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Archive-name: music/celtic/faq
Last Modified: Thu Jun 26 1997
Version: 2.00
Posting-Frequency: weekly (, monthly (rec.answers,news.answers)

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
       (comments and suggestions:

This document attempts to answer the questions which are asked on a
weekly basis in the REC.MUSIC.CELTIC newsgroup.  Please read this before
posting a query into the group, as your question may already have been

It will be posted every Monday to 

If you have WWW access then an extended version of the FAQ is
available from:


1.0  Introduction
     1.1  What is REC.MUSIC.CELTIC (R.M.C.)?
     1.2  What is the difference between REC.MUSIC.CELTIC and
     1.3  How is "Celtic" pronounced?
     1.4  How is "Gaelic" pronounced?

2.0  Getting advice
     2.1  I like X, what other bands would you recommend?
     2.2  I have X, Y and Z from band W.  What other albums should I
     2.3  I love instrument X - which bands use it, and on which
     2.4  How do I get information/recordings/other about/by band X?

3.0  On-line Information

     3.1  WWW Starting points
     3.2  Mailing lists

4.0  Ordering recordings
     4.1  Mail order/phone
     4.2  On the Internet
     4.3  General advice on mail order

5.0  Favourite questions
     5.1  Is Enya related to Clannad?
     5.2  Which part of Ireland are Capercaillie from, and which part
          of Scotland are Altan from?
     5.3  Is Enya dead?
     5.4  When is the Clan Alba album coming out?
     5.5  Is there a translation of <song name> by Clannad?
     5.6  Who wrote <song name> and where can I find it?
     5.7  Which song should I have played at my wedding?
     5.8  Would anyone like to swap tapes with me?

6.0  Celtic Music radio shows
     6.1  UK 
     6.2  USA & Canada
     6.3  Ireland
     6.4  Elsewhere

7.0  Acknowledgements


1.0  Introduction

     1.1  What is REC.MUSIC.CELTIC (R.M.C.)?

          The REC.MUSIC.CELTIC charter states:

          REC.MUSIC.CELTIC is an unmoderated forum for the discussion of all
          issues relating to Celtic music.  Generally understood, "Celtic
          music" refers to the folk musics of Ireland, Scotland, Wales,
          Brittany, (Spanish)  Galicia, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, and
          certain parts of Canada (esp.Newfoundland/Cape Breton), as well as
          more recent musical styles (i.e. rock,  jazz, new age) that draw
          heavily from these folk traditions.  It should be  understood,
          though, that not all musicians who hail from Ireland/Scotland/
          Wales/Brittany/etc. necessarily play Celtic music.  

          Celtic music is not defined by the passport, ancestry, or place of
          origin of the musicans, but by the sound and the feel of the music
          itself.  Welcome topics on celtic include (but are by
          no means limited to), the discussion of artists, songs, and
          recordings; the discussion of instruments frequently used in
          Celtic music; the discussion of festivals and concerts of Celtic
          music;  the discussion of bars, pubs, and nightclubs that
          regularly feature Celtic music; the discussion of stores and
          record companies that specialize in Celtic music; and
          musicological discussion of the history, the influences, and the
          characteristics of Celtic music.  

          Although it is not, strictly speaking, "Celtic" the traditional
          music of England is also a welcome topic of discussion in
, due to the great overlap (in terms of both
          musical history and audience interest) between it and  other forms
          of Celtic music.

     1.2  What is the difference between REC.MUSIC.CELTIC and

          REC.MUSIC.CELTIC is a place for the discussion of both traditional
          and modern forms of Celtic music, so as to enable the discussion
          of Celtic folk music, Celtic rock, and Celtic new-age, in the same
          group.  The instigator (Jim Chokey) and a number other posters
          thought there should be a place where one could talk about The
          Clancy Brothers, Clannad, Enya, Alan Stivell, Boiled in Lead, the
          Pogues, Patrick Ball, Mary Black, Runrig, etc., all in one place. 
 was a fine place to talk about the traditional
          Celtic music, but the more rockish stuff and the more new-agey
          stuff wasn't really welcome there.  The purpose of
 to create a group where *all* forms of Celtic and
          Celtic-influenced music could be discussed. That's why it's called
 and not

     1.3  How is "Celtic" pronounced?

          If you are talking about the newsgroup, the people, the language,
          art, culture, etc, then it is with a hard C (as in K - Keltic). 
          The only exception is a soccer team in Glasgow, and a basketball
          team in Boston who pronounce it with a soft C (Seltic), because
          they were/are mainly referred to by English speakers.  The Celtic
          languages (Gaelic, Welsh, Manx, Cornish and Breton) have no soft C
          (they use S instead), and so would not pronounce "Celtic" in that

     1.4  How is "Gaelic" pronounced?

          In Ireland, as "Gaylic" (I'm useless with phonetic spellings, and
          so are most of the people who read this group), but in Scotland as
          "Gallic".  The languages are similar, and come from a common
          source, but 1200 years apart has modified things a
          little....(although it is still possible to understand one if you
          know the other, given a little effort).

