Debut album from Spanish Celtic-Punk hooligans Reina Roja. Seven songs and a song or two you’ve never heard done quite like this!
Back when we started doing this Spain was a major player in the Celtic-Punk scene but over the years things have gone a little quiet. Their are still some great bands and releases (this years album from Drunken Fighters for starters) but I think the decision to retire the Spanish based web-site Celtic Folk Punk And More had a knock on effect. The bands are still there but we hear less from them and about them. One of the bands out there that are new to us have actually been together for eight years! Reina Roja formed in 2014 in Rivas-Vaciamadrid, a suburb of Madrid in central Spain. Their name means ‘Red Queen’ and though many faces have changed in the band from those early days the commitment to Hooligan Folk remains the same. Their style of music perfectly captures the traditional melodies of Folk and Celtic music but played fast and hard and with a freewheelin’ Punk-Rock attitude that the band themselves label as Hooligan Folk.
“the festive atmosphere and full of attitude that is generated in a neighbourhood party, after a game of the local team or at the bar of a bar. An atmosphere of celebration, but that does not forget the daily problems and that underpins the consciousness of the working class.”
The album kicks off with the spirited ‘Dragón Verde’ and instantly the tune goes into ‘Drunken Sailor’ but then veers off again. Plenty of gang vocals and that stop-start Hardcore approach that I particularly love. The fiddle and tin whistle is amazing and put to such great use too. The lyrics are all in Spanish, something we don’t mind at all. Bands shouldn’t be afraid to sing in their own languages. These days Celtic-Punk is international but bands still prefer to song in English despite by it’s very nature the English language being a foreign language in the very places where Celtic music comes from. Still it does make things easier for me when it comes to reviewing! The catchy ‘Sigue Luchando’ sees Agnes, vocalist of Lilith y Miss October, starring alongside Gonzzz on vocals. Their is a certain way Spanish Punk bands sound making them instantly recognisable even when not sung in Spanish and Gonzzz’s voice is strong and shouty but still tuneful and able to hit them notes well. ‘Tensión’ comes from their earliest days as a band and hits all the right catchy as f*”k buttons. Chugging guitars and pounding bass and drums all combining for one hell of a sound. ‘Johnny. ¿Qué Ha Pasado?’ is trad Celtic-Punk with a real Irish tinge to the first half showing a real talent for Folk music that you must have to be a successful Celtic-Punk band and ending with a cool terrace chant! ‘Banshee’ flits along between Metal and Punk but still with the Celtic influence leading. Reina Roja are joined for a second time here on guest vocals for ‘Lo Que Nunca Fuimos’ by Fernando Madina of Reincidentes and Ángel of Envidia Kotxina and is in much the same vein. Fast,catchy, tuneful, spirited Celtic-Punk party music. Hooligan Folk comes to an end with ‘Barriles de Revolución’ and this may, or may not, be a drinking song as the English translation is ‘Barrels of Revolution’! They save the fast till last and go out in a blaze with the same winning formula.
Only seven songs but 25 minutes of music means the songs all have time to develop and Reina Roja use the time well. Punk songs tend to be short and even at three minutes bands tend to wrap it up as soon as possible so it’s nice to hear longer songs that still keep the attention. As amazing as it was to only just hear of a band that had been together as long as this the biggest surprise was that this was their debut release. What have you been doing guys? The album was recorded and produced at the Corleone studios by Mr. Chifly the guitarist of Habeas Corpus and he has done a grand job capturing things especially the Celtic instruments. Hooligan Folk is a great album capturing the spirit of Celtic-Punk perfectly.
(Stream / download Hooligan Folk from the Bandcamp player)
Spanish pirates The Groggy Dogs are back with their second album of trad Irish melodies and sea shanties with a spicy touch of Punk, Ska and Metal.
These guys more quickly and no sooner than Grog O’Clock land on our doorstep their second album arrives too. That debut album, Grog O’Clock was a front-runner for the London Celtic Punks debut album of the year, narrowly losing out to The Outcast Crew but it did make the Top Twenty of the best Celtic-Punk album’s and was well received across the internet. It’s available for only a single Euro and it really is a great album with some great covers and a couple of absolutely killer instrumentals.
Album #2 carries on it was will become I am sure the signature Groggy Dogs way. Covers, originals and instrumentals all paying homage to songs of the sea and the poor sailors that sailed them and sang those songs many years ago.
April sees only the bands second anniversary and if Covid can be thanked for one thing then it is the forming of The Groggy Dogs and since the ending of the lock down they have sprung out of the traps playing live at every single opportunity. Mauro, already a veteran of several Seville based Celtic projects wanted to play Celtic music with a bit more forceful sound and soon joined by the rest of the band and, no doubt the ‘Sea-Shanty’craze from a couple of years back on Tic-Tok, they settled on the idea of Prate-Celtic-Folk-Punk! AS we have said before their is no more than a fag paper between Celtic-Punk and Pirate-Punk with it overlapping constantly so it was no wonder that they soon came to our attention.
Still Groggin’ begins with ‘To Sea Once More’ and the familiar sound of the ocean and tolling bell. A fiddle led lament slowly drifts along before it erupts into a cover of the seafaring classic ‘Old Maui’. The song has become a bit of a staple among the Celtic-Punk community with it often sung acapello. Traced back to the mid-19th century it tells the story of a whaling ship returning to Maui in Hawaii after a long season of whaling.
“once more we sail with a northerly gale through the ice and wind and rain”
Canadian legend Stan Rogers released the best version I have ever heard but the song was made famous in our circles by The Dreadnoughts on their early album Legends Never Die. The Groggy Dogs stick closely to the Dreadnoughts version but add a fun video where the pirate quintet bring us a funny story about a robbery attempt adds to the song’s legacy. Their are so many sea-shanties ready for The Groggy Dogs to mine I was hoping to hear some more obscure covers and ‘Leave Her Johnny’ fits that bill perfectly. In sailor folklore ‘Leave Her Johnny’ was always saved for the very last duty of voyage. It dates back well before it first appeared in print in 1917 and exists in several forms but none quite as different as this one! Knowing you would soon be home would put the crew in great cheer so I’m sure their souls would well approve of the half-Ska/ half-Punk cheerful, bouncy tune given it here.
On their debut album I was especially impressed by the couple of instrumentals and am again here, starting with ‘Grog Party’. A true measure of a decent Celtic-Punk band is the ability to turn their hand to a trad song and here you would think them a Ceili band except for the thrashy guitar and Ska breakdown. Excellent stuff that would be welcome in any Irish public house in the world! The two pre-release singles for the album were ‘Old Maui’ and ‘The Dreadnought’. Another unusual sea-shanty classic and not one I had heard before. Telling of the true story of the ship of the same name, a clipper, built in 1853 in Massachusetts that was the fastest of her time until she sank while in Cape Horn in 1869. The band sing it kinda slow and sound incredibly like the band of the same name here.
Time for another of The Groggy Dogs ace instrumentals and ‘Grog’s Reel’ is another great mash up of trad Irish/ Celtic and more modern sounds without losing any of its old charm. We almost near the end and time for a more familiar song with ‘Katie Bar The Door’. The exact origin of the phrase, meaning ‘watch out, trouble is on its way’ is unknown but it originated in the southern United States and one possible explanation is it was taken from a Scottish ballad called Get Up and Bar the Door published in 1776. The lads be big fans of The Dreadnoughts album Legends Never Die as this another from it that sadly doesn’t differentiate too much from their version. The album’s curtain comes down with their third instrumental ‘The First Grog’ and again it is bloody marvellous. Mashing up the trad Folk melody with Punk, Metal, Ska, Reggae and still leaving it sounding like the song is from the 19th century!
The Groggy Dogs left to right: The Deadman (Lucas Hidalgo) – Drums * The Voodoo Witch (Fátima Caballero) – Violin * The Cap’n (Mauro Blanco) – Vocals, Guitar * The Cook (Carlos Ghirlanda) – Bass * The Buccaneer (Seba Santa Cruz) – Accordion *
A truly talented group and another great album from them. If I did have one slight criticism it is that they need to stamp themselves much firmer on the more popular covers but even these are excellent versions that more than give the band I have mentioned a run for their money. The production for the album is top class and the many Folk and Rock instruments merge together perfectly. The Groggy Dogs are definitely one to watch especially for those who prefer the ‘folkier’ side of Celtic-Punk but still with plenty of oompf to go along with.
The debut album from Catalonian Celtic-Punk band the Drunken Fighters formed out of the ashes of the Drink Hunters!
Was a few years back that Barcelona based Drink Hunters began to make waves in the Celtic-Punk scene with three absolutely stunning albums from 2013-2016. The best being Lurking Behind The Woods which gathered some excellent reviews. What became of them to become Drunken Fighters we won’t speculate on here but I’m happy to see that things have moved on and those talented musicians and songwriters have found a new home for their music.
Formed in 2018 even without the pandemic it’s taken the band a good while to get some songs down on disc but the wait has been waiting for. With the band named Drunken Fighters and beer-drinking considered a national sport in Celtic-Punk it comes as no surprise to hear the album kick off with the sound of a tin of beer being opened. Straight away in ‘Fight’ you can hear influences from fellow Spanish band Brutus Daughter and not just in that they also have a powerful female singer in Alex. The strong Punk Rock sound is accompanied by excellent flute, fiddle and mandolin giving it that unmistakable Celtic edge. On ‘Germs’, the first single from the album, the band take on the far-right and in a country that in living memory existed as a fascist dictatorship the danger is ever present.
“A disease of hate reminds of the seventies”
The songs are all sung in English and while at times it’s a little heavy going the lyrics are all available at the Bandcamp link below. One of the album highlights is ‘I’ll Be Free Someday’ a catchy fast number with some great changes in tempo that only add to the song. The fiddle here is superb and the song cracks on at a good pace. The energetic ‘Friends’ and even faster ‘Like Today’ incorporate sounds from newish bands that themselves crossover genres like Ska-Punks The Interupters. ‘Voice of the Sea’ is perhaps more trad Celtic-Punk than the rest of the album beginning with acoustic guitar and it’s ocean theme.
“When the only ones sailing my coasts were old sea wolves and all stories about me were drunk of too much rum everything was better, It’s breaking my heart As years go by humans go back”
This is followed by the albums second single ‘Je$u$’ and then ‘Be Lost To Be Found’ another great track here. The next couple of songs rattle through in much the same vein with the utopian ‘Requiem’ and ‘LRK’ (shortened from Lost Rebel Kids) continuing with fast guitars, great fiddle and flute and nice tempo changes. The album closes with ‘Monday Dawn’, the longest song here, and some great lyrics about the ‘dignity of work’ and finishing work on a Friday until ‘Monday Dawn’. If a song on Someday was crying out for a bit of humour then it was this one with it’s upbeat melodic tune the seriousness of the lyrics sit a bit awkward.
So if you are more inclined towards the more folkier side of Celtic-Punk then Someday may perhaps not be for you but even then I would hope that listeners could recognise the skill and musicianship of those involved here. Eleven songs, all written by the Drunken Fighters themselves that clocks in at a very respectful forty minutes, which for a ‘Punk’ album is on the long side. Produced by the band and recorded and mixed by Xavi Escribano at EM Estudi Someday is a great debut album and one for those that miss the early days of Celtic-Punk and like a bit more ‘oompf’ with their fiddle!
(You can stream and download Someday via the Bandcamp player below)
Grog-fuelled, rum-thievin’ Punk Metal Pirate Band with a drop o’ Celtic on top!
Fresh from making the top 20 Celtic-Punk albums of 2021 Spain’s The Groggy Dogs have already sprung into action for 2022. Their new single is a cover of the seafaring classic ‘Old Maui’. The song has become a bit of a staple among the Celtic-Punk community with it often sung acapello. Traced back to the mid-19th century it tells the story of a whaling ship returning to Maui in Hawaii after a long season of whaling.
“once more we sail with a northerly gale through the ice and wind and rain”
Canadian legend Stan Rogers released a excellent version but the song was made famous in out circles by The Dreadnoughts on their 2007 album Legends Never Die. The Groggy Dogs stick closely to the Dreadnoughts version but add a fun video where the pirate quintet bring us a funny story about a robbery attempt adds to the song’s legacy.
Just under a year after the release of their acclaimed first album Grog o’Clock the Seville based pirate crew are back on board with the first single from their forthcoming new album Still Groggin. With a good measure o’ Punk, dash o’ light-hearted Ska, hard-hittin’ melodies and lyrics that chronicle the hard life of ship life. Release date for Still Groggin is March 2022, an 8-track album loaded with Punk, Ska and Irish melodies and sea-shantys.
It’s a damn tough life full of toil and strife
We whaler men undergo
And we won’t give a damn when the gale is done
How hard the winds do blow
For We’re homeward bound from the Arctic Gound
With a good ship taut and free
And we don’t give a damn when we drink our rum
With the girls of Old Maui
Rolling down to Old Maui, me boys
Rolling down to Old Maui
We’re homeward bound from the Arctic Ground
Rolling down to Old Maui
Once more we sail with a Northerly gale
Through the ice, and wind, and rain
Them coconut fronds, them tropical shores
We soon shall see again
For Six hellish months we passed away
On the cold Kamchatka sea
But now we’re bound from the Arctic ground
Rolling down to Old Maui
Once more we sail the Northerly gale
Towards our Island home
Our whaling done, out mainmast sprung
And we ain’t got far to roam
Our stans’l booms is carried away
What care we for that sound
A living gale is after us
Thank God we’re homeward bound
How soft the breeze through the island trees
Now the ice is far astern
Them native maids, them tropical glades
Is awaiting our return
Even now their big, brown eyes look out
Hoping some fine day to see
Our baggy sails running ‘fore the gales
Rolling down to Old Maui
Rolling down to Old Maui, me boys
Rolling down to Old Maui
We’re homeward bound from the Arctic Ground
Rolling down to Old Maui
Rolling down to Old Maui, me boys
Rolling down to Old Maui
We’re homeward bound from the Arctic Ground
Rolling down to Old Maui…
The Black Tartan Clan are back! Having re-located from Belgium to Spain one of Celtic-Punk’s greatest ever bands return with a fantastic new album.
It was a dark day back in 2017 when The Black Tartan Clan sadly called it a day. With five releases and a Greatest Hits behind them the bands founder and joint songwriter MacTouche had decided to up sticks and re-locate to Spain. This did cause a bit of upset among other members of the band and they have re-grouped as the Black Tartans and have also recently started to record new music too. MacTouche still had an interest in making great Celtic music so the band has re-started with new members but the task was made many times harder by the Covid lockdown. Last March though the band were finally able to get together to rehearse and then to finally play live. The original version of The Black Tartan Clan were famous for their amazing bagpipe sound. I’d go so far as to say they were even the best band in Celtic-Punk for their piping. Here though the pipes are gone and all the pipe parts are replaced by guitar. The Black Tartan Clan keep their Celtic-Punk sound but in a much harder way.
A New Beginning is not quite a new album as all the songs have previously appeared but the bands new style gives them a lift and while it would be hard to improve on them they certainly give it one hell of a go. The opening track is the band’s anthem ‘We Are The Clan’ from the 2014 album Scotland In Our Hearts and its a hard rocking affair and the guitar sound not a million miles away from The Skids. You can still hear the pipes through the guitar and MacTouche’s gravelly vocals haven’t changed much, thank Heavens, as he sings in both English and French. ‘Don’t Walk Alone’ comes from the album of the same name from 2013 and again it’s straight down the line hard rocking but catchy with it. ‘Ye Jacobites’ is an (very) old Robbie Burns poem put to music countless times but usually with a distinctly Folky influence but not here!
