1. Disparaging. an Irish-American.
2. a person of slight build who is unfit for hard labour
“going back to the Banner county someday”
“my Daddies a Paddy and I’m a Narrowback”
collective promoting celtic music especially celtic-punk and unofficial Celtic supporters club for drunx, punx 'n' vagabonds!
“going back to the Banner county someday”
“my Daddies a Paddy and I’m a Narrowback”
A cracking new Irish band from Bristol in South-West England and with bands like this the celtic-punk scene is in safe hands!
I came across Blackwater Banshee on Soundcloud a few weeks back but didn’t listen to any of their recordings till last week and what an eejit I was to wait so long. The five piece band are based in Bristol in South-West England and formed earlier this year. The band is made up of Karin Gormley on banjo and tin-whistle who is originally from Derry in Ireland, Richard Chapman is the vocalist and also plays mandolin, Bryn Llewelyn is Welsh and is on guitar and backing vocals and then we have Nige Savage on bass and Richard Underhill on drums. Bryn and Nige played in a classic rock band together and were looking to form a celtic rock band so after seeing his profile on Bandmix showing his background in Irish music they approached Rich and gathered him in. They then found Karin playing in an Irish folk session in Bristol. They soon started rehearsing back in June and recorded the EP in October. With Karin and Rich’s background in Irish folk and Bryn and Nige’s in rock they got the right blend of Irish folkness and rock to fit right into the celtic-punk scene.
The EP is only four songs and as such is just a taster really of what they are capable of. All the songs are pretty standard trad Irish covers and concentrate on showing their folkier side. It begins with ‘Nancy Whiskey’ an old trad song that is about the dangers of drink rather than the dangers of women!
“I bought her, I drank her, I had another
Ran out of money, so I did steal
She ran me ragged, Nancy Whiskey
For seven years, a rollin’ wheel”
it’s played straight up and if your looking for comparison try O’Hanlons Horsebox or even the Bible Code Sundays. Its folk-rock designed to be played in an Irish Centre or pub full of 1st, 2nd, 3rd generation Irish and their friends. Their are several different versions and this is the one favoured by Shane MacGowan. Up next is the classic ‘Dirty Old Town’. Written by Ewan MacColl who has featured many times on these pages (have a look here where you can still get some free Ewan album downloads) back in the 1950’s and recorded most famously by himself, The Dubliners and The Pogues. Ewan MacColl actually hated The Pogues version of his song. In an interview Ewan’s wife Peggy Seeger, a renowned folk artist in her own right, contends that when Ewan wrote the line
“We’ll chop you down like an old dead tree”
he was implying improvement of Salford rather than destroying it. While as writer Jeffrey T. Roesgen quite rightly saw it
“In the Pogues performance we have little trouble seeing Shane, with spite seething from his lips, wielding his axe like a banshee, hacking his dismal town to splinters”
Love the tin whistle here at the beginning and the Banshees certainly give it their all. ‘Spancil Hill’ follows and is famous as one of the saddest songs about Irish emigration, and as you can imagine there’s at lot of competition when it comes to that subject. Recorded by Christy Moore with Shane MacGowan, The Wolfe Tones, Johnny McEvoy I’d go so far as to say its been recorded by just about everyone. Written by Michael Considine who was born in Spancil Hill in County Clare and emigrated to America around 1870. He intended to bring his love out to join him but knowing it would not happen he wrote the poem and sent it back to Ireland to his nephew and in 1873 he was dead at only 23 years old. The tragic story of poor Michael’s life only adds to the sadness of the song.
“I dreamed I held and kissed her as in the days of yore
Ah Johnny, you’re only jokin’, as many’s the time before
Then the cock, he crew in the morning, he crew both loud and shrill
I awoke in California, many miles from Spancil Hill”
More than once with a drink in me I have found that last line a bit too much myself… Blackwater Banshee make this their most personal song of the four adding electric guitar and the wonderful mandolin while the drums keep up the beat giving it a real pint in the air feel with Richard belting it out with real conviction. The EP ends with ‘The Leaving Of Liverpool’ and it’s one of the livliest of Irish folk songs. Liverpool was once one of the major sea ports in the world. It was collected by Richard Maitland, a resident of Sailor’s Snug Harbor a home for retired seamen on Staten Island, who learnt it on board The General Knox around 1885. Designed to be shouted at the top of your lungs while banging your pint on the table during the chorus. Here the tempo is high, the energy is up and just listening to it now has got me headbanging away.
So their you have it. Four songs sixteen minutes. Admittedly their is nothing unusual here but what you get is some expertly played Irish trad that promises much much more for the future. When playing live they feature tunes from The Pogues and Dropkick Murphys so there is definitely a punk element to their sound. They are certainly a band to watch as if they can play these standards so well we gotta look forward to some of their own material and soon I hope. For a new band its always hard to get going so give them a like on Facebook and have a listen to the EP and lets awake the world to Bklackwater Banshee!
Contact The Band
Rochester New York State’s favorite celtic rock group sticking up for the working man and woman performing memorable self penned originals and the odd traditional cover!
Pouring out of the sometimes sunny Rochester area of New York state, about 300 miles from NYC, comes the brand new album from one of the areas favourite sons The Sisters Of Murphy. Released last Labor Day weekend Working Stiffs Unite! is their debut full length album after two EP’s, Holy Show in 2011 and On The Wrong Side Of The Road in 2013. Formed either nine or ten years ago, their memories are a bit sketchy, the band have been plugging away playing regularly since and have garnered great reviews and a multitude of fans of their solid working man (and woman) Irish rock’n’folk’n’roll. Those first two EP’s released on Silverdish Records were a great combination of folk, rock, pop and traditional Irish and unusually were pretty much made up entirely of the bands own compositions. Tight, well played celtic music and with this release they will surely get the recognition they deserve.
Some of Rochester’s earliest settlers were Irish, even before the dark days of the so called ‘famine’ and even today make up an astonishing 16% of the population. The Hibernian Benevolent Society was formed in 1828 and the Irish soon after founded St. Patrick’s church. There were at least 60 Irish families and an estimated 800 Irish-born men in Rochester by 1834. They built log cabins in an area that became known as Dublin and as only the most dirty and dangerous jobs were open to them many began work on the Erie Canal while others toiled in the flour and lumber mills. Many incidents of anti-Catholic and anti-Irish bigotry were reported and the local press attacked “popery” and these newly arrived immigrants but with the election of Henry O’Reilly as Postmaster in 1838, the long tradition of Irish involvement in politics in Rochester began. Of course the Rochester Irish were very active in sending aid back to Ireland as the ‘famine’ took hold and people were literally fleeing for their lives. Many sent money home to bring relatives over and by the early 1850s, the city’s population had grown by 7,500 with more than half coming from Ireland. In his 1957 book, Blake McKelvey wrote in Rochester History about the Irish
When Jeremiah O’Donovan, an Irish poet (and revolutionary!), reached Rochester in 1855, he characterized the city in his diary as the “promised land.” … One Irishman had risen to the head of the largest store in the city. He described another as the founder of a large clothing firm, and identified several more as grocers, meat merchants, furniture dealers and a variety of other tradesmen. O’Donovan found one Irish doctor in Rochester…
Gradually though anti-Irish feelings went away and just as in the the rest of America they helped shape all that was good and great about the places wherever they shipped into. The Irish population of Rochester may have shrunk in recent years somewhat but the community is still strong and flourishing and proud of their noble history! The Irish are still here and they are still fighting!!
