Celtic Connections 2011 kicks off one week today, with over 1500 musicians set to descend upon Glasgow between Thursday 13th– Sunday 30th January as the annual folk, roots, indie and world music festival celebrates its 18th birthday. The 18 day event features approximately 300 concerts, ceilidhs, talks, art exhibitions, workshops and free events taking place in 14 venues across the city, and will launch with a spectacular torchlight parade through Glasgow city centre on its opening day.
Celtic Connections is delighted to announce a brand new event as part of the festival – Reel Around the North Sea on 29th January at the O2 ABC 2. The project brings together some of the finest dancers and musicians from countries around the North Sea, exploring music and dance traditions from the performers’ homelands. The show features musicians such as Swedish nyckelharpa player Niklas Rosswell, Danish fiddler Kristian Bugge, Norwegian folk trio Geitungen, as well as Scotland’s own Bodega, with dancers taking part including Marianne Dahl, Petter Johansson and Maj Vester Larsen.
The rising world music sensation Raghu Dixit will open for the Creole Choir of Cuba at City Halls on 29th January. His contemporary Indian folk sound is subtly infused with elements of rock, Arabic, Latino and Reggae rhythms, and has earned him a fast growing international fanbase. Following his magnificent performance on Later… with Jools Holland, Dixit’s eponymous debut album shot straight to the top of the World Music Chart on iTunes UK.
The acclaimed Glasgow-born actor Bill Paterson will narrate Monumental Scott in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 19th January. The grand finale to ScottsLand, which celebrates the 200th anniversary of Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake, this evening of music, song and spoken word includes the premiere of a specially-commissioned new work by accordionist Phil Cunningham and features John McCusker, Karen Matheson and Eddi Reader as well as some special guests. Bill said “I’m delighted to be working with some of my favourite musicians and singers, I’m a big fan. And I used to live in a flat in George Street that Scott had lived in, so having shared a bedsit with the man, I’m looking forward to working with him.”
New Chemikal Underground signings FOUND will bring their legendary Cybraphon installation to Celtic Connections when they appear in A Night of Celtronika at the Old Fruitmarket on 28th January. Inspired by early 19th century mechanical bands such as the nickelodeon, Cybraphon is an interactive version of a mechanical band in a box consisting of a number of instruments, antique machinery, and found objects from junk shops operated by over 60 robotic components, all housed in a modified wardrobe. With infra-red motion detectors to monitor people watching it, Cybraphon’s emotions are shown on a 100 year old school galvanometer as it reacts to its audience. The City Halls Recital Room will play host to this fascinating contraption on 28th January as part of A Night of Celtronika, which also features Indo-Caledonian sound artist Sushil K Dade/Future Pilot AKA, Craig Armstrong and PJ Moore (of Blue Nile fame) amongst others.
Irish folk duo Lumiere will support Horslips at the Old Fruitmarket on 18th January. Traditional singers Pauline Scanlon and Éilís Kennedy are renowned for their spell-binding interpretations of songs both old and new. Horslips reformed in 2009 for two acclaimed concerts in Ireland, and their Celtic Connections show will be their first gig outside of Ireland for 31 years.
The Boston-based stringband Joy Kills Sorrow have been added to the bill for the first ever European broadcast of the hugely influential Moutain Stage radio show. Legendary gospel singer Mavis Staples and Perthshire singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean will also perform in this very special event at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 21st January.
Glasgow’s own Gospel Truth Choir will open for Sir Tom Jones at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Monday 17th January, when the Welsh legend performs his highly acclaimed gospel album Praise and Blame.
The talented American singer-songwriter Joe Pug has been announced as support for Declan O’Rourke on 29th January at Òran Mór.
A host of artists from the Arabian Peninsula will visit Glasgow for Shifting Sands in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 27th January. From Bahrain we welcome Mohammed Assiry (qanun), Hasan Hejairi (oud), Ahmed Al Ghanem (flute), Mohammed Hamada (percussion) and Thani Salem Thani (percussion). They’ll collaborate with some of the UK’s finest folk musicians, including Pete Flood (percussion), Inge Thomson (accordion) and Matheu Watson (various) for the project, which is directed by Bellowhead’s Andy Mellon (trumpet) and features Sam Carter (vocals/guitar) and Corrina Hewat (vocals/harp).
Kate Rusby will no longer appear in the Steele The Show tribute to Davy Steele due to work pressures. The show, which features Karine Polwart, Dick Gaughan and many more, takes place in City Halls on 20th January.
