Elsa Jean McTaggart Sings, Strings and Other Things at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall (Venue 53) is almost the other face of Elsa. Whereas the evening show “Lassie Will Ye Go” is firmly based in traditional Scottish music, Robert Burns, and everything you would expect of “sounding Scottish”, this show is music and songs written by Elsa, and although still firmly rooted in her almost immersion since childhood in Scottish and Irish music is a more personal and at times revealing side of her as a singer and songwriter/musician.
Some of today’s music comes from the CD “Change It Is A-coming” (available to buy at the show along with other CDs by Elsa), and it is a mixture of many styles as we take a gentle trip with Elsa through some of her life and the events that led to some of this music being written. Despite the style of the music, or lyrics of the song, everything is still firmly rooted in its Scottish and Irish musical heritage.
Some of these songs such as “The Sister Song” and “Around the Mountain” have very emotional stories behind them, and that shows through in the performance of these songs on stage. It is though music written for the fiddle such as “The Dingle Reel” that the audience connect most strongly to...it is just infectious music that no matter how you may re-arrange it from its traditional roots will always sound like it belongs to a distant time.
Elsa of course sings, and it is a clear voice that has an uncommon purity to it. There is also a warmth between Elsa and her audience, and you either have that gift to do that or not.
There are two shows from Elsa Jean McTaggart this Fringe - this morning one and an evening one called “Elsa Jean McTaggart: Lassie Will Ye Go”
If you can, try and catch this show, and the other completely different evening show. Both shows offer interesting insights into different sides of Elsa Jean McTaggart as a performer and a person.
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