Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Oy, Red Note: what's wrong with the central belt, eh?

Perhaps surprisingly, the contest for pole position in "my favourite Scottish contemporary classical music ensemble" is always hot. I love the Said Ensemble, because they play in bars and come on my radio show. Hebrides is always worth a shout - not least when they bring out the Reich or do a Rush Hour lunch time special. Red Note has a place in my heart, for being so left-wing, digging a performance vibe and generally turning up in increasingly bizarre places (like dressed as chefs at Tramway).

Red Note could have so easily taken the lead: they have invited "prolific internationally acclaimed tabla player Kuljit Bhamra" for a Bhangra and bagpipes mash-up. Cross-cultural mayhem ahoy.

Only, they are taking it to the Hebridean islands of Coll, Barra, Harris and Skye. And I don't get out of Glasgow Southside, let alone the central belt, more than twice a year.

They have made up a post-modern quartet - Bhamra beating on the tabla, Robert Irvine laying down the bass (cello) and a twin string treble attack from violinist Jacqueline Shave and Fiona Winning (viola).

Robert Irvine, also Red Note's Artistic Director, says, “We are so excited to be collaborating with such a world renowned artist as Kuljit, a musician from the very top of his field, and to be given the opportunity to share this fantastic music with the people of the Hebrides.

I am pretty impressed too, only, I won't be getting to hear it. I get the arguments about how culture has to reach beyond Edinburgh and Glasgow - hell, I love that the National Theatre of Scotland tours all round the village halls. But what us contemporary classical fans on the urban west coast? I mean, I was only out for six days of seven last week. 

Ever since I dispensed with the need for sleep, I have been demanding more and more art. Last week, the entire cultural industry of Scotland managed to catch up. In the space of two days, I saw Errol White, Victorians After Dark,Sound Thought and Plume. The weekend before, it was Arika's Episode 2 and Cargo's Margins Festival.

Would it kill Red Note to bring From Reels to Ragas to Tramway? 

Tour Dates/Venues/Ticket booking:
Wednesday 11 April – Coll 7.30pm
Arinagour Village Hall; no bookings tickets on the door on the day - £6.00, under 12's free.
Thursday 12 April – Barra 7.30pm
Castlebay Community Hall; 01871 810047; tickets on the door - £6.00, under 12's free.
Friday 13 April – Harris 7.30pm
The Mission House; 01859 530 227; tickets on the door £6.00, under 12's free.
Saturday 14 April – Skye 7.30pm
The Aros Centre; Box Office 01478 613750 - £10.00, under 12's free.

Coll, Barra, Harris and Skye workshops are free.

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