Mike Whellans, George Square Piccolo, Review

Submitted by Kay Smith on Wed, 19 Jul '17 10.52am
Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Mike Whellans
Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival
Mike Whellans
Running time

Mike Whellans is a one man orchestra who, with three guitars, a drum kit, harmonica and castanets delivered a performance of electric and acoustic blues, jazz and folk music all seamlessly strung together with droll, friendly banter.

His slender frame clad in a stripey t-shirt, leather waistcoat, jeans and baseball cap he was like a teenager - though at 73 years old - not quite ageless.

"Abroad...they call me the singing pipe cleaner from Scotland," he said.

Indeed Whellans has travelled widely resulting in an eclectic repertoire including a piece to the rhythms of the Basque Country.

In touch with the working class culture that has spawned so much great music he talked of back gardens and sang of murder in the chip shop - and described the Scottish Borders where he now lives as a place where "men are men and the sheep are very nervous."

Most memorable was a percussionist solo on the harmonica that had all the creative complexity of a Stockhausen orchestral piece, while a set of folk songs allowed for enthusiastic chorus singing from the audience.

Show: Monday 17th July 6-7.30pm