The multi-faceted benefits of Transcendental Meditation

Tuesday May 31, 2016

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Whatever your particular health concerns or New Year’s resolutions may be—sharper memory, lower blood pressure, less stress … conventional wisdom leads a lot of us straight to the gym. But decades of research paints a fascinating, promising picture of what an effortless relaxation technique called Transcendental Meditation can do you for instead—without setting foot on that treadmill.

Yep, we said effortless. Transcendental Meditation, or TM, is 20 minutes, twice a day, of profound rest and relaxation, according to its fans. Meditators use a mantra to guide their minds to a place of stillness that (apparently!) exists within all of us—we’re just too stressed and stretched too thin to know it’s there. If the goings-on of our buzzing, frazzled minds are like the waves on top of the ocean, the inner quiet is like the silence at the ocean’s depths, says Bob Roth, executive director of the David Lynch Foundation, which brings TM to at-risk populations like domestic abuse survivors, inmates, and inner-city students.

You can do TM anywhere, but you’ve got to learn how first, typically over 4 consecutive days for about an hour to an hour and a half at a time, Roth explains, and from a certified teacher. It doesn’t require any particular religious, spiritual, or intellectual belief—even skeptics are welcome, he says.

Sitting comfortably, meditators close their eyes . “You think the mantra in a way that serves as a catalyst for the mind to turn within,” Roth says. That’s it.

Roth’s been practicing TM for more than 40 years now, and the research supporting his practice has been going on for about as long. Some of the latest, most intriguing work is expected to wrap up this year (which should make for some welcome support for next year’s resolutions).

Even soldiers meditate

Funded by a $2.4 million grant from the Department of Defense, it is examining over 200 war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. The vets have been randomized to one of three groups: One receives traditional treatment for PTSD, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy called prolonged exposure therapy, which involves addressing specific trauma events and the negative thoughts, feelings, and behavior associated with those traumatic exposures. Another participates in a health education program, learning about lifestyle changes they can make to manage PTSD and promote greater overall well-being. The third is trained in TM.

All three groups will have 12 sessions with treatment providers over a period of 3 months. Then researchers will compare the changes in their trauma symptoms, explains Sanford Nidich, EdD, the study’s principal investigator and a professor at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, [Iowa] where students get a “consciousness-based education” and everyone—students and faculty—practices TM.

So far, Nidich says, the veterans are fairly regular with their TM practice in the study. “They’re finding it’s easy to meditate,” he says. “In general, studies have found that psychotherapy can sometimes be rather intense, whereas TM is something the veterans and active military really enjoy doing and typically see immediate benefits.”

Another recent PTSD study, funded by the David Lynch Foundation, found that TM helped decrease medication use among military members with the condition. After a month, nearly 84% of the 37 meditators had stabilized, decreased, or stopped anxiety meds, while about 11% increased their dose. Among the 37 who didn’t meditate, 59% were able to stabilize, decrease, or stop their meds while 40.5% had to increase them.

Similar research has found that TM helps to reduce trauma symptoms among prison inmates, and while very few of us have spent time in combat zones or behind bars, few of us avoid trauma altogether, either. TM reduces feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression among caregivers and feelings of burnout among teachers. It’s been shown to mitigate stress among earthquake and tsunami survivors and improve quality of life among women with breast cancer. 

By now, most of us are pretty willing to accept the idea that 20 minutes or so of quiet time will undoubtedly be relaxing.

But the stress relief of TM is truly physiological, explains Normal E. Rosenthal, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School and the author of Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation, as reported in a small study that found increased blood flow to the brain during meditation.

“It seems like the brain is being nurtured with blood, with all the nutrients that keep people going, to a greater extent during meditation than during a non-meditating state,” he says. He calls TM a sort of “surge protector.” Consider the hallmark jumpiness of people with PTSD, for example.

