Celtic Connection is Glasgow’s annual music festival, now in it’s 22nd year, and featuring the best of Scottish music talent. It is now the largest winter music festival in the drawing artists, and audiences, from around the globe.
The lineup of artists is enormous, from Kris Kristofferson headlining The Roaming Roots Revue, to The Chieftains, Rickie Lee Jones, Eddi Reader to the great reception for the Scottish debut of Songs of Seperation, the ten women collective featuring New York based Scot, Hannah Read.
With over 2000 artists performing at the festival in over 300 concerts there really is something for everyone and for all tastes.
Primarily folk, roots and world music, the festival is a cross-pollination of artists from different countries and musical genres. There are wonderful concerts for over two weeks at such venues as The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, the The Old Fruitmarket, Òran Mór to name but a few.
Some of the highlights at Celtic Connections 2016 so far include;
James Yorkston is one of the most respected and innovative members of the Scottish folk scene,. He has played a huge part in development of musicians such as KT Tunstall, King Creosote and The Pictish Trail. The performance at Celtic Connections showed his continued ability to innovate, engage and evolve.
Youngston was joined by New Delhi based musician Suhail Yusuf Khan and expert double bass player Jon Thorne.
As part of a special broadcast for Celtic Music Radio Scottish singer-songwriter Alan Frew performed a captivating set which had the audience spellbound.
Playing tracks from his debut album Go Easy, he combined talented guitar playing with beautiful, haunting vocals. Alan was a joy to listen to performing fan favourites Mary Go and Denise is Gone.
Roaming Roots Revue,
The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall , 23rd January
The Roddy Hart curated musical feast is one of the major highlights of the festival with a different theme each year, with talent drawn from across the globe. This year the theme was of the Troubadour – the wandering music maker and minstrel – and the supporting cast brought together a cross section of the best presented at Celtic Connections.
This brilliant project involves some of the very best female folk artists in the UK coming together for a collaborative initiative and meeting of minds, cultures and hearts.
The artists were brought together to write and record original material drawing on the theme of separation; between communities, countries and loved ones.
This project is truly something unique and their performance at Celtic Connections was their Scottish debut. It’s hard to describe just how wonderful this concert was but I can safely say it’s one of the most special experiences I’ve ever had.
Songs of Separation album is released on January 29th, don’t miss it.
A major triumph of talents, skill from some of the finest musicians Britain has produced – Eliza Carthy, Hannah Read, Hannah James, Hazel Askew, Jenn Butterworth, Jenny Hill, Karine Polwart, Kate Young, Mary Macmaster and Rowan Rheingans.
There are so many fantastic gigs at Celtic Connections featuring so many brilliant talents that it’s quite impossible to even get to a fraction of the concerts I’d like to.
Sometimes the unexpected gigs I find myself at can be some amongst the most memorable of concerts.
The Festiva lClub and Late Night Sessions see brilliant talent popping up in venues across the city with the music going into the wee small hours.
Where else would you rather be?
Hope to see you at Celtic Connections next year!
On the picturesque Isle of Eigg in the Northwest of Scotland, ten of the UK’s groundbreaking female folk musicians have been exploring the theme of separation through their songs.
The project, titled SONGS OF SEPARATION, brings together the musical talent of celebrated artists Eliza Carthy, Karine Polwart, Mary Macmaster, Kate Young, Hannah James, Hazel Askew, Rowan Rheingans, Jenn Butterworth, Hannah Read, and Jenny Hill. Though the musicians are individually based in cities across the UK and the US, they came together as a group for the first time on the island and began the process over the last week of rehearsing, arranging, and recording an album of traditional songs which explore the theme of separation in its many forms. The result of this collaboration: a political, personal, and powerful musical reflection relevant to our world today.
Recently, we were delighted to catch up with project member and talented musician Hannah Read, a native of Edinburgh and regular collaborator with the American-Scottish Foundation who spent much of her childhood on the Isle of Eigg. “It’s an amazing place,” said Read, “and it’s also where I really got excited about music when I was little.”
