Along with Pop, R&B, and Punk Rock, there’s one music genre that often flies under the popular music radar, this is called Celtic Rock. The initiative to make the Celtic Rock genre came from the minds of Celtic artists and singers who were successful in bringing out the mixing of Celtic music and rock songs that we hear these days. The success achieved by Celtic musicians is largely due to the immense success of Celtic Rock as a genre. The recognition of this genre may have been caused largely by the rock elements found in this music, as Rock music has a habit of being ear-catching and memorable to most people’s ear.¨
The Celtic Rock genre is hard to identify due to its distinctive nature, so here’s a good example that might sound familiar. There was a scene in the film “Titanic” where passengers in the third class or “steerage” section were gladly dancing to a bit of music with Leonardo DiCaprio leading them and when Kate Winslet saw this happening, she immediately joined the gathering, getting down on the dance floor and jigging along with the intensely infections beat. The background music played throughout the dance was in fact produced by an Irish band named Gaelic Storm, noted in Celtic music circles for creating influential Celtic Rock throughout their career.
So, exactly how does this blend of Celtic and Rock music go together so successfully? There can be three ways that you can create a successful fusion: one, by using rock music instruments in playing conventional Celtic music; two, performing rock music with the use of Celtic instruments, for example bagpipe, fiddle, Uilleann pipes, and harp; and three, integrating Celtic lyrics or rhythms into an already established and popular piece of rock music. Many royalty free music producers use the third kind as it has an infectious rhythm which works great in a marketing exercise, for example on TV advertisements.
Celtic rock derived out of the ‘electric folk’ music scene in the beginning of the seventies. A Scottish singer known as Donovan produced an album known as “Open Road” where he titled one of his musical compositions as “Celtic Rock”, and this was the first ever recorded use of this term that became popular throughout the years.
The evolution of Celtic Rock then has become evident with numerous songs being created by Celtic bands and musicians, particularly in the Celtic areas of Brittany, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Celtic rock is not limited to Celtic regions, since there are also countries with large Irish and Scottish roots which are partial to this sort of music, and which often forms the cohesive elements in the pub culture of such places. To be able to pay tribute to their roots, artists usually produce Celtic Rock through playing popular rock and punk music with elements of Celtic songs in it.
When used in production music ventures such as Royalty-Free music libraries, the success noted is very high, hence why many large companies and particularly breweries such as Guinness or Caffrey’s use this type of music to set the scene in their TV advertising.
Many fusion or co-operative music genres have appeared in the music industry in the past 20-30 years, but some of them were short-lived unlike Celtic Rock which continued to be well-known and influential, supplying the fuel for local groups to make it big on a worldwide scale. The best such name is perhaps U2, who shifted to a more mainstream genre, but not without the initial recognition made available from the music of Irish Rock.
There are actually musical sub-genres that are created thanks to this fusion of Celtic Rock. With Ireland giving birth to several punk bands in the 1970’s, the Pogues created Celtic Punk, by blending elements of Celtic Rock, but presented punk-style. Likewise, many metal bands of later years utilized classic Celtic music in their metal, making Celtic Metal music and proving that the fusion of different musical entities is likely to continue well into the future, and that can only be a good thing.