Celtic Connections comes to an end this weekend

Europe’s largest winter music festival, Celtic Connections, comes to an end this weekend.

The event closes on Sunday 2 February and has seen over 2,000 musicians from all over the world sharing their love for music at one-off gigs and the unique collaborations the Festival is known for.

Closing weekend highlights include –

Tradbeats / É.T.É / Krismenn & Alem, 31 January, 7.30pm, Mitchell Theatre.

TradBeats, the brainchild of top Scottish stepdancer Sophie Stephenson, is a thrilling encounter of oral dance music, percussive footwork, contemporary beatboxing and hip-hop grooves, carrying three venerable traditions buoyantly into the future. Together with brilliantly feisty Québécois trio É.T.É and leading Breton fusioneers Krismenn & Alem, they map fresh common ground between their kindred respective traditions of Gaelic puirt-à-beul, Brittany’s kan ha diskan and Quebec’s tongue-twisting turlutte.

Le Vent du Nord ‘Symphonique’ with L’Orchestre Écossais, 1 February, 7.30pm, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

Today’s leading champions of Québécois folk music Le Vent du Nord return to Glasgow for their biggest Celtic Connections show yet, a sumptuous and exhilarating live reworking and updating of their 2010 album Symphonique, featuring the band with full-scale orchestral accompaniment. Triumphantly bridging the divide between the traditional and classical realms, 17 Vent du Nord tracks have been specially arranged by leading US composer Tom Myron, deploying the orchestra – here comprising a hand-picked Scottish folk/classical ensemble, led by conductor Greg Lawson – almost as a sixth member of the line-up.

Simon Thacker’s Svara-Kanti with Jackie Shave & Sukhvinder Singh “Pinky” and Naad-hara, 1 February, 7.30pm, Oran Mòr.

Scottish-born guitarist, composer, improviser and ensemble leader Simon Thacker will be exploring and reimagining north Indian folk-song traditions with Grammy-winning tabla master Sukhvinder Singh “Pinky” and violinist Jackie Shave, leader of the Britten Sinfonia. Brand-new Scottish/Indian project Naad-hara features Lewis singer Mischa Macpherson and Hyderabad’s Ankna Arockiam, exploring their respective traditions together with award-winning Snuffbox fiddler/bassist Charlie Stewart, pianist Alistair Iain Paterson and Glasgow-born Hardeep Deerhe (Sodhi) on tabla.

Frigg with Ímar, 1 February, 7.30pm, City Halls.


The leading act of the Nordic fiddle scene, Frigg features the premier talents of a generation of Finnish folk musicians. Renowned the world over, the group draws influence from their homeland alongside those from their extensive travels – joyfully fusing Nordic and bluegrass flavours to create their own signature; Nordgrass. BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners in 2018, Irish/Manx quintet Ímar are amongst Glasgow’s hottest folk property. Unleashed during Celtic Connections 2016, their debut video, L’Air Mignonne, was a viral smash, viewed in excess of 400,000 times – whilst their first year tour credits included the opening set at that year’s Cambridge Folk Festival.

BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year Final 2020, 2 February, 5pm, City Halls.

Since 2001, when the final was first staged at Celtic Connections, the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year competition, promoted by Hands Up for Trad, has been a prestigious career launch-pad for winners and runners-up alike, annually showcased in the TMSA’s popular annual Young Trad tour. Among the victors’ honour-roll are past and current members of Blazin’ Fiddles, Ímar, Fara, Breabach, Dosca, Snuffbox, The Shee, Back of the Moon and more, while many others have gone on to major solo success.

365 featuring Aidan O’Rourke and James Robertson, 2 February, 7.30pm, The Mackintosh Church.

This slightly mad and epic project began back in 2013, when James Robertson set himself the challenge of writing a short story, each exactly 365 words long, every day of the year. Enchanted by the potent atmosphere of James’s tiny prose pieces, intrigued by the notion of an inescapable daily creative ritual, Aidan O’Rourke – fiddler, composer, curator and one third of Lau – decided to write a tune every day in response. The result is a major new body of sparse, exploratory and emotive music. Aidan is joined by long-time collaborator Kit Downes on piano and harmonium, Sorren Maclean on guitar and special guests, while James reads some of the stories with guests Tam Dean Burn, Gerda Stevenson and Iona Zajac.

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