Elsa Jean McTaggart “Lassie Will Ye Go” at theSpace@ Symposium Hall (Venue 43) is one of those rare breaths of fresh air that you hope that you will find at The Fringe. After years playing her music around the world, Elsa Jean McTaggart has come back home to Scotland and brought with her a love of traditional Scottish music and fused it into her own new music.
Tonight’s set was a mixture of traditional fiddle music that is interestingly for these shows played on an electric fiddle, guitar and vocals. Songs in this set ranged from the traditional “The Birks of Aberfeldy” by Robert Burns, Gaelic walking songs and new material such as “Coming Home”.
Elsa has one of those voices that seems to belong to no particular time or place but somehow part of the very landscape that she is often singing about. If you have come to The Fringe from overseas and have in your mind what a Scottish voice should sound like singing, then chances are it will be something like Elsa’s.
As well as great music and songs, the evening was filled with gentle humour and a warmth for her audience that is rare these days, while Elsa gave a bit of background about the songs she was singing and encouraged the very enthusiastic and appreciative audience to join in.
Traditional music is important, but if it is not to be consigned to history and listened to only as a scholarly exercise then it needs performers like Elsa Jean McTaggart to not only keep the old traditional songs alive but present them in a way acceptable to younger audiences, and of course create new music that still pays homage to its traditional roots.
The show’s title comes from the new album “Lassie Will Ye Go”.
There are two shows from Elsa Jean McTaggart this Fringe. This evening one and a morning one called “Elsa Jean McTaggart: Sings, Strings and Other Things”
For more details on either show visit The Fringe website at
or theSpaceUK at http://www.thespaceuk.com/edinburgh-venues/
Of course, you can get lots more information on Elsa herself on her website
Review by Tom King and Lisa Sibbald