No, I didn’t believe it either. Then I did a little poking around. It seems that there might be justification for such an expression.
For instance, there is the Annual Dayton Celtic Festival, which last year featured the Celtic (kel-tick, not sell-tick) bands Gaelic Storm, The Fuchsia Band, The Elders, Scythian, and Enter the Haggis (I’m not touching this one…).
Then one of my favorite haunts, The Dublin Pub, has a unique two-day St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The day before the feast day, March 16, the Pub holds rehearsals and calls it St. Practice Day. March 17, St. Patrick’s Day itself, is an all-day music festival starting at 7 am (!) that this year featured such Celtic groups as Bob Ford & The Ragamuffins, Castle Close, and the Miami Valley Pipes & Drums.
And Cityfolk hosts an annual Celtic Series.
But ever asked yourself what, exactly, is Celtic music? Answer Irish music, and you’d be right, sort of. If your ancestors were from Ireland, then you’re Celtic. The same holds true for folks from Scotland, of course. And Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, Brittany, Galicia, Cantabria, Asturias (Spain) and Portugal!
Still think Celtic music is just Irish music?
The term Celtic music derives from the music industry and encompasses a wide spectrum of music types that grew out of the folk musical customs of Celtic people.
So, say Celtic music, and you’re referring to both traditional music passed on literally by word of mouth as well as popular music that is recorded. It’s the music of the people of all 10 of those countries I referred to previously and whatever unique qualities each country’s music possesses.
Today, it’s become a great deal more than that.
Celtic music has incorporated elements from New Age, smooth jazz, folk rock, folk-punk, pop, rock, reggae, electronica, metal, punk, hip hop, Latin, and Andean. The new term for all of this is Celtic fusion (as opposed to confusion).
All that aside, if you want to hear some of the very best Celtic music, you need to be at the Schuster Center at 8pm on either Friday, March 16 or Saturday, March 17 for the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra’s (DPO) presentation of Celtic Vistas with Cathie Ryan.
Featured on more than forty compilations of Celtic Music, Ryan has produced a critically acclaimed body of discography that includes Cathie Ryan, The Music of What Happens, Somewhere Along the Road, and The Farthest Wave.
Her recording successes notwithstanding, Ryan believes that there is nothing like a live show, being with an audience, and sharing the music. “That is the best part of being a singer and writing songs,” she states.
If you follow Irish music, you’ll remember Ryan being in the famous Irish music collection, A Woman’s Heart – A Decade On, placing her amongst Irish music’s finest female vocalists and songwriters. It was the first time Americans were featured in the series, and she shared the honor with Allison Krauss, Dolly Parton, and Emmylou Harris.
Irish America Magazine voted Ryan one of the Top 100 Irish Americans. Chicago’s Irish American News honored her as Irish Female Vocalist of the Decade, and the LA Times recently named her, “One of the leading voices in Celtic music.”
No less stars in their own right, the members of Ryan’s band know – and perform – the genre brilliantly.
As a young child, New-York-born Matt Mancuso (fiddle, trumpet, octave mandolin, guitar, vocals) got his introduction to Irish Music from his father Pete, a respected guitarist and record producer. Mancuso studied with the renowned musician and teacher Maureen Glynn and went on to compete in the prestigious All Ireland competitions, placing second in three consecutive years. Not bad for an Italian-Irish American in what can be a very closed musical society.
The star fiddle player in Lord of the Dance and a founding member of the rousing ensemble The Mickey Finns, Mancuso has taken star turns in tours with Irish super-group Grada.
Percussionist Brian Melick’s career in World Music spans over 30 years and includes playing with a diverse range of musicians, being featured on over 250 commercial recordings, and sharing his love of percussion both as an educator and a consultant to school arts programs.
Dancers from The Richens/Timm Academy, one of the most recognizable and respected names in the world of Irish dance, will join Ryan and the band on stage.
So, whether or not you’re Irish the rest of the year, come to the Schuster Center and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the DPO, Assistant Conductor Paddy O’Reynolds (the rest of the year, he’s Patrick Reynolds), The Richens/Timm Academy dancers, and Cathie Ryan and her band, for the very best music from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, Brittany….
No matter. It’s all good.
It’s all Celtic.