“That’s evidence the sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight response, is excessively cocked,” Rosenthal says, like a burglar alarm that goes off every time you close the door a little too forcefully. “TM makes you less reactive to stimuli, so if you have a pang or crash you won’t go into a panic.” We don’t entirely understand why, but TM seems to readjust the sensitivity of your alarm.

Granted, that isn’t really enough to replace going to the gym (sorry), but TM’s clearly got potential. “It belongs in the toolbox of health,” Roth says. He calls upcoming research on TM’s effects on the brain “the new frontier,” and there’s still a lot we don’t know about TM and how it affects the brain.

TM increases Brain Wave Coherence

We do know that it promotes what’s called brain wave coherence, when essentially more regions of the brain sync up and chug along together. “These areas are in some kind of harmonious relationship with one another,” Rosenthal explains. Greater coherence is in turn thought to lead to calmness, intelligence, focus, decision-making—you get the picture. “People frequently have the experience that after meditating, a problem is resolved,” he says. “Our understanding is that these brain regions are cooperating better with one another.”

Greater coherence shows up in the brains of new meditators while they’re practicing after just a few weeks of TM, but long-term meditators show these effects even when they’re not meditating. “As meditation continues, coherence moves into non-meditating hours,” Rosenthal says.

In fact, long-term meditators also show different responses in their brains to physical pain even when they’re not meditating. In a study of a small group of healthy, middle-aged adults, researchers found a 40 to 50% reduction in the brain’s reaction to pain after 5 months of TM when the participants were not meditating.

Those long-term meditators also might live longer. Recent research shows that TM—and other stress reduction techniques, too—increases the activity of telomerase, an enzyme that rebuilds and lengthens telomeres, those disease-mongering ends of our chromosomes that otherwise shorten with age. It also seems to lower blood pressure as effectively as medication. Older research found a 23% decrease in mortality risk among TM practitioners because of the lifesaving effects of stress reduction alone.

TM’s star-studded list of supporters know all too well about those big wins. About a year after Ellen DeGeneres started meditating, she said she “can’t say enough good things about it.” In 2014, Jerry Seinfeld said of his 40-year practice, “You know how your phone has a charger? It’s like if you had a charger for your whole body and mind.” That same year, Jim Carrey delivered the commencement speech at Maharishi University of Management. Oprah visited the school in 2012: “I walked away feeling fuller than when I came in, full of hope and a sense of contentment and deep joy,” she said of the experience, “knowing for sure that in the craziness of the world that seems to bombard us at every angle, there is always the consistency of stillness.”

Guest post by Iain Campbell. Full event details here.

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Carol Laula plus support at Woodend Bowling and Tennis Club

Tuesday May 31, 2016

Scotland is famed the world over for its exports and one of its finest has to be singer-songwriter, Carol Laula. With a style which bobs around somewhere between the sweet, clear delicacy of Joni Mitchell and the tougher edges of Joan Armatrading, it's hardly surprising that she's risen from a young unknown to become a household name. She first captivated the media and her audience in 1990, when her independent single, 'Standing Proud', was chosen to represent Glasgow in its year of culture.

The same decade saw Carol team up with Stuart Adamson to produce a series of songs that will no doubt be seen as a legacy to the talent of the late Big Country singer / songwriter. Carol has also collaborated with Jane Weidlin of the Go-Go’s, Ryan Hedgecock of Lone Justice and Australia's Cheryl Beattie.

The noughties shaped up to be another busy decade her. As well as touring new areas such as Iceland, she has performed across the UK and Ireland with Eliza Gilkyson and appeared at Glastonbury - something of a highlight, where she shared the bill with Billy Bragg.

With seven albums under her belt and another eagerly anticipated album due in 2016, she still stirs critics to describe her as "One of Scotland's leading singer-songwriters" and "an undeniably passionate and whole-hearted singer".