Three songs in a row now from the 2014 Scotland In Our Hearts album. ‘Scotland In Our Hearts’ is the first and you can imagine exactly where the pipes would be and you know what it works. I wasn’t too sure before I played it but aye. It must be incredibly hard to perform minus the thing you’re band is famous for but the guys have pulled it off even if their sound is now a bit more towards hard rock it still has all it’s roots in Celtic-Punk. ‘Piper Bill’ was always one of my favourite BTC songs and they do it justice here.
The last couple of songs start with a great ‘Friends Until The End’ and then the album ends with the appropriate ‘Toora Loora’ from Don’t Walk Alone. Only a handful of songs and hopefully it will serve it’s purpose to let the Celtic-Punk scene know they are back and though different they are still great. It’s absolutely brilliant to see these guys back and proving they’ve plenty left to give as well. Listening to this had me pulling out all my old Black Tartan Clan albums. It’s a hard rocking album but I needed an album like this as I been listening to too much Ewan MacColl of late!
Grog-fuelled, rum-thievin’ Punk Metal Pirate Band with a drop o’ Celtic on top!
Our last review of the year, we’ll see you soon, sees the debut album from Seville based Groggy Dogs. They be a pirate band that fuses Punk, Metal ‘n Ska wit’ sea shanties ‘n traditional Celtic melodies, achievin’ a forceful ‘n fun sound that invites ye t’ dance ‘n party wit’ a few grog jugs.
The end of 2021 saw a flurry of ‘Pirate-Punk’ releases to which we can now add The Groggy Dogs and their debut 8-track album Grog O’Clock. Based in Seville in southern Spain. The city itself is not that far from the sea which may explain why the guys set up a Piratey band. As we have said before there is no more than a fag paper between Celtic-Punk and Pirate music sharing many of the same tunes and songs and sea-shanties galore, as evident on Grog O’Clock.
The Groggy Dogs left to right: The Deadman (Lucas Hidalgo) – Drums * The Voodoo Witch (Fátima Caballero) – Violin * The Cap’n (Mauro Blanco) – Vocals, Guitar * The Cook (Carlos Ghirlanda) – Bass * The Buccaneer (Seba Santa Cruz) – Accordion *
We can thank the Covid lockdown for The Groggy Dogs as they were formed only in April, 2020 only a month after the worldwide lockdown began, with Mauro, already a veteran of several Celtic projects wanting to give the music a more forceful sound. Soon joined by several other musicians and being huge fans of traditional sea songs, the decision was to form a Pirate-Folk-Punk band.
“An unknown plague was sweepin’ the whole world when The Cap’n, marooned, realizin’ that his supplies were diminishin’, decided t’ embark on a new adventure in search o’ ports t’ plunder. He knew that his guitar ‘n his grog-worn voice wouldna be enough t’ navigate through the roarin’ seas ‘n winds so he united the crew”
This album has been out a while being released last April and just goes to show if you want a review then you have to send it us. We don’t need a CD just a download and away we’ll go. The album was recorded in mid-2020 and contains the perfect combination for drinking and having a great time with it’s mix of popular covers and original compositions. Starting off with the great instrumental ‘The Roaring Seas’ and maybe somewhat predictably but still very effective the sound of the shore is soon joined by accordion and then fiddle. Needless to say guitars start thrashing, drums pounding and bass throbbing before the song goes off in a unexpected tangent of Ska and Metal. I love a bit of trad to kick things off and we next get the first of the covers and a thrashy energetic 18th century Irish sea-shanty ‘Ten Thousand Miles Away’.
Ska is never too far away and the song bounces along in that way that only Ska can do but the fiddle and accordion are pumped up loud (but perfect) in the mix and the song changes tempo several times but always remains tuneful. ‘All For Me Grog’ is another well known sea-shanty that tells of a sailor who sells everything he owns, as well as his wife, to pay for his distractions! The Dubliners had a top 10 hit with the song in 1967 which still remains the most popular version. This is followed by a companion song ‘The Wise Grog’ and another top notch accordion led Metally-Ska instrumental.
Next another well known standard of the genre ‘Drunken Sailor’ and again dating from the 18th century and from Ireland. This song could have been written to be turned into Punk so natural is it. Played fast and with plenty of chorus for the audience to join in on it’s no wonder it has become so popular. ‘The Ghost Of High Barbery’ dates even further back to the early 17th century and tells of a English ship being attacked by African pirates and having to defend themselves.
“For quarter, for quarter those pirates then did plea
But the answer that we gave them, was to sink them in their sea.”
(Directed and animated by Carlos Ghirlanda. Art by Martín Neironi and Agustín Capiglioni)
Not a song I’ve heard before but I love The Groggy Dogs version with it’s gruff vocals and speedy tuneful tune. ‘Botany Bay’ is also known as ‘South Australia’, under which title is was recorded by The Pogues, and is still a favourite of mainly Irish bands. The album ends with another brilliant instrumental and ‘Last Night’s Grog’ sees the album out with probably the best song and never do they sound more Gaelic! A fast, catchy, tuneful, uplifting instrumental to send us off.
Grog O’Clock was expertly recorded, mixed and mastered by The Groggy Dogs Cap’n and founder Mauro at Estudios Tomahawk. The sound is absolutely perfect and with all the instruments as clear as the proverbial bell! The whole album blends traditional Irish Folk and sea-shanties (sometimes the same thing) with more modern influences to make for something very good. The touches of Punk, Ska and Metal in The Groggy Dogs hands make for a brilliant sound. A forceful ‘n fun sound that invites ye t’ dance ‘n party wit’ a few jugs o’ grog (that’s enough of that- editor).
(You can stream / download the whole of Grog O’Clock on the Bandcamp player below)
So that’s your lot for 2021. Our final post. Thanks for sailing with us and thanks for everybody involved in the site and everyone that has supported us over the last year. Happy to say that 2022 is shaping up to be a great year something for us all to celebrate.
Well here we go again. It only seems like five minutes since I was compiling all the votes into last years Best Of that saw The Rumjacks romping home with Album Of The Year. This year has been a bit quieter on the Celtic-Punk front but as last year was so busy that is perhaps not surprising. That’s not to say their weren’t some fantastic releases as their were plenty and it was still really difficult to come up with the various lists below. Not so many big bands this year so it was left to the lesser known bands to shine but remember this is only our opinion and these releases are only the tip of the iceberg of what came out last year. Feel free to comment, slag off or dissect our lists. As a bonus we are adding the Readers Poll again this year so you can even vote on your favourite release of 2019 yourself. If it’s not listed then simply add your choice.
We don’t pretend to be the final word as that my friends is for you…
(click on the green link to go where you will find more information on the release)
How to compete with last year? Every single top band in the genre released an album so things were always going to be a bit quieter for 2019. Top spot this year unsurprisingly goes to The Walker Roaders Celtic-Punk super group! With Pogues, Mollys and Dropkicks making up the team how could they possibly go wrong! Everyone’s ‘next big thing’ Mickey Rickshaw came in a well deserved second and Ferocious Dog took third after releasing their best album, for me, since From Without. Greenland Whalefishers celebrated 25 years on the road with their best album for quite a while and what Best Of would be right without some bloody brilliant Irish-American bands challenging at the top too. Pipes And Pints new album with a new singer received acclaim from across the Punk media and The Rumjacks couldn’t follow up last years unanimous victory despite having two album releases (both sort of live) in the top thirteen. Fiddlers Green continue to make consistently great albums and go into 2020 celebrating thirty years together! Good to see homegrown bands The Whipjacks, The Tenbags, The Filthy Spectacula and Sons Of Clogger making it too. The top thirty was made up of thirteen countries from USA, England, Norway, Czech Republic, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Argentina, Japan, Quebec, Hungary, Spain and Japan.
The Lucky Trolls took #1 spot with their brilliant self-titled EP following on from fellow countrymen the Krakin’ Kellys multi award winning 2018. Trust me it would have taken an exceptionally good release to keep The Party by Drunken Dolly off the top spot but that is what happened. Dolly’s excursions over to these shores this year j=has seen them grown in stature and you can’t go to a Ferocious Dog gig without spotting at least a dozen of their shirts. Loretta Problem wowed us with their single ‘Waltz Of My Drunken Dream’ which took us right back back to The Pogues glory days and what about that accompanying videotoo!! If we had a award for best video then that would have walked it. The Kellys had a quiet year with comparison to ’18 but still managed a respectable #5 and great debut releases from The Placks our sole representative from a Celtic nation (big things are going to happen to this band in 2020 mark my words), Italian/Aussies The Cloverhearts and, from just down the road from my Mammy, Shanghai Treason from Sheffield who only put out one song… but what a song! Eight countries represented from Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Scotland, Argentina, Australia and Yorkshire!
Argentina is becoming a bit of a hot-spot for Celtic-Punk with not only some well established bands but also some new ones starting up too and with this release Aires Bastardos announced their arrival on the international scene too. Not afraid to dive straight into a folk number after a Cock Sparrer cover they veer from standard Celtic-Punk to Folk and back to fast as hell Punk but in that really accessible way that only Celtic-Punk (and maybe Ska-Punk) bands can do.
The Dreadnoughts don’t really think of themselves as Celtic-Punk so I reckon they’d be happier to win this than Celtic-Punk Album Of The Year. A superb collection of sea shanties that is a pleasure to listen to that was always going to be #1. Crock Of Bones representing the London Irish in 2nd with an album of trad folk with punk rock attitude and it’s especially good to hear some originals done in the style of the ‘auld ways’. 6’10 challenged for the top spot as they always do with everything they release and Bryan MacPherson and Callum Houston both produced great releases of singer-songwriter acoustic folk with Irish roots.
Sadly the Celtic-Punk world has shrunk a little regarding Web-Sites. Winners of the last two years the Mersey Celt Punks have been slacking (sort it out lads!) and enjoying their gigs too much to tell us while Shite’n’Onions have been too busy transferring everything onto a different platform and preparing for a bit of a re-launch I expect. Sadly celtic-rock.de have shut up shop after twelve years so it just makes it all the more clear how much we all miss Waldo and his fantastic Celtic-Folk-Punk And More site. As regular as clockwork and all the news that was ever fit (or not!) to print. Closing down the site in its 10th year in March must have been a tough decision to make and so this year we award best Website to Waldo and let it be known that no Celtic-Punk site will ever come close to replacing you. We would certainly not exist without his kind help and inspiration. All the best comrade enjoy your retirement! One welcome addition is Michu and his Celtic-Punk Encyclopediasite from Poland. Worth checking out especially if you are in a band.
We are not alone in doing these Best Of 2019 lists in fact all the major players in celtic-punk do them so click below to check out what they thought.
So there you go. Remember we don’t pretend to be the final word on things in fact if you check the other Celtic-Punk media I’m sure we’ve all come up with relatively different lists. Our Best Of’s are cajoled and bullied out of the admins from the London Celtic Punks Facebook page. The assorted scraps of paper and beer mats were then tallied up please remember not all of us heard the same albums so like all the various Best Of’s ours is also subjective.
This is our 8th year of making these Best Of lists so if you would like to check out out who was where in our previous ones then just click on the link below the relevant year.
Last year we introduced a new feature THE READERS PICK. We had no idea if it would work or not but it was a raging success so we going to do it all again this year. With well over 500 votes cast you lot chose the debut album from the Krakin’ Kellys as a worthy winner. Only the Top Ten albums are listed but there is an option to write in your favourite release or just to send us love… or abuse!
You are allowed to vote twice but not for the same artist.
The Poll will close at midnight on Friday 31st January with the result announced soon after.
remember any views, comments or abuse or slander we would love to hear it…
Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Crew- January, 2020
Spanish Celtic-Punk band 13Krauss may be part Dropkicks and another wee part Molly’s but 100% Celtic-Folk-Punk!
Redención is the third studio album (all independent releases) from Zaragoza based Celtic-Punk band 13Krauss. They were delivered kicking and screaming on 8th December 2012 and a year later they released their first demo Atlántida (available here for free download) which they followed up later that year with their debut album Seguir En Pie, which went on to to garner some great reviews from around the worlds Celtic-Punk media. This album was succeeded by The End Is Nigh in and again was met by universal acclaim from the scene and even went on to reach the dizzy heights of #17 in the London Celtic Punks Best Of 2016 awards. Not bad at all in a year when all the big hitters of Celtic-Punk released album’s. The band were formed as a straight up, heads down Punk-Rock band but after attending a concert by the legendary Real McKenzies it was decided to spice things up a bit and with the addition of accordion, fiddle and bagpipes a new Celtic-Punk band was set to hit the streets!
The album kicks off with ‘Dark Times’ and from the very start its fast and energetic Celtic-Punk but still tuneful. It’s a punk of course but Viktor’s banjo leads the song from beginning to end in a way that reminds me a bit of English band Mick O’Toole. 13Krauss tend to slip between English and Spanish in their songs and they do again on Redención with the majority in Spanish but Mario’s vocals are clear as a bell and Punky enough for the music too. On ‘Verte Perder’ Mario is joined on vocals by Pimen Tonazo from the Catalonioan band Milenrama for a punk rock duet and again the energy is in yer face! The pace they set only lets up briefly for the next track ‘Maggie Dickson’. The first release from the album back in March.
The song begins with some amazing fiddle from Guillermo with an Eastern European feel to it before the band kicks in and Mario tells the tale of the execution by hanging of poor Maggie. A cracking song that is one of the album highlights and even includes a bit of local flavour too showing that 13Krauss are not one trick ponies. We love to see bands taking in from influences from home and they are at it again on the next track ‘Años Perdidos’ which includes a nice bit of manic country style fiddle. They need to hang onto Guillermo he is one of the best fiddle players in Celtic-Punk I think. On their first album they were done and dusted in just over twenty minutes while on The End Is Nigh they expanded to just under thirty minutes and I have always thought they have rushed things along too much. Here though they have got the balance perfect with no compromise with the pace of the songs with nearly the whole lot played at breakneck speed but with plenty of room for them to be expanded on and the great news is that with the added depth to the songs they still never get tired. They leave the punk behind now for ‘Love At First Gig’ and a humorous look at a punk rock love affair and a song with its tongue firmly in its cheek with a Hillbilly/C’n’W tune that again shows some real quality in the musicianship of 13Krauss. Outstanding! With ‘Mary Tempestad’ we are back again in Celtic-PUNK territory and the albums longest song. Where once this would have flown by the Bhoys take their time and the song is another album standout. The album’s only cover has been well chosen and is a staple of Celtic-Punk bands around the world and for a good reason as ‘Star Of The County Down’ lends itself very well to being ‘punked’ up. Here the song is of course done brilliantly and I’m sure is a real crowd pleaser when played live. They slow it down again now for ‘El Sendero’ and while I cannot tell you what they are singing about I can tell you it is sung and played with passion and is one of them songs for raising a pint to the air and holding onto your nearest and dearest tightly. The bagpipes from the earlier releases are missing on Redenciónbut the album doesn’t suffer for it as on ‘Voces Quebradas’ where the dual sound of banjo/fiddle more than makes up for its absence. Gang vocals rule and here is a great example of them on my favourite tune here. We are heading towards the end and so far their hasn’t been a single weak song with ‘Mil Pedazos’ another standout kicking off with SLF style guitar before settling into a catchy Celtic influenced punk number before the curtain is brought down with perhaps the Dropkick Murphys influenced ‘Sinners & Liars’. The intro to the song anyway as before too long the song shoots off into traditional Irish folk and what I can say except a song you can well imagine Luke Kelly belting out with The Dubliners.
