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Written by on 15/01/2015

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As Celtic Connections gets ready for The Opening Concert tonight Québécois quartet Le Vent du Nord entertained passers by on the steps of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall this morning to mark the opening day. With instrumentation including fiddle, accordion, hurdy-gurdy, mandolin, guitar, bass, foot percussion and jaw harp, the captivating foursome amused revellers with their boundless joie de vivre!

The Opening Concert for 2015 is a much anticipated live world premiere of Martyn Bennett’s final masterpiece Grit, originally released in 2003, and widely recognised as a towering landmark in contemporary Scottish music – the 2015 festival coincides with 10th anniversary of Bennett’s passing.


Tonight’s performance will be of an almost entirely studio-created album that has been lovingly reconstructed by violinist and composer Greg Lawson for a custom designed orchestra of folk, jazz and classical musicians.

An array of fantastic surprise guest singers will be accompanied by well known folk musicians including James MackintoshRoss AinslieAli HuttonCatriona McKayDavid McGuinnessCalum MacCrimmon and Fraser Fifield.

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 The next 18 days will be a smorgasbord of musical performances from African diva Angélique Kidjo raising the roof of the concert hall with the backing of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, to Hollywood’s most sought after composer Craig Armstrong playing well-loved hits from scores he’s composed for The Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge, to the extraordinary Congolese band Konono No.1 who will be making music from salvaged car parts and other junkyard finds.

Donald Shaw, Artistic Director of Celtic Connections, said: “Here we go again – Celtic Connections is underway for its 22nd year! As ever we can’t wait to showcase the very best of Scotland’s traditional music alongside a huge array of eclectic international acts such as Brazil’s Criolo, Mali’s Songhoy Blues and India’s Ganesh Kumaresh. This year we are also recognising some of the great traditional music revolutionaries such as Martyn Bennett in our Opening Concert and Ewan MacColl in a celebratory night when we will mark his centenary.


“We will not, however, only be showcasing world class music from across the globe, one off collaborations and celebrating the godfathers of the scene – there will also be a number of concerts that celebrate the amazing stories behind the making of hand-made instruments. It is easy to forget about the love and care that goes into creating these personal and exceptional instruments and there is a connection to be drawn between the uniqueness of the musical collaborations we endeavour to showcase at the festival and the creative qualities of these individual instruments.”


Councillor Archie Graham, Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “By the look of this year’s programme, Celtic Connections looks set to once again firmly place Glasgow on the world music map. Year on year the festival attracts visitors to our city to enjoy world-class music and offers them a sanctuary from those January blues.


“As a cornerstone in Scotland’s cultural calendar Celtic Connections continues to contribute to a hugely positive cultural and economic impact for the city and country as a whole and further enhances Glasgow’s reputation as a major tourist destination.”


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