We have been looking forward to this week since the middle of February last year.
Celtic Connections will celebrate 20 years as a major cornerstone of Scotland’s cultural calendar with an amazing programme of the best in world music, befitting its status as one of the biggest festivals on the planet.
Artistic Director, Donald Shaw, takes the reins once more for the event which will celebrate the ethos and the artists that have seen the festival become that global phenomenon.
The small festival team gobsmack us each year by bringing the biggest names in folk, roots, world, traditional, indie, blues and jazz to perform all over Glasgow, beginning on Thursday 17th January with the celebration concert and concluding on 3rd February with the infamous Transatlantic sessions [2012 sessions shown above].
So what can I recommend to you?
Here’s my personal selection for the season.
- Celtic Connections 20th Celebration Concert – Thursday 17th January, at the Royal Concert Hall.
- Rod Patterson and Alistair Ogilvy – Friday 18th January, playing The Glasgow Art Club
- Kila with Mànran – Saturday 19th January, in a big Hooley at the O2 ABC.
- Donnie Munro and Joy Dunlop – on Wednesday 23rd January, all serene in the Mitchell Library.
- Duncan Chisholm’s Strathglass Suite – on Saturday 26th January, at the magnificent Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
- And finally …..Maggie Reilly and Sharon King – on Sunday 27th January, at The Tron Theatre.
Scottish fiddler extraordinaire, Duncan Chisholm, who was the first musician ever to perform at Celtic Connections in 1994 with his band Wolfstone, will be in attendance performing his spellbinding Strathglass Suite in the beautiful surroundings of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
Along at the 02 ABC we will be blessed with Gaelic infused folk/rock band Mànran who will also be returning to this year’s festival alongside Irish folk band Kila.
Some of the world’s most exciting Americana, country and bluegrass talent is coming including Oklahoma’s JD McPherson, with his deceptively sophisticated songwriting raw, 50s style booty-shaking rockabillity of his music. JD will preview his festival appearance with a live chat on the Oban Fm Wednesday Drivetime on the 16th, between 5pm and 7pm. Join us here on Oban FM [or on 103.3 FM in North Argyll].
Connel’s finest, Joy Dunlop, brings her gold plated Mod winners Gaelic vocals to support Donnie Munro who was the main man with Runrig for so many years.
Tobermory singer songwriter Sorren Maclean, a key member of the cult band, Mull Historical Society, goes it alone in the New Voices programme at this year’s festival.
This, the 20th Celtic Connections festival will have a retrospective feel to it. It will be a look back over the years to celebrate the ethos and artists that have helped shape it.
The Opening Concert will bring together an array of artists who have delighted us throughout the last 20 years. As the January antidote to the post Christmas blues has grown, many of the artists have grown up with it. None, more so, than Duncan Chisholm who has developed from early Celtic rocker into composer of some of the finest classical folk music ever produced. Over the years the ever growing, ever-expanding and increasingly global network of musicians relationships have developed lasting bonds. They began in Glasgow and now rejoin around the world.
Performers on Thursdays opening night include Capercaillie, Sheena Wellington, Eddi Reader, Julie Fowlis, the newly reformed Flook, Cara Dillon, Chris Stout, Dick Gaughan, Finlay MacDonald, the Scottish Power Pipe Band and a specially-convened festival string ensemble helmed by Greg Lawson.
Among the other major artists appearing at Celtic Connections 2013 are The Mavericks, Transatlantic Sessions with Mary Chapin Carpenter, Old Crow Medicine Show, Salif Keita, Kate Rusby, Carlos Núñez & the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Dougie MacLean, Paul Brady, Heidi Talbot, Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire, Fiddlers Bid, and Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares.
Tickets can be got here online. Waste no time.
Campbell Cameron, folk and traditional music music editor