Australian Celtic Music Awards 2016 Winners

2016 Australian Celtic Music Awards winners

Back row – Murphy’s Pigs, Darren Coggan, Kathryn Jones, Carmel Newman, Col Lute (2016 Celtic Roll of Honour Inductee) Sarah Lynn
Front row – Karen Armstrong (Representing Celtic Dance Winners), Steve Passfield (2016 Triquetra Ambassador recipient), Raelene Watson (2016 Triquetra recipient), Fay Binns (2016 Triquetra Achiever recipient)

Celtic Album of the Year
Murphy’s Pigs for ‘Larrikins & Knuckle Boys’

Celtic Male Artist of the Year
Darren Coggan

Celtic Female Artist of the Year
Sarah Lynn

Celtic Song of the Year
Murphy’s Pigs for ‘Devils Thirteen’

Celtic Group of the Year
Murphy’s Pigs

Celtic Album Producer of the Year
Steve Passfield

International Artist of the Year
Clan Celtica

Wendy Watts
New Celtic Talent of the Year
Kathryn Jones

Celtic Instrumental of the Year
Carmel Newman for ‘The Three Little Jigs’

Australian Celtic Artist of the Year
Murphy’s Pigs

Click on thumbnail images to view in lightbox


Celtic News April 2016

Only two weeks to go to the Festival and it’s all go here in Glen Innes. Of course, the rest of the world doesn’t stop for us, so there is an article submitted by Colin MacLeod about the Scottish Fiddle School later this year. And a short note, with a link, from bodhran artist extraordinaire, Kevin Kelly. I hope that you enjoy this edition.


Clishmaclaver (Old Scots word for Gossip or Idle Chat)

Editor’s Note: Many moons ago my late husband, James, published a magazine called The Southern Scot. Clishmaclaver was a regular column in that publication, and is now a feature of the Clan MacFarlane Newsletter. I am delighted to include Clishmaclaver as an occasional item in Celtic News.

The Spirit World

An old Scot, in his deathbed, was visited by his parish minister. “Dae they hae ony whisky up in Heaven?” he asked. But, seeing the worried look appear on the minister’s face, the old boy quickly added “No that A’m very fond o the stuff masel, ye ken. It’s just that it aye looks awfy nice sittin’ oan the table!”


The farm lad, seeing the exceptional size of the eggs produced by a prize Rhode Island Red hen, was heard to remark “Heavens! It widna tak mony of those tae mak a dozen”.

‘Scottish’ or ‘Scotch’

“The country in the north of Great Britain is Scotland, inhabited by Scots. Their products are Scottish, except whisky, which may be termed Scotch if the barman is very ignorant. One of the other countries in Great Britain is England and another is Wales. The whole is called Great Britain and the Scots, English, Welsh and people living in Northern Ireland are collectively called British.

Try and avoid saying England and English when you mean Great Britain and British. We love and admire the English in many ways. But we are not English and have no wish to be. We do not claim to be superior to the English, only different!”

From “Tartan Tapestry by John Hay of Hayfield

Sett for the Road

A foreign tourist visiting Scotland went into a Highland dress outfitters and asked for a kilt-length of Dunlop tartan.

The inexperienced assistant went into the back room and asked his boss if they stocked such a tartan. “Och, aye,” said the manager, gie him MacIntyre tartan.

Thus the assistant sent the tourist away with eight yards of the MacIntyre. But later he queried this with his boss, saying I never realised that Dunlop and MacIntyre were one and the same tartan”.

“Ach, aye” came the reply. “Sure, Dunlop have been makin’ tyres noo for years!”.

Written by Malcolm Lobban and reproduced by kind permission from Clan MacFarlane Lantern Number 137.


Music Awards Madness


Sometimes I wonder when Julie gets to go home to sleep! She is working hard to complete all the organisation and set up for The Official Celtic Awards Night. This year the Awards will include the inaugural Dance Championship winners, Inductees to The Celtic Roll of Honour, the three annual Triquetra Awards and, of course, The Australian Celtic Music Awards. Included in your ticket price are some fabulous entertainment, welcome drinks and canapes and a 2 course dinner. Please book soon. This night is one that I never miss and I look forward to seeing you there. Tickets are $40 and available from Julie on 02 6732 1355 or


Isle of Man TT

Watch this clip from the Isle of Man TT. It shows the 2015 TT bike race – featuring fast bikes (these guys are mad!!), beautiful, green scenery, and the music of Angela Little (Celtic Fire) supported on bodhran by our own Kevin Kelly. The tune is Milesians (Belfast Child).


Australian Celtic Festival Fever

In case you forgot to check last month, click here to access the Australian Celtic Festival Entertainment Guide.

The Australian Celtic Festival committee has announced the inaugural Australian Celtic Dance Championships to be held at the 2016 Australian Celtic Festival.

This event will showcase Celtic Dancers performing for the Australian Celtic Dance Championship titles and other prizes. There will be two categories open for entries: Solo and Group dances. Prizes will be awarded for First and Runner-up in each category.

Cape Byron Celtic Dance

Heats will be conducted on Saturday, 30 April, at the Australian Celtic Festival Crystal Stage with winners announced that evening at the Official Celtic Awards Night hosted by the Glen Innes and District Services Club.  Prize winners will perform their winning dance at the Crystal Stage on the Sunday.
Entrants in the Group category are:
Northern Celts
Cape Byron Celtic Dance (pictured above)
Flora Grubb School of Highland Dancing
Entries in the Solo Category include:
Kate Bye
Ally Gordon
Shea Mulligan
Mackenzie-Jane Stephan
Willow Culbert-Howard
Brianna Holdstock
Leah Manning
Alana Mills
Molly Armstrong
Kirrily Baber


Resipole Fiddle Fest 15th to 19th September 2016

Submitted by Colin MacLeod

resipole fiddle fest

During September of last year in Scotland, I co-founded a fiddle school with a couple of friends at Resipole on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula. Resipole is about an hour away from Glencoe, where the Campbells and MacDonalds got together a few hundred years ago.

