#39: Celtic Christmas Traditions

There are a lot of wonderful Celtic Christmas Traditions, some of which will be shared in song in this week’s edition of the Celtic Christmas Podcast as we share Celtic Christmas songs by Marc Gunn, Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer, The Barra McNeils, Four Celtic Voices, Barleyjuice, Celtic Cross, Golden Bough. www.celticchristmaspodcast.com

This show is brought to by the Patrons of the Podcast. These are 54 people over on Patreon who kindly and generously support the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast. Because of their generosity, I bring you this show each week running up to Christmas. If you enjoy the music, you can support this podcast by becoming a patron at http://celticmusicpodcast.com/patreon

You can also show your support by purchasing a copy of our 2013 Celtic Christmas CD. It’s called “A Celtic Christmas“. It’s a wonderful album of Christmas music by Celtic musicians. You’ll find links on the website where you can buy the CD or download the album.



This Week’s Celtic Christmas Music

“Let’s Have a Celtic Christmas” by Marc Gunn
from Celtic Christmas Greetings

Marc Gunn plays rhythm and folk autoharp music inspired by Celtic culture, science fiction, fantasy, and cats. He is an award-winning musician one of the top Celtic musicians on Reverbnation, the world’s largest indie music website. He has wowed audiences around the globe with fun, upbeat Celtic songs, parodies, and a lively performance. He is also the award-winning host of this and the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast.

“Down in Yon Forest” by Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer
from A Sound of Christmas Past

Out of Essex in the United Kingdom, Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer effortlessly blend traditional material with contemporary sounds. Their performances showcase new interpretations of old songs alongside original self penned tunes and new contemporary songs that are entirely at home in the tradition.

Out of this combination they have developed a sound that is both familiar and fresh. Strong believers in letting the music tradition live and breathe through sensitive interpretation, Vicki and Jonny allow the melody to sing without any constraints.

Be entranced by the haunting nyckelharpa, amazed at the cow horn (one of the worlds earliest communication devices) and meet some of the bagpipes that didn’t come from Scotland.

“Ann am Baile Ri’oghail Dhaibhidh (Once In David’s Royal City)” by The Barra MacNeils
from The Christmas Album

Canada’s Celtic ambassadors! For nearly three decades, Cape Breton-based family group the Barra MacNeils has been thrilling audiences of all ages, both near and far, with their sparkling repertoire, vocals, instrumental prowess and vibrant showmanship. 2014 marks over 27 years for the Sydney Mines, Cape Breton Island based family group, the Barra MacNeils, in an outstanding recording and touring career.

“The First Noel (Featuring Celeste Ray)” by Four Celtic Voices
from Four Celtic Seasons

Four Celtic Voices perform a spellbinding journey through the magic and wonder of the Celtic Lands… Traditional Celtic instruments such as bowed psaltery, harmonium, flute and Celtic harp mesmerize audiences and bring singing and playing time-honored traditionals and surprise with upbeat originals. Exceptional vocal harmonies of the women instantly transport audiences to the ancient mysterious realms of the Celts.

“Whiskey for Christmas” by Barleyjuice
from This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

From Philadelphia, Barleyjuice mixes pop / rock sensibilities and lyrics with traditional celtic melodies to form a next gen world sound. acoustic instruments blend with heavy bass and drums to focus on a rocking sound. Compared to the Pogues with a frontman Kyf Brewer who sings like Ronnie Drew with a cold, the band has garnered many a dedicated fan. Its not uncommon to hear the audience bellow “Joooose!” as the band takes the stage.

“Always Believe” by Celtic Cross
from Single

Out of New York City, Celtic Cross is the legendary seven-piece band fronted by Kathleen Fee, a talented singer-songwriter and her brothers John on accordion & Kenny Vesey on fiddle. They are joined by a group of accomplished and skilled NYC players Wally Ensor on guitar, Pat Dineen on bass/keys, Frankie McCormick on mandolin/banjo, and Ryan Cavan on drums.

Products of Irish parents, traditional Irish music roots, and American pop radio, Celtic Cross puts it all together in a very different way than what you will hear from most Celtic acts. The band’s music tells great stories using the traditional on top of sassy pop, alt-country and funk playing. They are a band’s band around the NYC Irish scene and will remind you of Fleetwood Mac or the B-52s with a heavy dose of Saw Doctors or Stockton’s Wing.

