Who Are Café Céilí? Café Céilí are a group of musicians from Ireland, who play around Ireland and Europe bringing some of the fun, excitement, and beauty of Irish Music to places where it would not normally be found.

We hope you enjoy this introduction to the music and songs of Ireland. If you are not familiar with this music and these songs, we though it might be a good idea to explains some of it in this leaflet. So if you're curious about just what it is that is going on up on the stage - read on!

We play music from the traditions of Ireland, both celtic and modern. We try to represent Irish culture as it currently stands, and this involves drawing on our traditional celtic roots as well as our western influences.

There are two sides of the Irish Musical tradition: on one side ballads that tell stories about our lives, and on the other instrumental music designed originally for dancing.

The two are so different that often they are kept apart - it is not unusual to find a session in a pub in Ireland at which only instrumental tunes are played. We keep them together to try and build an entertaining show that displays all the best in Irish music.

What music do Café Céilí play?
What is ‘Celtic’ about our music?

The instrumental dance tunes we play are relatively modern, few of them more than 50 years old. But the tradition on which they are based goes back thousands of years to Celtic times. The ancient Celts were tribes that moved across Europe over thousands of years. Some (like the Piceni, whom we have been told settled in this area before the rise of Rome), settled in central and southern Europe, others travelled across the continent to finally settle in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany. They brought with them a very persistent culture, which remains alive to this day in those countries. Along with a particular style of visual art, they would have played, listened to, and danced to tunes similar to the ones you hear tonight.

The key feature of Celtic music - at least the Irish Traditional variety - is the energy and excitement in the music. There are some slow and evocative melodies in our set, but for the most part modern Celtic music is full of life. Also, the Café Céilí arrangements of this ancient tradition are very modern and up-to-date. We have electric backing and amplification, guitars and keyboards, to emphasise the excitement and exuberance of the ancient musical form. Feel free to dance!

By the way, the names of the tunes can be intriguing. Because the tunes have no lyrics their names an be anything at all - tonight the tunes we will be playing include:

"The Mason’s Apron", "Coleman’s Reel", "The Athol Highlanders", "The Stack Of Barley", "The Rights Of Man", and "Over The Ocean". We are often left wondering who made up these names - and what were they thinking?

We also play some songs that we think you will find familiar - from U2, the Corrs, and Van Morrison. Even those songs with which you will not be familiar we believe you will enjoy. These are songs that are sung by any gathering of Irish people, whether in an Irish Pub a long way from home, or at a family party.

Many of them are funny, and full of energy. These songs are easy to clap along to, and to sing along to, even if you have never heard them before.

We also have a number of slower songs. Some of these are mystical and surreal, and show the Celtic heritage of the author. Others draw on the links between Ireland and the places to which the Irish emigrated - America and Austrlia for example.

In all cases these songs have either beautiful melodies, catchy rhythms - or both!

Is it only Celtic tunes tonight?
Thanks for listening! We are honoured and priviliged to have been invited to play for you, and we hope that you will enjoy our show. Thank you for listening, and we hope you may be interested in hearing more Irish Music now that you have been introduced to it.