Bodhrán Players Guide To Celtic Connections 2019

Bodhrán players guide to Celtic Connections 2019

It’s that time of year, everyone is getting ready to head back to work after the Christmas holidays and are probably feeling a bit blue about it! In Glasgow, however, the city is getting ready for the yearly extravaganza that is Celtic Connections.

Celtic Connections is one of the biggest winter music festivals around, and the atmosphere in Glasgow while the festival is on is one of a kind. There are so many amazing gigs on, as well as workshops and a variety of stalls at the GRCH. Of course not everyone reading this will be able to make it along to Celtic Connections, but I wanted to put together a quick guide for any bodhrán players who will be attending so you can make sure you get out and see some brilliant players! If you’re not heading to Celtic Connections this year, you can still check out these bands if you haven’t heard them before and take a look at their recordings and videos so you can enjoy some lovely bodhrán playing even if you can’t see it live.

There are also some great workshops by Cormac Byrne during the festival which I’ve noted here; make sure you try and check these out if you can! Finally, if you’re in Glasgow and looking for some bodhrán lessons or to improve your playing, the Glasgow Fiddle Workshops usually have a stall for the duration of the festival at the GRCH. Head along there to find out about their classes; GFW is a Glaswegian institution of folk music and everyone there is really lovely. You can sign up for some group lessons with some great teachers, and it’s the perfect way to get confident with your playing and even get ready to head out to some sessions if you haven’t been able to yet.

Here’s my list of gigs to check out for some brilliant bodhrán playing:

*click each gig to go through to its listing and details on the Celtic Connections website*

Daoiri Farrell and friends: ‘The Dublin Session’

Well-known Irish player and teacher Robbie Walsh will feature on bodhrán at this gig. He’s a brilliant player, and I love his Instagram feed for lots of great videos of exercises and his students playing awesome rhythms; I highly recommend taking a look!


Orkney Gathering: Generations

Jenny Moynhian & Mairi Chaimbeul with Gnoss

Up and coming band Gnoss are part of these gig; their group features flute, whistle, bodhrán and guitar. Some really nice playing to check out by their bodhrán player Craig Baxter here! You can see more of Craig’s playing on his Instagram feed.


The New Tradition: Talisk, Vishten, and Xabier Diaz

Candian trio Vishten feature on this triple bill, and they have some nice bodhrán playing featuring in their music. This is a great one you won’t want to miss!


Rura & Talabarte

Well-known Scottish group RURA will be on the bill here, and their bodhrán player David Foley is a great player. You can see more about David and his other projects on his Instagram feed. Check it out!


Deaf Shepherd and Alden Patterson & Dashwood

This is a really exciting one; Deaf Shepherd are celebrating their 25th anniversary at this gig. Bodhrán player Mark Maguire is brilliant, I love his playing. Try to make it along to this one if you’ve never heard them!


Danu with Imar and Huntza

This looks to be a brilliant gig. You won’t want to miss the bodhrán playing of Adam Brown here with Imar; they’re a total powerhouse and his playing is pretty incredible. You can see more of Adam’s playing and other projects on his Instagram feed too.


Paul McKenna Band

The Paul McKenna Band are a Glasgow based folk group that have been around for a long time now, and Ewan Baird is a fantastic bodhrán player to check out. He also teaches at the Glasgow Fiddle Workshops, so if you fancy some group lessons with him you should definitely take a look at their stall at the GRCH too!


Cherish The Ladies & Special Guests

Another iconic group who have been around for years, Cherish The Ladies will have special guests at this gig amongst which will include Danú’s mighty bodhrán player Donnchadh Gough. I’ve been a huge fan of his playing for years!


The Bard’s Tale: Live Premiere & Heisk

Ross Ainslie & Ali Hutton’s Symbiosis with Anxo Lorenzo Band

Last but not least, Martin O’Neill will be featuring on bodhrán at these two gigs. They look like they’ll be great, so make sure you don’t miss out. His playing is always incredible to hear live!


Other Events

You can also get along to these come-and-try workshops with Cormac Byrne:




If you’ve been playing for a little bit and want to try out a session but haven’t managed yet, try to get along to the Big Slow Session:


And there we have my bodhrán players guide to Celtic Connections 2019! Did I miss anyone?! Let me know in the comments below if I’ve missed any gigs with awesome bodhrán players that will be happening during the festival. 

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