The Glasgow-based extravaganza will feature more than 2,000 musicians at 17 venues over 18 days, with Calexico, Fairport Convention, Wilco, and Justin Townes Earle among the highlights
If there’s one thing that makes wintertime in Glasgow great then it’s Celtic Connections. Staged every January since 1994, the eclectic roots music festival directed by Capercaillie member Donald Shaw will this year welcome more than 2,000 musicians from around the world to participate in an 18-day programme at 17 venues city-wide from concert halls to clubs. The variety of styles represented in the lineup is as diverse as the roster is broad: traditional, folk, alt-folk, jazz, classical, rock, soul, indie, country, Americana, Afrobeat, electronica and countless global sounds, each coloured by geographic, linguistic and cultural nuances galore.
A world première commemorating a late Celtic Connections luminary will fittingly open proceedings in 2015. Newfoundland-born Scottish piper, violinist and Celtic fusion pioneer Martyn Bennett passed away from cancer a decade ago this month at the tragically young age of 33; Grit was his final album and in many ways his masterpiece – a dramatic juxtaposition of traditional folk singing with pounding electronic beats (he was too weak from illness to play his instruments so relied on synths and samples). Originally released in 2003, and recently introduced to a younger audience by the use of the track Blackbird in an epic Danny Macaskill mountain-biking video (27m YouTube views and counting), Grit has been specially reconstructed by violinist and composer Greg Lawson for a custom-designed orchestra of folk, jazz and classical players (15 January).
The bass-baritone answers our questions about his musical tastes on and off the concert platform
How do you listen to music most often?
Mostly at home.
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