non Irish celtic trad music
What is the state of scottish, manx, cornish, breton and welsh music?
What is the state of scottish, manx, cornish, breton and welsh music?
It’s all in a good state, and none of it is Celtic.
I don’t think anyone is making bunches of money at it, but there is a lot of good music being made these days.
I wonder if the upcoming Pixar movie Brave, if it is successful, could give Scots music a boost in popularity, the way the movie Titanic produced a surge of interest in Irish music in past years. Imagine a bunch of wannabees with practice chanters, the way whistle players proliferated after the previous movie…then all we would need is a big Scot stage dance show to become popular…
Uh oh…. We do not need any more highland pipers. And a surge of them across the globe would probably end the world. Everyone would go deaf. At least the rest of the world that hasn’t already gone deaf from that rock, rap, and heavy metal junk (no offense). Which, then, I never really liked the highland pipes, so….
What do you mean, none of it is Celtic?
And are you serious about "the movie Titanic produced a surge of interest in Irish music"?
michaelr: "What do you mean, none of it is Celtic?"
Unless you are referring to the music of the group of tribal societies living in medieval central Europe in the area that is now Germany, it isn’t Celtic music.
See this web article for information about musical instruments played by the Celts:
"Celtic music" is a category dreamed up by American record companies. On this side of the Atlantic, very few musicians would say that they played "Celtic music". If they said anything about it at all, it would be "Irish music" or "Scottish music" etc. - or maybe just "traditional music".
There is a linguistic connection between the Celts of central Europe and the Irish, Scots, Welsh etc. - but NOT a musical one.
That’s why Beethoven didn’t come from Cork, Aberystwyth or Glasgow!
Huh, huh…. :-)
I think you are being deliberately obtuse Mix. When we talk about the Celtic nations or culture, most people understand it to mean the places where celtic languages and culture have survived into the present or recent past, not the area where that culture originated but died out centuries ago.
So it is quite sensible to lump together music from the Celtic nations in one catagory. But that obvoiusly doesn’t include music from central Europe.
Ah! I love a good cup o’ semantic pedantry in the morning!
I think it was more like cultural pedantry rather than semantic pedantry, Elf. The meaning was not really in dispute, other than disagreement over the cultural context of that meaning.
I heard Matheu Watson was doing the music for that film which means it should be pretty special!
But I think in Scotland the music is flying ahead with loads of really exciting players coming through and more and more sessions happening especially in Edinburgh
"I heard Matheu Watson was doing the music for that film which means it should be pretty special!"
Julie Fowlis is doing two songs!
skreech "When we talk about the Celtic nations or culture, most people understand it to mean the places where celtic languages and culture have survived into the present or recent past."
The language, yes.
Certainly the Irish, Scotish Gaelic, Welsh, Cornish and Breton languages are all derived from the medieval Celtic. So you can quite correctly describe them as being Celtic languages. But the music wasn’t so derived, so you cannot describe that as being Celtic.
A significant proportion of the inhabitants of Ireland, especially in coastal locations such as Dublin are descended from Viking settlers.
Does that mean we should call Irish music "Scandinavian music?"
Celtic is an Indo-European language orginating somehere in the region now known as Iraq.
Does that mean that we should call Irish music "Iraqi music?"
What about English tradtional music? plenty of potential candidates for re-naming it:
Roman music, Saxon music, Anglian music, Danish music, Viking music and Norman music … ;-)
As a Scot, I personally don’t have a problem with the term ‘Celtic’ (gasp) applied to music.
Without getting into the (irrelevant to most people) question of where exactly the music came from way back when or where the Celts originated, it’s a handy shorthand for describing a group of broadly similar musical traditions- even if I might not know many specific Irish, Galician, Breton etc tunes they are obviously different species of diddly in a way that, say Indian or Middle Eastern folk music is not.
I don’t see there’s much hope of success in trying to resist the use of a word that both neatly fulfils a linguistic need (to cover all the various abovementioned diddles) and is already in common circulation, whatever the quirks of its etymology.
@ iliketurtles: Using your logic, one could argue that English traditional music was "Celtic", being broadly similar in that it uses the same tune types.: jigs, reels etc. But again, you would be wrong.
The term "song" is "widely used" especially in America) when referring to a piece of music that has no lyrics. But that useage is incorrect as well.
The word "Celtic" is sometimes used with nationalistic connotations, which is another reason why I don’t like the word. Nationalism always seems to lead to conflict and war, if allowed to go unchecked.
You’re right about one thing, though. There’s probably not much hope of success in trying to resist the misuse of words, once this misuse has become widely adopted.
