I always look forward to this very special folk, roots and world winter music festival, which offers a great start each year and is one of the highlights of my year. The central hub is the Glasgow concert hall, with its 5 venues spaces which comes alive to the sounds of pipes, whistles, song and those foot-stomping reels!
This is also very much an international festival with musicians and visitors coming worldwide. For the 18 days of the festival take over Glasgow venues. This year the festival twinned with Finland.
Celtic Music Radio is the place to hear the Danny Kyle stage open mic performers. This takes place each day 5 – 7pm at the concert hall. This year I heard finalists Muckle Spree and John Edge and the Kings of Nowhere.
On the first weekend there was a festival within the festival - Coastal Connections celebrating the vast and scenically majestic Scottish coastlines and islands. For the price of one ticket we were treated to many top performers – Tiree based Skerryvore, from the West Highlands Diamh, from Oban Capercaillie and from Orkney’s Fara. A dramatic 10 metre sea goddess puppet made from reeds and named STORM, walked from the Clyde to the concert hall.
For the opening night concert the unique GRIT orchestra performed the Declaration – with 6 new compositions commissioned to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath. As well as some of ever popular Martyn Bennet’s music.
The Auld Lang Syne concert celebrated our great Scots bard Robert Burns, at the Glasgow concert hall when his songs were performed by Eddi Reader, Karen Matheson, Shona Donaldson and all were on top form. I was impressed by Jarlath Henderson, piper, composer and singer from Ireland.
|GRIT orchestra the Declaration|
|Auld Lang Syne|
I also enjoy the atmospheric Old Fruitmarket venue and this year saw This Caledonian Soul hosted by Blue Rose Code and his top soul band. His biggest influences are John Martyn and he performed the song Fine Lines and a new song from his upcoming album. I’m a fan, and I highly recommend his albums.
|Blue Rose Code, Caledonian Soul|
Plus the Scottish National Orchestra who performed Scottish composer, pianist, harpist Phamie Gow, composition Lammermuir, along with musicians Jarlath Henderson, Alasdair Fraser, Mairi Campbell.
To top all this I enjoyed the excellence of the Transatlantic Sessions band with guest singers– Americans Cahelen Morrison, Sierra Hull; Irish Cathy Jordan and Scots singers Rachel Sermanni. Other highlights included – Cherish the Ladies, Roaming Roots Revue, Phil Cunningham’s 60th, Salsa Celtica, Blazin Fiddles and much more.
Celtic Connections festival supports new artists – with workshops, the open stage, and the
Scottish Showcase – with over 200 delegates from 23 countries.
|Transatlantic Sessions 2020|
The arts bring us together. Celtic connections is a class example of music crossing boundaries. There is mainstream pop – then there is the craft, heritage and depth of making of the live folk songs. It inspired Bob Dylan to do something more authentic. .