Celtic Connections 2017: review

Celtic Connections 2017: review

Emily Smith & Jamie McClennan at Strathclyde Suite, The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Saturday 28 January 2017. 

Fifteen years ago in 2002, almost to the day, Emily Smith was voted Young Traditional Musician of the Year. It was also the year Emily met New Zealand musician Jamie McClennan who was later to become her husband and musical partner.

Emily Smith has been no stranger to Celtic Connections since then, but rarely has she been involved in such a wondrous night of music as this one was.

Being soul mates for so long Emily and Jamie have developed a near telepathic relationship and link up so very well on stage. This was a night of beautiful harmonies between them and wonderful musicianship. Add that to the humour between them in between the songs this was always going to be a thoroughly entertaining night.

Throughout the night there was a fantastic mix of songs including self penned ones from Jamie’s time in New Zealand, some very traditional songs and songs pertaining to Dumfries and Galloway where Emily is originally from, and where they currently stay with their two children.

cc2017-emily-smith-jamie-mcclennan-280117-2Songs such as Adoon Winding Nith, The Silver Tassie, Caledonia, Firefly and A Life That’s Good were delivered superbly.

Joining this couple on stage for the last few songs was another incredibly talented musician Anna Massie. Another rare treat for the capacity audience was actually hearing Anna join in with backing vocals. Renowned for her skill in playing any stringed instrument and sitting in the background of the stage, rarely is she seen taking to the front of stage and joining in with the singing.

To date, Emily Smith and Jamie McClennan have only recorded one album as a duet, Adoon Winding Nith, however I believe there may be another one in the pipeline. After this performance I would sincerely hope so. This was a quite exquisite show.

Danny Matheson

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