Celtic Connections turned 17 in 2010, welcoming back fan favourites as well as hosting exciting festival debuts.
Celebrating the influence of Celtic music on cultures around the world, artists from as far afield as Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, India, Africa, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Norway, Corsica, Serbia, Romania, Canada and the USA arrived in Glasgow in January for 18 days of concerts, ceilidhs, talks, workshops and late night sessions.
World-renowned artists made their festival debuts in spectacular fashion. Legendary guitarist Ry Cooder joined Irish stalwarts The Chieftains for the world premiere performance of their album, San Patricio, in the fastest selling show in Celtic Connections’ history. Bobby McFerrin held the Concert Hall spell-bound with a dazzling a cappella performance, before returning the next morning to give a free schools concert to hundreds of children from across Scotland as part of the Celtic Connections Education Programme. Embracing the spirit of camaraderie for which the festival is renowned, former 10,000 Maniacs frontwoman Natalie Merchant performed alongside Lúnasa, and two of India’s most distinguished musicians – percussion virtuoso Trilok Gurtu and singer and composer Shankar Mahadevan – collaborated with Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek and Scottish trio Lau.
Many musicians chose to celebrate momentous anniversaries at the festival, or to pay tribute to influential peers. In 2010 the iconic Glasgow record label Chemikal Underground and the world fusion band Salsa Celtica celebrated their 15th birthdays, Dervish turned 21 and Highlands-based Skipinnish marked 10 years in the industry.
Celtic Connections also hosted tributes to two folk music icons – an all-star cast assembled to pay tribute to Nick Drake in Way to Blue – The Songs of Nick Drake, and Danny Thompson’s gig at the Old Fruitmarket featured a moving tribute to the bass player’s close friend, the much revered John Martyn, one year on from his death.
The Low Anthem
The Chieftains with Ry Cooder
Cherish the Ladies
The Swell Season
The Legendary Gypsy Queens and Kings
Beth Nielsen Chapman
It’s January, it’s Glasgow, the nights are long and cold. But with a jig here and a Scotch snap there, out of the darkness erupts the noisy winter carnival that is Celtic Connections, a riotous assembly of music and musicians drawn from five continents for an 18-day, 300-event hoedown that truly brings the city to life. The Times
We’re very excited. Shall we tell you why we’re very excited? Well, it’s because this week sees the start of our favourite music festival in the whole world. Celtic Connections is now in its 17th year of filling Glasgow to bursting point with amazing music from around the world. Basically Glasgow between the 14th and 31st is the place to be (well it’s the place we’ll be, certainly). MTV.co.uk
It’s fantastic that a festival – which was started here in Scotland in 1994 – is now a multi-million-pound venture directed by Capercaillie’s Donald Shaw and breathes lift and soul into Glasgow in the quiet post-Christmas period. […] You’ll hear music you never thought existed – and enjoy it in some of the most acoustically celebrated buildings in Europe. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in Scotland’s roots and explore the world. The Sun
Celtic Connections 2010 launched in spectacular style with a performance by the True North Orchestra, an ensemble originally created from a pool of Scotland’s finest musicians to perform at The Gathering 2009. Put together by award-winning composer Jim Sutherland, with the aid of BBC SSO violinist Greg Lawson, the orchestra features classical musicians who have an interest in the Scottish traditional idiom alongside the cream of Scottish folk talent. Members of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and the Orchestra of Scottish Ballet appeared alongside the likes of Aidan O’Rourke, Chris Stout, Lauren McCall, James Mackintosh and Ross Ainslie for a magnificent opening night.
Once again the festival drew to a close with the ultimate back-porch session – the popular Transatlantic Sessions. The show featured a star-studded line-up of outstanding singers and instrumentalists collaborating in a blazing festival finale, including Nickel Creek vocalist/fiddler Sara Watkins; O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack star Dan Tyminski (aka the voice of George Clooney), Cara Dillon, Danny Thompson, Darrell Scott and joint musical directors Aly Bain and Jerry Douglas.