Celtic News January 2017

Welcome to 2017. I hope that you all had a great holiday and that you are now settling into the New Year. 2017 is going to be HUGE here in Glen Innes. Here’s what we are working towards.

  • The first interstate celebration launch of the Australian Celtic Festival – 11th February in Toowoomba
  • The second Australian Celtic Dance Championships
  • The fourth inductions to the Australian Celtic Roll of Honour
  • The fifth Australian Celtic Music Awards presentations
  • The tenth Triquetra Medallion presentations
  • The twenty-fifth Australian Celtic Festival, this year celebrating Ireland
  • The first Glen Innes Highlands String Music Convention – 17th to 19th November

All of these events are put together by a dedicated group of volunteers in association with Glen Innes Severn Council and the major sponsor of the Australian Celtic Festival, Glen Innes Services Club.

There are many other events happening throughout the district and I will continue to bring you news of as many as possible. This is really a great place to visit with lots of things to see and do throughout the year.


Celtic Music awards

Handcrafted solid granite Australian Celtic Music Awards


Australian Celtic Music Awards Nominees

Roving Crows

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 song, 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. Roving Crows are nominated in the International Celtic Artist category.
Members of the band include:

Caitin 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 became a professional musician in 2009 when she co-formed the Celtic Rock group Roving Crows. She 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.  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 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 plays percussion in the band. Tim started playing drums at the age of 13. 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. 

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

Sarah Calderwood

Sarah Calderwood

Sarah writes “At the tender age of two, I’m told I announced my ambition to become a performer by toppling a mannequin off its podium in an Adelaide department store and proceeded to take its place in a boisterous and all-too-public rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

The flute became my instrument, and many years of study (including achieving 92% on my Grade VIII flute exam) gave me a thorough grounding in music technique. Then, during a brief stint in the musical theatre program at Conservatorium of Music in Mackay, I undertook my only formal vocal lessons, while simultaneously learning that my two left feet made me wholly unsuited to a career on Broadway.

And so it was that, at the age of 19, I made the defining decision of my career. I ran away and joined a Celtic band.

The musicians in question were Sunas, the much-loved stars of Australia’s vibrant Celtic music scene. And far from stealing away me away from a mainstream musical calling, the band’s founding members Mannie, Helen and Paul not only became (and remain) my best friends, but they opened musical horizons that have continued to expand. We’ve played over 1400 shows together, headlined national and international festivals and performed constantly.

Two highly successful albums and a Live in Concert DVD have followed, with the band’s second album ‘Celtic Road’ (with ABC Classics) spending six weeks in the ARIA Classical/World/Jazz Top 10 (reaching #4) and receiving extensive radio play internationally. The live CD is still regularly shown on Foxtel.

My first solo ABC release, ‘As Night Falls’, debuted in the top 10 in the same chart and was one of their best – selling albums of 2012. To top off the year it was nominated for the 2012 Best World Music Album ARIA.

Since then, I’ve performed Australia-wide with my partner Paul in the duo TwoCrows, become an official member of the legendary band, The Waterboys, debuted and recorded several songs by world-renowned lyricist Brendan Graham (You Raise me Up) with the Australian Girls’ Choir, and formed a brand new Americana/roots/blues group called RedCrow which released its debut album in 2016. Last year I toured extensively as the flute player for the Celtic Illusion show, playing to full houses all around Australia, and successfully crowdfunded my second solo album.

2017 will see me return to Celtic Illusion for a big show at Jupiter’s Casino, then join the Queensland Pops for their Celtic Spectacular shows at QPAC and the Empire Theatre in Toowoomba. I will also be releasing my new album, ‘in the forest of things’ in the next few months and touring that extensively. I will also be heading back into the studio to record a new traditional Celtic album.

I should probably point out that I drink a lot of coffee…”
Sarah Calderwood is nominated in the category of Female Celtic Artist of the Year.


Friends of The Australian Celtic Festival

Member Offer

Buy a Friend of The Australian Celtic Festival polo shirt for $27.50. This is a great way to show off at the Festival! These polo shirts are only available for Friends.

To order your Polo Shirts contact: Barbara on 02 6734 5189 – barbara.saxonge@gmail.com or Mary (Tuesday to Thursday) on 02 6730 2410 – mhollingworth@gisc.nsw.gov.au.


A Reminder ………

Folk & Celtic Fusion


Appearing at the Australian Celtic Festival

4th to 7th May 2017



Astrail is a new group that has come out from the woodwork of Adelaide’s trad scene, wanting to take the style to new places (musically and geographically). Each member has independently played/danced interstate at various festivals such as Illawarra, The Nash, Fleurieu, Port Arlington, Yass, Tablelands, Kangaroo Valley, Majors Creek, Perisher and more…
They play acoustically in small venues, lead sessions and run workshops in fiddle, flute, whistle, uilleann pipes and bodhran. They can teach Irish dance, how to be free of your classical music training for fiddle and how to keep a session’s etiquette welcoming whilst holding down great tunes!

Influences: Ulaid, Vishten, Planxty and local musicians of Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide

The group consists of Angus Barbary (fiddle, bouzouki, vocals, and bodhran), Gillian Murray (vocals, guitar, and bodhran), Connor Hoy (uilleann pipes, dance, whistle, box, & more…), Caity Brennan (fiddle, dadgad guitar, vocals) and Michael Drennan (flute).

