Tag Archives: Steeleye Span

Yesterday Having Been “Gaudete Sunday” Per The Advent Calendar, Let Me Share With You “Gaudete” At Its Best.

by Anura Guruge


Think of this as one of my Christmas presents to YOU.

Rejoice.

Gaudete” the hymn was supposed to be sung in churches yesterday, the 3rd Sunday of Advent.

But, let me PLEASE share with YOU the BEST ever rendition of “Gaudete” — along with the lyrics in Latin and English.

This is ‘Maddy Prior‘ with ‘Steeleye Span‘ from the 1970s. I was (still am I guess) a ‘Steeleye Span‘ groupie. I have heard, live, Maddy perform this over 25 times!

So, without further ado, please sit back, turn the volume up, enjoy & REJOICE.


Related posts:
++++ Check Category ‘religion’ >>>>


by Anura Guruge

Wolfeboro, NH, Courtesy Of “Hot Club Of Cowtown” Reverberated To Austin Country Swing, On Friday, August 14, 2015.

Ronan Tynan, week before.

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
.
.
.
.
.
.
by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Ronan Tynan.
>> Glenn Miller Orchestra.
>> Jonathan Edwards & Marina Evans.
>> “Best of Broadway”.
>> BS&T.
>> John Gorka & Cliff Eberhardt.
>> “Devonsquare”
.

>> “Aztec, Two-Step”.
>> “Yellow Brick Road”
— Brilliant!

>> Gordon Lightfoot Concert

++++ Search on ‘Great Waters’ for many other related posts >>>>


Click on any & all pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution will be enforced with gusto. 

The irrepressible Elana James.

Charismatic Whit Smith.

The prodigal, “you can do THAT with a Bass”, Jake Irwin.

Click to access their Website.

The tour manager for the last 12 years, Eva, ears perked, eyes closed, listening for any duff notes.




Last week with Ronan Tynan the catchwords were ‘soaring’ and strident. This week, with the “Stalwarts of Country Swing“, it was all sizzling strings, breathless vocals and lots of passion and fervor. Elana’s violin, played as a fiddle with mesmerizing vigor tempered with virtuosity, took you places you would not imagine that such a small and delicate instrument would be capable of going. The big (and we later found out to our delight and amazement, totally ‘collapsible’) bass, on the other hand, was lovingly whipped — and that is the only way to describe it — on occasion to produce a ‘thump’ that you had to experience to appreciate. It was quite the performance. Wasn’t so much a wall of sound, but waves upon waves, non-stop and intertwined, of notes all, despite what sometimes was meant to come across as frantic strumming, very pleasing to the ear and compelling to the heart. They, having been doing it for 18 years, really do know what they are doing, what works and what the audience wants. Talent like that leaves me, one with no talents at all, in utter awe, often, last night, with my mouth agape. It was, yet again, an honor and rare privilege to be there. And what nice people. Salt of the earth from Austin, TX.

As is my wont (being the closet introvert that I am) I ‘work the crowd‘ and ‘press the flesh‘. So I got to learn some about the audience. During the first half I sat behind two identical looking brothers (though not twins), accountants both, from Norway (yes, like next door to Sweden (rather than in Maine)), who were seeing ‘Cowtown’ for the 4th night in a row! I was impressed with that. Then in the second half Elana told all of us that it was the Norwegian brothers’ 74th, yes, you heard that correct, 74th, time seeing ‘Cowtown’ perform. The group had (and I am not sure whether I would really call it ‘kindly’) given them one of their T-shirts each when they attended their 60th concert. Reminded me of all those T-shirt jokes. “We went to 60 of their concerts and all they gave us was this lousy T-shirt.” Well, Elana did promise that they would get something else when they came to the 75th concert. But, DAMN! Last night was the last concert of what had been a 3-week tour. No more concerts till October. So the two brothers will have to wait awhile to make it 75. Kind of humbled me, which, in reality isn’t that hard to do. I used to be an unashamed “Steeleye Span” and “Lindisfarne” groupie. But, at most, I might have seen them, each, maybe 20 times, possibly a bit more. Definitely not 50 times and 74 blows my mind. I have seen the ‘Phantom’ around 7 times and I keep on joking that my goal is to see it at least 17 times — that number, somehow, stuck in my mind as how many time Princess Diana saw the show. BUT, 74? Just think of that. And they come over from Norway. 74.

