Celtic Connections 2014 kicks off this Thursday for 18 fun filled days (16th January – 2nd February) of memorable musical moments and with the festival celebrating its 21st Anniversary it promises to be the most eclectic and bold programme to date. We will be bringing you some live reviews of performances during the festival so keep your eyes peeled for those.
Celtic Connections 2014 Showcases at The SSE Hydro
This year will also see the festival expand into Scotland’s new leading venue the SSE Hydro with two very special shows.
Glasgow’s own Del Amitri will play their first UK show since 2002 on the city’s newest and biggest stage as part of the festival on Friday 24th January.
Then for the bard’s birthday on Saturday 25th January a star-studded line-up will ascend on the Hydro’s stage for the Celtic Connections International Burns Night which has been made possible thanks to support from Homecoming Scotland 2014.
Musical greats such as Capercailllie, Rachel Sermanni, Dougie MacLean, The Mahotella Queens and Raghu Dixit will explore Burns’s influence throughout the Commonwealth and beyond. The line-up is ever growing and there will be some surprise appearances on the night, as well as celebrations of the lives of Nelson Mandela and Northern Irish Poet Seamus Heaney.
Capercaillie – Nighean Dubh Nighean Donn
Rachel Sermanni – Everything Changes
Line up announced for Alliance Concert
Indie folk five-piece Admiral Fallow, Scottish alternative folk rock band Kassidy, songstress Eddi Reader, founder member of The Delgados Emma Pollock, Horse McDonald, Hue & Cry, Little Fire, Siobhan Wilson, Joe Nisbet Jnr and Tommy Reilly are among the acts joining us for the Alliance Scotland celebration concert – Letters, Life and Love Stories: A Celebration of Caring. This show pays tribute to the love and dedication of Scotland’s 660,000 carers, by bringing some of their inspiring stories to life with music.
Eddi Reader – Baby’s Boat
RM Hubbert & Emma Pollock – Half Light
Other Celtic cultures
The Celts have always been a wandering lot and this is vividly brought to life this year in On Celtic Drover Tracks, which brings together eight leading folk musicians from the British Isles, Canada and Australia on Thursday 23rd January at the Mitchell Theatre to perform two new works inspired by the history and lore of cattle droving.
Celebrating the Celtic kinship between Scotland and Wales, we welcome some of the most exciting acts on today’s Welsh folk scene to the Tron Theatre on Friday 17th January, including DnA (main image), Gwyneth Glyn and busking sensation Bob Delyn a’r Ebillion who played a major part in the Welsh folk revival of the early 1990s.
From further afield, we have a Breton Night featuring Barzaz and Ronan Le Bars Group and central driving force in Québécois music, accordionist and singer Yves Lambert on Saturday 25th January at the Old Fruitmarket.
Jazz up January
Celtic Connections is nothing if not a melting pot – and among the great jazz offerings this year is the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra’s collaboration with Mercury Prize-nominated pianist Gwilym Simcock and saxophonist Trish Clowes, a current Radio 3 New Generation artist. They’ll be traversing boundaries to bring a feast of jazz, improv and classical to the Grand Hall in City Halls on Monday 27th January.
Also in a jazz vein, Balkan Beat stars the Boban & Marko Markovic Orchestra at the Old Fruitmarket on Saturday 18th January and Manu Dibango, the first African musician ever to reach the US Top 40 at the same venue on Sunday 26th January.
For something different The National Jazz Trio of Scotland (not jazz, not a trio, in no way officially ‘national’) will be led by the wayward genius of Bill Wells at the Tron Theatre on Sunday 19th January.
Celtic Connections has a reputation for heating up when the sun goes down but there’s also plenty going on during the weekend afternoons. Sunday afternoons are made complete by the excellent line-ups at Hazy Recollections – this year they range from the 16-plus members of The Second Hand Marching Band to neo-bluegrass combo The Dirty Beggars, singer Alistair Ogilvy and hip-hop supremos Stanley Odd. The cream of young talent shows up for the Traditional Musician of the Year Young Trad Tour and there are definitely some ‘ones to watch’ in our New Voices concerts – featuring Admiral Fallow’s Sarah , Doctor Who and Brave piper Lorne MacDougall and The Shee’s Rachel Newton.
Gigs at Platform
Celtic Connections is putting on two gigs at Platform again in 2014. Friday 24th January will see cult Newcastle neo-troubadour Richard Dawson, Australian slide guitar virtuoso and singer/songwriter Jeff Lang perform with support coming from Lang’s award-winning Australian compatriots The Mae trio.
On Saturday 25th January Arab Strap’s Malcolm Middleton will perform as well as fast-rising Australian star Jordie Lane who will deliver a mix of rugged country-folk and old-timey blues. Supporting on this bill is Assam’s Papon who will combine his home state’s distinctive folk music with Indian classical elements and western contemporary influnces.
Donald Shaw, Artistic Director of Celtic Connections, can’t believe the festival starts so soon, “I can’t wait for it all to kick off this Thursday, this is the best bit – seeing all the months of planning come into play over the next 3 weeks.
“The festival is really coming of age this year, as can be seen from the expansion into Scotland new leading venue and also in the diversity of this year’s programme. Although Celtic Connections still stays true to its roots it has definitely become more adventurous and brings music from all over the world to Glasgow’s stages. The festival also continues to embrace other musical genres as can be seen in the line-up of this year’s Opening Concert. Who’d have thought twenty years ago that one of the world’s most incredible classical musical stars would be premièring new collaborative work alongside Scottish traditional musicians at the opening night of the festival?”
Find out more about Celtic Connections here: www.celticconnections.com