Nonetheless, I shall continue to do so!
michaelr, Yes, I would say that between Titanic’s use of Irish dance tunes in a number of scenes, and the stage show Riverdance, there was an increase in awareness of Irish music in the US back in the late 1990’s.
And I agree with iliketurtles, the term Celtic, when applied to music, is a rather inexact but useful term that groups some similar musical traditions together. That used to be nearby bins in the local record store, now it is a category on the online retailers.
I reckon "Celtic" has come to symbolise some misty legendary vision of a past that never existed but is useful in shifting CD product to the ignorant. I am willing to concede it may have a different meaning in other parts of the globe. However, I’m a lowland Scot playing traditional Irish and Scottish tunes. I am by no stretch of the imagination a Celt playing Celtic music. So I don’t know what’s going on in non-irish Celtic music, but traditional music in Scotland is doing just fine.
Who are the scots, manx, cornish, breton and welsh and equivalents to Michael Coleman, Patsy Touhey and Elizabeth Crotty? Do any recordings of them exist anymore if so?
As a starter for 10 on Scottish music try the link below for information - go to the "museum" and click on the links there.
They may not have formed vast urban colonies in America the way the Irish did, supporting both trad musicians and record companies that found their communities a profitable market.
The Welsh: Patagonia isn’t quite New York or Chicago
The Scots: They created Canada, but Canada’s a bit quiet too
The Cornish: They opted for the English Bolivia - leadmining in the North Pennines. Not many bright lights there. My goodness, tin-mining must have been bad.
The Manx got rich. That probably made them quiet.
God knows what the Bretons did.
If they use the term Celtic for the range of countries, should they modify the term to Kiltic for the Scots?
I have a recording of some Welsh "traditional" music but it’s on my ipod and I can’t get itunes to load on my windows computer to listen to it. sigh.
I don’t know how to compare how similar it is to Irish traditional music but I definitely think anybody that likes ITM would like it. Breton music is definitely different than Irish music but still has a strong appeal to lovers of Irish music.
I think what we all really love are tunes, regardless of whether they fit in this or that box. Irish people like tunes so they import them from wherever they can and use them in their own way. We do the same thing in the US. I agree it really is inappropriate to refer to it as Celtic music. It’s a tune, it originates as far as we know from somewhere.
many bands that perform Irish tunes here in the US don’t just perform Irish tunes but also American tunes, Scottish tunes, Canadian tunes, French tunes, Hungarian tunes, or whatever they want really. I personally love playing and learning Irish tunes because there’s lots of other people that know them, so there’s a social motivator because I like playing music with other people.
There aren’t as many people that play other traditional music, besides American stuff. I don’t get into those circles though because it is a stronger song tradition and there actually aren’t as many tune players, and they ones I’ve met don’t play very interesting tunes.
I can’t really explain this phenomena. Great tune players in this country prefer Irish Tunes for some reason, maybe it’s because there are so many and as the idiom has really taken off, so many more have been written that no other traditional genre can really keep up.
I don’t have a problem with ‘Celtic’ at all. If you are going to classify anything, from plants to library books, you need a system of catagories and sub catagories. To use the plant analogy, ‘celtic’ is the genus, the nationality is the species, regional variation the sub-species.
I think grouping the broadly similar music of the Celtic nations together under one heading works rather well, and I’d certainly rather have our music catagorised as ‘Celtic’ than ‘World Music’, which is where the mainstream music industry actually puts it at the moment.
The music *isn’t* broadly similar, and each "Celtic nation" has tradional music that is more similar to their non-Celtic neighbours than to other "Celtic" ones.
Scottish and Irish music are much more closely related to English music than either is to Breton music; Breton music has a huge overlap with music from other regions of France; the musical culture of northern Spain forms a continuum from the Basque country through Castile to Asturias and Galicia, and the music of the formerly Celtic-speaking regions of Turkey is indistinguishable from that of areas that spoke Greek recently or nothing but Turkish for centuries.
The label "Celtic music" was dreamed up by Alan Stivell as self-promotion for his brand of fusion music. It was soon adopted by two different kinds of people. One was (mainly American) recording marketroids, motivated by honest greed. The more sinister group was the European neo-fascist right, who wanted to promote the idea of distinctively racial cultures.
Very succinctly put, Jack!
(I was just thinking: "Where is Llig, when we need him?" when you joined in the fray).
"The label "Celtic music" was dreamed up by Alan Stivell as self-promotion for his brand of fusion music"
The term "Celtic melodies" was also dreamed up by Graham and Finlay Dun around 1830. Hence a couple of volumes published incorporating that label.
