Teamwork …..

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It’s been great to have the chance to go to some concerts at Celtic connects again this year. 2 very different types of music and a burns supper. I love the fact that the city comes alive again right after Christmas and there is music everywhere. The first gig I went to see was Lucinda Williams, and although she is not long known to me, it was absolutely magic. She sings from the bottom of her soul, which I think can be a dark place but she has great musicality and was quite a captivating performer. Her band was excellent and I really loved watching the interaction between them. I’m always quite intrigued at the interaction of musicians having grown up surrounded by them and now playing with different musicians myself. The wee looks, the knowledge of when to take your solo, when to slow down and when to give it laldy. Despite Lucinda being the lead, the band were great and clearly gelled as a band but also with her as a singer. I then went to see Dreamers Circus who had been supported by Alasdair Frazer and Natalie Haas. They were a great partnership and it was clear they had real musical chemistry. It was great to see them reacting to each other and really interacting musically. dreamers Circus blew me away. Real Eclectic mix of traditional and classical styles. The three players were very different and their personalities came across not only on their playing but in their interaction with each other and the audience. Two of them were multi instrumentalists and there was a violin player who despite being something of a virtuoso player, could have been playing to an empty room. Totally immersed in his playing yet still beautifully complimenting the other players.
The last show was a burns supper with my dad. We are big burns fans and managed to get tickets for a burns supper at the bbc. A Mixture of Scottish celebrities and musicians made for an entertaining night but again, for me, the musicians were the stars. A ceilidh band played and I was blown away by the music and again, the dynamic. There was a soloist who had probably the best accompanist I have EVER-heard. Watching the piano player follow and react to his singer was like watching a pair of well rehearsed dancers. Technically he was outstanding as a player but his ability to listen and respond was something that could be taught!
Listening and watching other musicians always makes me think about teaching if I am honest. How you can be working away on your own but still part of a really dynamic group. How you listen and respond, sometimes you have a solo, and sometimes a different backing band.
The secret teacher article this weekend in the guardian made me think about this. It was a take on the celebrity teachers and how they play a lot of their successes and escapades out on social media. Other just like to look at kitten pictures or like me, use it to feed news junkie tendencies. With the modern languages network there are a few people who take solos and try out new things but there are a whole load of accompanists who are keeping it going and reacting to a lead or new idea.
Some people are clearly happiest being soloists, some change their back up band and some just like the anonymity of playing as a group while still being able to play a very important role. It was a very good article and worth a read.
At dreamers circus my friend remarked that it was a bit out there for him, he preferred the more traditional music.
I think it’s obvious what I preferred.

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