From Africa to America, bluegrass to country, Celtic Connections looks set to showcase a roster of international talent, finds Anna Millar
Edwyn Collins, Youssou N’Dour and Nanci Griffith are just some of the highlights of next year’s Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow. Organiser’s said 2009’s programme showcased some of Scotland’s best homegrown talent, alongside some of the world’s finest award-winning musicians.
Bluegrass acts arrive in the guise of Crooked Still, Tim O’Brien and The Sparrow Quartet; elsewhere, Justin Townes Earle (son of Steve Earle), Nanci Griffith and Dirk Powell will all make an appearance.
New Orleans legends Dr John (pictured) and Allen Toussaint, New York blues master Eric Bibb, dub superstars Sly and Robbie (pictured above) and Michael Nyman will also feature, alongside folk favourites Judy Collins, Kate Rusby, Michael Marra, Shooglenifty and Julie Fowlis.
Following his much-publicised health problems, Edwyn Collins will also perform, supported by Scottish band The Bluebells (with original members Ken McCluskey, Robert Hodgens and David McCluskey reuniting especially for Celtic Connections), as well as the official debut performance of The Burns Unit featuring Karine Polwart, Sushil Dade and King Creosote.
Other highlights include the world premiere of ‘Conflict and Resolution,’ a new composition by David Heath, celebrating the life of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Elsewhere, as part of a special African strand of the programme, Senegalese singer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Youssou N’Dour will visit the UK for some one-off shows.
The festival will also pay tribute to Robert Burns with a Twelve Hour Burns Marathon.
Celtic Connections’ Artistic Director Donald Shaw said of the line-up: ‘Once again, Celtic Connections will celebrate the connections between cultures across the globe and trace the roots of musical traditions, particularly through the world music strand of the programme. We have some incredible world music acts on the bill, such as Youssou N’Dour and Oumou Sangare; that’s a testament to Glasgow’s international reputation.’