What we’re looking forward to in arts and entertainment this week...
If you only catch one show at Celtic Connections, Transatlantic Sessions is the gig that best sums up the spirit of the festival, both in the way that it throws together musicians from different backgrounds and disciplines for on-the-hoof collaborations, and because it is very much an international affair. A house band featuring Aly Bain, Phil Cunningham, Donald Shaw and more represent the home team at the two shows (on Friday and 3 February), and guests from across the pond include Mary Chapin Carpenter.
The music of Serge Gainsbourg has had a few high-profile champions in recent years – Jarvis Cocker, Beck, Nick Cave – but none as dedicated as the actress and singer Jane Birkin, once his partner and muse, who continues to perform his songs on stage and visits the Glasgow Music and Film Festival on Tuesday to introduce her documentary Souvenirs Of Serge. The screening will be followed by a live set from Birkin.
Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre is known for championing new playwriting, but for nine years it has also hosted Manipulate, an annual festival of visual theatre – a loose term that takes in puppetry (for grown-ups rather than children), animation and some dance and physical theatre. This year, there are also shows at nearby Summerhall, and highlights include puppet interpretations of The Odyssey and the last days of Hitler. It runs from Saturday until 16 February.
Now in its ninth year, Pitlochry’s Winter Words has grown from a small, weekend-long event to festival spread over ten days, which began this weekend and continues until 3 February. Still to come: Alistair Moffat and James Naughtie discussing the Highland Line, an evening with Blackadder and Time Team’s Tony Robinson, Esther Woolfson on how Aberdeen inspires her writing, and lots more.