Perhaps we could describe Irish music as a subset of "non-Scottish Celtic trad music"
You could also describe it as a subset of Aryan music.
Why would you want to?
Non-Irish traditional music from Catalonia (ignore the
State: suffering a lot from bands that play "Catalan traditional music" but are really just classically trained musicians playing traditional repertoire.
The exception being players of exclusively traditional instruments: gralla, tarota, flabiol & tamborí, accordion (less than the rest), dolçaina, bagpipes ("sac de gemecs"), etc.
Seems to me there are two divergent views here one supporting the use of the term and one not.
1) There’s too much differences in the musics to use the term "Celtic" as a catch all.
2) the term "Celtic" describes geographic regions so music within those regions can reasonably be called "Celtic."
Both seem right, and proponents of either approach (similar musics or geographical locations) seem unlikely to accept the view of the other.
I don’t personally like the term because it has quickly picked up all sorts of musical meanings that are almost entirely related to profit making and not to musical style. e.g. "Celtic fill in the blank." Women, Thunder, Men, Tenors, Pipers, Sounds, etc. etc.
In the states we have the Boston Celtics, pronounced "sell ticks"
or Sell Tickets.
Here in the states the term Celtic is seemingly defined by general public opinion as anything associated with Irish or Scottish culture. The merits of such definition can be debated ad nauseam but at the end of the day that will still be the common definition. When applied to music I believe most people find it to be a useful term simply because they couldn’t discern the style differences between Irish, Scottish, Breton, Welsh, etc.
The point is more that they couldn’t tell the style difference between Irish and English (which is firmly excluded by the racial agenda of the "Celtic" concept). Breton music is much more stylistically remote from Irish music than English traditional music is. There is an ideology that says the music of the so-called "Celtic peoples" has to be related, completely ignoring both the historical facts and what it sounds like.
I suspect that a large part of the American fad for "Celticity" is that people who buy music labelled as such know they’re not going to encounter any black performers bringing up issues that white America finds uncomfortable.
I read a paper last year in which the author, an anthropologist, made the case that while linguists have used the word "Celtic" to classify a group of languages, there is no empirical evidence that people from Brittany, Galicia, and so on are culturally or musically related to people from Ireland and Scotland.
Genetic ties between Northern Spain and Ireland are strong though. Shared genes point to Ireland being populated from Spain.
I’ll find the paper.
Professor Sykes: "Although Celtic countries have previously thought of themselves as being genetically different from the English, this is emphatically not the case."
Web article here
So why not call it "Spanish Music"?
Prof. Peter’s point is also reinforced by this study in genetics, published in 2004 - http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00029297 or, if you just want a summary - http://killarney-ireland.info/genealogy/dark-irish-celt-genealogy.html.
There’s also a long-held belief, though one not scientifically or genealogically proven, claiming that some families in Ireland’s northwest (particularly, Mayo and Sligo) can trace their roots to sailors shipwrecked during the Spanish Armada. In particular, women women with black hair and dark eyes are thought to exhibit this heritage.
By the way, the Spanish Arch in Galway city has absolutely nothing to do with Spain.
Bob Quinn in ‘The Atlantean Irish: Ireland’s Oriental and Maritime Heritage’ also claimed to have uncovered strong links between sean-nós singing and the song traditions, particularly prayer chants, of North Africa.
Those Spanish ladies were there, right enough …. ;-)
As I roved out thro’ Galway City,
At the hour of twelve at night,
Who should I see but a handsome damsel,
Combing her hair by candlelight.
"Lassie, I have come a-courtin’,
Your kind favours for to win;
And if you’ll but smile upon me,
Next Sunday night I’ll call again."
As I went back through Galway city
As the sun began to set
Who should I spy but the Spanish lady
Catching a moth in a golden net.
When she saw me then she fled me
Lifting her petticoat over her knee
In all my life I ne’er did see
A maid so shy as the Spanish lady.
… and there’s another version (Dublin City) as well …
"…I suspect that a large part of the American fad for "Celticity" is that people who buy music labelled as such know they’re not going to encounter any black performers bringing up issues that white America finds uncomfortable."
Oh please. If you are serious you are of a small mind. You think we are like the old South Africa or something?… get a clue.
Besides, our black musicians brought blues, jazz, and rock n roll, to the world. We are proud of it.
Good grief, Jack! With respect, sir, you are way off the planet with that comment.
Yeah that comment was way off base. I don’t even know where to begin. You mean like No Limit records? because I find blatant commercialism and greed (with no other meaningful content)to be boring (not really uncomfortable though). But if you mean like Dead Prez, I find his music inspiring but not really my style.