But, they were NOT alone — though I didn’t meet anybody else who even came close to 74, let alone 47. There was a couple who had seen them the night before in Boothbay, Maine and came across to New Hampshire to see them again. So twice in two nights. I met two ‘older’ (meaning that they were older than I) couples, both ex-Mass., who had seen the group, in Mass. many years ago, 15 years ago in the case of one couple and 18 years for the other — and that had been in Somerville. They actually asked for a show of hands of those that had seen them before. Of the around 180 present about 40% had seen them before. That is quite the following and I can now understand and appreciate.

I was impressed. I was entertained. And I can honestly say that I was well and truly sated and it takes something special to sate me.





I have over 170 usable images from this concert, BUT there is only so much that I can post. Click to ENLARGE.



Jonathan Edwards Was Exhilarating & Marina Evans Mellifluous At Wolfeboro, NH, July 15, 2015 For “Great Waters”

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
.
.
.
.
.
.
by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> “Best of Broadway”.
>> BS&T.
>> John Gorka & Cliff Eberhardt.
>> “Devonsquare”
.

>> “Aztec, Two-Step”.
>> “Yellow Brick Road”
— Brilliant!
>> 2015
Great Waters Schedule.

>> Gordon Lightfoot Concert

++++ Search on ‘Great Waters’ for many other related posts >>>>


Click on any & all pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution will be enforced with gusto. 







Jonathan Edwards absolutely galvanized a very appreciative crowd of around 230 folk, at Wolfeboro’s Anderson Hall, for ‘Great Waters‘, on Saturday, July 25, 2015. What an exceptional entertainer and performer — and he can sing too. He, at times, had me mesmerized and that takes some doing these days. I had heard, more than once, over the last 10 months, that ‘Jonathan Edwards’ was GOOD, v. good. Well he sure was. I felt very privileged to have been at this concert (and the fact that, as a stagehand, I got to interact with him and his delightful band on stage and backstage was an added bonus). I know that HE was the first act that “Great Waters” booked for 2015 — nearly a year ago. I gather he had played for them 5 years ago and had been a smash hit. Well he was a smash hit all over again. I am a fan. Gather he spent 10 years of his life, his ‘lost decade’, in the Caribbean before moving to Austin (which he did not realize was in Texas). He sure knows a lot of folks and the names he dropped were but a “who’s who” of the music scene over the last 40 years. Not 100% sure whether he actually played with Bob Marley but he implied he played a lot of Marley while he was in the “West Indies” (as we Brits like to call it). Well he did one Marley song. And this dude, with a white goatee, and mainly ‘light’ hair, from Maine (I gather), doing Marley gave me goose bumps! He is good. Did I already say that.

Man, have we lucked out with “Great Waters” this year. “Aztec, Two-Step“, when we still had 10′ of snow on the ground, was brilliant. “Devonsquare“, soon afterwards, with snow still on the ground”, was as good. Then we had the inimitable John Gorka & Cliff Eberhardt. I was pretty sure that they could not be beat in 2015. I, yet again, was wrong and that bothers me none. Jonathan Edwards was a revelation. As with ALL of them, ‘Gorka’, ‘Cliff’, ‘Aztec’, I had never heard of him till “Great Waters”. I think that has to do with me being in Britain in the 1970s and half of 1980. My folk heroes were British: Steeleye SpanLindesfarne in the main — and I would go to multiple concerts, by each, every year.

And then we had a BONUS. Marina Evans from Massachusetts. She did an “Alison Krausseque” 30-minute opening gig for Jonathan (and Deanna and I have met Alison, in NH, in her PJs, and I kid you not). She is good. Very compelling and will make you tap your feet whether you want to or not. She was a revelation. I thought she came with Jonathan. Appears that that was not the case. It was the first time that they had met. So it would appear “Great Waters” arranged this inspired pairing. I am sure she will be back with “Great Waters”, with her own show, in the next few years. She definitely gathered quite a fan base at the concert. Her CDs were flying off the merchandise table.

