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 Festival 2006
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(A) 3 out of 62
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Page number refers to the Fringe programme

Antonio Forcione Quartet - Absolutely Live (Page 103)

Drams 0
Musicians Antonio Forcione(guitar); Jenny Adejayan,(cello); Nathan Thompson (flute and bass); Adriano Adewale (percussion)
Date 9 August 2006
Venue Assembly @ George Street (Venue 3)
Address Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street.
Reviewer Rebecca Smith

Antonio Forcione Quartet
Antonio Forcione has been around the Fringe Festival block long enough for even him to lose track (14 or 15 years, he thinks) - an indication of his deserved popularity.

He works the guitar strings with extraordinarly speed and percision, as any guitarist will attest after picking their jaw up off the floor. He treats his guitar like the proverbial plainsman treats a buffalo: he uses every last part of it and doesn't let a single inch go to waste, with liberal use of percussive slaps and taps (among other tricks). At one stage he flips the guitar face down and slides the strings across his lap. It could verge on being gimmicky if it wasn't executed with such skill and good humour.

Forcione is a charismatic and witty host. It took a couple of songs to get the crowd warmed up, easily achieved by the time Indian Cafe came round which featured a wild custom-made, fretless guitar with an extra eight-stringed neck allowing him even more freedom to dazzle with his technique. His songs are often inspired by everyday life, from an endearingly playful tribute to his long-standing relationship with tiramisu to a ballad based on a letter he wrote at 25 to himself at 50. His friendly, informal appeal belies his status as a master musician amongst guitar fans.

Antonio Forcione Quartet
Italian Forcione has assembled a multi-national quartet of talented musicians, with exquisite Nigerian cellist Jenny Adejayan, Brazilian percussionist Adriano Adewale and Australian double bassist and flautist Nathan Thompson. When quizzed afterwards how he found such an eclectic mix of bandmates he deadpanned, without missing a beat, "yellow pages". Their fusion of diverse, exotic styles and techniques, played with total mastery of their instruments is exhilarating to watch.

Special mention should be made of the sound quality achieved in the Assembly Ballroom: it's very well judged and does justice to the excellent performances.

Rebecca Smith 12 August 2006 - Published on www.edinburghguide.com.
Run: 4-28 August at 20:55 every day, except Monday the 14th.

Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham (p.102)

Drams 0 none needed
Music Charlie Hunter's Jig/The Mouse in the Cupboard/The Rosewood, Rocking the Baby to Sleep/La Valse des Jouets, La Bastringue, The Greenpoint Girl, Major Manson's Farewell to Clachantrusheal/The Shinty Referee, Annalise Medley, The Gentle light that Wakes me, The Auld Fiddler/Earl Mitten's Breakdown, Flett from Flotta/Sabhal Iain ig Uisdean/The Drampire, A bright star in Cepheus, The Hangman's Reel, On the Edge of the White Rock/Morag Craig Thomas/Jean's Reel, A Man's a Man for A' That, Stella's Trip to Kamloops/Memories of Father Angus MacDonnel/Laird of Drumblair/Cambridge Hornpipe, Canadian Barndance, The Gentle Maid/Donald MacLean's Farewell to Oban/The Faerie Dance
Performers Aly Bain (fiddle), Phil Cunningham (accordion)
Venue Queen's Hall (Venue 72)
Address Clerk Street
Date 27 August 2006
Reviewer Bruce Royan

Phil Cunningham & Aly Bain

The Queen's Hall was packed to the rafters on Sunday night. The parterre in front of the stage that often accommodates a sprinkling of candlelit tables, was populated with serried ranks of chairs, all occupied, to judge by the roar that greeted their arrival, by avid fans of "Phillernally".

Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham have held centre stage in Scottish traditional music for over 30 years, separately (Phil with Silly Wizard, Aly with the Boys of the Lough) and as a duo, and they were totally at ease with the audience from the moment they walked on.

They confided how nice it was to be doing this gig from their Edinburgh homes, this being number 25 of a 50-gig tour (see below for further dates). They apologised in advance for some of the tunes they were about to play from their new CD (Roads not travelled), which they "know in our heads but not yet in our fingers". After the first set, Ali declared it had all gone "a wee bit quicker than we hoped". They regaled us with tallish stories of life on the road, with a series of more or less improbable fellow musicians (the one about wee Fergie, big Mo and the wheelbarrow will go with me to my grave). In such a way were the musical gems of the evening set in the cosy and humorous patter of a really good pub session.

