Glasgow, Scotland – In a successful first week for Celtic Connections 2007, the 19-day festival has already seen a whole host of highlights. This year’s festival launched on Wednesday 17th January in spectacular style, as Glasgow city centre witnessed over 100 torchbearers parade from George Square to The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in our opening torchlit procession. Representatives from Celtic Connections’ principal sponsor, ScottishPower, joined the Lord Provost, festival friends and organizers, the ScottishPower Pipe Band and the Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Pipe Band to pronounce the festival officially open.
Celtic Connections’ opening concert Hands Across the Water launched a busy first week for the festival and for The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, which has already had full houses for both Clannad and Mary Chapin Carpenter.
In the exclusive live premiere of the 2004 Tsunami benefit album of the same name, Hands Across the Water brought together a top selection of international Celtic and Americana talent, as the audience were treated to performances by members of Altan, Capercaillie and Solas along with Beth Nielsen Chapman, Andrea Zonn, Jim Lauderdale and Darrell Scott, who had flown in from Nashville for the event.
The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall was also proud to present the live premiere of the stage version of the highly acclaimed BBC Radio 2 Radio Ballads documentary series, which received a standing ovation.
As well as visits from top international artists, the festival also focused on various regions of Scotland in its first week. Capercaillie vocalist Karen Matheson made a surprise appearance at the Barra night in St Andrews in the Square, and the audience sang along to the songs at the Tiree night. After some complimentary whisky, soup and oatcakes at the Orkney night in the Strathclyde Suite, the audience left their seats to take part in an impromptu Strip the Willow in front of the stage.
The late night Celtic Connections Festival Club at the Holiday Inn City West, famed for staging unbilled appearances by festival performers, has already welcomed some of the festival’s biggest names to its stage. Woodstock legend Richie Havens came straight from his gig at the ABC to play a set, with other artists having appeared over the week including Frankie Gavin and Tim Edey (whose initial two tune set extended to an hour), Adam Sutherland’s 5.30am performance and The McDades who got out of bed to play their third Celtic Connections gig in twenty-four hours.
American singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman paid an unexpected high-profile visit to the club’s House of Song (a large collaborative singing session in which anyone can join in) after her concert on Sunday night. She brought with her members of The London Oriana Choir, who had earlier that evening appeared with her onstage in The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall’s Main Auditorium. Those who were lucky enough to get in to the House of Song, which had queues extending out the door, joined in with Nielsen Chapman and her entourage in a singing session which included Americana and Scottish songs, including The Quine who does the strip at Inverurie.
And Shooglenifty were joined by groundbreaking Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq for a triumphant set at the Old Fruitmarket, which the audience danced to until 1am.
Tickets can be purchased from the Box Office:
In person at: The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
2 Sauchiehall Street
Online at: www.celticconnections.com
By phone on: 0141 353 8000
Author: World Music Central News Department
World music news from the editors at World Music Central