THE sounds of the Borders have long been heard at Celtic Connections, which kicks off today.
But the 18th staging of the international folk festival based in Glasgow will include a whole show dedicated to the musicians from this area.
Borders Night in Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Saturday, January 22, has been put together by Shona Mooney, Scottish Borders Council’s traditional and world music development worker.
The Hawick-based fiddler will also feature prominently on stage in her all-female group the Shee, and alongside the likes of Archie Fisher, Matt Seattle, Lori Watson and Iain Fraser in the Borders Tunesmiths, a cross-generational collective.
Shona said: “Donald Shaw, the artistic director of Celtic Connections, asked me to co-ordinate a Borders Night to bring together the best talent the Borders has to offer.
“Borders Tunesmiths is a project I helped put together. It saw nine musicians either from the Borders or born here go on a residential weekend a few years ago, Big Brother style, to write music.
“We have added other musicians for the Borders Night performance, such as Craig Jeffrey who will be singing. Some of the performers won’t have met each other until the night.
“It is a really great festival for the time of the year when there is not much happening.
“Glasgow has a great buzz to it when the festival is on.”
Another joining Shona and co for Borders Night will be Innes Watson, who has an incredible eight appearances ahead of him for this year’s festival.
Among the Birgham fiddler’s most notable shows will be tomorrow night with his 13-man group the Treacherous Orchestra – who entertained Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party – and on Sunday he will pick up a guitar for his new commission as part of the New Voices project.
Innes told us: “It is a showcase of brand new music written by me and arranged by a band made up of fellow musicians I’ve been working with for the last three or four years entitled Glasgow Guitar Colloquium.
“It was imperative that the core musicians (four guitars, bass and drums) would learn the music with all the layers that I had come up with and then bring their own invaluable and unique approach to it and make it their own.
“It has taken quite heavy rehearsal to get the show together but everyone seems happy that the musical ideas are strong, varied, exciting and innovative, which makes me extremely happy!”
Innes’s last show will be on the final night of the festival alongside finalists from the BBC Radio Scotland’s young traditional musician of the year.
“Then I’m going home to run a bath and go to bed!” added Innes.
As well as appearing on Borders Night, Craig Jeffrey of Galashiels has secured a support slot at the Tron Theatre on January 27 with Tommy Reilly, the Glasgow singer-songwriter who shot to fame after winning a televised talent show for unsigned acts.
And another notable show is indie folk group Broken Records, with Ian Turnbull of Earlston in their new six-man line up following the departure of David Fothergill of Melrose, who will appear alongside the Burns Unit this Sunday in the Old Fruitmarket.
For further information and to book tickets, visit www.celticconnections.com