“Logs to Burn” by Golden Bough
from Winter’s Dance

An Old World carol states, “Good fortune attend each merry man’s friend to do the best that he may, forgetting all wrongs in carol and song to drive the cold winter away.” With that in mind, Golden Bough has created 3 volumes of Christmas/Holiday music, incorporating Old World Carols and other Celtic songs of Christmas and Winter with their own compositions, written especially for the Yuletide season.

Out of Modesto, CA, there are no new comers to the current Celtic trend, Golden Bough (founded in 1980) has been bringing their Winter Concerts to family audiences far and wide. These modern-day minstrels have traveled the world over performing their own brand of Celtic music, drawn from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, The Isle of Man, French Brittany and even Galicia (in Spain).

If you’re in a Celtic band and you have recorded Christmas music, then please submit through at www.4Celts.com. Please complete all of the information, especially the band description.

If you have a Celtic podcast, I would love to share your show with my listeners. Just email me at music@celticmusicpodcast.com. Include a link to download your Christmas shows. I will get them in our feed.

Of course, if you enjoy this show, then please rate it on iTunes, Stitcher or your favorite podcatcher. And please share the show with your friends.

One final note. This podcast is here to support the artists in the show. So if you enjoy the music you heard, please buy a CD, MP3s or show your support anyway you can for these artists.

Have a Merry Christmas!


Remember too, when you buy through our affiliates at CD Baby, Amazon, or iTunes, you support the artists AND the podcast.


The Irish & Celtic Music Podcast was produced by Marc Gunn, The Celtfather. If you enjoyed the music you heard, support the artists in this show. Buy their music. Then tell your friends to visit www.celticmusicpodcast.com

#38: Celtic Christmas Together with Celt in a Twist

Celtic Christmas music from Celt in a Twist featuring music from The Elders, John Munnelly, Kyf Brewer, Garret Wall and Track Dogs, The Wild Colonial Bhoys, Damien Dempsey, The Pretenders, Black 47, Emma Kate Tobia, Tara O’Grady, The Mahones, The Langers Ball, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones.

Listen on our player here, or we’re also available on our podcast page and the iTunes store for easy download.Or tune in to AM1470 Sunday, December 20, at 4 pm, (Metro Vancouver area) to hear the show on the radio!


#37: Bagpipe Celtic Christmas Music

A new season of Celtic Christmas music begins with new episodes of the podcast featuring Celtic Christmas songs and tunes from The Rogues, Wicked Tinkers, Haggis Rampant, Bonnie Rideout, Angus Mohr, Rathkeltair. www.celticchristmaspodcast.com

It is time once again to launch my Celtic Christmas Podcast. This is a 30 minute show where I play Celtic Christmas music and share a little bit about the Celtic bands on the show. If you have a Celtic band and want to submit music, visit our website, and I’ll tell you more at the end of the show.

If you have a Celtic podcast and would like to share your Christmas show with my audience, please contact me at celticpodcast@gmail.com

My two-hour Best Bagpipe Music special of the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast was so popular earlier this month, I thought a show of Bagpipe Celtic Christmas music would be a great way to kick off the holiday season.


This Week’s Celtic Christmas Music

“Hellbound Sleigh” by The Rogues
from Hellbound Sleigh

Founded in Houston in 1994, The Rogues created a new genre of Celtic music with exceptionally, well-played pipes and driving percussion. The band’s sound ranges from traditional pipes and drums to innovative textures incorporating whistles, keyboard and guitar, as well as many percussion instruments. Always present in The Rogues’ music is that spirit that endears them to their audience. From technical precision to soaring melodies, a Rogues album and performance will move you to tears and get you dancing immediately afterwards.

“Coventry Carol” by Wicked Tinkers
from Slainte Happy Holidays

Pioneers of the growing Tribal Celtic movement, the Wicked Tinkers have been playing haunting, heart-pounding bagpipes and irresistible tribal drums as a professional touring band since 1995. With the addition, of the mesmerizing drone of the Australian didgeridoo and Bronze Age Irish horn, the magic was complete. Sit back and be transported to an earlier time in Scotland and Ireland, when battle cries filled the air and strange, unheard-of creatures roamed the night. Or better yet, get on your feet and let your body move to ancient rhythms and forgotten sounds.

