Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

Thursday 29 February 2024





One aspect of folk music  is its inclusive, open culture – its for everyone. Its not about a few musicians on stage. All can sing the choruses, dance, clap. This year traditional Scots musician Dick Gaughan made a surprise appearance at the concert for Red Clyde sider John MacLean. Gaughan had a stroke a few years back and has been unable to perform or play his guitar. 


I remember Dick Gaughan standing near the Celtic Connections press office. He was happy to chat, maybe he remembered me from his intimate Milngavie folk club gigs, where some musicians there said he was a Scots living legend. My younger son came to hear him and was impressed with his dramatic guitar playing, and the strength of his guttural voice on his highly memorable and meaningful folk songs. Dick Gaughan is a song collector, songwriter and traditional singer and musician. I remember Gaughan telling his stories while tuning his guitar -  The Yew Tree, What you do with what you’ve got, The Flowers of the Forrest, Westlin Winds. The first time I heard Robert Burns Parcel of Rogues was Gaughan’s interpretation at the festivals Auld Lang Syne concert in 2014? I had no idea before this that Burns was such a radical reformer and like many, I had thought he mostly wrote love songs and poems. 


Many of Gaughan’s generation are now getting older and I wonder who among the younger musicians can replace them? In 2012 we lost Dundonian character songwriter Michael Marra, in 2012 the iconic Scots songwriter Gerry Rafferty. (I took photos at a concert to his memory at Celtic Connections at which the Proclaimers and Rafferty’s family performed, and just last year 2023, we lost the wonderful Rab Noakes who I knew well from his concerts and taking his photos there. What an interesting gentleman and creative songwriter he was. I remember in my twenties in my folk days, we would often sing in harmonies his songs – Branch, Clear Day, Happy Days indeed! Another massive Bob Dylan fan. 



Roddy Hart

II   Celtic Connections music festival Glasgow

I spent time abroad, worked and had my family. Years later I returned to Scotland, after nine years in Cincinnati Ohio and Chicago Illinois. While its wonderful to travel its also good to return to our roots. Later , in 2008, I discovered Celtic Connections music festival. Begun in 1994, with the likes of Aly Bain – to fill the cold empty month of January – with 66 concerts at one venue. And I felt a return to the joy of the folk world, I had inhabited years before. That was the first time I heard people singing in a Scots accent and Scots words.  People travel from far and wide to enjoy this magic festival – I hear voices from Cornwall, Northern Ireland, Canada and many more. 


Ceiran Ryan


World-renowned folk, roots and world music festival Celtic Connections  -  celebrated in January with 18 days of sold-out concerts, innovative musical sessions and collaborations - with 1,200 artists across 25 venues.


#ccfest is the biggest winter festival of its kind in Europe, known for its eclectic mix of genres and inclusive atmosphere, celebrated over 100 sold out shows across its 300 events alongside welcoming over 115,000 attendees.  Once-in-a-lifetime collaborations, rare performances from global sensations, moving tribute concerts and some of the biggest shows ever played by home grown talent were all showcased across the city for 31st edition of Celtic Connections. 

Concerts which celebrated the tradition, innovation and unifying power of music:

      Opening Concert welcomed the genre-defying European premiere of ATTENTION! from American Grammy winner Chris Thile (Nickel Creek) and guests Rachel Sermanni, Dreamers’ Circus and Sarah Jarosz

      Red Clydeside: John MacLean Centenary Concert, celebrated the music, poetry and legacy of Scottish schoolteacher and legendary revolutionary socialist John MacLean, with an evening of passion and talent. Led by Siobhan MillerEddi ReaderBilly Bragg and Karine Polwart, and with a surprise performance from Scottish social protest singer Dick Gaughan  a hugely emotional and iconic moment 

      Roaming Roots Review, with Songs of Modern Scotland, celebrated some of the most phenomenal artists and iconic tracks. Joining host Roddy Hart were Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil, Idlewild’s Roddy Woomble and Rod Jones, Del Amitri’s Justin Currie, Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell, singer-songwriter Emma Pollock, Hamish Hawk, Admiral Fallow’s Sarah Hayes and Louis Abbott and Brownbear  Accompanied by Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Orchestra, conducted by John Logan

