Clans in Ireland and Sliotar newsletter

By Erakis - Own work, Public Domain, the way up to the 17th century Irish society was based on a Clan system. These days due to the popularity of films like the Brave Heart, which by the way was filmed in Ireland, majority of people associate the clans with Scotland. However this was the very heart of Irish society from the ancient times. Only when the English common law was forced on Ireland, were the natives disarmed of clans and lordships.

The Clans in Ireland consisted of those related through blood, but also clan members could be adopted and fostered into the clan. You could also have people join the clan for strategic reasons for example safety or combining resources and land. In another words clan was a community. The clan adapted to serve the needs of the community as required. The ruling structure of the clan, ruled by a Chief or Clan Council, changed according to the needs and quality of their membership.

Photo by Petr KupkaSo why am I telling you this? Well there is a good reason. For the past years touring with Sliotar, no matter where we go, I have noticed a community around us. It is a great privilege and honour for us as a band to be part of this. Playing so many years in a band you go through highs and lows. I can tell you in Sliotar the highs have been immensely high, but we also have had our fair share of lows. After talking to so many of you during the tours, I have become to realise that many of you would like to help us along the way. Many of you would like to be officially part of this community. So we have decided to start building our own clan.

If you feel a connection with Sliotar’s music, enjoy our shows and would like to be part of our clan please sign up below. We will work very hard to make sure we offer the best possible experience for our clan members, so you will only hear from us when we think we have something worth writing about. And you guys will be the first ones to hear about any new exiting announcements, and from time to time we will be ask your opinions and ideas as well. So get involved and join the Sliotar clan today.

Keltska Noc Celtic festival

Picture of Sliotar at the 2017 Keltska Noc festivalKeltska Noc is the biggest Celtic festival in the Czech Republic and they are becoming fast an important feature in the European Celtic music scene. Last Saturday we performed our 15th show at this wonderful festival. It is always a special show for us as a band. I still remember back in 2002 while we were playing a small local festival in Denmark, we met a blond haired saxophone player who always seemed to have a smile on his face. We made a friend that summer night, and little did we know that our paths would always be twined.

Those of you who have been at the Keltska Noc festival, you probably already guessed that I am talking about Tomas Somr. Tomas is someone we all call a good friend. He painstakingly has built the festival from a small idea to a globally recognised event. With the festival growing, the team around the festival has grown as well. And we feel lucky and honoured to call most of that hardworking team our friends as well.

For those of you who were wondering, yes the power did go at the end of our this years show at the Keltska Noc. The thing about festivals is that there is an allocated time slot for every act and we were only about one minute away from the end of our set. So for us to continue after the power got sorted would have taken time away from all of the performers after us, and that would have not been fair. Sliotar considers the musicians, dancers and all the other acts on the European celtic music scene as a community, which we are very proud to be part of. So us and the organisers mutually agreed that it was best for us to stop at that point. We hope you guys understand and still enjoyed the show, we had great time! ย Thank you toย Bobbie ล afranovรกย for the photos from our show!

J.P. from Sliotar

Thank you!

It is the morning after I arrived home from the longest stretch of this summers Sliotar tour and I am trying to slowly make sense of it all. It has been crazy few weeks. In the past fifteen years we have toured a lot, so it is hard to rate the tours anymore at this stage. But I still cannot help to feel that we did some thing great on this tour. Every show was a pleasure for us to play.

SliotarphotobyChiaraTemporinWe started the tour at the wonderful Bundan Celtic Festival. Iโ€™ll be honest, we did struggle with the heat, and maybe did not get to enjoy our time off at the festival as much as in the past few years. But at the same time, it was the worst heatwave in Italy since 2003 and most locals were struggling with it as well. But that did not stop us having a stormer of a show! The massive audience of Bundan Celtic Festival were with us from the start and together we rocked the dust filled flood plains of Bundan for two hours!

CisalpipersSunday was our day off at the festival, but we love to play, and when the Cisalpipers invited us to play with them during their show, we were more than happy to do it ๐Ÿ™‚ It is rarely ย this kind of collaborations amount to anything more than a mess, but there is something wonderfully organic about the two bands joining forces, partly to do with the fact that our instrumentations don’t overlap too much. We love Cisalpipers!

Czech beerAfter Italy, we headed to the Czech republic. It is no secret that Sliotar has a special place in our hearts for the Czech republic. This is where we have been coming for 13 years now, and in many ways it was the inspiration that lead to us tour independently around Europe. We love the food, we love the beer, (and I even love the sparkling water) and most of all we love the people ๐Ÿ™‚

Sliotar PlzenOur first show was at the Zachโ€™s pub in Plzen. It is hard to describe this show as a pub gig, as on summertime the concerts are held outside on the courtyard, and the stage is bigger than some of the smaller festival stages we have played. Plzen did not let us down, the court yard was full, and we could not have asked for a better start to the Czech leg of our tour. The night was beautiful and the people gave us a warm welcome ๐Ÿ™‚

Sliotar PragueFrom Plzen we drove down to Prague, the famous and beautiful Czech capital city. We played a show in the Vagon club with our good friends the Hakka Muggies. It was a sweaty mayhem, a night I will not forget for a long time! Once again the crowd fed us with their energy, and for nearly two hours together we shook the foundations of the wonderful Vagon club. Also since the very first time we heard the Hakka Muggies sound checking at the Keltska Noc festival many years back, we have been fans. There has been few lineup changes in the past year, and their always solid set this time was the tightest we have ever heard! Check them out.

