top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Celtic Connections: Saturday's Line-up Looks Spectacular

Celtic Connections​ launched with a stunning online concert series yesterday Friday 15th 2021, with sets from some of the very best musicians on both the Scottish and international music scenes.

With over 12 performances packed into the 90-minute show including the Celtic Connections 2021 Big Band, Duncan Chisholm with Scottish Ensemble, Ímar, Fiona Hunter, Kinnaris Quintet, Le Vent du Nord and many more surprise guests, the footage was recorded across many of Glasgow’s venues as well as captured remotely across the world, bringing a true feeling of optimism and connections as it welcomed back so many musicians who have graced the festival stages across the years.

Photograph - The Celtic Connections Big Band

Saturday, January 16th promises to be another magical cornucopia of musical performances, from Shooglenifty, RANT, The Paul McKenna Band, Fiona Hunter and Amira Kheirs

Shooglenifty reached the ripe old age of 30 in 2020. Hopes that they would finally settle down to the quiet life were dashed when they accepted an invitation to start the year in style by performing at midnight for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. The band played gigs in the north of Scotland in February 2020 before all dates for the rest of the year were cancelled, postponed or put on hold due to the Coronvirus pandemic. Thankfully their new album, Acid Croft Vol 9, was already in the can and the band were able to finish it in time for release on 18 September 2020. A few crazy promo videos were made during lockdown and the band are working on live video projects to fill the gap until they are able to tour again.

RANT is the meeting of 4 of Scotland’ s finest fiddle players, two from the Shetland Islands and two from the Highlands.​ Bethany Reid, Jenna Reid, Lauren MacColl and Anna Massie join forces to create a sound which is both rich and lush, yet retaining all the bite and spark synonymous with a Scottish fiddle player. Using just their fiddles, they weave a tapestry of melodies, textures, layers and sounds. Known for their work as soloists and with various bands, this is a celebration of the instrument they all have a passion for.

Scotland’s Paul McKenna has long been ranked among our finest younger singers and songwriters, armed with a powerful yet intensely emotive voice and passionate social conscience, often expressed through his songs, a combination that’s brought frequent comparisons to the great Dick Gaughan. He and his band – comprising Robbie Greig (fiddle), Conal McDonagh (pipes/whistles), Conor Markey (banjo/ bouzouki/mandolin) and Ewan Baird (percussion) – draw on both Scottish and Irish roots, in a dynamic, full-bodied array of original and traditional material, along with songs by like-minded authors including Peggy Seeger, Alistair Hulett and Jim Reid. Following 2016’s tenth anniversary release Paths That Wind, they’re currently at work on their fifth album.

Fiona Hunter is one of the leading voices in Scottish traditional music. Now an award-winning singer in her own right, Fiona first came to the wider folk music audience’s attention when she joined the Scots song champions Malinky in 2005, having learned traditional songs first-hand from the Perthshire-based Stewart family. While continuing to work with Malinky, whose twentieth anniversary album, Handsel, featured guest appearances by singers including Len Graham, Barbara Dymock and Ellie Beaton, Fiona has formed a successful musical partnership with the outstanding Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes and appeared in the centenary celebrations of Scottish folk music’s patriarch, folklorist, poet and song collector Hamish Henderson. Fiona releases her second solo album in 2021, produced by her Malinky colleague Mike Vass and featuring songs learned directly from mentors including Ray Fisher, Alison McMorland and Sheila Stewart.

Amira Kheirs' music is a celebration of ancient East African roots that have been catapulted into futuristic desert blues, and it compels us to expand our vision. Her new album 'Mystic Dance' is a marriage of the traditional with the modern. Its elegant, organic form allows for ancient songs to sit side-by-side with more recent classics of the genre, not forgetting, of course, Amira's own compositions or, indeed, a version of Kurt Weill's 'Speak Low'.

Online tickets for each or all performances are available from the Celtic Connections website

Photograph - Ímar


bottom of page