So that was that. What a night. Jonathan, not heeding his wife’s ‘advice’ to keep it short, played for nearly two hours. So the concert didn’t finish till past 10pm. I would have been happy if he played for another 2 hours. He was that good. So we didn’t get away till about 11 pm though Jonathan’s band, to their credit, took care of all their equipment, and they had a fair amount.

Thank YOU, Mr. Edwards. Thank YOU, Marina (and I won’t call her Miss. Evans since I have a daughter older than her).




Jonathan’s extremely talented and fun band.


Jonathan sings barefoot and has a cute dog off stage.
His multifaceted drummer, who also plays guitar from behind the drums,
plays barefoot too — and MOREOVER plays a MARACA with his foot!
Given that I too get accused of having ‘monkey toes’ in that I can pickup
and use things with my toes, I found this very much to my liking.


Another Musical Christmas Present To YOU. ‘Gaudete’, The Sacred Christmas Carol, By Maddy Prior With Steeleye Span.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

..
by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> ‘King is Born’, Luther Norseman, 2012
>>Dec. 2, 2013.
++++ Check CATEGORY ‘Holidays’ for other Christmas posts >>>>


Please click to access YouTube video ... you will be so glad you did.

Please click to access YouTube video … you will be so glad you did.

If you are NOT familiar with ‘Gaudete’, I feel bad for you.
But at least we have rectified that.

Click above for a Wikipedia take on this very old Christmas hymn.


I learnt of ‘Gaudete’ by hearing Steeleye Span, with Maddy Prior,
singing it … in the early 1970.

I would have to say that ‘Steeleye Span’ is still my all time favorite group — ever.

I used to be a ‘Steeleye Span’ (& ‘Lindisfarne’) groupie —
in that I would try and attend as many concerts, a year, that I could. 

When I could I would follow them from town to town
— seeing two or three concerts a week. 

That I was a customer support manager, expected to travel around the U.K., as much as I could,
and money was never an issue (in those halcyon days),
made being a ‘groupie’ a breeze.

I think Maddy Prior is divine.

Sit back. Turn up the volume and ENJOY.

Kate Middleton, The Princess And Her Hats With Maddy Prior & ‘All Around My Hat’

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

….

..by Anura Guruge


LAST related post (do a blog ‘Search’ for the others >>>>):
  Kate Middleton (Future Queen): Latest Pictures, Prank Call, …
>>Dec. 6, 2012.

  Kate Middleton Pictures — The Link … — Sept. 16, 2012.


Click to listen to Maddy Prior and Steeleye Span signing "All Around My Hat" while the lovely Kate swaps hats.

Click to listen to Maddy Prior and Steeleye Span signing “All Around My Hat” while the lovely Kate swaps hats.


We just got back from ‘Revels‘ at Dartmouth. Stupendous. Heart warming. Deanna was bopping and she doesn’t bop to much these days. So it had to have been good. Kids liked it. I got up, as usual, and did the ‘Lord of the Dance‘ line dance with the cast and the brave souls from the audience. Always fun. Given its Irish setting I was familiar with many of the songs. I was delighted to see that 14th song was ‘All Around My Hat‘ an old English ballad. It used to be one of my favorite songs, introduced to me by a group that I used to be fanatical about during most of my 20s: the incomparable, electric-folk ‘Steeleye Span‘. I first saw them, in London, kind of by accident, when I was about 17. I thought they were the cat’s whiskers. Over the next 12 or 13 years I followed them, making sure to see them in concert at least once a year. I am sure there were years when I saw them 3 or 4 times in one year, maybe even twice in a month. I thought that their lead singer Maddy Prior was the most amazing lady, ever. In the early 70s, while attending University in Swansea I learned to ‘cook’ (push) ISO 400 Kodachrome and expose it as ISO 1600 just to take pictures of her (many of them up her skirt because I would be standing below her while she was twirling, her trademark long skirt swirling, on stage). I think I had over 300 pictures of her. Anyway, to me, nobody can do ‘All Around My Hat‘ as well as Maddy. Period. The three gentleman who did it today did a gallant job, doing it in the traditional way. It was good, but were nowhere even close to Maddy in the 1970s — and I have heard her sing it live at least 20 times. So I went looking for Maddy on YouTube. Found this. It is the ultimate blend. Maddy’s voice with Kate’s pictures. I wanted to share ‘All Around My Hat‘ with you, and this seems like the perfect way to do it.

