Continuing the Classic Album strand of concerts launched at Celtic Connections last year, the 2008 festival revisits a true landmark in Irish music on Wednesday, January 30: the self-titled duo recording released by Andy Irvine and Paul Brady in 1976. More than three decades on, their versions of such songs as ‘Loch Erne Shore’ and ‘Arthur McBride’ remain definitive, while Brady’s brilliantly innovative guitar work, a pioneering blend of flatpicking and fingerstyle techniques, has spawned legions of imitators. The album showed Andy Irvine as a very powerful artist in his own right, and set the base for a long and impressive solo career.
Danny Kyle’s Open Stage hosted by Gibb Todd
Wed 30 January, 5pm
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Exhibition Hall
Hosted by Danny Kyle’s good friends Gibb Todd and Liz Clark, the Open Stage is a chance to see new musical talent as they try to win a coveted support slot at next year’s festival – and all absolutely free!
In partnership with the Evening Times
Shona Kipling with Damien O’Kane
Wed 30 January, 6pm
City Halls, Recital Room
Nominated for the best-newcomer Horizon prize at the 2007 Radio 2 Folk Awards, this young Newcastle-based duo features the unusual pairing of accordion and banjo, together with Damien O’Kane’s resonantly expressive vocals.
Michelle Shocked with Darrell Scott
Wed 30 January, 7:30pm
When Mercury Records, back in the early 1990s, refused to release Michelle Shocked’s fourth album on the grounds of ‘stylistic inconsistency’, they paradoxically highlighted what’s become the central strength of a famously independent career.
From the folksy Texas Campfire Tapes through the big-band swagger of Captain Swing to her current gospel-based sound, Shocked has made the broad church of US roots music her home, and remains at her best in the live arena, as on her latest CD ToHeavenURide, recorded at the 2003 Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
Besides penning hits for the Dixie Chicks, Patty Loveless and Travis Tritt, the Kentucky-born singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Darrell Scott has meanwhile pursued his own performing career on the rootsier side of the Americana fence.
Combining Appalachian-hued melodies with incisive lyrics, encompassing both poetic reflections on mortality and sharp social satire, Scott’s latest solo album The Invisible Man reveals an artist reaching fresh heights of creativity.
June Tabor with Harriet Earis
Wed 30 January, 8pm
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Strathclyde Suite
According to her All Music Guide biographer, June Tabor is ‘probably the finest female traditional British folk singer of the late 20th century – if not the best British folk singer of her time, period.’ Moving seamlessly between the realms of traditional, jazz and contemporary folk, Tabor imbues every song – from a medieval French ballad to the latest from her favorite lyricist, Les Barker – with a character uniquely her own. Tabor’s latest album, Apples, was greeted with glowing reviews in 2007.
A veteran of extensive international touring, harpist Harriet Earis won a Danny Kyle Award at Celtic Connections 2007, and recently released her second album ‘From the Crooked Tree’.
Wed 30 January, 8pm
St Andrew’s in the Square
A night of fantastic Highland music and song from a selection of acts on the Skipinnish Records label. Joining Skipinnish will be fiddle virtuoso Archie MacAlister, multi-award winning Gaelic singers James Graham, Rachel Walker and Calum Alex MacMillan, and the tremendous, wild, talented and powerful young band – Skerryvore.
Songs of Scotland
The Amorous Scots hosted by Ishbel MacAskill
Wed 30 January, 8pm
Over the last two years the Songs of Scotland series has looked at different regions of Scotland and the songs that have emerged from these areas.
For the 2008 festival the series looks at different themes that occur in Scots song, mixing Gaelic and Scots, and how they have inspired songwriters and singers throughout generations.
Each of the ten themes will showcase a selection of songs, so each night will see the audience taken on a journey of discovery through different languages, dialects and stories, all linked with one common theme.
Reconvening the line-up of their successful Tune Up tour in 2007, Scotland’s foremost fiddle and accordion duo, Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham, host a program highlighting their instruments’ kinship across diverse musical traditions.
From Sweden comes the ten-year partnership of fiddler Björn Ståbi and accordionist Bengan Janson, two of the top exponents in their field, with a repertoire ranging from Viking long dances to contemporary waltzes and polskas.
Completing a trio of cultures who are – according to Bain – at their happiest when they’re miserable, Louisiana’s Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band comprises Marc Savoy (accordion), Beausoleil’s Michael Doucet (fiddle/vocals) and Ann Savoy (guitar/vocals), who’ve been called ‘the closest most of us will ever get to hearing an authentic Cajun bash on a screened-in bayou porch.’ Each act will perform individually, before all seven players team up together.
Celtic Connections Festival Club hosted by Gibb Todd
Wed 30 January, 10:30pm
The late night club ensures there is even more music to enjoy after all the gigs are over. Join local and international artists as they make special unbilled appearances or join in one of many sessions happening in the bars.
With food and drink in plentiful supply you can happily keep going into the early hours of the morning whilst witnessing some of the best musical collaborations of the festival.
Master of ceremonies, Gibb Todd returns to present each act on stage and Doris Rougvie hosts The House of Song in a peaceful oasis away from the main stage.
BBC Radio Scotland 92-95FM & 810MW Live Radio Broadcasts
Wed 30 January, 10:30pm
Free but ticketed
BBC Scotland, Pacific Quay
The perfect after gig nightcap – Iain Anderson serves up his choice blend of the festival’s singers and songs in the beautiful new Pacific Quay building, BBC Scotland’s new home by the river. Live on BBC Radio Scotland.
The 15th Celtic Connections festival takes place over 19 days in January and February in 14 venues across Glasgow, Celtic Connections is the UK’s premier Celtic music festival, with over 300 concerts, ceilidhs, talks, free events, late night sessions and workshops.
Tickets can be booked:
In person Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
2 Sauchiehall Street
Glasgow, G2 3NY
City Halls and Old Fruitmarket
Glasgow, G1 1NQ
By phone 0141 353 8000
For further information check www.celticconnections.com.