Sad to say that we've come to the end of this year's Celtic Connections festival, but no matter. Eleven months of hibernation and we'll be back at the start once more. It's not much use as far as libations are concerned but the Oran Mor was useful enough insofar as containing Saltfishforty who reeled in a strong and lively crowd.
The evening began with a fine display of instrumental roots music from One Fine Day. With members hailing from France, Scotland, Sweden and Denmark, there would always be a chance of some dispute over musical direction. Thankfully, any differences were echoed only in a sublime portrayal of polskas and reels built on solid classical foundations. At all times stirring, you were nonetheless at peace during their set. Call it coincidence if you will, but my Guinness tasted better during their set.
Saltfishforty - Douglas Montgomery on fiddle and Brian Cromarty on guitar, mandola and vocal duties - came onstage with the ethos of a two-man party band, and they kept the momentum in the crowd with an hour long set of up-tempo traditional material. In perhaps a more subdued performance than they'd be capable of delivering in a more appropriate venue, this Orkney duo were nonetheless in rare form and it showed in the reaction of the crowd.
Needless to say, the vast majority of the crowd were rather sorry to have their evening come to an end before the hour of 10pm, but that's how it goes. Here's to further success for purveyors of roots music in 2010 and beyond.