Songlines Editor Jo Frost heads to Glasgow as this year’s Celtic Connections festival gets into full swing
Glasgow’s annual winter festival kicked off to a rapturous start last week with Nae Regrets, an orchestrated rendition of Martyn Bennett’s Grit album (re-released on Real World last year). For those Bennett fans who missed this sold-out, rave-reviewed opening night concert, good news is that it will be broadcast tonight (January 22) on BBC2 Scotland – and thankfully for those poor souls who live south of the border, it’s viewable on iPlayer from Friday.
There’s still plenty more on offer over the next ten days (and long, long nights). Many of the Scottish highlights are included as part of the Showcase Scotland event, now in its 16th year. Showcase Scotland is the country’s largest international gathering of music industry folk, with over 200 delegates from around 29 countries. Its primary aim is to highlight Scottish music with a view to exporting it globally – and it’s been incredibly successful. Each year there’s an international partner and this year it’s New Zealand, with performances from Waiora (as featured in the Boomerang project in #101), Maori singer-songwriter Maisey Rika, Tiny Ruins, Louis Baker, Thomas Oliver and dub-reggae outfit Trinity Roots from Wellington.
Besides all the New Zealand artists I’ll be checking out for the first time, here are a few of the Scottish acts I’m hoping to catch…
Rachel Newton – Harpist and singer whose latest album Changeling was a Top of the World in #103.
Rura – Currently hot property on the festival circuit and their second album is due for release very soon.
Breabach – Their latest album Ùrlar was one of Songlines Essential 10 Scottish albums and they’re always fun to see live.
Misha Macpherson Trio – BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winners who are due to release their much-anticipated debut album later this year.
Inge Thomson – The singer and multi-instrumentalist from Fair Isle showcasing her intriguingly titled new work Da Fishing Hands, inspired by the sea.
Shooglenifty – Celebrating their first 25 years of ‘acid croft’ music at the Old Fruitmarket. I suspect it will be lively.
Treacherous Orchestra – The elusive Scottish big band, who I’ve yet to see perform live, have a new album out called Grind.
The Chair – Last seen at WOMAD and also celebrating their tenth anniversary in Orkney, these Orcadian lads are guaranteed to bring a party atmosphere to any gig.