Celtic Connections 2009 on the way
From Cape Breton to Senegal, Quebec to Mali, Norway to North Uist, from the Sperrins in Northern Ireland to the Appalachians in West Virginia, people play and share music which has Celtic connections. Many of them will be coming to Glasgow for eighteen days beginning on 15th January to celebrate the music is a festival named after that fact, Celtic Connections.
The line up for the 16th festival has been announced. Performances include Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour, American banjo master Bela Fleck leading a collaboration of African and Celtic artists, Grammy winner Kathy Mattea, Cape Breton artists The Barra MacNeils, Ashley MacIsaac, and Jerry Holland, Le Vent du Nord and Genticorum from Quebec, the innovative Scottish trio Lau sharing a bill with those masters of fast paced irish trad, Lunasa, Sharon Shannon, Karan Casey, and Cara Dillon also heading up a strong irish continent, and of course dozens of Scotland’s best musicians, including festival artistic director Donald Shaw, Nu Nordic band Fribo, innovative harp player and singer Corrina Hewat, and top Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis. More listings will be added as schedules are confirmed.
The festival always takes note of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, and this year there are several events planned as it’s the 250th anniversary of the poet’s birth, and all of Scotland is inviting the world to join in Homecoming Scotland to celebrate. At Celtic Connections, there will be a Jamaican Burns Night as well as a twelve hour Burns snong marathon, and American folk singer Odetta, the Royal Scottish Orchestra, and top Scottish singer and songwriter Eddi Reader are among those who’ll give special performances honoring Burns’ music.
There will, as usual, be a wide range of events -- more than 300 performances in fourteen venues across Glasgow -- and there will also be workshops, open stages, competitions, ceilidhs, and concerts for school children, as well as the after hours festival club, a buzzing scene for music and craic though the festival’s run.
Scottish Power is in its third year as major sponsor of the festival. For more information on schedules and performers, and to book tickets, check out the the festival’s web site
The festival traditionally begin with a torch light procession led by pipers up Buchanan Street to the Royal Glasgow Concert Hall to open the festival, and concludes with a concert called Transatlantic Sessions, where musicians from across the world join in celebration of the music.
There other festivals you might want to know about:
*The Boston Celtic Music Festival, on 9 and 10 January, which features the best talent from across new England’s Celtic communities. Past performers have inclded Aoife lalncy, Matt and Shannon Hetaon, Robbie O’Connell, and Hanneke Cassel. more on that at the festival’s web site and at there's a look back at a past festival here: The Boston Celtic Music Festival,
*The Savannah Music Festival, which brings classical, jazz, country, and world music to venues across one of the American South's most beautiful cities from mid March to early April. They will announce their line up for 2009 on 21 November at The Savannah Music Festival web site
*MerleFest, which takes place at the end of April in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountain in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Old time, folk, country, bluegrass, and all sorts of good picking, singing, and fellowship across many stage and many genres. They’ll announce their 2009 lineup here
A handy listing of many folk, roots, world and sometimes other genres of music festivals from the music magazine Dirty Linen is here.