More than 2000 musicians will descend on Glasgow this month as Celtic Connections kicks off once again from 16th January to 2nd February. One of the largest celebrations of Celtic music in the world, over 18 days, Glaswegian musos can avail of 300 events in 20 venues across the city, from concerts and ceilidhs to exhibitions and workshops.
The annual folk, roots and world music festival is now in its 21st year, and as the year of Homecoming Scotland, the event is set to be bigger and better than ever. Known for its collaborative spirit, impromptu vibe and unique performances, many of the shows in the festival pair incredible established acts with up-and-comers or thriving bands with old time legends, creating one-off shows and spontaneous sessions.
Among the highlights of this year's festival with be Ireland's haunting song-smith, James Vincent McMorrow who will delight the crowds at City Halls on 28th January. Bringing the fun factor, Big Groove Samba also in City Halls, will run workshops throughout the day on 18th & 19th January. Be sure to head to the Mitchell Library to catch iconic accordion-player, Sharon Shannon with Alan Connor, as they join Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas for a thrilling ride through Scottish and Irish trad on January 28th. Ireland and Scotland will collide once again as the legendary Stockton's Wing join the revolutionary Blazin' Fiddles for a special collaboration on January 31st in the Old Fruitmarket.
Soul swindler, Bobby Womack will spread the love with special guests in Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on January 27th. For some chilled-out Americana, check out Hazy Recollections in the o2 ABC for a relaxed Sunday session on in the o2 ABC on 2nd February. US old-timey crooners, the Foghorn Stringband will be joining Minnesota musos Trampled By Turtles for a very special gig in O2 ABC. Red-hot rockabilly, Dublin's Imelda May will work with Belfast x Brighton outfit The Mountain Firework Company for what's set to be a rousing session in the Old Fruitmarket on January 30th.
80 year old Cameroonian saxophonist, Manu Dibango and African roots duo Debademba will team up for an eclectic world music frenzy, fusing everything from Afro-funk annf Arabic blues to Parisian beats and Latin soul, they'll take to the stage in The Old Fruitmarket on 26th January. And finally catch local favourites Mogwai, now in their 19th year (makes you feel old, eh?) continuing to churn the tunes with incredible, toast of 2013 Glaswegian, RM Hubbert in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 28th January.
And that's only for starters. The festival schedule is chocker with great acts from all over the world.
And if the gigs, workshops and talks simply aren't enough for that musical ear of yours, this year's Celtic Connections Festival Club will kick off in the Walkabout from 10.30pm every night throughout the festival with some very special, very spontaneous, after-hours sessions.
Set to be an incredible few weeks of music in Glasgow, with such remarkable talent coming from all over the world and landing on your doorstep - fiddle in hand - whether you're a folk fiend, an Afro-beat aficionado, or just a curious Celt, make sure you take yourself along to at least a few of these cracking sessions.