54 venues will be hosting more than 500 shows between them during the 16th annual event, which will also feature the likes of Mark Steel, Shappi Khorsandi, Tom Allen, Richard Herring, Phill Jupitus, and Robin Ince

Leading Scottish comics in the line-up include Brian “Limmy” Limond, Fern Brady, Iain Stirling, Fred MacAulay, Craig Hill, Janey Godley, Richard Gadd and Mark Nelson.

A comedy crawl will take audiences around four bars in the city’s west end to see different performers, while a round-the-clock roadshow will take place over 12 hours.

More than 100,000 tickets are on sale for the forthcoming festival, which runs from 8-25 March.

It will include a series of special workshops for budding comedians which are being staged to coincide with Scotland’s Year of Young People.

Festival director Sarah Watson said: “As the festival grows, we’re proud to showcase diverse voices, styles and art forms.

“It’s great to have two exhibitions in the programme and we’re hugely pleased to welcome eight new venues, including Tramway, Glasgow School of Art and the Science Centre.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4657512.1515543756!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4657512.1515543756!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Alexei Sayle will be among the special guests at the Glasgow International Comedy Festival in March.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alexei Sayle will be among the special guests at the Glasgow International Comedy Festival in March.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4657512.1515543756!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/surge-in-vinyl-sales-helps-boost-charity-shop-profits-1-4656546","id":"1.4656546","articleHeadline": "Surge in vinyl sales helps boost charity shop profits","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515515158000 ,"articleLead": "

In this world of music downloads and streaming, it seems the allure of the hard copy still endures. And one charity shop in the west end of Glasgow has proved there is life yet in the charitable giving of vinyl and CDs.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4656697.1515515154!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Oxfam's Byers Road store in Glasgow is the charity's biggest success story - thanks to customers' love affair with vinyl and CDs"} ,"articleBody": "

Oxfam’s music store on Byres Road last year raked in a cool £100,000 net profit from the sale of records, CDs, cassettes and instruments. That was more than any other shop in the charity’s chain of 550-plus outlets across the UK.

For Andrew McWhinnie, the shop manager at Byres Road, successful trading is all down to a sense of community. Such is the buzz about music in the store that a string of famous faces are regular customers.

“We’ve had a few people in who people might know – people like Stuart Braithwaite from Mogwai, Franz Ferdinand and Belle and Sebastian,” he says. “We’ve had a few others – we had Jarvis [Cocker] in the shop. My wife nearly killed me because I never told her. A couple of months back Seasick Steve was in. Billy Connolly has been in.”

Gone are the days when charity shops were amateur affairs that gave away their treasures.

McWhinnie, who has been with Oxfam since 2002, employs a dedicated staff of around 30 volunteers to collate and market donations.

“We have tried to do what the independent shops do,” he says. “Instead of it being just a bargain shop, we have tried to categorise the music and try to make it as fun as we can for people to go through.”

But there is still a broad range of tastes and interests as you would imagine. Michael Jackson and Tom Waits happily brush shoulders with Duane Eddy and Showaddywaddy.

“We need to deal with the more bargain end of the market,” McWhinnie says.

“A lot of the other shops are not going to give you money for Rod Stewart or Meat Loaf – but we love Rod Stewart and Meat Loaf because people want it. Other record shops can’t afford to give money for it – maybe the mark-up is just not worth it for them – but it is for us.”

Oxfam are not alone in capitalising on people’s enduring love of owning physical copies of their music. Pete Jew, the manager of Shelter’s store in Stockbridge, Edinburgh, says the sales of media, both music and film, have increased massively over the last ten years.

“Now about a fifth of our turnover is thanks to the sale of music and film,” he says.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "IAN MARLAND"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4656697.1515515154!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4656697.1515515154!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Oxfam's Byers Road store in Glasgow is the charity's biggest success story - thanks to customers' love affair with vinyl and CDs","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Oxfam's Byers Road store in Glasgow is the charity's biggest success story - thanks to customers' love affair with vinyl and CDs","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4656697.1515515154!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/chill-out-places-to-be-created-in-edinburgh-city-centre-1-4656524","id":"1.4656524","articleHeadline": "‘Chill out places’ to be created in Edinburgh city centre","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515511161000 ,"articleLead": "

Two of Edinburgh’s main public spaces are to be turned into peaceful “chill out” spaces to herald the arrival of spring – following criticism they have been exploited for commercial uses and festival shows.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4656523.1515447687!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "St Andrew Square and The Mound precinct are to be turned into chill out spaces for a new spring event"} ,"articleBody": "

St Andrew Square and The Mound precinct will be transformed into “zen-like portals of tranquillity” for several weeks, complete with soothing music, light installations and animated images of the Aurora Borealis.

