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Festival legends

 
So RIP Pete Seeger: a great life, fully lived, and a legacy at once musical, political and humanitarian that will long continue to resonate around the world – not least at Celtic Connections, where it’s safe to assume there’ll be a good few songs dedicated and glasses raised to his immortal memory this week.
 
On the subject of American musical godfathers, it might have been Monday rather than Sunday, but last night’s Main Auditorium concert felt like nothing so much as an ecstatic gospel/soul revival service in praise of the one and only Mr Bobby Womack. Resplendent in head-to-toe red leather, he’d insisted that the show must go on despite a significant onstage health scare the previous night in Liverpool – and then performed for a full hour and 45 minutes, showcasing that still-extraordinary voice, and making absolutely sure that his audience felt the love to the full. “I wanna thank you all,” he said at one point. “Because none of us would be standing up here if you weren’t sitting out there.” An attitude that many another icon/superstar could usefully learn from.
 
Down at the O2ABC, more than a few concert-goers have found the venue’s security staff distinctly over-officious, among them this past weekend being the Australian singer-songwriter Jordie Lane, who was there to catch a show ahead of his appearance at the Late Night Sessions. Like many of us, Lane had been finding it hard to factor in food amid the melée of festival fun and games, and had grabbed a banana en route out of his hotel – then got a phone call, so was still carrying it when he arrived at the ABC, only for his snack to be refused admission. Upon enquiring why, he was told it could be considered threatening, and he had to either eat it, bin it, or check it into the cloakroom. Being something of a mischievous sort, Lane naturally couldn’t resist checking it in, which led to more entertainment when he arrived back to collect it, and was asked the customary question as to what his coat looked like. “Well, it’s yellow,” he replied, “and kind of. . . banana shaped.” Funnily enough, she knew exactly which one he meant.
 
On a semi-related theme, one of the festival’s mainstay Scottish musicians, who’s been largely in residence since the start playing a large variety of gigs, was moving from the Novotel to the Holiday Inn yesterday, ahead of rehearsals for the Transatlantic Sessions, during which it makes life much simpler if everyone involved is based close to the Concert Hall. After 11 days at the festival, his accumulated baggage – including a diverse array of instruments and technical accoutrements, large and small – made quite an impressive pile, necessitating three return trips in the lift to get it all downstairs. He then asked if he could leave it in the luggage room just for 20 minutes or so, while he collected his car, which the very helpful receptionist (who’d already given him a late checkout  when he’d failed to appear by midday) told him was no problem at all – even though it turned out she had to tag every item individually, in accordance with the hotel’s security policy, before presenting him with a fistful of about 15 cloakroom tickets.