Issue 2 12/97

FolkWorld Live Review

Seannachie Reunion Concert

Wuppertal, Forum, 17th October 1997

By Michael Moll

Elspeth Cowie & David Milligan; photo by The Mollis For several months you could read sometimes in the folk media that they have disbanded. Fortunately not all gossip must stay true: Seannachie are now definitely back, after a break from touring for a year. They have reformed for a Germany tour this October, and their first reunion concert took place in Wuppertal, and - of course! - FolkWorld was there to report.

Bachue Café, Simon Thoumire, 2/3 of Chantan - and Seannachie. Quite an impressive line-up for just one evening. And if you imagine that these four acts are all part of the four piece band Seannachie, then you know that Seannachie is one of Scotland's best.
Most of the people who turned up at the cosy Forum did not know that this evening was special being the reunion concert of the band. Seannachie's line-up has changed quite a bit since their latest recording from 1992 ("The devil's delight"); you just find again Elspeth Cowie and Simon Thoumire. They are now joined by Scottish duo Bachue Café alias Corrina Hewitt and David Milligan.

Seannachie are great - their versions of very well known songs are as unusual that you often nearly cannot recognise them. Take for example the Scottish traditional "Johnny Cope", or "Mr. Anderson's Blues" which is a blues version of the sexy version of Robert Burns' "John Anderson". And not to forget "Alison Gross", a song that was made famous by Steeleye Span. Elspeth sings it slowly, and the musicians provide really exciting arrangements.
During the concert the other Scottish acts above mentioned had also their own part. Bachue Café had a tune - Corrina plays harp, David guitar, and when they play together they create fascinating music that might be called Scottish Folk Jazz. Simon Thoumire played one of his crazy innovative sets of tunes - when he plays you never know what happens... Then the 2/3 of Chantan - Corrina and Elspeth; full Chantan are three women doing mainly a capella songs with really special arrangements of well known songs, with great harmony singing, covering styles from Folk over Jazz and Blues to whatever. 2/3 of Chantan do quite the same as full Chantan, just that Christine Kydd is missing. Elspeth showed with her introductions to the songs that she is also a great story teller, and Simon proved again his quality in telling crazy funny stories...

Corrina Hewitt & Simon Thoumire; photo by The Mollis The special thing about this concert was that you could see that there were four brilliant musicians who were not too used to play together in concert. Their musicianship was superb - though there were some mistakes which just made the music fresh. The stories and song introductions were fresh as well - the audience enjoyed when all other musicians on stage listened excited with big eyes to Elspeth's story of witches and fairies as introduction to "Alison Gross". And you could also see the excitement and fun in their faces when Simon did his solo tune. Seannachie's fun of playing and being together brought a relaxed and happy atmosphere to the audience; at the end of the concert Seannachie still had to give three more encores.

As Simon told us they are now planning to work outside of Germany as well; next year they will also be celebrating the 15th anniversary of the band - we can be happy that Scotland has one of its great bands back!

Photo credits and comments:

  1. (right) Elspeth Cowie & David Milligan; photo by The Mollis
  2. (left) Corrina Hewitt & Simon Thoumire; photo by The Mollis

    Please read also the CD Review of Hamish MacGregor & The Blue Bonnets "Trip To Scotland" - should be interesting enough for all of you to read!!!

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    For booking, contact Simon Thoumire, or for Germany Christian Daether, Tel./Fax +49 3677 840417

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    © The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 12/97

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