Carol is a great live performer where she truly feels at home; chatting between songs and even encouraging the audience to make requests. It would strike fear into the heart of most seasoned performers, but Carol has good reason for the structure of her shows;

"It can be quite disappointing when you see someone perform live and then they act all precious on stage, taking themselves terribly seriously.

"No, I really want to make the live side of my work that little bit special and accessible to those who take the time to come along to the shows - that way, I get to enjoy it too!" (Carol Laula)  

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Woodend Bowing and Tennis Club

Tuesday May 31, 2016

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A great double bill coming up at Woodend Bowing and Tennis Club in Jordanhill on the 23rd of June featuring two great female singer songwriters, Hannah Aldridge and Lilly Hiatt

Hannah Aldridge

There are few artists that can truly encapsulate the essence and true range of Americana like Muscle Shoals artist Hannah Aldridge, whose musical pedigree precedes her and speaks for itself.

Hannah Aldridge is the daughter of Alabama Music Hall of Famer Walt Aldridge, who is one of the most prolific songwriters of the modern musical era.

With sounds ranging from blues in the Mississippi Delta to the dusty, Dixieland jazz sounds from New Orleans, the musical stylings of Muscle Shoals on up to the primitive roots of American Country music, Hannah Aldridge leaves no inspiration or influence untapped.

Hannah debut record “Razor Wire” has received outstanding response across major mediums (Billboard, American Songwriter, No Depression, Americana UK, Maverick UK, …) and fans all over the world.

 Working on a new record – to be released this year, she is coming to Glasgow in order to showcase the new songs and greet our city with new material.

Lilly Hiatt

Lilly Hiatt is the daughter of John Hiatt and her second alum Royal Blue, is about the majesty of melancholy-or, as she explains it, “accepting the sadder aspects of life and finding some peace in them.” A dance between pedal steel and synths, the album examines the vagaries of love and commitment but steadfastly refuses to romanticize any notion of romance. Singing in a barbed lilt full of deep worry and gritty determination in equal measure, she conveys emotions too finely shaded to be easily named, yet will be familiar to any listener who’s had their heart broken-or has broken a heart.

Lilly Woodend 23 June

 This is, in other words, not a well-behaved singer-songwriter album. Instead, it’s feisty and rough-around-the-edges, full of humour and bite and attitude from a woman who proclaims, “I’d rather throw a punch than bat my eye.” Royal Blue hints at autobiography without sounding self-absorbed, as Lilly transforms a rough patch of life into smart, sturdy, sometimes even hilarious songs that don’t sit squarely in any one genre. Instead, Royal Blue reaches out boldly and playfully into many different sounds and styles: Austin folk rock, Pacific Northwest indie, pre-Oasis Britpop, New York punk ca. 1977. There are ’90s alt guitars and ’00 indie synths, some twang and some Neko Case and Kim Deal.

Doors at 8.00 and Tickets £12 from Tickets Scotland.

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The Mighty Fine Lobey Dosser

Tuesday May 31, 2016

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The Mighty Fine Lobey Dosser show for the 2016 WEF as well regenerating the legendary characters in Bud Neill’s cartoons also celebrates a variety of associations with the artist.

The Pearce Institute based in Govan reconnects Partick with Govan as they were one burgh when Bud Neill was born here in 1911.  The Lobey Dosser show is also a contribution to the annual Govan fair.

The Dram! In Woodlands Road has been the home of a yearly celebration of Bud Neill for many years and it is in close proximity to the bronze statue of Lobey, Rank and El Fideldo, currently removed for repair.

Partick Brewing Company, is close to the full size bronze statue of another character from the Lobey Dosser cartoons, the GI Bride and Wee Ned her baby son, located inside partick SPT Railway Station. The pub owner also contributed to the cost of the statue.