Working Stiffs Unite! kicks right off from the very first bars with ‘L.O.V.E.’ and its full on Irish celtic rock coming out at ya. The fiddle and banjo mixing it up with the more traditional rock instruments and it all get’s the album off to a great start. ’40 Days At Sea’ starts off in an acapella style similar to something you could imagine Ronnie Drew doing before the band come in and again it’s as catchy as hell with the band combining perfectly and the production getting it just right too with all the bands instruments mixed just right. ‘One Word Of This Kiss’ begins with a thrashing guitar and while doesn’t scale the heights of the previous songs in speed it certainly makes up for it in energy. ‘Come Back To The Emerald Isle’ has a real country/Americana feel to it with the fiddle leading the way and Jonas voice giving just the right amount of honky tonk! ‘It’s A Shame’reminds me of London Irish bands like The Bible Code Sundays and The Craicheads. A poppy song that is as catchy enough but must say I prefer the harder edged songs here.
Next up is The Sisters Of Murphy’s epic song. Probably their signature track, ‘Green Over Red’. The song begins with the sound of an engine and soon uilleann pipes pipe us into a intro soon joined by acoustic guitar and the rest of the band join in this poignant song about emigration, fighting oppression and making your new home your own.
The year is 1925, and Tipperary Hill’s alive
With so many Celts who came across the sea
Listen to the children sing, dancing as the church bells ring
Laughing and finally feeling free
Now it feels like home!
Youth out marching in the street, stones in hand; there’s no defeat
No way in hell we’re going back again!
Huckle Ryan saves the day, says these boys won’t go away
There’ll be more than lights getting broke today
Oh oh oh, now it feels like home!
We knock it down, you build it up—we’ll tear it up again
You better get it right, man: green over red
Nothing you can say or do, ’cause this here is our avenue
You better get it right man: green over red!
We knock it down, you build it up—we’ll tear it up again
You better get it right, man: green over red
Nothing you can say or do; our flag is flying tried and true
You better get it right man: green over red!
Now it feels like home!
(you can have a listen or two to Working Stiffs Unite! for free by pressing play on the Bandcamp player below. Before you buy it that is!!)
Buy The Album
Contact The Band
you can read Blake McKelvey’s 1957 pamphlet on the Irish immigrants in Rochester here.
For any of you out there who haven’t seen Townies the short film by Mike O’Dea then here it is in all its original You Tube glory. Made back in 2007 it began production as a full movie but was forced to closed down after the Police busted them for filming a mob hit scene in south Boston without the official permits. The director took that footage and incorporated it into a forty-five minute short film. There were plans to re-shoot the entire film under a new title this year and Mike O’Dea has just announced that this will be happening. As Mike said on his official Facebook page
“I’m gearing up to begin filming my latest feature film ‘Hustler’. It’s about a Boston drug dealer who loses drugs and guns that belong to the mob. He has only 2 days to get it all back”
Country: USA Release Date: 15 August 2009 Production Co: Shamrock Films
Director: Mike O’Dea Writer: Mike O’Dea
Starring: Mike O’Dea, Jimmy Burke, Frannie Bryne, Michael Foot, Wade Gallagher, Johnny Hickey
Townies opens to the sound of London Irish celtic rockers The Bible Code Sundays singing ‘Honour Of The Gael’, a tune the band wrote specifically for the film. It is set in the town of Charlestown an Irish-American neighbourhood where the locals refer to themselves as townies. It is the oldest district in Boston and has always been known as an Irish area. In common with most cities now though since the late 1980s Charlestown has changed dramatically. The yuppies have moved in and gentrification has overtaken much of the area, as it has in much of Boston, but it still maintains a strong working class Irish American population and ‘Townie’ attitude.
After being released from prison, the son of an Irish mafia boss returns to his home town. Mickey Callaghan dreams of getting out of Boston and relocating to Florida but visions of palm trees vanish in gun smoke when he’s immediately surrounded by his Charlestown gangster crew and all of their problems. Murder and revenge is taking brother for brother and friend for friend until the vicious circle of bloody violence finally comes around to him.
(newspaper report about the filming of Townies)
CHARLESTOWN, Mass.-A handgun, gun shots and a bleeding victim; sounds like the scene of a crime, but when police responded to the incident, they discovered that it was all part of an act. State Police rushed to the scene for a report of shots fired at Paul Revere Park. When they got there, officers found a man, a fake gun and another with fake blood on his arm. “As I was coming up to him, he did pull his right hand out and saw a bit of his weapon,” Trooper Robert Malloy, State Police Marine Unit, said. “My adrenaline was pumping pretty good man,” Wade Gallagher, actor, said. “It was quite a rush.” Wade Gallagher is not a killer. He’s an actor who was filming a mob movie called ‘Townies’. Paul Revere Park was not an actual crime scene, but witnesses saw the gun and the blood they ran screaming for help. “It’s an actual gun and it fires blanks,” Mike O’Dea, Film Director, said. “Nothing actually comes out of the chamber.” Here’s the problem, O’Dea never told the city or police they were filming a violent mob scene in broad daylight. They did however post a sign on a car near the scene. “Well, we don’t have any money for permits, so you gotta do what you gotta do to get the movie done,” O’Dea said. “So, we took a risk and paid the price for it.” The actors were not arrested; however they are expected to face a judge later this month to face charges of disorderly conduct. They say that it was all worth it. “It’s supposed to be the most realistic mob movie ever made, so I guess we proved that today didn’t we,” O’Dea said. – – 2007 Sunbeam Television Corp.
Follow Michael O’Dea (actor and Director)
simple acoustic music. passion, anger, heart and a sense of humour and absolutely nothing at all like James Blunt
Love In The Time of Fear is the second release from Jay Wars And The Howard Youth. Jay was the lead singer of the sadly missed Australian celtic-punk band Between The Wars who split up in 2012 after a string of highly rated albums and singles. Among the things that stood out the most from their various recordings was Jay’s lyrical output so it was with relief that we heard he was going to carry on and keep recording. Last years first album Carry Me Home was pretty much Jay recording a solo version of a Between The Wars album but with guest appearances from half his old band giving the album that unmistakeable BTW sound. On Love In The Time of Fear Jay has expanded on that sound somewhat and though the album is much less celtic-punk it still has that BTW thing about it. The music may be less celtic and more punky but its still an absolute knockout and more than deserving of being our very first review of 2016.
The album begins with ‘Pyne In The Closet’ and Jays chugging guitar and Hayley’s amazing fiddle work along with a more than solid backline with Dan on drums and Crow on bass give it a real foot tapping feel right from the off. The BTW sound is there but now mixed up and blended with the English punk sound of bands like the Newtown Neurotics. Jay wears his politics on his chest and its working class struggle that interests him. Not the pampered politics of the middle class left but the blood and guts of life at the bottom of the ladder. ‘Don’t Cross The Line’ is the eleventh commitment of the international working classes. The line in question being the picket line and a very special contempt is reserved for those that strike break and cross picket lines stabbing their fellow workers in the backs. In the words of this ancient Irish saying (curse!)
“May the lamb of God stir his hoof through the roof of heaven and kick you in the arse down to hell”
The song features special guest vocals from Ronan MacManus the lead singer of the London Irish celtic rockers The Bible Code Sundays. Fast and furious and fecking angry and quite rightly so. One to play before you leave the house to right a wrong I’d say… Another of the album’s highlights is the next track ‘A Girl Called Hope’ with Jays words like poetry to this ear, easily understood and crystal clear. The track has a kind of a frantic country feel to it with great wailing backing vocals and the story is classic Jay with a tale of love gone murderously wrong.
