Celtic Connections 2008 line-up announced

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Julie Fowlis

A roll-call of the finest Scottish and international musicians announced for Celtic Connections 2008. Words: Anna Millar

Celtic Connection launched in impressive style last week as organisers claimed success in 2008 could lead to the music event being super-sized for 2009.

The 2008 event, held throughout January, will mark the festival’s 15th anniversary and boasts a line-up that includes controversial American singer Steve Earle, kicking off his European tour, and award-winning Canadian chanteuse kd lang. Bill Wyman, the former Rolling Stones bass player, is also on the bill with his band, the Rhythm Kings. Home-grown veterans such as Donnie Munro, who won album of the year at the Scottish Traditional Music Awards this year, will also feature as part of the line-up, alongside Julie Fowlis, the Peatbog Faeries and Capercaillie. Popular singer Kate Rusby will be just one of the acts joining a huge joint session in the opening event, Common Ground.

The complete 2008 programme will include more than 300 concerts, ceilidhs, workshops, talks and other events in more than a dozen venues. Since the festival’s inauguration in 1993, its main focus has been on celebrating the roots of traditional Scottish music from home and abroad.

Donald Shaw, founding member of Capercaillie, and organiser of the event has always maintained that he planned to widen the remit of the festival. Thus, this year, two of Glasgow’s most popular spaces – the Tall Ship in Glasgow Harbour and Oran Mor on Great Western Road – have been added to the venue line-up. In 2009, the festival is considering taking the 9000-seat Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in line with the festival’s growing reputation and worldwide profile.

Shaw feels that bringing the likes of Wyman, lang and Earle adds some ‘real coups to the bill’. He adds: ‘Some of the most exciting music anywhere in the field of folk music is coming out of North America and this will be an exciting celebration of that.’

Celtic Connections 2008, Wed 16 Jan–Sun 3 Feb.

Celtic Connections

The UK's premier Celtic and traditional music festival returns with the finest homegrown talent performing alongside class acts from around the globe in amongst a satisfying selection of ceilidhs, drums, drams and dancing.

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