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Celtic punk
Stylistic origins Punk rock - Electric folk - Folk rock - Celtic music - Celtic rock
Cultural origins 1980s London: Irish diaspora and punk rock scene
Typical instruments Vocals - Electric guitar - Bass - Drums - Bagpipes - Tin whistle - Fiddle -- Banjo - Mandolin - Accordion
Mainstream popularity 1980s
Regional scenes
London - Ireland - Scotland - Brittany - Chicago - Boston - Philadelphia - Los Angeles
Other topics
Celtic fusion - Folk punk

Celtic punk is punk rock mixed with traditional Celtic music. The genre was founded in the 1980s by The Pogues, a band of punk musicians in London who celebrated their Irish heritage. Celtic punk bands often play covers of traditional Irish folk and political songs, as well as original compositions.[1] Although the plight of the Irish people is often a topic of their songs, it's not considered an overtly political genre. Prevalent themes in Celtic punk songs include Ireland, Irish Republicanism, the Irish diaspora, drinking, and working class pride.

The typical Celtic punk band includes a rock instrumentation as well as traditional instruments such as bagpipes, fiddle, tin whistle, accordion, mandolin, and banjo. Like Celtic rock, Celtic punk is a form of Celtic fusion.[2] The term Celtic punk is usually used to describe bands who base their music in Irish or Scottish traditional music. It is considered part of the broader folk punk genre, but that term tends to be used for bands that use English, American and other forms of folk music as inspiration.



Celtic punk's origin is in the 1960s and 1970s folk rock bands who first electrified to create electric folk in England and Celtic rock in Ireland and Scotland, as well as in more traditional Celtic folk bands such as The Dubliners and The Clancy Brothers. The Dunfermline, Scotland band The Skids were possibly the first UK punk band to add a strong folk element, as they did on their 1981 album Joy. Around the same time in London, England, Shane MacGowan and Spider Stacy began experimenting with a sound that became The Pogues.[1] Their early sets included a mixture of traditional folk songs and new original songs written in a traditional style - all performed in a punk style.[3] Other early Celtic punk bands included Nyah Fearties, and Australia's Roaring Jack.

The popularity of Celtic punk is particularly noticeable in the Unites States and Canada, where there are large communities descended from Irish and Scottish immigrants. From the US this includes the Irish music-influenced bands Flogging Molly, The Tossers, Dropkick Murphys, The Young Dubliners, Black 47, The Killdares, and Jackdaw, and for bands using Scottish influences, from the USA Seven Nations and Flatfoot 56, and from Canada The Real McKenzies. These groups were naturally influenced by American forms of music, often containing members with no Celtic ancestry and commonly singing in English.[4]

Three media outlets of Celtic punk include Paddy Rock Radio, the webzine Shite 'n' Onions (which releases compilation CDs and an annual top 10 Celtic Punk CD listing), and a podcast called The Scallywag Show With Barnacle Brian.

Notable bands


  1. ^ a b P. Buckley, The Rough Guide to Rock (London: Rough Guides, 2003), p. 798.
  2. ^ B. Sweers, Electric Folk: Changing Face of English Traditional Music (Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 197-8.
  3. ^ Scanlon, A. The Lost Decade. Omnibus Press, 1988
  4. ^ J. Herman, ‘British Folk-Rock; Celtic Rock’, The Journal of American Folklore, 107, (425), (1994) pp. 54-8.

See also

External links



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