By now you can get a feel for where this album is going and ‘Done And Dusted’ continues in much the same vein with a catchy tune and more of Jay’s unmistakable lyrics. It really is worth getting the headphones on to catch it all. ‘Alive!’ brings out the banjo and is a simply effective punk song again with Hayley’s fiddle giving it that bit extra. ‘Let Me Start Again’ is the fastest song on the album though still keeping it acoustic. ‘The Ballad Of 1846’ is a story of a young Irishman arriving in Melbourne in 1846 and finding the promised land contained the same prejudice that he had left behind in Ireland. This prejudice is that of the Orange kind. The extreme Protestant anti-Catholic and anti-Irish bigotry that the British transported across the globe in order to keep the Irish down. Fascism under any other name the Orange bigots (named after the colours of a bisexual Dutch king who defeated the British king James II in 1690… yeah go figure!!) still strut their stuff around the north of Ireland as well as Scotland and a few dwindling places left in England. Around July 12 every year they demand the right to pass triumphantly through Catholic areas and every they are quite rightly resisted “by any means possible”.
“when I see you wave that Orange flag I see red instead”
The following song ‘Abraham Brown’ was a collaboration between Jay and Kevin Prested, an Englishman now based in Melbourne and is the tale of a young man transported to Australia back in the 1830’s. Social history told through the eyes of Jay who is a real master of songs like these. Beautiful and evocative you close your eyes and the image of Abraham’s voyage fills your mind. ‘Play Another Song’ keeps it upbeat and ‘One Last Love Song’ brings the album to an end. Jay’s songs range from stories of the sea and love gone wrong as well as heartfelt political songs that steer clear of browbeating and lecturing. His writing seems simple but is in way simple. I would say genius but knowing Jay I also know he is a humble and generous soul who would blush at such a epitaph chucked in his direction. Simply to say Jay is as good a writer that celtic-punk has and his music is truly soul music.
Over a year ago in November 2014 we wrote
“It may be another chapter but its not the end of the book for Jay and we look forward to hearing much more from him”
Well Love In The Time of Fear is a great 2nd chapter in Jay Wars history and we love the evolution of the sound into a full on band while keeping a toe firmly in the acoustic-celtic-folk of what has been before. The great news for us is that Jay will soon be joining us on these shores. What on earth has possessed him to leave Australia to come here to the doom and gloom and rain of northern England is anyone’s guess but we can count ourselves lucky that we will get to see a lot more of Jay in the near future. The album is out in just under a month on Whisk And Key Records in Australia and is available for pre-order at the link below. When more links come in we will add them.
Buy The Album
WhiskAndKeyRecords (out February 5th 2016)
Between The Wars
We got a load of related stuff here including an interview with Jay here, a review of the first Jay Wars album Carry Me Home here and a review of the final Between The Wars album ‘Wont Go Quietly’ here.
Charity Single Released with Ginger Melodeon Experience Music Collective for The Lymphoma Association.
All we ask is that you make a donation, any amount you like!
Sorry if you don’t live in London but if you do you lucky souls are in for a cracking weekend from December 11th to the 13th!
FRIDAY 11th DECEMBER 2015
IRISH MUSIC FOR PALESTINE
BENEFIT CONCERT FOR ‘VOICE OF GAZA’
We are proud to announce a benefit gig in aid of the Palestinian charity ‘Voices For Gaza’
We have lined up some of the best Irish acts around for you with the marvellous BIBLE CODE SUNDAYS set to headline. They are simply the best band in the Irish scene in London.Best described as “The Clash on Irish steroids”. NECK are the original celtic-punk band. Taking The Pogues and The Clash and The Dubliners as a starting point they invented their own genre ‘Psycho-Ceilidh’ and have toured the world spreading the London Irish message to the masses and ANTO MORRA a singer-songwriter of great standing. Anto (real name Anthony Morrissey) was raised in London by Irish parents, and this background provides a theme that runs throughout his fantastic music. Three fantastic acts representing the London Irish community and Neck and The Bible Codes haven’t taken the stage together since the days of The Galtymore so you’rein for a rare treat.
Tickets are £10 in advance with no extra fees. All money going to ‘Voices For Gaza’. Get your ticket from here. Official Facebook event here.
The gig is being held at Hennesseys Bar, 399 Northolt Road, South Harrow, HA2 8JE. Nearest tube is South Harrow on the Picadilly line so come out of the train station and turn left and walk approx 500 metres.
Buses galore but 140, 487, 258 stop directly outside the bar. Live music is from 7-30pm till 11-15pm and last tube is around 11-45pm so people can get back to central London.
…but for those that stay our special guest DJ MR GREENFORD BHOY will be spinning the best in Irish rebel folk rock and more till the early hours.
Voice Of Gaza (VOG) project, is helping young Gazan female students to overcome trauma through writing about their experiences. They will participate in a 2 year programme learning all aspects of English, so their voices can reach out into the world. VOG has no tuition fees, to enable any student access to the project. Abedalrahman Elderawi has established an Educational Non-Profit Center in Gaza. This programme will give these young people:
The tools they need to become more effective writers and speakers
The platform to help their expressions reach the larger world
Build their character as future leaders able to speak eloquently for the Palestinian people
Enhancing their spiritual side through music and arts, while also helping them cope with the trauma of war and occupation.
Voice Of Gaza Facebook page here.
If you can’t make the gig feel free to still buy a ticket to support the great work ‘Voice Of Gaza’ are doing or go to the Go Fund Me page here and leave a donation.
SUNDAY 13TH DECEMBER 2015
THE LONDON CELTIC PUNKS /URBANKELT CHRISTMAS PISSUP BASH
On October 4th back in 1982 something happened that would forever change peoples lives and perceptions. A band called THE POGUES took the stage in an iconic old venue in Kings Cross and the rest as they say is history!
with THE POGUES run of yearly Christmas shows seemingly ended we know you all miss a good auld Pogues yuletide pissup so hows about the UK’s Number One Pogues tribute band THE POGUE TRADERS live at the very venue that The Pogues actually had their first ever gig!
And its not just a marketing ploy to describe them as the UK’s best Pogues tribute band – that’s what The Pogues own drummer Andrew Ranken said about THE POGUE TRADERS ably supported by COMRADE X one man whirlwind of numerous influences and traditions best described as “Woody Guthrie meets Oi!”. One geezer, one guitar, three chords and the truth. ANTO MORRA is back again. A singer-songwriter of great standing. Anto (real name Anthony Morrissey) was raised in London by Irish parents, and this background provides a theme that runs throughout his music. In the best tradition Luke Kelly, Brendan Behan and Shane himself.
and all at the historic music venue The Water Rats at 328 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8BZ. Situated just a couple of minutes walk from Kings Cross station so perfect for loads of rail and tube links and with the music set to finish around 11-30pm you will be able to get back to anywhere in London or further afield.
The bar will stay open a little longer and we will have MR GREENFORD BHOY dj’ing all your favourite celtic-punk, Irish, Punk and rebel tunes until we are shown the door.
Admission is only a fiver so you’ll already be saving £30 on the real band! Tickets are available from here. Official Facebook event here.
So prepare your livers… and your wallets and see you there!
P.S we will have the new London Celtic Punks t-shirts (and Badges) available so bring plenty of cash wont you. They will make great Christmas presents.
For Celtic Supporters By Celtic Supporters
I tell you the Celtic Family never ceases to amaze me. While one bunch of supporters has come to the aid of a Celtic fan arrested unjustly in London recently (here) another has released this compilation album to help out several charities all close to the Celtic heart.