The spirit of the wit and humour of Bud Neill inspires the story for the new cowboy comic misadventure called ‘Lobey Dosser in Showdown at the last Chance Saloon’. However for those who seek some historical understanding of Bud Neill’s  interest in ‘Westerns’ I have rounded up some info and ideas for your consideration:

 

The Comic Art of Bud Neill and the Western film:

Bud Neill (1911-1970) created in Sheriff Lobey Dosser a comic strip legend for the readership of the Evening Times (1949-55), which has survived the test of time, because it was fun blend of everyday Glasgow attitudes, illustrating dramatic adventures of life in a Wild West cowboy township, the classic image of the ‘Western’. Bud’s graphic art tales spiced a marvellous combination of humour and sharp wit, which has gripped the imaginations of his readers ever since. He captures in cartoon art the attraction of being a pioneer in a new world where the individual could make a difference. In Scotland today are many social clubs and events that celebrate the ‘Western’ aesthetic. One of the best known Glasgow’s Grand Ole Opry has had its spread in Govan Road since 1973, and it maintains I high standard of entertainment in its weekend Country and Western music and dance shows. It provides a link between ‘Western’ culture today and the 1940s, to help seek the reasons why Bud Neill imagined, in subtle black & white art, a pioneer cowboy Sheriff who would become a ‘mighty fine’ legend of popular culture in the city.

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Mighty Fine:

 In the six years that Bud Neill drew his daily cartoon strip the readers of the Evening Times, and a wider audience in The Daily Record and the Mail on Sunday into the late 1960s, grew to love the Sheriff and his posse, they could relate to Bud Neill’s art because, as a former Corporation of Glasgow bus driver, he drew on personal observation of street life in the city and used his understanding of art sharpened by his training at Glasgow School of Art. He added this knowledge of Glaswegians to a fantastic Wild West location, yet one easily understood by the popularity of cowboy films at the cinema. Bud Neill, in addition to his catchphrases ‘ho hum‘ and ‘mighty fine’, created a world of names and characters that then re-entered mainstream conversation in Glasgow: Fairy Nuff, GI Bride, Rid Skwerr, Rubber Lugs, Toffy Teeth and Rank Bajin. His characters often came from districts of Glasgow inc: Calton, Govan, Partick, Springburn and Yoker.

The first daily news of importance in reading the Evening Times was to study the latest form of Sheriff Lobey Dosser. It was in the adventures of this laidback and unlikely lawmaker and how he overcame the criminal schemes of Rank Bajin, that a warm humanity was communicated - a refreshing tonic - for a people still living with the harsh living conditions of post-war austerity and rationing. 

Lawman v Lawbreaker:

But what did Bud Neill communicate: What is it about Lobey Dosser that tapped into the hopes and ideas of post-World War Two Glaswegians and what is it that new generations of people find fresh, funny and alive. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, with limited Television, going to the cinema, for all the family, was one of the most popular forms of entertainment, and that films about ‘Cowboys and Indians’ were crowd-pullers.  Cowboy adventures offered an escape from the daily grind because they allowed viewers access to a life where the individual could take some control of their life. Although the difference between good and bad tended to be shown as opposites, the fairness of the Sheriff - the law-keeper - always struggled against the overwhelming odds of the outlaw and often the corrupt criminal activities of rail and cattle barons. The cowboy hero of Bud’s youth was William S Hart who’s most famous silent film was ‘Tumbleweeds’ of 1925. This ground-breaking cowboy film also contained a comic side kick called Kentucky Rose who has some visual similarities to Lobey Dosser, and the story of settler pioneers must have planted seeds of ideas in Bud’s imagination. Two cowboy films of 1939 that Bud would have known ‘Dodge City’ and ‘Destry Rides Again’ are stories of how unusual people rise to the challenge of being an honest sheriff - a fair lawman - and clean up the town. These films reflect the mood of why the war, if it came, had to be fought by individuals who believed in freedom and fairness who had to defeat Nazi dictatorship.

