Celtic music has a long history and a charm that is unshakable, whereas rock music has been seen as a modern sign of rebellion for years. Yet somehow these two very different genres often come together to create a fusion of classic and contemporary that is somehow almost superior to one style on its own. The lively danceable sound of a fiddle or the hearty belt of bagpipes which are usually played standalone get amplified by the backing of a rock band outfit, as powerful drums keep up the pace and heavy guitars fill in the low end. The meaty sounds of rock almost enhance just how whimsical the Celtic instruments are while the fast pace of a jig makes for a bouncing rock track. Here are some bands that used this mix of styles to their advantage and brought Celtic sounds to new ears all across the globe.
Mixing several rock styles with a constant Celtic feel these guys (and girl) manage to turn al l tracks into an all out Celtic dance off. With both emotionally driven tracks such as their ‘Fall In Place’ which has a contemporary rock feel, and much more humorous outings like their ‘Hey, What’s Under Your Kilt’ that has comedy and a punk vibe, this band is sure to please any crowd. Prepare for great rock tracks pleasantly interrupted by bagpipes or fiddles.
Red Hot Chili Pipers
If you are gob smacked by what can only be a glaring mistake, read the name of the band again. This isn’t the well known California, surf rock foursome but instead a group of bagpipers, guitarists and drummers who happily play rock songs with a celtic twist. Fans love their bagpipe covers of well known pop hits as well as the well executed rock covers that have included tracks by AC/DC, Guns n Roses and Jimi Hendrix. Showmen and masters of their craft they are known for fan pleasing live shows and creating clever medleys of both original tracks and covers.
Being around since the turn of the 90’s these guys went silver on their debut album which is no small feat especially in the niche that is Celtic rock. No doubt thanks to the era they were in, this group managed to form a solid grunge sound as well as clearly heavily adding authentic Celtic elements to tracks. Expect many pumping rock beats, lightly distorted guitars, rapid melodic strings and some impressive vocals for a complete sound that can sound almost ethereal at times.
Enter The Haggis
With a hilarious name that brings to mind martial arts master Bruce Lee in a kilt, these guys are happy to bring the jovial side of Scotland to the forefront as they mix classic folk with an equally classic rock sound. With their renditions of ‘Donald where’s your troosers’ capturing the fun and energy of folk while turning it up with a rougher backing, its hard not to get into their tracks. Clearly capable of laying down some nice guitar rhythms as well as getting a crowd to jig, these guys are well worth putting on your sound system when you need a good boost.