So Saturday night I headed off to Hammersmith, to the Irish Cultural Centre there to see the wonderful Julie Fowlis and her band for myself. I recently bought a tartan shirt which I thought would be appropriate but it was the only bit of tartan I saw all night - so much for my stereotyping of the Scots.
Saturday's not the best day for me but I was able to get back before midnight and so as a one off it worked quite well. The hall there was packed out with about 150 or so present I guess. It was a fairly cross-sectional audience I think. The lady I sat next to was from Ulster and in front of me was a young Swedish lady. Bonus of the night for me was when a chap called Jon Thackray (hi!) introduced himself to me with his Scots wife Kerry as a visitor to this blog.
When Julie checked for Gaelic speakers in the audience she found only three or four so most I guess were listening as I do - not understanding. Having said that, probably over half the set was instrumental with the (clearly pregnant) Julie blowing those tin whistles with great gusto.
They did three quarters of an hour, took a break and then gave us another hour with an encore of two final songs - one slow, one fast. There was a good deal of variety - one a capella number, one just with bodhran, two or three with piano, one with two fiddles and the rest with the band taking more or less part (ie her Irish husband Eamon Doorley on bouzouki, Scot Martin O'Neill on bodhran, Scot Duncan Chisholm on fiddles and Irish man Tony Byrne on guitar). They palyed some tracks from the new album, some favourites and one or two that I don't think are recorded. There was lots of banter from all the band and a good deal of talk all told, which some may not like but seemed okay to me.
So basically it's high quality musicianship, great traditional songs plus the fabulous Julie Fowlis voice. The Corrs they are not but my it's good stuff.