Humour v Conflict:

However, in the post-war era, Bud Neill found an alternative way to illustrate the eternal struggle between fairness and injustice, not just repeat dramatic adventures like the war comics, The Commando or Battle, or the gunfights of wild west tales in cowboy comics: Instead he was to use his understanding of art and compassionate humanity to invent a new fresh humorous and charming adventure series that transcended the evil consequences of conflict. In an original formal style of light and shade Bud Neill used his art and imagination to create Sheriff Lobey Dosser as a most un-Hollywood hero; he was short and dumpy with a long straight whiskers, poor dress sense and the clumsy tackety boots of the working man; but if long suffering, a resourceful and fair character, who had as his target, greed. It is a notable coincidence that the Glasgow comic strip adventures of Sheriff Lobey Dosser, matched in purpose the new American TV show ‘The Lone Ranger’ 1949-1957. In a post war appetite for peace, both stories shared a desire to limit violence and, instead of guns, use as a new weapon of choice, reason and wit to overcome anger and greed. A competing TV show ‘The Cisco Kid’, 1950-56’, also had a different way of solving conflict, they cracked corny jokes! Whilst ‘The Cisko Kid’ and ‘The Lone Ranger’ with other inc ‘Hop Along Cassidy’ were home grown American cowboy heroes, Lobey Dosser was a Scottish settler hero elected as sheriff, because of his sage leadership of the wagon train, by the pioneer populace of Calton Creek, Arizona, USA. This township in the Wild West cowboy prairies was founded by a wagon train of settlers from Calton, adventurous souls from the East End of Glasgow. The settlers of this new frontier town were now in the legendary Wild West of such infamous outlaws and gunmen as Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Jessie James and the resilient ‘Red Indian’ Native American fighters against injustice inc, Cochese, Crazy Horse, Geronimo and Sitting Bull. The new citizens’ of Calton Creek had many difficulties to overcome, despite being in a place with the healthy air of the open prairies and the warmth of desert landscapes, new hazards lurked around every stage post.

Ho Hum:

Although surrounded by natural dangers and two Native American tribes, The Pawnee – later renamed the Layabouts - and the Blackfeet, the real threat to peace came from the mysterious outlaw and wannabe criminal mastermind Rank Bajin, who is obsessed with making lots and lots of money by lying, cheating and stealing in what he thinks, is a very clever manner. The origins are unknown of the very bad man, the outlaw, Rank Bajin; but the clue to his character is in the name. However the good man, the law-keeper, Lobey Dosser, came from the most unlikely of heroic origins; the clue in his name was the Glaswegian slang for homeless people who slept in closes, which confirmed his lowborn origins. Lobey Dosser’s dramatic life story is illustrated by Bud, who ultimately reveals Lobey - who has transcended the difficulties of his origin - is now a fair minded personality who retains his Glasgow humour along with his accent. In contrast, the arrogant Rank displays his superior education through a sophisticated use of over-polished English. However Lobey Dosser was not to face this tricky criminal alone, ho hum.

Heroic Horses, Hi Ho:

Great cowboy film characters often had, as a companion, free-spirited horses: ‘Silver’ was the name of the Lone Ranger’s horse. ‘Trigger’ was Roy Rogers ‘Four Legged Friend’. Another period example is ‘Champion the Wonder Horse’ who befriended a wee boy and with him had lots of adventures.  Lobey Dosser ‘the wee boy’ has a rare breed of horse called El Fideldo. However Elfie had an original disadvantage over the horse TV and film stars of his time, he was a twa-legged friend!

Lobey’s Contemporaries:

Cowboy and cowgirl film stars that illuminate the heyday of Sheriff Lobey Dosser are worth recalling, some of the better known are: Gary Cooper in ‘High Noon’, Doris Day in the musical ‘Calamity Jane’, Betty Hutton in ‘Annie Get your Gun’, Alan Ladd in Shane, John Wayne in ‘Stagecoach’, James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich in ‘Destry Rides Again’, Audie Murphy in ‘Destry’, and Errol Flynn in ‘Dodge City’. Bud Neill, a cowboy star in his own imagination, did, by creating Lobey Dosser and posse, add a Scottish artistic contribution to the intriguing personalities these stars represented on screen. It is worth noting that he also included the musical element, often having snatches of film and pop songs included in the scenarios as an added layer of meaning to the jokes.

