The world’s mu­sic re­turns to Glas­gow

The Herald on Sunday - - THE WEEK -

LONG queues and the busy phone lines at the box of­fice on Fri­day morn­ing told their own story. Celtic Con­nec­tions is back.

The largest win­ter fes­ti­val of its kind an­nounced its 2019 sched­ule on Thurs­day evening, prompt­ing a clam­our for tick­ets.

There are, as ever, lots of in­trigu­ing events in the pro­gramme, from the world pre­miere of Brave in Con­cert – a live screen­ing of the Dis­ney/Pixar smash, ac­com­pa­nied by the BBC Scot­tish Sym­phony Orches­tra per­form­ing Pa­trick Doyle’s score – to a spe­cial event mark­ing the tragedy of HMY Io­laire, which sank with the loss of more than 200 lives just off Stornoway har­bour on New Year’s Day, 1919.

Top-name acts ap­pear­ing be­tween Jan­uary 17 and Fe­bru­ary 3 next year in­clude Gra­ham Nash, Judy Collins, Loudon Wain­wright III, John Grant and Rhi­an­non Gid­dens. Paul Weller will be among the mu­si­cians hon­our­ing the late John Mar­tyn, while the pop­u­lar Roam­ing Roots re­vue will show­case The Bea­tles’ clas­sic Abbey Road al­bum with the aid of, among oth­ers, KT Tun­stall and The Staves.

There will also be talks, work­shops, theatre pro­duc­tions, film screen­ings, ceilidhs, ex­hi­bi­tions, free events and late-night sessions. Spe­cial com­mis­sions and creative col­lab­o­ra­tions will con­tinue to fea­ture.

The mu­sic pal­ette con­tin­ues to be ex­panded, too: Amer­i­cana, folk, world, indie, jazz and soul, trad, fu­sion and Gaelic acts all nes­tle be­neath the Celtic Con­nec­tion um­brella. The fes­ti­val also prom­ises “genre-bust­ing per­for­mances that defy any at­tempt at cat­e­gori­sa­tion”.

Don­ald Shaw, the fes­ti­val’s creative pro­ducer, says there is a con­stant drive to en­sure that each year’s pro­gramme is the most di­verse and eclec­tic yet. “From artists who have in­flu­enced the cur­rent scene, to mu­si­cians who are re­defin­ing the mu­sic of to­mor­row, Celtic Con­nec­tions 2019 will con­tinue to em­brace a wide range of styles and gen­res that show­case artists and cul­tures from across the world,” he said.

Celtic Con­nec­tions has come a long way since its de­but in Jan­uary 1994, when 35,000 peo­ple at­tended mu­si­cal events at the Glas­gow Royal Con­cert Hall. Last year, the fes­ti­val recorded 130,000 at­ten­dances and wel­comed 2,300 artists from over 30 coun­tries.


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