We have been in France now for nearly 8 years and ever since we moved here we have been delighted to be involved with the Annual Irish Night organised by various social groups in Le Grand Pressigny.
Previously the Irish group SIANSA had played as the main band, but this year, as Siansa have disbanded, our Celtic Folk Music and Song Band – CELTIQUA was the main band to play during the evening. We were preceded by guests from England, this region of France, Le GrandPressigny, Brittany and Poitiers.
As always with events like this, there was a great deal of organisation in the background, mainly by volunteers, so we have to say thanks to those who erected stages, put up tents, arranged tables and chairs and organised the food trucks to arrive. Once the evening started, it was full of people, maybe as many as 200. The bar was open food was being served and the atmosphere was conducive to the forthcoming concert of Irish and Celtic rooted music.
How to pronounce Celtiqua:
As an aside to the all important process of playing music, our band’s name is CELTIQUA. In France this is pronounced with a soft “C” (sell-tiqua). Of course, Celtique (sell-tic) is a Scottish Football team.
We play music and sing songs which have a “Celtic” (K-eltic) origin. Therefore our band is called Celtiqua (K-eltiqua) except in France of course.
The first group on stage was Dave Henderson (guitar), Geoff Pollitt (fiddle) and their friend Peter O’Brien (Bodhran) all of whom used to be members of the group Siansa. They played a selection of Reels and Jigs, including PaddyLynn’s Delight, Julia Delaney, The musical Priest and The Merry Blacksmith. The jigs included The Miller of Glanmire and Up in the Air. Plus some songs such as the Belfast Mill. Geoff told me that he was pleased to be able to sing the harmonies to the Belfast Mill once again.
The next performers came from Poitiers – Jean-Philippe Nicolas who played the Fiddle, Flute, Whistles, Guitar, and sang songs, and Olivier Bouchard who also played the Fiddle, Flute, and Whistles. They were joined on a couple of pieces by Peter O’Brien from Siansa.
Gwenael Quiviger came from Brittany specially for the evening’s concert. An excellent button accordion player and singer he entertained us with Breton Songs and Music.
Then it was the turn of Celtiqua. We played a selection of 20 pieces from our repertoire with a slight bias towards Irish Tunes rather than the usual mixture of Celtic tunes and American versions of Celtic we normally play. We did manage to slip in a couple of more American sets. Our songs, as usual, are nearly all Irish in origin.
Finally, all the musicians gathered together on stage to play together. What a great sound it made. To see and hear a 10 minute video of the evening’s music please CLICK HERE.