Celtic Connections 2020 – Transatlantic Sessions review and photography Pauline Keightley
Review Transatlantic Sessions Celtic Connections 2020
This Celtic Connections Festival concert was under the musical direction of Shetland fiddler Aly Bain and multi-Grammy-winning dobro maestro Jerry Douglas. It was the 17th live Transatlantic Sessions, which commenced in 2003.
What a joyous, positive concert exploring a wide range of music, including, upbeat rhythms, perfect harmonies, poignant moments, high quality vocals and top musicianship. This was the last Transatlantic Sessions with Scotland still in the EU. Sadly leaving the great European project has been a devastating experience of many Scots. This gave the evening a surreal feel.
All the performers were in good spirits for their first Transatlantic Session Concert this year. There was a palpable expectant buzz in the packed out concert hall. The event is one of the main highlights of the festival and Aly Bain spoke briefly, in his modest way, about how this major folk festival came about.
Cahalen Morrison from Mexico, impressed with powerful vocals; followed by the renowned Irish singer Cathy Jordan, who sang Sliabh Gallon Braes. American bluegrass guitarist and songwriter Sierra Hull was also excellent. She was followed by Rachel Sermanni, who sang some of her own songs in her poignant, clear voice plus performing a moving interpretation of Robert Burn’s Ae Fond Kiss.
Russ Barenburg (on guitar) displayed excellent musicianship and Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel’s accomplished playing was full of upbeat, fun energy. Scottish musicians contributed to the concert with the talented John McCusker on fiddle and piper Michael McGoldrick.
Out of such a glittering line up, it is hard to pick only a few highlights and all musicians were stand out. I did particularly enjoy the moving harmonies of Cathy, Sierra and Rachel on the song The Old Churchyard: the enthusiasm of Tommy Emmanuel; Phil Cunningham’s playing; Aly Bain’s Shetland fiddle; and the anchor of Jerry Douglas as host and dobro master.
They say variety is the spice of life – I believe celebrating our differences also makes us stronger. Long live such joyful collaborations!
**The Transatlantic Sessions 2020 will be touring UK venues.
The Transatlantic Sessions Band where: fiddler Aly Bain, Jerry Douglas, Russ Barenberg, Phil Cunningham, John Doyle , Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker, Donald Shaw, Daniel Kimbro and James Mackintosh,
**After there was a candle lit vigil on the Buchanan street steps beside the statue of first, first minister of our Scottish parliament, Donald Dewar, where we sang Auld Lang Syne to mark the sadness most Scots feels at being forced to leave the EU.
To all our European friends – Keep a light on for Scotland.
Photos and Review Pauline Keightley – www.pkimage.co.uk
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