Review and Photographs by Pauline Keightley
New Zealander Horomana Horo arrived in impressive full Maori gear to kick off the concent with his band Waoira. They played an entertaining set of Maori traditional songs a mix of traditional and modern and the bonus of classical guitarist Joshua Rogers.
Horo has a powerful presence and a very expressive voice, who play's his culture's taonga puoro instruments, which were fluid and unexpectedly subdued. He explained that his songs were about the conversation between the elements. One song expressed admiration for female virtues, another for manly strengths.
He also treated us to a Haki Maori dance and spoke with enthusiasm of the revitalization of Maori music, language and culture. It was a highly enjoyable set. www.horomonahoro.com/
Following were the Alan Kelly Band. Kelly is an innovative Irish piano accordionist and he brought with him an array of top rated folk musicians including: Alasdair White (Battlefield Band) – impressive and expressive on fiddle, Manus Lunny on double bass (Capercaillie), guitarist Tony Byrne and flutist and vocalist Steph Geremia. Their music combines Irish, Scottish, Breton and Asturian.
They were joined for one song by Scottish songstress Eddi Reader - who had been sitting near me clearly enjoying their set! The Alan Kelly Band's recent album The Last Bell is well worth checking out. http://alankellygang.com/band/
Tonight's headliners were Scottish band Breabach who have won several awards and the band mix traditions with their highly individual inventiveness. All multi talented musicians they consist of Calum MacCrimmon (Pipes and Whistles), Megan Henderson ((Fiddle), Ewan Robertson (Guitar,Cajon) and James Duncan Mackenzie (Pipes and Bazouki) and James Lindsay (Double Bass).
Breabach played some fine tunes including jigs and reels, Gaelic songs and Scottish dance along with uniquely inspired twin pipes. Although keeping to their traditional roots the band also brought an inventiveness to their music. The olde worlde atmosphere of the Old Fruitmarket – one of my favourite Glasgow venues – was a perfect setting for their colourful folk and roots music .
Bagpipes then met taonga puoro, when Horo joined the band on stage for a collaborative set. The musicians had taken part in the ground-breaking 2014 Womad Boomerang Project, which explored the links between Celtic, Aboriginal and Maori cultures, through language, contemporary music, and dance. - womad.org/artists/boomerang-project
This concert marked the tenth anniversary since Breabach won Celtic Connections Danny Kyle Stage and the band continue to excel. The Fruitmarket audience was given a high quality concert and were not shy about showing their enthusiastic enthusiastic in their appreciation. Songline named the band's album, Urlar, as one of the top ten Scottish albums of 2014. breabach.com/
Review and Photos Pauline Keightley - Celtic Connections PHOTOS