Bud Neill, A Pencil Sharp Wit:

The scene is now set for a posse of characters to engage in a series of showdowns between, on the one hand, the law-keeper, Sheriff Lobey Dosser, and on the other, the crook, Rank Bajin. To summarise the effect of these stories: Hold on to your Stetsons and let the fun begin as you will witness a battle of wits between right and wrong, a satire on fake attitudes - sometimes off planet - that will entertain, engage thought with songs and jokes, stimulate the imagination and quite possibly liberate some laughter from the jail of everyday concerns. 

Bud Neill rode off into the sunset in 1970, but his comic creation Sheriff Lobey Dosser has lived on in the imagination of the citizens’ of Glasgow and in those who discovered and relished his many subtle meanings. Three collections of his cartoons have been published in book form by Ranald MacColl in the 1990s, two bronze statues have been financed by public subscription and situated in public spaces; Lobey and Rank on El Fideldo - currently removed for repair - in Woodlands Road by the entrance to Park Terrace, in 1992; and The GI Bride, in Partick SPT Railway Station in 2009. A ‘Lobey Dosser Day’ folk music event held at The Dram, supported by Michael Dale of the West End Festival c2008-2014 and organised by Ian Black: A five minute video of a musical and visual blend of trumpet composition by John Maxwell Geddes played by Nick Walkley and illustrated with Bud Neill’s art in the reform of Rank Bajin in 2012 (on youtube): A one hour play by ‘Mighty Fine Theatre’ where Lobey and posse were regenerated in a new adventure called ‘Bud Neill’s Lobey Dosser Rides Again’ at Partick Burgh Halls in 2014 (on youtube). Throughout all these events The Grand Ole Opry has stood since 1973 as a bright beacon of those values that Bud Neill admired - many Opry-ans  attended the unveiling of the Lobey statue. All this activity reveals an impressive record of support for Bud Neill’s artistic creativity, and a reflection of post-war values.

Full events details here. Six performances. Tickets £5.

Guest blog post by Duncan Comrie. 

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Weekly summer BBQs at The Bothy

Monday May 23, 2016

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Nestled up a cobbled little side street known as Ruthven Lane, just off Byres Road you’ll find The Bothy. Appropriately named, it’s an unusual Scottish restaurant, set in a beautiful traditional sandstone building. Serving delicious Scottish fayre with a uniquely modern twist, The Bothy is somewhere to be sure to visit during the West End Festival.

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A blend of traditional, yet modern Scottish cooking, their creative menu sets them apart from local competitors. The historic building adds to the Scottish atmosphere and provides the perfect comfortable, quaint setting for you to relax in where the super-talented team of staff add to the Scottish theme with their kilted uniforms, friendly service and always with a very warm welcome.

This year, for the West End Festival, for four weeks running, The Bothy invites you to join them every Saturday for a Summer BBQ like no other! We’re not talking about run of the mill burgers and chicken wings here, we’re talking about rustic Scottish food with real flavour, served up al fresco just for you.

If this has whet your appetite, here’s what you can expect to enjoy from the menu….For the carnivores out there, bite into stunning juicy Venison burgers with a refreshing kale and gherkin slaw. Seafood lovers can savour the  ‘Finnan smoked haddock stovie parcels, with tasty shaved fennel salad’.  For whiskey fans, how about the ‘Auchentoshan, Heather Honey and lemon glazed Chicken’ delightfully served with summer radish, broad bean and watercress. Spice your palate up with the  ‘Chilli fire glazed Scottish Beetroot Parcels and goats curd.’ Whichever of these amazing creations you choose from The Bothy menu, you’re sure to be impressed by their culinary genius! Give them a bash, every Saturday from 4th June to 25th June from 12pm.

Guest post by The Bothy.

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The West End is in blossom on Parade Day

Sunday June 7, 2015

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The West End Festival’s Mardi Gras parade took place today, Sunday, 7 June, with nearly 500 participants taking part in the spectacular, themed around ‘bloom’, and an estimated 80,000 lined the streets and soaked up the atmosphere.

The biggest date in the Festival programme is Festival Sunday, which has seen up to 100,000 people lining the streets of Byres Road, Botanic Gardens, Kelvingrove Park and spilling down to Dumbarton Road. Local businesses take advantage of the day with a temporary extension of the bars and cafes into the streets; there were markets/stalls and an awful lot of street entertainment – nearly 40 acts - to help keep the spirit alive even after the parade has finished.  

Organisations from across Glasgow have worked for the last few months to prepare costumes for participating, helping the west end come alive. From a giant thistle and wonderfully colourful hot air balloon to a life-size pear and a bluebell, everyone had a bloomin’ good time!

Hundreds of events (detailed on the WEF website) take place over the next few weeks from music to dance, literature to kids activities and as always, many of the events are free to attend.

Liz Scobie, chairman of the festival commented: “Already we’ve had huge support for our 20th West End Festival. The Gibson Street Gala, a world premiere, local markets and stalls and now the famous parade, all within a week! Thanks to our wonderful team of volunteers who help make all of this happen.

“Next week we’re launching a special exhibition at the Kibble Palace with the Kelpie maquettes, salsa dancing, comedy, whisky master-class, kids activities, science, a ceilidh and numerous top class music events and theatre. So much to choose from, it’s difficult to pinpoint one or two highlights!”

Full event listings via westendfestival.co.uk

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Music at The Hill

Thursday June 4, 2015

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It’s so great to be involved this year in one of the West End Festival ‘Parade Day’ events and to help support new music in Glasgow and I'm really excited to be able to showcase some of the amazing talent which has recorded at our Boombox Studios over the past year. 

The outdoor Stage at the Hill is a great new addition to the festival and provides the perfect platform for new acts of all genres to receive fantastic exposure and the opportunity to play in front of a great Glasgow crowd amidst the magical parade day atmosphere….and best of all it is Free to Enjoy for everyone!

Some of the One’s To Watch include electro pop outfit "100 Fables". The New wave influenced sound and energetic performance by their lead singer, Lyndsey Liora, is not to be missed…imagine The Cars meets The Killers. Excited to hear 100 Fables' new single ‘Future Girl’ & young R&B Pop singer Ryan Alexander will also be debuting his fantastic upcoming single ‘Ain’t Got You’.

Lucia Fontainé

Lucia Fontainé

Scarlet Baxter

Scarlet Baxter

For fans of The Vamps, McBusted & 5SOS, all female band The Cassettez are a must watch with their catchy punk pop tunes and mega stage vibes! The Cassettez went down a storm at last years Total Access Live festival alongside Ella Eyre, Pixie Lott, Foxes & Rizzle Kicks and are lined up for more amazing summer festivals this year leading up to the release of their first single ‘Zombie disco’.

Acoustic acts include Singer/Songwriter 'Toni Etherson’ who will be performing some tracks from her upcoming debut Album ‘The Brightside’ and the talented young ‘Josh Breaks’ will be debuting some of his fantastic songwriting and heartfelt vocals.

London based R&B singer "Scarlet Baxter", who has been tipped for the top by BBC6 & Hard Rock Rising, will be performing her recent soundcloud smash ‘Down With It’ as well as new single ‘Cruel Love’. Scarlet has been compared to a female Sam Smith.