The tiny island famously gained independence from an absent landlord almost twenty years ago, making it a particularly relevant location to reflect on the ideas of independence, separation, and collaboration.
For Read, who is now based in New York City, the project has not only been a chance to return to her roots, but also a rare opportunity to work with fellow artists she has looked up to all her life. “It’s such an honor to be playing and working alongside all these brilliant musicians,” she said. “These are women who I’ve looked up to my entire life – it’s a real treat to be able to work alongside them.”
Though the project draws both inspiration and structure from its theme, Read emphasized the importance of the organic process. “Collaboration is the center of the whole thing,” she said. “I love the idea of all these women being in the same room, coming in with our own ideas but letting things breathe and seeing what works in the setting, and I know a lot of the other women agree with that as well. I think the energy between us will generate so many more ideas. We’ll all be learning by ear – we’ll all be teaching each other by ear.”
Read also commented on the theme’s ability to span across eras and places: “The Highland Clearances come up in a lot of traditional songs, as well as emigration – and with the connection of separation to the referendum, this collaboration is a really exciting and relevant way to explore ideas of place, belonging, and relationships.”
“I’ve been away from Scotland for so long, and in that way I’ve had my own experience of separation,” said Read. “I’m so excited to get back into the traditional music scene in Scotland and work with these amazing women. It’s a real honor.”
The results of the project will be a variety of recordings and traditional songs on the theme of separation, including two newly composed songs, a residential rehearsal and recording week on the Isle of Eigg, and two field recordings at the sites of the ‘Big Women of Eigg’ legend. In addition, there will also be a short documentary film, to be available for free online, as well as daily film posts during the residential week, available now on the Songs of Separation Facebook page. The expected release date of the album is September 18, 2015.
For a preview of the group’s incredible work, watch them sing the the Unst Boat Song from Cathedral Cave on the Isle of Eigg:
For quick access to tracks and images, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the project, please visit the Songs of Separation homepage at http://www.songsofseparation.co.uk/.
Featuring gorgeous three-part harmonies from Ms. Read (voice/fiddle/acoustic guitar), Tamsin Wilson (voice/acoustic guitar/dobro), and Megan Lui (voice/electric guitar), who hail from Scotland, California, and England, the song is masterful in its blending. We can’t wait to hear the rest of the album!
The single premiered on The Bluegrass Situation, and is now available for download. Have a listen:
As Burns Night quickly approaches, and festivities are in full swing, let’s take a look back in time at this centuries-old celebration and its namesake bard!
- Robert Burns, one of Scotland’s most celebrated national poets, is remembered throughout the world for his poems and compositions. His poem-turned-song, Auld Lang Syne, is a particular favorite to be sung at Hogmanay and New Year’s celebrations across the globe
- Burns Night celebrations and suppers take place around the time of year of Robert Burns’s birthday and have been held for over 200 years to celebrate his life and work
- The celebrations were originally instated by friends of Robert Burns to commemorate the five-year anniversary of his death
- A traditional Burns supper will often involve haggis, whisky, and the recitation of Burns’s poetry (visit this online archive for a complete index of Burns’s works), as well as piping in the guests, an address to the haggis and a ‘toast to the lassies’
If you haven’t yet picked up your tickets for the 20th annual ASF Burns Night Gala Celebration on Friday, January 16 at The University Club of New York, there’s still time! We’re delighted that acclaimed Ayr singer Jamie McGeechan, known as “Little Fire,” will be joining us for the evening and playing music as part of the festivities. The supper will also feature the wonderful music of vocalist Maureen McMullen and Hannah Read and Friends.
Little Fire. Image courtesy of Iain Brown/Ayrshire Post
We can’t wait to see you and honor one of Scotland’s most celebrated poets in style, song, and verse!