Celtic Connections 2013

17th January – 3rd February


Celtic Connections celebrated a fantastic twentieth anniversary in 2013 when over 100,000 music fans enjoyed approximately 300 events across the city.

Music fans attended a vast number of concerts, ceilidhs, talks, free events, late night sessions and workshops, which took place in 20 venues across Glasgow over 18 days in January and February.

The festival is renowned for its ambitious programme of one-off shows, world exclusive performances and unique collaborative events. The 2013 line-up explored the connections between Celtic music and cultures across the globe, bringing musicians from all over the world to Glasgow, with acts from as far afield as India, Brazil, Ethiopia, Mexico, Mongolia, Mali, Angola, Senegal as well as across Europe, the USA and Canada.

Celtic Connections continues to have an international appeal and enhance Glasgow’s reputation as a major tourist destination. Fans visited from all corners of the globe to experience the best in traditional, folk, roots, world and indie music, from Mali to the USA and Canada, as well as across Europe and around the UK.

Highlights of the 2013 festival included a poignant tribute to Dundee singer-songwriter Michael Marra. There were almost 50 sold-out shows including the 20th Celebration Opening Concert, Washington Irving, Scots in the Spanish Civil War, Duncan Chisholm in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, An Evening with Cowboy Junkies, Glasgow St Patrick’s Day, Donnie Munro & Joy Dunlop, JD McPherson, Sarah Jarosz and Leon Hunt, The Two Man Gentlemen Band, The Dardenelles, Preston Reed and the hugely popular Transatlantic Sessions.

Artists who appeared at the festival included The Mavericks, Transatlantic Sessions with Mary Chapin Carpenter, Old Crow Medicine Show, Salif Keita, Kate Rusby, Carlos Núñez & the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Amy Helm, Dougie MacLean, Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire, Fiddlers’ Bid, Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, Aimee Mann and Bellowhead.

What the critics said:

“Celtic Connections – now approaching its 20th year – has grown into arguably the biggest and most important international fixture in its field.”
Scotland on Sunday, 6th January 2013

“It’s the most exciting and diverse festival in Scotland...”
Daily Record, 11th January 2013

“…this year’s 20th anniversary programme…reflects the international scale of this dynamic winter festival.”
Sunday Herald, 20th January 2013

“Celtic Connections…is now in it’s 20th year, and it’s lighting-up of dark days and cold nights remains a unique and enthralling enterprise.”
The Independent, 22nd January 2013

First and Last

The festival started with the star-studded Celtic Connections 20th Celebration Concert. As the festival has grown over the past twenty years many of the artists who featured in this opening show have grown up with it, or reached new audiences via its stages.

The Opening Celebration concert looked back on the Scottish and traditional sounds that have always been Celtic Connections' primary inspiration. Performers included Sheena Wellington, Eddi Reader, Julie Fowlis, the newly re-formed Flook, Cara Dillon, Capercaillie, Chris Stout, Finlay MacDonald, Phil Cunningham, the Scottish Power Pipe Band and a specially-convened festival string ensemble with Greg Lawson at the helm.

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 an impressive festival finale, including acclaimed singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter who made her Transatlantic Sessions debut, singer and guitarist Eric Bibb, all-round Southern roots authority Dirk Powell, Crooked Still vocalist Aoife O'Donovan and multi-talented old-time virtuoso Bruce Molsky. Home-grown guests include the golden-voiced Teddy Thompson and bewitching Scottish folk singer and songwriter Emily Smith.

Co directors Jerry Douglas and Aly Bain were joined by the customary all-star house band featuring Phil Cunningham, Danny Thompson, Russ Barenberg, Michael McGoldrick, John Doyle, John McCusker, James Mackintosh and Donald Shaw.