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(M) 5 out of 74
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Page number refers to the Fringe programme

Mélodie, Lied and Song (Page 109)
Classics @ The Reid Series
Drams 0
Music Hugo Wolf: Three songs from the Italian Songbook; Richard Strauss: Op. 10 Nos. 1, 2 and 3; Samuel Barber: Hermit Songs; Francis Poulenc: Fiançailles Pour Rire.
Musicians Emma Morwood (soprano); Vicky Savage (piano)
Venue The Reid Hall (Venue 201)
Address Reid Quad, Bristo Square
Reviewer Nick Scott

For Emma Morwood and Vicky Savage, who each studied music at Edinburgh University, performing at the Reid Concert Hall must have felt like being "back home". For their recital, the duo chose works by Wolf, Strauss, Barber and Poulenc; and the "intimate" ambiance of the Reid Concert Hall was perfect for the occasion.

With Lieder, singer and pianist command equal status; and, therefore, an empathy between the two is essential. The pianoforte not only creates the "mood", but also intervolves itself with the voice. This "relationship" - this shared "responsibility" for the music - was apparent at yesterday afternoon's recital. Generally, the balance between the two was perfect - although there were occasions when the voice was somewhat strident - due, perhaps, to the Reid acoustic. But on the whole, the combined effect was pleasing; and the duo gave an admirable performance - their obvious "love" for the genre communicating itself to the audience.

The recital began with three songs from the Italian Songbook (words adapted from traditional Italian folk poetry) by Austrian composer, Hugo Wolf. It is difficult to single out any one song; but for sheer humour, Ich hab' in Penna einen Liebesten wohnen (I have a boyfriend who lives in Penna) gets my vote. Although the title implies that just one boyfriend features in the song - this is far from the truth. In fact, the singer gives us a run-down of the number of boyfriends she has in each of nine different towns - amounting to a staggering twenty-one in all! One must note the tricky, prominent piano accompaniment which is a feature of this song.

Three songs (in fact, the first three) from Richard Strauss' Op.10 - which, incidentally, was the first group of his songs to appear in print comprised the next section of the programme. With words by Hermann von Gilm we were treated to the dramatic Zuenignung (Dedication), Nichts (Nothing) and, meriting special mention, the emotive Die Nacht (The Night).

With anonymous texts from 8th to 13th Century Irish Monks and Scholars we were treated to a selection from Samuel Barber's Hermit Songs. This group included two short, yet effective, items - Sea Snatch (with its "rolling" accompaniment) and the rather forlorn Promiscuity. Of longer duration, there was the "contented", The Monk and His Cat; and the "cycle" concluded with Desire for Hermitage - noteworthy for its expressive piano accompaniment.

The afternoon's recital concluded with Francis Poulenc's Fiançailles Pour Rire (1939) - six songs set to words by Louise de Vilmorin, ending on a rather lugubrious note with Fleurs (Flowers). It would have been rather nice to have finished with something in a "lighter" vein - perhaps as an encore?

Because of the close "partnership" between singer and accompanist, they must share the glory; but, here I have to make an exception. Special mention must go to Ms Morwood for performing the entire recital from memory.

In all, a most enjoyable experience - just the right length, with the perfect "balance" of style and mood. It is a pity that this was the only performance - as the recital is well worth repeating. Let's hope they do so soon.

© Nick Scott 8 August 2004. Published on www.edinburghguide.com


Gato Martin (page 108)
Drams 2 ½ Drams
Music His own compositions
Musicians Gato Martin; Biel Font (backing vocalist)
Venue C Central, Carlton Hotel (Venue 54)
Address North Bridge
Reviewer Shona Brodie 10 August 2004

Gato Martin
This is the first time in Edinburgh for London based Mallorcan songwriter Gato Martin. Together with bass and backing vocalist Biel Font they have brought an acoustic set to the Fringe combining Latin music with pop, rock, funk and Bossa Nova.

