Last night saw me at the Old Fruitmarket (my favourite Glasgow venue) for my must-see Celtic Connections gig of this year, Romanian gypsy band Taraf de Haidouks (well in Romanian they’re Taraful Haiducilor, but I think their record company or promoters thought that non-Romanians wouldn’t be able to cope with that and Taraf de Haidouks would be easier). A friend from London had accidentally seen them at a concert years ago and raved about them, and I’ve wanted to see them ever since but this was my first opportunity. They were well worth the wait! Incredible musicians, across the generations, and they made it look so easy. Sadly from where I was standing the only person I couldn’t see was the clarinet player, but I can say that whatever he looked like, his playing was amazing and he was doing stuff that I’d certainly never be able to manage on the instrument-of-the-gods! Actually they all were just incredible at what they did – the cymbalom player reminded me of Animal from the Muppets, he was bashing away on it like there was no tomorrow, such incredible skill and speed. And I loved the older generation – the guy on the right in the photo had the most incredible voice, actually he reminded me of a Mafia don, a Godfather-type in his dignity and just standing there quietly taking it all in whilst surrounded by such frenzied music. I went on my own as although HD had a ticket, he wasn’t feeling well (self-inflicted, you can imagine how sympathetic (!) I’ve been), and I have to admit it probably wasn’t the most soothing music if you were feeling a bit fragile. But I’m buzzing that I’ve seen them at last. I miss Romania.
As with Wednesday’s gig, the support act were also brilliant. Mama Rosin are a 3 piece Cajun band from that well-known Cajun heartland of, er, Switzerland, and I loved their music and infectious energy – another band well worth checking out. It’s the first time I have seen rock’n’roll triangle (and there’s yet another sentence I never ever quite imagined writing on my blog!).