The inspirational women of music is one of main themes of the 2017 Celtic Connections festival, launched in Glasgow today by artistic director Donald Shaw.

From January 19 to February 5, more than 2000 musicians will take part in 300 events at venues across Glasgow as part of the popular annual celebration of folk, traditional, roots and world music.

Female artists will be celebrated in a series of concerts at Celtic Connections 2017, as will the 150th anniversary of Canada and, in another theme, the stories and music of artists who have lived through times of intense personal hardship.

The Mercury nominated and Brit award-winning singer songwriter Laura Marling will make her Celtic Connections debut leading an orchestrated performance of her songs at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Thursday 19 January for the Opening Concert.

She will be performing with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and special guests, and the orchestration will be written by by composer and instrumentalist Kate St. John.

Roberta Sá, a Latin Grammy award-winning pop singer in Brazil, will make her first appearance at Celtic Connections at Drygate on Friday 27 January.

Olivia Newton-John, Grammy nominee Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Sky will perform music from their collaborative album Liv On live for the first time, at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Tuesday 24 January.

Scottish singer, songwriter Karine Polwart’s Wind Resistance will be presented at the Tron Theatre from Wednesday 25 to Saturday 28 January: the work celebrates Fala Flow, a protected peatbog south-east of Edinburgh.

The lauded song collector and singer Shirley Collins follows the release of her first album for more than 30 years this November with a performance at Celtic Connections at City Halls on Saturday 4 February.

Ms Collins was an influential figure in the revival of English folk music in the 1960s and 70s.

On January 28 at The Main Auditorium, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall this year’s Roaming Roots Revue will mark ‘The Women in Song’ by featuring the "greatest female songwriters of our time" including songs by Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton, Bjork, PJ Harvey, Gillian Welch, Joan Armatrading, and Tracy Chapman.

Traditional and Folk music remain a key part of Celtic Connections, with a line up that includes La Banda Europa led by Jim Sutherland, folk orchestra Unusual Suspects, fiddle group Session A9, Edinburgh’s Dallahan, the premiere of piping project Tryst, Ireland’s Sharon Shannon and Four Men & A Dog, Gaelic rock band Manran and a 20th Anniversary performance of Phil Cunningham’s Highlands & Islands suite.

Shooglenifty and special guests will come together for A Night for Angus, paying "tribute to their friend, band member and inspirational fiddle player" Angus R.Grant who died recently.

The celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Canada will include shows by leading Canadian artists such as Martha Wainwright, Le Vent Du Nord, De Temps Antan and Russell deCarle.

The 70th anniversary of the Partition of India will be marked with a Celtic Connections premiere and commission for leading percussionists Trilok Gurtu and Evelyn Glennie and classical violin star Jayanthi Kumaresh.

Other artists appearing at Celtic Connections 2017 include C Duncan, Pictish Trail, Fairport Convention, Liz Lochhead, Aidan Moffat, Seth Lakeman, Tom Paxton, King Creosote, Siobhan Miller, Orchestra Baobab, Robyn Stapleton, and Anna Meredith.

Donald Shaw, artistic director of Celtic Connections, said: "A breath-taking range of styles and traditions radiates throughout Celtic Connections 2017.

"Artists who have shaped the present day and artists who are re-defining music for the future will take to the stage.

"Artists whose lives and cultures could not be more different will come together to share their stories, passion and skill.

"At the heart of it all is the simple life-affirming experience of being at a live music performance during a world leading festival. We can’t wait for Celtic Connections 2017 to begin.”

Councillor Frank McAveety, the leader of Glasgow City Council said: “Glasgow is a city for music lovers.

"We start the year, while it’s quiet elsewhere, with our fantastic celebration of the very best in world, folk and roots music, Celtic Connections.

"We welcome audiences and artists from around the world – some have been coming to the festival every year for more than 20 years, for others this will be their first experience of Glasgow during Celtic Connections.

"We can promise them a great time and 18 days of amazing shows and events.”