OAN Sunday nicht this year’s Celtic Connections festival reached its bowsterous climax!

These ongauns hae bin seein fowk throu the daurk, doulie, dreich days o wunter syne Colin Hynd cam up wi the ettle o creatin a series o gigs at the Glesga Royal Concert Hall in 1994 tae fill the post-Yule gap in music-lovers’ diaries.

Nou produced bi its director Donald Shaw, the kenspeckle an respeckit musician o Capercaillie fame, Celtic Connections is a warld renowned an faur-kent global phenomenon celebratin an heizin nae anely Scottish tradeetional music, but also tradeetional music frae aa roond the globe.

Frae its humble beginnins, it nou attracts abune 2000 artistes frae evri airt an nation, performin at mairs 300 events in around 20 offeeshul venues.

Haein a bit o a post-Yule loose end masel last week, an hearin on the radio aboot a rather special concert, ah taen a last-meenit norrie tae gang up tae Glesga tae sample some o the festival’s wares! The concert that drew ma fancy wis the much-heralded percussive pairin o oor ain Dame Evelyn Glennie an the Indian tabla maestro Trilok Gurtu. As is usual wi ma guddle o a social life, ah left gettin tickets till the day o the gig itsel. Ah didnae hae muckle howps fir gettin thaim.

When ah askit the lass oan the phone ah felt ma speerits faa as she said the gig wis sell’t oot, but she’d hae a luik. Eftir a meenit oan heckle-pins she cam back tae me: “Aye, ye’re in luck, we hae a few tickets left.” Get in there!! Twa tickets fir Row Q o the stalls wir duly coffed an ah phoned ma dochter tae tell her she wis in fir a musical treat.

Ah pickt her up at her flat an we claucht the Clockwork Orange frae Govan tae Buchanan Galleries – then a hap, step an lowp intil the Royal Concert Hall. Mind, no afore we wir accosted bi a street hawker sellin “Glesga Joke Buiks” (fir charity? Hmm ...). This guy wis fu o the Glesga banter, an cuid hae sell’t saund tae the Arabs – a peety the jokes werenae as guid as his patter! Then oan tae wir seats!

There wis an addit bonus o a support group, the young Northern Irish singer Jarlath Henderson an his baun – a kind o “The Chieftains meets Kraftwerk”. Henderson hus a mairvellous voice, an the meldin o sic braw tradeetional airs wi hi-tech, cuttin-edge electronica wis a wunner tae behaud! Drums an bass that rettled yer ribcage! Jarlath goat a weel desairved ovation frae the breengin crood in the hall.

We aa settled doun as the main event goat kennled up. Trilok Gurtu (wha ah hae seen afore in Scotland, aince wi ma jazz fusion hero, the guitarist John McLaughlin, an agane in 2008 at the auld Fruit Market wi the Arkè String Quartet – baith byordnar concerts!) sidled seelently oan tae the stage wi the Indian violinist Kumaresh Rajagopalan.

As they settled doun tae play we hud the vyce o Evelyn Glennie recitin the great Indian poet Rabindarath Tagore’s poem Where The Mind Is Without Fear, then Gurtu began an extended solo oan a pair o tabla drums. He is aiblins the warld’s leadin exponent o these deceptively simple yet subtle instruments. Rajagopalan syne jyned in wi his violin as they biggit up a sounscape o braw Indian souns an rythms.

Baith percussionists hud a battery (leeterally!) o instruments surroundin thaim; weird an wunnerfu cymbals, bells, buckets an gongs; vibraphones, glockenspiels, marimbas; evri bit o kit in the tub-thumper’s arsenal!

Follaein Gurtu’s apenin duet, Glennie quately jined the corps wi pianist Philip Smith. Smith’s playin hud a souch o atonal Shostakovich or Bartok aboot it; heichly technical flurries an pernicketie cascades o notes – a skeelie player indeed!

Fir a while the concert ongauns taen oan a mair formal classical format, Glennie lowpin roond her kit in a hurleygush o torrential rythms, seemin tae play twa/three instruments at the samen time! Baith o these internationally acclaimed artists are aiblins at the heicht o their pouers –an it showed at this concert.

The seamless mixture o Eastern an Western styles, rythms, music an melodies hud the audience grippit in some sort o glamorie. Times baith players wid flee roun ane anither in fierce percussive duels, syne sinder tae spiel aff tender solos o wunnerfu beauty. Trilok Gurtu duin a lang solo that saw him uisin a bucket o watter tae amazin sonic effeck; rattlin shells then dippin thaim intil the bucket syne daein the same bi ringin temple gongs, bendin their notes bi doukin thaim in watter, aa the whiles keepin gleg an soople rythms gaun oan ither instruments.

Gin there is sic a thing as a human drum machine then this man is it!

Baith artists then sat oan the flair side bi side an gien an extended duet oan a perr o kalimba type instruments that agane hud thaim inter-weavin rythms lik antrin birds o paradise in flicht.

At the hinnerend o the concert, eftir a rapturous round o applause that brocht a walcum encore, Trilok Gurtu did his famous “voice-box” drum rythms via his heid-microphone, an syne hud the hale o the Royal Concert Hall jynin in, clappin, singin an chantin tae the soun o his vocal gymnastics!

Tae bring the hale magical ongauns tae a close, Dame Evelyn Glennie recited agane ower the percussive back-beat; this time wi the immortal lines o Rabbie Burns – “It’s comin yet, fir aa that!”.

Trilock Gurtu gien a respectful sallam haund gesture tae his audience an said, “We are one!”. An in that ae magical moment we wir!

Celtic Connections brings a walcum economic boost tae Glesga at this daurk time o year – but its rael benefits an riches can ne’er hae a value pit oan thaim, they can anely be felt in oor hairts an oor minds!

Rab Wilson in a Scots poet and health campaigner