Saturday June 27, 2015
Last night, in the beautiful surroundings of Mackintosh Queen’s Cross, I attended a ‘Recital from the Golden Age’, performed by violinist Feargus Hetherington and pianist Edward Cohen.
A golden age of anything is a period of time looked back on with fond sentiment. For violinist Feargus Hetherington, there was a clear golden age for the violin and piano duo between 1920 - 1939 with many pieces now lost and no longer played in public. Feargus’ goal is to resurrect some of these pieces and bring them, as well as the golden age of violin and piano concerts, back to their former glory. And boy did he ever!
Although not packed out, there was a fair crowd of around 30 at the event which in a way made it feel more exclusive - a sort of private evening with Feargus and Edward as they played their music. The variety of pieces packed out the hour making it seem like much longer in the best of senses. One minute a light-hearted melody which would have been suitable for a mixer on the lawn of the White House and the next a dramatic piece which could have come straight from a black and white tragic film.
The pieces were played with such conviction, as could be seen in the faces of both musicians, filling the small stage space with enough drama and fervour to keep the audience near enough transfixed for the entire performance. It was incredibly impressive to see two musicians hold a group’s attention so completely for so long!
A piano and violin recital is not my usual cup of tea, I’ll admit. However, after the performance tonight, I will seek to try out something of a similar caliber in the future. For any who wish to experience a performance in the Mackintosh Queen’s Cross there is A Piano Recital with Peter Seivewright tonight at 7.30pm with tickets available online and at the door.
Wednesday June 24, 2015
Anne Hardy’s newest exhibition “Twin Fields” at The Common Guild, an exhibition space for visual arts projects and events, is perhaps one of the more unusual yet brilliant exhibitions you may visit while perusing the fine selection of art events the West End Festival has to offer.
Hardy, a London-based British artist, has had many solo exhibitions since 2004 where she predominantly creates large sets/environments and photographs them to create her art. These sets have been characterised as “hovering between reality and fiction”, and although never featuring people, have been described to have personas and very distinctive feels about them.
The current feature piece as part of her newest ‘Twin Fields’ exhibition, is a stand-alone wooden box which you can enter which is fitted almost like a rural cabin in the wilderness. To create the sets, Hardy often ‘comes across’ materials and uses them in her urban scenes. All elements of the set are very carefully chosen and arranged despite their incidental appearance and this is part of the genius behind Hardy and her work. It is also a unique experience to be able to engage with such immersive art through visual, hearing, touch and smell sensations.
Anne used to create the sets in order to photograph but as she progressed further with creating the environments, they became her art in their own right. The settings for her installations are carefully chosen as they often become part of the exhibit themselves. People who have watched Anne work describe how each piece grows and evolves, manifesting itself in the surrounding studio space. The open and spacious townhouse location for this exhibit beautifully contrasts the enclosed and rustic nature of the set on display.
Once exhibits are finished, they are dismantled so experience this unique exhibition while you can! Twin fields will be showing in The Common Guild until the beginning of August. More information on Hardy can be found on her website and at The Common Guild.
Saturday June 20, 2015
Iain has dazzled audiences at many festivals and music venues around the UK with his multi-styled guitar playing from the Royal Concert Hall to the SECC. One reviewer even want as far as to say, “One of the best Guitarists I've ever seen, Iain combines an astonishing talent with a huge range of musical tastes - and a refreshing lack of self-importance”.
So head on down to CC Music tomorrow (21st June) for a special performance by an astonishingly talented guitarist featuring special guests. Supported by song writing brothers ‘King of Birds' and the soulful and majestic 'Chloe Marie'.
To see Iain perform his famous "Weejie Jig" click here.
Thursday June 18, 2015
The event was located in Wellington Church, providing a graceful and elegant atmosphere for the workshop.
Upon entry I sat down with a mixed crowd of young and old interested in honing their language techniques. Derek advised me that although my knowledge in Gaelic was minimal I would be able to gain something from this event. Titled ‘Second stage mutations in the dependant mood’ this presentation considered the use of verbs with handouts to go along.
A gentle step by step approach with audience participation ensured that no one could escape without getting involved. This technique allowed each person to tune their pronunciation in a warm and encouraging atmosphere. With word games and audience engagement this ensured a proactive approach into learning the fascinating language of Gaelic and within twenty minutes of the presentation I found myself speaking Gaelic. I believe that anyone with an interest in language studies or Gaelic would benefit from Derek’s approach.
With Derek’s passion for teaching language and unique style of delivery, I found myself not only enjoying the event but learning Gaelic in a short period of time and before I knew it the session was over. As the workshop concluded I was able to differentiate between verbs and speak various phrases of Gaelic, something that very morning I never thought would happen. After the workshop concluded I spoke to Derek and it was clear to me the passion he has for his art and I would encourage people of all levels to attend.
No stranger to the West End Festival, Derek has been providing workshops and presentations since 1999. As a language and accent specialist, his work with the WEF has a varied over the years. His first workshop discussed the difference between Scottish and English accents and continued the following year. In 2001 he discussed the Polish language and more recently in 2013 he discussed the language of Mandarin with simple conversation. In future WEF events he told me he is looking into discussing the ways in which politicians use language to cosy up to voters which is sure to be of interest to many.
If you didn’t get the chance to attend Gaelic: The Second Hour there will be another presentation at Wellington Church on the 23rd of June at 1:00pm (FREE ENTRY).
To find out more information and future workshops by Dereck here.
Tuesday June 16, 2015
The West End Festival plays host to a rare opportunity presented by the Kala Chethena Kathakali Company to see the elaborate 3-Dimensional Chutti make-up process that transforms the faces of the Kathakali (Indian dance-drama) actors. This is an amazing 500 year old traditional technique applied by the first and only female Chutti artist in the world - Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar.
The display is followed by a bowl of delicious Indian curry with rice, prepared especially by one of the members of the Kathakali Company from Kerala, India
There is also the opportunity for an evening with Kathakali masters featuring chanting, songs, music and a rare opportunity to ask the artists questions. Kathakali means story–play and embraces drama, dance, music, visuals and ritual to create an exotic and visually powerful form of theatre.
Described as “spectacularly beautiful” by the Daily Telegraph, this rare gem of Indian theatre will be sure to add an exotic twist to your festival experience.
Tickets available for make-up demo, food and evening with Kathakali masters from The Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre
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!
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
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
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