Celtic Connections' melting pot promises a feast


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The Independent Culture

As the festival approaches its 20th anniversary next year, it's becoming harder to join the dots between musical strands at Glasgow's celebration of folk, roots and world music, Celtic Connections. There are surely few other festivals around the world which would commission posthumous tributes to both the recently deceased Stealers Wheel singer Gerry Rafferty and the Dust Bowl troubadour, Woody Guthrie, and none which would enlist wildly eclectic line-ups including The Proclaimers, Ron Sexsmith, Cream's Jack Bruce, James Vincent McMorrow, Jay Farrar and Guthrie's granddaughter Sarah Lee Guthrie to perform at them.

"We try to establish the idea that there's a huge amount of spontaneity and that we're open to new ideas," says the festival's artistic director Donald Shaw, co-founder of esteemed Scots folk group Capercaillie. Amidst a long list of other one-off shows this month will be Floating Palace, a "musical salon" hosted by Robyn Hitchcock and featuring K T Tunstall, Martin and Eliza Carthy and Giant Sand's Howe Gelb, and a collaboration between Bruce and Scots folk group Lau. Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, The Unthanks and Bruce Hornsby will be amongst the artists hosting their own shows.

Celtic Connections, various venues, Glasgow (www.celticconnections.com) to 5 February