St. Andrew


Although there is little confirmation as to how St. Andrew actually transformed to become Scotland’s patron saint, the figure is celebrated as one of the prime figures in Scotland to  date. Various multiple theories indicate the importance of St Andrew; from relics belonging to St Andrew being brought to Scotland as early in the 4th century, and that these relics later became a special saintly destination for medieval pilgrims, to the Pictish King Angus MacFergus witnessing a saltire cross in the sky before a battle. Nevertheless, whatever the theory, one thing is clear: St Andrew’s Day is celebrated each year on the 30th of November, and has surely been absorbed by the Scottish culture and heritage.

History narrates that St. Andrew was made the official patron saint of Scotland at the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320. Later, by 1390, Saint Andrew was printed on coinage for the first time. However, St Andrew is more known in history when he was crucified by the Romans on a diagonal cross on the day of November 30th, which today is marked as his day.

From generations to generations, St. Andrew’s Day has been celebrated vigorously. In 2007, the Scottish Parliament even made St. Andrew’s Day an official bank holiday in Scotland! But how does the world celebrate this auspicious day? Let’s have a look.

St. Andrew is not just a patron saint restricted to the lands of Scotland. In this regard, other major parts of the world also pay homage to this saint, such as Barbados and the Caribbean Islands.

Break a World Record:
The Majority of the St. Andrew’s Day celebrations in the Scottish capital revolve around the Grassmarket, with events and festivities commencing from the noon till late night. Live events, foods, drinks and carnivals: the day is completely fun-filled and thrilling. In all this fun, there are numerous world records that are being attempted, such as one named the ‘World’s Longest Strip the Willow’ during the outdoor ceilidh. St. Andrews Day is nothing short of celebrations, and what better way than to spend it by breaking a world record?

Story telling Traditions:
Scots are known for their storytelling and the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh has a family-friendly program lined up for this day. Kids and adults alike can join in for this amazing and inspiring story telling regime, which is a tribute to Scotland’s amazing stories and its fantastic food. On the other hand, if you aren’t up for simple story telling, why not go for the musical touch. There are a range of musical bands who come together to play traditional Scottish folk music, basically the Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection; all as a homage to St. Andrew.

Handicrafts and Soveniours:
St. Andrew’s Day is home to multifarious handicrafts and beautiful souvenirs, such as Indy Traders Craft & Vintage Market in Glasgow every year. Here, you will be able to find everything from handmade crafts, stylish clothes and handmade soaps to fine prints and vintage photography. In addition to this, there’s also face painting, a jewelry making workshop, and free food for the visitors. This is one place and event you certainly do not want to miss out on.

Scottish Gala Events:
Not in Scotland for St. Andrew’s Day? Across the world the decedents of Scots celebrate St. Andrew’s Day by holding Scottish Gala Events. Enjoy an evening of Scottish Traditional Music, Highland Dance and Scottish food. Or, enjoy some fine Scottish meats and liquors from your local shop and plan a night next to a roaring fire or outback in the firepit. Have some Robert Burns poetry nearby to read out loud to family and friends; and tune into your favorite Scottish music channel (may we suggest Highlander Radio!).

While St Andrews Day is considered a time to celebrate, there are also associated with it a range of other customs and traditions that have till today stood the test of time. Here are a few that are so interesting that they definitely mark the day even more eventful:

 A Girl Wishing to Marry
Tradition has it that if a girl throws a shoe at a door or peels a whole apple without breaking the peel and then throw the peel over her shoulder, she will meet her match the very same year! Moreover, extension of this tradition is that if the peel formed a letter of the alphabet, then this suggested the name of her future groom! How interesting is that?

Testament in the Scottish Flag
The Scottish flag, the Saltire, contains the X-shaped cross on which St. Andrew was actually crucified on November 30th, 60 AD. History reveals that a St Andrew’s Cross was seen in the sky on the morning of a crucial battle in 832 AD between the Picts and the Angles. The Picts were inspired by the appearance of this symbol, and once declared victorious in their battle, they regarded it as a doing of St. Andrews! Today, St Andrews Day is taken as Scotland’s National Day as well. The Saint is placed high on a pedestal in the Scottish regime, as is evident by the plethora of traditions and customs, coupled with the never ending colorful celebrations. November 30th witnesses the whole of Scotland united and glorious; as a tribute to the sacrifices and personality of St. Andrew! Whether you are in Scotland or abroad, take some time on November 30th to learn and celebrate Scotland’s Patron Saint through food, history and music.

