A review of Alasdair’s performance in Belfast earlier this month.
Roberts introduces a tune as ‘a new song’, but, in fact, it sounds as old as time. ‘I remember my love in soft prayer kneeling,’ is the opening gambit. His songs are imbued with an old, weird folksiness. He sings of a world where coldness, witchery and night are constants, where feudal strife is everywhere, mortality quotidian and mundane.
These songs are odd. When Roberts sings of ‘the problem of freedom’ for ‘those who follow the creed of the unending road’ it sounds Sisyphean, as though release from bondage is a curse, the humble yeoman wandering, unmoored, in the stricken world, free from the protection of servitude.
David Toop blogs about the performance he’s doing with Alasdair, Luke Fowler and Sylvia Hallett about right now in Huddersfield. As ever with Toop, it’s not simple. (Reports from the performance, however brief, would be very welcome.)
…examples of Mary Morrison’s remarkable singing have been given an afterlife, notably a recording by Alan Lomax of her interpretation of canntairreachd, the mouth music used in the oral teaching of Pibroch, an astonishing virtuosity of voice and line, again relocated to an echo chamber as if the hard notes of some unknown archaic instrument were rising up from the burial chamber at Ball Gate on Brent Fore Hill, then falling, as Adorno wrote, stars down to earth.
A Glaswegian colloquium on Colm Cille (a.k.a. St Columba) gets an impromptu visit from Alasdair, spotting a single merchandising opportunity.
Anyone pondering a weekend break in Glasgow to catch the Alasdair and Friends show at Celtic Connections on 26th January
now has the added attraction of a Burns Night performance the night before [correction: that was in 2012!]. Hotels across the city will be raising their prices.
Hirta Songs reviews: