The Celtic Connections festival brings a variety of international acts to Glasgow, but also celebrates Scottish musicians and performers. James Yorkston is from the East Neuk of Fife and tonight is he is bringing his distinctive songwriting talents to The Glad Cafe with a collaboration between musicians Sara Kazmi and Sarah Hayes being the support act.
The Glad Cafe is an arts space, music venue, bar and eatery in the Shawlands area of Glasgow. It is a great small venue and has an intimate and homely vibe. Sara Kazmi and Sarah Hayes combine the folk and poetry traditions of Scotland and Pakistan and present lush and vibrant music that draws on the obvious talents of both performers. The pair have a history with The Glad Cafe, having undertaken a residency at the venue several years ago. The result of this collaboration is being showcased this evening, where words take on the same precedent music. Sara Kazmi and Sarah Hayes perform in front of a screen on which the lyrics of the songs are projected. We hear and read songs that cover a variety of topics, including birds, whisky and love. Sara and Sarah go down well with the audience and will hopefully continue their successful collaboration beyond tonight’s well received set.
James Yorkston has built up a steady following over the years and has a vast back catalogue to draw upon. He mentions that he has just came from the studio after recording new material, but tonight’s set consists mostly of his fantastic solo albums and his releases with The Athletes, Yorkston, Thorne and Khan and The Big Eyes Family Players. As he takes to the stage the musician also jokes that he will drop in a few traditional songs into the set, as it is Celtic Connections after all. James Yorkston has the kind of voice that goes directly to your heart; soft, powerful, warm and infused with emotion. This passion and zeal is evident in every song that he performs this evening. Yorkston delivers the entire set with only his acoustic guitar, voice and occasionally a harmonica. His guitar playing is exquisite and gives each song life and rhythm. The set itself is an enjoyable one with well known tracks such as Shipwreckers, Steady as She Goes, St.Patrick and Turtle Regret Hare all given stripped back and delicate acoustic renditions. Yorkston ends with Fellow Man from the album The Cellardyke Recording and Wassailing Society and the entire audience leave the venue with beaming smiles on their faces, having just experienced a fine set from a brilliant and talented singer-songwriter.
The Celtic Connections Festival continues in various venues around Glasgow until Sunday 4th of February. There is still time to catch many more exciting, gigs, performances, workshops and events before the festival draws to a close.