Previously Performed in: 2012, 2004, 1999, 1997
(Scotland) Celtic, Electronic, Jazz
No matter your particular Celtic music definition, interpretation of its history - from the early music of the peoples of the UK and into Galicia, migrating oversees to define Canada’s East Coast sounds - you might appreciate the joke “how do you tell one Celtic tune from another?” “The titles!”
Now that we have that out of the way, we can move on to Shooglenifty’s role and place in the evolution of that music sometimes defined as Celtic.
The band began life with a 1994 pub residency, quickly drawing rapt fans to their energized, contemporary roots material, becoming one of Scotland's most unique musical exports.
Their collective CV takes in apprenticeships in obscure alt.rock, early blues and West Highland fiddle tradition immersions. Beneath their folky-looking exterior lurks electric and acoustic guitar, samples and programming, percussion, regular banjo and a customized hi-tech version, or "banjax." All six players are effects, distortion, feedback and improvisation maestros. The resulting sound marries traditionally based tunes - primarily Scottish in style, mashed up with a wealth of other world-music flavours – to create the rhythmic energy, inventiveness and sophistication of contemporary dance music. Shooglenifty's hallmarks are an intricate multi-layered sound with intoxicating, coruscating grooves. Their own attempts at capsule descriptions include "hypno-folkedelic ambient trance" and "acid croft.”
They’re trad meets rad and have been can be credited, alongside fellow Scots Peatbog Faeries and the late Martyn Bennett, with being the founders and chief proponents of what has come to be known as Celtic fusion or ambient folk.