A Hundred, Thousand Welcomes!
This is a traditionally Irish saying when meeting and welcoming new people - the Irish are a very generous people!
Welcome to Celtic Crossings! We're so excited to explore the British Isles with you this week. As always, we have pictures from today's adventures below, but first we want to tell you a bit about the Celts, Celtic music, and that part of the world!
The Celtic people first originated 700-800 years BC in a series of tribes spread across what is today mainland Europe and parts of the Middle East. Ancient Greeks and Romans interacted with, fought and wrote about the people we know as Celts, calling them Keltoi or Gaul. While the precise meaning of Keltoi is unknown, it has been suggested that it derived from the Greek word for barbarian, so the Celts weren't always as loved as they are now! Today, Celtic is used to describe many of the people in Ireland and the United Kingdom, with sports mascots even getting the name in honor (or in mockery?) of the culture and the people who live there.
Celtic music, or rather, the music from the British Isles that we will be exploring this week has a few distinct characteristics. Originally, like all music, celtic music was passed down aurally, with teachers performing and guiding their students. Music notation was scarce, if any existed at all, so musicians had to memorize everything they would ever play! We're glad we have music notation these days - aren't you?!
Most of the celtic music that has lasted through the years is dance music, like jigs. Often, this music has repetitions or variations, making it easier for musicians to memorize long pieces without them getting overwhelmed or the audience and dancers getting bored! Certain rhythms happen a lot in celtic music too, like triplets (groups of 3 notes in 1 beat), or the Scotch snap (a syncopated musical rhythm in which a short, accented note is followed by a longer one).
This music is normally played on fiddles, flutes and tin whistles, harps, and a drum called the Bodhran. We'll be learning a bunch of music this week and will be able to tell you all about Celtic music by our performance on Friday!
Stay tuned for more info about the Celts and the music we're learning this week!