“Kirkin’ the Midwinter” by Haggis Rampant
from The Silver Glens

The first stirrings of Haggis Rampant appeared in the fall of 2000 at the first annual Louisiana Renaissance Festival. Steve was feeding his renfest habit while looking for places to practice on his loud instrument. His wife Pam played her bodhran with Steve on the last day of the 2000 run, and, much to his chagrin, the show was a hit. The group was completed with the addition of their daughter Gillian a few years later. Gillian has shown a talent for writing exquisite harmonies on the bagpipes and the good-natured father/daughter competitiveness makes them a fun team to watch.

“Christmas Carousing/Ale Is Dear/New Christmas” by Bonnie Rideout
from A Scottish Christmas

Bonnie Rideout is an award winning Scottish fiddler. Her CD, “A Scottish Christmas” became a New York Times “Top Ten Holiday Best Seller”. She celebrates Christmas with this enthusiastic holiday performance that she takes on the road each year, playing at performing arts centers and large theaters nationwide in November and December. Rideout performs along with the Scottish Christmas Ensemble – a group of internationally renowned musicians including the City of Washington Pipe Band and dancers from the Scottish Highlands! Rideout and crew perform with spirit and gusto. This performance features Eric Rigler on Scottish smallpipes.

“I Saw Three Ships” by Angus Mohr & Friends
from A Christmas Pageant

Just as watery mist remakes the world, and whisky remakes the man, Angus Mohr revitalizes the brogue of traditional Celtic music with an American blues accent and rejuvenates rock ’n roll’s broad spectrum with bagpipe and pennywhistles. No one is ever going to mistake Angus Mohr for a cover band. Sure, they play songs like “Foggy Dew,” the 1916 Easter Rising ballad, and “Whisky in the Jar,” a sixteenth century tale of love and betrayal, and their set list is peppered with songs penned by Dylan, Pink Floyd, Johnny Cash, and the Ramones. But you’ve never heard “Ring of Fire” or “I Wanna Be Sedated” until you’ve heard it with the pipes’ spiraling keen.

The 2008 album from Angus Mohr is a departure from their usual sound! This Christmas album features an eclectic mix of styles, including everything from medieval carols to Chuck Berry!

“Carols on 45” by Rathkeltair
from Something Good for Christmas

Rathkeltair blends compelling and catchy original songs with tight, driving straight-ahead rock-n-roll, while never forgetting its Celtic roots.
Based in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, Rathkeltair has been on the road full-time since 2003. Highly regarded for its extraordinary energy, showmanship and professionalism, Rathkeltair enjoys a loyal and rapidly expanding community of friends and fans.

In 2011, they released their album “Something Good for Christmas”. It features over 45 minutes of Christmas classics , Original songs and tunes done Rathkeltair style for the holiday season!

If you’re in a Celtic band and you have recorded Christmas music, then please submit through at www.4Celts.com. Please complete all of the information, especially the band description.

If you have a Celtic podcast, I would love to share your show with my listeners. Just email me at music@celticmusicpodcast.com. Include a link to download your Christmas shows. I will get them in our feed.

My hope is to release three more exclusive episodes of this podcast, plus additional episodes by other Celtic shows. With any luck, you can expect a lot of great Celtic Christmas music and content in the weeks to come.

Of course, if you enjoy this show, then please rate it on iTunes, Stitcher or your favorite podcatcher. And please share the show with your friends.

One final note. This podcast is here to support the artists in the show. So if you enjoy the music you heard, please buy a CD, MP3s or show your support anyway you can for these artists.

Have a Merry Christmas!

#36: Best Celtic Christmas Music Online

The Celtic Christmas Podcast is excited to bring you Celtic Christmas music comes from The Brigands’ Folie, The Gothard Sisters, Mithril, Cherish the Ladies, Bonnie Rideout, The Irish Rovers, Katie McMahon. www.celticchristmaspodcast.com

If you’re a Celtic band with Christmas music (or you know someone who is), please submit your music here.

Ever wonder What Is Celtic Christmas Music? Read my article and my let me know what you think.