The free “Edinburgh Lumen” event, which is being funded to the tune of £80,000 by the city council, will also deploy a little-used lane beside the Assembly Rooms and Jamie Oliver’s Edinburgh restaurant.

It has been announced months after concerns from heritage bodies about the “creeping privatisation” of public areas for events and warnings that over-commercialisation was threatening the city’s authenticity.

City leaders said the new event, which will be launched just before Valentine’s Day and run for five hours each evening, is aimed at “celebrating the city in a more peaceful and reflective mood”.

The project, which the Edinburgh-based firm NL Productions is creating for the city, has been announced in the wake of the success of previous light installations staged in St Andrew Square since 2014.

They include Key Frames, which brought stop motion “stick figures” to the square, the Edinburgh International Festival curtain-raiser Bloom last summer, and Georgian Shadows, which saw key landmarks lit up to mark the New Town’s 250th anniversary.

Donald Wilson, culture convenor at the city council, said: “Edinburgh Lumen is our most ambitious light display yet. As the home of art and culture all year round, these unique pieces of public art have been specially designed for the landscape and for the people of Edinburgh to enjoy.

“They promise to adorn the city centre with a constellation of lights to guide us into spring and I’m sure they will draw an impressive footfall.”

Adam Wilkinson, director of Edinburgh World Heritage, said: “We support Edinburgh Lumen because it will hopefully encourage residents to explore the city during a quiet time of year and prompt a fresh look at our incredible historic environment.

“Sometimes we can take buildings and places we pass everyday for granted – creative activities such as this can help us better appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BRIAN FERGUSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4656523.1515447687!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4656523.1515447687!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "St Andrew Square and The Mound precinct are to be turned into chill out spaces for a new spring event","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "St Andrew Square and The Mound precinct are to be turned into chill out spaces for a new spring event","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4656523.1515447687!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/ones-to-watch-in-2018-singer-songwriter-lewis-capaldi-1-4657017","id":"1.4657017","articleHeadline": "Ones to watch in 2018: singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515507274000 ,"articleLead": "

Singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi has released just four tracks but they have been streamed so much, stratospheric success is within sight for the 21-year-old, writes Fiona Shepherd

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4657016.1515507270!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lewis Capaldi PIC: Andy Buchanan"} ,"articleBody": "

I’ve not been found out yet,” says Lewis Capaldi, with the pleasantly puzzled air of someone sore from all the pinch-me moments he has experienced in the last year. By his own admission, the 21-year-old Bathgate-bred troubadour has gone from an audience of eight to eight million in the last 12 months, with the illustrious likes of Chloë Moretz, Hailee Steinfeld, Ellie Goulding and One Direction’s Niall Horan – a particularly enthusiastic patron of his music – among that rapidly expanding fanbase. And all for a public catalogue of four songs, gathered together on the Bloom EP, which was released last autumn.

Thanks to the potential exhibited by these raspy pop confessionals, he ended 2017 as winner of the Breakthrough Artist at the Scottish Music Awards and begins this year on the list of nominees for the BBC Sound of 2018 title, which is traditionally a pretty accurate barometer of future commercial success. The Top 5 countdown starts this Monday on Radio 1.

“I’ve seen more places in the past year than my mum has seen in her life, and I’ve seen them from a very privileged point of view,” he reflects. “You go to see the skyscrapers of New York – I was getting to have meetings in these skyscrapers.”

For all the jet-setting, Capaldi remains refreshingly grounded, as only a man who writes in his parents’ garden shed can be. And if he wasn’t, his recent support tour with 2017’s big noise, Rag’n’Bone Man, would have brought him back down to earth with a bump.

“Some of the shows were quite tough,” he says, recalling some rite-of-passage heckling, “but I think that’s good cos it would be very easy, especially with the way the last few months have gone, to have my head in the clouds a bit. I think it’s good to have your feet pulled back to the ground with shows like that, where everyone’s like ‘go ahead, impress us’ and no one really cares about me, and I have to make them.”