Sliotar Kurim On Thursday morning we left Prague behind and headed for Moravia. Let me just say that for the thirteen years we have been coming to the Czech republic, there has been road works on the Prague – Brno motorway. And still it does not seem to be getting much better. So if you are planning to make that drive, allow for some extra drive time.

Our first stop in Moravia was Kurim, where we have been going for almost every year since the beginning. In Kurim we play on a beautiful old school yard, and the tradition has been that it always rains in Kurim. This year, we were lucky, we had a starlight sky and no rain ๐Ÿ™‚

Sunrise over PlumlovAfter Kurim we headed to where it all started for us in the Czeck, the wonderful Keltska Noc festival. This has been a highlight of our schedule for many years, and even though we only play at the festival on Saturday night, we always stay for the whole festival. In fact we are trying to convince the organisers to expand the festivals 15th edition to three day festival ๐Ÿ˜‰

On Friday night we enjoyed the music at the festival, wondered around the stalls and mingled with many friends we have made over the years. And when the official festival program of Friday night finished, the session continued well into the early hours of Saturday morning, when the sun was making its way up again over the skyline of Plumlov.

The Saturday morning festival program kicks off with a short session on the festival stage of several musicians from many bands who play at the festival. It is always a moment of disbelief when Tomas Somrs knocks on our cabin door in the morning and asks us to join in the session ๐Ÿ˜€ But all it took this year was a promise of coffee from the wonderful coffee stall they have at the festival to get us up on the stage ๐Ÿ™‚

Keltskanoc2015fullFinally Saturday night 10.10pm Sliotar took to the stage. What followed was a wonderful hour and twenty minutes, where once again the audience fuelled us with their energy and stuck by us even through the few rain showers. It is hard to put into words the love we feel from our audience at these shows. But as always, sooner than we would like, the show was over for another year.

Still the after party of the festival participants, who were not ready to give-up just yet, went well into the Sunday morning.

destelcOur final show was in Telc, which truly is a magical place. If you have never been to Telc, put it into your bucket list right now! You will thank me later ๐Ÿ˜‰ We have long history with Prazdniny v Telci as well, but we missed the festival last year, so it was even more special for us to be back playing in the beautiful castle. Also the wonderful Tradish from Denmark played amazing show before us, and with them the afterparty session in the bar on the main square continued to the early hours of Monday morning. It was hard to say good night as we knew this would be the end of the tour, and when we would wake up, it would be time to say good bye and head home. But that is the nature of our job ๐Ÿ™‚

Let me just say big thank you to Tomas Somrs, Alan Fabbri, everybody at the Bundan Celtic Festival, Keltska Noc Festival, Cisalpipers, Milan and the whole family and everyone at the Prazdniny v Telci, the Hakka Muggies and everyone at the Vagon club, Karl and the staff at the Zachโ€™s pub and all of the organisers at the Kurim celtic evening event. Big thank you to all of the sound crews we got to work with, you guys make us sound fantastic night after night!

But most of all, absolutely massive thank you to everyone of you who came to see us at the live shows, without you guys we simply could not do this. It is your faith in us and continued support in what we do that make us want to work even harder. Thank you! And donโ€™t forget, Keep it Celtic ๐Ÿ˜‰

J.P. Kallio from Sliotar

The Best St. Patrick’s day party in Dublin :-)

Here’s the thing, the best party is a subjective thing. But I’ll guarantee this will be a recipe for a one hell of a day ๐Ÿ˜‰ If you are lucky enough to be spending your St. Patrick’s day in Dublin, here’s what I suggest. You possibly have had a few drinks the night before and you have a long day ahead of you, so let’s sort out a great breakfast first. This coffee shop is one of my regular spots, The Busyfeet & coco cafe at the corner of a South William street and Chatham row. They do great breakfast and good coffee ๐Ÿ™‚

Then Make sure you make it to the north side of the Dame street (Temple bar side) before the parade starts. Head in front of the central bank building, this is a good spot to watch the parade pass by. Also the Foggy Dew is just there, great pub to pop in for your first pint of the day, if you get cold. The parade usually runs about two hours and it is great. My favourite is always the visiting marching bands.

After the parade most of the Temple Bar gets pretty busy. So just before it is over I recommend you make your way to the Ha’penny Bridge inn. This is another pub most tourists miss. It is a great pub.

From here you should make your way to the north of the river. As I said it is going to be a long day, so I recommend some lunch. Head to the Millennium walkway, just behind the Jervis centre. Here you will find the Boojums burrito bar. There will be queue, but it will be worth the wait, I promise ๐Ÿ˜‰

And after your launch it is time to head back in to the Temple bar and in to The Porterhouse, where Sliotar will be performing from 5-11pm our legendary St. Patrick’s day set. Get your self a pint of plain and head upstairs before it gets too packed to get in ๐Ÿ™‚ This is always a great spot with a great party atmosphere, but just that little bit more civilised than most places around the area.

And if you last the night, I recommend you try a Lamb donner from the Zaytoon’s across the road. Hope to see you in The Porterhouse

J.P. Kallio from Sliotar