Strange bedfellows

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CELTIC Connections reaches its peak this week, as musicians of every genre pop up before the ever-nearing festival finish.

Proceedings were opened last Thursday by a firelight performance on the steps of the Royal Concert Hall — and since then audiences have been flocking to Glasgow venues to see performers from far and wide.

This reporter ventured out to the east end last week, to catch Hindi-fusion group Cornershop and Glasgow indie band 1990s at Platform — a brilliant, intimate gig which showcased the diversity of Celtic Connections (for further proof, have a listen to Cornershop’s wonderful cover of Norwegian Wood).

But the fun isn’t over yet – here are just a few highlights for the week to come.

Tonight, Scottish folk artist King Creosote and electronica artist Jon Hopkins play tunes from joint, now Mercury-nominated album Diamond Mine.

The duo will no doubt draw a big audience to the O2 ABC, and fans of the King may also appreciate their poignant, funny, and ever-so-slightly weird support act, one-man band Withered Hand.

As ever, the weekend presents a wealth of gigs for festival-goers, including folk favourites Peatbog Faeries.

Also appearing at the ABC, the Faeries offer a traditional music mash-up complete with jigs, reels, jazz, hip-hop, reggae, electronica and whatever else an experienced Connections fan can think of.

And if you think this festival is all about Scottish folksters, you have it all wrong – appearing at the Arches the same night are Motown legends Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.

Dancing in the Street may be moved indoors to the cavernous venue – it is January after all – but the audience can look forward to plenty of 60s hits, proving that Celtic Connections is more than a one-genre pony.

For music lovers with appetites still unquenched, there’s also a variety of workshops available throughout the weekend – from Gaelic singing lessons to family fun with old school children’s ditties and lullaby songs.

What more can one festival-goer want?

Events run until February 5. For full listings, venue and ticket info, visit www.celticconnections.com.