Celtic Connections 2010 - P.A. Keightley

Photo: celtic connections. This year I found myself at more eclectic, or world music, shows. In fact, looking at the brochure it can be hard to find the authentic Scottish roots music. Could be this is a funding issue as inclusion and world music are currently the big buzz words.

I managed to catch a few of the 'Open Mic' sessions,known as 'The Danny Kyle Stage'. These are held each day at 5pm at the Royal Concert Hall - the standard is very high and acts play to a packed audience. This is the place to find new talent and to get a support slot at Celtic Connections.

The first day I was there, there was a beautiful dark haired violinist from France who had travelled especially to Glasgow for the open mic. On Thursday a very attractive, young girl singer called Rachel Sermanni caught my attention. I found out that she has been working with none other than respected song writer Boo Heredine for her first album and Liz ( who introduces the open mic) said this girl is going places - I thought so too. Also a mention should go to Jim Byrne, who has a deep engrossing voice.

A few of my highlights at Celtic Connections 2010

  • Fyfe Dangerfield - shades of the Beatles and leader of the indie band the Guillemots.
  • Hobopop Collective - with a vibrant live sound of roots, Americana, jazz and blues.
  • The Low Anthem - a laid back hippy feel; with space and flexible bass and influences such as Conor Obrest, The Shins and the Eagles.
  • A special mention also for Michael McGoldrick's new band The Future Tradition.
  • The Transatlantic Sessions - a top quality concert and included - Michael McGoldrick (flute), James Mackintosh (drums, Donald Shaw (piano), Danny Thompson (double bass), John Doyle (guitar), Russ Barenberg (guitar), Bruce Molsky (fiddle), Tim O'Brien (banjo), Sara Watkins (fiddle), Dan Tyminski (guitar and mandolin) - and the musical directors Aly Bain and Jerry Douglas. Plus the lady singers- Eddi Reader, Karen Matheson and Cara Dillon.

After the Transatlantic concert we stopped at the Late Sessions and heard the winner of the BBC2's Young Folk Musician 2009 perform. He was very popular with the audience and had them clapping enthusiastically

Collaborations: Something that I especially enjoy at Celtic Connections is the way artists collaborate with each other. It is obvious how much fun they have on stage (and presumably backstage too!) and at gigs many of the artists spoke about writing with other artists, and how they were inspired by them.

There is a tremendous buzz at the festival and this escalates over the final week-end. You learn loads too, and also meet lots of interesting people. I know how much I got from the folk festivals I went to in my twenties, for me it was an enormous eye opener about music - and so very different from the world of pop/rock music. It also seems less commercial and the influence of the huge media conglomerates is slightly less obvious.

There are also many younger artists, who don't all have the stereotypical stuffy folk image; their music draws on many genres and different cultures. For example - Laura Veirs from Canada, Fyfe Dangerfield (of the alterative band the Guillemots), Speed Camera from Algiers, Hobopop Collective from Manchester and The Low Anthem from New York State. I will add here that my twenty year old musician son (who plays in a rock band) also came to a few Celtic Connections gigs, so I am now more hopeful that not all young people view folk music as 'stuffy' or mainly for older people!

This was the 17th year of Celtic Connections and yet another successful festival. I notice my photos change each year. I am not sure if this is due to my improving - or the festival changing? I wasn't sure if the colour was about the music onstage or the more vibrant stage lighting - maybe it was both. I had a wonderful couple of weeks enjoying music from a wide variety of places, cultures and influences. A big thanks to all involved, and especially the many talented artists and their music.

My Celtic Connections gigs 2010 were:

  • Laura Veirs
  • Hobopop Collective
  • Fyfe Dangerfield
  • Stornaway
  • Beth Nielsen Chapman
  • The Future Tradition
  • Angelique Kidjo
  • Speed Caravan
  • Gypsy Kings and Queens
  • Justin Adams and Juldeh Camera,
  • Bellevue Rendezvous
  • Catriona MacDonald
  • The Low Anthem
  • Danny Thompson
  • Rachel Harrington
  • Diana Jones
  • The Transatlantic Sessions with Jerry Douglas and Aly Bain.

PKIMAGE photography, Glasgow - photographic artist of mainly music, portraits and events. Please visit my website to see my photo work and to get in touch with any questions.

Comments are now closed on this page