Monday June 24, 2013
The Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir date back to 1944 and while in the immediate post-war years many of the members would have had connections with the home island, today’s members have backgrounds in both Gaelic and non Gaelic speaking areas of Scotland and even beyond.
Over the years the choir has had considerable success particularly at the Royal National Mod, winning the Lovat and Tullibardine Shield on 10 occasions with particular success in Skye in 1982 when they won all 4 competitions. They have also tasted success at the Pan Celtic Festival in Ireland and at the Vancouver Mod and the Choir has been invited to sing at the Eistedfodd and the International Eistedfodd. Over many years the choir had a strong relationship with the Gaelic group Runrig, appearing with them on many occasions, and in 1996 they produced a “Tribute to Runrig.”
The choir is renowned for its perfect tone and the emotions of sadness and joy that their music produces, moving native speakers and non Gaelic speakers to tears. All of which is down to the musical expertise of their well known conductor Kirsteen Grant.
The choir will be performing at the West End Festival on Wednesday 26 June at Hyndland Parish Church. Tickets are £8 at the door and for more information please visit the facebook page or call 0141 942 7603.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Guest blog post by Robert McNair, Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir
Saturday June 22, 2013
The West End Festival 2013 has been the highlight of the summer for The Grosvenor Café this year. The Festival is a great opportunity for the community to come together and enjoy all the best bits of Glasgow’s unique West End. Seeing Ashton Lane full of Festival-goers has been wonderful and the amazing weather has been a welcomed addition to the months’ proceedings!
The Grosvenor Café have had barbeques, face-painting, vintage markets and special events. It’s been a pleasure to witness true old-fashioned Community Spirit. The Café’s General Manager, Rab Meliani has stated ‘This is my first experience of the West End Festival and it’s been a great month. The atmosphere in the Lane has been exceptional. There has been an array of unique events which have provided our customers with a variety of things to do, whether it be during the week or at the weekend. It’s also been great to cater events for children and adults alike, something that we try to do generally.’
The release of ‘World War Z’ (the eagerly anticipated Zombie movie starring Brad Pitt, where many scenes were shot in Glasgow) has brought a whole new Zombie-slant to the West End Festival this year. The Grosvenor Cinema secured a Premiere Screening of the movie, where a lavish Premiere Party was held to celebrate Glasgow's blockbuster appearance. Special ‘World War Z’ Zombie meal deals will be running in conjunction with the release of the movie. There is also a pretty-unpretty Zombie Party set to finish off the West End Festival in true style on Friday the 28th of June... follow this link for more details!
The Café are already looking forward to the WEF 2014!
Friday June 21, 2013
Da Capo Alba to perform with previous finalist of the BBC Young Musician of the Year
Da Capo Alba, Scotland’s premier mandolin and guitar orchestra regular performers in the West End Festival will be joined on Saturday 22nd June by flautist Shona Brown.
Shona from Motherwell, began playing the flute at the age of 12. A few months later she recorded on Mogwai's debut album "Young Team", which inspired her to pursue the life of a musician. She went on to study classical flute, winning awards from the BBC Young Musician of the Year and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama amongst others. After a time working in London, she returned to Scotland to set up SoundRoutes - a record label promoting community choirs and music projects.
Shona will be performing two solo pieces and will also play alongside Da Capo Alba, who will be conducted by Barbara Pommerenke-Steel. There will be something for everyone as the orchestra explores a range of musical styles from baroque and classical to ragtime and Latin American.
An evening of entertainment not to be missed!
Concert details: Saturday 22nd June 2013 at 7.30pm in St Mary’s Cathedral, Great Western Road
For more information visit our website, facebook & twitter page.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Guest Blog post by Robert McKerlie, Lanarkshire Guitar and Mandolin Association (LGMA)
Tuesday June 18, 2013
My role as a music programmer and promoter is to create an interesting programme of shows for the diverse tastes of the westend of Glasgow. I decide which artists and genres best represent this as well as fit in with the general reputation of PM Music musical output over the course of a year. Once the programme is decided, I approach artists or their representatives with offers and we make deals on the shows. I then make decisions on how to promote the show, for example flyers or adverts which I then have designed. We use many different means of promotion and we continue to push the show right up until the night of the event. On the night we organise and then staff the night to produce the concert and work with the artists we have booked . . . sound like enough work :-)
We are excited to be involved once again with the West End Festival having taken part now for the last 5 years. This year our programme is more diverse that ever featuring music from Scotland and around the world which I feel represents the diversity of taste in the west end itself. From great Scottish songwriters such as Carol Laula and Dick Gaughan through to touring Canadian act Genticorum and The Congos from Jamaica.