2.0  Getting advice

     2.1  I like X, what other bands would you recommend?

          Questions like this appear on a regular basis.  While it is one
          way to broaden your collection and your tastes, you may find that
          several other people have asked similar questions in the recent
          past.  It is generally better to listen to live music, or to
          listen to other people's recordings than to take advice and buy
          something you have never heard.  Radio shows are also a good bet,
          as you can sample all sorts of bands without having to pay for it. 
          If you are willing to pay hard cash on a whim, you may also like
          to buy an album which is talked about on the group without hearing
          it, on the basis that if everyone likes it then it can't be too
          bad. See also 3.1

     2.2  I have X, Y and Z from band W.  What other albums should I buy?

          Again, it is better to listen to someone else's copy and then
          decide.  If you can't do that, then you are in the same position
          as everyone else when a new release hits the streets - if you like
          the band, buy it and see...  This applies equally well to older
          recordings. See also 3.1, where ratings and reviews of albums by
          fans can be obtained.

     2.3  I love instrument X - which bands use it, and on which albums?

          Again, it depends on several factors - the version of an
          instrument (gut strung harp or metal strung, wooden  flute or
          silver, etc.), how it is played, the accompaniment (if you love
          the flute and buy a recording because someone plays flute on it
          only to discover that it can't be heard for a won't
          be too happy), etc.  See also 3.1, and 3.13 for mailing lists
          dealing with one particular instrument.

     2.4  How do I get information/recordings/other about/by band X?

          If you have WWW access then almost every band has either
          an official WWW page, and unofficial WWW page (maintained
          by a fan of the band) or a page at a record company site.
          These sites often have the most up to date information
          available and should be the first place you look for information.
          The best way to find the page is to use one of the search engines
          on the net. These let you type in some words and
          then search the whole of the internet. A few to try are:

            Lycos -
            Alta Vista -
            Excite -

          If that fails you can try looking in the extended WWW FAQ
          under the list of artists or try any of the sites listed
          in section 3.1

          It is also worth searching previous articles on newsgroups
          by using Deja News: 

          If you don't have WWW access then some mailing lists and
          newsgroups dealing with specific artists are listed 
          in section 3.2

3.0  On-line Information

Many more links are given on the FAQ WWW page:

     3.1  WWW starting points

          These are few good starting points for looking at celtic music
          on the internet. They provide up to date links to many
          different sites. Most celtic sites will be linked to from 
          one of these. Suggestions for other up to date starting points
          are always welcome. 

          Ceolas :
            Provides informations and links to information on virtually
            everything to do with celtic music.

          Every celtic thing :

            A huge list of celtic related site. 

          soc.culture.scottish :

            Lot of info on traditional Scots music and also Gaelic
            songs in it, as well as some lyrics.

          Celtic Peak :

            A site with a bias towards modern scottish music including
            links to artists and the WWW sites for some record companies.

          Dirty Linen :
          Folk Roots :
            Two of the magazines with celtic content. Lots of links to
            other sites.

     3.2  Mailing Lists

          These are automatic mail systems which allow a basic
          discussion on specialised subjects.  You are advised to
          subscribe and read a list for a while before you post
          to it, to get the feel of its contents and style.
          (Note if it's a listserv then just mail the command
          SUB list_name your_name, otherwise you send a message
          to the contact)

      Irish Traditional Music
          Mailing list on Irish traditional music, oriented towards players
          and traditional, as opposed to popular, music. Membership is about
          250, with an average of about half a dozen messages a day. A
          digest form of the list, with summaries of the most important
          messages, comes out every month.

          Subscription address:
          List address:
          List address: (digest)
          Maintainer: Paul McGettrick (
          * Some people have been having  problems with the addresses for 
            this list. Let me know of any updates - Graham 
     Folk Music radio shows
          This is primarily for hosts of folk/bluegrass/celtic radio shows,
          but all are welcome to join. Runs about 5-10 messages per day
          usually, includes playlists, band information, Folk Alliance news
          and chat. Very much US-based.

