Natalie Merchant, The Chieftains and Ry Cooder set for Celtic Connection 2010

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Natalie Merchant, The Chieftains and Ry Cooder set for Celtic Connection 2010

Following its success last year, Celtic Connections announces a programme with a distinctively cross-cultural flavour.

Celtic Connections launched with a suitable level of expectation this fortnight – and it doesn’t look set to disappoint. Comprising 1500 artists, 300 concerts, ceilidhs, talks, workshops, free events and late-night sessions, the programme of events will take place over 18 days in 14 venues across Glasgow.

Now in its 17th year, January’s line-up will boast the usual array of folk, roots, traditional, world, classical, jazz and indie offerings. Highlights include The Chieftains with special guest Ry Cooder, former 10,000 Maniacs singer Natalie Merchant, Horse and Buffy-Sainte Marie. Connections’ favourites Carlos Núñez, Bobby McFerrin, Peatbog Faeries and Seth Lakeman will also make a return.

Some of the finest Americana and country will rock up for the festival, including Beth Nielsen Chapman and Holly Williams (the granddaughter of country music pioneer Hank Williams).

As usual, collaborations will play a key part in proceedings, this time with a staging of the National Theatre of Scotland’s Long Gone Lonesome, based on the life of reclusive Shetland fisherman turned country music sensation Thomas Fraser.

Elsewhere, an ensemble cast will pay tribute to folk icon Nick Drake in Way to Blue – The Songs of Nick Drake, a show curated by legendary producer Joe Boyd.
Throughout the programme, the influence of Celtic traditions on cultures around the world will showcase heavily, an element recognised in the line-up of artists from Japan, Brazil, India, Africa, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Hungary, France, Serbia and Romania.

In keeping with the collaborative vibe of the festival, Indian percussion virtuoso Trilok Gurtu, Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek and Indian singer Shankar Mahadevan (known most recently for his work on Slumdog Millionaire) will join forces.

Dance lovers shouldn’t be disappointed either, following Celtic Connections’ announcement that they will stage a celebration of Romany gypsy music and dance, with 20 of Europe’s gypsy musicians – The Legendary Gypsy Queens and Kings – taking to the stage at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

As part of their commitment to fostering new talent, the Danny Kyle Open Stage and BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year Final will continue to showcase fresh talent in 2010, with 2007 Danny Award winners The Chair performing a headline gig in the ABC.

Celtic Connections 2010 runs from Thu 14–Sun 31 Jan. Tickets can be bought at www.celticconnections.com or by calling 0141 353 8000.

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