Music

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Edinburgh International Festival 2014: exploring death camps through music

15 Aug 2014

Holocaust survivor Samuel Pisar and the Pavel Haas Quartet among contributors to EIF's music strand

Bernstein’s Kaddish Symphony The man who wrote West Side Story also wrote this sweeping, tense work for a narrator, choir and orchestra, his tribute to Kaddish – a hymn traditionally sung in the synagogue at times of mourning. Holocaust survivor Samuel…

Aby Ngana Diop - Liital

19 Aug 20144 stars

Game-changing album from female Senegalese travelling musician first released in 1994

First released in 1994, Liital was the late Senegalese griot (travelling musician) Aby Ngana Diop's only album, but it was a game-changer, being the first commercially released album to feature a female taasukat (a Wolof language praise poet) performing…

Interview: artist Toby Paterson on his new collaboration with the Scottish Ensemble

18 Aug 2014

Twentieth Century Perspectives: City Spaces and Strings will create an immersive sound environment

Art, architecture and contemporary music, all in a secret Glasgow location – the opening event in the Scottish Ensemble’s new season is far from a conventional classical concert. Cooked up by Glasgow-born artist Toby Paterson alongside the 12-strong…

Beats North

18 Aug 20143 stars

A touching theatre double-bill that reminds of the power of music at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

In this double-bill of plays by Ishy Din and Luke Barnes, Al and Jack are two young northern men trying to find their way into adulthood. Jack prefers Bonnie Tyler and Meatloaf to football, and needs to make sure his ragdoll – a hand-me-down toy from…

Movin’ Melvin Brown: The Tap-Dancing Preacher

18 Aug 20143 stars

Gospel music with a little hot shoe shuffle at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Melvin Brown is almost part of the Fringe furniture, and as such has to constantly re-invent his shows for new and returning audiences. This latest outing finds Brown in preacher mode, singing gospel songs and clearly lighting a fire under the more…

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Crate Digging: Darkstar set for UK date ahead of forthcoming album

17 Aug 2014

Playlist from group’s James Young featuring Nochexxx, Nicolas Jaar, Gwilym Gold and Micachu

Melodic, densely atmospheric, at once minimal and psychedelic... production trio Darkstar have found a fitting home on both Hyperdub and Warp Records, and will be well at home in the dark, snug confines of Sneaky Pete’s on 13 August. With vocalist and…

The Hibrow Hour

17 Aug 2014

Multi-media arts for smart audiences including Alison Jackson and Jonny and the Baptists

The Hi-Brow Hour, which takes over an afternoon slot at Summerhall for the third week of the Fringe, is more inclusive than the average show. Not only are the individual events be recorded, they are being streamed on BBC Arts Online and shown at Odeon…

Edinburgh Mela 2014 guests line-up includes Apache Indian, Soumik Datta and former-Bhundu Boys Rise Kagona

17 Aug 2014

Multinational dance festival enters its 20th year with highlights including The King of Ghosts

The second day of last year’s Edinburgh Mela may have been called off due to unprecedented high winds, but what the thousands who came to Leith Links saw in the event’s earlier stages was a summation of everything its artistic director Chris Purnell has…

Symphony by Ella Hickson, Tom Wells & Nick Payne

17 Aug 20143 stars

Three delightful theatre pieces exploring growing up and falling in love

Individually, Ella Hickson, Tom Wells and Nick Payne have seen their fair share of theatrical success. Hickson's had a number of hit plays since her 2008 Fringe debut, Eight, brought her to nationwide attention. Payne's Constellations recently won the…

I Do, Do I

17 Aug 20144 stars

Musician Greg Sinclair creates profound nonsense with kids at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Is I Do, Do I even a kids’ show? Well, yes and no. Edinburgh-based cellist and actor Greg Sinclair’s multi-layered, deceptively simple offering is actually for anyone – there’s nothing aimed directly at children here, although its free-thinking…

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Interview: First Aid Kit

15 Aug 2014

Swedish folk sisters on their musical influences and why they sing in English ahead of UK gigs

Johanna, according to Wikipedia it took you a while to be persuaded about the merits of country music, as you were a big fan of German techno. Is that still something you enjoy? We made a joke about that in an interview at one point; Johanna did have a…

Edinburgh International Festival 2014 interview: Jonathan Mills on his Sandakan Threnody

15 Aug 2014

The outgoing artistic director of the festival discusses his WWII memorial piece

Back in March, Jonathan Mills announced the theme for this year’s Edinburgh International Festival. He wanted the programme to look at the relationship between conflict and culture – how war and political unrest leave their mark on art. It probably…

Interview: Rachel McCrum and Jenny Lindsay talk poetry at the Edinburgh Festivals 2014

15 Aug 2014

Poets are popping up all over the capital this august, including Luke Wright and Hollie McNish

