Glasgow Letter – October 21, 2021

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During the winter lockdown last year, I popped out for a curry on Dumbarton Road – to the Curry Pot, if anyone is looking for takeaway recommendations!

As I awaited my order, I took a walk along the road to the Kelvingrove Museum.

Expecting to find it closed for the evening, I was intrigued to notice a light on inside, so I wandered up the famous steps to the front door and peered in. To my disbelief, I discovered Karen Matheson singing at the head of a full orchestra surrounded by a film crew. There was no audience except for me outside in the cold and dark.

When I realised what I was doing was probably quite creepy, and that my curry would no doubt be ready by now, I quickly headed back to the takeaway.
It was a strange thing to stumble upon and, of course, it was one of a great many unusual things that were happening at that time – particularly within the music industry as artists and production companies alike tried to adapt to the lockdown. I found out later that the filming had been for Celtic Connections, which was staging a virtual festival in order to provide fans with at least something when it was still illegal to host actual concerts and shows with live audiences.

The reason I am recalling this story now is that, almost a year later, tickets went on sale this month for next year’s Celtic Connections. The festival will take place from January 20 to February 6.

In a sure sign that things are returning to normality, the 2022 programme is a much more familiar read – with actual live shows in front of real people!
It really is quite a line up.

The opening night alone (a showcase evening on January 20 called Neath the Gloamin’ Star) features the likes of Fiona Hunter, Steve Byrne, Paul McKenna, Ellie Beaton, Cameron Nixon, and Jenny Sturgeon, plus joint musical directors Hannah Rarity and Innes White.

This will be an excellent start to an exciting festival.

As January edges closer, I’ll be sure to preview a few of the shows on offer and review whichever ones I manage to attend. The festival did a lot of great work providing social media content for everyone throughout the darkest days of lockdown but it is, without doubt, wonderful news that this year’s festival will see so many artists and fans reunited in person.

In another sign that normality is returning, the Comunn Tìr nam Beann are having their first post-Covid meeting through in Edinburgh on Friday October 29.
This is a particularly special event as it is a celebration of their 100 years of promoting Gaelic music and song.

The twice delayed centenary dinner features entertainment by Arthur Cormack, Joy Dunlop, Calum MacLeod, Neil MacLure (piper), and after dinner speaker, Roddy John MacLeod.

Tickets are £30 and the evening begins at 7pm for 7.30pm in the Royal Scots Club, 29 Abercromby Place, Edinburgh.