Are you ready to embrace Celtic Connections 2021

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When the turkey has been finished – roasted, curried, and fricasseed – thoughts turn to winter warmers – a wee drop of haggis maybe in January for variety.

Instead of setting off first footing on the first – stay at home and plan.

How is 2021 going to be for you? What resolutions have you got now the end of the tunnel shows light?

Well, Celtic Connections has announced the first list of artists who will perform as part of its first online festival. A chance for reflection perhaps?

Normally – remember that? – we gather at the temple of Celtic fun, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, to revel at the skill and talent of Scotland’s and the world’s Celtic fusion players.

That was then – this is now. So, across 19 days, the 2021 festival will present online performances every night between Friday  January 15 and Tuesday  February 2.

Unique digital content from specially commissioned projects and performances will entertain everyone by their own fireside taking them into many of Glasgow’s much-loved venues.

The line-up for Celtic Connections 2021 includes Oban’s own Aidan O’Rourke with his 2020 project 365, one tune for every day.

Breabach, hewn from Lochaber’s wild lands, will be bringing new and preloved material.

Karen Matheson, Kathleen MacInnes, Mairearad Green, Sorren MacLean and Hannah Fisher, Mànran, Duncan Chisholm and the fabulous Elephant Sessions will all take the stage to represent the wider Highlands and Islands.

Musicians Sorren Maclean and Hannah Fisher will be joining Celtic Connection’s 2021 line-up
Elephant Sessions are in on the Celtic Connections 2021 online act

Bringing the International element alive are De Temps Antan, Le Vent Du Nord, Cherish The Ladies, José González, and   Rhiannon Giddens along with Francesco Turrisi.

All these along with the SCO, featuring Karine Polwart and Pekka Kuusisto, head a host of the special commissions and creative collaborations that have made the festival both distinctive and internationally acclaimed, year on year.

Donald Shaw, from Taynuilt, has been that creative force of Celtic Connections and has cast his spell to create the innovative fusions everyone has loved over recent years as festival director.

Donald told the Oban Times: ‘It has been a challenging but exciting process pulling this year’s digital festival together. We can’t wait to bring all of this great music into people’s homes this January!’

Normally 100,000 attendees fill Glasgow’s hotel beds and restaurants at a quiet time of year, so organisers hope the festival’s digital-first programme will appeal to the wide international audience they see attending future festivals. With the festival’s global audiences in mind, they have arranged for all shows to be available for a week after they are first streamed. All time zones catered for in one move!

Councillor David McDonald, chairman of Glasgow Life and depute leader of Glasgow City Council, welcomed the showcase saying: ‘This year, more than ever, the festival will connect people around the world through a love of music with its roots in Scotland.’

Celtic Connections began in 1994, when its 66 events centred around one venue, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, and welcomed 27,000 attendees. Since those early days Celtic Connections has become more adventurous, more experimental, and more diverse and now annually welcomes 300 artists to Glasgow for more than 2,000 events. Well, it will in 2022 we trust – in the new normal.

The price for an All-Access ticket is  £40 and they are available at www.celticconnections.vhx.tv