Celtic Connections show beckons for Bwani boys

Bwani Junction
Bwani Junction

Indie-rock band Bwani Junction are set to perform Paul Simon’s classic ‘Graceland’ album at the Celtic Connections festival.

The band, whose guitarist Dan Muir hails from Kirkliston, will be joined onstage by some of the album’s original musicians.

Amongst those travelling from South Africa and New York are Barney Rachabane, Diane Garisto and Morris Goldberg, who all featured on the classic recording, which celebrates its 30th Anniversary in 2016.

The move to perform ‘Graceland’ followed a stop-gap 
gig whilst recording their third album. They conducted a poll of their online fans, giving them four famous albums to chose from, with the winner to be played in its entirety at a club in Edinburgh.

Quickly realizing the enormity of the task they’d set themselves, the band enlisted a local horn-section, invited Scottish accordion supremo Phil Cunningham, who is based in South Queensferry, to join them and rounded up a few others for the show - which was a huge success.

Amongst the audience was the director of Celtic Connections, who was so impressed that he made an on-the-spot offer to repeat the show at the festival in January. He also 
offered to fly in some of the original ‘Graceland’ players to join the band.

Needless to say, the January 23 gig has become one of the festival’s feature events.

Lead-guitarist Dan Muir said: ‘‘Our band has been hugely influenced by Graceland, and we opened for Paul Simon when he performed the album at Hyde Park in 2012 with the original musicians.

‘‘To now be doing it ourselves with them is incredibly humbling for us, and there’s already a huge sense of excitement about the show”.

Amongst the 14-piece ensemble are the following big names such as Barney Rachabane (69) – legendary South African alto-saxophone player, who featured on the song ‘Gumboots’; and Morris Goldberg, the influential South African saxophonist, who played the penny-whistle solo on ‘You Can Call Me Al’.

*Bwani Junction play Glasgow’s Fruitmarket Gallery on Saturday, January 23. Tickets cost £16 and are available from www.celticconnections.com or from the box office on 0141 353 8000.