Arts and Culture

This week: choosing Newsnet Scotland’s Greatest Album; Peter Curran – a brief history of jazz; a festive album for this season of good will.

Newsnet Scotland’s Greatest Album
Recently, Scotland’s Greatest Album caused a bit of a buzz, then a bit of a stir as Scots began vehemently disputing the final songs to make the grade. Delightful blogger The Burd and beloved voice of the people Bella Caledonia got jiggy with it and eventually did their own Scotland’s Greatest Album.

First Minister Alex Salmond issued a St Andrew’s Day message today, ahead of celebrations across the country to mark Scotland’s national day.

Filmed at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh – which will reopen to the public after an ambitious £17.6 million restoration project on December 1 – the message gives the First Minister the opportunity to reflect on Scotland’s great contributions to the world.

This week, listening to a Scottish folk group with glam rock sounding name, a Scottish popular music group with a religious sounding name and a Dutch girl with a precious sounding name…

Silly Wizard – So Many Partings (1979)
Silly Wizard produced one of the finest Scottish folk albums ever recorded with ‘So Many Partings’ – the theme of the album is in the name – a sense of loss pervades the album. The loss of love; the destruction of the heart of the highlands after the clearances; the loss of times past and a more innocent age. Silly Wizard’s rare musicianship, intelligence and sensitively produced this touching work.

By a Newsnet reporter
Musicians and campaigners angered at the planned axing of a Radio One show that promotes up and coming Scottish bands are today staging a mass busking session outside the BBC’s Glasgow HQ at Pacific Quay.
The Radio One show ‘Introducing in Scotland’, hosted by Ally Macrae, is facing the axe as part of the recently announced cut backs from the corporation.

Listening this week to:  a cool duo, cool twins and a cool American jazz croonette

The Corries – Live From Scotland Volumes 1 & 2 (1974 & 1975)
The Corries (Roy Williamson and Ronnie Browne)  – a phenomenon.  ‘Flower O’ Scotland’ was a hit at the height of a first fragile movement towards Scottish independence, when 25,000 people took part in the annual Bannockburn Day march.

The annual Bafta Scotland awards night saw some of our leading film and TV stars take part.  Celebrities who attended the event at the Radisson Blu, Glasgow included Robbie Coltrane, Karen Dunbar and Sir Terry Pratchett.

Peter Mullan received the best writer and director awards for his film Neds – the story of a teenage boy growing up in 1970s Scotland.

This week, listening to 3 ladies: a brand new 2011 album by an American blues rock jazz artist, a Canadian Celt and a Gaelic Celt:

Beth Hart – ‘Don’t Explain’ (2011)
This is one of the most impressive albums of American blues-rock/jazz to come out of anywhere.  Beth Hart covers ten of the raunchiest, most intimate, blues-rock-jazz numbers ever to be recorded in the history of popular music by an artist.  It’s a brand new classic of covers by a quite unrivalled singer and top-flight blues rock guitarist, Joe Bonamassa.