Monday, 25 January 2016

Celtic Connections

"I sang a cover of Odyssey's Inside Out in France and it went on Youtube," said Eska, Baaba Maal's support act at Celtic Connections. "The writer got in touch with me to say he liked my version. So here he is today to duet with me. Ladies and gentlemen - Jesse Rae!"

What?? This Jesse Rae?

Wrote this African-American 70s funk classic??

A Celtic Connection indeed!

It has been at least 15 years since I've been to a gig at Celtic Connections, Glasgow's musical riposte to the January blues. It started out as a folky thing, attracting fiddly-dee acts from Ireland, Wales, Brittany, and Nova Scotia. Since then it has gone global, featuring roots acts from across the world.

We were here to see Baaba Maal, a legend in Senegal. I'll confess to knowing nothing about him, but when a roadie led a blind man onstage I knew it would be good. This fellow was Mansour Seck, Baaba Maal's mentor and guide. He did little during the gig except sit there in flowing robes, a Buddhist Bez, adding a touch of class to the proceedings. Baaba Maal and his incredible band were inspired, the main main hollering like a Qawwali Reverend James Brown, Weegie women up dancing in the aisles. You know it is a good show when even the roadies are having a boogie.

Baaba Maal:

Back in the day, Celtic Connections artists gathered post-gig in a function suite in the Central Station Hotel and played together until the wee small hours. New alliances formed through music. As the festival became more popular, this spontaneous happening became ticketed and regulated. But impromptu breakout sessions still happen, fiddlers bashing away in a side room as we wandered out into the unseasonably balmy Glasgow night.

1 comment:

blueskyscotland said...

I used to get the free Celtic connections CDs in the early days and there was some good stuff on them. Didn't like the gospel one a few years ago with Tom Jones as much but it was a different direction.