Sunday, 27 January 2008

Ceol Mor gig a great success!

Review By Fiona Mackenzie at

FIONA MACKENZIE checks out the next generation of Scottish traditional music talent IMAGINE a younger version of The Unusual Suspects, say 25+ strong, mix in some of Harris Playfair’s commitment and musical passion, add a few exciting new commissions from Corrina Hewat, Dave Milligan and Aidan O’Rourke, and you have ‘Ceòl Mòr’ ...

An eventual by-product of the Splore event in Aberdeen and directed by Dave Francis, this is a large scale Youth Folk Orchestra, although right from the initial bars you’d be fooled into thinking it was more of a rock and brass orchestra, with some fiddles and clarsach along the way too. Donald Shaw’s ‘Harvest’ has set the pace for youth projects in the last few years at Celtic Connections, and it is encouraging that more exciting large-scale projects such as this are emerging to fill the gap for many young musicians who find themselves perhaps in between Fèisean and going professional. Encouraging, too, to see that the vocal aspect of the piece was not all left up to the female of the species. The commitment and enjoyment of the participants was hugely encouraging for the future of ‘traditional’ music.

Three new commissions were performed alongside some of Playfair’s arrangements, including Hewat’s vocal arrangement ‘Boy Fae Kelso’ and Milligan’s’ How did we get to here?’ Aidan O’Rourke’s magical piece will surely become a staple of the repertoire for large groups now. Solo opportunities for both vocalists and instrumentalists were afforded across the board, allowing each section of the ‘orchestra’ to shine at various points in the programme. The brass section lifted the arrangements out of the trad genre and into one all of its own at times, a sort of ‘jazzitional’, for want of a better word. The audience were baying for more. Great potential here for future development and plaudits to the directors for the logistical problems a project such as this must present.

Ceol Mor on Bebo: