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Recovery time!

​Well, what can we say? Really not very much, right at this moment, after a suitably monumental/momentous/magnificent/mental/messy final final fling at Walkabout, the Holiday Inn and then A.N. Other hotel bar which somehow stayed open until the very last dregs of Celtic Connections 2014 were...

One final fling...

​And the winner is. . . Robyn Stapleton!! The Scots singer from Stranraer has just been named as Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2014, triumphing in a contest where, as chair of judges David Francis put it, there was less than a cigarette paper’s breadth of discrepancy between...

Congratulations are in order!

  Hearty congratulations to this year’s Danny Kyle Open Stage winners, who triumphed amid perhaps a stronger and more international field than ever, with contenders flying in from far and wide for their coveted 15 minutes of potential fame, underlining the event’s stature and influence as a career...

Farewell Rahman, hello final weekend

​In addition to the rapturous crowd packed into the Concert Hall last night, Celtic Connections’ landmark performance of Slumdog Millionaire composer A.R. Rahman’s music, featuring the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, also brought the festival to a new and far wider audience, thanks to its being...

There's a Black Moon On the Rise

​Indian/international superstar composer A.R. Rahman, who arrived in town yesterday – from LA via London – for his concert with the BBC SSO tonight, is obviously enjoying a warm Glasgow welcome, having posted earlier on his Facebook page (which has well over 16 million followers): “First day’s...

A warm up for the weekend

  There have been a few records broken already during Celtic Connections 2014, but another one fell last night as Mogwai, making their festival debut in magnificent style, attained unprecedented decibel levels in the Concert Hall, delighting a record-equalling, crammed-to-absolute-capacity crowd...

Festival legends

  So RIP Pete Seeger: a great life, fully lived, and a legacy at once musical, political and humanitarian that will long continue to resonate around the world – not least at Celtic Connections, where it’s safe to assume there’ll be a good few songs dedicated and glasses raised to his immortal...

Stupendous and unforgettable

​ As Calum MacCrimmon so eloquently put it on Facebook earlier today, “Holy goodness gracious thank fudge for Mondays.” Or perhaps you’ll empathise even more with Ross Couper’s somewhat pithier summation: “My everything hurts.” Needless to say, they have no-one but themselves to blame, having used...

Losing it

​After completing a magnificent double at the SSE Hydro with last night’s highlight-packed International Burns Concert, our esteemed Artistic Director had something of a rude awakening today, with a 10am phone call requiring his presence to deal with some kind of emergency at one of the venues....

We'll raise a cup of porridge yet

If ever there was an instance of going above and beyond the call of duty, it occurred at nearly 6 o’clock this morning, as the very last stragglers were being coaxed towards the door of the Holiday Inn. A certain young Glasgow-based fiddler and singer suddenly declared herself faint from hunger...

Top score for Glasgow binmen

Another couple of additions to festival line-ups, most imminently that of the wonderful Cape Breton fiddler Colin Grant and his island compatriot, guitarist and composer Scott MacMillan, as opening act to the Campbells of Greepe show at the CCA tomorrow night. The pair are primarily in town for...

Non-musical implements

​ The involvement of what are normally considered non-musical implements in Celtic Connections events is getting to be a bit of a theme this year, what with previous tales of chainsaws and spoons, and now Late Night Sessions host Findlay Napier has put out a call for anyone willing to lend him a...

Showcase Scotland begins!

​As ever, we’re delighted to welcome today’s full influx of delegates for the annual Showcase Scotland event at Celtic Connections – and especially chuffed that this year’s event features not the customary one but two international partners, namely India and Australia, from where a dozen...

No rest for the wicked

If ever you wondered why the phrase ‘no rest for the wicked’ was invented…There was Phil Cunningham late yesterday afternoon, walking past the Concert Hall stage door, sights firmly fixed on a leisurely dinner in front of EastEnders (Phil’s a massive ’Enders fan, seemingly) before an early night,...

Late night high jinks

Celtic Connections’ favourite fringe event, Folkytown, is back tomorrow night at the Flying Duck, and if last night’s shenanigans there under the Sunday Funday banner are anything to go by, it certainly won’t be for the fainthearted. Nobody seems entirely sure how or why every male musician in the...

Trouble with a tap

​Even though it’s in the basement, the Venue at Òran Mór is generally too salubrious a joint to be called the bowels of the building, but there was a definite touch of that – with an added frisson of death-trap – when Ross Ainslie was sound-checking yesterday before supporting The Olllam last...

A chainsaw makes its Celtic connection

​Celtic Connections sound engineers aren’t easily fazed. They’ve mostly seen it all and found a channel for it somewhere, from the weirdest and wackiest of instruments to ludicrously large line-ups, or both of the above simultaneously: anyone remember the orchestral-scale La Banda Europa, which...

Classical Connections

It’s a far cry indeed from those not-so-very long-ago days when traditional musicians were, as a rule, looked down on by their classical counterparts, reflecting a perceived hierarchy of artistic status which all too many in the folk world implicitly accepted and internalised, even as they sniped...

It all starts here!

Tonight mounting collective anticipation (with every second email being signed off 'See you in Glasgow!', and online squeals of excitement from eager musicians and fans proliferating daily on Facebook), gives way tonight to the happy, hug-filled hubbub (a bit like some gigantic, delightedly...

Are You Ready? One Week to Go

Here at Celtic Connections we're crossing the t's and dotting the i's in preparation for another scintillating, toe-tapping, amazing festival. Don't worry if the post-Christmas blues haven't quite shifted yet - it's just seven days until Celtic Connections 2014 warms the winter.Firstly, an update...

