Page last updated at 15:59 GMT, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 16:59 UK

N'Dour to play Celtic Connections

Youssou N'Dour
Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour will perform at the festival

The acclaimed Senegalese singer and percussionist Youssou N'Dour has been unveiled as one of the headline artists for next year's Celtic Connections.

About 1,500 artists are expected to perform in more than 300 events across 14 venues in Glasgow between the 15 January and 1 February 2009.

A 12-hour Burns song marathon will also be held to mark the 250th anniversary of the poet's birth.

Celtic Connections is entering its 16th year in 2009.

The winter festival has grown dramatically since it first began as a way of filling the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall's January schedule.

Organisers said the 2009 line-up would celebrate the best in folk, roots, traditional, indie, jazz and classical music.

Artists scheduled to perform include Grammy award-winning American singer Nanci Griffith and Ivor Novello award-winning guitarist and songwriter Richard Thomson.

Burns celebrations

Also appearing are Eddi Reader and Edwyn Collins and former Catatonia lead singer Cerys Matthews.

Culture Minister Linda Fabiani said she was "amazed" at the variety of acts.

"The festival's success is clear to see as it continues to attract renowned artists like Youssou N'Dour, Richard Thompson and Michael Nyman.

"On Burns Night 2009, Scotland's Year of Homecoming begins. Celtic Connections will be in full swing and I cannot think of a better atmosphere to welcome Scots returning home from all over the world.

"Celtic Connections represents the very best Scotland has to offer, and the events it has planned to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of our national poet will play an important role in kicking off the Homecoming Scotland 2009 celebrations."

The 2008 Celtic Connections festival sold 120,000 tickets and is estimated to have benefitted Scotland's economy by more than 6m.

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