The fiddle school brought together people from Scotland, England, Germany, Switzerland and Australia, amongst the countries mentioned. Accommodation is on site with beautiful views of the local loch, Loch Sunart.

Last year, we had Charlie McKerron from Capercailie as one of the Fiddle Fest tutors. The other tutors were myself (Scottish fiddle), Karen Schuler (Swiss Irish fiddle) from Switzerland and Sarah-Jayne Jamieson (West Highland style).

If you are across in Scotland in September and you are interested in learning new tunes, meeting new people and spending time in some of the most beautiful landscapes of Scotland, sign up for the Resipole Fiddle Fest. Sign up at

Next month I’ll be telling you all the Winners and Awardees from the Official Celtic Awards Night. Don’t forget to send me any contributions to or phone me on 02 6734 5189. The deadline for each edition is 7th of the month. Finally, I do hope to see you during the Festival. Come up and introduce yourselves. It would be great to know that this News is actually read.

Barbara McLennan
Celtic News
02 6734 5189

Published with permission from Celtic News

Celtic News March 2016

If you thought that last month’s Newsletter was HUGE, just wait till you see what I’ve got in store for you this month. There’s news from The Australian Celtic Music Awards, The Australian Celtic Festival Committee, a totally fascinating article about The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry Exhibition and a wonderful recipe submitted by Bruce Cameron of Senor Cabrales. I hope you enjoy this edition. First up, something really different.

Tie the Knot, Celtic Style!

Celtic wedding at the Australian Celtic Festival

It seems that tying the knot, Celtic style at the Australian Celtic Festival, was a hit with many prospective couples from all over Australia entering the competition being held for the first time in 2016 in Glen Innes. ‘We were delighted with the response and completely overwhelmed by the amount of time and thought some couples had put into designing their dream Celtic wedding. We would like to extend our thanks to everyone who participated’ said Festival committee chairperson, Lara Gresham.

But there can only be one winner! The Committee enjoyed the entry by popular local couple, Naomi Bain and Bob Blair, and felt they would embrace getting into the spirit of the occasion by incorporating many traditional Celtic traditions and rituals into their marriage ceremony. Naomi and Bob and their entire family were over the moon when they received the good news. Bob and Naomi have been blessed with a beautiful daughter, Alkira, who will play an important role in the ceremony. The couple have been engaged for many years, and now can’t wait to get married surrounded by not only their closest family and friends, but they welcome all the Celtic Festival visitors as guests at their wedding. ‘The more, the merrier’ says Naomi.

The wedding will take place on Saturday 30th April at 11am within the circle of the Australian Standing Stones.

For information, please visit


Dorrigo Musical Event – Friday 8th April to Sunday 10th April 2016

Melbourne-based Scottish fiddler Colin MacLeod and friends Rod McGrath (Bellinger District Pipe Band), Fiona Ross (Traditional Scots Singer, Melbourne) and Bridget Rees (Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival) have planned a Scottish music school in Dorrigo, raising money for two local groups (Bellinger District Pipe Band Inc and Dorrigo Youth Services Centre) through a ceilidh.

Scottish Musical Evening With Colin MacLeod, Fiona Ross, The Fireside Celts

Margaret’s Anglican Church, Bellingen NSW. Friday 8th April 2016, 6.30pm to 9.00pm.


Celtic Fiddle Guru Scottish Music School

Margaret’s Anglican Church, Bellingen NSW. Friday 8th April 2016, 6.30pm to 9.00pm.


Celtic Fiddle Guru Music School : Ceilidh

Dorrigo NSW – Location to be confirmed. Saturday 9th April 2016 from 6.30pm.



The Official Celtic Awards Night

2015 Celtic Music Awards winners

Yes, it’s that time of year again and time to book your tickets to the gala event in Celtic music. In 2016 the Awards will include the inaugural Dance Championship winners, Inductees to The Celtic Roll of Honour, the three annual Triquetra Awards and, of course, The Australian Celtic Music Awards. It’s a “don’t miss this” night and I certainly will be in attendance. Tickets are $40 and available from Julie on 02 6732 1355 or


Volunteers create a major work of art
– the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry

Scottish Diaspora Tapestry

On exhibition 23 Mar – 3 Apr 2016, Chrissie Cotter Gallery, Pidcock St, Camperdown – closed Good Friday. Entry by gold coin donation.

It was when Sandy McCall Smith saw the Bayeux Tapestry that the idea was born for the magnificent Great Scottish Tapestry which was hung in the Scottish Parliament. The focus then moved to the diaspora to celebrate the influence of Scots and their culture around the world.

The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry consists of 305 half metre square panels of exquisite hand embroidered works recording several centuries of a global emigration by Scots. The panels are stitched by volunteers from 28 countries in Europe, Southern Asia, Canada, the Americas, Africa, Britain and Australia. The exhibition helps people view and relate to the history of the Scottish people who have played an integral role in the growth and development of our nation. The tapestry travelled throughout Scotland in 2014 and is currently on a world tour. There is more information on: and Scottish Diaspora Tapestry Facebook.

