Celtic Connections: Trad Trail Tours


It’s our third year at Celtic Connections, and we’re very proud to run our Merchant City Trad Trail tours again. The tours have sold out for the last two years and we’re expecting to do so again in 2018. Places on the tours are limited, but there are still some tickets available here.


The tour begins at the Scottish Music Centre on Candleriggs. A resource for both the public and professional musicians, the SMC is a treasure trove and home to a huge archive of Scottish music material.


The good people at the SMC have kindly collated a mini-exhibition of Scottish music artefacts relating to Celtic Connections, and along with a welcome dram of Legacy from our kind sponsors, Tomatin, we will be telling the tales behind these objects before setting out on our tour.

Tomatin Legacy

From Burns to the bards of the shipyards, unusual rider requests, skirls and skirmishes, the tour traces the story of Glasgow’s folk and roots scene, including legendary sessions in long-standing bars to today’s Celtic Connections headliners. Walking some of Glasgow’s oldest streets, our expert guides share tales of the songwriters and storytellers who have shaped the city’s vibrant folk culture.

The tours start with a dram of Tomatin and end somewhere cosy where you are welcome to buy another whisky or warm your hands around a cup of tea or coffee.

Tours start Fri 19 Jan and tickets are selling fast:


The Sikh Pipe Band by Peter Ross

To celebrate the launch of his new book The Passion of Harry Bingo and our Piping Live tours, Peter Ross and his publisher Sandstone Press have graciously allowed us to use this wonderful piece by Peter on The Sikh Pipe Band’s appearance at Piping Live in 2015. Thanks also to Michael McGurk for allowing us to use his photograph. Keep an eye on our Facebook page later this week for a chance to win copies of The Passion of Harry Bingo.  Over to Peter…


Beneath a Saltire blue sky, with Irn-Bru in their bellies and an old Punjabi war cry on their lips – ‘Sat Sri Akaal!’ – the men and women of the Sri Dasmesh pipe band march out into the grassy arena of Glasgow Green, the first time a Malaysian group has competed at the world championships, and give their medley laldy. ‘Gaun the Sikhs!’ shouts a turbaned fellow in the crowd.
The World Pipe Band Championships, known as ‘The Worlds’, is the Olympics of piping. Some 230 bands from sixteen nations, adding up to around 8,000 pipers and drummers, are taking part this year. The championships date back to 1906, but they have never seen anything quite like Sri Dasmesh.


Photograph by Michael McGurk

There are about forty of them, ranging in age from early teens to early sixties, tricked out in a manner that makes the uniforms of even their gaudiest rivals appear drab. Over white robes they wear a bright sash, a plaid in Royal Stewart tartan, and a faux tiger-skin apron, combining in one outfit the distinctive styles of Mason Boyne, Mary Doll Nesbitt and the Bay City Rollers. All of this, mind, topped with a turban and pink plume, or kalgi, bearing the symbol for ‘One God’. They look amazing: Glasgow fabulous; Kuala Lumpur dead brilliant. Continue reading

The Barrowland Ballroom by Peter Ross. Photographs by Anne Ward


We’re really looking forward to The Passion of Harry Bingo, the new book from award-winning writer, Peter Ross, due in August. In the meantime to keep you going we’re re-running the popular photo essay by Peter and photographer Anne Ward on the legendary Barrowland Ballroom.   For more of Anne’s writing and photographs check out her fabulous books, Nothing To See Here and Northern Delights. Keep your eyes peeled for news of Anne’s new book, Way Out West, coming soon!  Thank you Anne and thank you Peter.

tumblr_mthm6bg6cv1rikbdbo1_1280Double doors, Barrowland, Glasgow (Anne Ward)

