It’s back. From January 19th, Celtic Connections which features 2,100 artists, spreads its winter cheer over Glasgow. It’s as eclectic as ever, with world music, indie, alt-folk, folk, country, and some cross-genre shows which defy categorisation. From the opener, Laura Marling and the Scottish Symphony Orchestra to newer talents like Hurray for the Riff Raff, to traditional regulars like Danny Kyle’s Open Stage, it is jaw-droppingly diverse. Favourites like Martha Wainwright, Calexico and Orchestra Baobab return, but as always there are some surprise choices,as with veteran folkie Shirley Collins performing her groundbreaking album Lodestar, and Mariachi Morrissey tribute act Mexrrissey performing a unique take on the Manchester icons, as they are passionate about all things Smiths/Moz- related. Meanwhile, Scots indie heroes The Yummy Fur bring their impish songs back to their hometown.

If there is a focus on international artists, it’s well-matched by the plethora of Scottish artists performing this year. RM Hubbert‘s gorgeous flamenco-inspired guitar music is a highlight, and ex-Strawberry Switchblade singer Rose McDowell brings her angelic voice and sixties style. The Pictish Trail, Eliza Carthy and Karine Polwart play alt-folk with a political conscience.

Meanwhile, over at the Glad Cafe in Glasgow’s South Side, the Glad Community Choir present a tribute to the late great David Bowie, who would have been 70 this year, but who passed away in January 2016.A poignant and fitting tribute to the man who constantly evolved and changed music forever- and a reminder that in the toughest times, music is the ultimate leveller.

(Lorna Irvine)

All images courtesy of Celtic Connections

For more information on the artists and to buy tickets,visit the website



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