The album has been organised by The Celtic Network on the belief that
“if you run a site for Celtic fans it is important that charity and good works are promoted alongside the football”
There are seventeen songs, some of which have been recorded and/or written specifically for this album, uniquely produced by a set of football supporters and by Celtic supporting bands and artists. The music itself is mostly of the Irish kind and The Celtic Network is hoping to donate £5 from every sale to the nominated charities. The idea of a ‘charity’ album is nothing new, however I think this may be one of the few to be produced by football supporters, so if that is the case this album maybe a wee bit unique. Fortunately The Celtic Network supports both good causes and Celtic supporting bands and artists, which gave a good starting point for this fund raising project.
If you can, please show your support for The Celtic Network and all of the artists who have given their time and effort to produce the album and the wonderful charities who will benefit from your generosity.
Full Track Listing:
The good causes to benefit are:
(click on the charity name to go direct to their site)
Band and Artists are:
(click on the band name to go direct to their site)
you can buy the CD or the Download from The Celtic Network web-site here for just £7.50 or £6.
Join The Celtic Network
The Celtic Network ‘for Celtic Supporters, by Celtic supporters’. We aim to provide a free alternative to mainstream media, promote Celtic fans sites and support good causes be it large charities or individuals.
“a football club will be formed for the maintenance of dinner tables for the children and the unemployed”
Andrew Kerins was born on 18th May 1840 to John and Elizabeth Kerins (nee Flynn) in Ballymote, County Sligo in the north-west of Ireland. His parents were poor farmers and devout Catholics. When Andrew was just 5 years of age the Great Famine (Irish: An Gorta Mor) struck Ireland. Lasting for seven years this was a period of mass starvation, disease, death and emigration. During this horrendous time in Irish history more than 1 million people died from disease and starvation and a much larger number emigrated from Ireland to avoid the same fate.
Many of those who left headed straight for the large industrial cities of Britain like London, Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The conditions that met them there were often little better that those they had just left behind in Ireland.
Andrew survived the famine. However, coming from a poor family, he would have known hunger and witnessed countless scenes of indescribable pain and suffering, the memories of which would stay with him for his lifetime. Andrew went on to study teaching and in 1864 he joined The Irish Marist Brothers Teaching Order taking the name Brother Walfrid, after Galfrido della Gherardesca, an eighth-centuty saint from Pisa, Italy.
In the early 1870’s his Order sent him to the East End of Glasgow. There he taught at St. Marys School and the Sacred Heart School where he was appointed headmaster in 1874. In 1884 Brother Walfrid set up the Poor Childrens Dinner Table charity, also known as ‘Penny Dinners’ whereby for a penny (or some bread and ha’penny) a child could get a nourishing meal. To fund his charity Brother Walfrid would arrange exhibition football matches.
On 6th November 1887 Celtic Football Club was formally constituted at a meeting in St. Mary’s church hall in Forbes Street, Carlton, Glasgow, by Brother Walfrid with the purpose of alleviating poverty in the East End of Glasgow by raising money for the charity he had started three years earlier, the ‘Poor Childrens Dinner Table’. A circular was issued declaring that
“the main object of the club was to supply …. funds for the maintenance of the dinner tables for the needy children in the missions of St Mary’s, Sacred Heart and St Michael’s”
In 1893 Brother Walfrid was sent by his Religious Order to London’s East End where he continued organising football matches to support his charity work. This time the beneficiaries were the poor children of Bethnal Green and Bow.
Brother Walfrid died on 17 April 1915 and is buried in the Mount St. Michael Cemetery in Dumfries.
In 2005, a fine sculpture of Brother Walfrid was unveiled outside Celtic Park to commemorate the major part he played in the founding of the club. The chair of the Memorial Committee, Eddie Toner, observed ruefully that modern football has been taken over by many of the values and philosophies that Walfrid would undoubtedly have opposed. The memorial would act “as a humble reminder of the club’s origins”.
For more On Brother Walfrid visit this recommended web site here.
TOP TWENTY CELTIC PUNK ALBUMS OF 2014
TOP FIVE CELTIC PUNK EP’S OF 2015
TOP FIVE TRAD ALBUMS OF 2014
BEST CELTIC PUNK WEB-SITE OF 2014
written and produced by Andy Nolan
directed by Tom Begley
starring Jon Campling, Steve Collins, Mark Hutchinson, Noel ‘Razor’ Smith, Tony Barber and Emily Hall
Tax City is a muscular drama directed by London based Irish-born Tom Begley and written and produced by Andy Nolan. Andy plays accordion in celtic-rockers The Bible Code Sundays who have been a permanent fixture on the London Irish scene for a good few years now. Set back in 1990s’ London, Tax City follows the sensational comeback of rock star Johnny Costa (Jon Campling), his tragic fall from grace and his perilous fight for survival on the streets of London. Costa is forced to confront Fintan, the brutal leader of a real life, Irish-dominated Taxing Squad gang that preys on the homeless community. Starring an outstanding star-studded cast including former world boxing champion Steve Collins and a member of one of the biggest movie franchises ever. A never before look at ‘cardboard city’ gives a thought-provoking look at how one act of desperation can change the lives of a family, friends and community.
Official video for The Thinker taken from the album Elephant In the Room released 17th Nov 2014
Way back in 2009 I trotted off to a Neck gig down County Holloway way and, having finished my can and a roll-up, wandered into the venue only to catch the last couple of songs of the first band on. Well having been suitably impressed I set out to track them down and after a short while i found The Lagan doing their stuff in Kingston on the south-east fringes of London and have been booking them to play gigs for no money ever since!
So we’re as happy as Larry to give you an interview with founder member and vocalist/guitarist Brendan.
First things first can you give us a wee potted history of the band? You know- the who, what, why and how? Were any of you in other bands previously and what happened to suddenly make the leap to forming The Lagan?
Well, Me and Matt met about ten years ago when we were playing in a 3 piece band called “Doin’ Time”, so we go back a fair way, around that time I met Gareth (either at gigs or in the pub) then we were playing in a ska band (Danny Fontaine and The Horns Of Fury), and it was around that time that I met Andy. I got a bit restless and moved on and joined a punk band (Beyond Reasonable Doubt). Thanks to all of us being slackers, that fell on its arse. I had been getting back into folk music around that time, and had only recently gotten into the folk punk thing, so I put together a band which turned out to be The Lagan.
Just as The Lagan seemed on the verge of taking off quite spectacularly you had bit of a run of bad luck with a couple of members leaving. Are things now back on a even keel or you still casting your net out for replacements?
Yeah, that was a bit of a fucker! That’s the way it goes, though. We never really planned on it taking off the way it did, so the boys couldn’t put in the same amount of time as the rest of us. We’re still looking for a permanent fiddle player, but Stan and Morgan help us out whenever they can.
You’re based in Kingston but is there much of an Irish community there? People say that the Irish population of London is getting smaller and the most obvious sign of that is Irish boozers closing down but has there been a noticeable decline, especially with emigration from Ireland reaching all-time high records again?
To be honest, I don’t recall there ever being much of an Irish community around here. But, even the areas which had a high Irish population aren’t the same, Over the years, every community will get absorbed. Might not be a bad thing, I suppose…
You play a good few trad Irish songs in your set. Obviously that’s been a influence in The Lagan but who do you think has been the important links between rock and traditional folk music?
I’ve always thought that The Dubliners are the ones who started it all. They had the rebellious attitude and the delivery which would later define punk. But, Moving Hearts, Planxty (anything with Christy involved), and the Pogues, obviously!
