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 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.
Happy people, happy souls and happy feet – that’s a smidgen of what the 2015 Merchant City Festival aims to provide starting on Saturday July 25 until Sunday August 2.
The photograph by Ian Watson shows Councillor Gordon Matheson with brothers Lewis (7), Evan (4) and Finn Leggate (4) dressed as penguins promoting the film “Happy Feet”, which will be shown during The Merchant City Festival in that quarter of Glasgow.
There will be outdoor performances, live music, fashion and design, comedy, dance, family events, film, visual arts, markets and outstanding produce and dishes as part of Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink – something for everyone.
It will showcase ‘Fragile’ an amazing new work by Motionhouse, Conflux, The Merchant City Festival and Gulbenkian, University of Kent which will have performers interacting with three JCBs on Saturday the 25and Sunday the 26 of July.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of the Merchant City Festival Committee said: ‘Where else can you find dancing JCB’s, the finest food and drink, street entertainment, music and laughter as part of hundreds of live events and performances? The Merchant City Festival is showcasing everything Glasgow has to offer as welcoming and generous hosts over the next nine days and is unmissable for local people and visitors alike.’
Discover more at www.merchantcityfestival.com or see Facebook /MerchantCityFestival or Twitter @merchcityfest
‘Things are getting worse.’ That was the comment from Glasgow Girl, Amal Azzudin at the end of a celebration to mark ten years since she and school friends at Drumchapel High School lobbied to prevent one of them – from an asylum seeking family – from being deported. Their campaign was successful. But the seven Glasgow Girls had to continue to fight against other asylum seeking families being deported. Their story was subsequently made into TV documentaries and a stage musical.
The Celebration in the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) on Sunday 14 June 2015, was part of Refugee Festival Scotland. It marked ten years since the Glasgow Girls hit the headlines and 30 years of the work of the Scottish Refugee Council.
An exhilarating live performance of songs from Cora Bissett’s musical was given by some of the original cast of the play and volunteer singers.
The BBC documentaries ‘Tales from the Edge,’ and ‘The Children Who Disappear’ telling of the Glasgow Girls’ campaign, were to have been screened at the event. But for reasons of copyright and cost, they were not shown. However, both films are freely available online.
While school girls, the Glasgow Girls’ fought to keep their friend, Agnesa in Scotland. Subsequently, they publicly shamed the then, Scottish Government’s First Minister, Jack McConnell. He had promised a ‘protocol’ so that dawn raids would not happen again in Scotland but failed to deliver it. They asked him ‘When will you keep your promise?’ when they collected an award for the best political campaign at a major political awards ceremony.
Said Amal, who is now working in the community mental health field: ‘Today we have got to have good representation at Westminster and see how much influence they have. There has to be a fairer system. That is the only way to make a difference. Westminster has to re-think this.’
Roza Salih, another of the Glasgow Girls who is now an Equality and Diversity staffer at the University of Strathclyde’s Students’ Association, said: ‘There also needs to be a change in public attitude. I think that teachers could play a key role in educating children. After all, they are role models for young people.’
Margaret Wood, co-chair of the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees commented: ‘The Government’s attitude to the rights of migrants and asylum seekers is getting worse. They are being used as scapegoats in an attempt to divide people as austerity bites. Britain has signed up to international laws supporting people’s rights to seek asylum and rights for migrant workers. Yet, again, people in Scotland – peaceably and politely – will have to make life as difficult as possible for those in Government, remind them of that fact and keep them to the letter and the spirit of those laws. We haven’t signed up to their racist agenda.’
She added: ‘People who are claiming asylum in the UK are still being deported. Dawn raids still happen. The first thing the Prime Minister, David Cameron and the Home Secretary , Theresa May, did after the election this year, was – go on a dawn raid.’
Great new show coming up at the SHED at Shawlands Cross. Not to be missed!
As Celtic Connections world music festival got under way, snow fell in Glasgow. Around 4pm it started to snow more heavily. By 7.30pm there was a snowman at Charing Cross, but not a gritter in sight.
Christened Jack Frost by the creative local family who made it, the snowman may – or may not- be around when the Burns Conference starts at the neighbouring Mitchell Library on Saturday 17 January.
Sunday 1 February
5.30pm – 6.30pm
77 Southpark Avenue
Glasgow G12 8LE
BACH, MOZART, SCHUMANN
Played by Flora Tzanetake, piano and Sandie Bishop, violin.
Suggested ticket price £5. Accompanied children, free.
