Punk rock electric folk folk punk Celtic music Celtic rock
1980s London, England: Irish folk and punk rock scenes
Vocals electric guitar bass drums bagpipes tin whistle fiddle banjo mandolin accordion
Celtic punk is punk rock mixed with traditional Celtic music. The genre was popularized in the 1980s by The Pogues, a band of London Irish punk musicians in London who celebrated their Irish heritage. Celtic punk bands often play covers of traditional Irish, Welsh or Scottish folk and political songs, as well as original compositions. Common themes in Celtic punk music include politics, culture, religion, drinking and working class pride.
The typical Celtic punk band includes a rock instrumentation as well as traditional instruments such as bagpipes, fiddle, tin whistle, accordion, mandolin, and banjo. Like Celtic rock, Celtic punk is a form of Celtic fusion. The term Celtic punk is usually used to describe bands who base their music in Irish or Scottish traditional music. It is considered part of the broader folk punk genre, but that term tends to be used for bands that use English, American and other forms of folk music as inspiration.
Celtic punk's origin is in the 1960s and 1970s folk rock musicians who played electric folk in England and Celtic rock in Wales, Ireland and Scotland, as well as in more traditional Celtic folk bands such as The Dubliners and The Clancy Brothers. The Dunfermline, Scotland band The Skids were possibly the first UK punk band to add a strong folk music element, as they did on their 1981 album Joy. Around the same time in London, England, Shane MacGowan and Spider Stacy began experimenting with a sound that became The Pogues. Their early sets included a mixture of traditional folk songs and original songs written in a traditional style but performed in a punk style. Other early Celtic punk bands included Nyah Fearties, Australia's Roaring Jack and Norway's Greenland Whalefishers.
North American Celtic punk bands have been influenced by American forms of music, some have contained members with no Celtic ancestry, and commonly sang in English.