Florida Keys Celtic Festival - Rathkeltair, Albannach and Screaming Orphans Headline

North American Celtic Festivals kick off at the 4th Annual Florida Keys Celtic Festival held January 6th through 9th.   The festival will take place in Marathon situated half way between the mainland and Key West.  The 2017 Festival will include Celtic Rock and Traditional music, Irish & Scottish Dancing, Pipes and Drums and Highland Athletics.

The entertainment roster includes three of the bands who travel through North America appearing at most of the major Celtic Festival (http://transceltic.com/celtic-festivals): The Screaming Orphans, Rathkeltair and Albannach. 

“ The influence of bands like Rathkeltair and Albannach on the growth in attendance at Celtic Festivals is significant. The percussive music of Albannach is highly approachable, even for those who do not have a drop of Celtic blood, or who do not identify with their Celtic background. Percussion is universal to all musical cultures -- it is in fact the oldest form of music. Though they're fiercely proud of their Scottish heritage, Albannach is essentially a tribal band whose music transcends cultural labels.” Marcille Wallis, President of Celtic Heritage Productions

Estimates vary on the number of American’s claiming descent from immigrants to North America from the modern Celtic Nations. More elusive still is identifying the number of American’s descended from Celtic immigrants who enjoy a “Celtic Identity”.  An analysis of the American 2010 Census data proffered in an August 2013 article in “Business Insider” estimates the number of descendants of Celtic immigrants to North America to be in the vicinity of 50 million, comprised primarily of Irish, Scottish and Welsh in that order and inclusive of 5 million Americans who claim Scots-Irish ancestry.  Manx, Cornish and Breton identity is more difficult to measure as it has generally been subsumed within the census data into either English or French categories. It is problematic to gauge how many festival goers attend because they are expressing their Celtic identity versus just showing up for a good show.  If we assume 50% we are talking about a significant number of people that can be viewed as allies in the Pan Celtic movement and in the struggle to preserve the language and culture of the modern Celtic Nations.

The Screaming Orphans: The four Diver sisters hail from Ireland’s County Donegal and have been performing together since the early 1990’s.  In 2016 they performed at Celtic festivals throughout North America. Calling Bundoran in Ireland’s County Donegal home near the Donegal Gaeltacht the band cite their unique sound as rooted in the Celtic tradition combined with the musical influences to which the ladies from Donegal have been exposed during their career.  Since their early days, they have performed with Sinead O’Connor, Joni Mitchell, Peter Gabriel and the legendary Celtic band “The Chieftains” among others.

Rathkeltair: The band is named after the historical site in County Down in Ireland near the birthplace of band member Nick Watson.  Band member Trevor Tanner is the former front man for 80’s MTV era band “The Bolshoi”. Regarded as one of North America's premier Celtic rock bands, Rathkeltair blend compelling and catchy original songs with traditional bagpipe tunes, all delivered with a driving, straight-ahead rock 'n roll sensibility. “The band has a sense of heritage and command and pride in the Irish and Scottish background of the music and considers that they have been given an outlet for the expression of that heritage.”



Albannach: Electrifying performers with a combustible combination of Pipes and Drums and a dominant presence on the Festival entertainment circuit. Performers who tour extensively in North America.  Albannach's leader, Jamesie Johnston, views the band as Ambassadors of Celtic Culture and sees the growth of Celtic festivals in America as important in keeping the culture alive.  Based in Glasgow, Johnston has been quoted When people watch us perform they are experiencing Celtic culture and I see that as the takeaway from our performance".

Jamesie Johnston

Jamesie Johnston - Albannach


Florida Keys Celtic Festival 


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