Local Band attempt to Make History! by Calum, Kyle and Scott
Pupils at Shawlands Academy have had the opportunity to attend education concerts at Celtic Connections for the last three years and this year, as well as attending a concert we have been lucky enough to have lined up interviews with two bands – the hugely popular Treacherous Orchestra and Manran – “the hottest young band on the Scottish Music Scene”.
Throughout Celtic Connections, pupils and teachers are given the opportunity to attend one of the free concerts for schools at The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. These feature performances by professional celtic, traditional and world music artists, allowing many children to enjoy their first experience of live music. On a cold Monday morning, the whole School Report news team took a coach to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall where we watched headliners Manran.
Watching Manran was tricky at times, surrounded by excited Primary pupils, determined to get up and dance. Listening, however, was a different story. Their instrumentals were brilliant; lively and exciting and their songs are catchy, and, despite the fact that not one member of the group from Shawlands has a word of Gaelic; most people had a good go at joining in.
Manran - a Gaelic word for a “beautiful melodic sound” - were clearly tired, which was understandable as this was their third Celtic Connections gig in 24 hours. One of the members hadn’t even slept since their two shows the night before! However they were kind enough to give up their time to speak to Scott, Kyle and Calum about the band.
Manran have only been together as a band for seven months, but they knew each other long before that through university, other bands that they are involved in and the music scene in Glasgow. In fact, they have only played around ten gigs together since they got started. Their first ever gig was in the Alps; however, the band told us that it nearly didn’t happen! “After spending ages rehearsing, we were really excited about playing, but then there was a lot of heavy rain and the road leading up the mountain was closed. We were absolutely gutted, after rehearsing and getting prepared, but, around five hours later, we received a phone call – the road was open again and, at three in the morning, with Mont Blanc in the background – we got the chance to play our first gig.”
It may have been beneficial to the band that many of the pupils attending the concert don’t speak Gaelic – lead singer Norrie MacIver admitted that one of the benefits of singing in Gaelic is that if you forget your words, you can just make them up – no-one knows what you’re singing anyway!
The audience at Celtic Connections is one of the biggest they’ve ever played in front of, and, although they are all experienced musicians, involved in a number of bands, they admitted to feeling a bit nervous. “This was a very big gig for us, playing in the ABC, a big Celtic Connections gig and our first big Glasgow concert. There was a lot riding on that so we were all a bit nervous. You feel the butterflies in your chest, although a lot of that is excitement too.”
2011 will be a big year for Manran. They are hoping to become the first band this millennium (and only the third in history) to take a Gaelic song into the UK Top 40. They released the single “Latha Math” (meaning ‘Good Day’), written by singer Norrie MacIver, on January 17 and it is available now to download from iTunes, Play.com, HMV Digital and most other download sites. Accordionist Gary Innes told us that they have high hopes for this single release. The band has been enthusiastically promoting the single, starting with a performance on the BBC Alba Hogmanay show, and planting Manran Stickers on every available surface! They have even been featured on the BBC news show, Reporting Scotland. Gary told us that the success of the single will shape Manran’s year: “This is a very big week for the band. Our future may well be determined by this year and this week, if we can become the third band in history and the first of the twenty-first century to get into the UK top forty we’ll have a very good year, hopefully. Lots of people will come to see us and we’ll play lots of concerts. If we fail, next week we’ll go back to busking in Buchanan Street!”
At the time of writing, Manran were at number 31 in the download charts, but there’s a long way to go till the chart’s announced on Sunday so we urge you to get onto the internet and get downloading!
You can find more information about Manran on www.manran.co.uk.
Thanks very much to Manran for taking the time to talk to us.