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?