There are a number of commemorative Exhibition items for sale. These include a wonderful coffee table publication showing all 305 panels with descriptions. For further information or to order contact Glenda Gartrell at

The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry$50.00 approx.
Your complete official guide with commentaries
Exhibition catalogue$10.00
Postcards – a selection of the tapestries$2.50 or 5 for $10
Tea Towels$23 each

The Australian panels include the First Fleet, MacArthur, Lachlan and Elizabeth Macquarie, gold discovery, Bendigo pottery, Dorothea MacKellar, and one convict, William Scott who became a very successful landowner/bloodstock breeder.

First Fleet, MacArthur, Lachlan and Elizabeth Macquarie

William Scott’s descendant Glenda Gartrell, has embroidered a panel to celebrate his role in colonial NSW. The son of Glasgow cottage weavers, William went from convict to gentleman in Colonial NSW. In his teens he left home and worked on farms ending up just north of fast growing London where food was short and housing almost impossible. He stole four sheep, which in 1810 was a capital offence. His death sentence turned into his first big break when it was commuted to transportation.
After 11 months on a hulk in the Thames and four months at sea, William arrived in the Colony with the clothes he wore, boots and a spare suit. From the line-up of new arrivals on the wharf, Elizabeth MacArthur selected him to look after her cattle at Camden. He learned to survive in the hostile conditions where everything was totally different from England and his native Scotland. The MacArthurs employed expert horse breeders and applied the latest farming techniques – William was a fast learner, with an eye to the future.
William, his wife Anne and seven young children courageously moved to the frontier in 1836. When the Indian remount trade took off, he took up the first block of his eventual 5,500 acres near Braidwood, and here his horse breeding earned him a living and the ultimate affirmation of worth in colonial society, being known as a gentleman.

coloniel society


Friends of The Australian Celtic Festival kick up their heels in Glen Innes

On 20th February an enthusiastic audience enjoyed lively Celtic music performed by Glen Innes musicians. The theme for the evening was set by the trailer for the film “Island Bound” which traces the migration of Celtic music wherever Celts have settled. Opening act Martin Moxey played a bluegrass number and three others with an Irish feel. He was accompanied by Jan and Jo with the classic world-music combination of African drum and bodhran.

Christine Davis, Vince Redal and Martin Moxey on stage at the Fundraiser
Christine Davis won hearts with Danny Boy and Caledonia. Just when she’d lulled the audience into a sense of familiarity, she woke them up with Fairground Attraction’s “Perfect” – the lead singer, Eddie Reader, is a Scot – followed by an Emmie Lou Harris Appalachian number. After drawing of the raffle – wonderful prizes – The Abbies appeared. They stunned the audience with their acapella rendition of Timshell.
Next up was a new collaboration between Martin Moxey, Christine Davis and Inverell resident Vince Redal, Horse’n’Round. Fabulous guitar from Vince on The Gael and great vocal harmonies.
Finally, God Bless Texas, almost wearing kilts. It was a hilarious performance. They sang 3 familiar Celtic songs. Traditional? Hardly! The rest of the cast joined them in a final song, and were thanked for donating their performances by Australian Celtic Festival Chair, Lara Gresham.


Fabada Asturiana

Submitted by Bruce Cameron

1 lb. large white beans
4 small chorizos (or 2 large ones if you can’t catch small ones).
1/2 lb. jamón serrano (Spanish wild mountain ham)
2 morcillas (blood sausages)
1/2 lb. lacón or ham hocks
1/2 onion, sliced viciously
2 garlic things
1/2 tsp. paprika
a few threads of saffron, deveined
oil, preferably unleaded
1/4 bunch of parsley, at least
salt to taste

Instructions and Warnings

Soak the white beans in water overnight, while you choose a medical practitioner.
Put the chorizos, jamón serrano and other meat products on a shallow pan. Watch them closely for signs of distress. Top with white beans into a shape of your own choosing. Add enough water to cover the whole mess.  Bring to a boil slowly over a medium heat until dead. Turn down the heat and simmer for one hour just to be sure. Make sure the beans are always covered with water, adding more cold water if necessary. This prevents escape.
In a separate pan, fry the onion, garlic, paprika and saffron for a few minutes. Add to the beans. Add parsley and salt. Mix carefully, avoiding direct eye contact with the beans. Let cook for another hour to show ’em who’s boss.
If the broth is too liquid, mash up several beans, return them to the pot and cook uncovered for several minutes (the pot, not you). This will show the other beans you really mean business and should prevent any further uncooperative behaviour.
The stew is said to be better if you reheat it, so feel free to do that if you need an extra day to build up your courage.
After you’ve had a good chuckle, do try this. I think it’s probably delicious and perfect for a cold Glen Innes winter evening.


Auckland Arts Festival 2016


Auckland Arts Festival is proud to be presenting Scotland’s favourite folk-rock masters, Shoogeniftly, who are bringing their unique brand of fiery Celtic traditional music and infectious dance groves to Auckland. Famed for their out-of-the-box performances they’ll be taking over the Spiegletent in the New Zealand Herald Festival Garden with a wild ceilidh for two nights only on 18th and 19th March. This will be a perfect Auckland Arts Festival experience for anybody with even a passing interest in Celtic performing arts. For the full program check the website.


The Australian Celtic Festival Entertainment Guide

Check out the online Entertainment Guide to plan your personal Festival program.

Next month I’ll be featuring articles on some completely different subjects. Watch this space! I’d love more submissions so please send your material to me at

Barbara McLennan
Celtic News
02 6734 5189

Published with permission from Celtic News

Celtic News February 2016

There is a lot to cover in this month’s Newsletter. There are two profiles of Nominees for The Australian Celtic Music Awards. One of the Categories is International Artist of the Year. Roving Crows is a UK band and Clan Celtica is from New Zealand. They are very different from each other and I suspect that the judges will have a hard time deciding on a winner.