Ready to launch!

​​After many months in the planning, we can now unveil the line-up for Celtic Connections 2014!  We not only celebrate the vast riches of Scotland’s music scene, but also we bring outstanding artists from around the world and welcome them to our city.​ In this, the 21st year, we bring...

See you next year!

​The message was plain for all to see, the writing not on the wall but emblazoned across Jarlath Henderson's chest as he, Ross Ainslie and their band played another blinder at last night's final Festival Club: OH S**T, IT'S MONDAY TOMORROW - a message rendered even more apposite by the fact...

Final night fling

Massive congratulations to Glasgow’s own Paddy Callaghan, who was named tonight as BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2013, becoming the first accordionist ever to win the title, after a competition that each year brings new meaning to the term closely-fought. Even aside from...

Off stage antics

Unprecedented scenes outside The Barrowland Ballroom last night, as a euphoric sellout crowd left the building after an electrifying set from Old Crow Medicine Show – only to find yet more entertainment awaiting them on the street, courtesy of the six “guerrilla buskers” known as CC Smugglers. The...

King Creosote joins festival line-up

​It’s just been announced that as well as support act Emily Smith, tomorrow night’s Concert Hall show from those formidable Shetland ambassadors Fiddlers’ Bid will feature a special guest appearance by Scottish indie-folk troubadour King Creosote. With the band having previously been joined at...

Prizewinners and pants

​Hearty congratulations to all the worthy winners at last night’s Radio 2 Folk Awards – and to the Concert Hall team who worked their socks off, amid all the logistical pressures and headaches of live TV and radio broadcasts, plus umpteen VIP guests (though perhaps not as many as some of them...

Award winning folkies

​There’s something quite strange about listening via computer to a network UK radio show that’s originating mere yards away from where you’re sitting – but as the sound of Simon Mayo’s Drivetime reached the airwaves earlier, live from the Concert Hall, it brought home that the Radio 2 Folk Awards’...

All will be well

​By all accounts, the floods of tears at last night’s Michael Marra tribute show, All Will Be Well, almost rivalled the bucketing rain outside – though the former deluge combined as much joy and hilarity as sorrow at the great man’s passing last autumn. As many of its participating artists toasted...

The home straight

​As we settle/stumble into the home straight of Celtic Connections 2013, some of the festival’s heavyweight veterans are starting to gather ahead of the final weekend, including Tønder Festival director Carsten Panduro, fresh in from Denmark for this year’s Showcase Scotland event, starting on...

Tales of the middle weekend

​With no apologies whatsoever for a wee bit of sermonising on a Sunday, two very different quotations encountered during this past week somehow suggested themselves as juxtaposing texts. The first, appositely projected onto the backdrop to preface Duncan Chisholm’s wholly magical...

Strong willed

It’s good to see plenty of positive feedback flowing the festival’s way via Facebook et al, as with this post today from one of its busiest performers, obviously making the most of a rare night off - “Only at @ccfest in one night, can you see: Daimh, Sylvain Barou, Jason Singh, Soumik Datta,...

You're barred

​As the Celtic Connections team prepared to welcome Scotland’s Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop to this evening’s Big Burns Night Show at the Concert Hall (nice to know she’s chosen to celebrate Rabbie’s birthday at the festival: she can hardly have been short of invites, after all), there was quite a...

Late night craic and unexpected requests

In the absence of the Late Night Sessions this year, things have been relatively quiet as regards late-night craic during the first half of the week – with the honourable exception of Folkytown, of course – but there have nonetheless been plenty of happy gatherings and high jinks at the Holiday Inn...

Celebrations and CDs

​Many of you out there will want to join us in sending hearty congratulations to the Pathhead Music Collective, who were announced today as one of three community groups to win a Creative Places award from Creative Scotland. Comprising 15 leading folk and jazz musicians who’ve settled in the...

Folkytown fun

It’s amazing how fast good ideas can bed in: it’s only a year since the first ever Folkytown - a late-night midweek fringe addition to Celtic Connections, instigated by Breabach piper Calum MacCrimmon – took place at the Flying Duck bar, just along from the Concert Hall, but already it feels like a...

International indie-folk royalty

That was quite some gathering of international indie-folk royalty, singing and playing their hearts out on the Festival Club stage last thing Sunday night. After their main performance in the Roaming Roots Revue at the Concert Hall – by all accounts a magical and unforgettable night’s music-making,...

Devoted fans

​After all the travel-related trials and tribulations ahead of the show, it was great to see the RSNO both playing their socks off and evidently having a ball with Carlos Núñez last night, such that he declared them – having performed the same programme with various international ensembles over the...

Trains, planes and automobiles

As if Donald Shaw hasn’t had enough on his plate in recent days – besides the small matter of getting this behemoth of a festival under way, he was rehearsing simultaneously for not one but two major shows on Thursday and Friday – he’s also been dealing with the snarly logistical headache of...

Multifarious musical flourishing

Taken as a whole, last night’s opening concert and subsequent Festival Club shenanigans resoundingly encapsulated the multifarious musical flourishing that Celtic Connections has done so much to nurture over the last two decades. Perhaps especially for those of us lucky (and old) enough to be at...

Countdown has begun for Celtic Connections 2013

  With less than a month to go until Celtic Connections 2013, the Celtic Connections team, Scotrail and Scottish band Mànran hopped on a Scotrail train to entertain the weary winter travellers on the Highland Line. Passengers on the 11.40am train from Fort William were given a taste of...