Upcoming events include...
19 June, Cottiers: 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. With seven albums under her belt, she still stirs critics to describe her as "Scotland's leading singer-songwriter" and "an undeniably passionate and whole-hearted singer".
20 June, Oran Mor: Bags of Rock
BAGS OF ROCK deliver a massive stadium sound of heavy rock, bagpipes ... and original, ground breaking compositions... not for the faint hearted !!!!!!
Scottish New Music Awards 2012 "Rock Recording of the Year" and "Group of the Year" winners – Glasgow’s BAGS OF ROCK fuse cutting-edge heavy rock with The Great Highland Bagpipe. Delivering performances with an infectious conviction to their art, BAGS OF ROCK have created a trail blazing musical combination that takes this new genre to the next level.
20 June, Cottiers: Dick Gaughan
Brought up immersed in the musical traditions and culture of the Gaels, both Scots and Irish, Dick Gaughan has been a professional musician and singer since January 1970, and made his first solo album in 1971, No More Forever. He was an early member of the Boys of the Lough and the now legendary Scottish folk-rock band, Five Hand Reel. In December 2009, Dick was honoured by being inducted into the Scots Trad Music Hall of Fame and he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at BBC Radio 2’s annual Folk Awards ceremony.
21 June, Cottiers: Rab Noakes & Alan Taylor
Not that you would know it from his lean rock’n’roll physique but Rab Noakes is now in his sixties. His four decades of involvement in music have been marked by two recent releases: a second album with his occasional band The Varaflames, titled Unlimited Mileage, and the release on CD for the first time of his debut album Do You See The Lights? which first saw the light of day in 1970. Showcasing an exemplary taste in interpretations alongside his own songwriting, a Noakes show is a decidedly non-fusty lesson in the history of popular music. THE HERALD
For 35-plus years songwriter Allan Taylor has been considered the consummate performer, a writer of literary gracefulness whose troubadour chronicles encapsulate the realism of otherwise unsung heroes, otherwise uncharted lives. His songs, faultlessly constructed, are flawlessly performed with his instantly recognisable voice, attractively dark and mellow, and his intricately detailed and full-sounding guitar. As Allan says at the beginning of each concert, "Sit back and enjoy the journey."
24 June, Oran Mor: Julia Fordham
Having sold millions of records around the world, critically acclaimed singer songwriter Julia Fordham will be returning to the UK for her first tour in 20 years. Performing with her will be Grant Mitchell, pianist/arranger/producer of her early hits Happy Ever After, Where Does The Time Go, Porcelain & I Thought It Was You. The set will be filled with these favourites plus many others including: Girlfriend, Lock and Key, Towerblock & the International hit (Love Moves) In Mysterious Ways. After living in Los Angeles for many years, Julia is thrilled to be coming home to sing her songs again around the country. This is an evening not to be missed and early booking is advised.“A stylish pop balladeer with a voice that glides easily between the languor of Sadeand the smooth high notes of Philadelphia soul.”- The London Telegraph
25 June, SWG3,: The Congos
The Congos are a reggae vocal group from Jamaica active on from the mid-1970s until the present day. They are best known for their Heart of the Congos album, recorded with Lee "Scratch" Perry.
For more information on all West End Festival events have a look at the website, facebook and twitter pages.
Guest blog by Peter MacCalman, West End Festival music programmer
Friday June 14, 2013
Viper Live and Unplugged - Every Friday of the West End Festival
Viper is an intimate venue in the heart of the West End. Last year we raised over £4000 for Children in Need and saw this year’s West End Festival as the perfect opportunity to raise money for a different cause.
Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland is a local music charity which helps people with a range of disabilities through music therapy and relies hugely on the generosity of the general public. For more information on the charity visit their website here.
As lovers of music, Viper will showcase two live performances from the freshest, up and coming bands and artists every Friday between 7pm-10pm.
The past two sessions have played host to some fantastic artists including The Kay Family, Lack of Colour, Bronagh and the Boys and Kerri Watt. The event has proven to be a great success and the charity buckets are filling up nicely!
If you have missed out on the past couple of weeks, never fear there are two more sessions still to come!
Friday 14th June will see Broken Boy and Amy Rayner hit the Viper stage with Kirsty Wilson headlining our final showcase on Friday 21st June.
This event is free of charge but we ask for a donation to the charity at the door.
Not to forget we will be closing the festival from our end with a massive party on Sunday 30th June from 10pm, combining the live music theme with true Viper-style.
See you there, Viper
Wednesday June 12, 2013
This is the first year I’ve worked behind the scenes for O2 Glasgow Mela, the biggest multicultural festival in Scotland. It has been a highlight of Glasgow’s cultural calendar for years, and one of the big events that takes place during the West End Festival, and it’s my job to help promote it. So no pressure there, then!
I’ve been spending loads of time finding out about all the performers who will be taking the stage. The more I discover, the more excited I get about the line-up, and every day I learn something new! For instance, do you know what a ‘ney’ is? Do you know why 2013 is a special year for Bollywood? Do you know what O2 Glasgow Mela has in common with Glastonbury?* If you know answers to any of these questions, you get a gold star. If you know answers to all these questions, you get my job (kidding, I need it!).
O2 Glasgow Mela takes place in Kelvingrove Park on Sat 15 and Sun 16 June, and –dhol drum roll - it’s FREE! We’ve got a jam-packed programme of music, dance and performance across three stages and around the park, a range of delicious exotic foods to buy and stalls to browse – and a great Kids Zone too.
What’s not to like? I’ll see you there, then….
* A ‘ney’ is a type of Turkish flute. You can hear Ilhan Baractu play it on the Mehfil stage on Sunday. 2013 is the 100th anniversary of the release of the first film release in India. Happy Birthday Bollywood! The Glastonbury connection is the marvellous Jaipur Kawa Brass Band, who are performing at both festivals this year!
Guest Blog Post by Nadia Lucchesi, O2 Glasgow Mela Coordinator
O2 Glasgow Mela is free and unticketed
The festival is open from 12 noon – 8pm both days
Tuesday June 11, 2013
All the world's a stage... and all the script's a metaphor: Mapping Metaphor at the West End Festival
The West End Festival is a great opportunity for people to get a flavour of the research being carried out at university and connect with different areas of study. With that in mind, the project I work for, ‘Mapping Metaphor with the Historical Thesaurus’, has decided to throw open our doors for one talk only on Saturday 15th June at the University of Glasgow.
This project looks at the English language, and indeed metaphor, from a rather different perspective than many people were shown in school. Even better, we have the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary data which allows us to look at the English language over the course of more than a thousand years. We all know that poetry is full of metaphor, but how about a conversation...or a blog post (go on, read this one again and see whether you can spot any)?
Come along and explore metaphor in everyday language with the ‘Mapping Metaphor’ project team. The session will illuminate this pervasive feature of language, throw some light on our project, and spark off a discussion of your own favourite metaphors.
Guest blog post by: Ellen Bramwell, University of Glasgow
Event time: 2pm, Saturday 15th June
Venue: 12 University Gardens (English Language), University of Glasgow
Monday June 10, 2013
On the 2nd June 2013, for one day only, we closed the road to traffic and had a great community celebration, marking the 9th year of the fantastic Gibson Street Gala, sponsored by IKEA Glasgow.
This popular family friendly event brought together the hard work, dedication and creativity of all the volunteer organisers, as well as all the performers, participants and event coordinators on the day itself. So what was on offer?
Live music and entertainment took place over 2 stages at Gibson Street Stage and GOW Backcourt. There was also a community stage where local groups performed on Park Road.
