Glasgow letter from Robert Robertson 23.01.20

A great crowd of musicians, singers and dancers from Uist and Cape Breton entertained the Old Fruitmarket last Saturday evening to celebrate Ceòlas.

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Stars of Uist and Cape Breton shine at Celtic Connections

Last Saturday evening, I attended the 25th anniversary concert of Ceòlas in the Old Fruitmarket as part of the opening weekend of Celtic Connections.

It was a tremendous evening. The Fruitmarket was laid out with tables which gave the whole night the feel of a massive house cèilidh – the sort I imagine goes on each evening at Ceòlas when the festival (celebrating connections between Uist and Cape Breton) happens each year on the island.

The performances all had that relaxed cèilidh vibe. Dàimh were the house band for the evening and the Fear an Taighe was Gillebrìde MacMillan who started things off with a great rendition of A’ Pheigi a’ Ghràidh.

Over the course of the evening, the audience were treated to songs, tunes and dances from Kathleen MacInnes, Allan Henderson, Ailean Dòmhnullach, Anna Wendy Stevenson and Simon Bradley, Mairi Rankin, Sineag MacIntyre, Mairi MacMillan, Fin Moore, Paul McCallum, Frank McConnell, Ellen MacDonald and Cape Breton’s Miller MacDonald Cormier.

As you can imagine, it is very difficult to pick out a highlight from such a host of talented performers but I certainly enjoyed Kathleen’s rendition of A Thighearna Dhia (the Gaelic version of How Great Thou Art) and Paul McCallum’s flawless version of Sìne Bhàn (accompanied on piano by Allan Henderson) was a real hairs on the back of your neck moment. Allan the Whaler and Seonaidh MacIntyre’s Gaelic singing with the pipes was also brilliant.

I really could go on and on with highlights but I better not because it might make me late for the concert I’m heading to tonight which is The Big Fling – Scottish Dance Music Extravaganza in the Royal Concert Hall.

I dare say you’ll read all about that next week!

What’s on at Celtic Connections

More info at

Thursday January 23: BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 20th celebration in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall at 7.30pm.

Friday January 24: Mànran and Band of Burns in the Barrowland Ballroom at 7.30pm.

Friday January 24: SIAN, EBEN, and the Fèis Rois Cèilidh Trail at 7.30pm.

Saturday January 25: Boghall and Bathgate Caledonia Pipe Band with Tryst in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall at 12.30pm.

Saturday January 25: Skye in His Heart: A musical tribute to Rick Taylor at the Strathclyde Suite at 1pm.

Saturday January 25: Auld Lang Syne: BBC SSO and special guests at 7.30pm in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

Saturday January 25: Gaels Le Chèile at Cèol ’s Craic with IMLE, WHYTE, Marit Fält, and Rona Wilkie at the CCA at 7.30pm.

Saturday January 25: Peat and Diesel and Astrid in the Barrowland Ballroom at 7.30pm.

Saturday January 25: Peatbog Faeries and the Poozies in the Old Fruitmarket at 8pm.

Sunday January 26: Phil Cunningham’s Big 6-0 Birthday Bash in the City Halls at 7.30pm.

Tuesday January 28: Cherish the Ladies 35th anniversary celebration in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall at 7.30pm.