The celtic-punk scene is very parochial in my opinion, as evidenced every year we do a Best Of chart! Brit/Irish bands dominate our chart, Euro ones dominate CelticFolkPunk (from Spain) and the American blogs are full of North American bands. I suppose this is only natural and touring is a big part getting around this. Whats your plans to leave blighty’s shores and whats the story with the aborted 2014 St Patrick’s tour of the US of A?
We’re off to Germany in July, Austria in August and anywhere else we can. Just need all the pieces to fall into place, really. We all still have day jobs, and if one person doesn’t have holiday time, another’s fuckin’ skint ‘cos they’re self-employed and not earning fuck all while we’re on tour. The US thing fucking blew, but we wanted to do everything above board, and the visas might not have gone through, and we’d only have found out 5 days before the tour started, which would have meant 6 grand down the shitter. So we had to bail. Really fucked off about that, still. Mike Bermingham (Rockin’ Irish) had put in a lot of ground work for us, and we felt like shit for bailing.
How have sales of the album been going? Have you been happy with the deal with Banquet records? Its only garnered f’ing great reviews as far as I’ve seen. It landed quite high in all the various celtic-punk blogs Best Of charts but, pray tell, what exactly is the story behind the albums title ‘Wheres Your Messiah Now?’
Better than we expected, but we only recorded it to have something to sell at shows, and just to have done it, really. “Where’s Your Messiah Now?” is line from Sailin’ East, but I might as well come clean and tell you it’s a quote from The Simpsons! Banquet records are great, but if they hadn’t asked, we’d have just gone DIY. We went with them ‘cos they’re local, we trust them, and they rule.
When you began as a band, only Neck and yourselves played the kind of music you do in the whole of London. Since then a couple of other bands have come and gone and now again its just Neck and youse. Do you consider yourselves a celtic-punk band anymore or is it even important to label yourselves as anything?
I guess I’d look at us as Folk-Punk, but I don’t think it matters. Well, not to me, anyway. Celtic punk/Folk punk, whatever people want to call it, it’s all good. Actually, as long as it’s under the ‘punk’ banner, it doesn’t matter to me
Does it piss you off the dominance of the Murphys/Mollys in the celtic-punk scene. Are you out to impress their fans or is it more important to get away from the celtic-punk ‘ghetto’?
Not at all, they’ve worked their arses off at it, and they write great songs. Obviously, playing to their audience would be good, as not all punk fans want o hear diddly diddly, but getting heard by as many people as possible is a good thing.
Got any bands you can recommend to us? (and remember its a big worldwide scene out there!!!)
Against Me!, The Wonder Beers, Gaslight Anthem, Roughneck Riot, The Forum Walters… erm…. too many to mention!
Well thanks lads for your time anything else you’d like to add or plug?
Thanks to Martin Bell, Matt McConnell, Stan Stan Stan Stanley (or whatever he’s calling himself these days) and Morgan Shaw for helping us out over the years and being our pals. Yourself and the LCP family for all the support, anyone who has put us up or booked us, BCS for being great to us, Mike Bermingham (Rockin Irish) and Banquet Records for their support.
Today we celebrate the blog’s first anniversary so, in a case of obvious self-indulgence, we thought we’d share with you our TOP TWENTY CELTIC-PUNK ALBUM’s OF ALL TIME. The last year has flown by and, even better, feedback for the site seems to have been universally good. As long we’re appreciated it’s all well worth doing. The celtic-punk scene has gone from strength to strength over the last twelve months and hopefully we’ve helped toward that in a small way. Big thanx to all who sent in stuff for review and also to our wee gang of reviewers and contributors.
Now before we get going thought I’d chuck in a couple of things. We’ve only chosen one album per band as let’s face it otherwise it would be dominated by 3, maybe 4, bands at best. There’s no time limit on it although it does tend to be the older rather than the newer albums chosen and their picked not just on music on the albums themselves but sometimes on the circumstances around hearing them for the first time, which I’m sure your all dying to hear!
Attending the Anarchist Bookfair back in 2004 an old mate Booksie sez get yourself to the Active stall and get this album. So off I trot and I find it and its got a lovely celtic design on the front and a even lovelier Irish tricolour on the back. Not the sort of thing you’d expect to find at a Anarchist event! The song titles were all known to me and mostly Dubliners songs. Problem is its the last one so I have to buy it and lump it around for the rest of the day, and night!, trying not to lose it/break it/cover it in Skol Super. Any road I gets it home and play it and its f’king brilliant. Extremely well played Irish folk punk with great left politics and the only Anarchist celtic-punk song I’ve ever heard. I find out later that Saint Bushmills Choir are a kind of punk-crusty supergroup and that’s why the label Profane Existence released it. I did wonder why as everything I’d ever heard from the label before was an unlistenable racket! And it’s on very nice green vinyl!
First time I came across these was a video on YouTube of them at a West Virginia American Football game racing around with a Irish flag to ‘Country Roads’ so when their album popped up on the now defunct Paddy Punx web-site i downloaded it immediately. For such a young band they really were very very good but nothing has been heard from them in a long time and there’s not much to be found on them on the internet either. Aggressive celtic-punk but plenty of emphasis on traditional instruments too. ‘War Time In North London’ and ‘Under The Rowan Tree’ show their style at either end of the celtic-punk spectrum.
Emerging from the seedy punk rock clubs of Baltimore the Charm City Saints were one of a bunch of American celtic-punk bands inspired by the Dropkick Murphys. The LP begins with ‘Egans Polka’ which wouldn’t be out of place on one of your nanna’s records before blasting into the blistering ‘Night Paddy Murphy Died’. Catchy hooks and fist in the air choruses ensure the LP whizzes past as fast as anything. Blue-collar working class Irish American pride aplenty! Chuck in a couple of rebel songs and more trad punked up to 11 and you got yerself a classic of American celtic-punk. Far from the polish of the Murphys and the Mollys and all the better for it.
Till they released ‘Broken Pavements Of Avondale’ last year all anyone had of these was a couple of EP’s and this fantastic live album, which consists only of the songs on the EP’s. Once again I came across it on the Paddy Punx blog and despite the name sounding like a old fogies band i thought i’d take a chance, and boy was i was not disappointed. I’m not normally a fan of live recordings but this is one of those rare occasions where the sound and music is immaculate. The bands mix of celtic-Irish-Americana and Chicago folklore plus solid working class roots and politics really hit the spot with me. Great sense of humour, as evident on crowd favourite ‘You Don’t Want Me’.
We reviewed their new album earlier this year here.
Melbourne based celtic-folk-punk band who have now sadly broken up. They’ve left us a discography of great records of which this, for me, is the pick of the crop. Great story-telling from lead singer Jay with dark and light themes battling it out with understated humour! A few trad songs ‘Ride On’ and ‘Come Out Ye Black And Tans’ are in turn beautiful and uplifting but its when Between the Wars play their own songs they come into their own. ‘Ciaran’ about the love of a father for his son and the son for his father is heart achingly good while ‘Superherosong’ and ‘You Were The One’ raise the roof with that distinct Aussie celtic-punk sound but with a tinge of country.
Plenty more on the blog including a review of their last LP here and a interview with Jay, the lead singer, here.
Now this was a first for me and for anyone else whose ever come across Craic Haus too I bet. What you get is a album of ‘shamrockabilly’ that’s right 12 songs of celtic-rock’n’roll. They ought to be Imelda May’s backing band truth be told. Mostly self-penned titles like ‘Bottom Of A Guinness’ and ‘Shilleagh Bop’ show the bands great sense of humour plus theirs two incredible covers of The Wild Rover and Danny Boy with the original words but to the tune of something equally as famous. Hard to explain. Great production too and quite incredible work considering that their only a trio!
