Ten Highlights from Celtic Connections 2019

Celtic Connections returns for its 26th year with over 300 events taking place in Glasgow in January and February 2019

Preview by Alexander Smail | 30 Oct 2018

Celtic Connections, one of the world's largest winter music festivals, returns for its 26th edition in 2019 with over 300 events planned in venues across Glasgow. We've picked ten of the shows we're most looking forward to seeing.

Celtic Connections 2019: Our highlights

Rachel Sermanni & Jarlath Henderson with Scottish Chamber Orchestra @ City Halls, 25 Jan
The music of folk-noir balladeer Rachel Sermanni has the flesh of folk but, if you were to cut the skin, you’d find it pumped with contemporary, genre-bending blood. Performing alongside her is Jarlath Henderson, who was the youngest ever musician to win the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in 2003. Oh yeah, and their backing band for the night is the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Don't miss this one.

Siobhan Wilson and Old Sea Brigade @ St Luke's, 26 Jan
Shortlisted for the 2018 SAY Award for her album There Are No Saints, Elgin-born songwriter Siobhan Wilson returns to Celtic Connections with her unique blend of indie-folk, classical music and French jazz. Joining her is American singer-songwriter Old Sea Brigade, whose music is an emotive mix of folk, country and Americana.

Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert with Marry Waterson & Emily Barker @ Old Fruitmarket, 3 Feb
Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert's joint album Here Lies the Body was released earlier this year to critical acclaim, combining the latter's incredible ability to evoke emotion through guitar plucks and strums with the former's unmatched storytelling. Together with country-soul duo Marry Waterson and Emily Barker, they're sure to put on a terrific show.

John Grant @ King's Theatre, 1 Feb
A man who needs no introduction, John Grant is riding high after the release of Love is Magic earlier this month. We described it as "full of tender proclamations and acerbic bile, mania and zen, bouncing between emotional states with barely contained zest," and if his live set follows suit, it'll surely be something special.

Karine Polwart & Kris Drever with Scottish Chamber Orchestra @ King's Theatre, 27 Jan
Following 2018's SAY-nominated collaboration with Pippa Murphy, A Pocket of Wind Resistance, and the excellent Laws of MotionKarine Polwart makes her return to Celtic Connections with fellow songwriter Kris Drever. Together, with the fantastic Scottish Chamber Orchestra, they'll premiere orchestral versions of their songs, arranged by Pippa Murphy and Kate St John.

Ronnie Spector & The Ronettes and Unoma Okudo @ Old Fruitmarket, 23 Jan
Known for classic hits like Be My Baby, Sleigh Ride and Baby, I Love You, sixties icon Ronnie Spector and her band The Ronettes will help you through the cold Glasgow winter with their heart, soul and passion.

CAKE and Israel Nash @ QMU, 23 Jan
90s rockers CAKE are known for their wide-ranging musical influences, including country music, Mariachi, rock, funk and hip-hop, and together with fellow American genre-bender Israel Nash, their set at Queen Margaret Union will likely be anything but boring.

Niteworks: ‘Comann’ with Special Guests @ Barrowlands, 26 Jan
Scottish electronic/Celtic hybrid group Niteworks are made up of four childhood friends from the Isle of Skye. Their unique sound incorporates Gaelic language and elements of traditional Scottish music with electronic influences; a sound that realistically shouldn't work, but it really does.

Blue Rose Code presents 'This is Caledonian Soul' @ City Halls, 19 Jan
Winning our readers' poll for Scottish Album of the Year last year for his astonishingly accomplished debut, it's safe to say that Ross Wilson (AKA Blue Rose Code) has developed quite a following. By the time you leave This is Caledonian Soul – which, with the help of a 14-piece band, offers his unique take on generations of cult, iconic and classic Scots songs – you'll probably see why.

Distant Voices: Not Known At This Address @ QMU, 31 Jan
Distant Voices' songwriting workshops – run by Glasgow’s Vox Liminis organisation – bring together Scottish musicians with people affected by criminal justice issues, aiming to shine a light on a frequently misrepresented and forgotten area of society. Songs from the enthralling resulting album, Not Known At This Address, will be performed live.

Celtic Connections 2019 runs from 17 Jan to 3 Feb; tickets are on sale now via celticconnections.com