Celtic Connections review: Raghu Dixit Project/Shellie Morris, Glasgow

Singer-songwriter Raghu Dixit met an enthusiastic reception. Picture: Donald MacLeod
Singer-songwriter Raghu Dixit met an enthusiastic reception. Picture: Donald MacLeod
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The Celticness, for want of a better word, of connections being made at this year’s Celtic Connections is being stretched like never before, but this is no bad thing.

Raghu Dixit Project/Shellie Morris - Oran Mor, Glasgow

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Besides, there were straight – if long-stretching – parallels to be drawn here between the work of the artists appearing and the confluence of Western pop styles which might find Scottish folk music among its earliest tributaries.

There was a certain colonial sensibility – not in a historical sense, but rather in that the two artists involved have taken local traditions and the global influence of Western cultural colonialism to create a sound which is fresh and distinct.

First on stage, singer Shellie Morris is an acoustic performer whose measured style might be traced back to somewhere amidst Joni Mitchell and Patti Smith, but whose influences also stem from the indigenous folk music of her country.

Headlining was Raghu Dixit, a singer-songwriter from Bangalore in India whose Project is intended to cross international musical boundaries. A live quintet, they most resembled a traditional Western rock band, with the youthful, vest-wearing Dixit playing guitar and singing in a lively, upbeat tone which accentuated the crooner’s smoothness of his voice. Alongside him were a drummer, a bassist and a second guitarist, while a flautist offered a rich suggestion of Dixit’s own country’s traditional sound alongside the singer’s multilingual vocals.

An accessible border-crossing alternative to the sometimes stale nature of mainstream Western rock, the show entertained a multiracial and pan-generational crowd whose vigorous dancing and eager calls for more at the end seemed to leave Dixit beaming amusement.

Seen on 24.01.14