The day this came out I legged it back with the LP under me arm to me Nanna’s house in town. She had an old record player encased in a big massive cabinet about 5 foot long. The sound that came out was crystal clear but it was only ever use to playing country’n’western so how was it gonna handle ‘The Men’? Putting it on and the first song ‘Gold Strike’ came out and the guitar and mandolin giving it the impression of a folky LP she relaxed and then nearly fainted as it kicked into ‘Gold Rush’ a punky folky celt rocker. Things got worse for her as anti-fascist anthem ‘Ghosts Of Cable Street’ advocated hitting fascists and then miners strike song ‘Shirt Of Blue’ advocated attacking the police…she also found some of the language appalling!! Looking back it was nowhere near as punk as I thought it was at the time but The Men are still rocking out and recently celebrated their 30th anniversary with a grand sell-out big London gig. Definitely one of the early pioneers of the celtic-punk scene.
My dad was a coal-miner and so was his dad and his granddad too so coal-mining is in my blood you could say. Another album I came across via the Paddy Punx blog and it had a massive impact on me. Coming from the coalfields of Alabama these Irish-American lads sing a variety of mostly old standards and a few of their own songs. With very strong vocals and a banjo leading the way its a incredibly ‘full’ LP despite being acoustic and having no drums just the bodhran keeping the beat. Its also notable for having a song, O Caide Sin, in gaelic too.
Saw these the night after the only time I ever saw Blood Or Whiskey. Can’t remember how I came across it as the London celtic-punk scene was non-existent back then, but I did, and it was a weekend that went onto change my life forever! At the BorW gig I made a great friend without whom I doubt the whole London Celtic Punks thing would even exist and the following day at Flatfoot 56 i had my first date with the lady that was to become my future wife! The gig itself was outstanding. Fuck all people in a tiny wee cellar venue but great sound and those that were there were a enthusiastic lot. First on and all over before 9pm, we legged it when they finished playing and the rest is history. A short while after I got the album off another pal with ‘Knuckles Up’ on the same CD. I played it so damn much i cannot bear to put it on anymore but if it comes up on my I-Pod shuffle then i’m instantly reminded of why i love it!
There’s a review of the album of the Flatfoot 56 off-shoot 6’10 here.
The Bible Code’s are to London what The Tossers are to Chicago or The Murphy’s are to Boston. Probably more celtic-rock than punk they gig relentlessly across London and have a massive and loyal fan base. Reading about them in The Irish Post every week I first saw them play at one of their fortnightly resident shows in London’s west end. Starting off with their own stuff and then returning after a break to play ‘Irish-ed’ up pop hits they certainly had the crowd in the palm of their hands. I got the album that night and bugger me but on listening to it it seemed like it was auto-biographical!! The perfect album for the second- generation Irishman. ‘Maybe Its Because I’m A Irish Londoner’ is by far the fans stand out track but i prefer ‘Paddy Devil’ telling the story of the evil influence that makes us go on the lash instead of staying in and behaving ourselves…
With Shane kicked out of The Pogues and supposedly spiraling off into oblivion he shocked us all by teaming up with County Holloway celtic-rockers The Popes. Their first album together was ‘The Snake’ and was only so-so i thought but this album was something else. Freed from the confines of The Pogues Shane could let his pen do the talking. He calls it the Pogues fifth album. He doesn’t count anything The Pogues did after ‘If I Should Fall From Grace With God’. While hinting at nationalism with The Pogues for years this LP is defiantly pro-republican with stories of “burning London to the ground” and shooting coppers and soldiers. Received with glee by his fans and horror by the middle-class press both here and in Ireland. Dominated by jigs and reels The Popes prove themselves able to fill The Pogues shoes and even fit in a reggae song reminiscent of The Clash.
“The years they go by quickly/ I know I can’t remain here/ Where each day brings me closer/ To that final misery/ My kids will never scrape shit ’round here/ And I won’t die crying in a pint of beer/ I’m going back to Ireland/ And me Mother Mo Chroi.”
Straddling the celtic-punk fence nicely between the Molly’s folk and the Murphy’s punk is Ireland’s Blood Or Whiskey. This is their third album and they’re best one yet. Fourteen tracks of pure Irish folk ska punk. This was the first recording’s with new singer Dugs taking over from Barney and guest vocals from Cait O’Riordan of The Pogues add that special touch. Blood Or Whiskey have a instantly recognizable sound but don’t be thinking they’re stuck in a rut as they stand out in the celtic punk scene as a constantly evolving band. They are also the only band actually from a celtic nation on our list. ‘They Say No’ ends the album and is the standout track with all the BorW elements coming together perfectly!
This years new album from Blood Or Whiskey was reviewed on the blog earlier in the year, read it here.
Catchy and upbeat this is the must have album of Irish-Canadian band The Mahones. They’ve been around for twenty years and are one of the innovators and movers and shakers of the celtic-punk world. Their is plenty here for all fans of celtic or punk music and the songs flow seamlessly from raucous punk to reflective ballad with ease. Dublin born singer Finny leads The Mahones and they are easily the hardest working band in the scene. ‘Queen And Tequila’ and ‘Drunken Lazy Bastard’ are still solid staples of the bands live set. Fourteen tracks and well over a hour long and not a single bad track. Scruffy from the Dropkicks pops up to show exactly how widely regarded The Mahones are.
Seems like an age ago now (and it bloody is too) that a old skinhead mate from Belfast put me onto these and I got to see them on their first London gig before I’d actually heard anything by them. To say they blew me away is a understatement and my love affair with them only got worse on hearing this album. Yeah the Pogues and The Men They Couldn’t Hang were there first but the Dropkicks were a proper punk band. Our families all liked what passed for celtic-punk before this lot but the Dropkick Murphys? NO FACKING WAY! My mams heard them and thinks there awful racket! I use to call this album ‘celtic-Oi!’ and if you’re a recent convert to the DKM’s there’s not a lot of what passes for the band now. For a start Mike McColgan, from the Street Dogs, was the bands original singer and there’s very little celtic tunes and no instruments but plenty of references in the lyrics for those of us looking for them. By the time Finnegans Wake came on that was it for me!
Their second album and easily their best yet. After ‘Swagger’ the band realised they didn’t need a new approach. Slow songs, fast songs and combinations of both was good enough to last them right up until their last album ‘Speed Of Darkness’ when they changed it around a bit. Formed in a LA pub by Dublin native Dave King their sound is as authentic as it comes. Full on Irish folk played with the spirit of punk that captured the imagination of untold numbers of punk rock kids across the globe. Despite their success it’s as a live band Flogging Molly are at their best and they’ve released a handful of excellent live releases. The title track and the heart aching ‘The Sun Never Shines (On Closed Doors)’ show them at their fast and slow best. Listen side by side with the Murphy’s and you’ll see these are the celtic side of celtic-punk while the Murphy’s are more punk but both compliment each other enormously.
A mate worked in Reckless Records in the West End and one day down the pub he announced to me “you like all that Irish folk shit, here have these” and presented me with a 1960’s LP of rebel songs, a Wolfe Tones CD and this by The Tossers. Maybe not their best album (I actually prefer ‘Emerald City’) but this has The Tossers greatest song ‘Good Mornin Da’ and a host of other Chicago South Side Irish folk-punk classics. Older than the Murphy’s and the Molly’s they well deserve their place at the top table of celtic-punk. More like the Pogues than the before mentioned bands they have The Pogues knack of playing lengthy songs that don’t bore the arse off you or go off into decadent meandering and keep your interest till the end! Saw them play once in London and they were every bit as good as i thought they would be.