I also host the Pub Songs Podcast and I have two Christmas shows this year. The first is entitled “A Semi-Celtic Christmas“. The second is just traditional fun Christmas songs. I also released an EP entitled Celtic Christmas Songs which features three original Christmas songs inspired by Celtic culture and lifestyle. It’s now on sale on all the major digital retailers.

Don’t miss my pick of the Best Celtic Christmas Albums on Amazon.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who helped spread the word about A Celtic Christmas, my newest Celtic Christmas compilation CD. The album continues to sell well online and garner reviews from fans and the press. One blogger called it the “Best Celtic Christmas Album of the Year”. This album would not be nearly as successful without all your kind and generous support.

If you enjoy this show, please check out the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast. It’s an award-winning podcast featuring some of the best independent Celtic music online.

And please remember to support the artists in this show by buying an album from your favorite artist.

The Gothard Sisters - Christmas

This Week’s Celtic Christmas Music

“Christmas Waltz” by The Brigands’ Folie
from Twain
Brigands’ Folie is an exciting acoustic duo playing traditional Irish, Scottish, English, and colonial American music together around the Midwest since 2005. The band’s mission is to educate the public about the lives and stories of 18th & 19th Century settlers, soldiers, and sailors through music of the period.

“Jolly Old St. Nicholas” by The Gothard Sisters
from Christmas

The Gothard Sisters are three young Celtic and classical musicians who write new arrangements of traditional celtic and christmas favorites. They are emerging young artists and dancers from the pacific northwest and play several instruments each, creating a warm sound of acoustic progressive celtic-classical folk.

“Winter’s Day” by Mithril
from Winter’s Day

Mithril’s unique progressive style has its roots in traditional Celtic music but moves far beyond that, weaving such diverse influences as American folk, classical, and Middle Eastern melodies in…to their full tapestry of sound.

“On Christmas Night” by Cherish the Ladies
from On Christmas Night

Celebrating 28 Years of Music Making, Cherish the Ladies is an American all-female Irish-American super group. The band began as a concert series in New York in January 1985, the brainchild of Mick Moloney who wanted to showcase the brightest female musicians in America in what had been a male-dominated scene. The series opened to sold out concerts. Under the leadership of the dynamic and irrepressible Joanie Madden on flutes and whistles, they have grown from a one-time concert concept to an Irish traditional music sensation and are the most successful and sought after Irish-American group in Celtic music.

“Christmas day in the morning/I saw three ships/On Christmas night/New years day” by Bonnie Rideout
from A Scottish Christmas, The Celebration

Bonnie Rideout is an award winning Scottish fiddler. On stages from Scotland’s Edinburgh International Festival to America’s Kennedy Center, Bonnie Rideout’s unique style of Scottish fiddling has charmed audiences across the globe. Bonnie has been featured on the BBC, CBS, NPR’s Performance Today, and Morning Edition. Her A Scottish Christmas CD became a New York Times “Top Ten Holiday Best Seller”. Its success prompted a touring show that has sold out halls across North America for over a decade. In 2007, the Mel Bay Publishing Company credited Bonnie as one of America’s top ten most influential traditional fiddlers of the 20th century.

“Have You Heard” by The Irish Rovers
from Merry Merry Time Of Year

The Irish Rovers is a Canadian Irish folk group created in 1963 and named after the traditional song “The Irish Rover.” The group is best known for their international television series, contributing to the popularization of Irish Music in North America. All band members hail from Ireland, however the group was formed in Toronto, Canada. Since then there have been over 40 albums in North America with more internationally. “Have You Heard” is a beautiful Christmas tune with an old world sound, but like with all the Irish Rovers songs, you’ll want to sing along. It’s written by George Millar who has written most of the Rovers’ original music over the years.

“Christmas Pipes” by Katie McMahon
from Celtic Christmas

Katie McMahon is an Irish singer from Dublin. She was a soloist with the original Riverdance troupe. Her recordings have largely featured traditional Irish songs, occasionally in the Irish language. She has released five critically acclaimed solo CDs: After the Morning, Shine, Celtic Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas Angels.

Irish Rovers - Merry Merry Time of Year

#35: Celtic Christmas with the Grinning Beggar Celtic Music Podcast

Today’s episode of the Celtic Christmas Podcast is a guest show from the Grinning Beggar Celtic Music Podcast. Phil was kind enough . allow me to share his Christmas show with you.