          Subscription address:
          List address:
          Maintainer: Tina Hay,
          (if you are on Bitnet, use the addresses listserv@psuvm and

           Covers all kinds of accordions and concertina. 10-15 messages a
           week, discusses contemporary accordion music of all sorts,
           instrument building and repair. The archive has lots of
          information on magazines, builders, tutors and tips.
 	  ***** NOTE:  This is now supplanted by the newsgroup  *****
           WWW Archive: 

          Discusses all kinds of bagpipes, including Scottish, Irish
          (uileann), Northumbrian, Spanish, Macedonian, Swedish and others.
          Covers technical issues and news mainly of interest to players.

          Subscription address:
          List address:
          Maintainer: <Wayne Cripps>
               Archives and FAQ are available by FTP or Gopher at
      in the directory /pub/bagpipes

          * Some people have been having  problems with the addresses for 
            this list. Let me know of any updates - Graham

          Subscription address:
          List address:
          WWW Archive:

     Boiled In Lead
          Subscription address:
          Maintainer: John Romkey
          FTP archive: /pub/leadheads

     Oyster Band
          Subscription address:
	  Send a message which contains
			 subscribe oysters &lt;your-email-address&gt;

          Subscription Address: 
              with the message:  subscribe wolfstone

Celtic language mailing lists:

     In general, this area is covered by the SOC.CULTURE.CELTIC newsgroup,
which has its own FAQ.  Postings on these subjects are probably best sent
there, but given the volume of traffic on translation of Gaelic lyrics, these
have been included for completeness.

    Irish Emigrant (News from Ireland) list:
         Now a commercial company, but may still be free to academic sites

     Celtic Linguist list:    celtling@MIT.EDU
             Contact:     Andrew H Carnie  &lt;carnie@MIT.EDU&gt;
             Subscribe: via above

     Irish Studies list: irish-studies@CC.SWARTHMORE.EDU
             Contact:     Michael Durkan  
             Subscribe:   Listserv@CC.SWARTHMORE.EDU

     Ireland (Mostly politics) list: 
             Subscribe:   Listserv@RUTVM1.RUTGERS.EDU

     Irl-News (News and articles) list:
             Subscribe:   Listserv@RUTVM1.RUTGERS.EDU 

     Gaelic-M (Same as Gaelic-L except for MIME support)
          Contact:  Email me if interested 

     Gaelic-L List:
          Language(s): Celtic, Goidelic; PB1201-PB1847
          Irish, Scottish, & Manx Gaelic (GAELIC-L) (not
          restricted to linguistics; also for learners;
          contributions in a Gaelic language preferred)

               to send subscription and unsub commands etc
          For questions, contact:
       (Marion Gunn)
       (Caoimhi/n O/ Donnai/le)
       (Craig Cockburn)

          There's also at that address
 for learning Irish Gaelic and
 for learning Scots Gaelic

          NOTE: All the lists at have been removed.
          Contact me is this is incorrect.

4.0  Ordering recordings

     4.1  Mail order/phone

     	  There is a comprehensive list of mail-order vendors held in text
     	  form at the Ceolas Celtic Music archives at Stanford University:

          Note that this includes several UK companies who may be able to
          obtain recordings which are unavailable in the US or Canada - in
          particular, Celtic Music and Tower Records are worth a try, but this
          implies no endorsement of their services or pricing. Be warned that
          UK prices of CDs are higher than in the US - usually 10+ pounds, or
          around $15-17 before postage. 

     4.2  On the Internet

          The Compact Disc Connection has a catalog of 80,000 CDs, including
          some popular celtic ones. Prices are usually lower than in the
          shops, and many listings have song titles and short reviews. They
          do ship to non-US locations for a reasonable price, but for import
          CDs refer users to Compact Disc Europe.


          Compact Disc Europe claims to have the world's largest online CD
          catalog, with over 100,000 titles.  Telnet to CDEUROPE.COM

          Music Boulevard has a huge catalogue of CD's including some
          popular celtic ones (such as the Green Linnet catalogue). It also has
          various charts, reviews, samples and articles. 


          would be interested in hearing feedback about these and other
          online ordering services. 

     4.3  General advice on mail order

          When ordering from foreign countries, it is generally best to pay
          by credit card.  Although some may take International Money
          Orders, this involves getting the IMO to them, with a letter
          explaining what you want.  In addition, many credit card companies
          will insure your purchase automatically (useful if your dog eats
          the rare vinyl which took 3 weeks to arrive...).