NH Highland Games At Loon 2012: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

….
……
by Anura Guruge


Companion Post:
>>  NH Highland Games At Loon: Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 — The REPORT CARDSept. 23, 2012.

I realize that the above Report Card is way too long. So here is the pithy summary.


Hadrian's Wall Musical Group by Anura GurugeThe Good

1/ Hadrian’s Wall. The BEST of the Games 2012. They rocked. Dave Gossage will remind you of Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull!

2/ The Massed Bands at the Closing Ceremonies. Spectacular. Hard to beat.

3/ The perennial, ‘never bad’ favorites: The Briagdoons, Albannach, NH Pipes and Drums, Mohwak Valley, Catamount, Rob Roy and Governor John Lynch. Thank YOU.

4/ Good free coffee by Green Mountain Coffee (along with free plastic water cups, a chocolate ‘something’, which was addictive and cute, GreenSt. Patty’sheadbands). Many thanks. Much appreciated.

5/ Celtica, U.S. Border Patrol Band, all of the St. Andrew bands, the Drum Majors (even the guy that kept on dropping his mace).


The Bad

1/ No Grade I band.

2/ No bands from the U.K., let alone Scotland — when this is supposed to showcase Scotland; Albannach alone can’t always be the token Scots.

Denis Carr

Denis Carr, of ‘The Brigadoons’, the requisite Voice of the NH Highland Games.

3/ Having the Clan Roll and Opening Ceremonies separate.

4/ No Denis Carr at the Opening Ceremony.

5/ No real innovation over the last decade.


The Ugly

1/ $5.75 for a sausage roll — that is Scottish Highway Robbery.

2/ No trophy for the Amateur Drum Major even though it was a proper, slated competition and they announced a winner and said that they had no award for him.

3/ The ‘Performance Tent’ is the same, with the very same dirty, blue curtains, as it has been over the last 10 years; no light show, no big screens, no dancers … just shabby, tired and dark.

4/ Prevailing sense of general apathy by the organizers.

5/ The event and program looks and feels tired, lackluster, flaccid with no efforts at re-invigoration.


Yes, with those same resources I can do better, just in case you were wondering.

NH Highland Games At Loon: Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 — The REPORT CARD

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

….
……
by Anura Guruge


Just 3 Related posts (from many):
1/ NH Highland Games At Loon: Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 — Some Pictures; Celtica, Hadrian’s Wall, The Brigadoons, Massed Bands etc.Sept. 22, 2012.
2/ NH Highland Games At Loon, 2012: Weather, Parking, Groups, Celtica and The BrigadoonsSept. 21 2012.
3/ Laconia Multicultural Day September 8, 2012: They Pulled It Off Again. Thank You. THE REPORT CARDSept. 8, 2012.

See 1st link above for more pictures from the 2012 Games.


I have been going each year since 1998, with just one exception — the last year that it was at Hopkington, given that I just did not like that venue for the Games (and sure enough they came back to Loon, somewhat sheepishly, the following year). As a family we have been going since 2003. Teischan, now 6, has never a missed a Games in her life! So I have been to 14 games, Deanna & Devanee to nine and Teischan to six. I did play the bass drum (poorly and not for that long) for a British Army Cadet Corp. (cf. ROTC) marching band and did once march with them through Aldershot (cf. West Point). I also did play the drums, while in school in London, for an incredibly bad band appropriately called the ‘Bubonic Plague‘. So, I think we are qualified, in multiple ways, to state an opinion here.


My REPORT CARD for 2012.

