Sharon Shannon Band and Special Guests, Celtic Connections, The Old Fruitmarket, February 3, 2017.

Sharon Shannon Band and Special Guests, Celtic Connections, The Old Fruitmarket, February 3, 2017.

Feb 10, 2017

From the start this was a gig not to be missed. Packed into the Old Fruitmarket, Sharon Shannon made sure a great night was had by all.

Her first tune, “Neckbelly” had us bouncing along as Sharon asked us to “go mental” and have loads of fun. The tunes came quick and fast with sets like, “Coridinio,” “Rathlin” and “Sandy” filling the set list.

Then there was a wonderful song by guitarist, Jack Maher called “Smile” and to follow, to rapturous applause, came the Shannon classic “Blackbird”. Then it was time for “Potholes” in a very smooth set unlike our potholed roads of today.

Sharon gave us a sneak preview of her forthcoming new album, “Sacred Earth” which is due out in March. From it she played “Rusheen,” accompanied by Justin Adam (guitar), Abass Doodoo (percussion) and Jodie Bremanson (bass). “Pull Out All The Stops” followed and these were sweet set of tunes with a rocky backdrop of bass and drums blending well with the fiddle.

“The Machine” was a beautifully powerful song before we headed to “Francies Reel,” featuring a stunning style of playing with strong tones. The show finished with “The Mouth of Tobique” topped by the wonderful mouth song of Sean Reagan and no gig would be complete without “The Galway Girl”. It was a night of enchanting music and thrilling drum beats complemented by wonderful fiddle and the stunning playing of the awesome Sharon Shannon.

Sandy Pratt

Gary Innes, Celtic Connections, Drygate, February 2, 2017.

Gary Innes, Celtic Connections, Drygate, February 2, 2017.

Feb 10, 2017

This was the night Gary Innes launched his long awaited second album, “Era” twelve years on from his first “How’s The Craic”.

It was worth the wait. Gary says “the album is about growing old and very much family orientated” and he thanked his family and friends for the support in making it.

The tune Yarra Wine Valley was first up and dedicated to the War Veteran charity. After a trip to Australia Gary wanted to do something for the Vets and the tune came out of that trip. “Road To Lochaber” was a fantastic tune with a video made with the help of STV weather man, Sean Batty with views of Lochaber made with a drone video.

The band was joined on stage by Alec Dalglish of Skerryvore for the song, “Grace and Pride “ which Gary had penned following the 2104 Independence Referendum in Scotland. He needed someone who could put a voice to the song to make it sound better so and Alec was his first choice – and it was a great song to listen to.

From his Box Club Band days, Gary has been helped along by his good friend on keyboard, Duncan Lyle and that is how “Easy Street” came about following a tour of Britanny where they came a cross a street of that name. “May Life Always Be Peachy” was a tune dedicated to family members: he wrote it as a wedding gift and this was a sweet tune that would grace any wedding as a first dance.

Gary keeps a lot of the family in his mind with this album and his niece, “Zara” even gets her own tune as he recalls looking down at the pretty innocent face and thought one to match would be ideal. Robert Robertson came on stage to sing a poem Gary had written about shinty, a sport he took part in for 20 years. “The Caman Man” summed up the sport in the way Gary had both seen and played it.

We got an insight to the quiet side of the giant of shinty, music and his love for Scotland but mostly the love of his family: “Era” the album brings you a tune for all and all seasons.

Sandy Pratt

Robyn Stapleton, Songs of Robert Burns, St Andrews in the Square, January 25, 2017.

What a great way to spend Burns Night with the silky smooth voice of Robyn Stapleton, the BBC Radio Scotland Young Trad Musician of the 2014, described by Sheena Wellington as a “very special singer indeed”.

Robyn wowed the Celtic Connections’ audience from her first song, “Coming Thru the Rye” and continued with the “Slaves Lament,” “Ca The Yowes Tae The Knowes” and the wonderful solo “John Anderson” which fair echoed round the hall.

For anyone wanting a fix of Burns this was the place to be – “A Parcel of Rogues” was as welcome as “Rattlin Roarin Willie” and even “Rantin, Rovin Robin” would have sat at the nappy on this most couthy celebration of the Bard’s songs and music.