I have also included an article submitted by the wonderful Margaret Winnett. Margaret is an Irish dance teacher of note. Every year for the last nineteen years, she and husband Bill head off to Ireland to tour and dance. I’ve always looked forward to her stories when she comes back, so I am very happy to be able to share her “report” of the 2015 visit with you all.

It’s going to be a busy month here in Glen Innes. Apart from being the Editor of this Newsletter, I will be acting as Artist Coordinator for the Friends of the Celtic Festival Show on 20th February.

Just before the show begins, you will see the trailer for Island Bound, a fascinating documentary by Manx-born musician Davy Knowles which tracks the migration of Celtic music with the early settlers to the USA, Canada and Australia. The full film will be screening on Thursday 28th April – book through

I’m very much looking forward to the show. Glen Innes is blessed with some extraordinary talent. We have Martin Moxey, accompanied by Drums O’Crikey who will be introducing two of his own original songs on the night as well as playing two more traditional offerings.

God Bless TexasThe Abbeys are a quartet who will present two contemporary Celtic songs and a traditional one. Christine Davis is performing outside of her “comfort zone” in that she has not played Celtic music before. She’s been having fun discovering exactly how widely Celtic music has spread and influenced the music of the world.

Christine and Martin will join forces with Vincent Redal later in the evening as “Horse’n’Round”. This is a new collaboration which I am really looking forward to. I love the music of each musician as individuals and I think the mix will turn out to be very special. And then there’s God Bless Texas. The whole idea of a country rock group playing traditional Celtic songs while wearing kilts is ….. interesting!

Come and join us by booking through Julie at or phone 02 6732 1355. Tickets are $20 and will go to support The Australian Celtic Festival. You’ll be able to buy your Festival tickets at a discount, too!


Roving Crows – Nominees for International Artist of 2016 at Australian Celtic Music Awards

Roving Crows are an original must-see act, with roots in Folk and Celtic music. Renowned for their high-energy live performance, their shows pull together funked up traditional tunes and catchy original songs, with powerful Celtic undertones and intoxicating tribal rhythms. Roving Crows are successfully self-managed and have toured pretty much constantly for the last 6 years around the UK and into France.

The band has also gained recognition by winning various awards including:
Best Live Act – Spiral Earth Music Awards 2014; Best Folk Act – FATEA Music Awards 2014; Top Celtic Rock Band – Irish Music Awards 2012; Top Fiddle Player – Irish Music Awards 2012

The band comprises:

Caitlin BarrettCaitlin Barrett (pictured here performing in France) from Herefordshire plays the fiddle and sings. She began playing at age 4, taught primarily by her father using the tradition of learning by ear. As her mother is from Donegal they mainly played Irish folk tunes and in this way she developed her passion for Irish music. Caitlin was a member of the Birmingham Comhaltas during her early teens and entered many competitions with the organisation. She became a professional musician in 2009 when she co-formed the Celtic Rock group Roving Crows. Caitlin has strong Australian links. Her Mother (Marian) was born in Donegal Ireland, and brought up in Victoria. After moving back to the UK in her teens, Marian returned to Australia with Caitlin’s father and brother, initially in Victoria then Surfer’s Paradise. Caitlin’s parents settled back in the UK during the mid 80s and Caitlin was born in the UK. The rest of her family are dotted around Australia from Townsville to Canberra, Brisbane to Sydney.

Paul O’Neill from Kildare plays acoustic and electric guitar and sings. He was born into a musical family and has been performing all of his life. He studied drama at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and after completing his studies put his focus on to his musical career. Paul is the songwriter for the Roving Crows, writing mainly from his experiences working and living in Dublin, London and New York. He has since settled in the UK where he met Caitlin and formed the band.

Loz Shaw from Worcestershire plays bass, clarinet, baritone guitar, synthesizer and sings. Although he didn’t begin playing music until in his twenties, he developed a keen understanding of sound technology early on, leading to him producing and engineering a number of bands prior to joining Roving Crows in 2012.

Tim Downes-Hall from Cirencester in Gloucestershire plays percussion in the band. Coming from a musical background (Grandparents entertained the troops in WW2) he started playing drums at the age of 13. He played in a number of bands and became proficient in many styles. Turning professional in 2010 he played and recorded with several bands from Swing to Irish-punk! Tim joined the Roving Crows in April 2015 to play percussion rather than a standard drum kit, bringing an Afro-Celt feel to the sound.

Roving Crows

To listen to their music or purchase one of their three CDs visit their web addresses:


Our 19th trip to Ireland

Submitted by Margaret Winnett

This year we flew via Bangkok and Helsinki on our way to Ireland, spending two nights in Bangkok. We hadn’t been there for a number of years. It is as hot, humid, dusty and friendly as usual!

On our arrival into Dublin we wasted no time in picking up our hire car and driving south to Bray in County Wicklow – this is where I spent the month whilst Bill was in hospital during July, 2014. Saturday nights in Dublin are great for we set dancers as there is a Ceili happening somewhere – this night it was in St Anne’s GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) Bohernabreena. There was a Belgian dance group performing when we arrived, then the tea break, before we could dance a set. Later in the night we were asked to perform to the live music of the Glenside Ceili Band. Brilliant!

The following afternoon we tootled up to Belfast where there was a Ceili scheduled at Belfast Castle with music provided by one of Margaret’s favourite ceili bands – the Cathal McAnulty Ceili Band. Hadn’t seen them for years so it was a real buzz.

Belfast Castle

After the day in Dublin on Monday we returned to the Martello Hotel, which is on the seafront in Bray, for dinner then attended the local set dancing group which had the great Brian Boru Ceili Band playing. What a great start to our almost seven weeks in Ireland!!

