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.”
The remains of the six tower blocks on Red Road which were blown down on Sunday are now attracting tourists. Nicknamed – the Leaning Towers of Petershill – the two fragments of buildings still standing with ten or more floors intact, are being widely photographed.
Dr Helen Murray and her friend Catriona Fraser came from Aberdeen specially to see the mounds of rubble. From Glasgow originally, Helen said: ‘You knew you were home when you saw the Red Road flats on the horizon. My mother has asked me to bring her here to see the site even although she’s never been on this side of the city.’
The two friends have toured the country taking fun shots of different places and people – including tennis star Andy Murray.
Local residents in the Red Road exclusion area were – mostly – back to normal. Said Margaret Finlay, a family support worker at the Tron St Mary Church of Scotland on Red Road: ‘It was back to work on Monday. There wasn’t a lot of inconvenience.’ The Church’s community allotments had been covered with black tarpaulins to protect the vegetables and other plants from the dust. And the Sunday service had been held in Springburn Church along with that congregation.
Bonnybroom Nursery which was possibly the closest building to the demolition site, was open on Monday as usual. Glasgow City Council was asked by the head teacher to put out a tweet to that effect.
The senior citizens’ Alive and Kicking building on Red Road and the Family Centre next door were all still being cleaned up today (Thursday 15 October) before expecting to re-open soon.
Contractor Safedem is using high-reach machinery to dismantle 123 Petershill Drive. The work will involve weakening the steel frame enough to enable it to be brought down to ground level under controlled conditions. A safe exclusion zone within the site has been set up so that parts of the structure can be dismantled safely. The exclusion zone also includes a buffer zone for debris.
A GHA spokesman said: ‘Although two of the blocks did not fall exactly as predicted on Sunday, all blocks are now at a height that the demolition can be completed as planned. The contractor is now dismantling the remaining floors of the blocks. This work will be carried out under strict health and safety conditions and with minimum disruption to residents.’
While reports from various residents alluded to burst water pipes, broken locks, washing machines stopping working, no one spoken to had actually experienced any back lash from the major blow-down on Sunday.
The six blocks were built in the late 1960s. Designed by architect Sam Bunton, they cost £6 million. The cost of demolition has not been revealed by Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) which is part of the Wheatley Group and owns the iconic properties.
There was confusion tonight about the safety of residents in the area around the Red Road flats demolition site and whether or not they would be able to return home.
A BBC television broadcast said an emergency inspection was being carried out after two of the six tower blocks failed to come down completely. The remaining unsafe structures had to be examined and consideration was being given to having them ‘pushed over’ on Monday.
This unexpected setback cast doubts on whether local residents could return to their homes on Sunday. The television report said they should consult the GHA website. But that website did not give any information on what to do.
A GHA spokesman said: ‘The original plan for today’s demolition was that 10 floors of the blocks would remain for dismantling, post blowdown, by machine. However, this did not go completely to plan. Over the next few days the contractors, Safedem, will carry out a review to determine the best way of now completing the demolition.
“Residents began moving back into their homes shortly after 6pm, just over an hour later than originally planned.
“We sincerely apologise to everyone involved for this delay and any additional inconvenience caused.’
Later the GHA spokesman added: ‘Exclusion zone has been lifted, everyone is getting back into their homes tonight.’
All six of the infamous Red Road high flats were ‘blown down’ today but remnants of two of them remained after the explosion. Hours after the event, no one at Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) was able to comment on whether this was intended or not. Nor did the social landlord – part of the Wheatley Group – release the normal details of how much explosive was used, how many tonnes of rubble would be created etc.
One insider, however, said that the steel structure of the building was such that four times the normal amount of explosive would have been used and the two bits of building remaining standing would have been ‘not expected.’
And by early evening it was understood that hundreds of people were being advised to ‘look at the GHA website’ to see where they might spend the night if they were unable to return to their homes because of the unsafe, remaining structures.
An emergency inspection was believed to be underway as this story
is being written.
Local people in their hundreds stood at various vantage points for hours to wait for the massive implosion. They were well pleased. Cheers and a round of applause accompanied the massive cloud of dust which followed the collapse of the blocks. The dust spread over a very wide area.
Said trainee photographer Joe Graham: ‘That was quick!’ as he scrolled through his images.
Local resident Joan Flanagan said: ‘That was magic. I like big bangs and love to see things being destructed like that.’
