Celtic Connections, Various Venues, Glasgow


It is difficult to imagine the post-Hogmanay hangover month of January without Celtic Connections, Glasgow's festival of traditional/ roots music. Launched 14 years ago, the festival has silenced doubting Scottish soothsayers by becoming one of the biggest events of its kind in Europe, with more than 1,000 artists and 300 events in 12 city venues.

From the outset, Celtic Connections was a gathering of loosely related musical clans, and this year's third and final week under the new artistic director Donald Shaw (from the Gaelic band Capercaillie) featured everyone from Rosanne Cash to Idlewild's Roddy Woomble, a joyous Asian-Scottish Burns Mela and the first Scottish showcase for artists from Peter Gabriel's Real World label.

In a programme studded with female American stars such as Mary Chapin Carpenter, Cash unveiled Black Cadillac, a multi-media tribute to her father, Johnny. Closer to home, Woomble was ubiquitous, appearing in any number of guises while conducting his extraordinary author-musician collaboration, Ballads of The Book, in the Royal Concert Hall. The project, conceived by Woomble and the poet Edwin Morgan, had a group of leading Scottish writers, including Alasdair Gray and Louise Welsh, composing lyrics for the likes of Karine Polwart and James Yorkston. It didn't always work, but it was a fascinating experiment all the same.

The inaugural Burns Mela brought UK performers Michael McGoldrick and Michael Marra together with the Indian bansuri flute maestro Hariprasad Chaurasia, introducing Future Pilot AKA's Asian-dub versions of Burns songs sung by Capercaillie's ethereal Karen Matheson. Yet folk fundamentalists still moan about the all-inclusive packaging of genres under the Celtic banner - and the connections are often tenuous - but the global reach of Real World fits the festival's ethos perfectly. And it was even more fitting that the concert was dedicated to Martyn Bennett, the virtuoso Scottish musician and Real World artist who died from cancer in 2005.

In the fairy light-draped Old Fruitmarket - the setting for many Bennett concerts - Daby Touré, the charismatic Mauritanian singer-songwriter, opened, and promptly stole, the show. Playing songs from his forthcoming Stereo Spirit album, he skated gracefully between beguiling ballads, tingling Senegalese dance groves, high-stepping reggae and a kind of sprinting ska. Touré's voice has a sweet, high-register purity and his guitar-work is textured and pointed, rippling across gentle laments, hard chopping rhythms and body-slapping percussion. With his moving and uplifting set, Touré already has the makings of a world music star. "It's like a wee Womad," beamed Shaw. Well, maybe not yet - but it was an impressive start.

A storming set from Cuillin Music, a collection of Martyn Bennett's original collaborators, was a stirring reminder of his legacy as the foremost new traditionalist. Reprising his pungent, juddering electro-reels, the band's fiddles and bagpipes blended into a wash of samples from the keyboard of Bennett's sister Katrina - a stark reminder of his ability to seamlessly meld traditional and contemporary styles.

By contrast, Severa Nazarkhan, the petite 25-year- old Uzbekistan singer, seemed uneasily poised between ancient Uzbek music and coldly technological pop. The girl from Tashkent has a glorious, glacial voice, but the material is mediocre and even her dazzling presence couldn't dispel the momentary thoughts of Eurovision pop from my mind.

Finally, US alt-blues guitarist Skip "Little Axe" McDonald, accompanied by Keith LeBlanc and Doug Wimbish from The Sugarhill Gang, swayed into a set mixed by veteran producer Adrian Sherwood. McDonald's effects-laden swamp blues lends itself to Sherwood's loping ,dub- heavy production, and Bernard (Tackhead) Fowler's vocals conjured a sonic collage echoing with chain-gang chants and gospel. McDonald tends to the self-indulgent, stretching his woozy guitar meanderings to the limit, but this was a mighty ensemble in one of the most emotive nights of a festival confidently stepping into a new era.

Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

First look at Oscar winner as transgender artistfilm
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey


Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower