Celtic Connections announces 20th anniversary line-up

Celtic Connections, credit Lieve Boussauw

Celtic Connections will celebrate 20 years as a cornerstone of Scotland’s cultural calendar with a stellar programme announced today by Artistic Director Donald Shaw which will celebrate the ethos and artists that have seen the festival become a global phenomenon. Some of the biggest names in folk, roots, world, traditional, indie, blues and jazz will perform in Glasgow between 17th January and 3rd February next year.

Scottish fiddler extraordinaire Duncan Chisholm, who was the first musician ever to perform at Celtic Connections in 1994 with his band Wolfstone, will be in attendance along with singer songwriter Sorren Maclean. Sorren is in the early days of his musical career and will be performing in the New Voices programme at next year’s festival. Also helping launch the programme was banjo and fiddle player Celine Donoghue, who has been an inspirational part of the Education Programme at the festival. Tickets for Celtic Connections go on sale at 9am on Thursday 25 October on the newly launched website www.celticconnections.com

Among the artists appearing at Celtic Connections 2013 are 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, Caravan Palace and Bellowhead.


The 20th Celtic Connections festival will have a retrospective feel looking back over the success of the last 20 years and the ethos and artists that helped shape it. The Opening Concert at Celtic Connections 2013 will epitomise this with an array of artists taking part who have performed throughout the last 20 years. As the festival has grown, many of the featured artists have grown up with it, or reached new audiences via its stages.  Over the years they have joined the intricate, ever-expanding and increasingly globe-spanning network of musical relationships forged and renewed each January. This celebratory concert also reflects back on the Scottish and traditional-based sounds that have always been Celtic Connections’ primary inspiration. Performers include Sheena Wellington, Eddi Reader, Julie Fowlis, Capercaillie, the newly reformed Flook, Cara Dillon, Chris Stout, Dick Gaughan, Finlay MacDonald, the Scottish Power Pipe Band and a specially-convened festival string ensemble helmed by Greg Lawson.

Alongside the array of artists performing at the Opening Concert who have been involved with the festival since its inception there are many artists returning in 2013 that performed at the maiden festival in 1994.

Irish singer-songwriter Paul Brady is one such artist and he will be returning to the festival to perform highlights from his recent anthology Dancer in the Fire which features 22 of his favourite tracks from his 45-year back catalogue of sophisticated songcraft and adventurous, stylistic range. Also on this double bill is Heidi Talbot, who performed at the first festival with Cherish the Ladies. Heidi has built an international audience for her enthralling voice and singular interpretative finesse with her new album Angels Without Wings. She will be accompanied by John McCusker, Ian Carr, Ewen Vernal, Phil Cunningham, Julie Fowlis and Louis Abbott.

As one of the first performers at the festival, Galician piping superstar Carlos Núñez requires no introduction. This fascinating performance will be alongside ex-Albion Band member, turned early music specialist, recorder virtuoso Philip Pickett. Scottish and Irish tunes’ prominence in the 16th century mix is the Celtic Connection behind this sparkling concert.

The New Voices strand has traditionally brought together creative musicians and allowed them to experiment and showcase their new work within this established series. Since its inception in 1998, New Voices has showcased 70 new commissions and given audiences the chance to hear new work from brilliant young composers. To celebrate these connections at the heart of the festival for so many years there will be a reprise of Duncan Lyall’s Infinite Reflections and Angus Lyon’s 3G.
Read the full press release announcing the programme for 2013.

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