Monday, 17 March 2014

Thoroughly spoilt

I have been extremely self-indulgent over the last three weeks.  I have treated myself to a ticket to three concerts to hear some wonderful music.  

The first concert was by Penguin Cafe.  I only became aware of their music last Autumn. My Monday morning art tutor plays some of their very distinctive sound during our lessons.  It's a great way to start the week.  Drawing and painting, very chilled out, interesting music in the background, and always a yummy hunk of tray bake with a cup of coffee half way through the morning.  So very civilised!

So Penguin Cafe - a Bohemian bunch.  This is my favourite piece of theirs (that I have heard so far) called Black Hibiscus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-RNsbJbDhQ and there many other enjoyable quirky pieces.  It was a great evening at the Queens Hall in Edinburgh.  Wall to wall Guardian readers in the audience, and I was one of them (although I do tend to stick to the foodie bits of the newspaper on Saturday and the Observer on Sunday only).  

A week later and I was back again at the Queens Hall, surrounded by a different group of Guardian readers but, like me, fans of the Tord Gustavsen Quartet.  Tord Gustavsen is a Norwegian jazz pianist and composer.  I first heard his music on Late Junction on Radio 3 and I have now been to three of his concerts in Edinburgh.  This piece is from the quartet's latest CD 'Extended Circle', https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYnGw_rPT1g.  When they start to play the sound just washes over you in a wonderful soothing wave.  I just love it.

And then, joy of joys, I travelled up to Aberdeen on the train last Saturday afternoon, to go to a concert given by Jan Gabarek and the Hilliard Ensemble.  I have been listening to this incredible combination for many years now.  Their album 'Officium' is probably No. 1 on my Desert Island Disc list.  I found this really great Youtube clip which is an interview with Fiona Talkington (Late Junction), and if you have a few minutes to listen to it I hope you get an idea of the sublime sound Jan Gabarek and the Hilliards make together.  The concert I heard on Saturday was part of the Aberdeen Jazz Festival, more Guardian readers, and from eavesdropping while I was in the queue waiting to go into St Mary's Cathedral, I overhead someone say that this is their last concert tour, so I am very thrilled I managed to hear them live.  It was just wonderful and I will never forget it.  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Qfuly2xyC8


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