Spotlight on Celtic Music: Poitin

Band Name: Poitin
Hometown: Plzen, Czech Republic

If you’re online and haven’t heard of Poitin, I don’t know where you’ve been. Poitin is one of the hottest indie Celtic bands I found online. And they’re from the Czech Republic. The group was formed with a love of The Chieftains. They developed into the astounding musical commodity that blows away the Celtic Radio music awards each year, dominating over bigger named groups.

The band consists of Otik on fiddle, Honza on bouzouki, banjo and whistles, Kuba on guitar, Jeremy on guitar and vocals, Sasha on whistles and flute, and Tom on concertina and whistles.

It’s one big band with one giant sound, a great love of Celtic music and a passion that sets their audiences on fire with energy. Right now, you can only hear them in Europe. But something this hot can only glow!

How long have you been together?

We’ve been playing regularly since about 1997, although Otik the fiddler started the band on a very informal basis a year earlier in 1996-he’s the only surviving member from that original line-up.

How did you get started?

Looking back, it seems like pubs had a lot to do with it. Most of the band seems to have met via chance meetings in various pubs around Pilsen at various times and got chatting over a few pints and then were invited to rehearsals..

What drew you to Celtic music?

The apparently (stress on ‘apparently’) simple elegance, expressivity of the music and the joy which it brings to the musician and the listener which, however, gets more and more complex the more you go into it.

Is there a big Celtic scene in the Czech Republic?

It’s surprisingly big. There are large (and small) Celtic music festivals and every year we find new bands have sprung up since we last played them. And not only music. There are a lot of Irish dance companies too. This year Prague hosted the international dance competition, the Prague Feis, for the fourth time.

Do you prefer Guinness or a local Czech brew?

When in Rome (or Pilsen), do as the Romans… Nothing wrong with Guinness at all, but I have a feeling that the stuff we get here is brewed in Poland, not Dublin, and it’s about twice the price of Pilsen beer. The local beer is actually really good.

Any big events planned for the rest of the summer, music or otherwise?

Really looking forward to Keltska Noc (Celtic Night) again this year. It’s the biggest Celtic festival in the Czech Republic and we’re regular guests there. We’ll get to meet some old friends like Sliotar (coming soon to the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast) from Ireland and make some new friends too.

What Celtic bands are you fans of?

We already mentioned the Chieftains, but we could also mention people like Kila, Flook, Solas, Steeleye Span and Lunasa who have all influenced as us in various ways and been a great inspiration.

Cats. Kilts. Science Fiction. Irish drinking songs. Nowhere else but from the bizarre imagination of Marc Gunn would those four elements be so neatly integrated. Marc Gunn riotously combines Renaissance festival fanaticism with Irish drinking and Sci Fi fandom into a satirical jam session between Jonathan Coulton and The Clancy Brothers. Gunn is an award-winning Celtic folk musician.  Armed with an autoharp, he mesmerizes audiences with an enthusiasm that crosses Elvis Presley with Shane MacGowan. He is the Chief Editor of the Celtic Music Magazine and host of the award-winning Irish & Celtic Music Podcast. Gunn is currently raising money for his latest album Celtic Music Is Freedom through his own personal Kickstarter-like crowdfunding project.

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