Saturday Night at the Howff with James Yorkston & The Second Hand Orchestra, Knockengorroch and DJ Dolphin Boy

howff /haʊf/. A favourite meeting place or haunt, especially a pub.

This week at the Howff, Bella’s lounge for the lockdown, we welcome James Yorkston & The Second Hand Orchestra, Knockengorroch and DJ Dolphin Boy.

James Yorkston & The Second Hand Orchestra have kindly unveiled a second song from their forthcoming album ‘The Wide, Wide River’, due January 22nd. ‘Ella Mary Leather’ opens with a good old piano vamp which leads us into a soaring and melancholy song about a friendship past, full of shoe-horned rhymes and buoyant instrumentation. Ella Mary Leather herself was a Herefordshire-based folk song collector in the early 20th Century, but James Yorkston and The Second Hand Orchestra’s song is not about her. Yorkston explains: “No, it’s not about Ella Mary Leather. I am just using her lyrical name as a mask, to protect the innocent…” The sublime album was recorded and mixed in Sweden over the course of three daysand highlights Yorkston’s skills for songwriting and as a musical conductor.

You can learn more about James Yorkston and support his work at his website here.

I pine for the lost festivals of 2020. Their phantoms echo in my despondent moments. If you would like a more physical manifestation of what was missed, then you can order Knockengorroch‘s new double album ‘Sounds Like Knockengorroch’. A jewel in the crown of Scotland’s small festivals, Knockengorroch takes place beside the glittering Water of Deugh and beneath the broad shoulders of southwest Scotland’s great mountain peaks. Known as the World Ceilidh, it is a festival that celebrates some of the finest music from the Celtic diaspora and everywhere in-between. Officially released on the 4th of December, the double album plays host to some of the festival’s recurring characters and includes two tracks written in its honour. With a mix of folk, world and electronic music acts, and artists such as Shooglenifty, Mungo’s Hifi, Cera Impala and DJ Dolphin Boy, this inspiring album pays tribute to the festival’s unique atmosphere and the feelings of community and connection that it evokes.

You can learn more about Knockengorroch at their website here.

And speaking of DJ Dolphin Boy, my other pick for this week is DJ Dolphin Boy’s Christmas mix ‘Silly Season’. DJ Dolphin Boy is a very well-loved figure on the Scottish festival circuit, who produces funky music full of wit and humour, featuring creative breakbeats mixed with all kinds of traditional and not-so-traditional samples. The most fun I have ever had has been at parties where Dolphin Boy has been the DJ, and I can’t wait till we can all groove together once again. In the meantime, Silly Season is an extremely entertaining, hour-long mix, starring the festive tones of Bing Crosby, Bob Zuga, Billy May and many more. Now based on the isle of Eigg, Dolphin Boy carved out a niche for himself and became a fixture of Edinburgh’s eclectic music scene for over a decade, and his Christmas mixes are looked forward to by many.

You can hear more from DJ Dolphin Boy and support his work at his Bandcamp here.

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