The Celtic Connections festival once more celebrates the connections between Celtic traditions and cultures across the globe.
The Sahara Soul Project is a boldly inspiring collaboration which will unite artists from three of Mali’s different musical cultures. With his band Ngoni Ba, Bassekou Kouyaté is a modern-day pioneer of the ngoni, the banjo’s forebear instrument, boldly exploring new creative realms from his Fula tribal roots in southern Mali. From the country’s opposite end, young Tuareg outfit Tamishek have been hailed as worthy successors to Tinariwen, delivering a hypnotic blend of desert blues, dub beats and psychedelic rock, while the griot-descended Sidi Touré, from the currently beleaguered ancient northern city of Gao, interweaves old and new songs in the Songhai folk tradition.
A hugely influential giant of African music, Ethiopian multi-instrumentalist and composer Mulatu Astatke will be gracing the Celtic Connections stage. Mulatu enjoyed his original heyday during the 1960s and 70s, in both New York and Addis Ababa, pioneering the fusion of American jazz, funk and Latin sounds with his native traditional scales and melodies. Supporting Mulatu is flautist Lucas Santtana who has been hailed as a one-man Brazilian music revolution, cross-matching classic and contemporary styles with live and sampled sounds including reggaetón, electronic, classical music, indie-rock and tecnobrega.
The magnificent, otherworldly soundscapes of dissonant diaphonic harmonies of Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares helped kick-start the whole world music movement 25 years ago and their performance at this year’s Celtic Connections will prove that they remain just as thrilling entertainers today.
After Mariza, 27-year-old Carminho looks set to become Portugal’s next major international fado star. She sings with a raw intensity and exquisite tenderness that carries a knockout emotional charge which will be sure to impress audiences at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
Celtic Connections 2013 takes place in Glasgow between January 17th and February 3rd.
Tickets for Celtic Connections are available at www.celticconnections.com, by phone at 0141 353 8000, or in person at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, City Halls and Old Fruitmarket.