Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Blues Brothers, Pinch, Tradfest

Blues small

Frankly, I am a bit torn about the whole Blues Brothers industry. On the one hand, the film has stunning performances by James Brown, Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin, capturing those artists in full-flight and not forcing them to bend to the fashions of the time. Ray Charles is especially explosive, and that bit with John Lee Hooker stomping out a tune on the street corner is priceless.

On the other hand, it made the blues into a commodity, and unimaginative students now think a suit and a hat is a fancy dress outfit. 

Plenty of people love it, and it has a jukebox musical. Apparently, "their classics" are on the list, although I don't think James Brown is available to do the encore. 

Mon 25 – Wed 27 March
King's Glasgow

Inline image 1By way of contrast, there is an exhibition especially designed fort international women's month: PINCH – STUDIO 41 – AN EXHIBTION CELEBRATING CONTEMPORARY FEMALE ARTISTS IN GLASGOW. Here's the press release.

The exhibition is intended as a critical collection and celebration of work made by contemporary women in Glasgow. It will take place from the 16th to the 21st of March.

This show is the first in a series of small exhibitions representing groups of unestablished artists in under-represented demographics.

I guess this throws up some interesting questions about the linking of artists through gender, or the way that art funding has a hegemony that supports masculine work. Is the assessment of art bound to be undermined by its gender associations or do female only exhibitions provide a corrective to social assumptions? 

 However, sometimes even the oldest artists need a space to call their own: and so across the coast comes TradFest:
"A Feast of Culture in the Festival City."
Edinburgh has always been more sympathetic to the more theatrical aspects of the folk revival (Beltane on Carlton Hill springs to mind), but TradFest is getting all the ancient arts into one place in an attempt to show how they still have meaning today. There's dance, mummers plays, music (Alasdair Roberts and Karine Polwart are partner artists, two musicians who know how to make folk relevant): the press release mentions political protests as part of the tradition. I didn't know they had them in Edinburgh. 
Press release: 
"TradFest Edinburgh·Dùn Èideann digs deep into the city’s history with Beltane and the Mayday plays. But it also rides the radical edge with contemporary songs of struggle and protest. From earliest times the people of Edinburgh marked the start of summer with hilltop fires and silent dawns. Harvesting fresh boughs they then danced and performed street plays about mythical heroes such as Robin of the greenwood.

For this pilot year, the Festival is managed by (Vile Arts' favourites, again) the Scottish Storytelling Centre on behalf of TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland). TRACS brings together the Traditional Music Forum, the Scottish Storytelling Forum, and the Traditions of Dance Forum, in a shared ambition to renew Scotland’s traditional arts for the twenty-first century."

 TradFest 24th April to 6th May 2013

No comments :

Post a Comment