Capaldi has past form when it comes to dealing with intransigent audiences. Like most overnight successes, there is a pretty prosaic backstory of dues-paying graft. In fact, Capaldi has been gigging across the Central Belt and writing his own songs since the tender age of 12, he says “constantly chipping away, gigging every weekend, picking up a guitar every single day, really putting in the effort to be a writer. But I was never writing and gigging because I wanted to be a big singer, it was just what I wanted to do in any capacity. I saw playing in the pub to four or five people as my idea of being a musician and I was still enamoured with it.”

Capaldi credits his older musician brother with leading by example, putting in a word with local promoters. “Hats off to the people who let me come in and play when I was that age. For me, I feel most at home when I’m playing live. It showed me the ropes a bit. It goes back to that thing that it’s good to be reminded that nobody actually cares who you are. I think that’s a good thing, I think it forces you to make some noise and make yourself known. That set me up nicely for this career that I’ve stumbled upon.”

For a couple of years, Capaldi played in a band. “We just ripped off The View completely,” he freely admits. Then he went through a “Beatles phase” which led him to Joe Cocker’s big, bluesy version of With A Little Help from My Friends. It was a lightbulb moment for the teenager who started to cultivate his own raspy tone. Unsurprisingly, Paolo Nutini is another inspiration from closer to home. Capaldi is a great fan of his supremely soulful Caustic Love album, though at this nascent stage Capaldi’s music has more in common with Nutini’s earlier pop material.

Just as his brother helped him get a foot in the gigging door, his parents proffered their shed as a songwriter’s retreat. “I’ve got quite a loud voice,” says Capaldi. “Mum and dad were growing tired of having me shout the house down, so they exiled me...”

He is comically dismissive of some of his efforts down the years. “Terrible songs,” he remembers, “trying to be an insightful 12-year-old… But it was good to get the songwriting muscle working. The sooner you start writing songs, the sooner you’ll get better. Anything I wrote before the age of 17 is probably worth putting a pin in and moving on.”

His first keeper was a song called Headspace, which is still part of his core set and would, he hopes, make it on to his debut album. Around the same time, he was accepted to take part in Hit the Road, a touring project for 14-19-year-olds which is run by the Scottish Music Centre, funded by Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative and gives young musicians viable experience and training in all aspects of touring. Thanks to his involvement, he met his manager and his prospects started to move up through the gears.

The breakthrough came a year ago when footage surfaced online of Capaldi performing the bare ballad Bruises in front of a capacity crowd at King Tut’s. The track became his official debut single and has since racked up 30 million streams on Spotify. He followed up with Lost On You, co-written with Fame Academy alumnus David Sneddon, who since his brief brush with reality TV has found his vocation as a songwriter for the likes of Lana Del Ray and Newton Faulker.

Since then, Capaldi has travelled far from the garden shed, including over to the States to collaborate with the Grammy-winning John Legend/Lorde/Frank Ocean producer Malay on the polished balladry of Fade.

“It only feels really in the last year, maybe two years that I’ve come into my own as a songwriter, being able to work with other people and learn from them,” he says. “For me I need the benefit of hindsight in order to craft a song properly. I wouldn’t have written Fade if I hadn’t written Bruises so all the songs have a knock-on effect to each other.”

In between winning awards and fielding tips-for-the-top, Capaldi is diligently amassing material for his debut album, but that particular production is still some way in the future, and may not be ready until the start of next year. Meanwhile, the touring continues in earnest, only this time Capaldi has swapped the bars and clubs of the Central Belt for established rock venues throughout the UK and Europe, including his biggest Scottish headline to date at Glasgow’s ABC. Yet when asked about his plans for 2018, Capaldi refuses to be distracted by the dazzle of budding success and adopts more of a taking-care-of-business attitude. “Keep the head down,” he says. “You’re only as good as your next song, so I’ve got a lot of work to be getting on with.”

Lewis Capaldi plays ABC, Glasgow on 17 February

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Fiona Shepherd"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4657016.1515507270!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4657016.1515507270!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lewis Capaldi PIC: Andy Buchanan","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lewis Capaldi PIC: Andy Buchanan","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4657016.1515507270!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/ones-to-watch-in-2018-folk-singer-hannah-rarity-1-4657011","id":"1.4657011","articleHeadline": "Ones to watch in 2018: folk singer Hannah Rarity","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515506841000 ,"articleLead": "

After touring from Japan to the USA while still a student, Hannah Rarity is more than ready to record her debut album, writes Jim Gilchrist

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4657010.1515506837!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hannah Rarity PIC: Martin Forry"} ,"articleBody": "

Among the more resonant moments during Phil Cunningham’s recent BBC 2 documentary Wayfaring Stranger, about the migration of Ulster Scots and their music to America, was when the Scots singer Hannah Rarity sang that classic anthem of leave-taking, The Parting Glass.

