The world’s music returns to Glasgow
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.