We had heard there was to be a Ceili in a big red barn in Mountrath, County Laois with music by the Neily O’Connor band on Thursday night. This barn had been erected for just the week of festivities and was fitted out with a great dance floor, tables, chairs AND a bar. Great night.

Friday we drove via the Sliabh Bloom mountains, Kinnitty, Birr, Loughrea, Gort, Crusheen and Ennis on the way to our hosts for the next ten days. We stopped off at the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis for lunch – this was where our set dancing education actually began way back in 1989. Anna and PJ Keavey have their bed and breakfast at East Quilty, County Clare which is around 2km from the Atlantic Ocean. When the wind blows it really blows, when it rains it really rains and when the sun shines it is pure magic! This would be the seventeenth year we have stayed with the Keaveys.

Falls Hotel, Ennistimon

After the day in Dublin on Monday we returned to the Martello Hotel, which is on the seafront in Bray, for dinner then attended the local set dancing group which had the great Brian Boru Ceili Band playing. What a great start to our almost seven weeks in Ireland!!

We had heard there was to be a Ceili in a big red barn in Mountrath, County Laois with music by the Neily O’Connor band on Thursday night. This barn had been erected for just the week of festivities and was fitted out with a great dance floor, tables, chairs AND a bar. Great night.

Friday we drove via the Sliabh Bloom mountains, Kinnitty, Birr, Loughrea, Gort, Crusheen and Ennis on the way to our hosts for the next ten days. We stopped off at the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis for lunch – this was where our set dancing education actually began way back in 1989. Anna and PJ Keavey have their bed and breakfast at East Quilty, County Clare which is around 2km from the Atlantic Ocean. When the wind blows it really blows, when it rains it really rains and when the sun shines it is pure magic! This would be the seventeenth year we have stayed with the Keaveys.

Of course the real reason we travel to Clare each year is to attend the world famous Willie Clancy Summer School. Willie Clancy was a famous exponent of the uilleann pipes. Thousands converge upon the little town of Miltown Malbay each year to spend the week immersed in Irish culture. For us it is the dancing. For others it is the music or the sean nos singing. People hang outside of doors all along the main street listening to the stories or the music being played or watching a bit of dancing. Classes in Irish dancing, music and singing are held each morning then the streets come alive again as everyone pours out to have catch up with everyone else.

Each night of the week a Ceili is held in a marquee in the GAA grounds and maybe two or three nights there is a second venue in use. At Spanish Point there is the Armada Hotel which also hosts set dancing classes during the week as well as running Ceilithe each night. Nowhere is large enough to fit all of the dancers in the one place. When big bands such as the Tulla or Kilfenora are playing the organisers must close the doors when 600 are in the marquee! It is an amazing sight.

When Willie Clancy Week is over Miltown Malbay returns to its usual sleepy self and many people move on to the next summer school at Tubbercurry, County Sligo – another area steeped in the tradition. This is a lot smaller festival but still very popular. We sometimes stop in for a couple of days but after having danced our socks off down in Miltown Malbay we just simply can’t do another full week. Another reason is that there is yet another summer school AFTER the South Sligo Summer School and that is the Joe Mooney Summer School in Drumshanbo, County Leitrim. This is on an even smaller scale than Tubbercurry but still a fabulous place for the dancing. Irish school teachers may attend these festivals as students so they acquire sufficient knowledge to be able to teach the dancing back at school………….they also are credited with the days they have spent at the summer school. A definite win/win situation.

The dancing doesn’t stop there as we travelled south to Killarney, County Kerry and managed to dance with the locals two nights there before moving on to Ballyvourney, County Cork to dance with the locals Thursday night. This year we discovered yet another night of dancing in Ballinhassig, not far from Ballyvourney, so that was four nights out of five. Ah, life is so tough!

St Marys Church, Nenangh, County Tipperary

Killaloe on the River Shannon, County Clare was home to Bill’s great grand- parents before they travelled to Australia in 1857. Joseph Winnett was a farmer who had salmon leases on the Shannon and he married Jane Bowles from Silvermines, County Tipperary – just across the water. Even though we’ve been there a number of times a visit to Killaloe was on the to-do list this year. Whilst in Killaloe we also visited St Flannan’s Cathedral, still trying to add to the information we have on Joseph and Jane Winnett. The wind down towards our trip home involved a few more dance opportunities so we meandered all the way back to Dublin and even took in a Ceili the night before we began the journey home.

When we touched down in Bangkok we had about ten hours to kill so decided to go back to the same hotel where we stayed on the outward journey. What a stroke of luck that turned out to be as Bill had left behind a new pair of spectacles and they were in the lost property cupboard. Had we not gone for a few hours sleep before taking off for Sydney they would still be there!


Clan Celtica – Tribal Thunder

Formed in December 2013, hailing from Auckland, Clan Celtica is a Scottish Tribal 6-piece music group made up of large drums and Great Highland Bagpipes. The performers are 5 drummers and 1 bagpiper. The drummers are Heather Mac, Muzza ‘Hill-Billy’ MacGregor, Fiona McNab and Loag Campbell, all taught by the Scottish percussionist Frankie Mac.

Clan Celtica

The music is uniquely Scottish, dating from the 1750s. Clan Celtica is the only band of this genre in the southern hemisphere, originating from the days before military pipe bands we know so well today were formed. The sound is best described as an exciting mix of the Great Highland Bagpipes weaving emotive Celtic melodies alongside pulsating dynamic drum beats, both slow to fast. The almost eerie hypnotic atmospheric performance includes original tunes and rearrangements of well known Scottish theme compositions from movie soundtracks, such as ‘Braveheart’ and ‘Rob Roy’.

