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Gaelic punk

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Gaelic punk

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Cel Gidhlig Mar Sgian Nad Amhaich compilation 7" single with Oi Polloi, Mill a h-Uile Rud, Atomgevitter and Nad Aislingean Cel Gidhlig Mar Sgian Nad Amhaich compilation 7" single with Oi Polloi, Mill a h-Uile Rud, Atomgevitter and Nad Aislingean

Gaelic Punk is a subgenre of punk rock consisting of groups and bands singing in Scottish Gaelic as an effort to preserve and spread knowledge of the minority language. The term has also been used to retrospectively describe the Irish Celtic influenced Pogues. Other bands labelled as such include Flogging Molly, The Real Mackenzies and Dropkick Murphys, who while singing in English, make use of traditionally Gaelic musical instruments such as bagpipes and fiddle.

Gaelic punk has gained recent media attention, both through Gaelic and English channels in Scotland by coverage of bands such as Oi Polloi and Mill a h-Uile Rud, who have started writing and recording in the Scottish Gaelic language.



Runrig is the best known Gaelic rockband, but there was certainly a history of other rock bands singing in Scottish Gaelic, including Ultravox (Man of Two Worlds). However most rock music in Gaelic pre-Gaelic punk was of the folk rock variety. The exception may be Scatha, a band from Tomintoul (not to be confused with a Brazilian band of the same name), who were playing music classed as thrash metal (sometimes grindcore) in Gaelic during the mid-1990s.

The Scottish Gaelic language first appeared on the punk scene with Gaelic for Punks classes at the Edinburgh European City of Punk festival, held in 1997. The event was covered by Scottish Gaelic news programme Telefios, which helped spread the word and spark an interest in this alternative Scottish Gaelic music. The bands who took it upon themselves to promote Scottish Gaelic see it as a political effort to spread and promote the Scottish Gaelic language, as well as other minor languages internationally in order to preserve biocultural diversity.

Punk in the Welsh language, by bands such as Anhrefn, was also an inspiration, being in existence for much longer, and also having met with success. However, a chief difference, is that Welsh punk has emerged from the language's heartlands, whereas Gaelic punk has often been by learners and outsiders.

Notable bands

Oi Polloi were the first punk rock band to record a single Carson? in Scottish Gaelic Oi Polloi were the first punk rock band to record a single Carson? in Scottish Gaelic

There are currently three punk bands that use the Scottish Gaelic language in their music:

Oi Polloi from Edinburgh, Scotland
Mill a h-Uile Rud, Seattle, United States
Atomgevitter, Glasgow, Scotland

Another group, although not falling into the Gaelic punk genre, is Nad Aislingean which record their pop/techno music in Scottish Gaelic.

Mill a h-Uile Rud were the feature of a documentary made by "BBC Alba"'s arts series Ealtainn, which followed them on a tour of Europe as well as filming them at gigs in the "Gaelic-speaking heartland" of the Isle of Lewis. Both national and local radio has featured the bands, as has national and international printed media. Recently both the widely read Maximum Rocknroll and Punk Planet carried features on this new sub-genre of punk.

LP cover of Ar Cnan, Ar Cel, Ar-a-mach LP cover of Ar Cnan, Ar Cel, Ar-a-mach

Oi Polloi have recently completed recording a full length LP - Ar Cnan, Ar Cel, Ar-a-mach - entirely in Gaelic. This makes it the first full-length rock LP sung entirely in Gaelic since Runrig released their Play Gaelic LP in the late 1970's. Lyrics and sleeve-notes are entirely in Gaelic and English translations are only available on their website. The LP has also marked a musical change with an emphasis on more melodic, radio-friendly songs. The LP was supported by a five-week European tour which took in several countries as well as minority cultures such as Brittany and Catalonia.

External links

Media coverage


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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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