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Annual transatlantic get-together provides another vintage session of music and song

Transatlantic Sessions

Transatlantic Sessions

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Seen on January 31

Whoever came up with the idea of mixing the stalwarts of Scottish folk and Americana in one concert spawned a musical phenomenon that is now an integral part of the Celtic Connections festival. Every year they come together like meetings of a gentlemen's club. Phil Cunningham, Aly Bain, John McCusker, Donald Shaw and others from Scotland; Jerry Douglas, Bruce Molsky, Tim O'Brien, Russ Barenberg from the other side of the Pond. They are growing older together and seem to be loving every minute.

What makes these nights unique is that every musician is a star in his or her own right. Their guests have the luxury of performing with a mini-orchestra to back them. This year, the US singer Shawn Colvin topped the bill.

It may be wrong to pick a star performer from what is a co-operative effort, but if one person shone above the rest it was Scottish singer Julie Fowlis. Her Gaelic rendition of the Beatles song Blackbird was spine-tingling, and her Hebridean mouth-music was superb.

She also joined the impressive O'Brien in Goodnight Irene, a nod to the late Pete Seeger. Transatlantic Sessions will be back tonight… and next year. The formula is a huge success. Long may it continue.

Iain Lundy

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