Strathclyde Suite, Glasgow, Thu 17 Jan
The irony of this Celtic Connections presentation of Luke Daniels and Donald Grant’s Islands is that Grant will not be there to take part. The Highland-born violinist has a very active classical career, and had a prior engagement when the opportunity to perform at the festival was added to the original dates proposed for the show, and will be replaced by Ben Gunnery.
The project is mainly the work of accordionist Luke Daniels (Grant worked with him in preparing the string arrangements). It was commissioned with support from the Performing Rights Society by the Oxford Folk Festival, the Belfast Festival at Queen’s and An Tobar on Mull, and had its first outing at the Tolbooth in Stirling in October.
The Glasgow concert will feature Islands, a 40-minute suite in four sections, along with a selection of other music from Daniels repertoire. Luke explained the thinking behind the piece.
‘The idea was to bring together musicians from all parts of the British Isles, including Northern Ireland, and write a piece of music that both incorporated and developed from trace elements of early traditional music and archive recordings.
‘The performances of Islands are well spaced out rather than a continuous tour, and it’s a challenge for us to get the music up again each time, although it has the advantage of giving us a chance to reflect on and refine it as it goes along.’
In addition to Daniels’ accordion, the ten-piece ensemble will feature Uilleann piper Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn, Shetland fiddler Jenna Reid, pianist John Paul Grady and a string section, while flautist Nuala Kennedy will join them as a special guest on some of the supporting sets. Support act for the concert will be Borders fiddler Shona Mooney’s new six-piece all-female band, Shee.