The unsurpassed clarity of tone and sheer lyricism of Aly's playing were beautifully showcased in airs like The Greenpoint Girl and A Man's a Man for A' That. Phil was not to be outdone in demonstrating the beauty a great accordionist can bring to a slow air, with two of his own compositions, The gentle light that wakes me" and A bright star in Cepheus.

But for the most part, the audience was swept along by the burning pace of their jigs, reels and hornpipes, so that, despite the evidence that more than 30 pieces had been played, it was had to believe that two hours had passed, when, encores over, Aly and Phil left the stage, leaving the audience shouting for more.

Tour continues: September 1 Wick, 2 Plockton, 3 Pitlochry, 4 Strontian, 5 Durness, 8 Oban, 9 Turriff, 10 Fochabers, 13 Motherwell, 14 Cumbernauld, 15 Perth, 16 Glasgow, 21 Lochcarron, 22 Elgin, 23 Farr, 26 Portree, 27 Stornoway, 28, Ullapool, 29 Strathpeffer, 30 Clashmoor, October 1 Aberdeen, 2 Darvel.

Bruce Royan, 22 September 2006. Published on www.EdinburghGuide.com


Africa’s Heartbeat (Page 102)

Drams 0
African Children’s Choir
Venue St. Andrews & St. George’s Church (Venue 111)
Address 13 George Street
Date 9 August 2006
Reviewer Mairi Anderson

Africa'sHeartbeat Fringe 2006

Wow! Sharing in the experience of “Africa’s Heartbeat” will take you on an emotional and physical roller-coaster, but it’s worth every minute!

The African Children’s Choir is an organisation with 27 years’ experience of supporting children in Africa, particularly those orphaned by Aids. The choir, founded by Ray Barnett, an ordained Irish minister, living in Canada, is made up of 25 children aged 8-11 and nine young adults who were in the choir as small children.

From the moment they burst into the room and run to the stage the children instantly engage the audience. Despite the great difficulties they have experienced in their young lives they are vibrant and full of life, colour and motion. No-one could fail to be touched by their presence, courage and huge capacity to express themselves and have fun with their music.

Unfortunately there were no programmes. Individuals and songs were introduced, but I’m afraid I couldn’t catch some of the African words and have had to make some guesses. The soloists were introduced by a captivating young man whose name I couldn’t catch, so I’ll call him YMISS (Young Man In Striped Shirt) and hope that isn’t a rude word in any African language! He was an absolute delight, holding the show together and rousing the audience to sing, dance and eventually dance like maniacs to the inimitable “Courtship Dance”. Now this is a mature Edinburgh audience in a church setting – no small achievement!

The young adults in the choir are now students of higher education. The female soloists all have beautiful voices and are the epitome of grace. The young men sing, dance and drum their hearts out. Andrew in particular has such wonderful warmth with the young children and it’s a joy to watch him express his passion for music and dance. He plays a pretty mean Djembe drum too!

Highlights for me were excerpts from a theatrical piece Prince of Africa, the hauntingly touching Here I Am Lord, Send Me, the manic courtship dance and the singing of the African national anthem. It was the first time I had heard the national anthem and it was a moving and enlightening experience. As we stood you could sense a strong feeling of mutual respect and of the African peoples’ pride in the richness of their heritage and homeland. The only drawback was that we couldn’t then get up to give the cast the standing ovation they deserved!

The Choir with Kofe Annan at the UN
1 June 2006

St. Andrews & St. Georges is a beautiful venue and sound quality was good. Stage space is a little cramped and that limits choreographic possibilities. Costumes were colourful and imaginative.

Africa’s Heartbeat is a heart-warming, inspirational show. It is bursting with vibrancy, energy and sheer joy of life. It is humbling and heartening to witness the human spirit rise above adversity in such an incredibly life-affirming way. If you want to laugh, cry, sing, dance and really experience what it means to be alive and connected to each other, then this show is for you.

© Mairi Anderson. 9 August 2006. Published on www.edinburghguide.com. See also African Children’s Choir

Run continues: August 10th: 19.30 (1 hr) £12 (£10); August 14-15, 17-18, 21-22, 25-26: 16.30 (1 hr) £12 (£10)

(A) 3 out of 62
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