Celtic music is among the oldest and most beautiful music in the world. It’s survived a very long time and it has stayed true to its roots. Today, the phrase Celtic music refers to a genre that evolved out of the musical traditions of the Celtic peoples who used to populate Western Europe. This can be a little confusing because there is no actual physical body of music that can be defined as “Celtic”. It refers to music that is unique to the Celtic nation and it also applies to people who identify themselves as Celtic people. Originally, it only applied to music that originated in Ireland and Scotland.
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When the Celtics migrated to the United States, the music traveled with them. Immigrants settled in the south and the music took on Scottish, Scotts-Irish, English, and even African traits. In the 1960s, bands began putting forth modern adaptations of the music. These bands included Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, Horslips, and Fairport Convention. In 1982, the Pogues invented what’s known as Celtic folk-punk, which spawned a host of other Celtic offshoot genres that incorporated modern music genres into them.
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Attempts to create Pan-Celtic music also flourished outside the United States when Breton Taldir Jeffrennour translated songs from Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, in between the two world wars. His major accomplishment was bringing the Welsh hymn “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” and the song is now the most widely accepted Breton anthem. The term Celtic can even apply to songs that share nothing with the genre but are recorded in Celtic languages, like the band Skara Brae’s LP which was recorded entirely in Irish Gaelic in 1971.
What is Celtic Music?
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Celtic music is some of the oldest music in the world and it is not so easy to define. Some music that sounds Celtic isn’t and some music is surprisingly Celtic though you may never suspect it. The music has evolved and come so far in a relatively short amount of time so it’s interesting to watch where it will go in the future.