Highlights of the 2016 Celtic Connections programme
Errors, Robert Plant, Admiral Fallow,Siobhan Wilson and Anne Carrere to perform at annual Glasgow festival
Celtic Connections, Glasgow’s annual celebration of Scottish and world folk music, returns to the city in the New Year. Launched in 1994, the festival is now in its 13th year, and its 2016 programme will see thousands of performers from across the globe take to the stage in venues across the city.
One of the star attractions at the festival is a one-off appearance by Robert Plant – the former Led Zeppelin frontman is performing as part of a tribute to the influential Scottish musician Bert Jansch, who passed away four years ago. Plant takes to the stage alongside former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler and Jansch’s former bandmate Jacqueline Shee (Old Fruitmarket, Sun 31 Jan). Plant calls his debt to the Glasgow-born guitar legend ‘enormous and longstanding’.
Piaf: The Show (Theatre Royal, Wed 27 Jan) is another highlight of the 2016 festival. Part of the final weekend’s Showcase Scotland programme, it celebrates the centenary of the iconic French singer, bringing her well-known songs to the stage, including ‘La Vie en Rose’, ‘Milord’ and ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien’. The show is partially based on the Oscar-winning 2007 biopic with Marion Cotillard. In the stage version, which has been performed across three continents, the starring role is played by Anne Carrere.
Other tribute nights to keep an eye out for are Edinburgh band Bwani Junction’s performance of Paul Simon’s renowned album Graceland (Old Fruitmarket, Sat 23 Jan, 8pm, £16) and PILGRIMER: A Reimagining of Joni Mitchell’s Hejira (Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sat 16 Jan). The latter was devised by novelist and poet James Robertson, who’s adapted the singer-songwriter’s classic ’70s album into both Scots and a Scottish setting. The cast includes Julie Fowlis, Dick Gaughan and Grammy-winning guitarist Larry Carlton.
Meanwhile, indie rockers Admiral Fallow are set to bring their folky tones to the Mackintosh Church (Fri 15 Jan). The five-piece released their third album Tiny Rewards earlier this year. Their Celtic Connections show Common Ground, sees them premiere a new Steve Forman commission, alongside arrangements of Admiral Fallow rarities by Lau’s Aiden O’Rourke and composer Gareth Williams, with chamber group The Auricle Ensemble. Speaking of 21st-century Scottish stars, Siobhan Wilson is graciously providing her mesmerising sound to the festival along with some friends (St Andrew’s in the Square, Sun 17 Jan) and electronica trio Errors are showcasing their cutting-edge beats at the O2 ABC (Sat 16 Jan).
Also, BBC Radio Scotland have teamed up with the festival again, and are kindly putting on free live shows at the CCA. Janice Forsyth (Thu 14 Jan), Vic Galloway (Mon 18 Jan) and Edith Bowman (Wed 13 Jan, Thu 21 Jan, Wed 27 Jan) are among the radio stars hosting these special shows featuring performers and music from across the festival. Tickets will be free and released on Mon 4 Jan on the BBC Shows and Tours website.
Plus, if you’re the kind of person that likes to participate rather than sit and watch, the festival is also putting on a range of workshops to satisfy creative souls. With classes on different instruments (from the bodhran to the ukulele), it’s the perfect time to discover a hidden musical talent. Who knows, maybe you’ll be one of the headline acts at next year’s festival.
Celtic Connections, various venues, Glasgow, Thu 14 Jan–Sun 31 Jan.