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Written by on 20/10/2015

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The programme for Celtic Connections 2016 has been announced today by Artistic Director, Donald Shaw.

From Thursday 14 to Sunday 31 January, 2,500 musicians from around the world will gather in Glasgow for 18 days of concerts, ceilidhs, talks, art exhibitions, workshops, free events, late night sessions and a host of special one-off musical collaborations.

Stars of world, folk and roots music, who will perform on 26 stages at venues across the city, include Rickie Lee Jones, The Chieftains,Lau, The Unthanks, Béla Fleck, Moving Hearts, Robert Plant, Lucinda Williams, Admiral Fallow, Toumani Diabaté, Karine Polwart,Boys of the Lough, and Larry Carlton.

With artists from Inner Mongolia to Armagh, Senegal to Italy, and Brittany to the Outer Hebrides to Southern Manitoba performing at the festival in 2016 Celtic Connections remains a hotbed of musical talent from cultures and countries from across the globe.

The Opening Concert will be celebrating 50 years of the Traditional Music & Song Association of Scotland with musical director Siobhan Miller at the helm.

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A series of concerts In the Tradition will celebrate piping and Gaelic music. Nights dedicated to Gordon Duncan and the Armagh Pipers and a concert recalling the legendary Live in Ireland 78 will put the swirl and power of the pipes centre stage. A special 30thanniversary concert for Fèis Rois, music from Anne Lorne Gillies, and a show entitled Gàidhlig meets Gaelic Americana which brings together Gillebrìde MacMillan and Kyle Carey will be music to the ears of lovers of these two traditions, which remain as fresh, vital and entertaining as ever.

The Auld Alliance between Scotland and France will be centre stage at this year’s Showcase Scotland as the festival celebrates France as the partner country for 2016 and the 10th anniversary of the twinning of Glasgow and Marseille.

At the core of the festival is the award winning Education Programme, which sees thousands of children attend free morning concerts, experiencing live music from Scotland and further afield. Up to 11,400 children will take part in Celtic Connections Education Programme for schools during the 2016 festival, with opportunities including five free morning concerts.

Celtic Connections also continues to play a vital role in fostering new and young talent.  Since 1999 in Glasgow alone the Celtic Connections Education Programme has delivered projects to over 80 per cent of Glasgow schools, with over 90 per cent of that figure being in primary schools, and a total of over 90,000 children and young people benefiting from the programme. Nationally, that figure rises to over 185,000 children and young people from all over Scotland.

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Donald ShawArtistic Director of Celtic Connections, said: “Celtic Connections is rooted in a love of traditional, folk and world music. Since our earliest days the passion, the skill, and the excitement that you find at a live concert at Celtic Connections has inspired us to put together the programme each year.

“For 2016, we are bringing superstars and cult heroes, new talent, and artists who were legends long before the first Celtic Connections was staged.

“This year we weave stories of pilgrimage, of crossing continents, we celebrate anniversaries and the Auld Alliance. We have a lot of amazing concerts to pack into 18 days, join us when Celtic Connections returns next January.”

Councillor Archie GrahamChair of Glasgow Life, said: “Glasgow is a welcoming city which is proud of its heritage and embraces diversity. Each January we host a festival which in many ways mirrors our home city.

“Celtic Connections brings together musicians from across the world for a celebration of musical traditions, the best of contemporary folk and world music, and the ways in which different musical cultures interweave and inspire and, always, entertain.

“The expertise and skill that drives Celtic Connections also shines through in a education programme that benefits thousands of children across Glasgow and Scotland. Invaluable opportunities enrich lives and offer chances to learn, to enjoy, to be part of the always unique, always brilliant musical happening which is Celtic Connections.”