ENTERTAINMENT: Celtic Connections returns with special summer concerts

Celtic Connections, the UK’s premiere celebration of roots music, is set to showcase a series of special concerts this summer.

Best known as the largest winter music festival in Europe, Celtic Connections are parking their parkas and donning their shades for some summertime showcases.

The rescheduled shows, which were due to be part of the festival in January but were postponed due to the COVID restrictions that were in place at the time, will take place in Glasgow’s Concert Halls this summer.

Two of the flagship events this summer are unique orchestral collaborations with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

The Isle of Skye electronic Celtic fusion band Niteworks will be joined by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, alongside special guests Sian, at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Wednesday 22nd June.

For this bespoke concert Niteworks will team up with the orchestra and composer John Logan to create an exclusive show featuring orchestral versions of the Skye band’s genrebending back catalogue, including music from their recently released third album.

The show will demonstrate the cinematic depth to Niteworks’ unique fusion of Scottish traditional and Gaelic music with cutting-edge electronica as shown by their soundtrack work on Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2020 Fare Well project.

Scottish folk favourites Capercaillie will also take the stage flanked by the full splendor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Scottish folk favourites Capercaillie will also take the stage flanked by the full splendor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in a world premiere at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Thursday 23rd June 2022.

Featuring brand-new orchestrations by Greg Lawson (Grit Orchestra), the set-list spans Capercaillie’s entire back-catalogue, from their debut album Cascade, released in 1984, to their latest, 2013’s At the Heart of It All.

Fast approaching their 40th anniversary, Capercaillie stand secure as a seminal presence in contemporary Celtic music, at once revered for their many groundbreaking achievements and beloved as a still thrilling live act.

Their role as pioneers of Scotland’s Gaelic song revival, thanks to Karen Matheson’s sublime vocals, and the store of songs passed down from her Barra grandmother, has inspired myriad successors, while their innovative, outward-looking approach to arrangements and instrumentation has been hugely influential in today’s ongoing Scottish folk renaissance.

The concert will mark yet another first in this band’s illustrious career, featuring the long-established line-up of Matheson, Donald Shaw, Charlie McKerron, Michael McGoldrick, Ewen Vernal, Manus Lunny and David Robertson with James Mackintosh on drums.

Karen Matheson, founding member and lead singer of Capercaillie, said: “This will be such an incredible night for the band, we have had the most fantastic few decades performing together and we can’t wait to celebrate with this special night showcasing our back-catalogue with the sublime accompaniment of the BBC SSO.”

Dominic Parker, Director, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, says: “It’s fantastic for the orchestra to be part of Celtic Connections once again and to perform these special concerts on consecutive nights with two of Scotland’s finest bands. Capercaillie have set the pace for decades, and Niteworks bring their own innovation to the genre in this specially devised show. We are really looking forward to both these evenings!”

Sierra Ferrell will perform songs from her hotly awaited debut album

The third rescheduled winter show taking place this summer is Sierra Ferrell who will play the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall’s New Auditorium on Sunday 26th June.

Sierra Ferrell, pictured above right, will perform songs from her hotly awaited debut album, Long Time Coming – a mix of country, folk, bluegrass and jazz.

A singer-songwriter and multi-Instrumentalist with a spellbinding voice, she grew up in small-town West Virginia before traversing America with a troupe of musicians, playing everywhere from truck stops to moving freight train boxcars.

After years busking on the streets and living in her van, she moved to Nashville and landed a record deal on the strength of her live show. Still bearing traces of her rambling folkster roots and gloriously unbound by genre or era, her music transports listeners to an enchanted world.

Soulful Southern rock group St. Paul & The Broken Bones will perform tracks from their new album The Alien Coast at their Celtic Connections summer show on Tuesday 2nd August.

A fever dream in sonic form, St. Paul & The Broken Bones’ new album The Alien Coast represents the most adventurous and original output yet from an ever-evolving musical powerhouse. In a profound shift for the Alabama-bred eight-piece—the band’s fourth album strays far from the time-bending soul of past work like their 2014 debut, arriving at a convergence of rock & roll and R&B, psychedelia and funk.

Celtic Connections Creative Producer, Donald Shaw, said: “I am delighted that we are showcasing these three very special gigs this summer. When they were postponed in January, we were all determined to ensure they still went ahead at a later date when it was safer for everyone to gather and enjoy the music.

“As we’ve seen over the past couple of years, playing and consuming music is a hugely important part of so many people’s lives.

Creativity is a key part of our human existence and no matter what the circumstances, it brings us all together during the most difficult of times. I am really looking forward to celebrating these very special connections on a bright and warm June night – a very different experience than enjoying these moments during the dark, cold nights of January.”

Despite there being restrictions in place for the first few days of Celtic Connections 2022, the festival still marked a welcome revival for the scene as musicians came together in celebration during an 18-day programme of events earlier this year.

Celtic Connections 2022 was the 29th edition of the world-famous event, which showcases hundreds of performances that span traditional folk, roots, Americana, jazz, soul and world music.
Each year the January blues are well and truly banished as Glasgow comes alive with hundreds of performances, landmark musical collaborations, talks, workshops, film screenings, theatre productions, ceilidhs, exhibitions, free events and late-night sessions.

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