      The Bothy Band, one of the most influential Irish ensembles to revolutionise the playing of traditional music, made their mark on Celtic Connections 2024 with a highly-anticipated performance. For the first time since 1979, Donal Lunny on bouzouki, Tríona ní Dhomhnaill on keyboards, Matt Molloy on flute, Paddy Keenan on Uilleann pipes and low whistle, and Paddy Glackin and Kevin Burke on fiddle came together to perform their first full-scale public concert, joined by Seán Óg Graham on guitar

      Always a Celtic Connections highlight, Transatlantic Sessions celebrated the rich musical traditions that connect Scotland, Ireland and the US. Featuring a top line-up of the awesome TS band and artists -  AmericanaFest’s “Can’t Miss Act” Lindsay Lou,  Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Carlene Carter, Irish folk singer-songwriter Joshua Burnside, Scots Trad Music Awards Gaelic singer of the year Kim Carnie, the night saw audiences soak up an exceptional array of tunes, songs and genres.

      Concert to celebrate legacy of Tiree accordionist Gordon Connell - A Ceilidh for Gordon at iconic Old   Fruitmarket. 

      Grammy nominee and multi-award-winning musician Allison Russell wowed crowds at Òran Mór 

      Traditional Music and Song Association revisited the landmark Scots Women concert from the 2001 festival. Scots Women - Generations o' Change with Musical Director Iona Fyfe and hosted by Scots Poet Len Pennie.

      Showcase Scotland, highlighted partners Norway with international delegates from all over the UK, Europe, Australia, America and Canada to join in appreciation of the Scandinavian talent playing at the festival -  violinist Julie Alapnes, fiddle player Alexander Aga Røynstrand, traditional trios Erlend Viken and Ævestaden, Nordic folk five-piece Gangar, and Sámi band Gabba

      Barony Hall proved a spectacular setting for the first time , with award-winning trad band Breabach, r folk musician John McCusker, Irish fiddler Martyn Hayes and multi-talented Damien O’Kane.

      Music workshops and teaching sessions were also in full swing over the past 18 days. From composing, bagpipes and the ukulele, participants had the chance to fully immerse themselves in every facet of the festival, while the festival’s free school concerts programme shared the joy of live music of 8,000 school children from across Scotland over the course of four morning shows

Dougie MacLean 50th anniversary concert

Donald Shaw, Creative Producer for Celtic Connections, said: "This year's Celtic Connections was a testament to the creative power and enduring importance of the arts and the music of the people. The richness of talent on display, the diverse range of genres and the infectious enthusiasm of the audiences made this year’s edition truly special. It's heartening to see the festival grow and evolve, bringing together artists and audiences from all walks of life, joined by a shared appreciation for music, art and cultural expression. “The continued success of Celtic Connections reflects the passion and commitment of everyone involved. My thanks goes to each person who bought a ticket, performed on our stages, volunteered their time, worked on or backed the event, and to the people of Glasgow who welcomed the world with open arms. Your support is the heartbeat of the festival, and it's your enthusiasm and dedication that make this celebration of music possible year after year.

“Scotland has a rich tapestry of musical traditions, and Celtic Connections is a platform that showcases the beauty and diversity of our own folk music, as well as that of other countries, and the expansive connections it has created. I am immensely proud of how well Scotland continues to champion folk music on the global stage, and feel truly excited about the path that lies ahead for what we’re proud to say has become a world-renowned event.”

Glasgow Life Chair, Bailie Annette Christie, said: “This 31st edition of Celtic Connections has not only demonstrated how internationally renowned and much-loved this unique festival is, it has also emphasised how immeasurably important it is to Glasgow and to Scotland – and we look forward to building on its incredible legacy in future years.”

Transatlantic Sessions 2024

Kim Carnie

Lindsay Lou

Joshue Burnside

Charlene Carter

Friday 23 February 2024

Transatlantic Sessions 2024 Review II

This was a concert of memories, escapism and also expectations – as well as the fun banter, expert musicianship, quality vocals and top songs. Session bands don’t come any better than this TS band.

