Sunday, January 16, 2011

Celtic connections: Pulse of the world

The opening concert of this year's 18th Celtic Connections brought together a contemporary colossus of Indian, world and fusion music, tabla guru Zakir Hussain – plus three of his compatriots on violin, bansura (bamboo flute) and the double-ended dholak drum – with seven of today's leading figures in Scottish and Irish music.

As festival director Donald Shaw explained by way of introduction, the seeds for the project at this end were sown some 15 years ago, when he was listening to a mix-tape on which, among a selection of mainly Gaelic material, he happened across a track from Hussain's landmark debut solo album, 1987's Making Music, and was struck by the mutual echoes.

With the Celtic cast here comprising Charlie McKerron (fiddle), Patsy Reid (fiddle/viola), Michael McGoldrick (flutes/whistles), Ross Ainslie (pipes/whistles), Matheu Watson (guitar), John Joe Kelly (bodhran) and Gaelic singer Jenna Cumming, no-one could have guessed that this richly absorbing and rewarding performance began as a blank slate on Monday.

Music review: Celtic connections: Pulse of the world - News

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