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Review: Transatlantic Sessions, The Sage Gateshead

THE Transatlantic Sessions started many years ago as a television programme bringing together roots musicians from Scotland and America.

THE Transatlantic Sessions started many years ago as a television programme bringing together roots musicians from Scotland and America.

It has now become the gala concert at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections.

In recent years, a national tour has followed and the Sessions are now touring the world. Their annual visit to the Sage is one of the highlights of the North East folk music calendar.

Every year, the stage is filled by nearly 20 musicians. Half of them are from a core team of regulars who are joined by guests who may be established star names or younger traditional musicians making a name for themselves.

The first guest performer here was Teddy Thompson, who performed a couple of mellow songs.

He was followed by a tremendous singer, Emily Smith from Dumfries and Galloway, who told the audience that she considered the Sage and Tyneside to be almost home ground.

Over the packed evening the audience was treated to a constantly changing line-up of folk music blending together different traditions.

Guests Mary Chapin Carpenter and Eric Bibb were both greeted by particularly loud applause on introduction to the packed Sage.

However, my highlight was a sparkling set by core members from our side of the Atlantic – Aly Bain, Phil Cunningham, John McCusker and Michael McGoldrick.

Mary Chapin Carpenter described the concert as “the joy of collaboration”.

As well as being impressive, it was a joy and privilege to be there.

Martin Ellis

 

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