You can find a review of the excellent new album from The Tossers, ‘Emerald City, here.
Coming from the hills of Tennessee they mix Irish and Scots folk with their native Appalachian music. Dark themes abound on this all the way through and the vocals and music really capture the emotions of the lyrics. Completely acoustic with superb banjo playing to the fore they would in fact go down well absolutely anywhere and with anyone I’d say. ‘Rich Insteada Pretty’ is a brief interlude of humour before ‘Dark Hallow’ takes us back to some more misery. A superb album with all the best bits of celtic-punk but with enough of Cutthroat Shamrock’s own definitive stamp to single them out as real innovators of the scene. ‘Fly Away’ would easily make my Top Ten Songs of all time.
You simply cannot underestimate the influence The Pogues had on this nation when they came racing out of the blocks in the mid-80’s. To put it simply the amount of Irish born people in Britain was massive but few of their offspring felt in anyway Irish. Hardly surprising when the rest of the nation was stacked up against them and to be Irish meant to be either a bomber or be thick or an alkie or feckless or violent or many other number of racist epitaphs. Who then could find pride in those roots when it was something we ought to be ashamed of? Well The Pogues could. Their first two albums were met with amazement and relief that we could actually be proud of our backgrounds and shout it out as well. By the time of this their third album The Pogues had started to agitate and their song ‘The Birmingham 6’, while only reinforcing what our families had already told us, brought the issue of the many innocent Irish jailed in Britain to a wider audience. That to be in possession of an Irish accent could land you in jail for a very long time. This is the record that saw them move away from being a band only Irish people could like and includes their mega-mega hit ‘Fairytale Of New York’. Though I cant stand ‘Fiesta’ the rest are pure brilliance and Shane’s lyrics are sublime. I especially loved the Tipperary themed ‘The Broad Majestic Shannon’. But even despite all of Shane’s brilliance its the late Phil Chevron song ‘Thousands Are Sailing’ that stands out and gets you on every single level. Possibly the best song about Irish emigration of all time…and that’s a pretty congested subject. More from us on The Pogues here.
Neck have been a solid fixture on the London punk scene for donkeys years now and this LP is their masterpiece. All 12 tracks are fully imbibed with the spirit of the two London bands that have inspired them the most- The Pogues and The Clash. I’ve been a major fan of Neck since the very beginning and no matter how often I’ve seen them play they never fail to give it their all and put on a great show. Lead singer and lyricist Leeson is up there with yer Shane’s and yer Christy’s and your Luke’s in the songwriting stakes and portrays perfectly what it feels to be a, so called, ‘plastic paddy’ or as Neck put it, much better, ‘PLASTIC AND PROUD’. The album has two expertly played trad songs and the rest are pure self-penned celtic-punk Neck classics. As impossible as it is to pick out a standout track, ‘Blood On The Streets’ about the racist murders of two young men in Ireland and London deserves a nod. The CD comes with a huge booklet with the lyrics and background story to each song which alone makes this a must have. More from us on Neck here.
Bejaysus I really wish I had heard this when I was a young gun, i would have definitely picked up a mandolin instead of untold tinnies and done something with me life! From start to finish this debut album from Sydney, Australia’s The Rumjacks kicks you squarely in the teeth. Whether its the full on celtic-punk rock of ‘Green Ginger Wine’ or the sadness of, nearly a ballad, ‘Bar The Door Casey’ The Rumjacks blue-collar stories of working class immigrant life really hits home. It isn’t without humour mind, check out their enormous (5,500,000 hits and counting!) internet hit ‘An Irish Pub’ which puts the boot firmly into fake plastic Irish pubs. The band is a mix of Scottish immigrants and others from descended from the various celtic nations which gives them a very definite authentic feel. This knocked the flaming socks off me when I first heard it and its still doing it now. Australian celtic-punk bands rule the planet and The Rumjacks rule Australian celtic-punk…that should tell you all you need to know. Plenty more on The Rumjacks here and the wonderful world of Aussie celtic-punk here.
well there you have it. hope you liked and if you like feel free to leave a comment below if you agree or disagree…maybe even leave your best ofs!
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The Buachaills- ‘the Boys From Fairhill’
The history of all of the various celtic nations is one made up of oppression, intimidation and emigration. Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Cornwall, Brittany (north west France), Asturias (north west Spain), Galicia (north west Spain) have all been for generations occupied by foreign countries who have tried everything to crush the culture, language and spirit of their people.
But first lets go back in time to the 17th century when the English invaded Ireland. The Irish rebelled against them but are finally subjected after many wars and battles and atrocities are committed. They never fully integrate into the English system of government in the same way the Scots and Welsh did, and rebellions carried on and with every generation their have been major uprisings against English rule.
Music was a continual form of expression which made it very important to the culture of the Celts. With the prohibition of native languages and songs just speaking or singing could see you exiled or worse. Misrule and a deliberate policy of starvation forced millions to emigrate away from Ireland while at least another million died while hundreds of tons of food a day was shipped out, under British Army guard, to England. In Scotland the forced clearances for land to give to rich barons to exploit for cattle and sheep farming sent tens of thousands of Scots to a new life in Canada. Other celts, for example many Cornish left when the tin mining industry went into decline, emigrate to the Americas in the 19th and 20th centuries and right up to the present day it remains high. Why the Americas? Despite those early settlers facing exactly the same kind of oppression, racism and bigotry that they had escaped from, it gave the little guy a new beginning. A sense that anyone could make it in this new world with hard graft and a little luck…plus it was away from the Empire that had held them down for so long, and even in the Irish case even tried to murder them! Later revolts in Ireland established a republic separate from England, yet the north is still in English control. This was never accepted by all and so began a bloody war to unite Ireland that continues to this day.
Just like the original Irish music pub sessions didn’t originate in Ireland neither did celtic punk. The Pogues formed in post ’77 era London during the ‘troubles’. Bombs going off in the streets of England and shootings were common, anti-Irish racism was a fact of life for many. Many Irish lived together in the same areas of London, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham etc., creating, for want of a better word ‘ghettos’ where Irish life carried on despite being in a foreign and unwelcoming land. Punk music started by posh art school kids rebelling against their parents soon spread out to the working class communities and the 2nd and 3rd generation Irish youth of those communities were no different from their english counterparts in lapping it up. The idea of fighting against authority made celtic music highly compatible with punk. Many of those original english punk bands had Irish members but punk bands in Ireland didn’t want to sound Irish they were just trying to sound punk (i.e. Radiators From Space, Stiff Little Fingers). Punk music was able to gain popularity from the people with celtic roots because it represented something unique to their heritage. Punk reminded them of what it is to be celtic to stand against authority, independent and defiant.
The Pogues were the original celtic-punk band. Made up of 2nd generation Irish, Irish and English members they were the first to combine the two genres of punk and traditional Irish music together creating a totally new sound. They had plenty of plaudits and recognition and even managed to break out of the ‘Irish scene’ and became a genuinely popular band here in Europe and the USA. Shane MacGowan, their iconic lead singer and writer of the critically acclaimed Fairytale of New York, is now considered one of the best songwriters of his generation! At the time though many folk ‘traditionalists’ scoffed at them as being just a bunch of ignorant English pissheads out to ruin Irish music but this was before anyone realised there was about to be a massive outpouring of ‘Irish pride’ from thousands upon thousands of second and third generation Irish from outside the isle of Ireland. The Pogues spearheaded this and along with Celtic F.C and the Irish football team (itself packed to the rafters with 2nd and 3rd generation Irish players) came to represent us in our Irishness. The thing the traditionalists didn’t understand was that even though we were into modern music we’d grown up listening to The Wolfe Tones, Dubliners, Clancy Brothers etc., (even Country’n’Irish!) as children so a band like the Pogues coming along wasn’t a shock to us but the folk establishment sure as hell didn’t like it!