As usual in Celtic-Punk is it possible for the more folky fans to appreciate Redención and the answer is yes. I may have made it sound like Hardcore Punk but as fast as it is it is always accessible and catchy and the folk is always to the forefront in both melody and instruments. A great album that captures both the essence of Celtic music while never losing their Spanish identity and both work extremely well together. They may have once appealed more to fans of the Dropkicks but as they have progressed through their career 13Krauss have never towed the line and continue to do their own thing and that includes moving away from the more obvious DKM/Celtic-Punk sound to something that is both original and utterly brilliant!
(you can streamRedención on the Bandcamp player below before you buy it!)
A superb mix of traditional Catalan music and punk-rock.
Ebri Knight hail from the Maresme, a region where the sea and the mountains meet halfway between La Selva and Barcelona in Catalonia. If you have been living under a rock over the last couple of years Catalonia is currently a region of Spain. I say currently as there is a massive groundswell of support from the Catalan people to leave Spain and forge ahead as a nation in its own right.
Catalonia is is located on the extreme north east of Spain and is home to around 7,500,000 people and its capital is one of the worlds greatest cities in Barcelona. They have their own language and culture that is different to that of Spain and the wish to be independent has occupied the minds of many Catalan’s for decades. Back in the general election of 1931 the Catalan people voted heavily for the left-wing Republican government that promised greater autonomy but when Franco’s fascists moved against the democratically elected government causing the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) the Catalan’s sided with the government. Three years of heavy fighting throughout Spain but especially in the republican stronghold of Catalonia led to the devastation of the country and eventually to the defeat of the Republican forces and Franco brought in a dictatorship in which he never forgot the role that Catalonia had played. Franco’s regime banned the use of the Catalan language and all institutions of self-government were abolished. It wasn’t until the death of Franco and the return of democracy that Catalan self-identity was again tolerated and the people were allowed to express their national pride without fear of repercussion. This eventually led to the controversial referendum held last October in which than 2,020,000 voters (91.96%) voted for independence. This led to a crackdown on those the Spanish government considered responsible but the fact is that independence is inevitable and Spain are playing a risky game by denying the people of Catalonia their wish to take their place amongst the nations of the world.
The La Senyera Estelada is used by supporters of Catalonian independence. It was inspired by the stars on the Puerto Rican and Cuban flags, who gained independence from Spain in 1898 and 1902 respectively, Catalan independentists began including stars on their symbols from the early 20th century onwards.
Like most nations struggling for freedom across the world the use of traditional/folk music has been one of both uniting the people and a way to protest. With their language banned for decades it was mainly in song that Catalan was kept alive. Ebri Knight are firmly rooted in traditions that have been known across the streets of Catalonia for centuries. The melodies and traditional instruments that inspired them don’t belong left in the past but need to be brought to the fore again. To take from the past and not change it or reinvent it but add to it something. Music is constantly changing and adapting and Ebri Knight are no different to bands like The Dubliners, The Pogues and Flogging Molly. Three bands that show nearly sixty years of evolving and developing traditional Irish folk music.
Guerilla kicks off with ‘Carnaval’ and like a lot of European celtic-punk bands they love the flute. Not an instrument I was always fond of but over the last couple of years (ever since seeing Firkin from Hungary in fact) I have fallen for in a big way. The song is loud and bombastic with plenty of shouty gang vocals and what we might think of here as Spanish touches but all along have unbeknown to us are actually Catalan ones. The accordion is particularly good here. Next up is the lead single and title track ‘Guerrilla’ and Ebri Knight nail their colours to the mast and they are RED! The video was directed by Eloi Aymerich and shot on the beach of Callao de Mataró standing on the horizon of the Mediterranean Sea.
The song is a tribute to self-organization, to those that fight side by side together to overcome injustice and those who perpetuate them and to awaken those who remain alienated in the society in which we live.
“The days of the crumbs have been finished, We have already risen and we will make the executioner fall”
The video ends with a shot of a mother feeding her son wrapped in a red cloth, a symbol of revolt, dignity and the future. The music is catchy as hell, fastly played mainly acoustic and while the Celtic melodies may be missing its not a million miles from celtic-punk and in fact could be described as a next door neighbour. Almost the entire album is sung in Catalan so I can’t explain much about whats going on but its a thoroughly enjoyable album with plenty in it to keep both folkies and punkers happy. Not knowing much about the band previous to this album I can’t say how they have developed over their career but they certainly kick up a storm here and on ‘Venim’ it’s a perfect marriage of punk and folk music. The sort of music that could keep everyone happy but without wimping out. The guitars are turned up loud and the whole song bounces along with an almost Ramones feel to it but totally accessible at the same time. On ‘Rosa De Foc’ they slow it down beginning with just voice and acoustic guitar before the band join and while still keeping it slow(ish) the sound is massive. They can’t help themselves though and then BOOM and they off again and the Bhoys push it to max before slowing down again towards the end. ‘Filla’ is the quickest song here and sounds like a traditional song with vocals dominating over a bongo. A nice interlude and very much a salute to the past. ‘La Nit Encesa’ and ‘Mai Més’ are back firmly within punk territory with the folk instruments loud and proud in the mix with flute, fiddle and accordion competing with chugging electric guitar. If you were to pick a celtic-punk tune from this album then ‘El Nostre Dia’ is the one. A more folky number and the closest here to an Irish song. Slower but still massive as with all their slower songs with a swirling movement that you can imagine would be the pint in the air, arms round your mates on the dance-floor moment of the album. I would definitely suggest a visit to the bands YouTube page as well (link below) as they have obviously put a lot of work into their videos and ‘Vientos Del Pueblo’ is a great example. Using illustrations from the Civil War and the words of Republican fighter and poet Miguel Hernández the video is an incredible and powerful work of art.
Born into a poor family and with little education he published his first book at 23 and gained considerable fame before his death. He fought gallantly through the war before eventually being arrested and sentenced to death but Tuberculosis beat the hangman to it and before his death he scrawled his last verse on the wall of the hospital:
“Goodbye, brothers, comrades, friends: let me take my leave of the sun and the fields”
We are steering up towards the end now and ‘Cridarem’ again has a bit of a celtic-punk feel to it with a great shouty but tuneful chorus with what sounds like the whole band joining in. ‘Tornaria’ is a gentle song which makes me think that it’s the words that are important here. They are that kind of band. The lyrics are more important than the tunes to them but lucky for us that there’s more than enough to enjoy even if you don’t know any Catalan! The album ends with the fine anti-fascist anthem ‘Viva La Quinta Brigada’. Written by the legendary Christy Moore and sung here in English it’s an absolutely fantastic version and not very recognisable with Ebri Knight putting their own stamp all over it and defiantly making it their own. In Christy’s version the words pay tribute to the Irishmen who fought in the Spanish Civil War against Franco but here some lines are missing perhaps they found it too difficult to pronounce the Irish names! Nevertheless an awesome song, an awesome version and a great way to end the album.
Guerilla was recorded and mixed in Terrassa in their home region by Marc Bória and Oriol Bacardit and was released at the beginning of February. Twelve songs and forty-three minutes and as good a production as you will ever hear, as clear as the proverbial bell! We are all lucky that the band have made it available for free download so we recommend that as soon as you finish reading this you follow the link below and get downloading! We all owe bands like Ebri Knight a great service. Bands that keep our traditions alive that keep the songs in our memories that provide a link from the past to the present. Music on its own cannot change the world but it can inspire people to read, to think, to act. Music can rouse a people from its slumber its exactly why those that manipulate us and control us promote music that stops people thinking, reading, acting. Music can have the weight of the people behind it and bands like Ebri Knight have the strength of a people who want to change the world.
That’s why they make the music they do.
(you can listen to Guerilla on the Bandcamp player below)
Tonades Of Time Ago (2011) * La Palla Va Cara (2013) * Foc! (2015) * Cridarem Foc! (2017)
FromTheBand (the option is Buy Now or Name Your Price which includes the option to get the album for **FREE**. It’s up to you folks be as generous as you feel.
It’s December so let your pint glass be half full for a change and get into the festive spirit with what started as a Top Ten but but soon became the London Celtic Punk’s Top Twenty of the best kick-arse Christmas Celtic-Punk tunes ever written and absolutely no surprises at #1.
20. THE PRIESTS FEATURING SHANE MacGOWAN- ‘Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth’
Yeah you read that right. It may not quite reach the heights of Bing’n’Bowie but feck it nothing this man does is anything short of brilliant!
19. THE RUFFIANS- ‘Christmas In Killarney’
The Ruffians cover the holiday classic ‘Christmas In Killarney’ on their 2005 Christmas EP Together at Christmas.
18. REILLY- ‘Paddy’s Christmas’
Milwaukee Celtic punk band Reilly’s version of Snoopy’s Christmas, now called ‘Paddy’s Christmas’ on their 2008 album Kick Ass Celtic Christmas.
17. THE GOBSHITES- ‘Christmas Eve In The Boozer’
Boston Celtic punk band The Gobshites’ cover of the Yobs’ Christmas Eve in the Boozer. On The Gobshites’ album When the Shite Hits the Fan.
16. IRISH ROVER – ‘Christmas Time In Hells’
Performed entirely by Rover MacChroi and one for the miserablists out there. This guys glass is definitely half empty!
15. DROPKICK MURPHYS- ‘AK47 [All I Want For Christmas Is An]’
Proof the Murphs can do no wrong…
14. THE REAL McKENZIES- ‘Auld Lang Syne’
Now not strictly a Christmas song but I’ve met Scots who actually enjoy Hogmaney (New Years Eve) more than Christmas!
13. THE MAHONES- ‘Angels Without Wings/Merry Christmas Baby’
From The Mahones 2012 album Angels & Devils here is their awesome Christmas song featuring Felicity Hamer.
12. SHANE MacGOWAN- ‘Christmas Lullaby’
Gotta love this tune. Irish blues with a punk rock edge. McGowan nails it again.
11. STIFF LITTLE FINGERS- ‘White Christmas’
Belfast punk rock legends, and still going from strength to strength, cause Bing to rotate in his grave with this which appeared on the B-side of ‘The Edge’ 7″ in 1979.
10. SHILELAGH LAW- ‘Christmas In New York’
Christmas is many things to many people. I will always remember that a good mate Steve died on Christmas Eve and so it’s also a good time to think of those who have passed and raise a glass to them. Here’s a tribute to the victims of the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, by NY’ers Shilelagh Law.
9. LEXINGTON FIELD- ‘Christmas At The Pub’
This spot was originally held by the Spanish/German band Malasaners but their video disappeared overnight during the clampdown so the search was on for a replacement and last years Yuletide tidings from American- Irish fiddle rockers Lexington Field seemed an obvious choice seeing as we have spent most of the year outside pubs looking in!
8. FINNEGAN’S HELL- ‘Drunken Christmas’
Sweden’s Finnegan’s Hell deliver an unorthodox Christmas anthem and yeah, yeah, yeah some Irish stereotyping sure but get over yourselves. What is it you think The Dubliners sang about? My house at Christmas was more like this than what you see on the BBC I can tell you. Anyway judge for yourself!
7. CelKILT- ‘Santa Santa!’
CeltKilt from France even released a full album of Christmas themed songs Kiltmas Songs! in 2015 and as they say themselves, and it sounds better in French I think, “festive celtic rock celtique festif”.
6. THE WAGES OF SIN- ‘Merry Christmas From The Wages’
Enjoy the festive sights, sounds, and smells of the season with Wages Of Sin and their first, and possibly last, holiday single!
5. DARBY O’GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE- ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’
Possibly a bit much for this Catholic Bhoy to bare so if you of a delicate disposition skip to #6. It is hilarious though from this Oregon band from their 2007 album Christmas Songs for Drunken Atheists.
4. KRAKIN’ KELLYS- ‘Christmas In Kelly Green’
This space was previously occupied by West Virginian Celtic-Punk legends The Gentlemen but the You Tube account closed and the video has been lost in the ether so after a bit of thought I settled upon Krakin’ Kellys 2018 Christmas themed track ‘Christmas In Kelly Green’. The hottest new band in Celtic-Punk its hard to imagine these Belgian rockers only formed in 2017!
3. THE NARROWBACKS- Prodigal Son (I’ll Be Home For Christmas)
Part filmed at Paddy Reilly’s in New York this song actually brought a tear to my eye when I first heard it. After a couple of years of not speaking to my Mammy after a stupid argument we had only just made up. Kids look after your family. Keep them close and love them lots.
2. THE DROPKICK MURPHYS- ‘The Seasons Upon Us’ (2016)
Unfortunate to go up against The Pogues this is The Murphys superb Christmas epic. Hilarious video of Irish-American life. Sure to lift the spirits.
1. THE POGUES FEATURING KIRSTY MacCOLL- The Fairytale Of New York
When you see other Christmas best of list’s they always put ‘Arguably the greatest Christmas song of all time’ well we’ve no time for that bollocks. It is without a doubt THE greatest Christmas song of all time so there! R.I.P Kirsty
so there’s our Top Twenty. If you think we missed any post in the comments as is usually the way with these things we couldn’t stop there so bubbling under here’s one to play loud and proud!
…and so we end with some great words “let’s not fight tonight”. Just listen to The Ramones instead.
From the land of pipes and drunx comes this new EP of streetpunk and Oi! from Galician band Union Blood.
Bit of a departure for London Celtic Punks with this EP from the newly formed Street punk band Union Blood. Formed last Summer in A Coruña in Galicia now that city may ring a bell for celtic-punk fans as it is the home town of famous celtic celtic-punk band Bastards On Parades. As it goes Union Blood began last year as a side project but as Bastards On Parade announced on their Facebook page
“Hey! We wanted to let you all know that we are taking a break for a while. Different circumstances don’t let us keep the rhythm of traveling and tours we used to, so we will wait for the right time to come back as this band deserves.
See you soon you bastards!! Cheers”
Now Bastards On Parade, who took their name from the Dropkick Murphys song and played with them numerous times, worked their collective arses off over the years with their touring and even washed up over here a couple of times including a short and not particularly well organised tour (by us!) with The Lagan. So they are deserving of a break but what has stepped into the breach in the meantime you ask? Well what we have here is Union Blood’s first release and it has all the influences of Oi! bands past and present that you would expect flowing through it. Now I never been a skinhead but use to be a big fan of Oi! and one of the things about Oi! is that it was/is the British sound that completely dominates. Bands like The 4-Skins, Cock Sparrer and the Rejects seem to influence every band no matter where they come from and Union Blood are no different.
from left to right: Ruper, Arenga, Dopi, David
The EP begins with ‘Working Class Pride’ and its straight forward skinhead rock with David’s welcome, and familiar, voice rasping his way through a fast and catchy as hell number about having pride in your background. In a world where the working classes are hated by the elites (to be fair they always have been) for not voting the way they are told or being coarse or unruly and for simply not doing as we are told we only have each other. With the left around the world hellbent on destroying itself by the adoption of lunatic and poisonous identity politics a new left is needed that in the words of someone who should know is a new left that is
“from the class, for the class, of the class”
‘Reckless And Bones’ is up next and the chugging guitars are still evident but also the catchy gang chorus and “whoa whoa” too. Traces of Bastards On Parade here and with a piper in there we would be away!
The best song on the EP for me is the anti-fascist anthem ‘Blood On The Streets’ and cor blimey guv’nor it is a cracker. I won’t stray in cockney rhyming slang I promise but this song is an almighty foot tapper and fist shaker. Slightly slower and a lot heavier than previous tracks but by God it’s a class song.
The EP ends with the song ‘Brawlers’ which is another great song and dedicated to the Bhoys football team Deportivo de La Coruña. So there you have it songs about brotherhood, football, drinking and fighting the good fight. All played in such a way that if you were a fan of Bastards On Parade you would love this too. Great songs with interesting and well thought out lyrics and, most importantly of all, extremely good and catchy songs!