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Often when you think of the fusion of traditional Irish music and rock and roll there are some staples that come to mind; The Pogues, Flogging Molly and of course, The Dropkick Murphys. But, there are always plenty of European bands doing this beautiful mix who haven’t stormed the beaches of America yet. Hungarian rock band Firkin is a fine example. Wonderfully blending centuries-old Irish story telling with fast, upbeat, driving rock music.

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Jennifer Licko

jennifer_lickoJennifer Licko is an artist and performer from North Carolina. Her music embody the perfect compromise between new world and old world folk, blending in elements as diverse as Americana, bluegrass, country and Celtic.

I’ve always been passionate about music genres that grow and evolve based on so many different factors. European folk music traveled a long, long way across the vast and cold Atlantic Ocean to reach the shores of America. People brought their own songs, their own stories and their own memories in the form of their favourite tunes, but the music kept changing and acquiring new meanings; one generation after the other. Eventually, instruments and melodies of European music blended in with sounds that traveled all the way from Africa, originating exciting genres such as blues and rock. When I listen to the songs featured within “A thousand curses upon love”, the latest studio work by Jennifer Licko, I am reminded of this beautiful story of sound – this story of evolution and emotion embedded deeply in the heart of those who sing and those who listen.

As a world traveler and multi-instrumentalist, Jennifer develops a truly kaleidoscopic attitude to musical composition, making for exciting and personal performances with a credible and spontaneous energy: it’s all about bridging the gaps between culture and emotion! Culture is actually such an important part in Jennifer’s life that she set out to collaborate on many school programs focused on the importance of cultural diversity.

“A thousand curses upon love” is not only the portrait of a talented performer, but also a fantastic journey through many musical and cultural traditions and more importantly…a collection of heartwarming and beautiful songs. And that earns it not only a 5 star review from Celtic Radio, but our selection of the 2014 Celtic Radio Album of the year!

Find out more and let the music tell you the rest of this story:


A Thousand Curses Upon Love

5.0 Stars!

Track List

1. Turning Away
2. The Moon Going Home
3. Mile Marbhphaisg Air A’Ghaol
4. Fickle Breezes
5. Nollaig na mBan
6. The Song of the Singing Horseman
7. Siuthadaibh bhalachaibh
8. Hard Times Come Again No More
9. The Sea
10. Clare to Here

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Fuinnimh – The Egyptian set

Conor O’Sullivan playing the Egyptian Set with Fuinnimh. Very nice!

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All Our Yesterdays


Since Richie Blackmore and Candice Night joined forces as Blackmore’s Night, they have been almost single-handedly responsible for the newfound mainstream popularity of traditional folk music. The band, however, didn’t only limit their output to interpreting and performing music the way it used to be performed (even paying particularly attention to reproducing the sound and feel of antique instruments), but they set out to adapt their influences to their own sensibility, creating a unique blend of sonic aesthetics that have become more and more consolidating record after record.

The former Deep Purple and Rainbow member seems to have found his right home within this prolific project, now reaching the important milestone of its 10th studio album!

While, the title track introduces the album set list with some truly hypnotic vibes, slightly reminiscent of Balkan folk, following number “Allan Yn N Fan” echo the sounds of Irish / Celtic music with some modern updates, as electric guitar lines add an extra bit of contrast. One of the album’s pivotal moment is definitely the band’s rendition of Mike Oldfield’s classic single, “Moonlight Shadow”. Candice Night truly owns the lyrics and set out to make the vocals her own with a stunning and ethereal performance.

One of the most impressive qualities of the album is definitely the sheer variety of the arrangements and the beautiful sonic aesthetics associated with the composition and performance of these songs. The diverse backdrop of instruments as well as Candice Night’s very distinctive vocal performances have been a part of Blackmore’s Nights trademark sound since day one, but the band feels more and more confident in their performances, as if Blackmore & co became more and more aware of their means, as well as of the perks of their unique sound, record after record. On All Our Yesterdays, the kaleidoscopic approach to music of this band is definitely explored as an exciting possibility, whether the group is performing stunning originals or heartfelt cover versions.

The album stands out as an excellent effort, showcasing how Blackmore’s Night seamlessly continues to establish themselves as a unique act with their one-of-a-kind blend of folk songs, antique instrumentation and hints of contemporary rock. 5 Stars from Celtic Radio.

Read More from Celtic Radio.

All Our Yesterdays

5.0 Stars!

Track List

1. All Our Yesterdays
2. Allan Yn N Fan
3. Darker Shade of Black
4. Long Long Time
5. Moonlight Shadow
6. I Got You Babe
7. The Other Side
8. Queen’s Lament
9. Where Are We Going From Here
10. Will O’ the Wisp
11. Earth Wind and Sky
12. Coming Home

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