Between the crowds, the queues, the small-hours bedtimes and the daytime drinking, moments of poetic transcendence don’t necessarily come high on the August-in-Edinburgh agenda. But those familiar with Edinburgh’s dynamic live literature and spoken word…

Interview: Composer and sound designer Paul Baran

15 Aug 2014

Glasgow musician on his projects, influences and working methods

Composer and sound designer Paul Baran is one of Glasgow's best kept musical secrets. Combining elements of electro-acoustic improvisation, modern composition and fragile pop, his second album The Other is a beautiful and unsettling meditation on life…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Beardyman

15 Aug 2014

The beatboxer extraordinaire discusses his new creation, Beardytron 5000, and first ever TED talk

Beatboxer Beardyman has spent the last few years working on a bespoke system (‘two laptops, loads of buttons, knobs and touchscreens’) to translate sounds from his brain to his listeners’ ears. He reasons it’ll forever be a work-in-progress but he…

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Neutral Milk Hotel - Corn Exchange, Edinburgh, Thu 14 Aug.

15 Aug 20144 stars

Return to flying form for Jeff Mangum's troupe at Edinburgh's Corn Exchange

The mythology surrounding the demise then phoenix-like rebirth of Jeff Magnum’s troupe has always been steeped in a mix of hype and speculation, an anti-marketing anomaly which created a devoted cult following years after their hiatus – and given their…

Camille O'Sullivan: 10

15 Aug 20142 stars

An inoffensive Edinburgh Festival Fringe show of cover versions camouflaged in glamour

Camille O'Sullivan has become one of the mainstays of the Edinburgh festival. This year marks her tenth at the Fringe and in that time she’s racked up an impressive collection of five-star reviews and sold-out shows. Backed by a trio of musicians, she…

Musician Greg Sinclair on how his favourite aspects of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

15 Aug 2014

The award-winning artist and performer is in town to perform his kid-powered recital I Do, Do I

My first Edinburgh festival experience was … Desperately collecting as many fliers as possible on the Royal Mile when I was a wee boy. Edinburgh’s unique selling point is … Its beauty: architecture, landscape, people, culture. I am likely to be…

Rayguns Look Real Enough: Hall of Fame

15 Aug 20144 stars

Fast and funny mashed up rock classics at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

With Ray Gunn’s tiger outfit and Luke Reel’s electric shock goth hairdo, this rock duo look like Calvin and Hobbes hit middle age and formed a band. Pulling melodies, tunes, rhythms and lyrics from across the decades, the pair have put together a…

Albee Vector the Sound Collector

15 Aug 20144 stars

Engaging storytelling adventure for all the family at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

In the already thrilling surroundings of the Hispaniola, littered with caged skeletons and other Treasure Island artefacts, Greenlight Theatre create a level of entertainment of which even RLS would approve. Albee Vector and his love, Andromeda, are…

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Ready, Steady, Ceilidh

15 Aug 20143 stars

Lively kids' introduction to ceilidh dancing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

As a lively and entertaining introduction to ceilidh dancing, Ready, Steady, Ceilidh will give great satisfaction to 5-year-olds and up, including their parents. The short 40 minute show is structured around the mock rivalry of the MacReds and the…

Darling Ghost

15 Aug 20143 stars

Dark avant-garde musical cabaret is fascinating to witness, despite not always cohering

As the doors open you are greeted by four wind musicians at the front, a pianist with horns dressed in period costume and two women seated at a table to the left. Darling Ghost is hard to categorise; think free jazz meets Tori Amos or Regina Spektor at…

Rubberbandits: Continental Fistfight

15 Aug 20144 stars

Irish hip-hop trio nail winning formula of outrageous songs at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

If you’ve never come across the Rubberbandits before, then do not be put off by their awkwardly succinct website bio: ‘We are hardcore gangster rappers from Limerick city in Ireland’. Yes, they do come from ‘stab city’, talk with an Irish accent so…

Lily Allen to headline Edinburgh's Hogmanay Concert in the Gardens 2014/15

15 Aug 2014

The Sheezus singer is the first name announced for Edinburgh's New Year's Eve celebrations

Lily Allen has been announced as the headliner for this year’s Concert in the Gardens on New Year’s Eve for Edinburgh's Hogmanay. Allen follows in the footsteps of a stellar line-up of previous headliners, including the Pet Shop Boys, who were last…

Delusion of the Fury showcases Harry Partch instruments at 2014 Edinburgh International Festival

14 Aug 2014

Ensemble musikFabrik present music-theatre with song, glass bells and a goat

Consider a picture of Ensemble musikFabrik playing the music of innovative 20th-century composer Harry Partch. It is not immediately clear what is happening. Is this a kinetic sculpture or other art installation? Should they even be touching these giant…