(you can have a listen to the EP below but only two songs feature so to get the whole four tracks you will have to buy the vinyl single)
Yes I know it only seems like five minutes since the last one but it’s that time of year again when we give you, for what it’s worth, our opinion on who made the best music in the celtic-punk scene over 2016. It’s been another outstanding year for the music that we all love and some truly fantastic records came out in the last twelve months. So read on to find out who came #1! Remember though this is only our opinion and these twenty-five album’s are only the tip of the iceberg of what was released last year. Feel free to comment, slag off or dissect our lists. We don’t pretend to be the final word as that my friends is for you…
TOP 25 CELTIC PUNK ALBUMS
1. THE RUMJACKS (Australia)-‘Sleepin’Rough’ Review
2. THE NARROWBACKS (New York)- ‘Arrogance & Ignorance’ Review
3. THE CLOVES AND THE TOBACCO (Indonesia)- ‘Across The Horizon’ Review
4. MICKEY RICKSHAW (Boston)- ‘Behind The Eight Ball’ Review
Absolutely no surprise here at all. For the first time we had an unanimous vote from all the admin’s that sees The Rumjacks sail away with the #1 spot for the second year running. It’s been an outstanding year for the Bhoys and with an American tour on the horizon they about to take another giant step in their campaign of world domination! Other notables were NYC’s Narrowbacks whose second album really showed the depth of their songwriting and could just have easily won the folk/trad best of too! The Cloves And The Tobacco deserve plaudits galore in another fantastic year for Indonesian celtic punk bands while Mickey Rickshaw could probably be said to have won the ‘unified title’ across all the various celtic-punk sites. In all we have twenty five bands from fourteen countries including USA x 6, Australia x 3, Indonesia x2, Germany x2, Netherlands x2, Catalonia x 2, Scotland, Italy, Sweden, Brazil, Spain, Czech Republic, Russia and Belarus with The Wakes being the only Celtic country based band which goes to show how international the scene has become.
6. THE CLAN (Italy)- ‘All In The Name Of Folk’ Review
24. RUSTY NAIL (USA)- ‘Bitter Ale, Bitter Heart’ Review
25. THE LANGER’S BALL (USA)- ‘Whiskey Outlaws’ Review
A special mention here to the ever prolific and always a pleasurable experience The Mahones who released a greatest hits entitled The Very Best: 25 Years Of Irish Punk which couldn’t be included in the Top 25 but if it did would have given The Rumjacks a run for their money!
TOP TEN CELTIC PUNK EP’S
1. MICK O’TOOLE (England)- ‘A Working Class Battalion’ Review
2. THE RAMSHACKLE ARMY (Australia)- ‘Whitewashed Graves’ Review
With The Rumjacks returning a year later to sweep the Album Of The Year it’s no surprise then that Wiltshire lads Mick O’Toole follow up last year’s win in the EP Of The Year awards to do the same thing. A great year for them that has seen them play less and less within the celtic-punk scene and really start to make waves outside of it. A foreign tour and more support slots to various punk rock legends than most bands play in a lifetime and all in the space of twelve months. The Ramshackle Army EP got lost in the post leaving us to do a rush-job review and given time I’m sure they may have given the O’Toole’s a run for their money. Drunken Fairy Tales impressed everyone and Matilda’s vinyl only release deserve a mention as well Mick O’Toole grabbing the 5th spot too.
Possibly the hardest Best Of List of them all to do is this one as so many releases cross over the genres between rock and punk and folk and trad but our good friend Anto Morra, the ‘London Irish folk-punker’, just edging it from The Logues with his superb tribute to the 1916 Easter Rising. Mickey Rickshaw swept to third with their specially recorded acoustic EP that came out for their European tour and ShamRocks put out an album of high quality and original Irish folk with imagination galore. A special mention for Blackwater Banshee whose EP came out later in the year and shows enormous promise and one or two original songs would have seen a much higher position I am sure.
Now this has over the years become the Celtic Folk Punk And More Top Celtic Punk Web-Site award so often has that esteemed site walked away with the top spot but there’s a new kid on the block and this year we are happy to award top spot to our good mates over at Mersey Celt Punks. They only kicked off the site a few months ago but super regular postings on all manner of celtic-punkness has seen them triumphant. You can join their fun over at Twitter and Facebook and we heartily recommend you do. A special mention here also for Viva La XV another new kid on the block which looks amazing but sadly as none of us can read Spanish we can’t tell if it’s as good as it looks! We’re sure it is and you can check it out for yourselves at the Blog or over on Facebook.
Right now the details. The Best Of lists were cajoled and bullied out of the four admins on the London Celtic Punks Facebook page. The various scraps of crumpled paper were received and then tallied up over several pints of Guinness in Mannions in north London while watching the football on the telly.
We are now in our fourth year of doing these Best Of lists so if you would like to have a look at the previous years best in celtic-punk then click the link below the relevant year.
remember any views or comments we would love to hear them…
Only one more thing to mention about 2016 and that is to remember here Erik Petersen the lead singer of the influential folk-punk band Mischief Brew who sadly passed away earlier this year. I still find it hard to believe that he has gone but he will always be commemorated.
“So tattoo our arms and raise our glasses, call out your name at New Year’s Eve, maybe next time we kneel at a casket, we can say at least the story’s complete”
Read our obituary for Erik hereand raise a glass the next time you get the chance to.
Rest In Peace comrade.
Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Crew- January, 2017
Catalan Bhoys showing the rest of us how to do Celtic-punk again!
Welcome to the third long player from one of the top celtic-punk bands in Europe, Catalan celtic-punkers Drink Hunters (their is no ‘The’). Formed in Barcelona in 2008 they have previously self-released two outstanding albums on a shoestring budget and set about raising money for this one by crowdfunding among their fans who responded magnificently and raised the necessary readies in no time at all. The band got together in Barcelona in 2008 when Pau (drums and vocals) and Aaron (bass and lead vocals) wanted to get a band on the road and decided to follow the path of celtic-punk. They talked about the idea with Raja (guitar and vocals) and a band began to take shape. Only thing now missing was to fill their energetic punk rock with some Irish folk touches. And for that they contacted with Nando (fiddle) and Rosa (accordion) and in early 2013 they signed Isra (Irish tin whistles and banjo) and Drink Hunters were armed and ready to go.
When we reviewed their last album (here) we described them as
“…which sounds pretty much like NOFX doing celtic-punk! The ‘celtic-NOFX’ label fits in quite well with The Drink Hunters and the majority of the songs fly by in around 2 minutes”
and to be perfectly honest that still fits them pretty damn well. Members have come and gone from the band but Drink Hunters philosophy of combining solid punk rock tunes with Irish traditional folk and themes has made them a sure fire hit across Europe and among those in the know in celtic-punk circles.
Shameless was released in July and is eleven tracks long that rolls in just a minute short of thirty minutes. Of those eleven songs all are written by the band themselves and as usual top marks for that. As much as I do love to hear version after version of ‘I’ll Tell Me Ma’ its far more enjoyable to hear what the band themselves have made and nurtured. Shameless begins with the short and very very snappy ‘1234’ and for a second you could imagine it as Bad Religion till the celtic instruments kick in and Drink Hunters are back with a right bang. All the lyrics are sung in English or should I say Californian! While we would prefer bands to sing in their native tongue its understandable why bands don’t always and Pau from the band is at least honest when he said, when we reviewed their last album,
“yeah, I feel that the English language can open more doors, particularly in this genre which is not very popular in Spain yet”
Next up is ‘Trashy Music’ and again from the start the music kicks in and the Bhoys put the boot into shitty sell out bands which is something you could never accuse them of being. Completely independent and totally DIY in ethos.
The album continues with ‘Do More Listening’ and ‘I Need To Forget’ which ramp up the speed and keep the fiddle player busy keeping up. A fantastic combination of old and new traditions Drink Hunters are that odd thing in celtic-punk. A band that follows no-one, sounds like no-one else and ploughs their own trough in coming up with something truly unique within celtic-punk.
(two songs from the album that were released in advance done all acoustic like!)
Album title track ‘Shameless’ is one of the shortest songs on the album and shows the band at their most fluid as they take the piss out of themselves somewhat.
“And they can say
we have no class
we have bad manners
and we want to be like them
But we’re sure
we’re so prooooud!”
‘Picnic Blanket’ has some real good Irish fiddle parts while the music steamrolls along. A real foot stomper this one and a real album standout. ‘My Car’ treads the same path as before with a silly song about being in love with your car.
“Your car is a crap
My tapes make me so elegant”
They showed they can play their instruments too by recently releasing an acoustic version of ‘My Car’ as well and it rocks mightily!
Next up is ’34’ and fiddle and tin whistle over pounding drums until friend of the band El Nota pops up to do a short rap in the middle. We are storming to the end and their is no let up in the speed of Shameless and ‘What Am I Waiting For?’ is no different. Fast paced and heading out in a bang with ‘Someone Else’ and finally the album comes to an end with my favourite song on the album. Encapsulating everything I love about the celtic punk scene it is called simply ‘Celtic Punks’. In Spain’s fractured land where one day we would hope to see freedom for the Catalans, Basques and Galicians the song offers a hand of friendship. As with Scotland its not necessary to hate your neighbours. One day you will all be on an equal footing so let solidarity be the key to your freedom.
“We are Celtic Punks!
You will never understand why we’ve chosen this path
our way of seeing things neither our music.
This is not a fad, It’s a way of life
feeling it inside our hearts
We’ve not given up yet.
No matter whether you are male or female
We are few people but we are united!
Celtic Punks gara gu (Basque)
Nos somos Celtic Punks (Galician)
Nosotras somos Celtic Punks (Spanish)
Nosaltres som Celtic Punks! (Catalan)”
An absolutely storming way to finish and worth the price of the album on its own. The most obvious thing for me that stands out about Drink Hunters is that if they were North American they would be, and pardon my French here, totally fucking massive. They certainly deserve it and as one of the hardest working bands around international stardom shouldn’t be too long with catching up with them.
(have a listen to the whole of Shameless by pressing Play on the Bandcamp player below)
2010- I Love Whiskey I Love Beer, 2011- With My Crew, 2014- Lurking Behind The Woods
* their are a host of other great bands in the region with Sigelpa also from Barcelona leading the way but one of the best ways to keep up with whats happening in Spain, Catalonia, Galicia, the Basque country and the celtic-punk scene in general is to follow the ever brilliant Celtic Folk Punk And More web-site. Begin here by checking their review of Shameless.
Folk core + Punk Rock + Ireland + Celtic + Catalonia = SIGELPA
Now we have been around now for so long that we are beginning to do reviews from bands we have already reviewed before but only one band is rounding the corner for their third review and that is the wonderful Sigelpa from Catalonia. The group hail from Terrassa in the Barcelona region of Catalonia and their mix of punk, hardcore and good old fashioned Irish folk music, as I have said before, is right up my street. Everything about the band is pretty amazing right down to their extremely clever name. Its an acronym of the initials of the seven deadly sins in Catalonian. Superbia/ Pride, Ira/ Wrath, Gula/ Gluttony, Enveja/ Envy, Luxuria/ Lust, Peresa/ Sloth and Avaricia/ Greed making up the letters in their name.
Their new album, Rabant Original, was officially released on July 7th just gone and got a limited free release for a week which is when I downloaded it. Now I can’t tell you much about any of the song lyrics sadly as they are all, bar two (one in English and one in Galician), in Catalan so will just stick to the basics here. Sigelpa rattle through their fourteen songs in no time at all with the whole album coming in at only twenty seven minutes and with the majority of their songs around the one and a half / two minute mark it’s a gloriously fast and wicked ride through celtic-punk owned territory! Rabant Original begins with a short intro ‘(pou)’ before ‘Aquí Ens Tens’ and the sound of electric guitar, accordion and fiddle fills the air and we are well away. Dual male and female vocals that is neither shouty nor crooned but fits the music perfectly. The accordion is to the fore in ‘Bronca’ and its really nice to hear female vocals at the front of a band for once rather than just singing the chorus and ‘Puta Ciutat’ show it off perfectly. The video for ‘A Saia Da Carolina’ will be just up your street if you can speak Galician but if not welcome to our world! A top version of this traditional Celtic folk song from Galicia.
The album signature tune ‘Rabant Original’ is pure pop punk with added accordion and fast drumming keeping the tempo right up high. Another highlight is ‘Dinamita’ which is a fast and furious racket with more lovely accordion and reminds me of the Brazilian celtic-punk band Lugh. Only 72 seconds long and over just as it gets going it’s accompanied by a video which shows Sigelpa in all their glory.
The band’s sound is never better than on ‘Us Tornarem A Votar’ with a great slab of celtic punk rock sure to get any bar room up on its feet and dancing away. Their simply is no let up and no time for anything slow here and ‘Culvolució’ carries it all on while ‘Mojigatrix’ is even faster! The only song sung in English is up next with the fecking amazing ‘Excursion Around The Bay’. Made most famous by one of celtic music’s big hitters Great Big Sea from Canada in 2000 on their Road Rage album. Written by Johnny Burke (1851–1930) who was a famous Newfoundland balladeer of his time. Not content to just copy the song Sigelpa inject it full of punk rock spirits and though it may start off quite familiar it ends a million miles away from the original. ‘L’Infern Està Pujant’ and ‘Exorcisme Vaginal’ take us up to the end and more of the same is all we are asking for now. Well played and expertly recorded and produced as well I have to say so well done to JM Castelló and Matias Scheinkman at Canela Hank Studio in Barcelona. The final track is ‘Sexual GGesus’ a fast and relatively long song for them at just under two minutes. Excellent country fiddle giving it a bluegrass sound in a song about punk rock wierdo GG Allin who died of a heroin overdose back in 1993.
Sigelpa left to right: Albert (violin), Robert (guitar), Bruna (vocals), Guille (drums), Pol (vocals and guitar), Alba (accordion), Xavi ( bass)
And their you have it. All over in well under a half hour and as good a celtic-punk album has been released this year. Fourteen songs of which only two are cover versions. Sigelpa are a brilliant band and one of my favourites in the current celtic-punk scene. Everything they do has a great deal of thought put into it. Both their debut album and ‘Ens Van Diagnosticar Un Transtorn’ were outstanding. Great politics, great musicians, great songs and a great spirit too. Trust me it’s no gamble here get this album and enjoy one of the very best bands in the celtic punk scene today, and certainly one of the most inventive, in ANY scene right now.
(you can listen to the entire album below by pressing play on the Bandcamp player. Its available on CD for only 7 Euros and that is as cheap as chips!)
Part Dropkicks, a wee part Molly’s but always 100% celtic-folk-punk!
The End is Nigh is the follow up album from 13Krauss to their excellent debut album, Seguir En Pie, which was released to great acclaim back in 2014. For our review of that grand album then check out here. Originally forming up as a straight up, no frills punk rock band but after a Real McKenzies show in their home town they were inspired to change direction and take the celtic-punk high road. So the boys went on to add an accordion player and a bagpiper and 13Krauss the celtic punk band were born! Hailing from Zaragoza in what is basically the dead centre of Spain they have become firm favourites on the Spanish scene, and further afield as well, and on the basis of these two albums it is no surprise why either.
The album begins with ‘Reza Por Tu Vida’ and the sound of an ocean and a toiling bell adds some nice touches to this blistering slab of fast and furious celtic-punk. One of only three songs sung in Spanish, the rest are in English, except for the one instrumental. Its a brilliant start with shouty gang vocals atop of acoustic guitar and bagpipes and its very Dropkicks sounding indeed. ‘Doomsday’ follows and reminds me of my current scene fave’s Ferocious Dog with the fiddle looming large and cranked up electric guitar and mandolin. Bodi vocal style is excellent. Shouty and strained but never unintelligible and you know that if pushed he could give it a real ‘croon’ with the best of them. The bagpipes are back out for ‘Flying Broken Chairs’, a catchy as hell track telling of a wicked and wild night down the boozer. They literally just released the video for ‘Flying Broken Chairs’ just yesterday featuring footage from this years St Patrick’s Day gig in Sala López in their home town of Zaragoza.
