John Murray on a unique international music collaboration
As musical collaborations go you will struggle to find a more diverse collective than Northern Lights. For a start, the group’s origins are to be found in Scotland, Scandinavia and Northern Ireland, with musical roots in traditional, folk and classical. And if that’s too normal, there’s also a bit of the avant garde. Brian Finnegan (Flook, Kan) flute, whistle, Niall Vallely (Buille) concertina, Ailie Robertson (The Outside Track) harp, Donald Grant (Elias Quartet) fiddle, Nikolaj Busk (Dreamers’ Circus) accordion, piano and Ale Carr (Dreamers’ Circus, Basco) cittern, make up this ensemble, and with just six compositions rehearsed they have set up a short tour – they haven’t recorded yet so there’s no album to promote. Catch them at Edinburgh Queen’s Hall on January 17 warming up for Celtic Connections on the 19th. Liverpool fan now based in Ross-shire Howard Swindells has caused a stir with a track from his Fireside Sessions. His ditty about his local Inverness Caley Thistle called ‘Caley Thistle, A Bridge And A Castle’ was tweeted by Caley legend Denis Wyness and this resulted in over 2000 reactions. Now released as a CD and download, the song, based on a football chant, continues to amuse on both sides of the Kessock Bridge. Other new Scottish releases this week include Twelfth Day and the Speak From The Start (Birnam) EP. Orcadian Catriona Price (fiddle/vocals) and Borders lass Esther Swift (harp/vocals) were asked to produce a cover version for the BBC 40th anniversary celebrations and opted for ‘You’re The One For Me Fatty’, by Morrissey, but using traditional instruments, etc. This led to this release, which includes interpretations of ‘Sunday Girl’ (Blondie) and ‘Street Lights’ (Kanye West) among others.