Bobby Burns, also a local resident said: ‘That’s bitter sweet to see. It is one chapter of life closed now. But I suppose it opens a new one of re-generation for the area.’ He said he’d lived in two different tower blocks and commented: ‘They’ve both gone now. They were blown down too.’
The huge operation to clear the surrounding area of people began early on Sunday morning. ‘Two thousand five hundred people had to be moved,’ said one GHA official spokesman. ‘That takes time.’
Some resistance was expected from one householder – Tina Suffredini who chairs the local residents’ association. But when the time came, the GHA’s ‘plan B’ to have Sheriff Officers physically remove the lady from her property, was not required and she left her home of her own accord.
MSP Patricia Ferguson, who spent 11 years of her early girlhood in one of the Red Road flats said: ‘These needed to come down. I hope the new developments will bring job opportunities and community facilities and the GHA is consulting with local people to do that.’
The Govan Fair Association recently handed over a cheque for £200 to ‘We are Macmillan Cancer Support’ to help people living with cancer.
Though wheelchair bound, Linda Yates was the chief fund raiser for the Govan Fair Association. ‘I just did what I could to help,’ she said. This included sitting outside with a bucket on Govan Fair Day in June 2015 receiving money given by the crowd. On behalf of Macmillan Cancer Support, modern apprentice Calvin Lynch (17) was happy to receive the cheque for the formal ceremony in the Pearce Institute café in Govan which is run by Macmillan Cancer Support. Vice Chair Sandy Black, wearing the Govan Fair chain of office, officially represented the Association. He said: ‘The money given to Macmillan Cancer Support continues an ancient tradition of the Fair Association – to distribute any surplus from the Fair to those in need locally.’
A spokeswoman for the Macmillan support fundraising team which works upstairs in the Pearce Institute, said the money would be added to what the team raises for Macmillan work.
Later that day, Linda Yates was honoured by the Association – which has a tradition going back more than 300 years – and made a Life Member as was local Church of Scotland minister Moyna McGlynn. Said Chairman Lord James Stringfellow: ‘They have been given Life Membership out of gratitude for the support each has given the Govan Fair and the Govan Fair Association over the years.’
The Association has also ratified its 21st century working model as a company limited by guarantee with Charitable Status. Said Mr Stringfellow: ‘The whole process was managed by OSCR (the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator) who made sure all the legalities and constitutional procedures have been adhered to. We are now on a modern footing and the Govan Fair is protected for the people of Govan for the next 300 years. The current committee are the custodians of huge tradition and we take that role very seriously.’
Later that day, the Govan Fair Association re-elected their committee at a re-called annual general meeting. Solicitor John Flanagan reassured everyone that the legalities of becoming a company limited by guarantee with Charitable Status had been done correctly. He explained that this was to protect the people taking the responsibilities of the Association and was a normal process today. Chairman Lord James Stringfellow also moved an amendment to the standing orders to emphasis that the Govan Fair belongs to the people of Govan and those who are the custodians of the Association and formal supporters of it, are committed to that objective.
A video and a detailed account of what he saw during the 51 day war in Gaza in 2014, kept Max Blumenthal’s capacity audience totally attentive in the Renfield Church Centre on Monday 3 August 2015.
Quietly and calmly, this American journalist who is Jewish, showed how Palestinian youths were used as ‘human shields’ by Israeli military who fired guns over their shoulders forcing them to watch as their neighbours were shot dead. Or Max’s interview with a young man who showed the reporter where he used to keep his chickens and pointing out the knife he used for his chickens had been used to murder a man in that space which had blood splattered over the walls. Or the gruesome spot in a room with a baby’s cot where a man had been killed. Or the account of a family ordered out of their home by Israeli military who were asked: ‘Do any of you speak Hebrew?’ When the 70-year-old patriach said: ‘Yes’ he was shot.
Said Max: ‘I tried to make sure each person give their own testimony so that their story was not told in my voice but in their own.’
He explained that 20% of the houses had been destroyed and 100,000 people made homeless. More than 2000 Gazanians were killed as well as 66 Israeli soldiers.
‘More than 7000 155mm howitzer shells fell on civilians in a 24 hour period totally destroying that area,’ he said. ‘The Jewish Star of David was etched on furniture in some houses occupied by the Israeli forces. This made that religious symbol an object of hate and apartheid.’
