Celtic Connections 2024 Programme Grows With Seminal Bothy Band Performance Planned
By Stevie Connor.
Europe’s premier folk, roots and world music festival, Celtic Connections, is continuing to grow its programme for 2024 with 40 new acts added to the bill including a very special one-off concert from seminal Irish group, The Bothy Band.
The world-renowned Glasgow festival, which is set to take place from Thursday 18 January to Sunday 4 February 2024, has already announced a host of performances spanning a multitude of genres including acoustic, traditional, indie, Americana, Jazz, blues, orchestral, experimental and more.
The newest additions to the bill include one of the most important traditional bands in history, as well as a revered collection of names and shows which will make up the hundreds of events staged at 25 Glasgow venues over 18 days this winter.
The Bothy Band stand out as the most influential and revered of the many ensembles who revolutionised the playing of traditional music in recent generations. They have not played a major live show in more than 40 years.
During their brief five-year history they blazed like a comet across the firmament of Celtic music. Coming together in October of last year to record a documentary for Irish television, the band members – all legendary figures in Irish music – enjoyed the experience so much that they were open to the long-standing invitation from Celtic Connectionsto consider a full concert again.
Donal Lunny (bouzouki), Tríona ní Dhomhnaill (keyboards), Matt Molloy (flute), Paddy Keenan (uilleann pipes, low whistle), Paddy Glackin (fiddle) and Kevin Burke (fiddle) will perform at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 22 January for what will be their first public concert since 1979. They will be joined by Seán Óg Graham on guitar. Tickets for the show will go on sale at 10am on Thursday 9 November.
Between 1975 and 1979 the band released four albums, all of which are regarded as classics of their type. They gave incendiary live performances driven by a front line of fiddle, pipes and flute and underpinned by the powerhouse rhythm section, which cemented their reputation as perhaps the most innovative and exciting combinations to play traditional music from these islands. Founding member, Mícheál Ó Domhnaill died in 2006 and Tommy Peoples, who played fiddle on the band’s first recording, died five years ago.
Donald Shaw, Creative Producer for Celtic Connections, said: “The Bothy Band were the single most influential act of their time and set a marker down for the exceptional traditional music which followed. To have one of the most beloved bands of all-time accept our long-standing invitation to play Celtic Connections and to see them come together for the first time in four decades, is one of the highlights of my festival career. The band represents the innovation and energy of the tradition and the extraordinary ability music has to connect us, and stay with us for decades. I know fans from far and wide will be flocking to Glasgow for the chance to see them perform once again.
“The Bothy Band are among 40 incredible acts joining the Celtic Connections 2024 bill for what is shaping up to be an unforgettable 18 days and another landmark year in Glasgow’s musical and cultural calendar. There’s so much to be inspired, excited and moved by, so I would urge people to come and explore the huge wealth of talent we are privileged to showcase this winter.”
Bailie Annette Christie, Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Celtic Connections always showcases a stellar line-up of international talent, and the fact that this much-loved festival attracts such a high calibre of acts and artists is testament to how renowned it is by musicians worldwide. It also reflects Glasgow’s global reputation as a superb destination for music, which our designation as a UNESCO City of Music confirms.
“The latest events announced for Celtic Connections 2024 highlight what an extensive, exciting and eclectic range of exceptional entertainment audiences can look forward to in so many of our wonderful venues at the start of the year. Featuring hundreds of great genre-spanning gigs, and a host of special stand-out performances, the programme promises a wealth of treats for anyone who loves live music – and a truly unforgettable experience.”
More than 30 years on from its inaugural festival, the home of spectacular musical showcases and one-off collaborations will once again light up dark winter nights for what will be one of the biggest-ever capacity Celtic Connections held in Glasgow, a UNESCO City of Music.
Other additions to the Celtic Connections 2024 programme include:
● American country star Margo Price has received incredible critical acclaim for her three remarkable solo albums, cementing her reputation as a force in American music and a generational talent. She headlines the Old Fruitmarket on 27 January, supported by Kentucky-bred singer-songwriter and guitarist Kelsey Waldon.
● Breton harp legend Alan Stivell will play the Mackintosh Church as part of a European tour of churches and cathedrals during which he is presenting a unique project, a concert revisiting his work in an intimate format, entitled « Heart & Soul » KAlon hag Ene ». Alan first played the Telenn Gentañ, the first Celtic harp in modern-day Brittany, some 70 years ago. The concert will feature Alan's vocals and his latest harp – which he designed – offering crystalline purity and electronic possibilities.
● Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum will stage a trio of spell-binding performances this winter. The celebrated pure Northern voice of Julie Fowlis will ring out on January 27 backed by her vibrant band of some of Scotland’s finest instrumentalists. She will also be joined by the exciting Gaelic choral group, Binneas Choir. Scotland’s Bard will be toasted in sensational style at the Celtic Connections Burns Supper for a night of unrivalled music and hospitality. Much-loved exponents of Burns song, Fiona Hunter and Sean Gray,among others, will be part of the gourmet musical menu, alongside a feast worthy of the Bard himself and a dram from his home of Lochlea. On 26 January, Swedish folk band Väsen will perform a show called Fragile Beauty. Väsen, Mikael Marin and Olov Johansson, have been on a musical journey spanning four decades, creating and sharing music which is intense and full of humour and as modern as it is ancient. They perform on a variety of stringed instruments, including a silverbasharpa, oktavharpa, three-rowed Nyckelharpa, violoncello da spalla and a blue electric viola, and will be joined at Celtic Connections by acclaimed harpists Catriona McKay and Ruth Potter.
