The Highlanders’ urban home from home

​Glasgow has of course long been known as the Highlanders’ urban home from home, and thus it proved again at the Flying Duck last night, as Celtic Connections’ regular fringe event, Folkytown, drew a large and buzzing crowd for its opening night of 2015, hosting a suitably fiery Highland-themed session that at times numbered more than 20 players. And that’s not even counting the somewhat miraculous rogue trombonist who was prowling about, clearly desperate to join in but even more clearly incapable of doing so, hitting roughly the right note, or even key, with maybe one in a dozen attempts. Thankfully the sheer weight of numbers largely drowned him out – and it transpired that responsibility for his solecisms was in fact shared by a certain local woodwind player, who confessed to feeding him Buckfast earlier. The same iconic tonic wine, together with Sailor Jerry rum and coke, also features in a cocktail currently popular with the younger set, the resulting beverage being known as a Sailor Duck: you have been warned.

Both the Highland theme and the tweeds/tartan dress code were anchored by the presence of Iain MacFarlane and colleagues from his wonderfully engrossing show Mìorbhail nam Beann (‘Wonder of the Mountains’), celebrating the work of 18th century Gaelic poet Donnchadh Bàn Mac an t-Saoir, which had thoroughly captivated its Strathclyde Suite audience earlier on, while others in attendance included Kris Drever, fresh from his sellout show with Eddi Reader in the main hall. A very tasty Tuesday night altogether.

And so onto Wednesday, with today seeing the launch – just in time for Burns night – of Adam Holmes and the Embers’ new charity single, ‘Ae Fond Kiss’, matching Holmes’s heart-melting voice with arguably Burns’s finest love song. It’s available by download only and all proceeds go to Marie Curie Cancer Care, while Holmes and the band perform at the Tron Theatre on Saturday.

Wednesday night back at Folkytown – if you’ve energy left after tonight’s eight main festival shows – features not only the unique and truly superb Mystery Juice, but another special guest, “the artist formerly known as DJ Porpoise Girl”, serving up generous helpings of self-styled “underground diddly treats”. Though it is perhaps a tad ironic – in this city, at this time of year – that a Facebook enquiry from another well-kent Glasgow muso, Brian McAlpine, asking whether there’s a trad session happening anywhere tonight, was still unanswered more than an hour after posting – but then again, maybe those who’d know just weren’t awake yet.