Young Irish folk singer-songwriter Joshua Burnside gave a strong performance with his thoughtful songs Louis Mercer and 26th Street. He is influenced from contemporary electronica and traditional Irish songs, evoking lush landscapes, bad dreams and wistful vistas. His debut album Ephrata was awarded the Northern Ireland Music Prize for Best Album.

Joshua Burnside

We were then treated to Scots singer songwriter, Kim Carnie engrossing and pure Gaelic voice. She is also lead singer of Mànran and Staran and winner of the Scots Trad Music Awards Gaelic singer of the year.  While American singer songwriter Lindsay Lou’s silky smooth and rhythmic voice mixes bluegrass with modern Americana. Her performance was magnetic as she danced along to her emotive songs, Nothings Working and Love CallsNew album Queen of Time released 2023.

Kim Carnie

Lindsay Lou

Canadian duo 
Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves returned on banjo and fiddle with their jaunty tunes!. They are winners Instrumental Group of the Year and Traditional Album of the Year at the 2023 Canadian Folk Music Awards. And we enjoyed hearing the talents on double bass of Daniel Kimbro, on the humorous song Michael Collins.

A highlight was Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Carlene Carter­ - daughter of music legends June Carter and Carl Smith, and Johnny Cash’s stepdaughter – who performed her songs, Every Little Thing, Wildwood Flower - as well as June Carter’s Ring of Fire, for a rousing sing along finale.

Lindsay Lou

The two music directors with their fun chat kept the show and the band grounded – Jerry Douglas with his expressive dubro and Aly Bain with his moving Shetland fiddle. Alongside the other excellent players. The packed audience appreciated Phil Cunningham’s tune Melody for Eve and Aly Bain’s Smuggler’s Set

This concert stirs so many emotions, with both the thoughtful songs and joyful playing. This kind of vibrant playing take us out of those everyday struggles for a while. Its all about how good the collaborative vibe is between all the artists, from youthful exuberance to the experienced traditional players. I’ve attended the Transatlantic Sessions since 2008 and while they are always an excellent standard, tonight’s was one of the best! Tremendous fun!

The house band, is led by Aly Bain and Jerry Douglas, features renowned Celtic roots musicians Phil Cunningham, John Doyle, Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker, Donald Shaw, James Mackintosh and Daniel Kimbro. 


Photos & Review Pauline Keightley -


Wednesday 31 January 2024

Kinnaris Quintet PHOTOS at Celtic Connections 2024

Electrifying, genre-bending and joyous!


Kinnaris consists of five accomplished musicians - Jenn Butterworth on guitar, Aileen Reid on fiddle, Fiona MacAskill on fiddle, Laura-Beth on mandolin, and Laura Wilkie on fiddle. 


The all female band sparkled on the Old Fruimarket stage! And the packed audience, with many well dressed female fans, were ready to party. This is as far from the decades old folk image of arran sweaters as we might choose to get! 


Their set was begun with a toe-tapping tune This Too – after which the band were joined on stage by the ever-popular Celtic Connections singers Julie Fowlis and Karine Polwart with a rousing Emeli Sande song, Read All About It and a poignant Gaelic song Puirt sung by the enchanting vocals of Julie Fowlis, while backed perfectly by the dynamic band. 


Aileen Reid

Karine Polwart, a festival stalwart and activist for inclusivity, had us all singing along to her emotive song, Come Away In. and them moved by a stirring song Lost Words Blessing.


This wonderfully escapist concert was brought to a fitting climax with the Kinnaris tunes Wonderful and Saltsprings. Kinnaris play with verve, with both a lightness of touch and also high energy. They mix many influences to great challenging effects, from traditional Scottish, Irish, Bluegrass, Classical, Scandinavian and Appalachian music; with which they create technically exciting arrangements, while their performances are filled with a contagious positive verve. 


An upbeat evening to remember! 

Karine Polwart

Laura-Beth Slater

II  Kinnaris were very well supported by the dynamic, high energy playing of Ciaran Ryan, Scottish tenor banjo player, one of the UKs top players and a founding member of folk band Dallahan, His second solo album, Occupational Hazards, was released 2024. 

 The evening concert was opened by Norwegian band Gangar, with their fresh take on Nordic roots music and a modern rock take on traditional tunes.