Celtic Café features exceptional Irish and Scottish singer-songwriters performing a blend of modern and traditional acoustic Celtic music.
On February 17th, a month before St. Patrick’s Day, Putumayo World Music will release Celtic Café, a collection that celebrates the powerful singer-songwriter movement and the burgeoning café culture in Ireland and Scotland. Cafés in Dublin, Edinburgh and the rest of the Celtic world have become alternative outposts to the archetypal pub; both are ideal settings to enjoy acoustic Celtic music. Celtic Café features exceptional Irish and Scottish artists performing contemporary Celtic music often rooted in ancient tradition. The collection also includes a recipe for the classic Irish coffee, a beverage that provides a perfect blend of pub and café drinks.
The collection opens with one of Ireland’s most celebrated musicians, Michael McGoldrick, whose wide musical range has helped him harness the diverse rhythms of Celtic music while pushing into new sonic realms. McGoldrick is followed by Dougie MacLean, one of Scotland’s most beloved singer-songwriters. The lyrics of his “Are Ye Sleepin’ Maggie” are based on a poem by legendary Scottish poet Robert Tannahill (1774-1810).
Also from Scotland, Capercaillie is one of the most popular and influential bands in the country thanks to their pioneering efforts to fuse traditional Gaelic music with modern technology and pop music. Their featured track “Him Bò” is inspired by traditional songs sourced from the Gaelic song archive of the School of Scottish Studies. The old Irish song “Star of the County Down”, performed here by the Irish duo, The Baileys, has been recorded by scores of artists including Van Morrison.
The lyrics of “The Parting Glass” may stretch as far back as the early 1600s and are sung here by Cara Dillon, an Irish singer-songwriter who’s become a successful solo artist since her days in the indie band Equation. Popular young Scottish group, Mànran puts their unique blending of traditional and contemporary styles on the Gaelic love song “An Eala Bhàn” (The White Swan). It was composed by Scottish poet and musician Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna while fighting in France during World War I. He wrote of home and the woman he loved, wondering from his cold trench if he would ever see her again.
Dublin’s Finbar Furey was a longtime member of the legendary Irish band, the Fureys. “School Days Over” is from Furey’s 2011 solo album Colours. Scotland’s Old Blind Dogs has borrowed influences from rock, reggae, jazz and blues in an effort to bring new approaches to roots music. “Braw Sailin’,” has a subtle acoustic reggae backbeat and is from the group’s 2007 release.
Calum Stewart is one of Scotland’s finest Uilleann pipers and flautists. His aptly titled instrumental composition, “Looking at a Rainbow Through a Dirty Window,” encapsulates fundamental aspects of the Celtic psyche. Glasglow’s legendary Battlefield Band closes with “Tramps & Hawkers,” a folk ballad written in the late 1800s that celebrates the wandering salesmen who roamed the Scottish countryside selling their wares and spreading news, tales and gossip.
Whether you’re a long-time fan of the genre or are listening to the sounds of Ireland and Scotland for the first time, Putumayo’s Celtic Café is an appealing collection of contemporary, acoustic Celtic music.