A major theme of the Celtic Connections 2009 program is Africa, as the festival explores the connections between Celtic and world music and traces the evolution of cultures and musical traditions. The highly revered Senegalese singer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Youssou N’Dour will visit the UK for a one-off show in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 23rd January, in a concert which is a major coup for Celtic Connections.
A whole host of celebrated African artists will perform in a concert entitled Throw Down Your Heart, inspired by Béla Fleck’s film Throw Down Your Heart – Béla Fleck Brings the Banjo Back to Africa, which traces the African roots of the banjo. One of the world’s most astounding singers, the Mali diva Oumou Sangare, kora virtuoso Toumani Diabaté and Malian ngoni player Bassekou Kouyate (who will also headline his own gig at the Old Fruitmarket with his band Ngoni Ba) will perform alongside Béla Fleck himself. They will be joined by Scottish Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes and Irish Gaelic singer Liam Ó Maonlaí.
In addition to the African theme, world music forms a strong part of the festival program, with acts including the great Portuguese singer Mariza, Salsa Celtica, Lo Còr de la Plana (making one of the most hotly anticipated debuts of the festival), an Asturian Night featuring Llan de Cubel and Anabel Santiago and Homebound – a cross-cultural encounter bringing together musicians from India, Portugal, Russia, the US, Scotland and Germany.
More at www.celticconnections.com