While its focus tends to be on traditional and contemporary Scottish music, the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow also features music from Ireland and other countries.
With live music – as we know it, anyway – in stasis these past several months, many venues, organizations, and artists have turned to virtual formats for presenting performances, whether through livestreaming or pre-recorded concerts. That includes Irish/Celtic music, as witnessed by GBH’s 2020 “A Christmas Celtic Sojourn” and the annual BCMFest, which will take place January 14-18 [see story elsewhere on the Boston Irish site].
Of course, with the Internet, one doesn’t have to stay confined to a geographical area. So for the foreseeable future, we’ll be taking a look at upcoming Irish/Celtic events of interest beyond Boston – and even the US – that are available for viewing and listening through one’s computer or smartphone. And right off, here’s a big one: the Glasgow-based Celtic Connections festival, which since 1994 has celebrated Celtic music and its ties to cultures around the world. This year’s edition runs from Jan. 15 to Feb. 2.
Celtic Connections is famous for its array of concerts, ceilidhs and collaborations (some of them put together on the spot), and for showcasing young and emerging musicians. The festival tends to emphasize the Scottish side of Celtic, but the “Connections” part of its name is equally important: The festival has become increasingly global in scale, bringing in acts from as many as 50 countries, and rock, classical, roots, and world music are featured throughout – among those who have appeared are The Chieftains, Joan Baez, Robert Plant, Bobby Womack, Sinead O’Connor, Bob Geldof and Rosanne Cash (who was part of the festival’s salute to Bob Dylan on his 70th birthday).
Another highlight of the festival is “Transatlantic Sessions”: Based on the TV series of the same name, this concert brings together traditional musicians from the US, UK, Ireland, and elsewhere to pool their talents and interests, with the accompaniment of a house band.
The 2021 Celtic Connections roster will include Cherish the Ladies, which for nearly four decades has been a living testament to the contribution of women to Irish music, and to the vibrancy of Irish-American music. Also appearing are Dublin singer-songwriter Declan O’Rourke and American roots singer and musician Rhiannon Giddens, whose vast resumé includes the Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops and the Celtic band Gaelwynd.
The rest of the line-up includes (but is hardly limited to) Blazin Fiddles, Chris Stout & Catriona McKay, Karen Matheson, the Paul McKenna Band, Karine Polwart & Pekka Kuusisto, Le Vent Du Nord, Shooglenifty, Talisk and Siobhan Miller (featured in the 2019 “Christmas Celtic Sojourn”).
For tickets and more information, go to celticconnections.com.