November-December 2010

Scottish performers will include Fiddlers Bid, Saltfishforty, Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, Michael Marra, Dougie McLean, and a welcome return to the festival by the Tannahill Weavers. American acts will include the Blind Boys of Alabama, Green Fields of America, Mavis Staples, Liz Carroll and Crooked Still.

Among the guests from Ireland will be Teada, De Dannan, and the Waterboys, who will be celebrating the works of WB Yeats.

And as always, there will be acts from all parts of the globe. Donald Shaw, Celtic Connections Artistic Director said, "Over the past few years we've explored the connections between Celtic music and cultures around the globe, and this year we're honoured to welcome Zakir Hussain to Celtic Connections for our opening concert. "I think this notion of celebrating global influences really encapsulates what the festival is all about, and hopefully for 18 days in January, the pulse of the world will be Glasgow."

Celtic Connections begins on January 13 and runs for 18 days at venues throughout Glasgow. In addition to the concerts, there are workshops, sessions, open mics, and the Festival Club which goes on through the night... every night... usually all night or thereabouts. There's still time to book your travel and come over... visit www.celticconnections.comfor the details.


 "Flint must be an extremely wealthy town: I see that each of you bought two or three seats."

---Victor Borge on playing to a half-filled house in Flint, Michigan.


Her name is Peng Liyuan. She is a major general in the People's Liberation Army, she is China's UN AIDS ambassador... and she is probably the best known and most popular folk singer in China. It's also probable that she will be China's next first lady.

Peng is married to Xi Jinping, the likely successor to Chinese president Hu Jintao. She has been the country's number one folk singer since 1982, when her first recording was released.

Xi Jinping has been described in the LA Times as unusually personable. "He's extremely warm. He has none of the airs of an official who's impressed with himself,'' said Robert Lawrence Kuhn, who interviewed Xi for a book about the Chinese leadership: How Chinese Leaders Think. If predictions are correct, then by 2012 China could be ruled by a personable man who is married to a folk singer. Could the times, perhaps, be a-changin'?


"There is a bit of insanity in dancing that does everybody a great deal of good."

---Edwin Denby

"On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;

No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet

To chase the glowing hours with flying feet."

---Lord Byron

"There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them."

---Vicki Baum


Green Amoeba: I love Amoeba Music. They have the most wonderful selection of reasonably obscure music-(hey, they even have my CD!). But best of all, they've turned social conscience into an art form. Their latest contribution to the planet is something called Greenaid Seed Bombs, which you're meant to toss into derelict properties where they'll germinate and turn ugly places into green spaces. Best if I simply quote from Amoeba's web site, which I'm sure they won't mind:

 "Amoeba Hollywood is on a mission to help you think green with our just-installed Greenaid Seed Bomb machine! The machine looks like an innocent gumball dispenser, but beware -- these are far from candy! Made from a mixture of clay, compost, and seeds, the 50 cent bombs are made to be thrown anonymously into derelict urban sites to temporarily reclaim and transform them into lush green places. Amoeba is the first and only retailer in Hollywood to have the machine, so act now and become a Johnny Appleseed for the 21st-Century!"


"I don't sing because I'm happy; I'm happy because I sing."

---William James

An American now living in Scotland, Linda Dewar is a singer and a player of various instruments with strings and keys. She can be found performing Scottish and American folk music at gatherings on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as singing In the Aberfeldy and District Gaelic Choir. Visit her web site at


All Columns by Linda Dewar