Celtic Connections 2019 begins today (Thursday 17 January) with 18 days of music set to bring the city alive on stages across Glasgow.
The festival’s traditional opening concert in the world-famous Glasgow Royal Concert Hall this year celebrates the passing on of traditions between generations. Syne of the Times stars more than 100 young musicians alongside leading Scottish musical artists.
The young musicians have travelled a total of 52,800 miles between them to perform in Glasgow, coming from Orkney, Inverness, Galicia, Oban, Lochaber and the outer Hebrides.
Galicia is the Showcase Scotland international partner in 2019 for Celtic Connections, a festival which brings together artists from around the world.
This year Celtic Connections features more than 2,000 artists from countries including Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Galicia, the USA, France, Haiti, Denmark, Estonia, Canada, Iceland, Portugal, Senegal, Nigeria, Mali, the
Basque region, Norway, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, and Sweden.
World-leading artists performing include Rhiannon Giddens, Cherish the Ladies, Graham Nash, Niteworks, Elephant Sessions, Bokanté, Loudon Wainwright III, Judy Collins, Ronnie Spector & the Ronettes, Kathy Mattea, Shooglenifty, Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert, Kathleen MacInnes, Susheela Raman, Songhoy Blues and Mariza.
Events will take place on 35 stages at venues throughout the city – the highest number of stages ever used by Celtic Connections in its 26 year history. This includes two venues being used for Celtic Connections for the first time, the King’s Theatre and the Queen
Margaret Union (QMU).
More than 2,000 hotel rooms have been booked in Glasgow for performers.
The first Saturday of this year’s festival, 19 January, sees 37 different events taking place throughout the city – including concerts, film-screenings, workshops, talks, exhibitions and a Family Ceilidh. More than 300 events will take place over the course of Celtic Connections 2019.
Audiences can experience instruments rarely heard played live in Scotland, including the kora – a long-necked harp lute from Western Africa; the ngoni – a stringed instrument also of West African origin); Galician Gaita – a type of bagpipe; and the Hardanger fiddle – a traditional stringed instrument used originally to play the music of Norway.
Ahead of the evening Opening Concert, 1,800 Scottish school children will have enjoyed the first of five free morning concerts taking place as part of Celtic Connections award winning Education Programme. Through concerts and workshops by leading Celtic musicians more than 11,000 children will learn about traditional music through the Education Programme, as Celtic Connections once again puts young people at the heart of the festival.
Donald Shaw, creative producer for Celtic Connections, said: ‘The next 18 days will welcome a host of superb artists and unique artistic collaborations being brought together for a smorgasbord of unforgettable musical moments. We will explore vibrant new music, folk
imagery and welcome artists from Celtic communities across the world. We’re also looking forward to welcoming an international audience to the festival to soak up the unique atmosphere that Celtic Connections has to offer.’
Alan Morrison, Head of Music, Creative Scotland said: ‘Since its launch in 1994, Celtic Connections has thrown its doors wide open so that musicians from near and far can brighten up our winter nights. This is a finger-on-the-pulse festival where respect for Scotland’s heritage is woven through the programme and artists from all over the world are encouraged to collaborate and experiment, taking that heritage to the next level.
‘Tonight, we’ll get a glimpse of the future as more than 100 young musicians take to the stage for the Syne of the Times opening concert. It’s a truly inspiring start to one of the world’s major festivals.’
To see the full programme for Celtic Connections 2019 and buy tickets visit www.celticconnections.com.