Celtic Connections 2023 Preview

If you’re looking for some Christmas gifts this year then one glance through the Celtic Connections schedule will leave you overwhelmed by choice. Last year Omicron decimated the usually strong Americana programme, leaving only a few overseas artists playing the funded Transatlantic Sessions. Thankfully this year they have been able to return to a more normal looking schedule, with the festival celebrating its 30th year and offering a diverse array of artists across genres for every kind of roots music fan.

The 30th Anniversary concert is a packed event, with artists like Karine Polwart, Sierra Hull and Rachel Sermanni alongside a unique live band. Transatlantic Sessions will this year feature Amythyst Kiah, Martha Wainwright alongside Capercaille’s Karen Matheson with the usual house band keeping up the classic tradition of celebrating the links between Celtic music and North America. Roaming Roots Revue is celebrating its tenth anniversary and will have an all-star line up including Lisa Hannigan and Jesca Hoop.

Elsewhere in the programme we have the return of legend Lucinda Williams, who is thankfully recovered well enough from her stroke to make the trip across the pond. Mary Chapin Carpenter will also make a return to the festival, playing alongside her Scottish friends Karine Polwart and Julie Fowlis in what is billed as a ‘Song Circle’ and will surely be one of the highlights of the festival.

Other blog favourites making an appearance at this year’s event include Sierra Hull who will play with Rachel Baiman, Emily Scott Robinson who will perform her ‘Built on Bones’ project with Alisa Amador and Violet Bell, Aoife O’Donovan performs solo as well as doing Springsteen’s ‘Nebraska’ in full and Amythyst Kiah will also have her own solo show. Another interesting addition to the Americana line up is a show with Oregon duo The Hackles and the wonderful Lizzie No.

What’s clear about this brilliant festival is that you could go to any event in the programme and be guaranteed an evening of quality musicianship and entertainment. What a joy it is every January!

I’ve made a playlist featuring some of the women playing the festival for your further listening: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0RxrU7Mk54FUDBbJwJKHPy?si=CIdUbvdNQVeKy3UIh1HMKQ

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