Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snowmageddon

Normally I scoff when local TV stations start warnings of impending "doom" with the approach of a three-inch snowstorm, but I have to say I'm pretty impressed with yesterday's "when-I-was-your-age" style blizzard.  Since I'm homebound (condobound?) I can catch up on my blogging.  I'll start with Celtic Connections.

Ed and I returned from Scotland just ahead of the storm after spending five days meeting old friends, making new ones, and listening to loads of Scottish, Canadian, Irish, Galician, and Norwegian folk music.  On the flight back as I was working on my report I calculated we had seen over 50 groups perform at about 15 different venues around Glasgow. I also did another calculation on my consumption of local Scottish ales.  I'll let you know on that one.

Highlights - the Transatlantic Sessions were as special as advertised, featuring Phil Cunningham, Aly Bain, John McCusker, Paul Brady, Donald Shaw, Michael McGoldrick, James Mackintosh and Julie Fowlis from the UK/Irish side of the pond.  From the US was Jerry Douglas, Tim O'Brien, John Doyle, Ashley Cleveland and her husband Kenny Greenberg, Allison Morrer and Dirk Powell.  It was a great sold out show at the Royal Concert Hall, featuring a mix of Celtic traditional music and US Appalachian Old-Timey songs.

We also took the train to Edinburgh and were met at the station by Kevin MacDonald of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.  Kevin took us to lunch and then gave us a driving tour of the city showing us Arthur's Seat (a massive geologic formation), Holyrood Palace - the official residence of the Queen when she travels to Scotland, (a bit larger than most of the summer places I've seen in Door County), and the Edinburgh Castle, perhaps the most notable feature of the city located on a hillside overlooking the metropolitan area. After stopping at his agents' office to pick up several copies of their new disc "Music for the Kilted Generation" for us he deposited us back at the train station for the return trip to Glasgow.  We later saw Kevin that evening at the festival club when the RHCP performed at 11:30 for the BBC3 radio show.

The Nova Scotia contingent blew everyone away with the "Nova Scotia Kitchen Party" on Saturday afternoon.  Normally the featured region does a little seminar at a "drinks reception" and has a group perform three numbers.  Nova Scotia became the international delegates favorite when they did it their way which was a three hour reception featuring drinks, a hot buffet (that was the clincher), and performances by all the groups from Canada.  The final number featured the Beaton sisters, Colin Grant, and Gillian Boucher,pounding out set of jigs and reels with Burt McIntyre leading a group of "volunteers" in a set dance on the side.  Really good craic.

I'll do a few postings on some of my favorite groups I saw over the weekend along with some of their videos. 

Right now I'm going to go outside and dig out the front porch.

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