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Minister Madigan was joined by Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Ms. Fiona Hyslop as she launched the GB18 at Celtic Connections, Scotland’s annual festival of folk, roots and world music.

The event was notable as Ireland is being featured as a focus country in 2018 at Showcase Scotland, a key music industry event that takes place at Celtic Connections every year.

Ireland’s participation at Showcase Scotland also marks the first flagship event of the GB18 Programme.  This vibrant, contemporary and high quality programme of events across all artistic disciplines involves hundreds of Irish artists travelling to dozens of prestigious venues, institutions and festivals across Britain.

Speaking at the launch Minister Madigan said: “Ireland’s participation at Showcase Scotland this year is particularly special as it is the first flagship event of the GB18 programme. It offers artists the opportunity to gain further international touring contracts and work globally, continuing to enhance Ireland’s reputation.”

She continued: “This special year-long programme seeks to strengthen our cultural and artistic links across Scotland, Wales and England through an enhanced programme of cultural activity. I thank the artists participating for their commitment to their work and for giving us all such pleasure. I hope this special year serves as a platform for long reaching and enhanced cultural connections for Britain.”

The Irish artists showcasing are 2017 Choice Music Prize Nominee Wallis Bird, Dublin-born traditional singer and bouzoki player Daoirí Farrell, sean-nós singer, arranger and composer Lorcán Mac Mathúna, instrumental ensemble NOTIFY, Dublin folk singer Aoife Scott and acoustic instrumentalists The Young Folk.

With over 200 festival directors, programmers and presenters from all over the world attending this Irish showcase, emerging Irish artists are being given additional international opportunities for sustainable careers.

Christine Sisk, Director of Culture Ireland said:  “Ireland is honoured to be the spotlight country at Showcase Scotland at Celtic Connections, one of the world’s most important showcases of folk and traditional music. We know that the six Showcase selections, as well as the wider programme of Irish artists at Celtic Connections will present international audiences a unique chance to experience the vibrant Irish music scene and further advance Ireland’s reputation for artistic excellence. This event is a great introduction to a strong programme of arts activity under the GB18.”

The full programme of over 60 projects, performances, tours, exhibitions can be found here.

Click here to see the Culture Ireland GB18 video.