Embracing all musical cultures, CELTIC CONNECTIONS proves that an open mind is the key to a happy heart. In the same spirit of eclecticism, here’s a genre- by-genre guide to Glasgow’s essential Celtic music festival.
Words: Kenny Mathieson with Mark Robertson
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The core of the festival, represented in many different forms, stretching from pure unaccompanied song through to hi-tech crossovers from the heartland Celtic territories of Scotland, Ireland, Brittany. northern Spain. and Cape Breton.
The music of these areas has been spread all over the world with various historical migrations and is a powerful influence on many of the other genres represented, especially American music.
Celtic music is by no means a single unified genre and each of its strands has its unique musical identity, both in instrumental music and song. In the past couple of decades there has been a great deal of experimenting with extending the bedrock traditional and folk musics in more pioneering directions.
William Jackson and Brian McNeill Commissions, Concert Hall, 16 Jan; Old Blind Dogs & Shine, Strathclyde Suite. 18 Jan; Kepa Junkera, Old Fruitmarket, 29 Jan; Cara Dillon. Karan Casey, Eleanor Shanley. Strathclyde Suite. 20 Jan; Capercaillie & Alboka, Concert Hall. 25 Jan; Bagad Kemper, Concert Hall. 26 Jan; Breton Voices, Old Fruitmarket. 27 Jan; Paul Brady & The Liberty Belles, 1 Feb; Elspeth Cowie & Friends, Strathclyde Suite, 30 Jan; Mercedes Peon and Susana Seviane, Strathclyde Suite. 2 Feb.
26 THE LIST 4—1 7 .Jan 2002
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The international non-genre specific singer- songwriter has developed into a genre of its own. a process which goes back at least to Bob Dylan's emergence from the folk scene into the big world of rawk in the 60s. No longer seen as just a folkie. the sitiger-songwriter took wing as an identifiable entity.
The highly personal approach of the true singer-songwriter takes many forms. from first— person confessional songs with just a guitar or piano for company. through to large-scale bands and even orchestras. and from folky simplicity to the musical complexities of. say. Joni Mitchell.
Whatever the approach. the hallmark of the genre remains that intimate. emotional. personal voice. even where. as in the Indigo Girls. there is more than one.
Horse with Hindsight. Concert Hall. 27 Jan: Bruce Cockburn. Old Fruitmarket. 31 Jan; Indigo Girls. Old Fruitmarket. 1 Feb.
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Rock music has always pilfered other musical genres for inspiration. whether it‘s The Clash adopting reggae or the prog rockers such as Yes drawing on classical music for ideas. Celtic music is no exception.
Acts such as The Hothouse Flowers. The Waterboys and Runrig have enjoyed considerable success in cross-pollinating Celtic rhythms and instrumentation with their rock roots. even if such dabbling has been less fashionable of late. With any luck some deft programming here will help put paid to that snooty attitude — look out for NMIE faves Kings Of Convenience among the opening Nordic Nights show on 18 January at the Arches for one.
Given the genre-embracing spirit of the festival. acts such as feisty indie strummers Snow Patrol have a home as much as anyone on the bill. Regarded as an indie supergroup. Reindeer Section follow in the spirit of any quality backroom folk jam. with numerous faces from
Mike Scott of The Waterboys