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Celtic Connections 2012, sponsored by ScottishPower, starts today


The 19th Celtic Connections festival launches in spectacular style today with fire performers and the ScottishPower pipe band warming up for the opening concert, An evening with Béla Fleck and The Flecktones with special guests.

In the next 18 days Glasgow will play host to over 2100 folk, roots, world, traditional, indie, bluegrass, jazz and classical musicians playing at 300 events taking place in 20 venues across the city.

Celtic Connections’ diverse programme celebrates the influence of Celtic music on cultures around the globe, with acts from as far afield as Australia, Greenland, Mexico, Mali, Pakistan, Serbia, Palestine, Senegal, Cuba, as well as across Europe, the USA and Canada all visiting Glasgow to take part in the festival.

Programme highlights include Béla Fleck and the original Flecktones, The Aaron Neville Band, Bruce Hornsby and guests, Jack Bruce (Cream) with Lau, Treacherous Orchestra, a Woody Guthrie Centennial, Orchestra Baobab, Admiral Fallow, The Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band, Song for Ireland, a one-off reunion gig with Glasgow’s The Big Dish, and Floating Palace featuring KT Tunstall.

Celtic Connections Opening Concert: An evening with Béla Fleck and The Flecktones

Two decades on from the original Flecktones’ first parting of ways, Celtic Connections is proud to host the reconvened quartet’s European debut which sees the original Flecktones connecting with some special Celtic guests, including Irish songstress Karan Casey, the fabulous Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes – on whose forthcoming second album Fleck features – and Transatlantic Sessions regulars John Doyle on guitar and flautist Michael McGoldrick.
They will also be joined from further afield by the boundary-busting US singer and banjo doyenne Abigail Washburn, Scotland’s Martin O’Neil on percussion and American bluegrass fiddler Casey Driessen.

Elsewhere over the festival’s opening weekend, Celtic Connections highlights include bluegrass sensations The Punch Brothers, Portuguese fado star Anna Moura, Renowned Scots singer Sheena Wellington, Gaeldom’s finest singers in ‘Cuairt nan Eilean’ and “Bring It All Home” Gerry Rafferty Remembered.

Donald Shaw, Celtic Connections Artistic Director, said:

“Each year we strive to deliver a more diverse and varied festival than the year before. Celtic Connections aims to encompass the finest music from around the world. 

“We are confident that this year’s line up is one of the strongest to date. We’re looking forward to showcasing the very best of Scotland’s traditional music alongside a huge array of eclectic International acts such as Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, Faiz Ali Faiz, The Wiyos and Emir Kusturica & The No Smoking Orchestra.”

Ann Loughrey, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at ScottishPower, said:

“ScottishPower is committed to supporting the arts in the UK and we are delighted to once again support Celtic Connections in 2012 - our sixth year as principal sponsor. The festival brings Glasgow to life each January with world class performances by artists from across the globe, and we are incredibly proud to be involved with this internationally renowned event.”