Sure, it brightens up a dreich Glaswegian January. Sure, it provides entertainment and employment to some. Sure, some of it is interesting. But, let's face it, a lot of it is shit. A lot of it is bland. In short, it's music to sit on your arse to.
There are always some jewels though - Shane MacGowan and the Popes, Vatersay Boys or this year's Mogwai offering. Too much of it though remains bland, uninspiring and commercial. Faded rock stars know they can add something acoustic to give their product a 'Celtic' veneer and provide a pay cheque. It's only a matter of time before Mumfart and Sons make an appearance.
Not only does Celtic Connections need to be more challenging and obnoxious but it needs to be more... Celtic.
Language is at the root of Celtic identity and unfortunately there seens to be too little of it at Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall. In the beginning, I can remember the likes of Anne Lorne Gillies giving Gaelic classes and Gaelic having some sort of profile in the official programme.
Like the morbid Royal National Mòd, Celtic Connections seems to be the nice but boring neighbour when compared to what the Bretons, Welsh or Basques do.
When organisers of the Turas Roc nan Cànan Ceilteach back in 2008 wrote to Donald Shaw - CC chief and member of supermarket-muzak band Capercaillie - they received no reply. This despite three genuine Celtic rock bands being available - Na Gathan and Oi Polloi singing in Scottish and Les Ramoneurs de Menhirs singing in their native Breton. The tour went ahead and was covered by BBC Alba on their notable Rapal programme that can still be found here.
So, here are some vids to remind the publicly funded of Celtic Connections that grassroots Celtic music that you can actually move your arse to still exists. At the very least, here's hoping they can bring the mighty Les Ramoneurs across again. Unfortunately, the late and great Yr Anhrefn from Wales are no longer with us...