It is very easy to review when the act is either very good, or indeed very bad. This performance fitted neatly in between the two. Pleasant enough, entertaining even, but no real spark or difference to make it stand out.

Martin played his own compositions competently while accomplice Font added some creative but solid baselines, proving a great backing vocalist that I would have liked to hear more of. Discovering he was the lead singer in two other Mallorcan bands was no surprise. Together their harmonies were spot on, and they were obviously passionate about their music. Playing up at times to big funk baselines, I was desperate to hear what the songs would have sounded like with a full band. I think it was just unfortunate that the place was so quiet.

A fabulous new C venue in the city: down into the side of the Carlton Hotel on North Bridge, cabaret style setting with small main stage and tables surrounding with a bar to the back.

I can imagine that, if the place was packed, people enjoying a drink and bustling about to the Latin sounds of Gato Martin playing in the background, it would have been much more suited - would have possibly reminded the crowd of a time when they were sitting in a bar in Spain somewhere… As it was, with a quiet audience, the atmosphere was a little flat and their music didn’t quite fill the venue. Not completely memorable but an enjoyable hour of relaxed and friendly music.

© Shona Brodie. 12 August 2004. Published on www,edinburghguide,com

Run 6-30 August 2004 (not 22-25th)


The McCalmans (page 109)
Drams 0
Musicians The McCalmans: Ian McCalman, Nick Keir and Stephen Quigg
Venue Queen's Hall
Address Clerk Street
Reviewer Mark Meredith

The McCalmans showed the Queens Hall on Wednesday why they are central to Scotland’s Celtic scene. They make wonderful three-part harmony, they’re funny and their folk music is as contemporary as it is traditional.

The Edinburgh-based trio of Ian McCalman, Nick Keir and Stephen Quigg played many songs from their new album Tangled Web including Ian McCalman’s From Greenland, a touching exploration of home-sickness and his guffaw-inducing WMD—a political hide-and-seek set in a school playground.

Nick Kerr performs pyrotechnics on the penny whistle and adds huge energy to the group’s music while Stephen Quigg has a clear, warm voice as lead vocalist.

The group are on the road a lot and well worth catching when they are within reach.

© Mark Meredith 19 August 2004. Published on www.edinburghguide.co.uk



Massive Attack (Page 108)
Drams 0 (more of a smokey sort of evening)
Music Setlist: Future Proof (Intro); Angel; Rising Son; Black Milk; Spying Glass; Karmacoma; Bullet; Teardrop; Mezzanine; Hymn of the Big Wheel; Safe >From Harm; Inertia Creeps; Unfinished Sympathy; Future Proof
Venue Edinburgh Corn Exchange (Venue 77)
Address 11 Newmarket Road
Reviewer Eoghann MacGregor

Massive Attack
Since their inception in 1988 at the core of Bristol's Wild Bunch Sound system, and the release of their seminal debut Blue Lines, Massive Attack have pioneered their mix of lethargic hip-hop beats, dub bass lines and ethereal vocals to create their own take on soul music.

Now practically attaining veteran status, the remaining two core members, Robert '3D' Del Naja and Grant 'Daddy G' Marshall, have support from a full live band to supplement the loops and samples, and are also assisted by their roster of guest vocalists.

This seems to be the way with Massive: they've been known for working with so many key contemporary musicians like Horace Andy, Tracey Thorn, Shara Nelson, Tricky, Neneh Cherry and Madonna, that it's very rarely possible for the original personnel who appeared on the recordings to make it out on the road with them.

Reggae legend Horace Andy, the only singer to have appeared on all four Massive Attack albums, is here tonight though. His unmistakeable, crystal clear vocals cut through the mix on Hymn of the Big Wheel. Shara Nelson's substitute for the evening, Debra, is never properly introduced to the crowd but she manages to hold her own on the Blue Lines classic Safe from Harm, offsetting the 3D's lethargic rap.

