|Opening night 2008
Opening night 2023 at Glasgow concert hall. I see young Gaelic singer Kim Carnie walking past with her newly straightened hair, and Liz Clark who hosts the Danny Kyle stage deep in conversation. She has asked to use a photo of mine of the Celtic radio website. I enter the VIP room, normally the press office and chat with Hannah. I remember meeting Dick Gaughan waiting outside here when I asked him what songs he’d be singing for the concert. He’s so honest and down-to-earth.
The baton is being past now to the new generation of folk musicians, while popular festival stalwarts are still here – Karine Polwart, Anna Massie, Michael McGoldrick, Donald Shaw, drummer James Mackintosh – who reminisce on their very first Celtic Connections concert. My first cc was opening night 2008, Transatlantic Sessions and Capercaillie old Fruitmerket.
I grew up with radio, recorded music and also theatre and piano tunes. Later I first encountered the joy of live folk clubs and festivals – it offers a rich intimacy, joy, poignancy and immediacy, that I had not encountered before.
Celtic has taken the intimacy of live folk to a bigger stage and broader audience. The festival explores quality musicianship and singers, diverse collaborations and the ever popular lively ceilidh bands.
The festival’s foundations and roots are Celtic folk and Gaelic, while at the same time they embrace other Celtic world roots music and look forwards.
As Noakes once wrote after my comment “the best music is timeless” – “No the best music is very much of its time.” And “a present with no past has no future.”
Our sad recent loss of folk legend Rab Noakes – his music lives on!
CELTIC CONNECTIONS archive 2008 – 2023. Photos Pauline Keightley - https://pkimage.co.uk