Warm-toned yet delicately poised, it demonstrated Rarity’s ability to utterly inhabit a song, an ability which has already seen the 25-year-old from West Lothian appear on BBC’s Hogmanay Live, perform with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and globe-hop with that redoubtable all-female Irish-American outfit, Cherish the Ladies. This coming year should see her consolidate her reputation when she records her debut album in the spring, but not before she appears at this month’s Celtic Connections with a revered folk veteran, Cathal McConnell, and competes in the final of the 2018 BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year.

Rarity’s first recording, which she released towards the end of 2016, was a six-track EP modestly titled Beginnings, although, in truth, things had started happening for her in no uncertain fashion a year or so before that. A year before graduating from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in June 2016, she landed an astonishing opportunity when Phil Cunningham, in his role as artistic director of the Conservatoire’s Scottish music course, asked if she was free to tour with Cherish the Ladies. Cunningham passed Rarity’s details on to the band’s leader, Joanie Madden, who phoned the bemused student. Two weeks later, Rarity was touring the United States with them.

The Scot travelled with the Ladies, on and off, for two years, from Japan to Alaska, while completing her studies. Her last stint with them to date began when she joined them at last January’s Celtic Connections, then on one of the musical cruises that Madden runs, before touring the States with them once again. She got home in May.

“I’ve been very lucky,” she says of being thrown in at the deep end while still a student. “That kind of experience is invaluable and it’s definitely given me a lot of insight into touring. They’ve been on the go for 30-odd years and they kind of live on the road.”

Yet Rarity grew up with little or no exposure to the music she has embraced so effectively. She was raised in Dechmont, West Lothian – an area renowned more for its UFO encounters than for traditional music. At school, however, she was recruited into the National Youth Choir of Scotland. “I did mainly classical with them, but the teacher I had while singing with NYCoS noticed that I tended to favour traditional-based material and that my voice suited it, so that planted the seeds quite early on.”

After two years at Glasgow University studying film and television, she realised that it wasn’t for her, and auditioned for the Scottish Music course at the Conservatoire, entering in 2012, where she was mentored by such established folk singers as Rod Paterson and Fiona Hunter, as well as spending a six-month stint at the University of Limerick’s Irish World Academy of Music, where she was tutored by Karan Casey.

She’s not sure whether this year will see her touring again with Cherish the Ladies, but she has turned down work over the spring as she prepares to go into Glasgow’s Glow Worm Studios to record her first full album, which should appear in the summer, with her regular band members, guitarist Innes White, piper and whistle-player Conal McDonagh and fiddler Sally Simpson, plus guests.

The recording will feature some favourite songs that Rarity says she has been “holding on to for quite a while. It’ll be a mixture of traditional and covers of material probably from Scots singer-songwriters. I particularly love the work of Davy Steele and Andy M Stewart. And there will be a couple of my own songs.

“I’m quite an emotional person, so I’m drawn to a song or a story that evokes an emotional response, either of joy or of sadness.”

The power of song is something that she and another collaborator, guitarist Luc McNally, deploy in their work with Live Music Now, the charity founded by Sir Yehudi Menuhin in the 1970s which takes music to communities which don’t often experience live performance. She and McNally had been performing in care homes shortly before we spoke.

Which brings us back to that poignant rendition of The Parting Glass which, she explains, for the purposes of the documentary, was a hybrid of Scottish and Irish versions of the song. “I really enjoyed doing that. It’s a song’s ability to connect with an audience that’s important. I like to leave them with something to ponder on while they’re at the concert or after they’ve left.”

The Cathal McConnell Trio and Hannah Rarity play Glasgow Royal Concert Hall’s Strathclyde Suite on 24 January as part of Celtic Connections. The BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year final is at City Halls, Glasgow on 28 January. See www.celticconnections.com; www.hannahrarity.com

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jim Gilchrist"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4657010.1515506837!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4657010.1515506837!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hannah Rarity PIC: Martin Forry","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hannah Rarity PIC: Martin Forry","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4657010.1515506837!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}