A packed auditorium at Oran Mor had the YES campaigners on their feet after a rousing evening of fine music from musicians such as Dick Gaughan, Mary Ann Kennedy, Shooglenifty, Kathleen MacInnes and Eilidh MacKenzie – to name fewer than half of the artistes who donated their time and talents.
Billed as Songs for Scotland and produced by Kevin Brown, it was fronted by Alan Bissett who had some great ‘light bulb’ jokes to illuminate the proceedings with much laughter.
Under the magnificant ceiling art work by Alasdair Gray and the banner reading: ‘Let us flourish by telling the truth’ world class musicians rooted in Scottish and Gaelic culture played for almost four hours. From Gaelic hip-hop (Up-Ap) from finely dressed Griogair and DJ Dolphin Boy, to the MacKenzie clan from Lewis, the audience was in tune to the upbeat mood. Countryside ranger Adam Ross’s catchy ‘ I can’t dance to this music anymore’ had everyone clapping along and echoing the sentiment.
The entire cast of musicians crowded the platform at the end to sing SAORSA – Freedom for All – by Ailean Domhnullach. And as Mike Small, Editor of Bella Caledonia said in his introduction: ‘For this one evening let the lyrics of hope replace the voices of doom. Let the pibroch replace the pollsters.’ There was no doubting the hope of everyone was: ‘We will win!’
This was gently framed with a reminder to stay friends and remain civil with everyone.
Lorne Brown, an 82-year-old retired newspaper design and layout expert, plans to abseil from the Titan Crane at Clydebank on Saturday 14 June 2014.
A renowned piper, he is doing this in aid of research into Vasculitis. The condition is a dangerous inflammation of the blood vessels. This can result in irreversible damage to organs and even death. Lorne was struck down by Vasculitis and not expected to recover. However, he has regained a remarkable degree of health and has even re-started his Munro ‘bagging’ plan.
Recently, he gave a short talk on the history of the bagpipes to international students at Wellington Church INTERNATIONAL WELCOME CLUB and encouraged volunteers to try playing a tune – more difficult than it looks.
Donations are welcome: www.justgiving.com/Lorneabseil
in aid of research into Vasculitis by the Lauren Currie Twilight Foundation
Kelvingrove Bandstand re-opened today to the sound of music. And the people who had campaigned since 1992 to keep it, were pleased.
Ed Gillatt one of the leaders of the original ‘Save Our Bandstand’ which became ‘Friends of Kelvingrove Park’ said: ‘The Council was going to demolish it and let a developer build a pub. But it was worth saving. I’m delighted it is now up and running again. They’ve done a great job.’
Added Abdul Khan who led the legal battle all the way to the Court of Session: ‘This is a public park for everyone. It’s not a place to drink.’
Following the formal cutting of the ribbon ceremony by Lord Provost Sadie Docherty, former Councillor Pat Chalmers MBE, who now chairs the Board of Glasgow Building Preservation Trust which led in the £2.2 million re-furbishment of the amphitheatre, praised the campaigners. She said: ‘The Friends of Kelvingrove Park gathered the community around this project. They’ll think it ironic they are mentioned here today. But they are to be congratulated. Their voices were crying in the wilderness for a long time but now they have achieved their vision.’
She thanked all the key partners in the project and presented gifts to representatives including four apprentices: Robert McGowan, Christopher Tennent, Jamie Ramsey and Adam Forteath.
Said Robert, a bricklayer: ‘It’s a good outcome. It makes me realise how things are always changing.’ Added Adam, a metal worker: ‘An Hop, the company I work for, restored all the metal work including the railings round. It looks pretty good!’ Jamie, a joiner, said: ‘This was interesting to do and different from normal.’
The only discordant note came from wheelchair musician Maki Yamazaki. A baritone horn player who was one of the Brass, Aye? group which played as the audience assembled, said said: ‘I was really glad they’ve made the stage accessible (with a hoist lift). There is not bad access from Kelvin Way down to the stage though it is a fairly steep slope. But there are only steps in the amphitheatre, no ramps. I’d like to be included in the audience not sitting in front of my friends as I have to do.’
A spokesperson for the project said that space for wheelchairs and baby buggies had been included at the entrance from Kelvin Way. ‘They can get a very good view from here,’ said the spokesperson.’ Anyone in a wheelchair would then be sitting behind any friends who would be seated on the wooden benches in front of the space.
After the formal opening, musicians from Hillhead Secondary School and Glasgow Gaelic School entertained the crowd.
The Bandstand will be used to show the opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games in July on big screens. It is understood tickets will be available for those events but they will not be free.