Celtic Punk

Topics: Punk rock, Celtic punk, Rock music Pages: 6 (2345 words) Published: November 18, 2013

Celtic punk is a fusion of traditional Celtic music with the raw sound of punk music. According to the website Irish Punk, the music is about celebrating a Celtic heritage by covering folk songs and using traditional instruments in original rock music. Something interesting I found in my studies was that most Celtic punk bands are American. In this essay I have focused on the question; if Celtic punk bands are not Irish, can they be considered authentic Celtic musicians? To answer this question I looked into the definitions of Celtic music and punk music, the evolution of traditional Celtic music to Celtic punk, and the history of the Irish influence in America. Celtic music is considered the traditional music of Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The bagpipes, the tin whistle, the fiddle, the accordion, and the mandolin are some of the traditional instruments used in this style of music. Some of the traditional Celtic bands are: the Planxty, the Chieftains, The Clancy Brothers, and the Dubliners. The idea of music having a fixed traditional theme did not come to Ireland until the late eighteenth century when Britain became a dominating imperial force. The goal of the British was to strengthen their hold over Ireland by categorizing and homogenizing a stereotypic style of music to be ‘Irish’. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the ideal of nationalism swept Europe. Ireland was no exception and took the negative stereotype of ‘Irish’ music and twisted it to be a positive, traditional way of Irish culture. This way of thinking is the local concept that McLaughlin and McLoone describe: “The essential notions that dominant conceptions of ‘Irishness’, which are most characteristically applied to Irish traditional music, can be seen as ideologically conservative and analytically restrictive, privileging ‘nature’ over culture and alluding to a deep essence of Irishness that withstands historical change” (McLaughlin 2000:182). Punk music is a sub-genre of rock music. The instruments played are the same as rock music: the electric guitar, the bass guitar and the drums. The lyrics and music are usually harsher than the typical rock style. Most of the songs are about political angst and having a crazy, wild time. The Punk genre began in the 1970’s and it was mainly an American and English style of music. The idea of punk is to go against the mainstream and a way to let out pent up anger. It was a movement in music and culture. Most punk bands are known to practice and record in garages. They are mainly a do it yourself genre by self-recording their songs, instead of going to a huge record company. Some of the first punk bands were: The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Ramones, and Blondie. The genre of Celtic punk incorporates both these styles into a completely new and interesting style of music. Many of the Celtic punk bands are large due to the excess of instruments used. Their songs are usually covers of traditional Celtic ballads or are original songs, which touch on politics, the Irish republic, drinking, fighting and the working class pride. A good example of a Celtic punk song that touches on politics and the working class is Worker’s Song by the Dropkick Murphys. The chorus of their song is: We’re the first ones to starve; we’re the first ones to die The first ones in line for that pie-in-the-sky

And we’re always the last when the cream is shared out
For the worker is working when the fat cat’s about

The Celtic punk genre started with The Pogues in 1982 and expanded, becoming popular in the 1990’s. But, before the Celtic punk movement came about, there were many other influences that led up to the creation of Celtic Punk. The 1960’s and 1970’s was an age of folk revival. The archives of folk music was being dug into and taken into a new era of rock. One of leading founders of the Celtic revival was the band Planxty. Planxty took Celtic music and redefined it as youthful. They mixed...
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