The programme for Celtic Connections 2016 has been announced today by Artistic Director, Donald Shaw.
From Thursday 14 to Sunday 31 January, 2,500 musicians from around the world will gather in Glasgow for 18 days of concerts, ceilidhs, talks, art exhibitions, workshops, free events, late night sessions and a host of special one-off musical collaborations.
Stars of world, folk and roots music, who will perform on 26 stages at venues across the city, include Rickie Lee Jones, The Chieftains, Lau, The Unthanks, Béla Fleck, Moving Hearts, Robert Plant, Lucinda Williams, Admiral Fallow, Toumani Diabaté, Karine Polwart, Boys of the Lough, and Larry Carlton.
With artists from Inner Mongolia to Armagh, Senegal to Italy, and Brittany to the Outer Hebrides to Southern Manitoba performing at the festival in 2016 Celtic Connections remains a hotbed of musical talent from cultures and countries from across the globe.
The Opening Concert will be celebrating 50 years of the Traditional Music & Song Association of Scotland with musical director Siobhan Miller at the helm.
Family Ties will also be at the fore of this years’ festival, through shows including concerts by The Wainwright Sisters, and They Might be Giants performing a special matinee performance for children.
Pilgrimage will be explored through a series of performances, including the reimagining of Joni Mitchell’s 1976 album Hejira – which explores themes of the constant journey we are all on in life – by James Robertson.
While Drift is inspired by the true story of Betty Mouat, a crofter from Shetland, who spent eight days drifting alone in the North Sea.
Celtic Connections takes pride in looking to the future as well as celebrating the past. Matthew Welch’s Blarvuster, the Aidan O’Rourke Trio and Soumik Datta & Bernhard Schimpelsberger: Circle of Sound are among those who will step into the spotlight at a new venue for the festival Drygate Brewery to represent a new strand, The Shape of Folk to Come.
A series of major anniversaries will be marked, with celebrations of Aly Bain at 70 in a show entitled Le Grand Anniversaire where he will be joined by his long standing cohort Phil Cunningham to celebrate 30 years of performing together.
Bwani Junction will be performing Graceland 30 years after Paul Simon’s classic album was released. Four of the original members of the recording will be performing on this very special occasion.
A series of concerts In the Tradition will celebrate piping and Gaelic music. Nights dedicated to Gordon Duncan and the Armagh Pipers and a concert recalling the legendaryLive in Ireland 78 will put the swirl and power of the pipes centre stage. A special 30th anniversary concert for Fèis Rois, music from Anne Lorne Gillies, and a show entitledGàidhlig meets Gaelic Americana which brings together Gillebrìde MacMillan and Kyle Carey will be music to the ears of lovers of these two traditions, which remain as fresh, vital and entertaining as ever.
The Auld Alliance between Scotland and France will be centre stage at this year’s Showcase Scotland as the festival celebrates France as the partner country for 2016 and the 10th anniversary of the twinning of Glasgow and Marseille.
Showcase Scotland is delegate based and hosted in the city of Glasgow over four days during Celtic Connections. Musical directors and programmers of leading festivals and venues from around the world attend the event where around 60 songwriters, bands and musicians are showcased. A Trade Fair is held to provide an additional platform for promoters to meet with artists and their representatives to discuss potential booking possibilities.
At the core of the festival is the award winning Education Programme, which sees thousands of children attend free morning concerts, experiencing live music from Scotland and further afield. Up to 11,400 children will take part in Celtic Connections Education Programme for schools during the 2016 festival, with opportunities including five free morning concerts.
Celtic Connections also continues to play a vital role in fostering new and young talent. Since 1999 in Glasgow alone the Celtic Connections Education Programme has delivered projects to over 80 per cent of Glasgow schools, with over 90 per cent of that figure being in primary schools, and a total of over 90,000 children and young people benefiting from the programme. Nationally, that figure rises to over 185,000 children and young people from all over Scotland.
In addition to the school workshops, there will be over 60 public workshops for all ages and abilities from dawn until dusk over each of the three weekends. Highlights include the Ukulele School hosted by Finlay Allison and The Fiddle Village hosted by Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas.
They also welcome back the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
The final day of Celtic Connections, Sunday 31 January, includes a show at the Old Fruitmarket in aid of the Bert Jansch Foundation, whose charitable aim is to support the next generation of acoustic musicians. Robert Plant, Bernard Butler, Archie Fisher, and Jacqui McShee will perform along with more special guests to be announced in Bert Inspired: A Concert for Bert Jansch.
Donald Shaw, Artistic Director of Celtic Connections, said:
“Celtic Connections is rooted in a love of traditional, folk and world music. Since our earliest days the passion, the skill, and the excitement that you find at a live concert at Celtic Connections has inspired us to put together the programme each year.
“For 2016, we are bringing superstars and cult heroes, new talent, and artists who were legends long before the first Celtic Connections was staged.
“This year we weave stories of pilgrimage, of crossing continents, we celebrate anniversaries and the Auld Alliance. We have a lot of amazing concerts to pack into 18 days, join us when Celtic Connections returns next January.”
Councillor Archie Graham, Chair of Glasgow Life, said:
“Glasgow is a welcoming city which is proud of its heritage and embraces diversity. Each January we host a festival which in many ways mirrors our home city.
“Celtic Connections brings together musicians from across the world for a celebration of musical traditions, the best of contemporary folk and world music, and the ways in which different musical cultures interweave and inspire and, always, entertain.
“The expertise and skill that drives Celtic Connections also shines through in a education programme that benefits thousands of children across Glasgow and Scotland. Invaluable opportunities enrich lives and offer chances to learn, to enjoy, to be part of the always unique, always brilliant musical happening which is Celtic Connections.”
Ian Smith, Portfolio Manager for Music, Creative Scotland, said:
“Celtic Connections is one of the world’s great music festivals and to have established such a global presence in a comparatively short time underlines its place as one of Scotland’s creative treasures.
“Every January we gather in Glasgow in mid-winter to be thrilled and inspired by great music from around the world, but with its roots and traditions firmly in Scotland. We will see this as the TMSA celebrates 50 years in the opening concert. With Showcase Scotland at its core, Celtic Connections represents all that is great about Scotland’s cultural identity expressed so brilliantly through its music.”
For full details visit: www.celticconnections.com
We’ll be bringing you more soon!