At the heart of the Celtic Connections festival is the vibrant folk and traditional music scene, with some of the UK and Ireland’s finest musicians set to raise the roof this January 2012. Celtic Connections 2012 runs from Thursday 19th January – Sunday 5th February and comprises 300 concerts, ceilidhs, talks, workshops, free events and late night sessions taking place over 18 days in 20 venues across Glasgow.
Artists include Blazin’ Fiddles, Shooglenifty, Salsa Celtica, Breabach, The Simon Bradley Trio, The Wrigley Sisters, Babelfish, Skipinnish, Paul McKenna, Ailie Robertson’s Traditional Spirits, Niteworks, Rua MacMillan and The Bevvy Sisters, while the 13-piece musical powerhouse Treacherous Orchestra celebrate the launch of their highly anticipated debut album.
The superb Scottish supergroup Session A9 will headline a fiddle triple-bill in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (also featuring Toronto’s Sultans of String and the Quebe Sisters from Texas). Lau join forces with the Northern Sinfonia for the first Scottish performance of their epic orchestral work, Strange Attractors, written by the trio and Northern Irish composer Brian Irvine.
Stalwarts of the Scottish folk scene, including Sheena Wellington, Elspeth Cowie, Aileen Carr, Gordeanna McCulloch and Barbara Dymnock, will take to the stage at the festival.
Specially curated for the festival, the Celtic Connections Box and Fiddle Night celebrates more than 60 years of the dance band with a cast of dance music luminaries recreating classic tracks.
Ian McCalman will create an evening of music built around the album Far Far From Ypres (songs, poems and music of World War I), whilst Corrina Hewat’s six-harp suite The Oak and the Ivy encapsulates the diverse energies of the contemporary Scottish harp revival.
Once again the festival spotlight shines on Gaelic talent. Julie Fowlis’ Heisgeir is a documentary film which splices footage exploring the history and heritage of the now-unpopulated Monach Isles with live Gaelic song and music from her band.
Inspired by the unique Gaelic song tradition of the Outer Hebrides, Cuairt nan Eilean will bring together Jenna Cumming (Harris), Linda MacLeod (North Uist) and Darren Maclean (Skye) for an exploration of the rich song traditions of their native islands.
Other Gaelic artists appearing at the festival include Mànran, whose phenomenal energy and footstompin’ Gaelic tunes have taken the music scene by storm this past year, as well as Maggie MacInnes, Anne Martin, The Campbells, Alyth McCormack and Kathleen MacInnes. Ceolas – a celebration of the Uist festival of Gaelic arts – will feature Rona Lightfoot, Angus MacKenzie and a host of other renowned singers, pipers and dancers.
St Mary’s Cathedral will play host to a Gaelic Mass, composed by Blair Douglas featuring the Inverness Gaelic Choir with soloists Paul McCallum and Maggie MacDonald.
Ceol ‘s Craic, will once again host a series of films, lectures and workshop throughout the festival celebrating Gaelic arts, including a Gaelic hub encouraging people to drop in and experience film, workshops and get information on Gaelic culture in the city.
Celtic Connections will also pay tribute to the late and dearly lamented Ray Fisher (1940-2011) with a line-up including Archie Fisher, Cilla Fisher, Martin Carthy, Sheila Stewart, Emily Smith, Siobhan Miller and Fiona Hunter, performing an array of the key songs she shared with them.
Other high profile folk artists performing at the festival include Northumberland’s Kathryn Tickell, Steve Tilston, The Unthanks performing the Scottish premiere of their acclaimed show, The Music of Robert Wyatt and Anthony & the Johnsons, Mercury-nominated North East band Tarras, and KAN featuring Aidan O’Rourke, Brian Finnegan, Jim Goodwin and Ian Stephenson.
More at celticconnections.com