“Shantalla has to be rated the top traditional band on the Continent” ~ The Irish Voice, USA
Shantalla’s fourth CD ‘From the East unto the West’, was released in Summer 2019. It features traditional and contemporary songs and tunes from Ireland, Scotland and other European countries, with compositions by band members Gerry Murray and Michael Horgan as well as original material from Maurice McGrath, Brian McNeill, Michael McGoldrick, Lorcan Fahy, Charlie Lennon and Joe Liddy.
As part of the Irish and Scottish diaspora, Shantalla are very aware of their roots and traditions and have seen it as part of their mission as a band to promote their culture as widely as possible.
The Irish, Scottish and Breton music and songs featured on the new album are the living expression of the culture and heritage of a people who have been described as the “fathers of Europe” – the Celts. Pushed over many centuries from their origins in the East they left cultural traces across Europe but perhaps its strongest surviving remnant is in the music, song and language of the western-most “Celtic” regions of the continent.
According to many critics, Shantalla is one of the best Celtic groups in Europe. Although formed and based in Belgium, five of the band members are Irish and the sixth Scottish. Their CDs have been unanimously well received by critics and public alike, with many commenting on how surprising it is to hear such fresh, well-played and well-arranged music from a band based in Continental Europe.
The music is drawn from many sources – Ireland and Scotland obviously, but also the USA, Canada and Brittany – and includes original compositions, new arrangements of contemporary material and reworkings of traditional music. Their live performances are powerful and passionate, yet also full of good humour and interaction with the audience. Each member of the band is individually gifted and experienced and they combine together to make a powerful whole. The unique voice and charm of Helen Flaherty, the driving rhythms of Simon Donnelly and Joe Hennon, and the multi-instrument attack of Michael Horgan, Gerry Murray and Kieran Fahy make Shantalla unique in the world of Celtic music. No other band currently combines uilleann pipes, accordion, fiddle, flutes and whistles under one roof.
The evening will continue with a céilí in the foyer. At the Céilí, which is the Irish word for folk dance, attendees can learn from Ronan Healy how to take part in these traditional group dances. No need to be an expert, beginners are more than welcome. The dancers will be accompanied by the group “The Flight of the Earls Ceili Band” which is composed of four members of Shantalla!
- Simon Donnelly: Guitars, Bouzouki, Vocals
- Kieran Fahy: Fiddle, Viola
- Helen Flaherty: Vocals, Bodhran
- Joe Hennon: Guitars, Vocals
- Michael Horgan: Uilleann Pipes, Flute, Whistles
- Gerry Murray: Accordion, Whistles, Bouzouki, Piano