Okay… I don’t think I have any Celtic roots, but how else can I explain this passion for bagpipe music? Yes, my love for Edinburgh and all that, that city offers is one explanation… but I think it was there before that and I just didn’t know it.
I was up into the wee hours last night trolling the Internet to find bagpipe music. Wassup with that?
Most people, I think, associate Celtic music with Irish music… but from what I know, the Celts covered Ireland and Scotland, so influences can be found in both traditional Scottish and Irish and even some English music… Hell, I’ve never been to Ireland… Yet!
My late night yearning lead me to a few bits of information… there is a traditional jig or dance style of playing, and then there is the very march-like military style. One of my favorite things in Edinburgh, and yes it was also one of the most touristy, was watching the Royal Tattoo at the Edinburgh Castle. And do this day, I have never seen a better fireworks display than I did the one they put on over the castle. Wow!
Because Wikipedia is my new best friend, here is what they define it as…
“A series of performances known as the Edinburgh Military Tattoo take place on the Esplanade each year during August. The basis of the performance is a parade of the pipes and drums of the Scottish regiments, however, since the first performance in 1950, the Tattoo has developed a complex format which includes many invited performers from around the world, although still with a military focus. The climax of the evening is the lone piper on the Castle battlements, playing a pibroch in memory of dead comrades in arms, followed by the massed pipe bands joining in a medley of traditional Scottish tunes. The Tattoo attracts an annual audience of around 217,000 people, and is broadcast around the world.“
It also seems that a lot of traditional bagpipe playing finds it’s way into some Celtic New Age music… this is… interesting… and actually a few songs grew on me. I’ll give them some more listens and then let you know if any are worth seeking out.
My latest prize discoveries include a new artist and some old bands I never really got around to.
Sticking with my theme of discovering great Irish music somehow lead me to John McClusker. His Yella Hoose album is a contemporary Irish folk album (all instrumental). Many of the songs make you want to get up and dance… or at least DO SOMETHING… and it is hard to stay depressed or sad as it plays. The slower songs are beautiful, and create this amazing musical and physical landscape… which says a lot since, as I said before, I have not yet been to Ireland.
Another favorite of mine is Paul Brady, a fantastic Irish singer-songwriter. He is best known here for writing a couple of hits for Bonnie Raitt… “Not the Only One” and “Luck of the Draw.” His “Nothing But the Same Old Story” became the anthem for me and my old writing partner, Josh.
Searching out Scottish artists lead me to The Jesus and Mary Chain, a band I had obviously heard of. but never really listened to. They are one of the influences on Glasvegas, so I went back and explored. The album Darklands is slow and moody and stunning. Wow! Compare that with Psychocandy and it’s wall of noise, sounds and tinny, distorted guitars and you get a true vision of the band.
The discovery of the night had to be Wet Wet Wet. Yes, they are total Pop, but you know what I love it. Don’t get me wrong, I am still a straight Jersey rocker, but sometimes you just need a taste of those sweet Pop melodies… and “Love is All Around” will be instantly recognizable… and sometimes… sometimes… it is just what the doctor ordered.