Campbell connects at Celtic music celebration

A Toast to Ten Years of Tiree Music Festival at Celtic Connection's Fuitmarket venue. Picture by Gaelle Beri.

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Two days, three concerts and four hundred miles. That is what Celtic Connections does to you – it gets under the skin and brings you alive in January to get you moving again, writes Oban FM’s Campbell Cameron.

‘Artistic director Donald Shaw and his team have once again pulled together a fantastic range of music and that diversity was reflected in Thursday’s opening concert Syne of the Times.

This was a celebration of the Feis movement’s work since 2002, with 7,000 youngsters now training with the masters of their musical art. Masters such as fiddlers Lauren MacCall and Oban’s Aiden O’Rourke who joined Duncan Chisholm and Taynuilt’s box maestro Donald Shaw to curate the works that Feis has inspired and commissioned, including Harvest and Kin. All in all, 120 musicians filled the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall stage to create a cacophony of sound for the grand finale. What a spectacle it was!

‘Friday saw me pedal the auld Rover off down the road and back again to enjoy Speysider Hamish Napier’s clever composition The Railway, which celebrates the reopening of Grantown Station as a community and cultural centre on the Speyside line.

With a six-piece band, including his brother Finlay on vocals and Lochaber guitarist Ewan Robertson, Hamish’s music took us on the journey from Granton to Nairn and Aberdeen in the days of steam and diesel. I had only intended to take in the first half as it was A Toast to Ten Years of Tiree Music Festival at the Fruitmarket too, but I stayed to the end of the line for The Railway.

‘Things were getting lively when I arrived at the historic Fruitmarket venue and the Dun Mor Ceilidh band were getting up to full throttle.

TMF Tiree’s Music Festival is 10 this year and this was a chance to reminisce and get a little nostalgic at the success of this amazing island event held each year in July.

The punk rocker with flowers in her hair, Sandi Thom, is back this year as will be surprise guests of the Glasgow night, Tide Lines with The Oban Times very own Robert Robertson at the helm. Robert not only guided his band though an energetic set that had the audience dancing wildly, but he then topped the finale with a Highland version of Springsteen’s hit Dancing in the Dark – the very first video revelation for me in the long gone Rox bar in George Street Oban. The now world famous Skerryvore also played a great set.’

Celtic Connections runs until February 3 at 20 Glasgow venues, with 2,100 artistes performing more than 300 shows.

A unique collaboration at this year’s Tiree festival will be a tribute to The Boss Bruce Springsteen, a collective performance from some of artists on the Scottish folk scene who have been inspired by the man himself.

Other acts in this year’s line up are Jill Jackson, Mànran, Niteworks, Trail West, Gunna Sound, Face the West, Funbox and Heron Valley, not forgetting stalwarts Skerryvore who have performed every year since it began.