Guided by the motto "Forward With Scotland's Past," the Battlefield Band has been helping preserve and promote traditional Scottish folk music for more than 40 years.
Formed in the Glasgow suburb of Battlefield in 1969, they pioneered the blending of the Highland bagpipe, whistles and fiddle with modern synthesizers and guitar, while mixing traditional material with original compositions.
Over the years the Battlefield Band has introduced Scottish folk music to many nations around the world including India, Egypt, China, Syria and Uzbekistan. They make their Castle Theater debut tonight at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.
The Battlefield Band will bring highland zing to the MACC tonight in a rockin’ Celtic concert.
Photo courtesy of the Maui Arts & Cultural Center
"All it took was the sound of (Battlefield Band's) Ali White and Highland bagpiper Mike Katz ripping into a set of dance tunes, including reels bursting with color and energy, to entice nearly everyone in the packed house to underscore the music with clapping hands and stamping feet," praised a Washington Post review. "Even an old-fashioned Celtic waltz proved rhythmically contagious once the renowned quartet pushed the tune into overdrive."
On their latest CD, "Zama Zama: Try Your Luck," the band explores the impact of the accumulation of precious resources ("zama zama" is a South African term for illegal gold miners). Composed by founding member Alan Reid, "Robber Barons" looks at greed through the ages, contrasting the Middle Ages robber barons with contemporary politicians and bankers. The instrumental "Ku'ula-kai" refers to the Hawaiian fish deity, and "Bernie's Welcome to Butner" spotlights convicted Wall Street scammer Bernie Madoff and his incarceration at North Carolina's Butner prison.
"This album started as a collection of songs and tunes about gold," Reid reported. "But as we searched, like the alchemists of old, it turned into a wider idea. In the process we saw the greed, disasters and victories inherent in the search and exploitation of various sources of wealth in this world. Then, as if by demonic serendipity, along comes the worldwide economic crisis.
"As we put this album together we have been amazed, amused, angered, depressed and horrified. Who knew about the Zama Zama Boys, or Ku'ula-kai, the Hawaiian god of fish, or the extraordinary folklore and history of chocolate?"
* The Battlefield Band performs at 7:30 tonight in the Maui Arts & Culture Center's Castle Theater. Tickets are $12, $25, $35 (plus applicable fees), available from the MACC box office, 242-7469 or www.mauiarts.org.
Guest pianist Sara Buechner will join the Maui Pops Orchestra at a "Classical Sampler" concert on Sunday in Castle Theater. An award-winning pianist, Buechner will perform Beethoven's "Concerto No. 4." The program also includes music by Mozart, Brahms and Smetana.
Adding to the soloist's acclaim, a Washington Post review noted: "Buechner's performance had a beauty that might have taken even Mozart's breath away."
A Juilliard graduate who received her doctorate at Manhattan School of Music, Buechner is currently an associate professor at the University of British Columbia.
Her extensive repertoire ranges from Mozart (an InTune magazine review called her playing "the closest thing to a perfect disc of Mozart piano music known"), to Japanese music, Ragtime and Gershwin - a (Salt Lake City) Deseret News reviewer praised "the greatest performance of 'Rhapsody in Blue' I have ever heard."
Buechner has composed several suites for piano as well as music for chamber ensemble and voice. And she is also one of the very few concert pianists today performing original scores to silent movies, like "Ben Hur" (150 minutes nonstop), at New York's Lincoln Center.
* The Maui Pops Orchestra "Classical Sampler" begins at 3:30 p.m. Sunday in Castle Theater. Tickets are $10, $21, $26, $41 (plus applicable fees) with reduced prices for children, available as above.
David Nelson, a co-founder of the legendary New Riders of the Purple Sage, heads to Maui for his fifth annual island tour landing at Stella Blues on Friday and Saturday evening. The shows feature the David Nelson Band with special guest Peter Rowan.
Nelson's band includes bassist Pete Sears, guitarist/pedal steel player Barry Sless, keyboardist Mookie Siegel and drummer John Molo.