Frankie Mac – the creator of Clan Celtica, studied at the Royal Scottish Academy for Music & Drama (RSAMD), Glasgow. As a professional session kit drummer and percussionist, Frankie’s client list has included: The Glasgow Philharmonic, Ayrshire Philharmonic, BBC orchestra, Dead-End-Kids, Deacon Blue, Bad Kangaroo (Neil Diament), Eddie Reader, Trash-Can-Sinatras, Love Decree and John Martyn. Frankie is also the main composer, recording producer and manager of the band.

Mich McTent – a professional bagpiper and fairly recent addition to New Zealand has earned the respect of many. Joining in early 2014, Mich has been an integral driving force of the Clan Celtica sound with his mix of contemporary and traditional techniques and feel. As well as working with Clan Celtica, Mich spends most of his working time teaching bagpipes in Auckland schools and colleges and playing as a solo piper.

Email or check out these links to see more of Clan Celtica.


Well, that’s all for another month. To submit articles, please send your material to me at

Barbara McLennan
Celtic News
02 6734 5189

Published with permission from Celtic News

Celtic News January 2016

I hope that Santa was kind to you all and that you have started 2016 healthy and happy. This month’s edition of Celtic News includes contributions from quite a few old friends. I really enjoy keeping up with all of the news. A huge thank you to you all. If you would like me to include your news, views and ideas, please submit your material to me at or phone me on 02 6734 5189. The deadline for each edition is 7th of the month.

A Pig You Can Put In Your Poke

Hot on the heels of their last album, ’In the Lap of the Hogs’, notching up Best Album and Male Vocalist of the Year awards at last year’s Australian Celtic Music Awards, Murphy’s Pigs have just released their fifth CD ‘Larrikins and Knuckle Boys’. Drawing on Australia’s colonial past and historical themes the lads have veered from their usual fare to produce a CD with a dynamic mix of traditional, original and contemporary Australian folk songs. With a strong Celtic-rock resolve, and amid ringing electric guitar, rich accordion, soaring fiddle and stirring bagpipes, Murphy’s Pigs take you back to a time of miners, shearers, larrikins, slums and ghost ships.

Murphys Pigs

“It’s certainly different from our usual, predominantly Irish and Scottish offerings,” front man John Graham said.  “But we wanted to delve into our Australian Celtic musical heritage. It is a good mingling of new music and familiar songs; with pig trotters stamped all over it.”

The band’s other vocalist, Peter Vincent, said, “The highlight of the recording of this CD was having singer/songwriter Terry Fielding sing with us on our latest rendition of his 1972 number 1 song, The Whale.  It’s a great song and has always been an integral part of our repertoire since John and I started the band 10 years ago.” “No two songs sound the same,” John says, “and we are very satisfied with our first venture into recording some of our own, original songs.” “I’m pretty sure that this CD will delight our supporters,” Vincent proudly adds. Larrikins and Knuckle Boys can be purchased online at Murphy’s Pigs have eight nominations in this year’s Australian Celtic Music Awards.

Murphy’s Pigs at Tamworth Country Music Festival
Date Time Venue
16 January 8.30pm Toyota Park (Main Stage)
17 January 7.00pm Joe Maguires Pub
18 January 10.00am Fanzone Stage, Peel St Tamworth
18 January 8.30pm Joe Maguires Pub
19 January 5.00pm Joe Maguires Pub
20 January Midday Joe Maguires Pub
20 January 8.30pm Joe Maguires Pub
21 January 5.00pm Joe Maguires Pub
22 January 10.00am Tamworth Town Hall
22 January 8.30pm Joe Maguires Pub
23 January 8.30pm Joe Maguires Pub
24 January 7.00pm Joe Maguires Pub

Exciting News for Friends of The Australian Celtic Festival

The 2016 Australian Celtic Festival Committee has put together a very special package. The opportunity to become a Member of Friends of The Australian Celtic Festival is a great innovation that will allow you to show your support and receive a number of valuable benefits in return. To become a Member of the Friends of The Australian Celtic Festival, download and fill in the form on the website
Please forward a copy of this completed form to Council’s address or email

Memberships available for the 2016 Australian Celtic Festival are:

Individual Membership Annual $100

  1. 1 x Adult Weekend Pass to The Australian Celtic Festival
  2. 1 packet of Clan Stationery – if stationery for your Clan is not available, this will be replaced with Australian Celtic Festival Stationery
  3. Selection of Postcards
  4. 5% Discount on Celtic Shop items at the Glen Innes Visitor Information Centre.
  5.  Exclusive offers for Friends of The Australian Celtic Festival

Family Membership Annual $250.00

  1. 2 x Adult Weekend Passes to The Australian Celtic Festival. Your school age children will be admitted free to the festival site.
  2. 1 packet of Clan Stationery – if stationery for your Clan is not available, this will be replaced with Australian Celtic Festival Stationery
  3. Selection of Celtic Postcards
  4. 10% Discount on Celtic Shop items at the Glen Innes Visitor Information Centre.
  5. Exclusive offers for Friends of The Australian Celtic Festival

Life Membership – one payment of $1000.00

  1. 2 x Adult Weekend Passes to The Australian Celtic Festival each year. Your school age children will be admitted free to the festival site.
  2. 2 Tickets to the Official Celtic Awards Night, with dinner and entertainment, featuring the presentation of the ACF Dance Championship winners, the Three Annual Triquetra Medallions, Inductees to the Celtic Roll of Honour and the Australian Celtic Music Awards
  3. 1 packet of Clan Stationery each year – if stationery for your Clan is not available, this will be replaced with Australian Celtic Festival Stationery
  4. Selection of Celtic Postcards
  5. 15% Discount on Celtic shop items at the Glen Innes Visitor Information Centre.
  6. An invitation for 2 people to attend the ACF Chairman’s Lunch, held on Friday each year. Meet the Festival’s Honoured Guest and enjoy great food and hospitality.
  7. Exclusive offers for Friends of The Australian Celtic Festival.

