Celtic Instrumental Music Artists to Check Out

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

List of great Celtic instrumental music artists that are worth checking out.

Celtic Music Basics

Celtic music is a genre of music that is typically associated with the Celtic nations. These nations include Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, and the Isle of Man. Celtic music is a mixture of traditional folk music and modern pop music. It is characterized by its use of traditional instruments such as the fiddle, tin whistle, and bagpipes.

Defining Celtic Music

Celtic music is a broad grouping of music genres that originated in the Celtic countries of Europe. It refers to both traditional music and contemporary music that is influenced by traditional Celtic music.

The Celtic nations are areas where Celtic languages or cultural traits have survived. They include Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and the Isle of Man in the British Isles, Brittany in France, Galicia in Spain, and Nova Scotia in Canada.

Celtic music is known for its use of traditional instruments like the fiddle, tin whistle, accordion and bagpipes. It is also characterized by its unique rhythms and melodies.

If you’re just getting started with exploring Celtic music, here are some artists to check out:

The Chieftains – One of the most influential and well-known Celtic groups, The Chieftains formed in Dublin in 1962. They are known for their innovative interpretations of traditional Irish music and have collaborated with a wide range of artists including Van Morrison, James Galway and Sting.

Altan – This Irish band was formed in County Donegal in 1987. Their sound combines traditional Irish music with influences from Scottish and Cape Breton traditions. Altan’s lineup includes Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh on fiddle and vocals, Mark Kelly on guitar and bouzouki, Dáithí Sproule on guitar and vocals, Ciarán Curran on bouzouki and bodhrán, Ciarán Tourish on fiddle and tin whistle, and Brona Graham on flute.

Capercaillie – This Scottish group was formed in 1984 by Donald Shaw and Charlie McKerron. They are known for their incorporating elements of Gaelic singing into their contemporary folk-rock sound. Capercaillie’s lineup includes Karen Matheson on vocals, Manus Lunny on bouzouki/guitar, Ewen Vernal on bass guitar/vocals/bouzouki, Neil Caplen on drums/percussion/vocals/bodhran, Mairearad Green on accordion/piano/keyboards/vocals/ whistles, Gaelic singerNOT A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT Malcolm Stitt ( Guinness World Record Holder for Longest Note Held On A Didgeridoo)on didgeridoo / Highland pipes /

Celtic Music Instruments

While the fiddle is perhaps the most iconic Celtic music instrument, there are actually many different instruments used in Celtic music. From traditional Irish instruments like the Uilleann pipes to Scottish favorites like the bagpipes, each instrument has its own distinct sound that contributes to the overall Celtic music experience.

Here are just a few of the most popular Celtic music instruments:

-The Fiddle: The fiddle is a stringed instrument that is played with a bow. It is one of the most popular instruments in Celtic music, and it has been used in traditional Irish and Scottish music for centuries.

-The Bagpipes: The bagpipes are a type of wind instrument that is often associated with Scottish music. There are several different types of bagpipes, including the Great Highland bagpipes and the smaller Scottish Highland bagpipes.

-The Uilleann Pipes: The uilleann pipes are a type of Irish folk flute that is similar to the Scottish Highland bagpipes. They are often played by traditional Irish musicians.

-The Bodhran: The bodhran is a type of percussion instrument that is commonly used in Celtic music. It is typically played with a stick or beater, and it can be used to provide a rhythm or beat for other instruments to follow.

-The Tin Whistle: The tin whistle is a type of simple flute that is often used in Celtic music. It is a popular choice for beginners because it is easy to learn how to play.

Celtic Music Artists

Celtic music is a genre of folk music that originated in Ireland and Scotland. It is characterized by its unique use of instruments and vocals. If you’re looking for some new Celtic music to check out, here are a few artists you should listen to.

The Chieftains

The Chieftains are a six-time Grammy Award-winning traditional Irish band founded in Dublin, Ireland, in November 1962, by Paddy Moloney, Sean Potts and Michael Tubridy. The band’s line-up has undergone numerous changes over the years, with only Paddy Moloney remaining from the original line-up. However, the group’s style has remained consistent throughout its history. They are known for their eclectic mix of traditional Irish music with modern influences from rock and roll, jazz, and classical music.

The Chieftains have released over 40 albums and have collaborated with some of the biggest names in music including Mick Jagger, Bono, Van Morrison, Sting, Roger Daltrey, Willie Nelson and many others. They were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002 and into the Irish Music Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2012 they were awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

The Corrs

The Corrs are an Irish band that formed in 1990 in Dundalk, Ireland. The group consists of sisters Andrea (lead vocals, tin whistle, and uilleann pipes), Sharon (violin, guitars, and vocals), and Caroline (drums, bodhran, and vocals) Corr, and their cousin Jim Corr (keyboards, guitars, and vocals). The Corrs have released seven studio albums and numerous singles, which have achieved multi-platinum, platinum, and gold certification around the world. They are also widely known for their live performances.

The group’s first major public appearance was on The Late Late Show with Gay Byrne in 1991. In 1998, their song “Only When I Sleep” was featured in the film “The Reasons of the Heart”, which helped them gain exposure in the United States. The Corrs went on to achieve international success with their albums “Forgiven Not Forgotten” (1995), “Talk on Corners” (1997), “In Blue” (2000), “Borrowed Heaven” (2004), and “White Light” (2015). They have sold over 75 million records worldwide.

The Corrs are known for their folk-tinged pop music and their use of traditional Irish instruments such as the bodhran, tin whistle, and uilleann pipes. They have also incorporated elements of pop rock, rock ‘n’ roll, electronica, and even hip-hop into their music.Their sound is often compared to that of Fleetwood Mac or Enya.

The Corrs have won numerous awards throughout their career, including two Grammy Awards, three World Music Awards, two Brit Awards, four Meteor Music Awards, and an Ivor Novello Award. In 2000 they were presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the BAMMA ceremony in London. In 2017 they were inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in the UK.


Enya is an Irish singer, songwriter and musician. She first made her name in the 1980s with her new-age and Celtic music. Enya’s music often features layers of vocals with a heavy reliance on keyboard instruments. Her voice has been described as “haunting” and “ethereal”.

In 1987, Enya released her debut album titled “Watermark”. The album quickly became a smash hit in both Europe and North America. It featured the single “Orinoco Flow” which reached number one in several countries. Enya released her second album, “Shepherd Moons” in 1991 to critical and commercial acclaim. The album featured the singles “Caribbean Blue” and “Book of Days”.

Enya has released eight studio albums over the course of her career and has sold over 80 million records worldwide. She has won four Grammy Awards and has been nominated for an Academy Award.

Celtic Music Festivals

Although Celtic music has been around for centuries, it has only recently become popular in mainstream society. If you’re looking to get into Celtic music, there are a few things you should know. Celtic music is typically very upbeat and lively, and often features traditional instruments such as the fiddle, bagpipes, and bodhran.

The Celtic Colours International Festival

The Celtic Colours International Festival is a world-renowned music festival that takes place in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada every October. The nine-day festival features over 300 concerts and events showcasing the very best in traditional Celtic music from around the world. Celtic Colours is one of the most respected and highly anticipated music festivals in North America, attracting visitors from all over the globe.

The Glasgow Celtic Connections Festival

The Glasgow Celtic Connections Festival is one of the most popular Celtic music festivals in the world. It is held every year in January and February in Glasgow, Scotland. The festival features a wide variety of Celtic music, from traditional folk to modern pop. There are also a number of concerts and events held throughout the city during the festival.

The Edinburgh Celtic Festival

The Edinburgh Celtic Festival is one of the largest and most popular Celtic music festivals in the world. Held annually in Scotland, the festival features some of the biggest names in Celtic music, as well as up-and-coming artists from all over the world. If you’re a fan of Celtic music, this is one festival you won’t want to miss.

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