For just doing it: B+. Yes, this is their 37th year (and I was there for the gala 25th celebrations). I could be wrong, but of late I get the feeling that they are just going through the motions, trying to maintain status quo (which is good to a point), expending as little as possible, and not really making an effort to add a little bit of new pizazz each year. Let me give you an example. At the closing ceremony, the M.C., without any major embarrassment, announced that they did NOT have a trophy for the Amateur Drum Major, though there was a competition for that class! He went onto add, kind of shamelessly, that they would welcome a sponsor for that trophy for next year. I told Teischan that we will donate it, but we were beaten to the punch. Somebody else, standing by the announcement platform, immediately offered! But, that is not good. They take in a LOT of money. Entrance was $35 per adult. Come on buy a trophy. Yes, I (as an adopted Scot) know that it is in the GENES (and in the case of many in their low-slung jeans as well), but don’t be SO CHEAP! Actually that is, to me, the keyword of the Games of late: CHEAP. Take the ‘Performance Tent’. It is the same as it was when it was introduced in 2000 (maybe 2001) after a Games ‘impacted’ by the remnants of an hurricane. The same low budget, zero affect lighting, no atmosphere … just a cheap tent thrown up for 3 days. Come on. This is 2012. Lets have some light shows, lasers, videos, big screens. Dancers. Segways (a NH invention). Look at the Summer Olympics. There is no reason to be stuck back in 2000 — other than the desire to conserve money, a noted Scottish trait. Oh yes, they had an huge innovation this year, for which they were very proud. The Clans, at 11 am, were not escorted into the rink by a pipe band, instead they were serenaded to a song by John Carmichael and Charlie Zahm. That was nice, and different. But, that raises another question. Denis Carr of ‘The Brigadoons‘ has traditionally been the much beloved Voice of the Games. Denis has done sterling work for the Games, particularly so in 2001 when he was called upon to sing ‘Amazing Grace‘ (which he does real, real well) about a dozen times a day. John Carmichael is more famous but does not have Denis’ unique personality and presence. John is very good but he is ‘flat’. He doesn’t lift a crowd like Denis can and does. John gets polite applause, Denis gets a reception. Charlie Zahm sang the National Anthems. He was OK, but I, for one, missed Denis.

Effort: B-. Of late I get the distinct feeling that the ‘Organizers’ (the so called ‘Board’) doesn’t give a hoot about non-VIP, punters like me who pay the gate entrance and come in. It seems to be: ‘let them eat cake at $7 a slice’. I love the games but the last few years I have felt exploited; even cheated. I just happened to find, serendipitously, a whole list of ‘Highland Games’ in the U.S. — arranged by State. I really am going to think about checking out some other Games. Just saw that the Florence, Massachusetts, Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival, had ‘Enter the Haggis‘! Wow. We saw them in their one and only appearance at the NH Games — at one of the events in Hopkington. They are good. World class — and I will contend that they are better than any group at this years game! Q.E.D. I am bummed (though Hadrian’s Wall warmed the inner cockles of my heart today). Deanna liked ‘EtH’. Though she hates long car rides I could have talked her into going to see the ‘EtH’. Well, the $5.75 for a sausage roll was the final straw. Despite my well known addiction to sausage rolls, and my ability to eat them in large quantities, I did NOT buy a single roll this year. It is not the price. I took $40 for food and in the end JUST spent $7 on a whoopee pie (see pictures) for the kids. I did NOT buy any food. I was protesting in my own little way. Deanna had brought some egg salad and almonds. I ate that and then went to the McDonald’s (in Loon) and blew $20. A sausage roll in a U.K. shop, this morning, will cost me 90 ‘pee’. [I checked.] That is 10 ‘pee’ under a Quid. A Quid is currently worth $1.62. So a sausage roll in England will cost me $1.46. Let us be generous and say $2.50. I am NOT paying $3 on top of that — when food prices, on the whole, are cheaper in the U.S. than in the U.K. Last year, I think, it was $4.75. A decade ago, I am sure unless my brain is playing tricks on me, that they were under $2 — which is what they should be. Screw them. I had it with the blatant exploitation. I will vote with my wallet and my feet. This might have been my last Games.

‘Enter the Haggis’ that has only appeared at the Games once — and that was when it was in Hopkington.

 

Overall Experience today: A. It is like what they say about fishing, though I don’t fish. Even a real bad day that involves 30 marching bands and The Brigadoons is better than the best day at ‘work’ (though I don’t work, per se, either). It wasn’t a bad day. Don’t get me wrong. It was fun. Lots of highlights. “Hadrian’s Wall” lit up the day and made me glad to have been there to see them. It is just the overall ambiance; lets just call it tacky.

‘Energy’/Ambiance: B-. ‘Albannach’ continue to be THE power source of the Games. They are the energy source. They continue to rock. Thank you, Albannach.

Organization: D, you finally managed to lose ME, and you really couldn’t have asked for a more loyal and devout fan.