● Beloved southside venue Tramway is set for a run of fantastic shows, welcoming vibrant Scottish six-piece folk act HEISK on 25 January and Mercury nominated Westcountry folk singer and multi-instrumentalist Seth Lakeman on 2 February. Seth will be accompanied by folk singer and musician Benji Kirkpatrick and Devon singer-songwriter Alex Hart, and their visit to Glasgow is set to be the latest in a run of sell-out shows together. Gaelic singer Anne Martin and some special guests will present An Tinne, a performance exploring the story of a hook and chain which travelled from Skye to Australia during the Highland clearances, on 31 January.
● One of the most multi-faceted minds in roots music, Alison Brown will play City Halls on 26 January. The Grammy-winning musician, Grammy-nominated producer, and co-founder of The Compass Records Group has built a reputation as one of today’s most innovative banjo players, known for taking the instrument far beyond its appalachian roots by blending bluegrass and jazz influences into a sonic tapestry that has earned praise from tastemakers across the world. Support comes from string and vocal trio Low Lily, who explore the roots and branches of American folk music with traditional influences and modern inspiration.
● The festival’s New Tradition strand has once again commissioned a series of special shows celebrating the cutting-edge of the folk scene. Barony Hall will welcome one of the leading voices in Scottish traditional music Fiona Hunter and her band. Acclaimed Scottish singer songwriter Adam Holmes and acclaimed Irish singer and flautist Steph Geremia complete the line up on 28 January. Three exciting contributors to the global folk music scene will perform in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall’s Strathclyde Suite on 26 January. Glasgow folk-jazz crossover artist Juliette Lemoine, Scottish-American trad duo Hildaland, comprising Orkney fiddler Louise Bichan and Indiana mandolinist Ethan Setiawan, and emerging fiddle player and singer Lauren Collier and her band will all perform. The venue also welcomes piper Alana MacInnes’ Trio, vibrant trad trio ELÍR, fiddler and composer Elizabeth Davidson-Blythe and Manx multi-instrumentalist Daniel Quayle on 25 January.
● A Blues Night at Mackintosh Church will see Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based guitarist and songwriter Buffalo Nichols take to the Celtic Connections stage on 27 January, supported by young blues, ragtime, roots and folk guitarist and singer based in County Donegal, Muireann Bradley.
● A Celtic Connections Jazz Night will see Scotland’s premier exponent of modern funk Federation of the Disco Pimp and Stephen Henderson's Modern Vikings, featuring five of Scotland's brightest, most creative jazz talents, get Saint Luke’s crowds dancing. The jazz talent continues with Glasgow-based Rose Room, two-time winners of Best Band at the Scottish Jazz Awards and Scotland’s leading swing ensemble, play the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall’s Strathclyde Suite.
● A Mardi Gras Night at Drygate will see French seven-piece Beauxmont headline on 31 January. The east end brewery will also host award-winning composer and synth artist Hannah Peel as she collaborates with virtuosic percussionist Beibei Wang in a unique exploration of human and electronic rhythm on 21 January.
● The inimitable Kathryn Joseph also returns to the festival for a world-first performance with BAFTA-winning songwriter Lomond Campbell at Drygate that will reimagine Kathryn's beloved songs. Kathryn's heartfelt compositions will meet Lomond's atmospheric prowess on 25 January.
● The city’s Theatre Royal will stage a performance from another much-loved ensemble, Cherish the Ladies, on 20 January. The Grammy-nominated Irish American supergroup has spent 39 years winning the hearts of global audiences with their rousing blend of traditional music, captivating vocals, and propulsive step dancing.
● The piping talent of Scotland and Spain will come together for a show from world-class piping talents Finlay MacDonald and Jose Manuel Tejedor, while one of Scotland’s most celebrated folk bands Dàimh will showcase their contemporary take on Highland and Gaelic music to audiences at the Mackintosh Church.
● The CCA will welcome emerging Scottish indie-folk singer Rosie H Sullivan for her first headline spot on the festival, with Irish singer songwriter Niall McCabe supporting, while Manchester duo The Breath and prominent Welsh four-piece Pedair play Barony Hall. The venue in the north of the city will also see performances from fiddler Alasdair Fraser and cellist Natalie Haas as they share their extraordinary creative symbiosis, rooted in their vast and profound knowledge of Scottish and international folk traditions.
● Due to popular demand, a special second night of Roddy Hart’s Roaming Roots Revue has been added for Saturday 20 January, and will be held at the Barrowland Ballroom for the first time. The first date at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall is sold out, with fans getting a second chance to snap up tickets to see a who’s who of Scottish talent as they present Songs of Modern Scotland.
Celtic Connections began in 1994 when it offered 66 events at one venue. It has since grown more adventurous, experimental and diverse each year, with an unwavering ambition to showcase the very best traditional folk, roots, Americana, jazz, soul, indie and world music and nurture unique local, national and international cultural partnerships.
Audiences of around 110,000 are expected to attend the 2024 edition, with artists from around the globe, from countries including North America, West Africa, India, Australia, Ukraine, Norway, Sweden, France and Ireland, set to play a coveted slot at the premier winter festival.
Festival-goers can also expect the usual mix of screenings, workshops, dementia-friendly concerts, late night sessions and pop-up performances at the Festival Club, as well as a thriving education programme that will benefit thousands of children across Glasgow.
Celtic Connections 2024 will take place from Thursday 18 January to Sunday 4 February. The programme can be viewed in full and tickets purchased at www.celticconnections.com.
Tickets for both The Bothy Band and Roddy Hart’s Roaming Roots Revue at the Barrowland Ballroom go on sale at 10am, Thursday 9 November.
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