Vale, Graham Aubrey D Urr

Graham Aubrey

Graham Aubrey was born in Cwmparc, near Treorchy, in the Rhondda Valley, Wales and was singing in choirs from the age of six. He has conducted choirs and played the organ in Germany and the UK. For much of the last thirty years he was active in the choral scene in Australia and performed widely as a soloist with the Celtic Harp, Piano and Keyboard.

In the Hunter Valley he was the choirmaster of the Cambrian Singers and participant in the Welsh Dancers.  In this role, Graham was a frequent performer at The Australian Celtic Festival in its early years. Graham was awarded a Celtic Honour of D.Urr in 1995 by the Celtic Council of Australia (CCA).

Graham held a Master of Arts in Celtic Studies and an honours degree in Musicology. He was in demand at universities and conferences around the world as a lecturer in the Traditional music of the British Isles. Along with his wife Stella, he founded the Australian Institute of Celtic Studies in Newcastle which sadly closed with his failing health and mobility.

Graham died on Christmas Eve (24 Dec 2015) at Port Stephens, NSW. A funeral was held on January. The condolences of all the Celtic community go to Graham’s wife Stella, his family, friends and colleagues from the CCA.

Welder’s Dog on ABC Radio

Welder's Dog

The latest album from AUSTRALIA ALL OVER includes the Welder’s Dog song ANZAC’S OF TENTERFIELD.  The song, penned by band member Mick Moore, honours the young WW1 soldiers who enlisted from the Tenterfield Shire.

The country lifestyle of horse-riding from a young age, shooting rabbits and surviving for days in the bush meant that many of the boys fought with the Light Horse and took part in the famous 1000 horse charge against the Turks at Beersheba. The song is in a gentle melodic style, with just guitar and mandolin providing an evocative backing to the reflective lyrics, which describe the serene lives the boys left to fight a dreadful war. The music vid of the song, with a mix of local Tenterfield landscapes and historical photos can be seen on Youtube.

Welder’s Dog members have a great sense of pride in their heritage both here in Australia and back in Ireland and are regularly inspired to sing of the past endeavours and endurance that give us courage today.

The Australian Celtic Music Awards

Nominations closed on 31st December. I hope to be able to feature more news from the Finalists in coming editions of Celtic News.

Melbourne Scottish Fiddlers 2015 tour of Scotland – twenty years in the making!

Judy Turner, founder, Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club

Since 1995 the Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club has brought together people who love the music of Scotland and the Scottish diaspora. The Club was inspired by similar groups in the US and in particular, by the Boston Scottish Fiddle Club, founded by the legendary Ed Pearlman. Over two decades the MSFC has become a fixture on the Australian folk scene, and also provides dance bands and function bands to the Melbourne Scottish expat community.

The Club has an inclusive policy and has welcomed players from all around the country and the world, involving its members with many styles of fiddling, and holding workshops and concerts with some of the world’s greatest. In addition, an annual tune writing competition for many years encouraged members to keep the tradition alive, while touring – in Australia and New Zealand – inspired the players to reach high. Our 5 CDs include the tunes we love arranged in fresh ways, and have contributed to the development of a new, uniquely Australian version of Scottish fiddling. We have won many Golden Fiddle awards and the National Folk Alliance 2006 Album of the Year.

Despite our strong record, as a group it seemed almost impossible that we would make it to Scotland, until 2015, when we were able, with the help of the Victorian Scottish Heritage Foundation, many generous Pozible donors and our wonderful supporters Bill and Diane Sides, to put together a tour covering the length and breadth of the “mother” country. Forty-five of us took the 16 day trip in September 2015, which included 10 concerts, 10 workshops, 10 sessions, much sight seeing and an amazing chance to get to know the music we love at the source. Everywhere we performed people were fascinated to hear where their music had travelled to, and how it sounded on return.

MSFC young fiddlers on the Shetland ferry
MSFC young fiddlers on the Shetland ferry

Partnerships were the mainstay of our tour, and we performed in Shetland with our friends and mentors Chris Stout, Catriona McKay and Ross Couper, fantastic exponents of the Shetland style, and on the mainland with Anna Wendy Stevenson and Simon Bradley, and with many community groups from Selkirk to Ullapool, from St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh to Dunkeld. One highlight was the return to Dufftown (on the banks of the Fiddich and Dullan Rivers) of original Dufftown tunes which had made their way to Australia but had not been heard locally for 50 years. The concert at the Dufftown Hall was a tribute to the commitment of volunteers there and in the MSFC, who put together a fantastic community event with over 100 players, sponsored by local businesses Glenfarclas Distillery and Walkers Shortbread. A merry night to be sure!