TEN letters. Thirty-six stars. Two hundred and forty volts. Put that like that it does not sound like much, but the neon sign of the Barrowland Ballroom is so much more – a gaudy, gallus pleasure beacon which for generations has shone out into the Glasgow night, reflected in the mirrored windows of rock band coaches, in rain-choked Gallowgate gutters, and in the eyes of music fans intent on the good time to end all good times. “What can ye say, darlin’?” shrugged one young woman, standing in the queue for Biffy Clyro. “The Barrowlands is The Barrowlands.” Put like that, again, it did not sound like much, but it was a statement of pure love and everyone who heard it understood exactly what she meant. Continue reading

Glasgow Jazz Festival 2017: The Bevvy Sisters

The audience know they’ve seen something special * * * * * BROADWAY BABY

Energetic yet measured. Skillful and exuberant* * * * THE SCOTSMAN

Mixing equal measures of sweetness and sass, grit and glamour, heartbreak and hilarity – cut with a dash of potent Scottish spirit – Since 2006 The Bevvy Sisters have won a uniquely distinctive place in audiences’ hearts … imagine the Andrews Sisters with switchblades! Their radiantly triple-layered voices and artfully wide-ranging repertoire of vintage,contemporary and original songs stand out from the crowd in both style and substance. Pure vocal magic, distilled to the power of three. The Bevvy Sisters are HEATHER MCLEOD, GINA RAE & LOUISE MURPHY with DAVID DONNELLY.

The Bevvy Sisters play Drygate on Saturday 24th June at 9pm. You’re in for a real treat. Tix available here

The Bevvy Sisters Glasgow promo.jpeg

Get the lowdown on Glasgow Jazz Festival with our walking tour on Sat 24th June: 

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Glasgow Jazz Festival 2017: Jazz Tour

My name is Alison Eales, and I’m one of the regular guides for Glasgow City Music Tours. I’ve been involved with Glasgow’s various music scenes since moving here in 1999, mainly by playing keyboards with Butcher Boy and singing with Glasgow Madrigirls. I’ve been lucky enough to play at some of the city’s best-loved venues, including Barrowland, King Tut’s, and – my favourite place in Glasgow – the Panopticon.

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Tour Guide Alison Eales

I’ve been leading the Music Mile tour since last summer, and have recently started leading the Merchant City tour as well. This year I’m leading a special, one-off tour about Glasgow’s jazz history. (I was supposed to be leading the tour last year, but I managed to twist my ankle a week beforehand – possibly an occupational hazard!)

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Save Barrowland Park 2017

The Album Pathway, created by Glasgow artist Jim Lambie, pays homage to the iconic Barrowland Ballroom and its role in Glasgow’s musical history. Arranged like the spines of records on a shelf, the Pathway lists the names and dates of bands who played Barrowland from 1983 until the Pathway was installed for the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Situated just along from the Barrowland, the Pathway forms a welcome “temporary” green space in the heart of a bustling urban area.


Our tour guests on the Pathway

Fans of Barrowland Park is a community group formed to campaign to save Glasgow’s Barrowland Park/ Album Pathway. On Saturday 8th April from 11am-1pm they’re holding an event to spring clean the Pathway.

friends pathway photo

Readers may remember a previous blog we ran about the campaign/ petition to Glasgow City Council last year. Barrowland Park was granted a temporary reprieve and as far as we’re aware that lasts until September this year.


Walking the Pathway with our guests

Like our friends at Fans of Barrowland Park, we’d hate to see the park disappear or move. It makes perfect sense right where it is. Our tour guests love it and are dismayed when we tell them it might not always be here.

Fans of Barrowland Park would love it if you could:

Follow them on FB and twitter.

Keep an eye out for events and public meetings.

Take photos if you’re at the park and either tag them and/or use the #SaveBarrowlandPark hashtag.

Christmas Competition!

We’ve selected a few of our favourite books this year for one bumper bundle for one lucky winner. To enter all you have to do is sign up for our newsletter: we promise not to bombard you with information.  A winner will be picked at random & the closing date is Sunday 11th December.

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