This January 2012, artists will premiere new pieces, and new musical ensembles will take to the stage for the first time as Celtic Connections presents a number of exclusives and premieres. 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.
The Celtic Connections 2012 festival will kick off in spectacular style with the first European outing of the world-renowned banjo player Béla Fleck and the recently reunited original Flecktones line-up. Fleck, Victor Wooten (bass), Roy Wooten aka Future Man (drums) and Howard Levy (harmonica and piano) released their first album together in 20 years in May, Rocket Science, which shot straight to the top of the Billboard and iTunes jazz charts upon its release. Also featuring Casey Driessen (fiddle), they’ll be joined by special guests including Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes and Manchester flute virtuoso Michael McGoldrick for the European debut of their reconvened line-up.
Celtic Connections and the Edinburgh International Harp Festival have commissioned one of Scotland’s finest contemporary composers, Sally Beamish, to create a brand new concerto for fiddle, Scottish harp and string orchestra. Seavaigers is a collaboration between its composer and two of the foremost soloists in the Celtic tradition: Chris Stout and Catriona McKay, who will perform its world premiere alongside the Scottish Ensemble.
Celtic Connections will also stage an exclusive reunion gig by local heroes The Big Dish, who reform for a special one-off gig at the O2 ABC.
The multi-award winning Québécois powerhouse Le Vent du Nord are joined by Dervish, Breabach and Väsen for the world premiere of their 10th anniversary show at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
English singer-songwriter Thea Gilmore will perform her soon to be released collaborative album Don’t Stop Singing live for the first time at the festival. The record brings together Gilmore’s songwriting and arrangements with previously un-scored lyrics penned by folk legend Sandy Denny.
Dervish’s Cathy Jordan will also air material from her new solo project for the first time at the festival.
From Senegal to Donegal and Mali to Manchester will premiere a new collaboration between Manchester’s Michael McGoldrick and Mali’s Fatoumara Diawara. The show also brings together the talents of Irish group Fidil and Senegal’s Solo Cissokho.
Scottish traditional music’s answer to Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, The Boy and the Bunnet unites the talents of Booker-nominated author James Robertson, pianist/composer James Ross and Gaelic poet Aonghas MacNeacail. This contemporary fairy-tale was originally performed in Gaelic at Blas festival, and Celtic Connections will present its debut Scots performance.
In another family friendly event, children and young people from Broomhouse’s The BIG Project lead an interactive sing-along show, alongside classical, gospel, Gaelic and community choirs, with Kim Edgar’s brand new commission Breakthrough as the concert finale.
More at celticconnections.com