Quote of the day from the festival club...

​Just one degree of separation lay between Celtic Connections and authentic pop celebrity last night, as Irish five-piece Beoga graced the stage of the City Halls – having recently recorded two tracks with Ed Sheeran for his forthcoming third album, slated for release in March themselves were charmingly self-deprecating about this brush with megastardom (if justifiably tickled at the prospect of featuring on an international No.1 record), insisting that it wouldn’t go to their heads, before continuing, “So, the next song we’re going to do is ‘Pump It’, by the Black Eyed Peas – in Gaelic.”
Yorkshire-born, but raised in Suffolk, Sheeran himself described the songs with Beoga as “jammy” and “folky” in a recent interview, before offering a faintly poignant glimpse into the near-hermetic bubble inhabited by those of his ilk, when he said of the collaboration, “I’ve always wanted to do this, but I’ve never really known a really good folk band.” Maybe a wee trip to Glasgow in January is in order.
Beoga’s bodhran player Eamon Murray certainly still has his feet firmly on the ground, as underlined by his account of visiting a café for breakfast that morning, together with his nearly three-month-old daughter, whom the Glesca wifie behind the counter found so adorable that she waived his bill. “It’s great,” Murray observed. “Twelve weeks old and she’s already earning her keep.”
Quote of the day from a certain Scottish booking agent, still recovering late this afternoon from a big final Friday night at the Festival Club: “I don’t think it’s a hangover as such – I think it’s just that my body’s starting to reject lager.” Suffering similarly, perhaps 24 hours earlier, a visiting Irish musician had gone for it in such style on Thursday night that he could only face yesterday’s pre-show rehearsal - in a windowless room - wearing both his hat and sunglasses.
After the twin sisters who comprise two-thirds of Vishtèn, Emmanuelle and Pastelle LeBlanc, marked their joint anniversaire last week with 2000-odd Glasgow children singing them ‘Happy Birthday’ at Wednesday’s schools concert, such additional festivities continued after midnight last night as Siobhan Miller turned 30. After a civilised glass of fizz or two, she did definitely attempt to leave at a reasonable hour (by Celtic standards, at least), but was then surprised with a bottle of champagne from a friend – and thus was still there at least three hours later.
Discussing arrangements for a celebratory soirée/swally with pals at teatime today, Miller was also actually overheard saying, “I think there might be too much prosecco” – which, given her affection for the Italian bubbly, did raise the question of exactly what sized battleship she was planning to float. As well as the drink, though, the fabled culinary expertise of Miller’s mum Jan had also been enlisted: she was due through from Penicuik this afternoon with at least one cake, a pavlova, a cheesecake and possibly some clootie dumpling – upon which one imagines Miller’s pals, all chronically undernourished by this stage of the festival, falling like ravening wolves.
A little earlier on, Transatlantic Sessions co-director Jerry Douglas was spotted enjoying a well-earned cigar outside the Holiday Inn, following this year’s first sellout performance – of which, when asked how it went, he said, “I think it might have been the best one yet.” He’s not one to say such things lightly, which – together with rapturous audience feedback – suggests that tomorrow’s capacity crowd are in for a rare treat.
The sharper-eyed among you in the Holiday Inn today or tonight might notice that the pyramid of vari-sized champagne bottles that previously flanked the restaurant entrance is no longer there. A certain world-renowned fiddler, in a somewhat tired and emotional condition, stumbled into it and sent the whole thing crashing to the floor. The only silver lining, amid a sea of broken glass, was that the display bottles were empty. The culprit even had the chutzpah to act distinctly disgruntled when he was refused further service at the bar.