‘I consider Gaza was the world’s biggest crime scene. There were so many cases of summary execution. Israeli leaders did not conceal what they were doing. One actually said: ‘the people of Gaza need to be brought down to size.’ ‘said Max Blumenthal.
As was expected, the journalist was questioned extensively after his presentation by a knowledgeable audience.
Scottish efforts to highlight the illegality and horror of Israeli action against Palestine are having effect around the world. But more can be done. That was the message from a meeting of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign tonight (Thursday 9 July 2015) in Glasgow.
West Dunbartonshire Councillor, Jim Bollan of Alexandria, said flying the Palestinian flag from the Council buildings last year had people ‘queuing round the block’ to take photographs. The Council’s unanimous decision to do that highlighted the suffering of the people of Gaza who were under bombardment from Israel at the time. ‘People got involved, posted it on facebook and social media and showed there can be no peace in Palestine without justice,’ said Councillor Bollan. ‘West Dunbartonshire was the mouse that roared. There was a crazy reaction around the world.’
Former air transport engineer in Gaza, Waseem Abuaglain, said the Palestinian flag being flown on the West Dunbartonshire council building was well received by people in Gaza. ‘When I talked to family and friends there, they were happy because it showed that people outside care. That is a really important message.’
Both speakers emphasised the need for the world to know about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Said Councillor Bolland: ‘More than 520,000 families have been displaced, 20,000 homes destroyed and 244 schools damaged by Israeli attacks. The slaughter continues but both the United States and the UK say nothing. The West stands back and allows this to happen.’
Said Waseem Abuaglain who ‘restarted life’ in Scotland: ‘Electricity is now only available for six hours a day – it was eight. Supplies of everything are only a fraction of what is needed because of the restriction on lorry coming in.’
He said that a three minute warning can be given for a rocket attack but it takes more than that time for people to get out of some of the buildings and get out of the area being attacked. He instanced a family home of five storeys which was flattened. ‘That is only one of thousands of houses destroyed. The people cannot ‘move on’ with their lives. They can only continue to live on top of the rubble for there is no place to go. Gaza is a time bomb, now,’ he said.
He also detailed how the airport – where he once worked – has been destroyed by Israeli attacks. ‘This was a civilian airport with commercial flights from many countries. Not only is it destroyed now, the farms round about it are also destroyed. Israeli bulldozers dug up the runway which cost $60 million.’ He commented that Israeli fears of ‘security’ at the airport were unfounded because the Israelis themselves controlled the security.
Glasgow City Council’s Nice surveillance system which is used in the city centre, was developed by Israel in Gaza and includes the most advanced face recognition techniques. ‘It is a disgrace that it is being piloted in Glasgow,’ said Councillor Bolland. ‘This needs to be challenged.’
Dr Karen Bett who is treasurer of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and who chaired the meeting in Renfield St Stephen’s chapel, said: ‘Scotland by its actions shows that we can change things. We show that Palestine matters.’
The Campaign believes that concerted actions and international pressure including boycott, divestment and sanctions could result in justice and peace in Palestine in the same way such efforts brought an end to apartheid in South Africa.
More information: www.scottishpsc.org.uk a
Champion boxer Amir Khan distributed Eid toys to young patients in the recently opened Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow today (Tuesday 7 July 205). ‘An amazing hospital and staff,’ tweeted the current Silver Welterweight title holder later.
Channelled through the charity Colours of Islam, the gifts celebrate Eid, the religious holiday Muslims observe at the end of Ramadan, the fasting month when it is customary to give to charity and to support good causes.
Kirsten Sinclair, Director of Fundraising at Yorkhill Children’s Charity said: ‘We have a longstanding relationship with Colours of Islam and would like to thank them for the smiles and laughter they bring to our young patients at Eid every year.’
Refana Saleem from Colours of Islam said: ‘We are thrilled to have worked in association with the Amir Khan Foundation in visiting the newly opened hospital. And we are delighted the children can enjoy their new toys. We would also like to thank all our dedicated supporters, sponsors and volunteers for all their work over the years.’
On a tour of the UK during Ramadan, Amir was guest at a charity dinner last night in Glasgow which raised funds for good causes including the Amir Khan Foundation. He tweeted: ‘Amazing ifthar dinner in Glasgow. So much love and generosity shown by the Scottish people for the AK Foundation.’
Twice world champion, Amir has fought at lightweight, light welterweight, and welterweight. He is the youngest British Olympic boxing medallist, having won silver at the 2004 Athens Olympics, aged 17.
