I hope you are all well and you all have had a wonderful first couple of months in 2016! As soon as I came back to Scotland from my short break over Christmas and New Year back in Germany, the tranquility of snowy nights and tea near the fire place was replaced by a crammed diary for January, consisting of numerous rehearsals for Celtic Connections 2016, the biggest winter music festival in Scotland and probably one of the most important dates for world music in general throughout the year.
I once again had the big pleasure to be part of the student showcase of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, this year in the renown Strathclyde Suite in the Glasgow Royal Concert Halls. What an experience! For this year’s performance we collaborated with a bunch of very talented folk music students from Newcastle. All this wouldn’t be possible without Phil Cunningham and Jenn Butterworth, who I admire for their patience and endurance during this time of intense rehearsals! Thank you!
By the way, I have never played on a stage, that was so stuffed with musicians! Take a look at the photos on the “Gallery” page!
The second highlight of this year’s Celtic Connections festival was being part of a project called “Strathspey and Surreal”. It was a massive privileged to get asked on board of this gig and all the hours invested in practising and rehearsing the very difficult parts were really well-spent. You can get more information on this project and also watch the full video of the gig by going to the Gallery -> “Film & video” page!
I was particularly honoured to be playing with Adam Sutherland, who I feel very grateful to, as it really comes down to himself, that I am living in Glasgow and studying what I love. He has been probably the most influential musician to me in terms of fiddle repertoire and style and particularly composition. Here is a photo (by Martin Forry), featuring half of the “Fiddle 2” section totally focused on their parts !
I am also very pleased that since January 2016 I am officially member of the Iona Fyfe Band! We had a phenomenal start as a band by taking part in the Danny Kyle Open Stage competition, hosted by the Celtic Connections festival and aimed at up-and-coming artists. We had a blast at stage and also the sneaky STV Glasgow live interview after the gig was some memorable experience! You can watch this video on the channel’s twitter:
We have a shiny new website (you can find the link to it on my “Projects” page) and I have added recent recordings with the Iona Fyfe Band to my SoundCloud page. Check them out on my “Listen” page!
Unfortunately Celtic Connections came to an end far too early for this year again, but I can say for sure that these three weeks in January might definitely be the craziest anybody can ever experience in Glasgow. The city is becoming a melting pot for all genres of music, bringing together the most amazing performers from all over the world. Come over next year for a tune or two!
After a couple of days recharging energy (and sleep) up north on the Scottish Highland’s west coast, I was thrown back to a reality of teaching, practising and studying for my degree. I feel privileged to be asked to play for numerous compositions, all written by some of my loveliest colleagues I have had the pleasure to work with on my course. Keep an eye on my Soundcloud-page – I will add recent recordings and experiments as we go through them. I can’t wait to put the pieces together with all the participating musicians! It sounds wonderful so far!
I will leave you with a photo of mine, taken during the Iona Fyfe Band photo shooting. All I say is: It was very cold, and very windy, and I almost lost my favourite beanie…
Have a good time and all the very best to you!