credit: Gaelle Beri on behalf of Celtic Connections
A selection of shows taking place in venues across Glasgow as part of the city's annual celebration of celtic music
Celtic Connections, the UK's premier celebration of celtic music, focuses on the roots of traditional Scottish music and also features international folk, roots and world music artists. Formed in 1994, the Glasgow festival celebrated its 25th anniversary back in 2018. This year's extensive programme includes over 300 events in various venues across 18 days and nights in January and early February. In addition to live performances, the festival also features workshops, talks, late night sessions and more. With an abundance of stellar acts and performances, the options are seemingly endless, so we have rounded up four unmissable shows at Celtic Connections 2020.
The GRIT Orchestra: 'The Declaration' Folk, jazz and classical musicians make up the colossal 80-piece ensemble known as The Grit Orchestra, which has been performing at Celtic Connections for five years running. The festival's opening night performance will mark the orchestra's first performance of newly-composed works written by six members of the orchestra. The members were commissioned to create new symphonic compositions inspired by the Declaration of Arbroath ahead of its 700th anniversary in April. Led by founding conductor Greg Lawson, the orchestra will premiere these pieces composed by multi-instrumentalist Fraser Fifield, saxophonist Paul Towndrow, fiddlers Chris Stout and Patsy Reid, harpist Catriona McKay and cellist Rudi de Groot. The GRIT Orchestra: 'The Declaration', Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Thu 16 Jan, 7.30pm
Noah Gundersen and Bess Atwell Seattle-based singer-songwriter Noah Gundersen left home at the age of 18 to pursue a career in music. After a long string of indie folk EPs and albums, the now 30-year-old Gundersen has begun experimenting with new genres and soundscapes. His 2017 album White Noise ventured into hard rock territory, while he dabbles with synthesisers on this year's Lover. Expect to hear a wide range of songs from his impressive catalogue featuring his stirring voice that has the ability to make a crowded room instantly fall silent. Gundersen's evening show is still sold-out, but tickets remain for his added afternoon show. English folk singer-songwriter Bess Atwell provides support at both performances. Noah Gundersen and Bess Atwell, Tron Theatre, Sat 18 Jan, 3pm & 8pm
Lucy Rose Lucy Rose and Rory Butler English singer-songwriter Lucy Rose made her debut with 2012's Like I Used To, an album which she recorded at her parents' house in Warwickshire. She was an unofficial member of Bombay Bicycle Club for a time, providing backing vocals on a number of their songs and touring with the band, but later opted to focus on her solo career. Rose is a fan of Joni Mitchell, which plainly shows in her songwriting and dulcet voice that immediately commands attention. Support comes from Scottish singer-songwriter Rory Butler who will preview his long-awaited debut album. Lucy Rose and Rory Butler, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sun 19 Jan, 7.30pm
Roaming Roots Revue presents Born To Run: 70th Birthday Tribute to Bruce Springsteen Springsteen-loving artists from around the world join forces for this special tribute night to celebrate The Boss' recent 70th birthday. Musical direction comes from house backing band Roddy Hart & the Lonesome Fire, while the line-up includes Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan, American singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham, The Hold Steady's enigmatic frontman Craig Finn, and English folk-rock duo The Rails. Other contributors include Scotland's Karine Polwart, California's Jonathan Wilson and Glasgow-born Phil Campbell. The first night at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (Sun 26 Jan) quickly sold out, but due to demand a second night has been added at Old Fruitmarket (Mon 27 Jan), and for which tickets still remain. With so much talent in one room to perform the timeless songs of the American music legend, this is bound to be one of the standout shows of the festival. Roaming Roots Revue presents Born To Run: 70th Birthday Tribute to Bruce Springsteen, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sun 26 Jan, 7.30pm; Old Fruitmarket, Mon 27 Jan, 7.30pm
Celtic Connections runs from Thu 16 Jan to Sun 2 Feb and features many more unique events and performances. See celticconnections.com for information and tickets.
Glasgow's annual folk, roots, indie, world and traditional music festival celebrates the links between Celtic music and cultures across the globe, featuring ceilidhs, workshops, talks, dancing, art exhibitions, and free events. The 2019 festival hosted the
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Five years on from its landmark debut concert at Celtic Connections, the trailblazing GRIT Orchestra, an 80-piece ensemble of folk, jazz and classical musician originally founded to perform and celebrate the late Martyn Bennett’s music, breaks yet more new ground with its first performance of newly-composed works.
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