Celtic Connections 2016 gets off on the right note
October 20, 2015 by Grace Franklin
The amazing Celtic Connections 2016 programme was announced today (Tuesday 20 October) by Artistic Director, Donald Shaw.
From Thursday 14 to Sunday 31 January, at least 2,500 musicians from around the world will gather in Glasgow for 18 days of concerts, ceilidhs, talks, art exhibitions, workshops, free events, late night sessions and a host of special one-off musical collaborations.
Stars of world, folk and roots music, who will perform on 26 stages at venues across the city, include Rickie Lee Jones, The Chieftains, Lau, The Unthanks, Béla Fleck, Moving Hearts, Robert Plant, Lucinda Williams, Admiral Fallow, Toumani Diabaté, Karine Polwart, Boys of the Lough, and Larry Carlton.
Artists from Inner Mongolia to Armagh, Senegal to Italy, and Brittany to the Outer Hebrides and Southern Manitoba are scheduled to perform at this hotbed of musical talent from cultures and countries from across the globe.
The Opening Concert will celebrate 50 years of the Traditional Music & Song Association of Scotland with musical director Siobhan Miller at the helm.
Family ties will be highlighted by The Wainwright Sisters, and They Might be Giants performing a special matinee performance for children.
Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson and John Grant are among the stars of New Americana who will take to the stage during the festival.
Pilgrimage will be explored through a series of performances, including the reimagining of Joni Mitchell’s 1976 album Hejira – which explores themes of the constant journey we are all on in life – by James Robertson. While Drift is inspired by the true story of Betty Mouat, a crofter from Shetland, who spent eight days drifting alone in the North Sea.
Matthew Welch’s Blarvuster, the Aidan O’Rourke Trio and Soumik Datta & Bernhard Schimpelsberger: Circle of Sound, are among those who will step into the spotlight at a new venue the Drygate Brewery. This represents a new strand for Celtic Connections called – The Shape of Folk to Come – which looks at future music developments.
A series of major anniversaries will be marked. Le Grand Anniversaire, celebrates Aly Bain at 70. He’ll be joined by his long standing cohort Phil Cunningham to celebrate 30 years of performing together.
Bwani Junction will be performing Graceland, 30 years after Paul Simon’s classic album was released. Four of the original members of the recording will be performing on this very special occasion.
A series of concerts – In the Tradition – will celebrate piping and Gaelic music. The Auld Alliance between Scotland and France will feature in Showcase Scotland as the festival celebrates France as the partner country for 2016 and the 10th anniversary of the twinning of Glasgow and Marseille.
Showcase Scotland is delegate based and hosted in the city of Glasgow over four days during Celtic Connections. Musical directors and programmers of leading festivals and venues from around the world attend the event where around 60 songwriters, bands and musicians are showcased. A Trade Fair is held to provide an additional platform for promoters to meet with artists and their representatives to discuss booking possibilities.
At the core of the festival is the award winning Education Programme, which sees thousands of children attend free morning concerts, experiencing live music from Scotland and further afield. Up to 11,400 children will take part in Celtic Connections Education Programme for schools which includes five free morning concerts.
In addition there will be more than 60 public workshops for all ages and abilities from dawn until dusk over each of the three weekends. Highlights include the Ukulele School hosted by Finlay Allison and The Fiddle Village hosted by Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas.
The Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra also make a welcome return.
The final day of Celtic Connections – Sunday 31 January – includes a show at the Old Fruitmarket in aid of the Bert Jansch Foundation, whose charitable aim is to support the next generation of acoustic musicians. Robert Plant, Bernard Butler, Archie Fisher, and Jacqui McShee will perform in Bert Inspired: A Concert for Bert Jansch.
Donald Shaw, Artistic Director of Celtic Connections, said: “Celtic Connections is rooted in a love of traditional, folk and world music. Since our earliest days the passion, the skill, and the excitement that you find at a live concert at Celtic Connections has inspired us to put together the programme each year. For 2016, we are bringing superstars and cult heroes, new talent, and artists who were legends long before the first Celtic Connections was staged.
“We have a lot of amazing concerts to pack into 18 days, so join us when Celtic Connections returns next January.”
Councillor Archie Graham, Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Glasgow is a welcoming city which is proud of its heritage and embraces diversity. Each January we host a festival which in many ways mirrors our home city. The expertise and skill that drives Celtic Connections also shines through in an education programme that benefits thousands of children across Glasgow and Scotland. Invaluable opportunities enrich lives and offer chances to learn, to enjoy and to be part of the always unique, always brilliant musical happening which is Celtic Connections.”
Ian Smith, Portfolio Manager for Music, Creative Scotland, said: “Celtic Connections is one of the world’s great music festivals and to have established such a global presence in a comparatively short time underlines its place as one of Scotland’s creative treasures.”