The best celtic-punk bands have the ability to slow it down and with the aptly named ‘Slow Down’ 13Krauss prove they can do it too. The story is of looking for leprauchauns and has quite the polka sound to it. Much like The Dreadnoughts use to play. Another thing a lot of non-celtic in origin celtic-punk bands are very good at is bringing new sounds and influences into their music and again ‘En Mi Ataúd’ has a sort of polka /Russian thing going on and its great. ‘Don’t Feed The Goblin’ is the only instrumental here and instrumental by name MENTAL by nature. A fast as hell ride through Dropkick Murphy’s style bagpipe punk rock. 13Krauss switch it up again and ‘Miserable Bridges’ has a skate-punk feel to it while again David’s bagpiping is absolutely superb. We are nearing the end now and ‘The Smitting Blow’ changes it up again with a country folk punk number that is unlike anything else here but equally as good and then finally we have ‘El Mañana No Espera’ and the end of the album. The bagpipes are loud and proud and the curtain comes down on this fantastic album with another piece of Murphy’s influenced celtic-punk rock.
The album was recorded and mixed in their home town and the nine tracks clock in at a very healthy thirty minutes. It was released just after St Patrick’s Day earlier in the year and is available for download as ‘name your price’ and only €9 for the actual physical compact disc which comes in a rather nice jewel case with all the song lyrics, credits and pictures in a extensive twelve page booklet. That there’s not a single cover version here is the first thing that struck me on hearing The End is Nigh. Just nine great slabs of celtic-punk that show the influence of other bands in the scene but always with the 13Krauss stamp of individuality on it. They have a great knack of switching it up and just as you feel your in for a ride of Dropkick Murphys expectations your off in another completely different direction. There are some outstanding celtic-punk bands from the region with Catalan bands The Drink Hunters and Sigelpa due to release new albums very soon, Bastards from Galicia still touring Europe relentlessly and The Fatty Farmers having also recently released a excellent new album too. 13Krauss deserve to be heard beyond Spain but also beyond Dropkick Murphys fans too as this album will appeal to all fans of the genre whether you prefer the punky or the folkier side of celtic-punk.
(You can have a free listen to The End Is Nigh by pressing play on the Bandcamp player below. Follow the link below to buy)
One of the best things about doing this here blog-zine is the end of year ‘Best Of’s’. This is our chance to reward, for what it’s worth, and recommend those releases that tickled our collective fancies over the last twelve months. Where as in 2013 the Best Of’s were dominated by local bands and releases and in 2014 it was international bands that stole the show this years is more of a mix of the two. No shocks at the top I’m afraid. It was always going to be a slug out between the big hitters of celtic-punk with The Rumjacks just shading it from the The Mahones by the slightest of margins. One of the team commented that the only difference was that ‘The Hunger And The Fight Part 1’ was slightly better than Part 2. In third place came 1916 out of New York who only just sneaked in with the December release of ‘Last Call For Heroes’. The album came out so late we didn’t even get a chance to mention it let alone review it nevertheless it blew us all away with their brilliant combination of rockabilly and celtic-punk. Another one to file in the ‘shamrockabilly’ category. Overall no major surprises and all four admins lists pretty much tallied up with each other but it’s especially great to see some non-English speaking bands in there as well as some bands that were new to us in the last twelve months. I was particularly happy to see Skontra and The Cundeez make the grade representing celtic-punk as played in the celtic nations. As ever we have reviewed some, though not all of these albums, so click (here) after the title and you will be re-directed to our review. If your album is not here do not be downhearted. These twenty album’s are the tip of the iceberg of what was released last year in what was an outstanding year for celtic-punk. Feel free to comment, slag off or dissect our lists. We don’t pretend to be the final word as that my friends is for you…
Now onto the EP’s. These are classed as shorter usually four to six songs long and around anything right up to 15-20 minutes long. No shock here at number one as a unanimous vote saw this years new band of the year Mick O’Toole walk away with the title. They have been a solid fixture during the year building up quite a reputation and following. At number two it’s long been a well known secret that Indonesia is a hotbed of celtic-punk and Dirty Glass are one of the best bands in their flourishing scene and ‘Drunken Summer Nights’ ran O’Toole very close while another English band came in third. Matilda’s Scoundrels really hit the heights in 2015 and just like Mick O’Toole bigger and better things await them in 2016. The rest of the list is made up from bands from across the globe with Slovenia, South Africa, Hungary, Catalonia, Russia, Holland, France and Yorkshire all making the list.
As the blog is for (mostly) celtic punk so it is that we only review stuff that isn’t celtic punk if we really really (really!!) like it. All these rocked our boat and we loved each of them all to bits. If you like celtic-punk then you should not be afraid to give traditional folk a listen. Most of it is more punk than punk these days you know. It’s a direct link to the music that inspired celtic punk music and their are some amazing bands and performers out there. Hard to decide which order they should go in especially as O’Hanlons Horsebox could have just as easily won this years Best Celtic Punk Album as well! This is how the Top Ten ended up.
1. O’HANLONS HORSEBOX- ‘Songs And Stories From The Border’ (here)
8. JOHNNY CAMPBELL- ‘Hook, Line And Sinker’ (here)
9. FFR CELTIC FIESTA- ‘Fresh Blood’
10. THE PROCLAIMERS- ‘Let’s Hear It For The Dogs’ (here)
11. SKWARDYA- ‘Domhwelyans/ Revolution’
TOP CELTIC PUNK WEB-SITE
Again Waldo over at Celtic Folk Punk And More walks away with this award. There is simply no better site on the internet. Everything you would possibly need to know is here with a HUGE range of bands covered and there is no doubt in my mind that the site you are reading here now would not exist without the inspiration of Celtic Folk Punk And More. Sadly Waldo published a post on January 3rd titled ‘New Year, New Life’ (here) announcing the suspension of the site for a while. We wish Waldo well and look forward to his, and his fantastic web site’s, return.
* The lists were compiled from the scraps of crumpled paper, and one beermat, handed to me by the other three admins from the London Celtic Punks Facebook page and tallied up over several pints of beer in a seedy working man’s Irish boozer in north London.
Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Crew- 2015
all the major players in celtic-punk do Best Of lists so click below to check out what they thought
This year has been quite brilliant for celtic-punk releases. In fact it has been far the best year since we began doing this here thingy. Good news surely but it also sadly means we didn’t get a chance to review everything we received or heard. So after catching up with our North American cousins (here) last time in Part 1 this time round we catch up with some a wee bit closer to home.
WILL TUN AND THE WASTERS- ‘The Anachronist’s Handbook’ (BUY)
This album release came accompanied with the sad news that lead singer Will Tun was leaving the band. An amicable split and the rest of The Wasters have decided to carry on without him and so this is the swansong of Will Tun’s Wasters. Formed in 2010 by a gang of students based all over southern England Will Tun And The Wasters released a smattering of EP’s and singles and managed to get pretty popular so it was only a matter of time before an album was due. I suppose losing your lead singer would also also help lose a big slice of momentum as this album sneaked out rather than be unleashed and that was a mighty shame as this is a album deserving of being unleashed! Impossible to pigeonhole they were a hard working bunch ready to arrive from several starting points to play gigs at a drop of a hat. Though starting off more as a folk/celtic/ska-punk band they never stopped evolving and traces of hip-hop, Balkan and Latin found a home and nowhere more so than on The Anachronist’s Handbook. Twelve songs and over fifty minutes long the album takes you on a roller-coaster ride of musical styles but its the accordion and fiddle that stand out for me as well as Will’s great distinctive vocals. The energy is infectious and ‘Red & Black’ and ‘A Criminal’s Waltz’ could be The Pogues but whatever genre they turn their hand to they master it. The album ends with ‘Downtime’ another album highlight but this time a reggae/ska beat dominates. I really hope The Wasters can regroup and carry on (as they do intend to) as they would be sorely missed.
Here’s some authentic celtic-punk for you played by Skontra from the city of Gijón in the celtic region ofAsturiascurrently under Spanish control. There is a school of thought amongst celtic scholars that to be a true authentic celtic nation you must have your own language but if to be truly celtic is based on culture then we must instead expand our thinking to include both Asturias and their neighbours Galicia as well. Celtic culture is alive and kicking and the people are especially proud of their celtic roots. Formed in 1991 Skontra this is their fourth full length album and the thirteen songs are mingled with elements of punk, hardcore, ska and reggae but always with a celtic base and with the traditional Asturian bagpipes leading the way. Seven of Foguera’s songs are in their native Asturian and the rest in Spanish so can’t tell you what the songs are about but its all dead catchy and if you’re looking for a comparison then this would please all you Real McKenzies fans but its very well played celtic-punk that ought to get you all moving your feet. Typical of Skontra is the fantastic title track which includes just about everything that makes them tick. They have made the album available for free for download so you’d be a mug not to get this fantastic album.
LOUISE DISTRAS- ‘Dreams From The Factory Floor’ (BUY)
Maybe not a celtic-punk album but Louise has popped up supporting both The Mahones and Bryan McPherson in the last year and her folky-punk solo set is right up our alley. She has been called the next Frank Turner but as I don’t think she went to the poshest most exclusive school in Britain I reckon we can ignore that. There’s no style over substance here, what you see and what you hear is what you get. ‘Dreams From The Factory Floor’ is twelve songs of over half an hour of folky punk that sometimes veer into almost poppy tunes like the great ‘Bullets’ but then the album goes in a direction that (very) early Bragg or Springsteen at his best would approve of. Plenty of harmonica (I love that) and great politics too. The politics of the working class and its struggles in every day. The spoken word title song is amazing and delivered in Louise’s broad Yorkshire accent sounds about as authentic as some others don’t. The use of both acoustic and electric guitar and the poetic lyrics and every song is both catchy and meaningful. No filler or fluff here and though not as punk rock as Louise is with her full band this album certainly shows an artist who is on her way to stardom.
From the first moment I heard this album I fell in love with Happy Ol’ McWeasel’s brand of joyous uplifting celtic punk rawk! Formed in 2007 in the Slovenian town of Maribor this is their second album and while on No Offence they relied maybe a little too much on traditional folk covers on this album they decided to take the more risky route and play only their own songs and I tells you it works… and it works well! All the usual instruments are here as well as accordion, fiddle, and banjo making as authentic a celtic sound as you are likely to hear in celtic-punk in 2015. Most important of all through the album’s twelve tracks you get the feeling that the band really love doing what they are doing. Their is a real sense of enjoyment running through this album and though you could bracket it with Flogging Molly style celtic punk it certainly ploughs its own trough too though it certainly could compare with bands like Rancid as well. Well played instruments, clear vocals and these fun-loving tunes are a definite hit. Its criminal that bands like Happy Ol’ McWeasel don’t get the applause they deserve but they are definitely one of the scenes best bands. They have given us an album that doesn’t just pump out standard celtic-punk rock but something with a whole lot more substance. One of the best productions on a album I have heard helps a lot but this innovative band will go far I am sure.
If their was a prize for best pun in a album title then Dundee band The Cundeez would walk it. Do you get it? Anyway this is their third album and with each one the band have got more polished and accomplished. Saying that it’s still ramshackle punk rock in all its glory. The lyrics are mostly either political or a bit daft and shouted in a raw Dundee dialect and combined with the punching guitars, pounding drums and occasional bagpipe The Cundeez certainly offer something well different to yer usual punk rock fare. The opening song is pure bagpipes and well played they are too but with the next song ‘Scaffie Radio’ the album steers away from celtic-punk into more standard (but still very good) punk. Elements of ska too especially on the brilliant ‘Rooota’ The pipes return occasionally and the album ends with a cover of ‘Teenage Kicks’ where the pipes return again to great effect. The rest of the album rocks by and can’t wait to catch them live from what I have heard they put on a great show.
The Cundeez unashamedly Dundonian working class band promotin the culture an havin a laugh!
Now this EP from London Celtic Punks favourite Anto Morra sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb here. I can say that freely as it was Anto himself who said it first! Those coming along to this EP expecting more of the same as Anto’s previous releases will get a shock as what you get here is hardcore ‘finger in the ear’ folk music that brings back reminiscences of people like Ewan MacColl and Pete Seeger. Famed for his wordplay and the way he somehow manages to inject the spirit of punk rock into his London Irish acoustic folk Anto has come up here with something very novel and you can listen to the whole EP below on the Bandcamp player first before you buy. Again the amazing fellow London Irishman and artist Brian Whelan has provided the artwork and the whole EP is a tribute to Edith Cavell. Edith was a nurse and is celebrated for saving the lives of soldiers from both sides during the First World War. She aided some 200 Allied soldiers to escape from German occupied Belguim and it was for this that she was arrested and accused of treason. Edith was found guilty and sentenced to death and despite international calls for mercy, she was executed by firing squad with her execution receiving worldwide condemnation. She is well known for her statement that “patriotism is not enough” and it was her strong Anglican beliefs that compelled her to help all those who needed it. She was quoted as saying, “I can’t stop while there are lives to be saved”. Edith, who was 49 at the time of her execution, was already notable as a pioneer of modern nursing in Belgium and this EP tells of her glorious life. Five tracks of Anto recorded in a church in Norfolk last Summer including ‘Edith Louise Cavell’ which was performed and broadcast live at the Edith Cavell’s centenary memorial service on BBC Radio 4. So a lot different to what Anto has previously done and I doubt we’ll get to hear any of these songs at a London Celtic Punks gig but full marks for producing this beautiful tribute to Edith and I do hope you will give it a chance.
So ends Part 2 and again we’re sorry we weren’t able to give each album the full-on London Celtic Punks treatment but it was just not possible with work and family commitments. Soooo only one more part to come and in Part 3 we will checking out some cracking releases from across the other side of the world. Yes from Japan, China and Australia. If you don’t want to miss any of our posts then you can follow us by simply filling in your e-mail address in the box that is either below or to the left depending how you are viewing and you will receive every post to your in-box.
Spanish Flogging Molly style Celtic punk rock orchestra!
The Fatty Farmers were formed in 2009 and having now listened to all three of their albums I can honestly say they are one of the most infectiously fun bands knocking around in the celtic-punk scene. From the very first sound of the very first song what you get here is a joyful romp that must be surely a joy to behold to catch live as if their live shows contain a tenth of the energy as this album then that is more than enough! The Fatty Farmers hail from Toledo in central España, 70 km south of Madrid. The city is famed for its socialist values as well as its religious tolerance with Christian, Jew and Muslim communities existing peacefully side by side for centuries. It is perhaps that tolerance for other views and cultures that led eight young Spanish friends to form The Fatty Farmers and become one of the celtic punk scenes hidden delights.
The first thing you notice as the album plays is that the band are firmly from the Flogging Molly camp of celtic-punk and with the Molly’s showing no sign of releasing anything now for a couple of years I tells you this is very welcome. Lately its been the Dropkicks style that has dominated my stereo but I like my trad music and you get plenty of that here. The second thing you notice is how similar Rodrigo’s vocal style is to Dave King. Sung in perfect English it is at times uncanny. Now I must add at this point that I do not want you to think that The Fatty Farmers are some clone or covers band of Flogging Molly in fact they do sound like The Mollys if they had continued in the same vein as ‘Within A Mile Of Home’ but there’s more to their fiddle than that. They have released two previous albums, ‘Down In The Streets’ and ‘Refarmatory’, and have toured extensively at home as well as in Italy and Portugal and hopefully this album will deservedly get them plenty more recognition.