          Think VERY carefully before sending cash.  As well as being
          unwise, it is also ILLEGAL in some countries (yes, I'm serious!). 
          Also watch out for the handling charge and commission when paying
          foreign bills by credit card.  If in doubt, check before paying,
          as this can be non-trivial.

          Specify your order in detail - if you want the most recent release
          of an album at $15 rather than one of the last four of the
          original release at $200, you'd better make it clear before
          telling them to charge it to your credit card....[;-)]  The best
          way is to give full details of the label and catalogue number (see
          3.1 for help in getting them).

          Finally, some common sense - if you only want one record, get
          together with some friends and order a lot, then share the postage
          costs.  Apart from anything else, this may get you a bulk discount
          in some stores.

5.0  Favourite questions

     5.1  Is Enya related to Clannad?

          Yes - she is the sister of Maire Brennan, who is the sister of Pol
          Brennan, etc.  The whole band are related to each other in diverse
          and Irish ways.  
	  After leaving school she joined Clannad in 1980 and, credited under
	  her real name, provided keyboards and (mostly) backing vocals. She
	  appears on their 1982 album Fuaim.

	  It is often said that she also appeared on their 1980 album Crann
	  Ull although she is not listed in the credits. If so then her
	  presence is not obvious from listening to the album.

	  See 3.13.

     5.2  Which part of Ireland are Capercaillie from, and which part of
          Scotland are Altan from?

          They do sound similar - most people can't tell the difference
          between traditional Scottish music and traditional Irish music, so
          they guess...  In reality, Altan are Irish and Capercaillie
          Scottish.  The answer to all of these sort of questions is usually
          &quot;Lots of different places&quot; (step forward Connor MacLeod...). 
          Although they started in one area (Taynuilt near Oban for
          Capercaillie, and Donegal for Altan - more specifically Gweedore 
          in Donegal. About 10 mins drive from the pub where Enya and 
          Clannad started and which is still owned by their father.), 
          both had various musicians
          leave/join, so that now they are very mixed.  Capercaillie have a
          famous Irishman in their line-up (Manus Lunny) and are produced by
          his brother Donal.  One of Altan comes from Newcastle, two from
          Dublin, etc.

     5.3  Is Enya dead?

          No.  This rumour has done the rounds several times, and is not
          funny (it wasn't even funny when it first came round).  Please
          check all facts before posting news to the group, as declaring
          someone dead when they aren't is anti-social.  

     5.4  When is the Clan Alba album coming out?

	  After a long wait, the album is available from selected outlets.
	  In the UK, Celtic Music in Harrogate is the sole distributor to 
	  my knowledge, and your best bet is to contact them direct:
				2-4 High Street
				North Yorkshire, England
				HG2 7HY

     5.5  Is there a translation of <song name> by Clannad?

  	Yes (mainly).   Most of their Gaelic songs are traditional, and 
        translations of the lyrics can be found on several archive sites.
	Try Ceolas at (See 3.4) or UWP at (see 3.3).

     5.6  Who wrote <song name> and where can I find it?

  	This sort of question is very common, and accounts for much of the 
	repeated traffic on the news group.  It can normally be avoided
	either by reading the sleeve notes on an album which has the song,
	as the writer will be credited or the track noted as Traditional,
	or by searching for the song in the Digital Tradition and other
	online databases (see above).  Although most of these databases hold
	non-copyright material, some songs have been submitted with
	permission, and at least you will be able to confirm that it isn't
	traditional.  The most common questions will be answered below:

	a)	No Man's Land (Green Fields of France/Willie MacBride) - 
				Eric Bogle

     5.7  Which song should I have played at my wedding?
	This is obviously a very personal thing, but its always best to use
	something you're familiar with rather than take suggestions from
	someone else.  If you're determined to have something but can't
	think of a tune or song you really like, Craig Cockburn suggests:

	'There are two songs on my homepage below "An cluinn thu mi mo 
	nighean donn" and "Mairi bhan og" which we're using at our 
	wedding - both are Gaelic love songs.'  
	Craig's page can be found at
        ( is the songs page, 
         although if you're talking about weddings  
         has these songs and more information)
     5.8  Would anyone like to swap tapes with me?
	This has been raised on R.M.C. several times over the past year.
	It always provokes a massive response, which is split between those
	who hate to read anything promoting taping, and those who are all
	for it, and want more in their collection.  In most countries,
	taping of recorded material is a breach of copyright, and is
	illegal.  Taping of live performances is often breach of contract
	(your ticket is the contract, and may contain clauses about

	In order to keep the volume of postings in RMC under control, and
	to prevent a flame-war between normally rational people, it is
	porposed that subscribers should not post any requests to trade 
	tapes, any offers to sell tapes, or any articles about the 
	morality of taping to the group.  This should be treated as 
	off-topic, until a clear majority of the subscribers can decide 
	whether it is valid or not.

