GLASGOW’S Celtic Connections festival launched today, with more than 2500 musicians expected to take part in 18 days of concerts in January.
The Scotsman’s arts correspondent Brian Ferguson has ploughed through the programme to pick out a dozen early highlights:
The Carrying Stream, 14 January: Siobhan Miller, one of Scotland’s leading singers, will be assembling a one-off tribute to the nation’s finest vocal talents to mark 50 years of the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland.
Ireland 2016, 15 January: A century of Irish culture since the Easter Rising will be celebrated by The Chieftains and an array of guests, including former Dubliners fiddler John Sheahan and singer Declan O’Rourke.
Pilgimer: 16 January: The 40th anniversary of Joni Mitchell’s classic Herija album will be reimagined for Celtic Connections, with original guitarist Larry Carlton part of the line-up.
The Ballads of Child Migration, 19 January: John McCusker, Jez Lowe, Boo Hewerdine, Chris While and Julie Matthews will be among those performing in the live premiere of an album of specially-commissioned songs a little-known aspect of British history.
Le Grand Anniversaire, 20 January: A huge party is being thrown to mark the 70th birthday of Shetland fiddler Aly Bain and 30 years of performing with regular sparring partner Phil Cunnigham.
Graceland, 23 January: Several original South African township musicians who featured on Paul Simon’s original groundbreaking album perform it i its entirety with the Edinburgh band Bwani Junction.
Roaming Roots Revue, 23 January: Roddy Hart’s fourth annual indie music night at the festival turns the spotlight on the musical troubadour, with guests including Del Amitri’s Justin Currie and acclaimed new Edinburgh singer Blue Rose Code.
Concerto for Banjo, 23 January: Grammy winner Bela Fleck will be joined by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Irish uilleann piper Liam O’Flynn for the European premiere of a concerto originally commissioned by the Nashville Symphony.
Just For Gordon, 24 January: A decade on from his death at the age of just 41, the groundbreaking Scottish piper is celebrated and commemorated by former proteges Ross Ainslie and Ali Hutton, his brother Ian and son Gordon Jr.
Scottish National Jazz Orchestra with Eddi Reader, 25 January: The Burns Night favourite performs songs by the Bard himself, as well as Michael Marra and Edwin Morgan.
They Might Be Giants, 31 January: The American rock outfit stage not one but two shows at the O2 ABC - with the first a special family matinee performance suitable for children of all ages.
Bert Inspired - A Concert for Bert Jansch, 31 January: Robert Plant, Bernard Butler, Archie Fisher and Jacqui McShee pay tribute to the late Glasgow-born guitarist.