Amongst others, our stages featured music and performance from Robin Adams, Barulho Beat, The Second Hand Marching Band, The Belly Babies and the Trongate Rum Riots. Musicians in GOW Backcourt included dBass Collective, Theo Wheatley and Belter Skelter with performance, music and dance from Glasgow Capoeira and Ayawara Ensemble.
Revellers were able to chill in the tea tent, buy some home baking and kids took part in a shadow puppetry workshop.
Additionally, we had a multitude of children’s activities at the Gala – so much so that there were 3 Gala Kidzones this year! In the Otago Street Kidzone, creativity abounded with the Gala’s beachy theme of all things summer as well as our favourite drumming workshops from Mr Amu.
A big thank-you to IKEA Glasgow who sponsored our kids events this year, helping to make these activities free for visitors. We were also lucky to have an enchanting backcourt in GOW Community decorated by IKEA with their summer range.
In Eldon Street, attractions included antique fire engines, a climbing wall and a bouncy castle. A sports area provided by Kelvin Hall and Glasgow Life beneath Eldon Street Bridge offered a selection of “come and try” sports.
St. Silas’ Church were back with their lovely fair-trade baking, chatting and relaxing as well as challenge the chessmaster! There was even a demonstration Aikido to watch!
Hillhead Primary School opened its doors again this year to welcome in the gala visitors. Activities included a storyteller, a “beach” in the playground and loads of arts and crafts with the Parents’ Council volunteers.
Then, there were stalls offering a variety of goods, services and information dotted throughout Gibson Street. Along Westbant Quadrant, ArtFusion had a fantastical explosion of artistic events and stalls offering both art works and enticing interactive experiences.
The sun shone brightly on the day and fun was had by all! If you were there and would like to offer your feedback please take part in our wee survey!
Many thanks to the organisers, volunteers, performers, participants, artists, visitors, all. It was a fantabulous day! See you in 2014!
Guest Blog Post by Margaret Mitchell, Gibson Street Gala Coordinator
Wednesday June 5, 2013
Mairi Hedderwick did a Katie Morag event at Hillhead Library attracting around 180 children and their families on Saturday, 1 June. This was the opening event of The West End Festival Literature programme. The following day on Sunday, 2 June, Mairi Hedderwick delivered a fascinating event on the Art of Travel Writing and Illustration, also at Hillhead Library. Her illustrations and her travel writing are remarkable.
The two children, pictured above, Alexander and Harrison happened to be in the Junior Library on the Sunday and heard that Mairi Hedderwick was upstairs. The boys are real Katie Morag fans so they joined us at the end of the adult Travel writing event buy more Katie Morag books, meet Mairi and get their books signed.
They were thrilled to meet her.
Guest blog by Teresa Lowe - Literature Programmer
Thursday May 30, 2013
Each year the Mardi Gras parade is made up of costumed groups and individuals who come from all walks of life. Most (but not all) of the groups are from support organisations that help people in a variety of ways in their everyday lives. The parade is an opportunity for them to work together to create entertaining and stunning artworks that can draw attention to important work of those organisations and individuals. The support organisations work tirelessly all year around to make a difference to peoples’ lives and the art projects are a great way to remind participants and spectators of the value of meaningful, shared, social activities.
On 22nd April 2013, we invited members of the public and community organisations to the Kibble Palace to share in a showcase event profiling the community engagement aspects of the Mardi Gras Parade and several organisations who exemplify this model were represented, including Glasgow City Council’s Leaving Care Services, LGBT Youth Scotland, Depot Arts, New Rhythms For Glasgow, Turning Point Scotland and Spider Arts.
There were live musical performances from a Springburn Community Choir (Local Vocals), some featured live singing from young people from Leaving Care Services, an original dance work by a new dance group in Drumchapel “Aspirate” and several costume artworks by artists Kenny Burns and Siobhan Lawson.
To see some of these fantastic organisations in action, come along to the Mardi Gras Parade on Byres Road on Sunday 9 June 2013. The street will be closed, there will be food and drink, stalls and entertainment, and the parade with costumes and samba bands will set off from the Botanic Gardens at 3pm. See the West End Festival website for more information!
Guest blog post by:
Noel Bridgeman, West End Festival Parade Co-ordinator