Celtic Connections Bring Southbank Centre's Alchemy to Glasgow
  • You are here: Home
  • News
  • Celtic Connections Bring Southbank Centre's Alchemy to Glasgow
Glasgow life

Celtic Connections Bring Southbank Centre's Alchemy to Glasgow


For the first time, Southbank Centre’s cross arts festival, Alchemy, will be launched in Glasgow.  Featuring music, dance and literature, Alchemy Glasgow will explore the cultural connections between the UK, India and Pakistan. Alchemy Glasgow will run between 21 and 24 May and will celebrate contemporary, classical, folk and traditional styles and is a partnership between Celtic Connections and Southbank Centre, in association with the British Council and Creative Scotland.  

Alchemy Glasgow will celebrate and explore the region’s art, artists and society featuring several artists who will also be appearing at Alchemy London which is now in its sixth year and which is running from 15th to the 25th of May. For more information and booking information about all the events being held in Glasgow please go to www.celticconnections.com 

Among the highlights are Zakir Hussain’s Pulse of the World which was commissioned by Celtic Connections and premiered at the Festival in 2011. Encapsulating the collaborative spirit of Celtic Connections it features Indian players who have been specially selected by Zakir – Rakesh Chaurasia (bansura) and Ganesh Rajagopalan (violin). They are joined by Patsy Reid (fiddle/viola), Charlie McKerron (fiddle), Fraser Fifield (flute/pipes), John Joe Kelly (bodhran), Jean-Michel Veillon (flute) and Shane McGowan (guitar).

There is also a rare chance to enjoy the phenomenal dancers of Nrityagram, a world-renowned centre for the practice and teaching of Odissi dance. Based outside Bangalore in India, their holistic practice has earned them an international reputation. In Samyoga, ancient wisdom, sacred rituals and divine transformation are unveiled and interpreted through electrifying dance. Watch and witness a sacred transfiguration: from stage to temple, from woman to goddess.

Also appearing is Akbar Ali Khan is a master of Classical South-Asian music and the tradition of Qawwali was an integral part of his upbringing. His real interest, however, is in performing khayal, thumri and kafi. It is his great control on Qawwali/Sufi rhythms as well on the classical ragas and alaps, which give him his unique vocal talent.

Councillor Archie Graham, Chair of Glasgow Life said: “Celtic Connections has a long and celebrated pedigree in bringing some of the finest musicians in the world to perform in Glasgow. This pilot project will build on that tradition and bring whole new audiences to the city to experience the outstanding performances Alchemy has become known for. The festival represents a terrific opportunity to enjoy some amazing musicians influenced by the cultures of India and Pakistan.” 

Donald Shaw, Celtic Connections Artistic Director, said:  “Celtic Connections has grown in recent years into a celebration of music from every part of the world and has produced some incredible collaborations between musicians from Scotland and beyond. Inspired by Southbank Centre’s Alchemy Festival, this new weekend of events will highlight some of the outstanding artists from India and Pakistan, currently producing exhilarating performances across the world, alongside outstanding Scottish talent.”

Rachel Harris, Alchemy Curator at Southbank Centre said “Collaboration has always been at the heart of Alchemy and it is fantastic to see such excitement for South Asian-inspired work across the country. We are thrilled to be developing such an exciting creative relationship with Celtic Connections and our Scottish partners.” 

Lloyd Anderson, Director, British Council Scotland: "Bringing cultures together in interesting and creative ways is at the heart of the British Council’s work. Alchemy Glasgow, a new festival in Scotland, exemplifies this by celebrating the strong connections between Scotland and India and Pakistan. Our cultures are enriched by such exchanges of ideas and the cementing of creative and collaborative relationships. The artists we are bringing together are all the best at what they do, and the seven performances across traditional and modern cultures offer incredible nights out. We are delighted to be working with Celtic Connections, the Southbank Centre, Glasgow Life and Creative Scotland to bring these wonderful collaborations to Scotland."

Ian Smith, Portfolio Manager Music & IP Development at Creative Scotland: "For more than two decades, Celtic Connections has been a cultural connection to the world – the international world music festival in Scotland. Creative Scotland has been a proud supporter of Celtic Connections and the unique musical ties it has throughout the globe, and in association with the Southbank Centre and the British Council, we are excited to bring such a diverse and ambitious musical project to Glasgow. To have some of the finest musicians from India, Pakistan and the UK collaborating and performing at this level shows once again the fantastic international links Scotland has developed."

Already firmly established in London by its original creators, Southbank Centre, we bring a taste of their events to our city as a pilot project, in a collaborative partnership between Glasgow Life, Celtic Connections, British Council, Creative Scotland and Southbank Centre (www.southbankcentre.co.uk).

Zakir Hussain’s Pulse of the World has been produced by Serious in conjunction with Celtic Connections, as part of an ongoing participation programme linked to BT River of Music – the Cultural Olympiad programme supported by the National Lottery and Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Glasgow Life Logo