The first of the album’s 16, yes sixteen!, tracks is ‘Carrot Man’ and straight away you know you are in for a great ride. The accordion leads the song along and the fiddle adds a bit of a country feel and just a few seconds in and you feel like leaping about the place.
‘Dirty Tricks’ is next and with female backing vocals, by friend of the band Bea, the country-punk has it sounding a somewhat like The Rumjacks and everyone knows how much I love them! With ‘Freddy’ we are in proper celtic-punk territory for the first time on the album and the boys ramp it right up with fiddle and accordion and mandolin all together with the entertaining tale of murder in a circus.
“What´s going on? All of this is so real. What´s going on? One kill list? Could it be sinister ventriloquist´s dummy?”
‘The Kings of Our Farm’ could be the bands anthem and the hilarious story of winning the lottery and turning their farm into a strip club.
“We´ll miss the races with our pigs now live at full speed,we hired some girls who cleaned our farm”
Eventually they tire of the life and wish to return to the simple pleasures of farming. The Molly sound is complete with added tin whistle and one of the albums stand out tracks. ‘Gafitaeh’ is the only instrumental and has a Greenland Whalefishers sound to it I suppose because of the tin whistle and The Poguesy feel too. The song rattles along at a grand old pace and shows they can really put a tune together. On ‘Grandma’s Drug Lab’ the band never sound so like Flogging Molly again I can promise you.
Without a doubt another of the album highlights and followed by ‘A Doubt in My Heart’, one of the slower album tracks, which has a cool acoustic sound before ‘A Letter to Beth’ explodes in yer ear holes and we’re settling in nicely but then we are thrown a curve ball and ‘Invictus’ shows the band get the bagpipes out and Javato’s piping is brilliant in the punkiest song of the album and the one that would be guaranteed to see me hit the dance floor. Superb both lyrically and musically proving their is much more going on here than the influence of The Mollys.
“Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit From pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed”
Based on a poem by the English Victorian poet William Ernest Henley. ‘Invictus’ was written in 1875 and published in 1888. Henley wrote the poem while recovering from life threatening surgery. Their is a lot more to The Fatty Farmers then their ‘fun’ persona would have you believe.
Don’t worry though ‘There’s a Treasure Everywhere’ sees the boys chuck out a pirate song before ‘Under Our Kilts’ the oddest song on the album comes on. The words are gibberish and a in-joke from the band while the music begins with the mandolin before again they take The Rumjacks sound a little further and a ska song wrapped round the accordion. The song develops making you think its going to turn punk rock any second but they stop just short and when the rest of the band join in the sound is actually really good. Just wish I could tell what they are on about!! ‘Drunk Fighters’ again shows how versatile The Fatty Farmers are and they turn their hand to this punk number and its a testament to them that even when they put songs in like ‘Drunk Fighters’ they don’t stick out uncomfortably and in fact seem perfectly at home.
“We’re the drunk fighters. These are our lives we chose and we know, ready to fight and ready for the show”
The Molly influence is back with both ‘Fanegas T.V. Show’ and ‘Queen of Drag Queens’ and to say they are catchy tunes would be a fecking massive understatement. We are getting to the end of the album. An hour’s worth of top notch celtic punk that will surely be challenging for the years best album if their is any justice. The bagpipes are back in ‘When Our River Was a Beach’ which begins slowly lulling you into thinking your in for an easy ride and then the whistle kicks in and we are off again. All great things come to an end and ‘Dancing Duels’ brings one of the best records I have heard this year to an end. A short song, only 71 seconds long, but stuffed to the gills in a live battle between the fiddle and the tin whistle.
The Fatty Farmers left to right: Javier (whistle, bagpipe) Juancar (drums) Javi (fiddle) Rodri (banjo, mandolin, lead vocals) Josemi (electric guitar) Lalo (acoustic guitar) Lamber (bass) Goyo (accordion)
With such a fantastic album under their belts I am sure that The Fatty Farmers will get the recognition they deserve. Fans of the band funded the making of the album so they do have a hardcore of support but they need to get around a whole lot more and introduce the rest of Europe to the glorious sound of The Fatty Farmers. They are of course indebted to Flogging Molly as their influence is clear on ‘Escape From The Dirty Pigs’ but to think they are just copying them couldn’t be further from the truth. The Fatty Farmers are definitely one of the best and original bands in the celtic-punk scene and deserve to be heard. A superb combination of traditional folk music and modern influences. Be sure to watch this band.
Sigelpa are truly one of the best and inventive celtic-punk bands in the scene right now!
Late last year Mrs London Celtic Punk decided it was time we go off on a proper holiday somewhere. Sick and tired of going to the seaside with me she said what about Barcelona? Now i don’t have travellers legs to be honest. I made it to London and that has been it really, but Barca… hmm “why not” I thought. So off she went to book the tickets and off I went to message Sigelpa that I would be coming to visit and would they be playing anywhere that week. I was heart broken to hear their reply that they were out on tour and my heart sank even further when The Drink Hunters said they were too! Still a lovely week was had wandering around that lovely city getting incredibly sun burnt thanks to my Celtic genes, plastering the place in London Celtic Punks stickers and getting plastered on Estrella!
The word on the street has it that Sigelpa will be releasing their follow up album to last years brilliant ‘TerraMorta!’ later in the year but in the meantime heres a wee five track EP of four originals and one cover to keep us going. That first album ranked very highly for us and it strolled in at 13 in our ‘Best Albums Of 2014’ list (read article here) so to say we are looking forward to the follow up is an understatement.
from left to right: Alba (diatonic accordion), Robert (electric guitar), Pol (singing and guitar), Albert (violin), Bruna (singing), Xavi (bass guitar), Guille (drums)
Sigelpa come from Terrassa in the Barcelona region of Catalonia and they mix up punk, hardcore and good old fashioned Irish folk music. Everything about the band is pretty amazing right down to their extremely clever name. Its a acronym of the initials of the seven deadly sins in Catalonian. Superbia/ Pride, Ira/ Wrath, Gula/ Gluttony, Enveja/ Envy, Luxuria/ Lust, Peresa/ Sloth and Avaricia/ Greed.
‘Ens Van Diagnosticar Un Transtorn’ means ‘We Got Diagnosed A Disorder’ in Catalan but theres certainly nothing wrong with this band! The EP’s five tracks sail past incredibly in just over ten minutes. The energy is boundless and will have you leaping around on first listen. The instrumental ‘3.0’ kicks the EP off with some great solo Irish fiddle until the guitar and drums kick in and accordion soon follows. A great tune of pure bred Irish folk-punk. ‘Necroguateke’ follows and sorry but I can’t tell you the story as its all in Catalan like the majority of their recordings. Dual male/ female vocals work extremely well, especially in a scene where there is a lack of female vocalists. Just when you start to think that Sigelpa have stood still and are happy to stay within the confines of celtic-punk ‘Sant Jordi’ follows and gruff vocals and fast loud guitar can’t hide the bluegrass roots of the superb tune and the bands progression. ‘Dacrifilia’ returns them to what they are best at. Again the dual vocals are there and again the accordion is to the fore with fast guitars before it all slows down for a nice bit of ska before building up again and letting go again. The mental Pogues classic ‘Bottle Of Smoke’ ends the EP and Sigelpa keep the pace and manicness of the original going. A great tale of one of lifes losers bet on the horses coming in accordion starts before Shane MacGowans words are spat out over fast Catalan celtic-punk. The man himself would be as proud as punch.
“The moon is clear
The sky is bright
I’m happy as the horses shite
Up came the Bottle of Smoke”
Sigelpa are a great band who put great thought into all they do. Their debut album was outstanding and ‘Ens Van Diagnosticar Un Transtorn’ is as well. The sound that has served them so well has been expanded on and developed and I can only see Sigelpa getting bettter and better. The band have generously made it available for free (or ‘name your price’) so its not even a gamble like the ‘Bottle Of Smoke’ get it downloaded now and sit back (or go mental!) to one of the best, and certainly one of the most inventive, celtic-punk bands in the scene right now.
(you can listen to the entire EP below by pressing play below. Its available to download on ‘Name Your Price’ so please be generous if you can but if you are short then download for free… guilt free!)
Inigo Cabacas, photographed with the Basque hermitage Gaztalugatxe, on the Biscay coast, in the background.
Most Basques and especially supporters of their most popular football team, Athletic Bilbao (1), were very happy in the early evening of 5th April 2012. Their team had beaten a football giant in the UEFA cup twice and another premier European team once. The fans were expecting Athletic to win or at least draw again that evening, in which case Athletic Bilbao were through to the second leg of the quarter-finals. They had no idea that the evening would end with a police riot squad firing rubber bullets into a festive crowd, causing the death of a young fan.
The high expectations of that evening in Bilbao were the result of a run of wins for the Athletic team. On March 8th2012, Athletic Bilbao beat Manchester United 3-2 on their own ground, at Old Trafford.
One needs to know a few population statistics to understand what an achievement that was. Manchester United are a team on the world stage, based in a city with a population of 2.55 million – that is not far from the population for the entire Basque Country. In addition, Manchester United’s players are drawn from around the world; Athletic recruits only Basque players from a total population of the Basque Country of less than 3 million.
A week after their win in the northern England city, on March 13th, Athletic faced Manchester United again, this time on the Basque team’s home ground, San Mames, in Bilbao. Manchester Utd. were beaten 2-1 and it seemed that the Basque lions (2) were unstoppable.
These wins created a huge interest in the next game, which was with FC Schalke 04 on March 29th at the German team’s home ground. Schalke plays in the top tier of the German football league and have won many championships including one UEFA League. With around 130,000 members, Schalke 04 is the third-largest sports club in the world in terms of membership, behind their compatriot rival FC Bayern Munich and Portuguese club SL Benfica.
Athletic Bilbao is not a sports conglomerate – it is a football club which is owned by its 40,000 members (remember, this is a small country – that’s nearly 1.5% of the whole population! It’s also around 11% of the population of their home base, Bilbao). The management board is elected by the membership.
At Schalke 04’s home ground on March 29th, the Bilbaino team beat them 2-4. The interest was therefore at fever-pitch for Athletic’s return match with the German team at Athletic’s home ground, San Mames on 5th April. The result was a 2-2 draw but Athletic were ahead 6-4 on aggregate and the fans were delighted. Bilbao was, as they say, buzzing.
After matches, young fans especially go to different pubs around town. Inigo Cabacas and many others went to an Herriko Taberna (a ‘Peoples’ Tavern, i.e. one managed by theAbertzale [Basque pro-Independence] Left) which is located in an small ‘square’ with planters, connected by alley with Licenciado Poza street. This small ‘square’ is off the María Díaz de Haro street near the stadium; it runs parallell with the San Mames street itself, an area of bars well-known as a destination for fans after a game at the stadium.
The Herriko is too small to accommodate all those who gathered there but that was no problem for the area outside took the overspill. Early in the evening a few people were seen scuffling there and the rest of the crowd around them told them to knock it off, this was a time for celebration, etc. The scuffle ended and the festivities continued.
Some time later, a van load of police arrived. These were the Ertzaintza, a Basque Police force of 7,500 created in 1982 which has had numerous clashes with Basque strike picketsand with the Abertzale (pro-Independence) Left. Supporters of the Abertzale Left and many others refer to the Ertzaintza as ‘zipayos‘ (i.e. ‘sepoys’, local soldiers recruited by colonial occupiers). The Ertzaintza are responsible to the Basque Autonomous Region Government(CAV), a semi-autonomous entity covering three of the four southern Basque provinces.
Basque Police, the Ertzaintza, face a ‘Solidarity Wall’ built to defend Basque comrades the police have come to arrest in Donosti/San Sebastian some years ago.
Some of the youth perceive the arrival of the masked and helmeted police as a provocation and begin to throw bottles at the van.
The police officer in charge of those in the van asks for reinforcements and these are sent. The police emerge from their vans and begin to fire rubber bullets (3) at the crowd at quite close range (the ‘square’ is less than 45 metres at its furthest from the street) and everyone scatters except for a small group who are throwing bottles at the police but even they eventually dive for cover. People are sheltering in doorways, huddled up against the walls on each side of the “square”. Some are inside the pub wondering what is going on. A local shop-manager has raised the shutter over his doorway and people crowd in there. Some people are sheltering behind the wooden planters that are in a line down the centre of the narrow square.
After some time three young men walk towards the police with their hands in the air, asking them to stop firing rubber bullets; the police strike them with batons. Meanwhile it comes to the attention of some in the crowd nearby that a person is lying on the ground, apparently unconscious with blood coming from his ear and the rear of his head. People go to his aid and one of his friends recognises Inigo Cabacas. He gets his mobile phone and rushes towards the police telling them that someone has been seriously injured and to call an ambulance. A police officer tells him to drop the mobile. Inigo’s friend repeats his urgent request and the police officer tells him again to drop the mobile and hits him with a truncheon. The man drops his mobile and retreats from the police.
The police advance into the area and reach the injured man who has some people around him; a women is rendering first aid. A policeman tells her to move away. She tells him the man needs and ambulance and that she is applying pressure to stop the bleeding. He says he wants to see for himself and pulls at her arm but after awhile desists and goes away.
Eventually an ambulance arrives and takes Inigo Cabacas, still unconscious, to hospital, where he lies in a coma.
(video of the scene of the incident and interviews with friends and witnesses with English subtitles)
The news runs through a city, a shock in the midst of its celebrations and soon afterwards throughout the Basque Country. The first official reaction is given by the Interior Minister of the Basque Autonomous Regional Government, who declares to the press that the Ertzaintza acted properly and in line with their procedures, although he regrets the unfortunate death of they young man. He also repeats the first line of defence given by the Ertzaintza, that they were called to help someone injured in a fight and that the crowd was preventing the ambulance in attendance from rendering assistance to the injured.
When eye-witnesses give their version and the reporters of some newpapers begin to gather information, it becomes clear that the Minister could not possibly have investigated the incident in the time available. Furthermore, it emerges that no ambulance attended until after the incident with the police and that it appears that no call for one had been made earlier. Furthermore, according to the woman who attended to Inigo at the scene, the ambulance paramedic told her, when she complained at their delay in arriving, that the police had delayed their entrance. Under a storm of criticism from civil society and from the Abertzale Left party, EH Bildu, the Minister promises a full investigation.
Inigo Cabacas dies after three days without having recovered consciousness.
Some time later, a recording of the police communications on the night is made available by GARA, a pro-Independence Basque daily newspaper. The following becomes clear from the recording:
* The Controller at Ertzaintza HQ calls a police van leader and directs him to attend the Herriko, saying that a fight has occurred there and that someone is injured.
* The van leader reports that they have arrived and that some are throwing bottles at them, that they require reinforcements. No mention of ambulance.
* The Controller confirms reinforcements are being sent.
* Reinforcements arrive. One of the van leaders now reports that nothing is happening, everything is ok.
* The Controller replies that he wants the police to go in and take possession of the area and make any arrests necessary. He emphasises that he wants to be understood clearly, that they are to “go into the Herriko with everything we have”, to take control of the area “and then everything will be ok.”
* The van leader replies that the order is understood and soon shots are heard (the firing of rubber bullets).
The family employs a solicitor. A judge is appointed to carry out the investigation but is required to do so along with her other duties. Immediately, the police investigation ceases (according to the family’s lawyer, the file contains just three pages), using the excuse of the judicial investigation.
