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20th Celtic Connections Kicks off in Glasgow

Musicians from around the world are descending on Glasgow for the 18 day winter music festival

By Daniyall Qazi

The 20th Celtic Connections is set to get under way in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, where over 2,100 acts will be performing over 18 days.

Vicente Amigo and his band 'Tierra'

Vicente Amigo and his band ‘Tierra’

The festival will see acts perform at different venues all over the city and will even feature a special tribute concert, dedicated to legendary Scottish folk musician, Michael Marra, who passed away last year at the age of 60 after a battle with cancer.

Flamenco guitar player, Vicente Amigo, and his band kicked off proceedings on Thursday morning, performing on the steps of the Royal Concert Hall for on-lookers and photographers.

The festival won’t only feature Scottish folk music though; there will be a variety of acts hailing from all over the world, drawing on the Celtic Connections between Scotland, Ireland and America.

Some of the previous connections have seemed somewhat strange but organisers argue that the link between Celtic folk music and American roots music is clear and that they only book acts that they can justify being there.

Donald Shaw, of the Scottish-Gaelic folk band Capercaillie, said:  “The festival has now developed into one which is more about connections than Celtic.”

“We definitely have guidelines. I can usually explain why every single artist is playing in terms of that acts’ relevance to folk music or roots music.”

'Tierra' in Action

‘Tierra’ in Action

“Once you start getting into old-time American Blues, R&B, Soul, you are going to find folk music right at the heart of it, if you look deep enough.”

Acts hailing from Cameroon, Mexico, Greenland and the USA will be performing a range of music over the course of the festival, with an eclectic mix of folk music, alternative hip-hop, R&B, rock, blues and funk.

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