The Barleyshakes

The Barleyshakes

The Barleyshakes formed in Dublin in 1995 then the band moved to the Sunshine coast in Australia in 2000.

The Barleyshakes music is Irish at its core with tasteful interpretations & modern influences. Irish expat Alan Kelly has spent the best part of twenty years establishing himself on both sides of the globe as a writer of genuinely touching, honest and gritty songs. He’s also got a healthy dose of the kind of irreverence that turns good music into great.

The Barleyshakes have headlined international festivals and toured many parts of the world in various forms. They’ve been based in Australia since headlining the 2000/2001 edition of the world famous Woodford Folk Festival and contributing the talents of two members to Peter Jackson’s “The Fellowship of the Ring” academy award winning soundtrack.

The tradition of Irish music is long, deep and wide and remarkably brilliant. That the Barleyshakes manage to hold hands with this awesome history while simultaneously infusing it with a fresh and contemporary spirit is remarkable.

They’ve always done it that way but with each new album those bonds are strengthened and illuminated in ways that make you wonder where they will take them next.


Glen Innes Highlands String Music Convention

17th to 19th November 2017

As the home of The Australian Celtic Music Awards, Glen Innes Services Club is delighted to be hosting this new event in the Glen Innes Tourism Calendar. Presenter profiles, the syllabus and booking details will be announced early in 2017. Mark this one in your diary now! For further information, contact Glen Innes Services Club on 02 6732 1355.
The general public will be able to attend a Supper and Concert at Glen Innes Services Club or a Black Tie Dinner and Concert at Glen Innes Golf Club, with entertainment by accomplished string musicians during this exciting weekend.


Murphy’s Pigs launch the 25th Anniversary of the Australian Celtic Festival in Toowoomba on 11th February

Tickets now open

The Committee and Friends of the Celtic Festival have joined forces to bring a taste of the Festival to south-east Queensland. We hope you enjoy the concert and that you join us in May in the beautiful Glen Innes Highlands.


Clan Celtica – Tribal Thunder (New Zealand)

International Celtic Artist 2016 – Australian Celtic Music Awards

17th DecemberWillowstock
2nd JanuaryKeltic Faire, Coromandel
21st JanuaryBurns Supper, Manurewa Cosmo Club
22nd JanuaryMedieval Fair, Taupo
28th JanuaryArtbeat, Whangarei
29th JanuaryMedieval Madness, Kiwi North (Whangarei)
17th to 26th February    Hamilton Garden Festival
26th FebruaryHowick Highland Games
4th MarchPalmerston North Culture Festival
5th MarchRound The Bays, Auckland
11th MarchHilux Rural Games, Palmerston North
13th to 15th MarchPANNZ and AOTNZ, Auckland
19th MarchAuckland International Culture Festival
25th MarchMangere East Culture Festival
26th MarchCubaDupa Festival, Wellington
4th to 7th MayAustralian Celtic Festival, Glen Innes NSW


What’s on in Glen Innes??

21st JanuaryDeepwater Race Day, 150th Anniversary, $10 adult
21st January55th Annual Pinket Sports & Camp draft
26th JanuaryAustralia Day Celebrations, Glen Innes Town Square
17th to 19th FebruaryGlen Innes Show
10th to 12th MarchMinerama
4th to 7th MayAustralian Celtic Festival, Glen Innes NSW


Murphy’s Pigs

Saturday 11th February   7.30pm, Armitage Centre, Toowoomba
4th to 7th MayAustralian Celtic Festival, Glen Innes NSW


Michael Fix and Christine Collister

2nd February
Yatte Yattah, NSW Collister & Fix house concert. Enquiries: Ian & Fiona Stewart 0418 620 593 Ian@yattah.net
4th February 
8 pm. Troubadore Folk Club, CWA Hall Woy Woy, 30 The Boulevarde Woy Woy NSW
19th February
Petersham Bowling Club, 77 Brighton St Petersham

Collister and Fix

This promises to be a magnificent new CD. The download version is available on CD Baby, iTunes & other online stores. Physical copies available January 12, and pre-orders are welcome!


Triquetra Medallion Nominations

Nominations for the annual Triquetra Medallions are now open. Criteria and nomination forms are available on the website. These are important Awards which honour individual achievement.


The Official Australian Celtic Awards Night

Saturday 6th May 2017 – 6.30pm, Glen Innes Services Club
Tickets on sale – Monday 6th February 2017

This gala event, the premier event in Glen Innes, includes canapés and a two course dinner plus MC and live entertainment by Darren Coggan and special guest artists The String Family.

The evening includes Presentation of:

  • The Australian Celtic Music Awards
  • The Triquetra Awards
  • The Australian Celtic Roll of Honour
  • The Australian Celtic Dance Championships

Tickets are $40 each and bookings are essential. Call 02 6732 1355


I hope that you had a very merry Christmas and that Santa was kind. I’m sure he was because you are all SUCH good boys and girls. I trust that 2017 will prove to bring you all the best that life has to offer. I look forward to hearing from you all in the future. Don’t forget that submissions are always gratefully received.

Barbara McLennan
Celtic News
02 6734 5189

Published with permission from Celtic News