THE volume was cranked up for LGBT+ voices in folk on Sunday evening as Man of The Minch Pedro Cameron pioneered a first for Celtic Connections.

Bogha-frois – a name drawn from the Gaelic for rainbow and organised by Cameron – sought to be many things at once.

It was a showcase for a 2018 songwriting workshop led by Rachel Sermanni and Josie Duncan; it was a queer-as-folkie who’s who; it was an outlet for personal stories;it was even a domestic soap opera – most of all, it was an embracing concert with the warmest of hearts.

The Bogha-frois spectrum spanned from James Scott Skinner standards to a Gaelic song about Grindr hook-ups – the performers willed on by a crowd clearly up for a good time as the curtain closed on the 2019 festival.

Instrumentally, the set was glued together by some serious talent from the likes of Anna Massie, Laura Wilkie, Donald Grant and Rona Wilkie.

Original songs by Radio 2 Young Folk Award winner Mischa Macpherson drew from a deep well of her native Hebridean tradition, while there was no need to overstate that those island communities, where Scotland’s traditional arts are best nurtured, remain among the least tolerant.

Her fiancée Kim Carnie added her sweet, breathy voice with a cutesy love song called She Moves Me, referencing her betrothed as a “walking disaster” and eliciting a panto-worthy on-stage domestic.

When an ethnochoreologist (it relates to the study of dance) begins pouring handfuls of sand on to a hardwood board, announcing he’s about to perform a solo interpretation of a square dance for eight, you can feel an entire room physically tauten with apprehension. But Michigan-born dancer Nic Gareiss delighted with his playfully percussive footwork. The gendered norms of social dance – “gentlemen, swing your lady” – were questioned, even condemned, and turned on their heads. Nic’s guest turn with various musicians throughout the night added a real sparkle to proceedings.

Elephants in the room were herded somewhat, with songs of struggle, protest, self-harm and depression on the bill. As songwriting workshop innovations, you suspected these numbers owed more to committee compromise than to creativity, but told a valuable story no less.

And the story to be told was about reclaiming a folk “tradition” from the clutches of the conservative, the unchanging, the unthinking and the repressing.

To end at the beginning, the concert opened with three pipers playing Scott Skinner’s Hector The Hero, written in 1903 as a lament for the distinguished Scottish general Hector MacDonald. He committed suicide facing a court martial for charges of homosexuality.

LGBT+ voices throughout the history of Scotland’s music may have been inaudible at times, but they have always been present. This first for Celtic Connections sang a rainbow for all folk to a room full of love.