6.0  Celtic Music radio shows

     6.1  UK 
      Radio Scotland (MW= Medium Wave 810, FM = 92.4 to 94.7)
      All the programmes below are FM and MW unless otherwise stated
      Radio Scotland MW can be picked up as far south as London when 
      conditions are favourable.

      You can also find out information about Radio Scotland and Radio nan Gaidheal
      from the BBC WWW page -

       Mr Anderson's fine tunes: 2:00-4:00
       Live at the Lemon Tree 7-8pm

       Mr Anderson's fine tunes: 2:00-4:00
       Celtic Connections 7-9pm

       Mr Anderson's fine tunes: 2:00-4:00

       Mr Anderson's fine tunes: 2:00-4:00
       Travelling Folk 7-9pm

       Mr Anderson's fine tunes: 2:00-4:00

       Take the floor 6:30-8pm
       Travelling Folk 8-10pm
       Celtic Connections 10-12 midnight

       The Reel Blend: 10-12am MW & FM
       Pipeline: 9:00-9:45pm 

      Radio nan Gaidheal
         Radio nan Gaidheal also has a lot of music. Unsure of exact 
         times of music programmes though. (On 103.5 - 105 & 97.9 FM)
         Na durachdan (6:05-7:30 on Fridays) plays popular request music.
         The times for some Radio nan Gaidheal broadcasts are:

         Radio nan Gaidheal an Dn ideann 
         (Radio nan Gaidheal in Edinburgh) 104.7FM. 
         DiLuain- Diardaoin/ (Mon- Thu): 
                        7:30 - 12:00 & 17:00 - 19:30 (20:00 Diardaoin/Thu);  
         Dihaoine/ (Fri): 7:30 - 12:00 & 17:00 - 23:00 
         DiSathairne/ (Sat): 9:00 - 13:00  
         DiDomhnaich/ (Sun): 15:00 - 15:30 & 21:00 - 22:00 

         Moray Firth Radio have a folk show on Thursday evenings 7:30 to 9:00. 
         They can be e-mailed at

         Folk on 2, BBC Radio 2. Wednesdays 8-9pm.
         Covers British Folk. Presented by Jim Lloyd
         there are also frequent series of folk & features on Wednesdays
         between 9pm and 9:30pm on Radio 2
         On BBC Radio Ulster on Tuesday 10-11 pm british time, there is 
         a program called Folk Box, with Colin Sands. BBC Radio Ulster 
         broadcasts on medium wave, 1341 kHz. It can be heard in
         south-western Norway, so I presume it may be heard in great 
         parts of the UK and Ireland.

     6.2  USA & Canada

          The Thistle and Shamrock. This is hosted by Fiona Ritchie.
          There is an on-line list of stations carrying this programme -
      (old information)
 (much more current)
          The list is maintained by Pat Murphy ( ) and posted
          regularly to the group

          Ceolas carries another list, of over one hundred American 
          celtic music radio programs, and several in other parts of the world:

     6.3  Ireland

	  These programmes can be received on the US East Coast... All
	  times are GMT.

	  a.  Mora Dhibh - RTE 1, Saturdays 06.37-7.30 MW 567

	  b.  Ceili House - RTE 1, Saturdays 21.15-22.00 MW 567

	  c.  Mo Cheol Thu - RTE 1, Sundays 8.05-8.55  MW 567

	  d.  Both Sides Now - RTE 1
 		Sounds Traditional  Mondays 9.15pm - 10.00pm, MW 567
 		Sounds Traditional  Thursdays 9.15pm - 10.00pm, MW 567

     6.4  Elsewhere

          Spain - Asturias 
               Msica para raptar princesas.
               Los 40 principales Asturias
               Sunday 20:00-21:00
               97.5 FM

          I have no information on other countries.  Please send me details
          if you wish additional entries.

7.0  Acknowledgements

          Paul Murphy (
               for maintaining the FAQ for several years.

          Gerard Manning (
               for the list of archive sites and mailing lists, plus the
               on-line ordering information.  
               This document was originally a prettified, tidied 
               and expanded version of an
               archive sources listing produced by Gerard.

          Craig Cockburn (
               for answering everyone's questions before the FAQ.

          Jim Chokey          (
               for getting r.m.c. started.

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