Edinburgh singer/songwriter, Dot Allison now seems to be establishing herself as part of the Massive live collective. Also assisting on guitar duties and rumoured to be working in the studio with Massive, the ex-One Dove singer has the unenviable task of filling Cocteau Twin Liz Fraser's shoes on Teardrop but does so with aplomb.

The on stage banter is pretty sparse at a Massive show, and although 3D has been fairly prominently involved in the recent anti-war campaign he kept the chat, including anything with a political slant, to a minimum here and restricted himself to a couple of well received pro-peace comments and the occasional bad joke.

The Edinburgh Corn Exchange has earned itself a reputation as a difficult venue to achieve a good live sound in and while a show like this really demands a bass sound that you can feel as well as hear, the two main men, who whisper their lines as they hunch over their microphones, were occasionally struggling to be heard through the huge bass lines and layers of strings. The guest vocalists managed to come through loud and clear though and the version of Unfinished Sympathy during the encore can only be described as immense.

The only possible gripe about the whole show could be the price of the tickets; £25 (£27.50 inc. booking fee) for a relatively short set of about 70 minutes could leave you feeling short changed and is more in line with what you'd expect to pay for a stadium concert for someone like the Rolling Stones. It's also a wee bit cheeky to charge a booking fee on tickets sold on the door - and it seems particularly daft to do so when the tickets touts standing two metres away are selling the same ticket minus the extra charge...

You can't blame Massive Attack - they came, saw and conquered, played most of their best tunes and left the punters in the crammed venue happy but it's difficult to see any justification for TOTF setting their prices this high.

© Eoghann MacGregor. 21 August 2004. Published on www.edinburghguide.com See also ww.massiveattack.com


Mull Historical Society
T on the Fringe

Drams full glass - maybe one Tobermory single malt out of respect…
Music Muileach Pop
Musicians Colin MacIntyre & Co.
Venue Edinburgh Liquid Room (Venue 173)
Address 9c Victoria Street
Reviewer Eoghann MacGregor

Colin MacIntyre
Mull Historical Society
Since the release of their irresistible debut album Loss three years ago, Mull Historical Society's quirky take on classic pop music has won them fans well beyond the namesake island of their origin. To be more accurate when talking about MHS though, you have to refer to Colin MacIntyre, the one-man driving force behind this Hebridean export. Having written all the material, produced all three of their albums and provided most of the performances for the recordings, Colin is now firmly on his way to establishing MHS as a major musical talent who are going to be with us for the long haul.

The live version of MHS is a full band which provides a springboard for his effervescent energy on stage as he jumps between guitar, bass and keyboards. It would be an injustice to refer to the rest of the band as 'backing' though; they're obviously all here because they're as enthusiastic about the music as the man himself. From the opening bars of I Tried, everyone's wearing stupidly wide grins and bouncing up and down: band, crowd and Colin and it's clear that they're onto a winner here.

Basically it's like this: if you can write songs like Watching Xanadu, essentially pop perfection, with a perfect hook, catchy chorus and insistently nagging melody, then you're on to a winner. If you can then repeat the trick when performing live, you can have the freedom of the city as far as this crowd are concerned.

In between songs there's plenty of wit and repartee from the stage to keep everyone amused and even a brief word from the sampled Granny MacIntyre, part of a monologue which appears on a track on This is Hope, the new album. The inflatable plastic sheep which someone's brought along - apparently a regular occurrence at a MHS show - is serenaded by Colin before being returned to the crowd with a volley which would make Archie Gemmill jealous.

Finishing with the eponymous Mull Historical Society and urging "come on and join us, join us now", at least 20 of the crowd promptly do, with the friendliest stage invasion possible. After a momentary 'stage collapsing' panic, they file off the stage, taking the opportunity to shake the hand of Tobermory's answer to Brian Wilson as they go.

© Eoghann MacGregor. 22 August 2004. Published on www.edinburghguide.co.uk See also www.tonthefringe.com


(M) 5 out of 74
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