Now it can be told! With the release of The Celtic Reggae Revolution’s new album, The Celtic Music Fan is intrigued about the ideas behind the creation of the album. On top of that, Brian Gilligan has really outdone himself in boldly going where few Celtic musicians go: the fusion of genres that’s rarely heard these days. In that sense he has started a musical revolution. I am sure many will follow his trend and there will be more releases. These will excite us. So here is the main man behind the music project!
Thanks for joining us Brian. Before The Celtic Reggae Revolution you had Paddyrasta which also made amazing tunes. How was the experience being involved with these two projects?
Yeah, it has been great, we recorded the Paddyrasta album in 2 days and it was really raw stuff, we did a lot of gigs in Scotland and toured around Europe and it was great as we were best as a live band, we did some crazy shows and it was good craic. Celtic reggae revolution has been a deeper journey into the music and I think its richer.
This new album showcases both your personal style and also the love for covering traditional tracks. My Sweet Child happens to be a personal favorite. What’s the story behind this song?
Yeah, I love the Irish sessions and traditional music it’s truly free music as you can go with your instrument into any session and play with strangers. It’s great to feel a session lift off, when it’s a good session you can transcend with the spirit of the music. My sweet child was written for my daughter and as other people have mentioned they feel it because it’s real. When people separate it can be harder if there is a child involved and it’s usually the mother that continues to live with the child. I think this is hard for many fathers and separation is a big part of modern life, unfortunately.
I consider Reggae as Islands music. It makes sense to merge that with Irish music because Ireland is also an island. Do you experience positive reactions to this kind of vibe in your album?
Never thought of it that way but I guess so, there are a lot of connections between the countries from the time of slavery and both styles of music have their own vibe, both countries have been colonized and oppressed and the music has been used as a vehicle to transcend the oppression. Like the “steel pulse” song ” they hit him with the whip, grandpa hit them with the rhythm.” People are very positive but sometimes they are more surprised than anything because they can’t imagine Celtic reggae. Some people tell me that they thought they wouldn’t like it because they don’t like reggae or Irish music but end up liking it but the hardest thing is getting the music out because radio and music industry reps can be a bit obsessed with genre and most people only hear what they decide is cool or profitable. It’s important to have shows such as yours that give a voice to the less commercial artists.
What’s fun about collaborating with other musicians in this project?
It’s great collaborating with musicians firstly because they are human beings and it’s the human side, the sharing and creating together that’s fun and its fun giving people the freedom to give what they feel musically, instead of writing music for them just putting them in front of the mic and saying gimme what you got!! For me that’s the best kind of direction.
I am curious as to how the tracks are developed. Did you write tunes with the guitar or keyboards in mind first or the percussion? I say this because there are musicians who have the melodies first before the beat. But how was it for you.
They can come both ways but mostly from a melody or just jamming. Later I would write ideas down but I prefer the spontaneity of letting the music shape itself
Any major live shows this month or the next?
At the minute its studio work, recording the next album but I am not interested in being a star, if I can eat from the music great but it’s an art form for me and I prefer to be independent and my own boss and if people enjoy it then I feel happy to hear that. I’m a bit selfish though, I do it for my own pleasure first and foremost and I am happy to let the music grow organically.
Where can listeners purchase their copies of The Celtic Reggae Revolution.
On the website, from CD Baby or Music Scotland or downloads on iTunes Amazon CD Baby and others. People can also listen free on Spotify, I don’t get much from it but I like Spotify because I discover loads of music there and if I like something I usually end up getting it anyway.
What’s so amazing about Bob Marley for you?
Well he was a great writer, his message of peace love and unity appealed to me as a child growing up in war-torn North Ireland, he seemed to be the only one making any sense and his music was pure sunshine. I used to listen to him all the time as a kid and remember being sad when my brother told me he was dead. I don’t worship him like a god but I love his music and I love his use of rebelling with music, one good thing about music when it hits you feel no pain, he was a revolutionary, he was an inspiration.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now and who are the artists you look forward recording tracks with?
Wow 10 years. I don’t even know what I’m doing at the weekend, it’s good to be in the moment. I like to feel the way but some bands really inspire me like foundation. I’m actually going to see them tonight Tuesday in Barcelona. I love Israel’s vibration. Jarlath Henderson was a pleasure to work with especially but there are so many greats, let’s see where the spirit takes it.
Please invite your readers to buy the album:
If you like the album yeah download a copy or buy it from Music Scotland. More importantly if you like it share it – the best way to help me to make more music is to get the word out. The rest I leave up to life and the road. Thanks for the interview Baxter, and thanks for spinning the music its been a pleasure.
The Celtic Reggae Revolution have arrived with their unique blend of Irish and Jamaican with their long-awaited, and appropriately titled, album ‘Everything comes to those who wait’.
The album is the latest creation of Northern Irish singer, songwriter and musician – Brian Gilligan. His previous album ‘Listen to your heart’ recorded with Paddyrasta – won praise and a cult following.
BBC Radio Scotland Celtic Connections
‘A fusion of irresistible reggae rhythms, traditional melodies and socially conscious lyrics, this multi-cultural band combine to produce a unique sound that makes you just want to get up and dance – simply unmissable!’ Gig n’ the Bann
‘Everything comes to those who wait’ by Celtic Reggae Revolution features a mix of reggae versions of traditional Irish songs and original Celtic/Reggae fusions. Well loved traditional Irish songs ‘Raggle Taggle Gypsy’ and ‘Spancil Hill’ are reworked in reggae style on, respectively, ‘Raggle Taggle Reggae’ and ‘Spancil Hill/Gordon Wilson is a forgiver’. Original tune compositions include ‘reggae reels’ – a blend of reggae and traditional reels – ‘Ghandi’s Triumph’ (with its delightfully syncopated rhythms) and ‘The Very Hairy Rasta Fairy’ and Brian Gilligan singing the laid back ‘You Got to Laugh’ and ‘The United Mistakes of America’ (complete with Hillbilly banjo and reggae beat).
‘Everything comes to those who wait’ by Celtic Reggae Revolution also features Northern Irishman Jarlath Henderson, one of the finest exponents of the uilleann pipes in the world, he is a talented and versatile musician who also plays, low whistle, tin Whistle, flute and cittern in addition to having a fine voice. He regularly guests with Scottish bands Capercaille, Salsa Celtica and Phil Cunningham. Martin MacDonald from Lewis also features on guitar and his performances on “Good People” and “Raggle Taggle Reggae” in particular, are highlights of the album. Tom Roche from Cork, (Accordion) also features on some tracks with his “Sliabh Luachra” style and Egyptian Aly Salam features on drums and percussion.
‘It’s a superb album’ – Pete Maher (U2’s mastering engineer)
‘I love it !’ Andy Donnelly The Celtic Show, CKUA Radio, Canada.
‘With this album the Celtic Reggae Revolution have achieved the near impossible by bringing together traditional Irish music and Dub Reggae with great Pop hooks. The positive vibes are infectious throughout this socially conscious, beautifully produced album.’ Dave Flynn, (composer/guitarist) The Tune Makers
The album is available digitally from iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon and Spotify among other outlets and has physical distribution though Highlander music and soon to come CD baby.