Robyn was joined on stage by Patsy Reid, Aaron Jones, Alistair Paterson, Signy Jakobsdottir and Innes White and a wonderful string quartet who all brought the show to a close with “A Man’s A Man” and “Auld Lang Syne”.

The support act was the very talented west coast Canadian band, Brishen fronted by Quinn Bashand, a voice of excellence with his own gypsy jazz style.

I wonder what Burns would have made of the songs like “Georgia “ and his own version of “Cheyene” plus tunes from Poland and Mexico that were in the evening’s mix and on his album, Blue Verdun.

Sandy Pratt

Phil Cunningham, Celtic Connections, Highlands and Island Suite 20th Anniversary, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall January 22, 2017.

The 20th Anniversary Concert at the Royal Concert Hall of Phil Cunningham’s
Highlands & Islands Suite was performed for the first time since 1997.

Working with composer/arranger, John Ashton Thomas, a brand new ensemble composition was unveiled, inspired by their shared love for the island of Iona. This made up one half of the concert and musicians from all departments of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland helped to further develop the original orchestration.

Under conductor John Logan some 70 musicians produced a wonderful fusion of folk and classical music. A 40-strong choir, great solo vocalist and unforgettable young pipers (who nearly brought the house down) made sure it was a truly unforgettable night.

Phil, the Artistic Director of the Traditional Music Degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, should be proud of all the talented young students we heard.

Sandy Pratt

Mànran – ‘An Dà Là – The Two Days’ Album of The Week 4th Jan 2017

Mànran – ‘An Dà Là – The Two Days’  Album of The Week 4th Jan 2017

Feb 10, 2017


Mànran – ‘An Dà Là – The Two Days’  Album of The Week 4   Jan 2017 Released on 20 Jan 2017







Band Members,

Gary Innes  / Ewan Henderson/ Ross Saunders / Ryan Murphy / Mark Scobbie /Craig Irving

‘2016 was arguably the band’s busiest on record with full tours of Denmark, Australia and England in the early part of the year leading into a hectic schedule of summer festivals throughout Europe. This included debut performances at Festival de Ortigueira in Galicia & Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ireland, a triumphant return to Denmark’s Tønder Festival and finishing off the year in style at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party. Despite all this time on the road, Mànran have now released their eagerly-anticipated third album, launched at a sold-out headline show in Glasgow’s legendary Barrowland Ballroom as part of Celtic Connections 2017’.
An Dà Là Gaelic expression for ‘great change and change’ Ranging from an old Gaelic song on the changes brought by the Highland Clearances to a call for today to have ‘compassion and humanity’ a direct call to the President in his mothers native tongue . Incorporating the changes not only over the centuries but to the bands new line up.

‘An Dà Là – The Two Days’ Tracs:-
1. Fiasco
2. Trod
3. Inspector
4. Pandora
5. Parallels
6. Autobahn
7. Fios
8. Alpha
9. Alone
10. An Dà Là
11. Strong
12. Hour

Other CD’s Mànran Debut Album 2011 / The Test 2013 /

Upcoming gigs:- 
March 3 Crafordjohn – Village Hall  / 4 Aird, Nevis Centre /
Germany  March 8 Illingen / 9 Leverkusen  – Scala / 10 Falkensee – Stadthalle / 11 Torgay – Kulturhaus / 12 Arnstadt – Theatre am / 12 Eisleben – Kulturwerk / 15 Cuxhaven – Hapaghalle / 16 Bargteheide – Kleines Theater / 17 Wilhelmshaven- Pumpwerk / 18 Potsdam – Lindenpark / Herdecke – Werner  / 21 Augsburg – Parktheater / 22 Reutl ingen – Kulturzentrum / 23 Ludwigsburb – Scala / 24 Hohenemus – Löwensaal/  25 Garching – Bugherhaus / 26 Traunreut – K1 /

Celtic Music Radio 95 FM, 54 Admiral Street, Kinning Park, Glasgow G41 1HU
| Telephone: 0141 237 9205 | Text: 0777 507 9595 | Email: |
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