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Air Alba - One4Review

When we, the audience, entered the cosy room that is the Downstairs Bar of the Royal Oak Lounge, we were warmly welcomed by Nancy Nicolson of Air Alba. Nancy has made and still continues to make a significant contribution to the Scottish folk scene. She is accompanied by Tony Mitchell on guitar. Air Alba’s shows vary during the Fringe. Today’s show was about ‘Sex and the Scots’. We were warned that her material does have an edge but there has been a folk tradition for hundreds of years of houghmagandie. For those unfamiliar with this wonderful Scots word it is defined as ‘the jocular or poetic word for sexual intercourse for recreation between people who are not married’. Nancy explores this theme with humorous stories and comedy songs, both traditional and her own compositions. It is reassuring that the oppressive form of Calvinism didn’t eliminate these traditional forms of expression. Both performers are accomplished musicians. Nancy has a sweet and lyrical voice and Tony played a range of melodies from Mozart to the blues. Many of the songs have choruses which were easy to pick up and most of the audience had a go. When the show officially ended, we just carried on having a blether. The touches of informality made for a warm and enjoyable hour. I discovered that the Royal Oak Bar has had live music every day since the 1980’s. I think I could be paying a visit in future.   ****  

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