Review: Celtic Connections 2013, Scots In The Spanish Civil War
Glasgow's annual "folk, roots and world music" festival, Celtic Connections is up and running, now amazingly in its 19th outing. Unconnected with this but getting into the acoustic/ folky vibe I took up a friend's invite this week to come to her house for a "living room gig".
Ashton Lane playing their alt.country thing, two acoustic guitars and the voice provided by Esther. The music isn't really my usual thing but it's a great way to listen to live music, and the guitar playing in this instance was great to watch, particularly when one of them was Esther's dad, Graeme Duffin, once of Wet Wet Wet. Weird, eh?
That got my folky juices flowing in time for tonight's gig at the Mitchell Library. "Scots in the Spanish Civil War" was the name of the concert, based on the album that came out last year from Greentrax; "No Pasaran" (They Shall Not Pass). As a child my brother and me often sang along to Jarama Valley on the Laggan's old STUC album "I Am The Common Man", and even though it seems further removed in time now, it is a song that my kids all love to sing along to since I bought it again on CD recently.
The grandfather of a good friend of my parents died in Spain in the International Brigade. I can remember standing near her as the La Pasionaria statue was unveiled on the Clydeside. In my head I can therefore make a direct connection to those that left their homes and families to make a stand against Franco and Fascism. With the passing of the last Scottish veteran of the Spanish Civil War last year it is important that books like Daniel Gray's "Homage to Caledonia" and cds and concerts like this one commemorate these events and I was glad when my son was keen to come along to this concert with me. (If you haven't read Daniel Gray's book I can heartily recommend it, also his romp around small town Scotland "Stramash" is a great wee book).
This was a great night of music, of stories, of remembrance and of politics combining a lot of what Celtic Connections does so well. The whole complicated event ran like clockwork and had obviously been carefully planned and thought out and we had a really good night out.