The Circle is Unbroken

01 November 2014

CCA: Saturday 1 November 2014

The final Ceòl ’s Craic event of 2014 brought together two iconic figures from the folk scene of the 60’s and 70’s with a younger generation of musicians who have been inspired and influenced by their legacy.

First act of the evening was a new collaboration of fantastic musicians;  Neil McDermott fiddle), Alistair Cassidy (guitar) and Thomas McCabe (accordion) who kick-started proceedings with an exuberant mix of jigs, reels and polkas. A memorable highlight was a set of tunes recently composed by button box virtuoso McCabe.

Margaret MacLeod of 1970’s trailblazers Na h-Òganaich was a direct inspiration for a new generation of Gaelic supergroups such as Runrig and Capercaillie. For this performance she was joined by Alasdair Whyte and his band (Teddy Balfour on guitar and Ross Wilson on keyboards and bass). They performed tracks from Alasdair’s outstanding debut album “Las” and Gaelic classics from Maragaret’s back catalogue including “Mi Le M’uilinn” and “Cànan nan Gàidheal”.

They were joined by Trembling Bells vocalist Lavinia Blackwall for a beautiful version of “Nighean Donn Nan Gobhar” and the bawdy “My Husband’s Got No Courage In Him”.

Mike Heron, psychedelic folk pioneer and founding member of the Incredible String Band took to the stage to a massive wave of goodwill from a capacity crowd.

Heron has been touring Europe performing with The Trembling Bells (augmented by Heron’s daughter Georgia Seddon on keyboards, vocals and percussion) and the collaboration seems to have rejuvenated this veteran of the Woodstock festival.

His energy and enthusiasm were obvious as he performed a succession of his timeless classics including “Spirit Beautiful”, “Feast of Stephen”, “Black Jack David” and a specially arranged version of his famous “Hedgehog Song” with Heron (joined by Alasdair Whyte) singing the chorus in Gaelic.

The Trembling Bells provided the perfect sonic backdrop to Heron’s unique voice; Lavinia and Georgia’s ethereal voices blended beautifully and the band’s musicianship shone throughout (Alex Nielson’s inventive drumming and eccentric collection of percussion instruments never fail to impress).

The evening concluded with two encores; the sublime “Sleepers, Awake!” and the rollicking “Log Cabin Home in the Sky”.

This inspirational group of artists showed that the spirit of musical revolution born in the 1960’s and 70’s still burns bright and has been passed on to a new generation of musical pioneers. The Circle is Unbroken!