Event Programming: D, for it having been done by a Dunce on Drugs; a drunk would have been more creative. ‘Searson’, supposedly a featured group, only had one slot yesterday, at noon to coincide with the Opening Ceremonies. They didn’t get much of a crowd. I had to go and check. Having the Clan Parade separate from the Opening Ceremonies is a 2001 innovation — and I know they will cite space. I don’t buy that. The Opening Ceremony is best when you have the bands and the clans interacting, feeding off each other. Having fun. And I missed Denis at the Opening Ceremonies. Was glad to see Governor John Lynch there. He got, as he should, a very warm reception.

Weather: A+. It was a cold start, but as predicted the Sun came out, the clouds disappeared for a couple of hours in the afternoon and the temperatures soared to the 70s. It was hot enough that I considered taking off my ‘heavy’ shirt. Dark clouds rolled in during the Closing Ceremonies but there was no rain — as we got on I-93 about 7:30.

Crowds: A. Wasn’t bad. Slow start but it was respectable by mid-afternoon. Only Albannach managed to PACK the ‘Performance Tent’!

Web site: C. It is OK, but could be so much better.

Sound: A, they used to fumble and stumble about like they had never done it before. They have got better, though it has taken them 10 years. Yes, they have now reduced the gigs to 35 to 40 minutes (which is shortchanging the punters like me again). So it does give the sound crews more time between gigs for set up. The 2nd ‘Celtica’ gig had some feedback, but the volume was way up. Sound, in general, was good.

Food: D. Selection was good, BUT I am not paying blatantly exploitative prices — on principal. I can be a Scot too.

Printed Program: I buy it on the way out so it doesn’t get mangled during the day. Since I print the schedule from the Internet I don’t need the Program to tell me what is happening when and where. When I went to get one on the way out, around 6 pm, the tent was closed. I could have ‘knocked’ — but I decided that I am going to keep the $5 in my pocket as yet another small protest.



The Performances We Saw

Massed Bands: A-. They were all OK. The U.S. Border Patrol, Ottawa Police, NH Pipes and Drums, Mohwak Valley and the various St. Andrew bands stood out. I missed not having a Grade I band. Also NO representation, whatsoever, from the U.K., let alone Scotland. That used to be a signature item — a Scottish band for the Highland Games.

Celtica (x2): A. We saw both their gigs, one at 10 am and the other at 4 pm, the 2nd two-orders of magnitude better than the first — hangover most likely the explanation. They are good. They are loud. They had the crowds bopping. Teischan was mesmerized. Watched them from the bottom of the stage both times. (See pictures). They tried to add some vocals. They just come across as a ‘cover band’ — shades of ‘Seven Nations‘ and ‘Red Hot Chilli Pipers‘ but with some je ne sais quoi missing. They try but they don’t (as yet) have the personality. I wish them well. But, I have a feeling that they have reached their ‘Parkinson’ — the NH Highland Games is about the top of their Game, as appears to be the case for ‘Albannach’.

Searson: B-. The ‘Indigo Girls’ without the magic. Three girls and a male drummer. They were OK. They had been to the Games before. They got a terrible slot, noon — coinciding with the Opening Ceremonies. I left after 15 minutes because I wanted to catch some of the Opening Ceremonies too. Deanna stayed. She thought they were ‘OK’ — and she is nowhere CLOSE to as fussy as I am. They are OK. I would not drive 3 miles to see them, but I am picky.

The Brigadoons: A+. When it comes to the ‘doons‘ I can’t be objective. They were like the 1st group I heard when I stumbled into my 1st Games and instantly fell in love with their music — having been a Steeleye Span and Lindarsfarne.groupie there is a genre of music that hits a chord with me. The ‘doons’ do that. Deanna and the kids know that the ‘doons‘ are my fix at the Games. They epitomize the games. The lineup has changed again! They played for about 35 minutes. They are getting old. Ashley, the youngest, is now playing with “Hadrian’s Wall”.

