Celtic Weddings and Wakes

Celtic Wddings

Posted 12th September 2023

This year Celtic Mashup crossed over county lines to Derbyshire, Cambridgeshire for the nuptial wedding season and nearer home providing Celtic Folk in Hertfordshire. Lovely people enjoying their wedding day, and everybody is out for a fun time. Love these audiences and many thanks to all those couples for the gigs. Some of the venues were excellent for wedding venues The Willow Tree in Bourn, Amalfi White Melbourne, but not always excellent for parking and setting up the gear, but hay ho that’s our problem not the best mans!

It’s a great opportunity to be able to spread the Celtic vibe at wedding bookings with Celtic MashUp  and Celtic Krystal. These gigs regularly come from the good old Paddy’s Days back in March. “Enjoyed the gig – are you up for doing our wedding?”, music to my ears!  It is not always about being the main band that matters. It could be just some tunes before the ceremony, during the photographs, canapes and champagne, at the wedding breakfast or after in evening to set the mood and satisfy the Scottish/Irish grannies present roots on the day. We wish all who enjoyed our music and our Celtic music an incredibly happy future together.

I sometimes wonder why Celtic Music has become so popular in non-Celtic England. When I’m in Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall, Wales and over in Brittany, yes, all Celtic Countries where it is bouncing with live Celtic Vibes’. So, I look for reasons on why it is popular and frankly one that hits the spot immediately is the number of modern-day groups that have crossed south of the border from Scotland. Skippinish, Pete and Diesel, Tide LinesSkerryvore to name but a few. There are so many live Celtic acts around these days one is spoilt for choice.

To add to the mix, “If there’s one thing that makes wintertime in Glasgow great then it’s Celtic Connections.”   Glasgow’s annual folk, roots and world music festival celebrates its connections to cultures across the globe. From 18 January – 4 February 2024, over 2,100 musicians from around the world bring the city to life for 18 days. During that time, there are concerts, ceilidhs, talks, art exhibitions, workshops and free events, more than 300 events across multiple genres of music. A wonderous celebration of Celtic Music in Glasgow and visited by folks from all over the globe. Some of the folksingers from my solo days and with Lomond Folk still appear at the festival.  Alastair McDonald, Archie Fisher, Fraser Bruce, Ian Bruce and hosts of other Scottish folksingers and musicians of my Glasgow days. Over 100,000 people tuned in from 65 countries to watch over 10.5 million minutes of content across 19 days in 2023, the festival’s 30th anniversary. It was also the first festival without restrictions since 2023.

Fiddle music appears in thefestival in many shapes and forms in bands, duos and solo. I have always enjoyed playing music in Celtic Krystal with fiddler Krystal Munn now for 14years and more recently in Celtic MashUp with Matt Waters. Fiddle music has always been a favourite of mine on the folk scene, probably because I am the failed fiddler after 7 years tuition in my teens! Aly Bain from Shetland, presently making music with Phil Cunningham, and Duncan Chisholm are at the top of their game and there are so many accomplished fiddlers out there on the Celtic music scene. Duncan Chisolm has just released a new Album ‘Black Cuillin’    I have enjoyed and would highly recommend this CD release.

“Exquisitely played and carefully crafted it’s a stunning release that draws inspiration from the mountain wilderness on the Isle of Skye to tell of a dream journey through this landscape over a day and a night.
Black Cuillin has been described as “truly the music of the high mountains, the music of the skies and the stars.” … (Copy written by Celtic Music Radio)

Duncan wrote most of the tunes but also collaborated with Ross Ainslie and Hamish Napier. Other tracks were composed by Iain MacFarlane, Donald Shaw, Hamish Napier and Phil Cunningham.

A founder member of Wolfstone, Duncan has also performed with Runrig and guested on albums by the likes of Beth Nielsen Chapman, Julie Fowlis, Runrig and Donnie Munro.

This new gem features Duncan on fiddle with Ross Ainslie (whistles); Hamish Napier (piano & keyboard); Donald Shaw (piano & keyboard); Ross Hamilton (electric guitar and bass); Patsy Reid (fiddle); Martin O’Neill (bodhran); Jarlath Henderson (uilleann pipes); Malcolm Jones (electric guitar) and strings by Clockwork Sessions.

The popularity of the Celtic music is also partly due to the rising interest in genealogy and the culture of one’s heritage with modern day technology making searches slightly more readily available, notwithstanding DNA testing and this has generated the enthusiasm through one’s identity to enjoy and share the music , art and poetry of their roots whatever that may reveal. I conclude that this is a strong factor in the request for especially Scottish and Irish music for not only weddings but on a more sombre note at the other end of the continuum for the dear departed.

Recently a true Celt, Sinéad O’Connor, sadly passed away in July 2023 at a very young age. A woman of personal conviction and so very proud of her Celtic Irish heritage. Troubled she may have been and only she knows her pain. I am sure that every time I sing the Foggy Dew on Paddy’s Day, she will be remembered. Her voice and her songs will live on for years to come. I’m sure she and her family had a memorable wake. It is true of wakes, yes sad occasions, but live music can be so uplifting and raise the spirits of the those who are left to remember, and it is a pleasure to see the mood change on such occasions – well until the hangover kicks in!

Robin Campbell’s Celtic MashUp is fortunate to have Dicky Deegan on Uilleann Pipes and Whistles to play, when he is available and not touring the globe adding the truely traditional sound to the celebration of a loved one’s life at wakes where we play. Dicky has travelled around over his years making music, as part of The Kilburn Cowboys, shared the stage with the Riverdance in Singapore before flying on to Miami and Las Vegas via London and Detroit. Dicky was awarded the Australian International Celtic Artist of the Year 2020 by the Celtic Council of Australia. He was also chosen to play the Uilleann Pipes for Julien Temple and Johnny Depp’s new film, Crock of Gold – A Few Rounds with Shane McGowan. From his ongoing connection with Celtic MashUp it is always possible to have Dicky on Uilleann pipes at Irish weddings and funerals joining Celtic MashUp for the shindig and the craic! It is also common for a vocal solo at the funeral service from myself be it Danny Boy, Raglan Road, or a love song written by the Scottish Bard Robert Burns.

It no longer surprises me about the wealth of Celtic Music in Hertfordshire. Maybe I will Rant about this in another post about bands available and places to play.

Stay Safe and Stay in Tune – Rantin’ Rovin’ Robin



September 12th 2023