From Thursday 19 January to Sunday 5 February 2,100 musicians from across the globe will take part in 300 events at venues throughout Glasgow, Scotland, for one of the leading annual festivals of world, folk and roots music. The festival is supported by Glasgow City Council and Creative Scotland, and delivered by Glasgow Life.
18 days of concerts, ceilidhs, talks, art exhibitions, workshops, free events, late night sessions and a host of special one-off musical collaborations will once again light up the Scottish winter when Celtic Connections returns.
The Opening Concert will star award winning folk singer songwriter Laura Marling performing the world premiere of orchestrations of her songs by Kate St. John with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and special guests.
This concert begins Celtic Connections 2017’s celebration of inspiring women artists, with performances by Roberta Sá – one of a number of leading Brazilian artists performing at the festival through a partnership with the MIMO Festival – Olivia Newton-John with Beth Nielsen Chapman, Karine Polwart, and legendary singer Shirley Collins among the other highlights.
The festival also focuses this year on artists who have lived through times of intense personal hardships and found success through their music and strength, such as world music star Aziza Brahim who grew up in an Algerian refugee camp.
Margo Price, St Paul & the Broken Bones, Darlingside, Hurray for the Riff Raff, the Mark O’ Connor Band and Calexico and are among the stars of Americana & Bluegrass who will be taking to the stage.
Travelling further down the path to explore connections between Scotland and the deep south of America, Jon Cleary and Dirk Powell will celebrate the Louisiana sound, inspired by Booker Prize winning author James Kelman’s Dirt Road
Billy Bragg and Joe Henry will perform classic railroad songs featured on their album Shine A Light which was recorded on a four day journey by train across America.
Traditional and Folk music remain at the heart of Celtic Connections with a dazzling line up that takes in La Banda Europa led by Jim Sutherland, star-studded folk orchestra The Unusual Suspects of Celtic Colours, fiddle super-group Session A9, Edinburgh’s Dallahan, the premiere of piping project Tryst, Ireland’s festival favourites Sharon Shannon Band and Four Men & A Dog, Gaelic rockers Mànran and a 20th Anniversary performance of Phil Cunningham’s Highlands & Islands suite.
Shooglenifty and special guests will come together for A Night for Angus, paying tribute to their friend, band member and inspirational fiddle player Angus R.Grant who so sadly passed away this year.
Celtic Connections 2017 will also bring the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada to Glasgow with shows by leading Canadian artists such as Martha Wainwright, Le Vent du Nord, De Temps Antan and Russell deCarle.
The 70th anniversary of the partition of India will be marked with a Celtic Connections premiere and commission, produced in India by Indianuance, for leading world percussionists Trilok Gurtu & Evelyn Glennie featuring classical Indian violinist Kumaresh Rajagopalan and top classical pianist Philip Smith from the UK.
The 70th anniversary of the Founding of Pakistan will also be marked at this year’s festival, with artists including the incredible Sanam Marvi performing.
Other artists appearing at Celtic Connections 2017 include C Duncan, Pictish Trail, Fairport Convention, Liz Lochhead, Aidan Moffat, Seth Lakeman, Tom Paxton, King Creosote, Siobhan Miller, Orchestra Baobab, Robyn Stapleton, and Anna Meredith.
As part of the middle weekend of Celtic Connections, musical directors and programmers of leading festivals and venues from around the world will attend performances by Scottish songwriters, bands and musicians as part of Showcase Scotland. The concerts along with a trade fair provide invaluable opportunities for Scottish musicians to gain new worldwide opportunities thanks to this leading industry delegate event.
More than 11, 000 children across Scotland will take part in Celtic Connections Education Programme through five free morning concerts and school workshops led by leading Celtic musicians.
The Education Programme has reached more than 200,000 children across the country since it began in 1999. Its work is supported directly by membership fees from the festival’s Celtic Rovers patron’s scheme – which gives discounted rates on bookings and exclusive experiences during Celtic Connections 2017.
The always popular programme of public workshops will give people of all ages and opportunities the chance during the festival to learn new musical skills and have fun along the way.
We’re excited to be part of a new venture working with The National Whisky Festival which will offer a wide range of whisky tastings and music hosted at a new venue for Celtic Connections, SWG3, on Saturday 28 January 2017.
And to complete the banishing of the chilly temperatures of the air in Glasgow - for a few glorious evenings at least – Celtic Connections is delighted to be working in partnership with the MIMO Festival to celebrate Brazil as the partner country for 2017, with performances by some of the country’s leading artists including Hamilton de Holanda & Baile do Almeidinha, Yamandu Costa, Renata Rosa, Carlos Malta, Baby do Brasil - and Roberta Sá. The partnership is also supported by the British Council and the Brazilian Embassy.
Donald Shaw, Artistic Director of Celtic Connections, said: “A breath-taking range of styles and traditions radiates throughout Celtic Connections 2017. Artists who have shaped the present day and artists who are re-defining music for the future will take to the stage. Artists whose lives and cultures could not be more different will come together to share their stories, passion and skill.
“At the heart of it all is the simple life-affirming experience of being at a live music performance during a world leading festival. We can’t wait for Celtic Connections 2017 to begin.”
Councillor Frank McAveety, Leader, Glasgow City Council said: “Glasgow is a city for music lovers. We start the year, while it’s quiet elsewhere, with our fantastic celebration of the very best in world, folk and roots music, Celtic Connections. We welcome audiences and artists from around the world – some have been coming to the festival every year for more than 20 years, for others this will be their first experience of Glasgow during Celtic Connections. We can promise them a great time and 18 days of amazing shows and events.”
Councillor Archie Graham, OBE, Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Each year Celtic Connections also creates fantastic opportunities for thousands of school children throughout the city and across Scotland to attend free concerts by world leading Celtic musicians, and to learn about Celtic music in their classrooms. This work to enrich the lives of young people is a vital part of a festival which celebrates and shares so much wonderful music each year.”
Alan Morrison, Head of Music, Creative Scotland, said: “Celtic Connections is now firmly established as the winter destination of choice not only for lovers of folk and traditional music, but also for anyone who wants to embrace culture on a global scale. This is the place where Scotland’s music connects to the world, and we welcome its greatest musicians to Glasgow, old friends and new, especially those from Showcase Scotland’s partner country Brazil. It’s also fantastic this year to see the spotlight shone on female artists, as women have long since provided a strong, defining voice in Scotland’s traditional music and national identity.”