Celtic Connections 2012: highlights to include rare appearances, tributes and nu-folk luminaries

Posted: 9th November 2011

The annual celebration of all things Celtic (the culture and language, not the football team!) continues next January and February with another diverse and exclusive line-up. Glasgow's key venues and spaces will feature top names past and present, Scottish and not-so-Scottish, performing during the two-and-a-bit weeks from 19th January to 5th February. There are far too many to list, but we've picked out some of the highlights in chronological order.

Bela Fleck and the Flecktones will kick things off in style with a show at the Royal Concert Hall on the 19th, reciting tracks from their recently-released album, "Rocket Science", as well as plenty of lively rootsy interaction with returning founder-member Howard Levy, back in the fray. Tickets cost from £18.
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On Saturday 21st Jan, two contrasting shows will compete for your attentions. The first is a much-anticipated one-off reunion for Airdrie's finest export, The Big Dish, at the O2 ABC Academy. If ever there was a band that should have 'made it big', this was it. Steven Lindsay's charges reconvene with "Miss America", "European Rain" etc for one night only for £15.

James Vincent McMorrow James Vincent McMorrow
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Over at the city's smaller-scale Mitchell Library, James Vincent McMorrow will perform an intimate show that will include tracks from his must-have album, "Early In The Morning". Tickets are £14 and the show will include support TBC - you can also find him at the next highlight below!

The Proclaimers with Ron Sexsmith, Barbra Dickson and the aforementioned McMorrow will be paying tribute to the late Scottish artist, Gerry Rafferty on 22nd Jan, (he passed away earlier this year). Famed for his hits "Baker Street" and "Night Owl", Rafferty's canon will be respectfully covered by a whole plethora of admiring musicians. Tickets are now sold out.
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Thea Gilmore is about to unleash her new album, "Don't Stop Singing", her homage to folk luminary Sandy Denny. It's a tribute worth investigating, especially since Gilmore's recent Bob Dylan project was so critically-acclaimed. She plays the Old Fruitmarket on 26th Jan with full band - tickets cost £16.
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King Creosote and Jon Hopkins - on the same night, the glorious strains of one of this year's truly-deserved Mercury Music Prize nominations will ring out from and Jon Hopkins. "Diamond Mine" is set to be a national treasure - check it out at the O2 ABC on 26th Jan - priced from £15.
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There has been far more to Bruce Hornsby (and the Range) than the smash-hit, "The Way It Is" - he's recorded over 25 years' worth of multi-million selling rock, jazz and blues and is about to share it with you at the Royal Concert Hall on 30th Jan. Very rare appearance - tickets from £27.50.

Treacherous Orchestra Treacherous Orchestra
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For the very best knees-up, ceilidh or craic imaginable, the Treacherous Orchestra from Scotland are a true party-band in anyone's language or culture. This is whirlwind folk-rock performed in a traditional way, with a bit of raucous showmanship drawn from jazz, gypsy and cabaret, as well as folk. They play the O2 ABC on 4th Feb - £15.

On the closing night, on 5th Feb, aside from all the usual closing award-ceremonies and concerts, Raul Malo (ex-Mavericks) heads up the perennial Transatlantic Sessions, featuring leading lights in Americana, Irish and Scottish musical heritage. Ruth Moody of the amazing Wailin' Jennys, Eddi Reader and Aly Bain all feature in an all-star line-up. Royal Concert Hall - £25.

As well as the above highlights, you can also catch African-American string-band, Carolina Chocolate Drops (20th Jan, O2 ABC - £15), Janis Ian (24th Jan, City Halls - £15), Martin Simpson and friends (26th Jan, City Halls - £15), Martha Reeves and the Vandellas (29th Jan, The Arches - £20), Damien Dempsey (1st Feb, O2 ABC - £15) and the return of Colin MacIntyre, aka Mull Historical Society (3rd Feb, O2 ABC - £15). For more shows, scroll down!

Paul Pledger