10-metre puppet to march through Glasgow as Celtic Connections 2020 begins

More than 300 events will take place from Thursday until February 2, with around 2,000 musicians travelling from around the world to perform.

Celtic Connections has returned to Glasgow, with the 2020 programme under way.

More than 300 events will take place across the city from Thursday until February 2 with around 2,000 musicians coming from as far afield as Canada, Senegal, Burma, Finland, India, Australia, Portugal and Mali.

On the first weekend, a 10-metre “sea goddess” puppet called Storm will walk through Glasgow city centre as the festival marks Scotland’s Year of Coasts.

Dubbed the country’s largest puppet, a team from Vision Mechanics will guide Storm from Victoria Bridge at 10am on Saturday before heading to the Merchant City, through George Square and up to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

Donald Shaw, Celtic Connections creative producer, said: “Over the next 18 days we will proudly showcase a rich array of unforgettable music – taking in local talent, international collaborations and inimitable artistic performances.

“We are a proudly outward-looking festival and this year’s programme sets out to excite audiences and illuminate the depth and diversity of musical talent across the globe.

“We look forward to welcoming visitors to the festival from near and far to enjoy the inimitable atmosphere of Celtic Connections.”

Storm, made entirely from recycled materials, was unveiled ahead of its debut at the Celtic Connections Coastal Day celebrations in Glasgow on Saturday (Jane Barlow/PA)

As part of the festival’s opening night on Thursday, a new orchestral symphony inspired by the Declaration of Arbroath will mark the 700th anniversary of the 1320 declaration of Scottish independence with six brand new pieces by leading Scottish composers.

Other highlights of the programme include the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra Robert Burns celebration on January 23, and a 70th birthday tribute to Bruce Springsteen on January 26 – both at the Concert Hall.

Nitin Sawhney, Tessa Lark, Anais Mitchell, Skerryvore, Manran, RURA, Breabach and Salsa Celtica are just some of the artists participating in the 18-day programme.

As well as live music there will be a range of talks, workshops, film screenings, theatre productions, ceilidhs and exhibitions.

Alan Morrison, Creative Scotland head of music, said: “Scotland’s traditional music is the lifeblood of the nation and the envy of the world – and there’s no better way to warm up the winter months than to put that musical heritage on the global stage that is Celtic Connections.

“Over the years, the festival has broadened its musical spectrum but kept its roots drawing deep from Scottish culture – past, present and future.

“Music is what connects us, the hand of friendship we share with the world, and for the next few weeks, Glasgow is its beating heart.”

For more information, visit the Celtic Connections website.

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