Over the years, the traditional music of the world’s Celtic regions has been woven into the fabric of contemporary music and culture around the world. Songs and melodies of Celtic antiquity from Ireland, Scotland and Cape Breton (on the east coast of Canada) have become an integral part of the soundtrack for the 21st Century.
Talented multi-instrumentalist Seamus Egan (band leader of the popular US-based Celtic group Solas) who was born in Philadelphia but moved to Ireland with his family in infancy, reckons that if you had to name one thing that’s most identifiable with Irish music, and by extension Celtic music, it’s the melody. "If the melody isn’t strong, it won’t last. There’s a reason these tunes have lasted so long. They have a quality, whether you can write it out on paper or it’s just something that you feel, there’s something inherent in these melodies. That’s the reason they’ve endured and why people want to play them and listen to them."
Bringing it full circle, internationally renowned, Dublin-born singer Mary Black notes: "When Irish people left Ireland in the last century and emigrated to America, they brought with them their tunes and their songs and their music. That, in turn, has influenced much of American folk music, particularly country music, which can be very closely connected with traditional Irish music as well as Appalachian and Cajun music, all of which have strong Irish influences. Then it kind of came back around full circle and Ireland is listening to what’s happening in America and listening to female singers like Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt, among others. It somehow becomes an exchange of ideas rather than anything else."
The music of the Celtic world has entranced listeners for countless generations, and its haunting melodies, unique instrumentation and engaging beat is popular from Dublin to Dakar. Putumayo’s collections of Celtic music have earned wide praise and popularity, and feature both the biggest stars and undiscovered secrets of the genre.