Another act I’m excited about is "Lucia Fontainé"…Lucia’s soulful husky tones, delivered with a retro punkness of some of the great bands from CBGB’s 1977, and tracks such as ‘Bored Of The Radio’ and ‘Queen Of Everything’, have attracted huge excitement from major record labels & cool indie labels alike.. . Lucia performed earlier this year with legendary Glaswegian Film Composer, Craig Armstrong, and she will also be supporting current chart toppers ‘Sheppard' on the 17th June at The Oran Mor.  

The event isn’t just all about the new artists though…Glasgow’s "TJ Bilham", who has recently supported Rebecca Ferguson & the legendary Tom Jones, will be performing in his unique Bublé-style, some tracks from his upcoming album and Scotland’s favourite Rockabilly band, "The Tennessee Hotshots", are headlining the show at 7pm. Their Rock'in classics & massive fanbase will be sure to get the whole street jiving to a close!

Collect ‘Free Entry’ Wristbands from The Hill bar, 94 Byres rd, for access to the main outdoor stage area.

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Gaelic - the second hour

Wednesday June 3, 2015

Scottish people have shown an awesome commitment to learning Gaelic, with a view to maintaining this part of their linguistic heritage. But learners often find it hard to get accurate information on how Gaelic works. The workshop 'Gaelic in an Hour!', run by local linguist Derek Rogers in an earlier West End Festival, was a response to this need.

There Derek dealt with such basic features as lenition, pronunciation, and how to build noun-phrases. This time he will get the audience to play some silly word-games, look again at pronunciation, and shine light into a dark corner where verbs lurk.

The workshop is for beginners and experienced speakers alike, and will show that a coherent system lies behind Gaelic's seemingly random difficulties. And it's an interactive workshop, so all participants will chatter bits of Gaelic - no-one escapes without opening their mouth!

And it'll put you in the mood for An Lochran's 'Togaibh Fonn!', later the same three days.

Free event. Wellington Church, Southpark Avenue.

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PRIMAVOCE launches at WEF

Monday June 1, 2015

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Torch Song Divas

 

The fabulous voices of Torch Song Divas, Elaine C. Smith and Christina Dunwoodie combine the earthiness of soul, blues and jazz with the lyricism of classic opera, as they take an irreverent and witty look at the eternal themes of love, loss, betrayal and survival that form the beating (and sometimes bleeding !) heart of these great musical traditions.

CD Torch Song Divas

This fantastic mix of modern song and opera asks which is more tragically beautiful, ‘The man that got away’ or ‘Addio del passato’ from Traviata on the same theme. Between them, Elaine and Christina take the audience on a roller coaster of tears and laughter, accompanied by the fabulously virtuosic pianist, Gordon Cree.

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Adopt a composer

Thursday May 28, 2015

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Our concert will feature a new commission which is part of the Making Music 'Adopt a composer scheme'. We were the only Making Music ensemble in Scotland to be paired with a composer. The Adopt a Composer project annual opportunity for an amateur orchestra, choir or band to 'adopt' an up-and-coming composer. The composer works with the performing group over the course of 12 months to produce a new piece of music, culminating in a premiere performance. Adopt a Composer is run by Making Music in partnership with Sound and Music, in association with BBC Radio 3, and funded by PRS For Music Foundation and the Philip and Dorothy Green Trust.

BBC Radio 3 will be recording the piece written by Mark Carroll at our concert. 

Mark's piece Mark Carroll sets out to fuse elements of his Northumbrian home with those of the Lanarkshire home of Strathaven Choral Society and was roused by accounts of James Purley Wilson, Strathaven weaver and  nineteenth century radical, executed after the rising of 1820.  The inscription on James Wilson’s memorial in the town and the cries of the onlookers at his execution in Glasgow provide the words of a haunting, melancholic new piece.

 

Details of the adopt a composer scheme can be found here:

http://www.makingmusic.org.uk/our-work/projects/adopt-a-composer

 

Details of the Choral Society can be found here:

http://strathavenchoral.com/

 

Details of Mark Carroll can be found here: 

markcarroll.webs.com

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