Five of the best still to come at Celtic Connections
Here are five top picks for Celtic Connections...
Savourna Stevenson and Steve Kettley
The National Piping Centre, Sunday, January 22, 7.30pm
Stevenson and Kettley are choosing Celtic Connections to launch their album Wine of Life.
Stevenson is well known to the Scottish traditional music scene through her clarsach and pedal harp virtuosity, as well as her orchestral, chamber and choral works including her String Quintet.
Known for her collaborations with Aly Bain and Eddi Reader, her choral setting of Psalm 121 was heard by one of the largest global audiences last year – the St Giles Cathedral memorial service for Queen Elizabeth.
Kettley is also used to working with royalty. But in this instance the Liz in question is Liz Lochhead. Apart from his regular work with the poet, the saxophonist is a founder member of Salsa Celtica also leads several groups playing his own compositions.
An Tobar 25
Drygate Brewery, Saturday, February 4, 2pm
AS Gordon Maclean opens a new recording studio in Tobermory, this concert celebrates the 25 years he spent at the An Tobar Arts Centre.
The Tobermory centre has been a draw for musicians across that time, either to the recording studio, with Maclean recording Michael Marra’s mini-albums such as Silence, Quintet and Houseroom. The stage has also seen gigs of all genres across those years.
This is quite an afternoon gig, featuring Roddy Woomble, Karen Matheson, Duncan Chisholm, Hannah Rarity, Mull Historical Society, Liz Lochhead, Andrew Wasylyk, Seonaid Aitken, Raymond MacDonald, Hector Shaw, Andy Samson, Hannah Fisher, Sorren Maclean and Joe Peat on sound.
The Mackintosh Church, Sunday, February 22, 7.30pm
CELEBRATING the legacy of Shetland guitar hero “Peerie” Willie Johnson, who died in 2007 at the age of 86. It references a song written by Michael Marra called Schenectady Calling Peerie Willie Johnson, where the young man in Shetland would tune into a station on his home-built radio set. Here he heard the likes of Django Reinhardt and developed a unique guitar style.
Headlining is jazz guitarist Martin Taylor, one of the world’s great solo players, who says Johnson among his inspirations. Joining Martin are pianist Dave Milligan, Shetland-born saxophonist Norman Willmore, Shetland fiddler Bryan Gear with pianist Violet Tulloch.
Song Circle with Mary Chapin Carpenter, Karine Polwart, Julie Fowlis and Robert Vincent
Theatre Royal, Friday, January 27, 7.30pm.
SONG Circles are always magical nights, bringing together talent from across musical genres. Where they cross over is the talent for songwriting.
One of only 15 female members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, Mary Chapin Carpenter crosses the country/folk/pop genres beautifully.
Karine Polwart is a Celtic Connections favourite of course; a songwriter, folk singer, composer and theatre-maker with Wind Resistance.
Another Celtic Connections regular, Julie Fowlis will also take part, a multi-award winning singer who brings the magic of her Outer Hebridean roots and her current Highland home to Glasgow.
Finally one of the great new voices in Americana (from Crosby on Merseyside) Robert Vincent has the storytelling and warmth that comes from his musical home city.
Lisa O’Neill and special guest Cormac Begley
The Macintosh Church, Thursday, February 2, 7.30pm
CAVAN-BORN Lisa O’Neill has been quietly moving her way through the Irish folk scene for the past decade. Consistent touring has put her in front of international audiences.
An uncompromising style and a respect for tradition in her contemporary themes sets her apart.
Lisa’s last release Heard A Long Gone Song was on the Rough Trade imprint River Lea and her voice will be familiar to anyone who watched Peaky Blinders. In fact, she’s the last voice you hear in the final episode.