Celtic Connections celebrated a bumper 18th year in 2011 as music fans attended approximately 300 concerts, ceilidhs, talks, free events, late night sessions and workshops, which took place in 20 venues across Glasgow over 18 days in January, and attendances once again topped 100,000.
The festival scored a major coup as Sir Tom Jones flew in from LA especially for an exclusive performance at the festival as part of a gospel strand which also saw gospel divas Mavis Staples and Bettye Lavette and the Blind Boys of Alabama take to the Concert Hall stage.
Another special event brought together an all-star cast including Rosanne Cash, James Grant, Josh Rouse, Gemma Hayes, Thea GImore, Nell Bryden, Rab Noakes, Kris Drever and Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire to pay tribute to Bob Dylan in the year of his 70th birthday.
Glasgow band Love and Money reunited for one night only after 16 years, in what was a sensational return to the stage for the group
The diverse and ambitious programme explored the connections between Celtic music and cultures across the globe, bringing musicians from all over the world to Glasgow, with acts from India, Cameroon, Japan, Israel, Argentina, South Africa, Senegal, Cuba, Bahrain, as well as across Europe, the USA and Canada taking part in the festival.
Tom Jones – Praise and Blame
Love and Money
Forever Young – A 70th Birthday Tribute to Bob Dylan
The Unusual Suspects
The Highland Sessions
The Creole Choir of Cuba
Justin Townes Earle
And this year, more so than any year since it began in 1994, Scotland’s top winter festival will offer a range of music unsurpassed in the UK, with sounds varying from traditional Scots and Irish music to folk, jazz, roots, gospel and indie. The Daily Record
There’s just one word for 2011’s Celtic Connections line-up – STUNNING. News of the World
Always pushing the boundaries of what can appear under the banner of a so-called "folk" festival, in the space of a few weeks Celtic Connections will feature some of the coolest gigs Glasgow will see all year. Sunday Herald
Celtic Connections 2011 launched with The Pulse of the World, which featured the globally renowned Indian tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, the son of legendary tabla player Alla Rakha. Hussain’s hugely influential style is lauded for its innovation as much as it is celebrated for preserving ancient tradition, and he treated a Glasgow audience to a phenomenal performance, collaborating with a select group of the finest traditional musicians from Scotland and Ireland, including Patsy Reid, Charlie McKerron, Ross Ainslie, Matheu Watson, John Joe Kelly, Michael McGoldrick and Jenna Cumming, as well as North Indian violinist Sharat Chandra Srivastava.
Following its world premiere sold-out run at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre in March, The Waterboys: An Appointment with Mr Yeats kicked off its first UK tour at Celtic Connections, with the band performing twenty of Yeats’ poems as well as some Waterboys classics reworked specifically for this setting.