Ones to Watch
This January, Celtic Connections is proud to play host to some of the hottest up and coming talent in the Scottish music scene.
Aerials Up scooped the prestigious Emerging Talent Award at the Tartan Clef Awards 2010. They appear in a stellar indie triple-bill at The Arches on 27th January alongside First Charge of the Light Brigade (the phoenix from the ashes of several earlier Glasgow bands) and the melodic Acoustic Butterfly.
The festival’s New Voices commissioning strand will see the hotly tipped Carrbridge singer-songwriter Rachel Sermanni, accordionist Angus Lyon and guitarist Innes Watson premier brand new compositions written especially for their appearances at the festival.
Hazy Recollections – Sunday Sessions at the O2 ABC 2
Having built a loyal following in and around Glasgow during the past year, Hazy Recollections takes up residency in the O2 ABC 2 each Sunday afternoon as part of Celtic Connections, bringing together top UK-based acts from the indie, folk and roots spheres alongside some international guests for a special series of Sunday Sessions.
On Sunday 16th January, US indie-folk troubadour AJ Roach, Rachel Sermanni, Japanese folk/pop outfit Humbert Humbert, five-piece folk band Kitty the Lion and Rick Redbeard, one sixth of Glasgow rock outfit The Phantom Band, feature on the bill.
The middle Sunday of the festival, 23rd January, the talented Manchester singer-songwriter Damon Valentine will be joined by The Staves, known for their jaw-dropping harmonies and their delicate, bittersweet sound, Lewis born singer-songwriter and guitarist Iain Morrison, as well as the Boston-based contemporary bluegrass outfit Joy Kills Sorrow and Glasgow singer/songwriter Mike Nisbet.
On Sunday 30th January the folk-rock sextet, Woodenbox with a Fistful of Fivers are joined by Edinburgh singer-songwriter Alex Cornish, Findlay Napier and his Bar Room Mountaineers with their rootsy progressive sound, Glasgow band Julia and the Doogans, and Newfoundland native Amelia Curran.
Celtic Connections Community Tour 2011
Celtic Connections is once again working in partnership with Glasgow Arts to bring a taste of the festival to the people of Glasgow.
The talented Celine Donoghue Duo will take Celtic Connections to the communities of Glasgow this January with a series of five concerts throughout the city as part of the festival.
Celtic Connections is once again working in partnership with Glasgow Arts to bring the festival to the communities of Drumchapel, Springburn, Gallowgate, Penilee and Castlemilk, allowing the people of Glasgow to see some of Scotland’s finest musicians perform live in their local area as part of Glasgow’s annual folk, roots, traditional and world music festival. Fiddle and banjo player Celine Donoghue will appear alongside singer-songwriter Neil Sturgeon at community centres across the city between 20th – 29th January: Drumchapel (20th January, 7:30pm), Springburn Alive and Kicking Project (21st January, 2pm), Lodging House Mission (27th January, 2pm), Penilee Community Centre (28th January, 7:30pm), Castlemilk Community Centre (29th January, 7:30pm).
Festival artists receive major awards recognition
At the close of 2010 a host of festival artists were honoured with an array of prestigious awards and nominations for major accolades. Rosanne Cash, Marty Stuart, Mavis Staples, Bettye LaVette and Richard Thompson OBE received Grammy nominations, whilst the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominees include Kris Drever, Chris While & Julie Matthews, Coope Boyes & Simpson, Fisherman’s Friends, Andy Irvine, Ewan McLennan, Michael McGoldrick, Richard Thompson and Fiddlers’ Bid. MG ALBA Scots Trad Awards 2010 winners include Julie Fowlis, Iain Morrison, Eilidh Mackenzie, Martin O’Neill, Red Hot Chilli Pipers and Malinky. Both Dougie MacLean and Richard Thompson were named in the Queen’s New Year Honours, and will be awarded OBEs.
John Grant’s sublime Queen of Denmark record was hailed as MOJO Magazine’s Album of the Year, Raghu Dixit was recommended by The Guardian as one to watch in the world music sphere in 2011, and Treacherous Orchestra’s Celtic Connections 2010 gig featured in The Scotsman’s top 6 gigs of the year.
Finally, 2010 was a successful year for Celtic Connections, with the festival scooping the Best Cultural Event title at the prestigious UK Event Awards as well as Best Traditional Event at the Scottish Event Awards.
More info here: http://www.celticconnections.com/