MSFC at St Giles Cathedral
MSFC at St Giles Cathedral

Through the workshops we had pre-arranged, we were able to identify the different styles of Scottish fiddling, and different Club members found themselves attracted to (for example) the north-east style of Paul Anderson or Dougie Lawrence, the highland fiddling of Aonghas Grant and Adam Sutherland, or the borders sound of the Riddell Fiddles led by Amy Geddes. In Shetland we were lucky to be hosted by the wonderful Margaret Robertson and her Hjaltibonhoga Fiddlers, a mighty group who taught us how to party while playing, and with whom we will perform again in 2016 at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Melbourne.As the founder of the Club and its Director for the first 16 years, the most rewarding part of the trip for me was seeing how much our young players (ranging from 12 to 20) gained through the experience. During the trip they were the most enthusiastic in soaking up the music, recording the tunes we were taught, rehearsing them in small groups and generally finding their way into the heart of the tradition. Their leadership now is inspiring other young players to join the group, and keeping the Australian version of Scottish fiddling fresh and lively. For more information about the Club and our recordings and projects, visit

MSFC Member Marguerite Collier meets a prince at Culloden
MSFC Member Marguerite Collier meets a prince at Culloden

Important Date for your Diary

On 20th February 2016 our talented Glen Innes musicians will present lively, foot-tapping, danceable music performances with a Celtic flavour in support of The Friends of the Australian Celtic Festival. Featuring original, contemporary and some traditional music performed with verve and energy – and a little tongue-in-cheek irreverence – this is a show for all ages. Come and enjoy the music of Alex Mossman, Martin Moxey, Christine Davis, Vince Redal, The Abbies and God Bless Texas. The latter group is a country rock ensemble who will, for this night only, be performing traditional Celtic songs in their inimitable style, while wearing kilts! The mind boggles!!

Tickets are $20 and sales support the 2016 Australian Celtic Festival, Glen Innes’ hallmark tourism event. Doors open at 7 pm. Book through Julie at or book on 02 6732 1355. By attending the concert, not only will you have a great night out, but you can buy your 2016 Australian Celtic Festival Weekend Passes from the Festival Office at the discounted rate of $50 per person. Bonus!!

Lots more news next month!

 Barbara McLennan
Celtic News
02 6734 5189


Media Release

The Australian Celtic Music Awards would like to welcome Aristocrat Technologies Australia as the major sponsor for the 2016 Celtic Music Awards.

Aristocrat Technologies Australia has over 60 experience in business and employ over 2200 staff globally.

The 2016 Australian Celtic Music Awards will be presented at the Official Celtic Awards Night on 30th April 2016 at Glen Innes Services Club.

The Official Celtic Awards Night will include a two course meal and live entertainment.
Emcee for the night will be Darren Coggan. Tickets will cost $40 and will be on sale from November 2015.

The Awards are:

  • The Aristocrat Australian Celtic Artist of the Year – 2016
  • The International Celtic Artist of the Year – 2016
  • The Celtic Album of the Year- 2016
  • Australian Celtic Male Vocalist of the Year – 2016
  • Australian Celtic Female Vocalist of the Year – 2016
  • Australian Celtic Song of the Year – 2016
  • Australian Celtic Group of the Year – 2016
  • Australian Celtic Instrumental of the Year – 2016
  • Producer of the Year of a Celtic Album – 2016
  • The Wendy Watts Award for New Celtic Talent – 2016

Tourism Event of the Year 2015

The Australian Celtic Music Awards won ‘Tourism Event of the Year’ for the second year in a row at the Glen Innes Examiner Business Awards on Friday 4th Sept.

Swim star Haley Lewis was special guest MC for the evening which was a real treat for the 380 people who attended the Business Awards.

The Australian Celtic Music Awards are now in their fourth year and are looking forward to the awards presentation in April 2016.

Nominations are now open.

2016 Nomination Forms
glen innes examiner award


2015 Award Finalists & Winners

Triquetra WinnersTriquetra medallions

Triquetra Ambassador – Pumpkin Juice

Triquetra Achiever – Russell Scott

The Triquetra Winner – Gwen Cryer

2015 Australian Celtic Music Award Winners

2015 Celtic Music Award Winners
The Wendy Watts Award for Best New Australian Celtic Talent
Platform 9 ¾
Jason Moore
And the winner is Villanova

Celtic Life International Artist of the Year
Rant Maggie Rant
Celtic Angel
And the winner is Rant Maggie Rant

Glen Innes Golf Club Australian Celtic Instrumental of the Year
Barleyshakes for The Golden Stud
Murphy’s Pigs for Jig Set
Peter Miller for The Quiet Man
And the winner is Peter Miller for The Quiet Man

The Horder Family Traditional Australian Celtic Song of the Year
Platform 9 ¾ for Bonny Portmore
Highlander for Skye Boat Song
Celtic Fusion for Three Drunken Maidens
And the winner is Platform 9 ¾ for Bonny Portmore

The Glen Innes Visitor Information Centre Contemporary Australian Celtic Song of the Year
Jay Wars for Epilogue
The Leaping Lizards for Queen of Argyll
Celia Pavey for Bodies
And the winner is Celia Pavey for Bodies

The Rest Point Motor In Australian Celtic Album of the Year
Murphy’s Pigs for In the Lap of the Hogs
The Leaping Lizards for Waltzing Through the Years
Jay Wars for Carry Me Home
Celtic Fusion for Gael
And the winner is Murphy’s Pigs for In The Lap of the Hogs

Eastmon Digital Best Producer of an Australian Celtic Album 2015
The Leaping Lizards: Waltzing through the Years – Produced by Michael Fix
Lorin Nicholson and Family: Strings of Thunder – Produced by Lorin Nicholson and John Roy
Celtic Fusion: Gael – Produced by Tomas Burton
And the winner is Lorin Nicholson and Family: Strings of Thunder – Produced by Lorin Nicholson and John Roy

The Crystal Room Female Australian Celtic Vocalist of the Year
Celia Pavey
Alex Paterson
Donna Reynolds
And the winner is Celia Pavey

Pinknoize Audio Male Australian Celtic Vocalist of the Year
Justin Body
John Graham
Alan Kelly
And the winner is John Graham

Glen Innes and District Services Club Australian Celtic Artist of the Year
The Leaping Lizards
Murphy’s Pigs
Celtic Fusion
And the winner is The Leaping Lizards

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