Celtic Connections @ Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom
Sunday 26th January 2019
The voice of the Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean rings out around the Barrowland ballroom.
“Our Gàidhlig language is under threat
Our young people are being bred for one thing
So begins Niteworks’ big show at the Barras.
It felt like everything here was subject to careful consideration.
The songs tell a story.
There’s the mix of electronica, dance music, bagpipes, fiddles and song.
With a succession of guests appearing – guest singers and a string section made up of most of the Kinnaris Quintet.
The music sounds great, but it’s not what’s impressing me.
It’s the whole staging of the show.
This is a big show.
It has big lights and big projections.
Then there’s the stage layout.
With everything needed to keep the music running put at the four corners of the stage and the space in the middle for the guests or solos.
Maybe it’s the fact that they’re playing in the famous old dancehall but the level that they’ve stepped everything up to is incredibly impressive.
All of it makes me think of Kraftwerk.
Visually if not musically.
Earlier Galician singer Mercedes Peón performed songs from her album Deixaas – along with singers Mónica de Nut on keyboards and Ana García alternating between sequencers, melodica and some rather strange percussion instruments.
It was a mix of Galician folk music, electronica, EDM and in places all quite industrial – which was a great word to hear her pronounce in her accent.
Almost every song had all three voices singing – usually together, as if they were chanting.
And almost every song had an endless drum beat that kept the energy and tempo up, at a volume that felt like they were punching you in the ribs.