5 things you need to see at Celtic Connections
Now in its 26th year, Glasgow’s annual winter festival is about so much more than roots and folk music. David Pollock shares five of this year’s must-see shows...
1. Heir of the Cursed
Having recently supported post-rock figureheads Mogwai at their intimate charity show in Glasgow’s SWG3, Dumfries-raised Beldina Odenyo Onassis is one of the most exciting new talents in Scotland. The songwriter and poet makes delicate, fragile rock ballads which highlight her sparse guitar playing, raw lyricism and spine-tinglingly powerful voice. Hug & Pint, Friday 18 January.
2. Roaming Roots Revue: Abbey Road at 50
Lonesome Fire frontman and BBC Radio Scotland regular Roddy Hart returns with his Roaming Roots Revue, this year gathering a diverse bunch of talents together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ Abbey Road album. Scottish star KT Tunstall; folk trio The Staves; and You Tell Me, a new group comprising Admiral Fallow’s Sarah Hayes and Field Music’s Peter Brewis are just a few of the acts paying tribute. Royal Concert Hall, Sunday 20 January.
3. John Grant
Formerly a cult success with his old band The Czars, Grant’s struggles with drugs and alcohol saw him fall into a wilderness period for the best part of a decade but he returned in2010with hugely acclaimed solo album Queen of Denmark (the first of five to date). Anyone who caught his heart-stopping festival performance will know the Colorado-raised songwriter’s live show is a singular experience showcasing his starkly confessional lyricism and enigmatic electro-rock instrumentation. King’s Theatre, Friday 01 February.
4. Underachievers Club: Lost Map
Glasgow’s latest indie music night Underachievers Club joins forces with the Lost Map label, an Isle of Eigg-based output of eclectic alternative music for an all-day event shining a light on some of Scotland’s finest young bands. Underachievers’ founders Siobhan Ma and Craig Angus’ groups Happy Spendy and Savage Mansion (pictured) are on the bill, along with The Spook School, Mush, Rozi Plain, Calum Easter and Hairband. Glad Café, Saturday 19 January.
5. Brave in Concert
Fans of the Scotland-set Disney-Pixar animation Brave will be able to experience the world premiere of a special live concert experience, featuring some of the musicians who performed on the score playing live while the film is shown onscreen. The live soloists -all Celtic Connections regulars–are Chris Stout, Lorne MacDougall, Jim Sutherland and Jarlath Henderson, backed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Royal Concert Hall, Saturday 19 January.
Celtic Connections takes place in various venues around Glasgow between 17 January and 03 February. For more information and full listings, go to celticconnections.com