Today, you will Celtic Christmas music from The Langer’s Ball, The Pogue, Belfast Muslims, The Mahones, Lexington Field, The Gobshites, Finnegan’s Hell, Poor Angus, Mithril, John McGaha, The Irish Rovers, Marc Gunn, Shauna Burns, Dropkick Murphys, The Killigans, The Wild Colonial Bhoys, The Narrowbacks, The Cold Shots, Larry Kirwan feat Ashley Davis, Shanneyganock, The Barra MacNeils, Shanneyganock, Eddie Coffey, Shanneyganock, Reg Watkins, Stand Rogers, Boston Blackthorn, The Makem & Spain Brothers, The High Kings, Seamus Kennedy, The Gleasons, Rathkeltair, Cherish The Ladies, Highland Bagpipes, Emish, Damien Dempsey, The Cherry Coke$, Jasper Coal.

itunes pic

Well ladies and gentlemen it would appear that Christmas is only a few short weeks away. Christmas time means many things to people; for some its a joyous occasion while for others it brings sadness.

Whatever the effect, I am not here to try to convince you otherwise. I am here to provide you with some really great Christmas music.. And in true Beggar fashion I have done this and in doing so covered the spectrum. So this my friends is my final gift of 2013 for you, my 3rd Annual Celtic Christmas Podcast stuffed full on songs about drinking, thinking, being broke, cold and alone, songs about Jesus and Angels and Joy. We have some Celtic Punk, some Bagpipes, some Scottish, some Irish and even some Galacian (look it up!), even some Japanese.

With that being said, let this Podcast give you what you whatever need to get through this Christmas season and into the New Year safely and smiling.  Thank you for all of your continued support and kind words through the year and I will see you in 2014 with some Rad new tricks!

This Podcast is being dedicated to Jimmys Pub, my Aunt Marie (RIP) who kept the spirit of Christmas alive and my long time friend Scott. DSG if it were not for you I’d have lost the spirit long ago. Thanks for keeping the faith !

Slainte ~ Phil

The Playlist is as follows:

01. The Langer’s Ball – 1913 Massacre
02. The Pogues – Ferrytale of New York
03. Belfast Muslims – Christmas Lullaby
04. The Mahones – Angel Without Wings
05. Lexington Field – Cherry Moonshine
06. The Gobshites – Christmas Eve in The Boozer
07. Finnegan’s Hell – Drunken Christmas
08. Poor Angus – The Gathering
09. Mithril – Galacian Carol
10. John McGaha – Gloucestershire Wassail
11. The Irish Rovers – Bells Over Belfast
12. Marc Gunn – Christmas in Scotland
13. Shauna Burns – Carol of The Bells
14. Dropkick Murphys – The Season’s Upon Us
15. The Killigans – Cold Outside
16. The Wild Colonial Bhoys – Santa See You Tonight
17. The Narrowbacks – Prodigal Son (I’ll Be Home for Christmas)
18. The Cold Shots – Count Your Blessings
19. Larry Kirwan feat Ashley Davis – Happy Xmas (War is Over)
20. Shanneyganock  – Christmastime in Newfoundland
21. The Barra MacNeils – Christmas Ceilidh
22. Shanneyganock – The Wren
23. Eddie Coffey – Christmas Morn in Newfoundland
24. Shanneyganock  – Rusty Chevrolet
25. Reg Watkins – Mummer’s Party Jig
26. Stand Rogers – First Christmas
27. Boston Blackthorn – Christmas in Pittsburgh, 1943
28. The Makem & Spain Brothers – I Heard The Bells
29. The High Kings – Driving Home For Christmas
30. Seamus Kennedy – Jogging Along With My Reindeer
31. The Gleasons – Irish Holiday
32. Rathkeltair – Silent Night
33. Cherish The Ladies – Oh Little Town of Bethlehem
34. Highland Bagpipes – Little Drummer Boy
35. Emish – O Come O Come Emmanuel
36. Damien Dempsey – Oh Holy Night
37. The Cherry Coke$ – Auld Lang Syne
38. Jasper Coal – The Parting Glass