Hadrian’s Wall: A++. The BEST group of the Games this year, by far. The Brigadoons with attitude. Seven Nations without the grating edge (which is not a bad thing). Glengarry Bhoys Mk 1.5 — and they are from Glengarry and they are all related etc. etc. Albannach without the monotony! (Sorry). Searson with Testosterone. [I could say that differently and more powerfully, but Deanna will yell at me.] Celtica in their DREAMS! (Sorry). They rocked. They hit the right ‘tone’. They connected. They didn’t have a piper, but Dave Gossage on tin whistle put many a piper to shame. This guy reminds me of Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull! Mark my words. These folks still have a lot of work to do. They need a new name, they need their OWN Web site. They will go far. Maybe they should, if they read this, call me. I will make them famous. Deanna shouts at me when I buy $20 CDs at the Games, correctly pointing out that I can get them for $12 on Amazon. But, I bought one of their $20 CDs and Deanna didn’t shout at me. I listened to it twice on the drive home. It wasn’t great; it needs work. But, they were THE HIGHLIGHT of 2012. Bravo. Take another bow.

Albannach: A+. What can I say about Albannach that hasn’t been said before? Lets start by saying that they are the nicest, most unassuming folks you could ever meet. They are famous, the most famous at the Games but they remain well grounded — wondering around the grounds. They will stop and talk to you. They will let you maul them while having a picture taken. I just acknowledged a couple of them, by raising my finger, when I saw them walk by. One of them said “Hi, mate” though I hadn’t said a word. They recognize the faithful. They were, by far, yet again, the MOST popular at the Games. Only group that packed the tent. They rocked. The crowd loved them. I listened to the entire 4 pm gig. It was OK. There was very little banter. I think they were tired. I don’t blame them. They have been doing the Games, every year, for 9 or 10 years — starting when they were Clanna Druma. They have done yeoman work. Thank you.

Filligar — This Band Should Go Far. We Saw Them At Dartmouth’s HopFest On July 20, 2012. Very Impressed.

Click for the official Web site.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

….
……
by Anura Guruge


Filligar

These boys (slightly older than my oldest daughter) should do very well. Outstanding personalities. Their parents should be so proud. Three of them, two of them twins, are brothers; the twins Teddy and Pete, and younger by 2 year, Johnny Mathias. They, along with their childhood buddy, Casey Gibson, who make up the quartet, all hail from Chicago, though they now spend a fair amount of time in L.A., the place to be when you are on the cusp of making it big.

Their music was loud, vibrant, vivid and pulsed to an irresistible beat. Not the music I normally listen to, but I can appreciate the contemporariness of it. The kids definitely gave them 2 thumbs up and thought they were the BEST group of the day. Who am I to disagree? They are the new experts.

Given that their merchandise table was right behind me while I was doing my 3-hour Information Booth shift, I got to talk with some of them; with Johnny in particular. Boy, was I impressed. All three brothers are Dartmouth graduates, and it shows. Johnny graduated just 2 years ago, with a degree in history, majoring in American-Arab relations. I am sure that there are a couple of 3 letter agencies in D.C. who would love to offer him a job.

I have to confess that I have always, since my late teens in the late 60s, been bit of a groupie. I used to follow Steeleye Span and Lindisfarne around the U.K. — lucky enough to have a job (with ITT Data Systems, as their UK Customer Support Manager) that enabled to me travel the country on official business during the day. More recently, Deanna and I got a chance to meet and spend some time with Alison Krauss and Union Station. Also during my 20 years of attending the NH Highland GamesI have had the chance to talk with members of many an upcoming band.

The Mathias brothers, especially Johnny, the most down-to-earth, unassuming ‘superstars’ I have had the privilege of talking to. They were great. Realistic, good heads on their shoulders. They even made their own tie-dyed Filligar T-shirts to sell to their growing band of fans. I wish them well. They deserve it.

I see that their Wikipedia entry says this about the name of their band: They invented the name Filligar (based on the Mathias brothers’ sister’s childhood pet).

I did not know the origins of the name, and given my noted interest in names asked Johnny about what it meant. He gave me a longer, more detailed and awfully cute explanation. Their sister is a ‘few years’ older than them. A ‘long time ago’, in Chicago, at a fair she won a goldfish. She wanted to name it after the cat, Figaro, in Pinocchio. The name, however, came out (as is the wont with kids) ‘Filligar’. Isn’t that cute. I like their sister. Wanting to name a goldfish after a cat shows an interesting line of thought. These kids have good genes. It made my day.

So … here is to … Filligar. We wish them all the very best.


Filligar on YouTube. Click to play YouTube video.

Click to access the official Filligar Web site.