Celtic connections is the UK’s premier celebration of Celtic music and takes place in Glasgow during January and February each year.
It’s a melting pot of talent, both home grown and international and what better place for people to see a handful of top quality performers in the space of a few days? But it can be overwhelming deciding which acts to go and see so, to help you navigate the programme, we’ve called on a little help from our friends. We asked some of our members, team and friends of the organisation “out of this years lineup – who would you to love see tour the Highlands and Islands?”
So read on to see what they say – and why not add them to your Celtic connections programme and see their rural touring potential for yourselves?
Ruairidh Gullan – Promoter for award winning The Sutherland Sessions and one of our GET IN Graduates. Ruairidh is also a fiddle player.
Mhairi Hall: Airs / 29th January – City Halls: Recital Room
In my opinion Mhairi Hall is one of Scotland’s finest traditional pianists, with her 2009 trio album, Cairngorm, regularly on repeat. This multimedia performance, entitled ‘Airs’, encompasses new piano arrangements, artwork from Beth Robertson Fiddes and some of Scotland’s soundscapes and archive recordings. Listen to: David Taylor’s.
Kacy & Clayton and Avocet / 30th January – CCA
Kacy & Clayton are a folk/roots duo from Canada. Fairport Convention comes to my mind when listening to this band and I feel their original and beguiling acoustic songs would work well in any cosy village hall. Listen to: Go and Leave Me.
Fiona Hunter with The Trials of Cato / 31st January – Strathclyde Suite
Fiona Hunter is a must see if you want to hear Scots singing at its best. Having performed with Malinky for several years, Fiona has one of those rich, pure voices you could listen to all day. Fiona will be ably accompanied by three of the UK’s best folk multi-instrumentalists – Mike Vass, David Foley and Tom Gibbs. Listen to: The Weary Pund o’ Tow.
Bronwen Nixon is our Membership Administrator at The Touring Network. She’s also an experienced event producer and music promoter, World music vocalist and a Traditional music enthusiast!
Eabhal & The Outside Track / 18th Jan – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Strathclyde Suite
Eabhal came together while based in the Scottish Outer Hebrides. Named after the highest hill on North Uist, these young musicians are currently making impressive waves in the Traditional music scene. Alongside traditional songs, contemporary and self-penned tunes, the band draws influence from other musical cultures and unites them with in their music. They have just released a phenomenal first studio album titled “This is How the Ladies Dance”. Eabhal are a perfect blend of intimate ballads, sung beautifully by Gaelic lead singer Kaitlin Ross and invigorating reels to get you on your feet!
Listen to: Eabhal – Beir Soiridh
Peatbog Faeries and The Poozies / 25th Jan – Old Fruitmarket
Peatbog Faeries and The Poozies are a killer combination set in fantastic Old Fruit Market venue. The Peatbog’s never fail to put on a world class show. Their sound, dating back over a quarter of a century mixes highland traditions with an array of cross genre inspirations. The Poozies are a wild all female band based in Scotland, originally formed in the 90’s. The band is compiled of four incredibly experienced ladies who together have a real presence with their sound. Going from The Peatbog’s track record, the show will likely have a collaborative performance between the acts, which will definitely be a spectacle not to be missed.
Listen to: The Poozies – Wedding Song
Kacy & Clayton and Avocet – 30th Jan – CCA
Ruairidh Gullan mentions Kacy & Clayton in his recommendations, i’d like to double reinforce the quality of this gig by also recommending the accompaniment, Avocet. Avocet are a beautiful folk and raw blues trio based in Glasgow. Blending double bass, guitar and harp with Iona’s dream like vocals, their music harks back to a time of the psychedelic love and blissful folk melodies of the 60’s and 70’s. They create their own compositions and explore the boundaries between trad folk and world blues.
Listen to: Avocet – Causeway
Blue Kirkhope, Communications & Events Executive for The Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) Blue also hosts the wonderful North Rising Podcasts, which shine a light on the Music Industry, Scotland wide.
Cian Nugent / 1st Feb, 7.30pm- CCA
You can definitely hear echoes of the much loved Bert Jansch in Dublin based Cian Nugent’s intricate guitar playing and I would love to see his tour extend northwards for all to witness.
Gwenifer Raymond / 21st Jan, 8pm – Hug and Pint
Gwenifer’s ‘You Never Were Much Of a Dancer’ was one of my favourite records last year and is breathtaking live too. From the Welsh valleys to the Highlands…
SHHE / 25th Jan, 8pm – Hug and Pint
Probably one of the artists I’m most excited about in Scotland right now. Her debut album came out in November and I think she’s fantastic
Claire Mackay, Marketing Manager for The Touring Network and former Music Industry professional, managing Kathryn Joseph and owner of Hits The Fan Records
Lost Map presents Pictish Trail and Rozi Plain / 17th Jan 7.30pm – St Luke’s
With Lost Map being based on Isle of Eigg, these two are no stangers to performing in the region, so to see these two hit the road to tour the Highlands and Islands would be amazing! I caught Rozi Plain perform on at Howlin’ Fling back in 2012 – her effortless infectious voice paired with her melodies make for an always heartwarming performance. “Haunts a musical landscape somewhere between jazz, folk, ambient and pop. . . subtle but stunning” (FRUK) Jonny on the other hand, while well known for his raucous performances with PIctish Trail, can lend himself to a more intimate performance when under his Lynch guise, all the while delivering his signature indie/folk/electro/retro/pop sound. “An entertainer in the best possible sense” (Clash)
Molly Linen – 18th Jan 8pm – Hug and Pint
I am yet to see Milly Linen play live but have been keeping a close ear and eye on what she’s been upto. Another Lost Map artist, her music offers this perfect mix of otherwordly and atmospheric and creates a wash of lulling beats and soft melodies. I’d love to see her tour to wee venue in the Highlands & Islands – but, for now, I will happily take an intimate gig in her newly adopted Glasgow home during Celtic Connections, and recommend you to do the same.
Hannah Read and Andy Monaghan / 24th Jan 7.30pm – CCA
Celtic Connections is a breeding ground for new collaborations, and to see stunning songstress Hannah Read (collaborator in Songs of Seperation, raised in Edinburgh and Eigg but now based in Brooklyn) collaborate with Andy Monaghan (Frightened Rabbit) it sounds intriguing! With Frightened Rabbit being so close to my heart, I have an instant draw to any new projects they present. Honestly, I’m not sure what it will entail, but usually anything Monaghan touches promises to be good. Frightened Rabbit already have a history of touring to the Highlands & Islands – so let’s see if this collaboration pulls them back to some home turf (for Hannah) and some rural venues.
So, there you have it – our top tips from us. If you like them, please share this article with your own networks and remember to book in advance!
The Touring Network will be hosting a network meetup for our members – you can find out about this and register here.