Jump to today and its the Dropkick Murphys who are the worlds celtic-punks most popular and famous band. They started off as a Oi!/punk band with no Irish/celtic music only some Irish imagery on their record sleeves and merchandise. They kind of, in their own words, “started out as a joke” and didn’t seek out acclaim, but they rapidly grew in popularity due in no small part to the many, many people in the US who have celtic heritage and celebrate it. Over the years they’ve adapted Irish music and instruments and songs into the mix to create today’s celtic-punk. The Dropkick’s represent what it is to be celtic/Irish in modern day America (being working class, the fight against oppression, overcoming adversity, toughness, family bonds, religion/ Catholicism etc.,) but overall its still The Pogues that best embody celtic-punk. They were the first band of the scene and their music and lyrics are closer to the source. The Dropkick Murphys put more of an Irish-American spin on their songs, The Pogues are more about the history therefore, especially to those of us outside North America, the songs of The Pogues are more authentic with more Irish themes and fewer American ones.
The globalization of celtic music through emigration, in which oppression and poverty were the main reasons people left, has spread the influence of celtic music across the globe, even outside of the usual haunts of the Americas, Australia, NZ and here. Celtic-punk bands exist in pretty much every country where a son or daughter of a celt has set foot. It has also spread to the land of origin of the other celtic nations, with very healthy scenes in Brittany and Galicia helping to rejuvenate the native languages. Use of traditional instruments- fiddle, tin whistle, banjo, accordion, bagpipes is higher now than it has been in decades, again due in no small part to the popularity of celtic-punk.
Celtic-punk reflects the heritage of celtic people and the fight against oppression. It embodies the history of what it is to be celtic and what it is to overcome hardships and to finally come out on top.
It is where we come from but don’t you worry this is no exclusive club… everybody’s welcome to the hooley.
This isn’t meant as an introduction to celtic-punk or even a potted history it’s just one man’s small attempt to unravel what it is that makes the music so appealing to himself and countless others. If you agree or disagree we’d love to hear your comments…
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well here they are. after two solid weeks of harassing and cajoling people into getting their lists back we’ve totted them up and came up with this.
for more information on each record/ band simply click on the number and you’ll be re-directed. Must say there’s no real surprises here except it seems we’re quite the parochial lot looking at the number of ‘local’ bands in each list…
1. THE BIBLE CODE SUNDAYS- ‘New Hazardous Design’
2. THE LAGAN- ‘Where’s Your Messiah Now?’
5. DROPKICK MURPHYS- ‘Signed And Sealed In Blood’
a couple that almost made it were Between The Wars and Old Man Markley.
1. THE LAGAN
2. THE BIBLE CODE SUNDAYS
5. THE WAKES
just bubbling under were The Pogues, Neck, Bootscraper, Between The Wars, Larry And His Flask, Jack Ratts, Firkin. The Ramshackle Army
some stuff about the poll- the people who took part in the poll were the moderators of the London Celtic Punks Facebook group page and a few other regular contributors. They were asked for their Top 3 Albums, Top 3 Bands and Favourite Web-Based Site. Scores were awarded Number 1=5 Points, 2= 3 points and 3=1 point. Twenty people took part… interestingly their were only three albums nominated number one! and best of all we came second in our own poll for Best Web-Site!! so all the best from us all here to you all no matter where and hopes for a dacent 2014 for us everyone.
click on the blog logo at the top of the page to find out more…
Last week The Lagan began a free weekly series of podcasts where they drank beer and talked shite sorry…I mean talked about life in the band. They intend to have musical guests performing and first guest was Jay Stevens from the amazing Aussie celtic-punk band Between the Wars. Click on The Lagan logo below to hear the episode, and enter the competition on their Facebook page to win a signed Lagan CD and the entire BTW back catalogue!
Watch this space for further podcasts and upcoming guests including London-Irish legend and Biblecode Sundays frontman Ronan McManus!
by Robert Brennan
The Irish are the largest and longest-established minority ethnic group originating outside Britain, but their difference is recognised only in the migrant generation. Unlike the second generations of ‘visible’ ethnic groups, children of Irish-born parents in Britain are assumed to be British because they are (mostly) ‘white’ and have no Irish accent.
This list provides the tell-tale signs of a 2GI (Second Generation Irishman/woman).
Which do you identify with?
1. You travel on an Irish passport despite the fact it means getting hold of your parents birth certificates and require the patience of a saint whilst waiting for it to be processed in Dublin.
2. Despite not having an Irish accent you use phrases such as ‘craic’, ‘grand’, ‘giving out’ and ‘feckin’ eejit’ when talking with non-Irish people.
3. You can put on an Irish accent which sounds more convincing than your parents – who have Irish accents.
4. You stand for Amhrán na bhFiann despite your Irish language skills being limited to telling people to ‘póg mo thóin’.
5. You had nightmares as a child after being told countless stories about the Banshee.
6. You had no idea what the road you grew up on looked like for the first 16 years of your life during the summer because you were sent back ‘home’ as soon as school finished.
7. You cried, or tried to hide when it was time to leave Ireland at the end of the six weeks – questioning the sanity of your parents who swapped flowing green fields for life in a concrete jungle.
8. You envied your cousins in Ireland who had a longer summer holiday than the six weeks you got.
9. Your father, grandfather or an uncle has done, or still works in construction.
10. At least one of your parents walked to school without any footwear and the journey gets longer every time education is brought up in conversation.
11. You do not support England in any sporting event especially the World Cup despite the fact they are almost certain to win.
12. English people on hearing your accent are bemused by your reluctance to support the Three Lions.
13. You have experience of travelling to Ireland on a budget airline only to find that once across the water your baggage failed to reach the same destination.
14. The Euro will never be as cool as the Punt.
15. You can hold your own playing pool as you spent so much time in pubs during your six week summer holidays.
16. You know the history of Ireland better than your parents.
17. You get called a ‘Plastic Paddy’ by Irish people in Britain so feel the need to educate them on the birthplaces of Éamon de Valera, James Connolly and John Aldridge.
18. You burn in the sun and smile in the rain.
19. You get into Gaelic Games during the summer (when the soccer season is taking a break) but only if one of your parents comes from a county actually capable of winning the hurling or football.
20. You own a GAA top.
21. You’re planning to visit Ruislip next season as London are no longer a joke.
22. You grew up with a copy of The Irish Post in your house plus at least one copy of a regional paper from back ‘home’ such as the Mayo News.
23. When you have a child of your own born in Britain you make sure they are photographed in something green early on out of fear that the Queen might be celebrating something and a friend buys a T-shirt with the Union Jack all over it.
24. You used to be an altar boy but now only enter a church for weddings, funerals, christenings or possibly Christmas.
25. You know the British-born players who qualify to play for Ireland long before the FAI and Giovanni Trapattoni used to.
26. You can sing at least three rebel songs with such gusto that your neighbours fear an uprising.
27. You have a fondness for Celtic which gets bigger when they are drawn in the Champions League in a group containing AC Milan, Ajax and Barcelona.
28. You have a friend called Ciaran, Brendan, Patrick or Sean.
29. You believe the Bible Code Sundays can read your mind when seeing them play live.
30. One day you hope to go back ‘home’ and stay there until you are pushing up daisies.