A number of legal applications are made, e.g. for all the police at the incident to be obliged to make a statement, for all police who fired a rubber bullet gun to be identified, for the Controller to be obliged to make a statement, but all are refused by a judge, giving a number of reasons (4). Little is established over the following three years, except that threepolice voluntarily admit to having fired rubber bullets and the identity of the Controller on the evening becomes widely known. There is widespread outrage when the senior officer on duty the day of Inigo’s death is appointed Chief of the Ertzaintza.At a recent press conference, the Cabacas family’s lawyer, Jone Goirizelaia, announced that they had possibly identified the officer who had fired the fatal shot.
It emerged during the campaign by supporters of the Cabacas family that no recognised procedure was followed by the police with regard to the incident: debriefing statements were not taken from each of the police participants, guns were not examined to identify which had been fired, no inventory was taken of the number of rubber bullets fired. No attempt was made to contact witnesses after the event to gain a picture of what had occurred. Indeed, some witnesses who approached the police station to give statements were told to go away (see video link posted earlier in this article). It further appears that the Ertzaintza have been issued with no specific operational instructions with regard to the firing of rubber bullets.
According to some sources, the rubber bullets should only be fired at knee-height and at no less than 50 metres from the target. The ‘square’ is, according to locals, less than 45 metres at its furthest from the street and therefore the police from the moment they began firing, were in serious breach of the minimum distance requirements. In addition, the Ertzaintza have frequently been seen aiming their rubber bullet guns at protesters’ faces from as little as a metre or two and also firing from the shoulder with the muzzle parallel to the ground, i.e. directed at head or chest-height of the target. Also, the rubber-coated steel balls bounce uncontrollably.
Rubber bullets against Palestinians
Rubber bullets are regularly fired by the Israeli army at Palestinians. A Palestinian source reports: “Israeli professor Michael Krausz and colleagues at the Rambam Medical Centre in Haifa analysed the medical records of 595 casualties admitted to hospital during the October 2000 protests by Palestinians living inside Israel (typically described as “Israeli Arabs” by the media). Of those, 152 were found to have been injured by rubber-coated metal bullets. Injuries were distributed randomly across their bodies but were most common on the patients’ arms and legs, and on their head, neck and face.
“The doctors said their findings dismissed the theory that “rubber bullets” were safe.Rubber-coated metal bullets with some of their rubber coating removed, revealing their hard steel core. Fired at speeds of what must be several hundred feet a second, these are munitions that cause enough damage that their manufacturers feel compelled to describe them as only ‘less lethal’.
“Writing in the Lancet, they said firing the bullets at civilians made it ‘impossible to avoid severe injuries to vulnerable body regions such as the head, neck and upper torso, leading to substantial mortality, morbidity and disability.’ They added: ‘We reported a substantial number of severe injuries and fatalities inflicted by use of rubber bullets ….. This type of ammunition should therefore not be considered a safe method of crowd control. “The study, ‘Blunt and penetrating injuries caused by rubber bullets during the Israeli-Arab conflict in October, 2000: a retrospective study’ (The Lancet, Volume 359, Issue 9320, Page 1795), also highlighted previous research which suggested that even plastic bullets may not be safe and may cause more severe head injuries.” (Sourced at http://electronicintifada.net/content/misleading-terminology-rubber-bullets/4000)
It emerged in 2013 during a compensation case taken by a Derry man blinded in 1972 that the authorities knew that the missiles were potentially lethal even before they issued them.(http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/11/mod-rubber-bullets-lethal-records) It is clear also from a wealth of evidence that the missiles were regularly fired by soldiers and police not only at close range but also aimed at chest or head. In addition, a deadly ‘game’ was played by some British soldiers. Knowing that rubber and plastic bullets were collected by children as mementoes and objects to sell to tourists, soldiers would fire some into an open area and wait for children to run forward to collect them, then see if they could hit the children with subsequent rounds.
Rubber bullets in the Spanish state
The Spanish state continues to allow its police forces to carry and to fire rubber-coated metal bullets, in particular at protesting Basques and Catalans. Recently, the EU expressed concern at Spanish police firing at migrants attempting to swim into the Spanish state from Morocco, an occasion when 11 of the migrants drowned. But no international protest criticises them for firing potentially lethal missiles at their own citizens. Police in the Spanish state enjoy impunity and none more so than in the Basque and Catalan countries as well as with regard to African migrants. This week, a motion was put to the Basque Parliament to ban the use of rubber bullets in the area under its control (CAV). Instead a proposal was accepted to “restrict” the use of the missiles to “situations of grave danger” to the police, and to “definitely seek a replacement” for them. The Spanish right-wing PP, the liberal Spanish unionist UPyD, along with the PNV (Basque Nationalists), currently in power, voted for it, along with the Basque version of the Spanish social-democrats, the PSE. The only party to vote against the amendment was EH Bildu, party of the Abertzale (pro-Independence) Left; they had proposed the original motion, seeking a total ban and the removal of the missiles.
the parents and friends of Inigo Cabacas confront spokesperson of the Basque Nationalist Party after attempt to ban rubber bullets fails
Among those in the public gallery at the discussion were the parents of Inigo Cabacas. Afterwards, in the corridor outside, they confronted the spokesperson of the PNV, Joseba Egibar.During the exchange, another PNV parliamentarian, Luke Uribe-Etxebarria, tried to prevent its filming by the Basque TV station ETB. That attempt will be the subject of a complaint to the President of the Parliament by EH Bildu; they view it as particularly serious since Uribe-Etxebarria is also on the management board of the TV station and the filming was taking place in areas open to the public.
“I’m never coming to this Parliament again… I feel cheated,” said Manue Cabacas, father of the deceased, speaking about the majority decision. “My son is dead… I only wanted to ensure that it would never happen to anyone else …”
“No one dies, if we don’t forget them”
On the third anniversary of the killing of Inigo “Pitu” Cabacas, among many commemorative vents in the Basque Country, 10 minutes’ silence was observed in the San Mames stadium. Alongside Inigo Cabacas; many are also remembering Aitor Zabaleta, fan of the Real Sociedad team, murdered in Madrid in 1998 by fascist ultras of Club Atletico Madrid. Many Basques around the world will be conscious of the three years that have passed since Inigo’s killing without anyone being even charged in connection with his death or any noticeable change, whether in Basque police behaviour, procedure or their use of rubber-coated steel projectiles. A change of political control of the Basque Regional Government from the social-democratice party of Patxi Lopez to the Basque Nationalist Party . (PNV) of Urkullu has had no effect.
It is true that for ordinary people, in capitalist society, the wheels of justice move very slowly; in this case it is hard to see that they are moving at all.
1 Based in Bilbao, it is the most popular and most successful (two things that often go together) but not the only football team; there are also Real Sociedad, based in Donosti/San Sebastian and Osasuna, based in Iruña/ Pamplona.
2 A roaring lion is the emblem of the team, arising from the legend of St. Mames, to whom the local church is dedicated and which gives its name to the area, street and stadium. English-language football commentators persisted in calling the team “the Spanish lions” or ‘the Spanish cavaliers’ (??!), in total ignorance, one hopes, of quite how insultingly that would be perceived by the players and their fans. The Basque Country is not even politico-geographically Spain, it is divided between the Spanish and French states. And Bilbao Athletic is most certainly not, nor has it ever been, a Spanish team. When the Spanish King attends finals or semi-finals between Barcelona and Athletic in, yes, a Spanish football league, and the Spanish national anthem is played, the stadium fills with howls of derision, hoots and whistles from the supporters of both teams.
3 These are about the size of a tennis ball, perhaps a little smaller, of steel and coated in rubber.
4 E.g., the Controller could not be held responsible for the shooting by the police; individual police would have to be accused of firing the fatal shot if they were to be obliged to make a statement …
many thanks to Diarmuid Breatnach for allowing us to reprint his article. It first appeared in the wonderful Irish blog ‘Rebel Breeze, always thought provoking and entertaining. Click hereto go and have a look. Go on then…go and have a look.
*if you live in or around Dublin there will be a commemorative event on Tuesday 28thApril, on the day of a Basque derby, Bilbao Athletic v. Real Sociedad. They plan to hold a protest picket at the O’Connell Monument in Dublin’s O’Connell Street at 7pm for a short while and afterwards to go to watch the Basque derby (kick-off at 9pm) at the Living Room bar, Cathal Brugha St. Facebook event page here.
a collection of working class madrileño musicians with the requisite Irish soul needed to bring traditional Irish folk music with modern influences to life.
This debut album from Malasañers is as good a debut album as you’re ever likely to hear or have heard in celtic-punk circles.The band are named after a district of Madrid in Spain and while two of the band are from Spain the rest are German and the whole band now reside’s in Germany completely. From the very first spin this album hit the spot for me. With thirteen tracks and clocking in at just under forty minutes Wolverine Records have released an excellent record here. The album was recorded in both Germany and Spain and the production is crystal clear and everything from the vocals to the various instruments in play are all combined to produce a perfect sound.
I first came across them on the superb four-band compilation double album ‘Welcome To The Folk Punk Show’ (review here) that was also released by Wolverine Records last year featuring as well as Malasaners, The Judas Bunch and celtic punk legends The Mahones and The Porters.
from left to right: * Arturo Reyes (he didnt play the drums on the LP but he mixed the album with us) * Carlos del Pino: Banjo and Vocals * Elena MissBassplayer: Guitar * Miguel Fernández: Fiddle * Javier Vicius Cano: Bass * Photo: Jose Luis Frias
The album’s first track is the title song ‘Spanish Eyes’ and is about those brave men and women who fought against fascism in the 1936 Spanish civil war, especially those who came from Ireland. A beautiful song and fitting tribute-
“They came from North, South, and East
From Dublin, Clare and from Kildare
Their mission here was all too clear
To halt the evil beast”
From the first few chords you get a feel for exactly what this album has in store for you. This is celtic-punk with the story telling spirit of bands like The Wolfe Tones or The Dubliners looming large. All the songs on ‘Spanish Eyes’ are the composed by the band themselves and there really are no weak tracks here at all.
The Spanish Civil War is behind the following song ‘Kings Shilling’ as well, which has moments that remind me of the great Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone, before the speed folk kicks in and we are in familiar territory. Putting the lyrical boot into the forces that take an Irishman into exile to fight in one of the bloodiest battles in Spain on the side of the fascist forces. The lyrics throughout the album are outstanding and are no different here
“To fight for those who have enslaved me/ To wave their flags and spill my blood/ To turn my back on my own country/ To leave my bones in foreign mud”
This album could quite easily fit in with both sides of the celtic-punk fan base. ‘Still Alive’ is one of the folkier songs but still comes with a feeling behind it that carries the album along with great energy. ‘Drunk And Single In Madrid’ ramps up that energy to tell of a young Irish emigrant to Madrid and his escapades. The music is fast and furious with the banjo played at breakneck speed and the song ends with the great line
“They say Ireland is the place/ But I’m better broke, drunk and single in Madrid”
‘Listen’ rattles along with a country feel to it while ‘Rights’ is one of the albums highlight’s and is also accompanied by a great video. The banjo leads the way and Malasaners nail their political convictions to the wall again with a song trying to rouse the people from their slumber and take back their rights.
“It’s not fair the way we’re feeling
So abandoned, so unsafe, so insecure
They smile watching us bleeding
Let’s stand up, fight for our rights”
Not enough bands in celtic-punk use the harmonica so always cheers me to hear it, as in ‘The Price Of A Memory’, and its an instrument that even though not celtic does fit the celtic folk sound very well. ‘Tell Why’ again has a country feel to it and is the tale of broken love. ‘Lucky Duckies’ is a catchy number and one of my favourites with the fiddle blazing away while ‘Siege Of Drogheda’ has a sound not too disimilar to the ballads of the Murphys or the Mollys. Slowish but with the accordion out front and lyrics again touching on the tragic past. The ‘Siege Of Drogheda’ took place in September 1649 when the English forces of Cromwell besieged the Irish Catholic forces and committed what was said to have been
“unparalleled savagery and treachery beyond any slaughterhouse”
towards the captured soldiers and civilian population. ‘Walking Towards The Waves’ returns Malasaners back to what they are best at and another standout track which brings this great album to an end with the superb ‘Too Many Fools’ and the punky ‘Stoneheart’.
from left to right: Carlos, Arturo, Elena, Miguel, Javier Photo: Jose Luis Frias
Malasaners have a very feel for their punk roots as well as a respect for Irish music and the Irish story telling tradition and have managed to meld them together in such a way that I can only see the band going on to much bigger and better things.
Last year our ‘Best Of’ list was completely dominated by bands from these shores but this time there’s a much more international flavour to 2014’s Best Album’s list. Again Irish influenced bands dominate but the absolute standout album for me was without a doubt Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards from Italy who nailed their fusion of punk rock and traditional music completely. With their own roots and influences included along with some amazing uilleann piping they are deserved winners of the Best Album spot. Kitchen Implosion join them in what has been a great year for Italian bands. Sure not all of these twenty bands are celtic-punk in the dictionary definition of the phrase but sod that anyway. These are what we liked and they all fit in in some way. Twenty bands from thirteen countries (Italy, England, Sweden, Brittany, Canada, Ireland, USA, Australia, Brazil, Catalonia, Germany, Switzerland and Belguim) which only goes to show the international appeal of the celtic-punk scene these days. A special mention for London Irish band Creeds Cross superb debut album. Only just caught them live and they were awesome so hoping to see much more of them around town in 2015.
As ever we have reviewed some, though not all of these albums, so click (here) after the title and you will be re-directed to our review.
We compiled the ‘Best Of’ lists together from the scraps of paper handed to me by the various admins from the London Celtic Punks facebook page.
1. UNCLE BARD AND THE DIRTY BASTARDS- ‘Get The Folk Out!’ (here)
20. THE BLACK TARTAN CLAN – Scotland in Our Hearts
a special special mention for three absolutely brilliant compilation albums too. Can’t really include them in the Best of charts so heres all three in no particular order at all as they are all 11 out of 10!
a class album with 4 songs per band and an absolutely beautifully put together record. THE PORTERS/ THE JUDAS BUNCH/ THE MAHONES/ MALASANERS 4-WAY SPLIT DOUBLE ALBUM- ‘Welcome To The Folk Punk Show’ (2014) here
a mostly Russian compilation paying tribute to all (lets just face it they are!) our favourite celtic-punk band- ‘Ex-USSR Tribute To The Dropkick Murphys’ (2014) here
this ought to be the number one album of the year to be honest. a fecking amazing compilation of Indonesian celtic-punk bands.the quality is amazing throughout.absolutely stunning. I cannot recommend enough!! ‘Wind From The Foreign Land- Indonesian Celtic-Punk Compilation’ (2014) here
TOP FIVE CELTIC PUNK EP’S OF 2015
No question which EP deserved this and Russia’s Middle Class Bastards just blasted us away with their follow up to their 2013 album. Superb use of bagpipes and brass instruments combined with fast but tuneful punk rock. A bit unfortunate for Black Water County who looked nailed on to win this for most of the year with their fantastic 2nd EP. The Breton band The Maggie Whackers released their EP back at the start of the year while The South Sea Ramblers from South Africa literally released theirs just a couple of weeks ago while LQR from Holland slipped theirs out in time for St Patricks Day… ooh err missus! So spread out across the year but these are the ones that left their mark. Looking forward to hearing more from them all and long players must be arriving soon I hope.
As the blog is for (mostly) celtic punk so it is that we only review stuff that isn’t celtic punk if we really really (really!!) like it. All these rocked our boat and we loved them all to bits. Hard to decide which order they should go in but this is how we ended up. Turned out to be an all Irish list with I DRAW SLOW from Dublin with beautiful alternative country sounds and both Cork’s THE BUACHAILLS and London’s THE CRAICHEADS going head to head with both bands playing similar styles of music while Irish-American supergroup THE ALT’s debut album was a worthy runner-up to fellow Irish-Americans RUNA’s brillliant fourth album.
keeping the whole wide world up to date with what’s going on and who is doing who within celtic punk (and more!) while also supplying us with regular free downloads and free compilations. Waldo you’re great. Keep it up mate!
