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 rug tomorrow night. Some of 2014’s sizeable contingent of Indian musical visitors are due to be playing, and as many of you will know, it’s generally the custom for them to sit down onstage, on a rug which they see as creating a sacred space – one that must not be contaminated by footwear, hence the musicians also performing barefoot. So if you have a clean rug that you’d like to see adorning the Piping Centre stage, Findlay’s the man to contact: you’ll find him on Facebook. Minimum dimensions 4’ X 8’, apparently.

There have been yet more additions to Saturday’s bumper International Burns Night bill at the SSE Hydro, with the announcement that the celebrated South African tenor  Bongani Tembe will be performing a special tribute to Nelson Mandela, at whose funeral he sang last month. And in celebration of the late Irish Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, another departed figure of international renown, the brilliant Cork singer-songwriter John Spillane has also joined the line-up.
Many at Celtic Connections have been deeply saddened by the sudden death of Davie Henderson, a key member of the Shetland Folk Festival organising committee, regular Showcase Scotland delegate and all-round diamond human being. Davie’s son, Kevin, was due to perform this Friday with Nordic Fiddler Bloc, but in the event the band’s other two members, Hardanger fiddler Olav Luksengard Mjelva and Anders Hall on viola and octave fiddle, will instead appear with their fast up-and-coming Swedish/Norwegian outfit Firil, also featuring Norwegian vocalist, Margit Myhr and guitarist Adam Johansson.