FolkWorld Live Review 06/2000:

Two Scotsmen in the Seven Seas

Ivan Drever & Duncan Chisholm in Vigo in Galicia

By Michael Moll

Ivan & Duncan in the seven seas, photo by the Mollis Vigo, the biggest city of Galicia (North-West Spain) is said to have the second best night life of Spain, following Madrid. Being there, I found out just by chance that Scotland's possibly best folk music duo was in town...

Vigo is not really a pretty city; maybe its biggest attraction is the view away from the city over the Bay of Vigo. And yes also the nightlife is said to be a major attraction - where else would you see discos where at 9 a.m. the clubbers arrive with taxis still to go IN...
Folk music wise Vigo's most important meeting points are two pubs, "Dublin" and "Sete Mares". Both are owned by the same person, and this guy has close relations to Berrogüetto, one of Galicia's top bands. In both of these places it is most likely that you might find some of the great Galician musicians having a pint.

The "Dublin" pub has become famous all over the world because of the Chieftains' "Santiago" album, with one of the numbers having been recorded there. With a huge crowd of listeners and a superb atmosphere, the Irish lads played along with the likes of Carlos Núñez and friends. "Dublin" was the first Irish Pub to open in Vigo some decades ago.

Just a couple of streets away from "Dublin", behind the church Santiago de Vigo, are the "Seven Seas", or "Sete Mares", the newer venture of the "Dublin" owner. This pub is totally different to "Dublin", having a large standing area, a big stage and behind the stage a huge impressive painting of ships on the stormy seas. This was the setting of the concert of Ivan Drever and Duncan Chisholm.

Ivan & Duncan in the seven seas, photo by the Mollis Although the concert was free, only maybe 50 visitors came to listen to Scotland's best duo. The good nightlife of Vigo seems not too much related to folk music... Still, the people who came to the concert were very good listeners and obviously enjoyed it.

Although both looked quite tired (well you surely need to get used to start your concerts at 10 p.m.), Ivan and Duncan did a beautiful set. Ivan Drever is not only a great songwriter with a warm and impressive voice, he is also a superb guitarist, while Duncan Chisholm is a genius on the fiddle. Together they are definitely in the top league of the folk music scene.
As usual, they offered a highly attractive mixture of modern songs and Scottish tunes. A lot of the songs from Ivan's new album "Black White and Blue" were heard, as well as songs and tunes from the duo album "The Lewis Blue". Great songs with wonderful lyrics, energetic and fascinating tunes like "Maggie's Pancakes/The little cascade" or the beautiful quiet tune "Bonnie Lindsey" dedicated to the daughter of Ivan's wife. And what do you think might come out of a tune written in a traffic jam on a German motorway? For most people it would be without doubt an energetic, angry tune - not for Ivan, who has used the time in the jam to write an enchanting quiet tune...

The concert in Vigo was part of a short five day tour in Galicia/Asturias, being the first Northern Spanish tour of the duo since a couple of years. A difference to concerts in Germany or Britain was that the concert was much more focussed on the music than on introductions and jokes - linguistic reasons, of course...

After the concert I still went for a jar to the "Dublin" bar, finding there - of course - Ivan and Duncan; it's those two pubs to meet the folk music folks, as I have said above...

Further infos about Ivan and Duncan available at Ivan Drever's Homepage.

And if you come to Vigo in Galicia, be sure to have a look into those two pubs - you find "Sete Mares" behind the church Santiago de Vigo; ask there for "Dublin".

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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 6/2000

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