Glasgow Green Live Zone


Four stars


Back at the start of this year, Scottish folk group Breabach flew to the other side of the world for an initial meeting with some indigenous New Zealand and Australian musicians. After a handful of gigs - WOMAD in Taranaki, an open-air performance at Sydney Opera House, HebCelt Fest in Stornoway - the aptly-named Boomerang project returned to Glasgow Green for a concert that delivered everything the cultural arm of the Commonwealth Games should be about.

With up to 19 performers on stage in front of a starry backdrop that stretched into the infinity of time and space, the links between these far-flung traditions rose to the surface. Centuries-old practices moved to a contemporary beat: Australia's Casey Donovan even brought a note of funky soul to the global mix while singing of walking and talking with ancestors.

When Australia's Shellie Morris sang about how her half-Scottish, half-Aboriginal grandmother was taken from home aged eight, it couldn't help but stir local memories of the effects of Highland Clearances on Scottish soil. When Breabach started up the traditional piobaireachd I Am Proud To Play A Pipe, it wasn't only the Highland bagpipes but the Maori taonga puoro and Aboriginal didgeridoo that represented suppressed cultures who defiantly used music to keep their heritage, languages and identities alive.

From Megan Henderson's step dancing to Moana And The Tribe's haka, Horomona Horo's tattoos to Djakapurra Munyarryun's white body paint, these passionately maintained individual traditions found common ground beneath the Commonwealth Games banners. The audience clearly loved the sound of these songs, but were touched even more deeply by what they meant.