Apart from the ones we put on which were all amazing and showcased some amazing performances from JAY WARS and THE DEAD MAGGIES from Aus, THE GREENLAND WHALEFISHERS from Norway, a couple of benefit gigs for Mad Dog out The Popes (hope youre back on your guitar highkicking soon pal!), BLACK WATER COUNTY played their London debut and went down a fecking storm, me O’s mates STEVE WHITE AND THE PROTEST FAMILY were as superb as ever and released a fantastic album. One of the major highlights was discovering the quintessential London Celtic Punk in ANTO MORRA and we look forward to working with him again in the future. We teamed up with fellow Londoners of Urbankelt and will be doing so again too.
I also saw DAVID ROVICS for the first time, THE MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG’s amazing 30th anniversary show was incredible, NECK and their sadly ended residency at TChances which had us all pissed on Polish lager on Sunday afternoons for the first 6 months of the year, FLOGGING MOLLY in Reading in June which showed they havent lost a thing and are as great as ever, THE POGUE TRADERS were the best Pogues tribute band I ever seen. Disappointing was missing so many gigs where I just didnt have the cash especially The Pogues various outings. THE STANFIELDS from Canada seemed like a decent bunch of lads but their London gig was a total rip-off. The pre-gig ticket price was £7-50 which more than doubled to £15 on the door on the night. Oi bands watch out for charlaten promoters won’t you? Rebellion music fest brings loads of decent bands over to play but that means that they all end up playing in the same week so I had to forgo THE GO-SET’s return to London. Missed out on THE WOLFE TONES London gigs too due to work. All three of them! THE LAGAN have been brilliant. Far far too many of their gigs to go into detail so we have choosen the whole of St Patricks Weekend as our Number One! With NECK playing three gigs over the weekend and both THE BIBLE CODE SUNDAYS and THE LAGAN playing on the same day as well it seen a clean sweep of all the London bands done. Afterwards sick days were phoned in, headache pills were taken and the best St Patricks in donkeys was had.
Now were just looking forward to catching THE DROPKICK MURPHYS ‘Celtic Invasion ‘ Tour in Dublin and London this year round St Patricks Day.
Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Crew- 2015
Of course all these things are very subjective so don’t be dismayed if your album ain’t here. What appeals to one don’t neccessarily appeal to another. It would be impossible to keep up with the multitude of celtic-punk related releases so these are the best of of what we actually did get to hear. All the various sites in the celtic-punk family had different winners so to see what they thought check out the Best Of lists of the following sites…
I’ve noticed lately that vinyl is becoming more and more popular within the celtic-punk scene and it’s more recent releases. Not just ordinary vinyl either but the really heavyweight discs that are the super duper best quality you can get. Like the those early Dubliners albums your Da’s got indoors. Still though a bit of a shock though when this, ‘Welcome To The Folk Punk Show’, landed on our doorstep… well when the postman handed it to me anyway! A four way split, double album of two of the scene’s biggest and best bands and two I had never heard of was not what I was expecting.
This double album starts with The Porters who along with The Auld Corn Brigade and Mr Irish Bastard are at the forefront of the German celtic-punk scene which is probably the biggest in Europe. With three albums tucked into their belts already this five piece from Düsseldorf have traversed Europe with their folk-punk-country sounds. They’ve admittedly moved away a little from the overt celtic-punk roots sound of their debut album ‘A Tribute To Arthur Guinness’ but The Porters sound is still recognisable and is all the better for bringing in a few wider influences.
They’ve recorded three brand new songs for the compilation and here’s the video for the album’s opening song
Next up are The Judas Bunch who hail from Sweden. They call themselves call ‘Honky Tonk Punks’ and I have to say I really enjoyed their three songs. Fast Rancid style punk rock with the accordion very much up front and very good female vocals to boot. The singer has a uncanny American accent so it should be no surprise that their mixture of punk, folk, celtic and country has, despite them being relatively unheard of, seen them touring the USA a couple of times already. A band to be filed with others like Old Man Markley or Nowherebound or even Social Distortion I’d say.
Coming round the bend now is the album’s biggest hitters. Yeah its The Mahones. All the way from Canada is the celtic-punk scene’s most prolific and hardest working band. Fresh from releasing a live album and the first part of their new double album ‘The Hunger And The Fight’ they include three live tracks for this comp and they are all Mahones super standards. The recording is crisp and clear and shows The Mahones at their raucous and rowdy best! Not much to be said about The Mahones as everyone has seen them play and everyone owns at least a couple of their albums so you know how brilliant they are!
Finally closing the second disc with their trio of songs are Malasañers who are named after a district of Madrid in Spain. Two of the band are from Spain while the rest are German and the band now reside in Germany completely. They play lovely Irish style celtic-punk with clear vocals in English. They may not have been together very long but it certainly doesn’t sound like it on these recordings. These working class madrileño musicians certainly bring their music to life and supply two fast numbers and one slower one. They have one album already under their belt ‘Spanish Eyes’ and it is well worth picking up.
The whole package is beautiful with both the music on the discs and the sleeve artwork as good as it gets. I would get a wiggle on though as there’s only 500 of them and once they’re sold out that will be it. No more will be released. My only gripe is that for such a Irish influenced project why the disc’s on orange vinyl!! A very minor gripe as they look wonderful. That shouldn’t put anybody off as clocking in at forty minutes it is great value and very reasonably priced as well. Wolverine Records are to be congratulated on putting out such a work of art!
1.Barfly 2.Fathers And Sons 3.Hellbound Lovers
THE JUDAS BUNCH
4.Honkytonk Punks 5.Hey Bartender 6.Jim Dennys Diner Side B:
1.Great Night On The Lash 2.Paint The Town Red 3.Blood Is On Your Hands
4.Rights 5.Immigrants 6.For A Pint
Sigelpa is a band from Terrassa in the Barcelona region of Catalonia that mixes up punk, hardcore and good old fashioned Irish folk music. Everything about the band is pretty amazing right down to their extremely clever name. Its a acronym of the initials of the seven deadly sins in Catalonian. Superbia/ Pride, Ira/ Wrath, Gula/ Gluttony, Enveja/ Envy, Luxuria/ Lust, Peresa/ Sloth and Avaricia/ Greed.
A follow up to their 2011 demo ‘L’atac Dels Ultrapirates Pecadors’, the self produced ‘TerraMorta’ is their debut album and as ambitious a project has never, to my knowledge anyway, been tried within celtic-punk before. ‘TerraMorta’ is a concept album which means that the songs are connected and tell a story from beginning to end. The album comes up just short of a hour with 14 tracks and is packed to the gills with references to celtic folklore.
Rather unfortunatly I cannot comment anymore on what the actual concept is about as the lyrics are in Catalonian and being a product of the english education system means i can only speak english so here’s what the band have to say themselves
“It tells the storyof acity called TerraMortawhere people aresubject to their god/rulerSaint Patrick.But7 strangers arrive and push citizensto rebelagainsthim.”
The excellent CelticFolkPunkAndMore blog published a much more detailed review than we ever could so head over there, here, and find out a bit more.
So as interesting a story ever told in celtic-punk and we can’t understand it… so our review has to concentrate more on the music and luckily for us the music doesn’t disappoint either! All your typical rock instruments are boosted by excellent fiddle and accordion playing and with male and female duo vocals that give Sigelpa a totally unique feel. There are so few female vocalists in the scene, except for Brutus Daughter and Irish Moutarde i cannot think of any, but it makes for a refreshing change and besides I’m a big fan of duo vocals. The music itself veers all over the genres but with celtic at the base and it always returns to a fast and furious reel. Taking in elements of ska, metal, punk all the songs bar one are their own compositions and hats off to the band for attempting something so risky for their debut album. I can heartily recommend ‘TerraMorte’ to any celtic punk fan as the musicianship is breathtaking and even though its annoying not to be able to pick up on the fantastic tale within it I am more than happy to hear a band singing in their native language especially one which has many parallels with the celtic languages but is surviving much better. There’s enough here to keep you all satisfied but if anyone wants to write a detailed review of the actual story of ‘TerraMorte’ please do and send it to us. You can get the album, and previous Demo, for free or donation from Bandcamp below as a ‘name your own price’ download so take a risk an give it a chance.
Some of the tracks are quite lengthy, as is the way with concept albums, but nothing drags and in fact their longest song ‘La Passio Del Trist’, coming in at just under nine minutes, is the albums standout track for me and demonstrates Sigelpa’s genre stretching perfectly. Starting
off with a metal flavour it soon bounces into punk before the celtic kicks in. The vocals are perfect and the whole production is immaculate with all the musicians combining together seamlessly. Take a chance on Sigelpa you’ll not be found wanting at all!
This is the second album from Catalonian band The Drink Hunters. Formed in Barcelona in 2008 they previously self-released ‘With My Crew’ on a shoestring budget in 2011 and now ‘Lurking Behind The Woods’ lands on our doorsteps and, as is always the big question with second albums, how does it rate to that excellent first album?
The answer is pretty damn well as it goes. Personally I’d say I prefer it to the first album but opinion seems divided looking at some of their reviews. They’ve added tin-whistle to the bands repertoire and although the Drink Hunters sound has evolved fans will be more than happy with the result.
Fourteen tracks clocking in at just under 40 minutes and completely financed and controlled and put together by the band. DIY in perfect perfection!
Starting off with the title track Spanish sounding guitar with a voice over film sample soon bursts into ‘Speciecism’ which sounds pretty much like NOFX doing celtic-punk! The ‘celtic-NOFX’ label fits in quite well with The Drink Hunters and the majority of the songs fly by in around 2 minutes. Lyrics are sung in English
Pau from the band expands on this “yeah, I feel that the English language can open more doors, particularly in this genre which is not very popular in Spain yet.”
and easy to understand so songs like ‘Breogan’s Descendents’ and ‘Big Fella’ that talk about real celtic history don’t get lost in the sound. For me its the fiddle led songs like ‘The Hunters Song’ and ‘Kill The King’ that are the standout tracks. Another class song is ‘Speak More Than a Fucking Politician’, check out the great video at the bottom of this page. The whole album is a singalonga masterpiece of celtic-punk with elements of Spanish/Catalonian music as well as medieval-punk moments that completely work with their style of NOFX/Bad Religion/’skate punk’
The best thing anyone can say about the Drink Hunters is that if they were North American they would be, and pardon my French here, fucking massive! But as one of the hardest working bands in Europe that international stardom can’t be far away.
for further info on The Drink Hunters have a look at ‘Celtic Folk Punk And More‘ Blog for a album review hereand band interview here.
Debut album from 13Krauss a new band from Zaragoza in Spain. Originally forming as a straight up punk band they were converted to celtic-punk after the boys attended a show by The Real McKenzies in their hometown. They added bagpipes and accordion into the band and hey presto 13Krauss were born! A year later and this debut album hits the shelves…
You get 9 tracks of which seven are in Spanish, one in English and an excellent instrumental The album clocks in at a bit of a measly 25 minutes and the songs fly by with an energy you’ll only find in the celtic-punk world. It is self produced by the band themselves so get onto Bandcamp and support them by buying the download (from only £2!). It was produced by Xavi Estivil together with the band and was mastered by Javier Roldón at “Vaccum Mastering” in Zaragoza.
Sounding at times like the folkier bits of the Dropkick Murphys but without losing the punky feel to it. They very occasionally go into Flogging Molly territory but don’t get me wrong, saying this in no way makes 13Krauss a copycat band. It’s the celtic instruments that lead the way and both the pipes and the accordion are excellently played. I bet they were a decent punk band too as the rest of the band play their parts well and together they have produced a great wee album that puts them at the forefront of Spanish celtpunk. It’s been quite prolific over there recently with The Drink Hunters, Brutus Daughter and The Fatty Farmers all releasing excellent albums recently. I don’t include Bastards On Parade for the obvious reason that they aren’t Spanish! Hats off also to Celtic Folk Punk And Morewhich for those who don’t know is a fantastic Spanish based blog and the inspiration for us to start our own one!
Things are looking bright for the bands future having played this years main St Patrick’s Day stage in Madrid with Bad Manners and a forthcoming tour of mainland Europe taking in France, Germany, the Czech republic and Switzerland in April 2014. The band deserve credit for producing a album of purely original numbers that is also chock full of tight as f*k, expertly played, fast paced celtic punk rock that will appeal to all!
Destined to go down in history (well Celtic-Punk history anyway!) the Irish Pub Songs Collection. A download of the best music around today. 70 minutes long with 23 bands from 15 countries and available for nothing at all.
Every day’s St. Patrick’s Day according to Neck but a week today it actually is so to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, we are super pleased to offer you this collection of some of the finest Celtic-Punk bands around today to download completely for *FREE*. Seriously this is as good a sampler as you’ll find of what’s alive and kicking and fecking brilliant in the world of Celtic-Punk. Download link below but you can follow the links to find out more about each band.
01. Celkilt (France)- Everyday’s St Patrick’s Day WebSite
02. Drink Hunters (Catalonia) – Drinking Song Facebook
22. The Scally Cap Brats (Canada) – Dress Sharp, Drink Hard Bandcamp
23. The Irish Rovers (Canada) – Drunken Sailor Facebook
if any links go dead leave a comment please leave a comment
YOU CAN LISTEN TO THE ALBUM BELOW
you can download Irish Pub Songs for free if you wish but there is also an option to donate to the Justice For The Craigavon 2 campaign that we support. Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton have been locked up unjustly convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Any donations to the campaign go directly to the campaign. Their are other albums on the Bandcamp site available. To find out more information on this miscarriage of justice please visit
So there you have it. The CD clocks in at a whopping 70 minutes and and its not even dominated by North American bands with 15 countries represented on the compilation. It’s a ‘name your price’ download so anything at all is acceptable from nothing to whatever you can afford. So get downloading, put the kettle on or open a beer and get listening…
like it or not but everything revolves around bloody Facebook these days so heres a shout out to the various FB celtic punk groups. we’ll add more as we become aware of them. have a look, join up and join the happy family…
copy and paste this around the place and lets get networking!
its absolutely dead easy to set up a group but if you do want a bit of advice ask any of the moderators of any of the above groups and I’m sure they’ll help you out. then let us know so we can add you to our list. if you want to be added then just leave a comment below.
Having touched on Celtic-Hip-Hop last week I’ve since been looking into the genre of Celtic-Metal which basically combines Celtic Folk music with Heavy Metal of course. With Scandinavian metal bands having a long history of delving back into the history of their respective countries and adding various elements and influences to their music it was only a matter of time before bands from the Celtic nations started to do the same.
These are my top five celtic metal bands as well as what are considered to be their best albums and where they come from with a wee bit of info added. It’s all my opinion of course and I’d be the first to admit that my knowledge of metal and celtic metal is pretty limited so if you know any others please feel free to leave a comment.
1. Primordial (Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand) Dublin, Ireland
Formed back in 1987 they originally started as a standard metal band but slowly their sound began to become more epic and the use of celtic instruments pushed them into a new sound.
Folklore, Cruachan’s third album was recorded by and features vocals by the legendary Shane McGowan of the Pogues and the single ‘Ride On’ reached number 40 in the Irish charts.
4. Alestorm (Black Sails at Midnight) Perth, Scotland
Formed in 2006 and describing their sound as ‘true Scottish pirate metal’. Two Scots and two Irishmen make up this band of buccaneers so that puts them firmly in the celtic-metal camp! Like all these bands absolutely huge on the continent and getting more and more popular here all the time as well.