In the early 1960s, Nelson was a member of the bluegrass trio the Wildwood Boys with guitarist Jerry Garcia. He later formed the psychedelic country-rock band the New Riders. Having previously been invited to play on the Grateful Dead's album "Aoxomoxoa," Nelson also contributed to their albums "American Beauty" and "Workingman's Dead."
Sears' credits include playing on Rod Stewart's classic albums "Gasoline Alley" and "Every Picture Tells a Story." A bassist and keyboardist with Jefferson Starship from 1974 to 1987, he later played for 10 years with former Airplane musicians Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen in Hot Tuna. He currently plays with Moonalice, a group that includes Nelson Band guitarist Sless.
Both Sless and Siegel have performed with various Dead offshoot groups including Phil Lesh & Friends, Ratdog and Kingfish. And drummer Molo has recorded with a variety of artists including Bruce Hornsby, John Fogerty and Dead bassist Phil Lesh.
An acclaimed Grammy Award-winning bluegrass musician, Peter Rowan was a former rhythm guitarist and lead singer with bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys band. Rowan's diverse credits include time with David Grisman's folk-rock band Earth Opera (who frequently opened for the Doors), the rock-fusion group Seatrain and with his siblings in the Rowan Brothers.
After the Rowans disbanded, he recorded the landmark album "Old & in the Way" with Grisman and Jerry Garcia. He now tours with the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, and the more rocking The Free Mexican Air Force.
* The David Nelson Band performs at Stella Blues on Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the show.
The MACC's "Solo Sessions" continue with Makana at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the McCoy Studio Theater.
Makana's most recent "Venus & the Sky Turn to Clay: The Instrumental World of Makana" marked his first all-instrumental, solo collection. Adept with traditional slack key, he continued to expand his stylistic palette on the album flavoring songs with folk, country, bluegrass, jazz and even flamenco influences. Generally soothingly pastoral in tone, it included the composition "Dance of The Red Poppies," with rock flourishes that echoed the work of Jimmy Page and Pete Townshend.
Taught at an early age by slack key guitar great Sonny Chillingworth, Makana developed an original voice, employing a Hawaiian foundation to embrace culturally diverse music.
A Hawaii Music Awards winner for Best World Music Album, he played on the Grammy-nominated CDs "Hawaiian Slack Key Kings" Volume 1 and 2. And he was one of 10 musicians chosen to compete in 2008, from thousands of guitarists from around the world, in Guitar Player magazine's Annual Guitar Superstar Competition in San Francisco.
And time once again for another Elton list - Top 10 Unusual Facts about Sir Elton John.
10. Reginald Kenneth Dwight legally changed his name at the age of 20. "I couldn't wait to change my name; it's a very kind of '50s English name," he once said. "I am Elton John full time now, I don't even think of myself as Reg Dwight anymore."
9. When asked by a journalist last year, "What would you consider your greatest achievement?" he immediately responded, "getting sober."
8. On British TV last year, a friend of Elton's recalled a Christmas where he witnessed the superstar and David Furnish giving each other gold-plated Monopoly sets as gifts.
7. Any bouquets of flowers adorning his dressing room shouldn't include any chrysanthemums, lilies, carnations or daisies.
6. He once demanded that a private jet be repainted before he would board.
5. He once announced: "The great thing about rock 'n' roll is that someone like me can be a star."
4. As a session musician in his early days, he played piano on the Hollies' hit "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother," and on "Tom Jones' song "Delilah."
3. He owns the largest private collection of photography in the world, but he doesn't own an iPod or a computer.
2. At a Buckingham Palace party in 1989, Queen Elizabeth asked Elton to dance to "Rock Around The Clock." It was "surreal," he reported.
1. He helped hip-hop legend Eminem successfully recover from drug addiction. "I speak to Elton, he's like my sponsor," Eminem told Rolling Stone. "He usually calls me once a week to check on me, to make sure I'm on the up-and-up."