I admit to spending much of my life buying into the “mainstream” belief that bagpipes were something to be avoided, even after doing some work at a renaissance faire. And even then, I've discovered I have a specific taste in bagpipes, my bagpipe music has to be part of something…bigger, and apparently, louder.
When Celtica: Pipes Rock! Oceans of Fire came up for review, I had to give it a listen. A friend introduced me to Celtica: Pipes Rock! with the Rising album. Now it was time to try this one. Celtica: Pipes Rock! is a unique blend of classic rock-and-roll and bagpipes. It's one of those weird things that on the surface doesn’t seem like they should go together, but they do.
The Oceans of Fire album is set up like a program with an introduction with the first track, “The Voyage” and ending with “Coming Home”. Along this just over one hour musical journey there are several different styles and tempos from traditional Celtic pub style sing-alongs like “What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor” and “Aye, Aye Captain” to the iconic bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace”, but there's a lot of fun and different takes on styles.
But my favorite track on the entire project is a 5-and-a-half minute medley of Hollywood Movie Themes, “Celtica Goes Hollywood”. Holy moly, this is mess with your head in a good way. It has some themes that fit with the “Celtic/pirate” overtones – Titanic, Braveheart, and Pirates of the Caribbean, which you'd expect. What gets crazy is adding Last of the Mohicans and, dude, Star Wars – Imperial theme with bagpipes? It works.
I love this band and this album. It's a lot of instrumental music, so if you can't work with words playing there are some vocals, but primarily vocal. It's also “road trip” music. It's loud, it's contagious. This would be something I'd blast in a top-down convertible (if I had one). It's also on my Playlist for writing. It's good “soundtrack ” and hope your fingers can keep up on the keyboard music.
And now, their band is back together. Celtica: Pipes Rock is once more a six-piece band. Their piper, Jane Espie is back. That's one of the things that makes this band great, not only is it real rock and roll, it's real Scottish pipes with a female piper, to boot to complement Duncan Knight's awesome work. I'm sorry I missed seeing them perform live at the North Texas Irish Festival, but I will see them in concert one day. Until then, Celtica: Pipes Rock! makes my day job commute much more bearable.
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Rhonda Eudaly lives in Arlington, Texas with her husband, and two dogs. She has a well-rounded publication history in both fiction and non-fiction many of which can be found on www.RhondaEudaly.com.