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Jonathan Trew: Now in its 19th year, Glasgow’s Celtic Connections is feasibly older than some of the musicians who have played at it

ADMITTEDLY, compared to some of the grizzled veterans who are appearing under its auspices this weekend, it’s still a whippersnapper but, for those who remember its debut, it can be hard to grasp that nearly a fifth of a century has passed since then.

While ostensibly a Scottish folk festival, Celtic Connections has always been an admirably broad church which has never shied away from exploring musical connections which have only the faintest Celtic tinge. One such performer is Tom Russell, a North American whose rootsy tales are nearly as exotic as his own life. Russell, who plays The Tron tomorrow night, has lived in some interesting places; not least Nigeria during the Biafran War.

My favourite tale is about him meeting Robert Hunter of the Grateful Dead when Russell was driving a cab in New York. Russell sang Hunter one of his songs and impressed him so much that the two performed together, on and off, for nearly 30 years. It is hard to imagine Olly Murs giving a taxi driver the same break.

One of the stand-out gigs is likely to be Bring It All Home: Gerry Rafferty Remembered at the Concert Hall tomorrow night. Rafferty’s daughter Martha, Jack Bruce, The Proclaimers, Barbara Dickson and Roddy Hart are among the many musicians playing tribute to the Paisley-born singer-songwriter.

The Ingleby Gallery in Edinburgh is the place to be at noon today as Greenock artist Alison Watt discusses her work. This is the final week of her exhibition of new paintings at the gallery. Hiding in Full View is inspired by the American Francesca Woodman, a photographer who cut her own life short at a young age.

For a Victorian spooktacular, try The Infamous Brothers Davenport at the Royal Lyceum. It’s a Vox Motus play promising levitating bodies and voices from beyond the grave.

• www.celticconnections.com; www.inglebygallery.com; www.lyceum.org.uk

 

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