The Universal Folk Club is everything a folk club ought to be: slightly tatty, too small, with a good bar, wonderful staff and a bathroom that provides sound effects during the show. It’s perfect.
Songs of Scotland is a self-explanatory series. The last time we’d attended Celtic Connections, I was told that, if I didn’t see anything else, see some of the shows in this series. Now I understand.
Hosted by Doris Rougvie, the show stayed focused on the topic, and the level of talent crammed onto that tiny stage was spectacular. Irene Watt opened with “The Fisherman’s Lassie,” a jaunty little ditty that she demanded we all sing along with. How could the audience refuse? Irene proved throughout the evening to be a consummate entertainer. Her singing voice is lovely, her harpistry is excellent, but above all, her personality sparkles. She wants you to have a good time, and you want to make her happy. It’s a wonderful match of audience and performer.
Calum Alex MacMillan and Norrie MacIver were the other featured artists. Calum is a member of Dàimh and Na Seòid. He’s got a strong, elegant voice and a shy manner. Norrie, lead singer for Bodega and also a member of Na Seòid, also has a grand voice and an outgoing way. The two sang Gaelic songs solo and supported each other’s songs musically with guitar and whistle. If you’re a regular Oak and Thorn listener, you’ve heard the music of Dàimh and Bodega, and the solo work of these men is fabulous. After we get back, you’ll be hearing more from all three of these fine artists.
After the show ended, Tim interviewed Calum, who explained the stories behind a couple of the songs. The one about margarine is my favorite!