CELTIC FOLK STAGE powered by Wyndham

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    There is evidence that there was a flourishing culture of popular music in Scotland in the Late Middle Ages. This includes the long list of songs given in The Complaynt of Scotland (1549). Many of the poems of this period were also originally songs, but for none has a notation of their music survived. Melodies have survived separately in the post-Reformation publication of The Gude and Godlie Ballatis (1567), which were spiritual satires on popular songs, adapted and published by the brothers James, John and Robert Wedderburn. The only song with a melody to survive from this period is the “Pleugh Song”. After the Reformation, the secular popular tradition of music continued, despite attempts by the Kirk, particularly in the Lowlands, to suppress dancing and events like penny weddings at which tunes were played.

    In Celtic Music: A Complete Guide, June Skinner Sawyers acknowledges six Celtic nationalities divided into two groups according to their linguistic heritage. The Q-Celtic nationalities are the Irish, Scottish and Manx peoples, while the P-Celtic groups are the Cornish, Bretons and Welsh peoples. Musician Alan Stivell uses a similar dichotomy, between the Gaelic (Irish/Scottish/Manx) and the Brythonic (Breton/Welsh/Cornish) branches, which differentiate “mostly by the extended range (sometimes more than two octaves) of Irish and Scottish melodies and the closed range of Breton and Welsh melodies (often reduced to a half-octave), and by the frequent use of the pure pentatonic scale in Gaelic music.”

    There is also tremendous variation between Celtic regions. Ireland, Scotland, Brittany and Wales have living traditions of language and music, and there has been a recent major revival of interest in Celtic heritage in Cornwall and the Isle of Man. Galicia has a Celtic language revival movement to revive the Q-Celtic Gallaic language used into Roman times. Most of the Iberian Peninsula had a similar Celtic language in pre-Roman times. A Brythonic language was used in parts of Galicia and Asturiasinto early Medieval times brought by Britons fleeing the Anglo-Saxon invasions via Brittany. The Romance language currently spoken in Galicia, Galician (Galego) is closely related to the Portuguese language used mainly in Brazil and Portugal. Galician music is claimed to be Celtic. The same is true of the music of Asturias, Cantabria, and that of Northern Portugal (some say even traditional music from Central Portugal can be labeled Celtic).

    Breton artist Alan Stivell was one of the earliest musicians to use the word Celtic and Keltia in his marketing materials, starting in the early 1960s as part of the worldwide folk music revival of that era with the term quickly catching on with other artists worldwide. Today, the genre is well established and incredibly diverse.

    Our Celtic Folk Stage is diverse each and every year! We’re proud that for 2017 we’ve brought back Colin Grant-Adams and Tullamore, two crowd favorites and new for this year is the Russell Clan from Guthrie with their mix of Celtic traditional folk music and bluegrass.

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