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ALBUM REVIEW: SIGELPA- ‘Rabant Original’ (2016)

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 Sigelpathrough 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!)

Buy The Album


Contact The Band

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  • for our review of the first album TerraMotta from Sigelpa look here
  • for our review of last years EP Ens Van Diagnosticar Un Transtorn from Sigelpa look here


by Becca

I have a confession to make: I’m not really a music person. This is the sort of statement that raises eyebrows of confusion among my peers. No, I don’t really need a pandora and a blip and a last.fm account. I appreciate the ambiance created by live music, but don’t really see the need to seek out full-blown concerts of either the popular of classical variety. For me, music is best when it’s being used to present or prop up something else: a story, a dance, a mood. Music is powerful, but rarely does a musician or band grab me all on its own.

Flogging Molly Pub

But there’s one band that rises above all others and gives me everything I could want in music and more, a band that produces songs with narrative, songs that make you want to get out on a scuffed wood floor and dance (and I’m talking real swing-your-partner-until-she’s-dizzy, breathless, stylized partner dancing that fell out of popularity somewhere in the 1950s, not the bump-and-grind of the modern club), song that combine acoustic and electric and old and new seamlessly. And best of all, if you know what to listen for, their lyrics are really, really nerdy.

I’m talking about Flogging Molly.

For the non-folk music (and/or non-punk music) nerds among us, Flogging Molly is an Irish-American celtic-punk band founded in Los Angeles, California by Dave King, Ted Hutt, Jeff Peters, and Bridget Regan, who first began fusing traditional Irish music and contemporary punk sounds in the early ’90s playing in a Los Angeles pub, Molly Malone’s. They eventually signed onto a record deal with SideOneDummy Records. To quote the all-knowing source known as Wikipedia, “Flogging Molly has released an independent (26f Records) live album titled Alive Behind the Green Door, as well as five studio albums: Swagger, Drunken Lullabies, Within a Mile of Home, Float and Speed of Darkness; and an acoustic/live DVD/cd combo Whiskey on a Sunday. They have toured with the Warped Tour, Larry Kirwan’s American Fléadh Festival and contributed to the Rock Against Bush project etc., etc.,”

Best of all, even within the history-heavy Irish music genre, Flogging Molly this ability to invoke historical images and historical narrative better than any other band or musical group I have ever heard. More than the Dropkick Murphys, or The Pogues (yes, even more than The Pogues), or even more traditional-sounding bands like Great Big Sea and Gaelic Storm, they are attuned not only to the celtic folk musical tradition they are following in, but to the complicated, muddy history of Ireland itself.

And let’s face it, guys. That’s my kind of nerdy.

One of my favourite songs, for its style as well as its content, is the underrated “Tobacco Island,” which appears buried in the middle of their third CD, Within a Mile of Home. With their usual punk-folk flair, they sing:

” ‘Twas 1659, forgotten now for sure

They dragged us from our homeland

With the musket and their gun

Cromwell and his roundheads

Battered all we know

Shackled hopes of freedom

We’re now but stolen goods

Darken the horizon

Blackened from the sun

This rotten cage of Bridgetown Is where I now belong”

There, smack in the middle of contemporary pop song, is a short, emotional history lesson of that dreaded Irish side of the English Civil War. To fill things out a bit, here are the sordid historical details: Once Oliver Cromwell had taken control of Parliament, executed Charles I, and named himself Lord Protector, he set to conquering Ireland. After three years of some of the bloodiest fighting of the English Civil War, Cromwell’s army defeated the largely Catholic Irish insurgents, stripped Irish-Catholic nobles of their land, and sent Irish prisoners of war and their families into forced slavery in the West Indies – and thus effectively set the stage for the history of Ireland for the next three hundred years.* The song is chock full of historical vocabulary: it refers to “roundheads” (Cromwell’s political supporters in Parliament), “the Butcher” (a Cromwellian nickname), and “redlegs” (nickname for the Barbadian descendants of those Irish slaves and other poor whites). Though the song’s lyrics do not make the direct link, it is about an event that came to define the worst of Irish politics and turmoil until very recently.

flog8That’s not the only historical event to which the band directly refers, either. “Far Away Boys,” takes on the topic of the building of America’s trans-continental railroad, which famously used and abused Irish immigrant labour to create the railway that, for the first time connected the United States from East to West. Likewise, the opening verse of “To Youth” speaks of the Great Migration to America after and during the famine.

“Tell me why are our fields filled with hunger

And fruitless the crop bitter soil

So I say my farewell to a nation

As the leaf waves goodbye to it’s son”

“Screaming at the Wailing Wall” directly addresses the madness of religious war in the context of the Middle East conflict. There’s a mood and a tone to Flogging Molly’s lyrics and style that remind me, whether it was meant to or not, of some of the most noted Irish scholarship. The sense of loss and uncertainty in “Black Friday Rule,” is the heartfelt musicians’ answer to Kerby Miller’s seminal Emigrants and Exiles, one of the most detailed pieces of historical scholarship in existence about Irish emigration to America. “Drunken Lullabies” speaks with a cynicism and despair at Ireland’s obsession with its bloody past. “Must we starve on crumbs from long ago?”  Dave King asks.

flog7Here’s a grand, sweeping statement sure to make any professional scholar of Irish culture or history cringe: Flogging Molly is the modern answer to the intimidatingly grand and deeply rooted tradition of Irish music as Roddy Doyle was to the equally intimidating tradition of Irish literature. Both are rooted in an Irish tradition that has been romanticized on both sides of the Atlantic, both speak to modern cynicism and wryness, and both inject irreverence where it is most needed. Both are well aware of the complicated water into which they wade. In its own pop culture-laden sort of way, Flogging Molly brings the long tradition of Irish folk music into the new millennium not by watering it down in the awful tradition of green St. Patrick’s Day beer, but by providing a new perspective, relevant to Irish history and to the world.

“Must it take a life For hateful eyes to glisten once again?

’cause we find ourselves in the same old mess Singing drunken lullabies”

Flogging Molly  Web-Site  Facebook   Wikipedia  You-Tube

there’s a fan run Twitter site that’s better than the official one here!

to catch up with Becca her blog about issues in museums and historic sites ‘Adventures In History’ is here

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