The Yorkhill Children’s Charity has funded more than £5m in equipment and service delivery at the new hospital including a £1m interactive play area which is the first of its kind in Europe.
Services transferred from the old Yorkhill Hospital to the Royal Hospital for Children at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow last month.
In true Presbyterian tradition, all six election candidates for the Glasgow South seat had their say in Cathcart Trinity Church. Each was listened to with respect by the audience of almost 200 people. Three people who wanted to have a shouting match were politely, but firmly dealt with by the Chairperson, Rev Wilma Pearson and chose to leave.
The format worked well. First, every candidate stating his case, then questions were asked by the Chairperson from those submitted some time before. Each candidate gave his answer. And a final response concluded an informative and carefully timed evening.
Tom Harris who has represented the area for Labour since 2001 when the seat was Glasgow Cathcart, left no one in doubt about his concerns should the SNP ‘sweep the board.’ He said: ‘That is the elephant in the room. There can never be a coalition between Scottish Labour and the SNP. The only sure way to stop them is to vote Labour.’
Stewart McDonald, the SNP candidate was equally certain: ‘If you want business as usual at Westminster, then I’m not your guy. If you want to move forward and hold politicians accountable, you should support me.’
Ewan Hoyle, the Scottish Liberal Democrat representative said that the Liberal Democrats were the major ‘green’ party championing climate change at Westminster. ‘If you want green issues to be on the table at Westminster you should vote Liberal Democrat,’ he said.
Kyle Thornton of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party said his party was the only one with a plan to make things better for everyone in Britain. ‘Everyone who wants a job should get a job. There will be help for the young people into jobs or college or university or an apprenticeship. This is not another Referendum. If you want the country to keep together you should vote Conservative.’
Scottish Green Party candidate, Alastair Whitelaw said it wouldn’t be a career disaster for him, personally, if he didn’t get elected. But he urged people to consider the international perspective so that this country cultivated better relationships all over the world. ‘This is the only way to secure our future by being better at the so-called ‘soft’ relationships and being able to speak other languages. Peace, disarmament, food production and climate change are the things that need to be done better in the next 30 to 50 years if we want to make this world a safer place.’
Brian Smith of the Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) warned: ‘If you vote tactically, you’ll still get austerity. Think carefully and vote for what you really belive in. Dream dreams, that way you can change society.’
Photograph shows BACK ROW from left: Alastair Whitelaw (Scottish Green Party), Brian Smith (TUSC), Ewan Hoyle (Scottish Lib Dems), Kyle Thornton (Scottish Conservative and Unionist). FRONT ROW from left: Stewart McDonald (SNP), Rev Wilma Pearson, Tom Harris (Scottish Labour Party)
Glasgow Museums has challenged all visitors under the age of FIVE to complete 25 tasks by visiting all nine museums in the city and discovering fun things to see and do in each place before they reach their fifth birthday.
Designed especially to entertain and inspire the under fives, the hunt for the fun is led by a furry friend called Museum Mouse. In a free booklet which can be picked up in all of the museums, the mousie character describes what can be enjoyed where.
Youngsters can hunt for a dragon at the Burrell, imagine they are inside a whale at GoMA or dress up as characters from Sleeping Beauty at Kelvingrove Museum. They can count the many different animals carved on the Doulton Fountain outside the People’s Palace, or copy the funny expressions on the heads in St Nicholas Garden outside Provand’s Lordship. At the Riverside Museum, children can show off their firefighting skills with an interactive fire engine game. St Mungo’s has a scarier version of eye spy with its huge window overlooking the Necropolis. And Scotland Street School offers school uniforms, classroom re-enactments and playground games from past times.
At Glasgow Museums Resource Centre – the only venue requiring pre-booked tours or workshops – the young discoverers can use hat, binoculars and torch to search for Museum Mouse’s trail.
Local youngsters Cameron, Molly and Eva (pictured below) completed all three challenges at the People’s Palace before proudly collecting their stickers at the Enquiry Desk.
Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor Archie Graham, said more than 3 million people attended the city’s museums last year. ‘Our museums can open up a whole new world to even the youngest of visitors. If parents can spare a little time to help the under fives enjoy the many adventures detailed in this new booklet, they could give their child a lifelong love of exploring, investigating and enjoying arts and culture. I think that is a truly wonderful gift to give the next generation.’
More information on museum opening times, transport options etc at: www.glasgowmuseums.com