Celtic Fire is the unique sounds of Angela Little combined with the energy of Irish dancing, tribal rhythms and astounding visual projections. Angela draws from a wealth of ancient cultures, including Japanese drumming and middle-Eastern rhythms. Her single “By the Boab Tree” was used in Baz Luhrmann’s film Australia and she’s about to join the Shenanigans tour of Australia, so we gave her a call…
You seem to draw on a lot of different music cultures, what exactly is your heritage? Well, I’m Irish-Australian. Both my parents are Irish. There’s Irish and Scottish on both sides of the family.
What is it that makes Celtic music so unique? Oh good question. I think it’s the melodies, I find the melodies, particularly in traditional Celtic music and some of the Gaelic songs, when combined with the Gaelic language, or even in the English language, I find them hauntingly beautiful. You could literally sing the songs a cappella and they’re still amazing and beautiful. That is why I’m so fascinated by it.
Tell me about this Irish music festival you’re part of? Shenanigans! Well its going to be a national tour which is exciting with The Wolfe Tones and also Mundy who we realised – and this has nothing to do with why I’m on the tour, it’s just a kind of weird coincidence – that Mundy had a song that was on the soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet, and I actually worked on Baz Luhrmann’s Australia. A strange little connection there.
What was it like working with Baz? Fantastic. He’s an incredibly creative person who somehow manages to bring out your best work. On that film I went beyond what I thought I could do and what I thought was possible for me. It was a good learning curve because I realised ‘you can go further than you think you can go.’
How long have Celtic Fire been together? We’ve been working on it for just over a year, we did our first performances at the end of 2009 and we spent last year doing some touring and festivals. Woodford’s (Folk Festival) over the Christmas period and then the Port Fairy Folk Festival. Then just various events including a big lunch we played at on St Patrick’s Day.
So what are your plans for this St Patrick’s Day? I guess around St Pat’s we’ll be on the tour, which will be good. On the day itself I am playing somewhere but I’m not sure exactly where yet! I will be doing a gig but I don’t know the details. But I know I’ll be having a pint of Guinness in the day at some point.
So you’re a fan? Yes, I am. And I was surprised and delighted to find out that it’s great for your health, there’s lots of iron it. My husband is Irish and his family is over there, and he told me that when his sisters were pregnant the doctor was telling them that that they should drink it! I better not say that. I might get in trouble for that!
So where do you get a good Guinness in Sydney? There’s an Irish pub in Sydney called, oh God, what’s the name, it’s definitely not Scruffy Murphy’s… it’s at the bottom of the Grace Hotel, its called… oh I’ve forgotten, wait, let me get out my iPhone,…stay on the line…it’s such an Irish pub atmosphere and they’ve got Irish food. Aha! It’s called PJ O’Brien’s. How long will the Irish Festival be going for? Just four days over two weekends, in four major cities.
And if you could perform with any Irish act, who would it be? Someone who’s not already on the tour? Sinead O’Conner. I love her.
Not Brian McFadden? Definitely not. No danger of me saying that. Celtic Fire join the Wolfe Tones and Mundy at the Shenanigans Irish Music Festival, in Melbourne (March 19), Sydney (March 20), Perth (March 25) and Brisbane (March 26). See www.ticketek.com.au.
We’ve got a double pass to each Shenanigans show to give away. For details on how to win, click here.