Whiskey Fueled Celtic Rock - The Kilmaine Saints and the Celtic Renaissance - Interview With Michael McNaughton

"The music is in our blood when we perform, in our hearts when we write it and in our heads when we sleep." - Mike McNaughton

A focus at Transceltic this year will be the resurgence of Celtic Identity in North America and surge in attendance at Celtic festivals.  We caught up with Mike McNaughton, drummer for the Kilmaine Saints, an American Celtic Rock band who are popular on the festival circuit. The Kilmaine Saints were started in 2009 by a few members of the Lochiel Emerald Society Pipes and Drums (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) and were joined by a classicly trained fiddler and a singer from Ireland's County Mayo. Since then the band have have enjoyed major success playing the growing number of Celtic Festivals in the United States. 

Transceltic posed the following questions to the band's drummer, Michael McNaughton:

1. Can you comment on the increase in attendance at Celtic festivals in recent years.  In your opinion what is the cause ?    

We have certainly noticed an increase and I think that says a lot for this genre of music, not to mention Celtic heritage in general. I think a large part of the resurgence has to be attributed to the popularity of certian bands like Dropkick Murphy and Flogging Molly. Not that they necessarily play at festivals, nor were they the first bands out there...but I think they have opened up the eyes and ears of a younger generation, which has led to a renewed interest  in Celtic Pride and made the music and culture much more acceptable and therfore desirable to a broader spectrum of the population. There is something to be said for any music that makes you stand up and take pride in your roots.

2. Do you view the Kilmaine Saints as a Celtic band ? Do you see the band as ambassadors of Celtic culture ?

We absolutely see ourselves as a Celtic band.  With our mix of Irish and Scottish traditions, bagpipes, fiddle and whiskey fueled original compostions..we are certainly not aiming for Top 40 radio audience. As for being ambassadors of Celtic culture, I believe we do see ourselves that way. The music is in our blood when we perform, in our hearts when we write it and in our heads when we sleep.  We may not appeal to some true die-hard traditional Celtic music lovers, and that's okay - to each their own - but I do feel we are out there leading the charge for a younger generation that likes their Celtic music a little harder, a little angrier and a little faster. And we carry that flag proudly.  

3. Please share with us your future plans for the band.

Playing more festivals, writing new music and playing more festivals ! We are working class stiffs that started this band to have fun, playing the music we love and maybe play once a year for St. Patricks Day for beer.  To say we have exceeded that expectation is an understatement.  Our 1st two CD's received rave reviews, we're getting radio and podcast play all over the world and our fan base is growing daily..and we're pretty happy and humbled by that.  So our focus for 2014 is to continue writing new music for a 3rd CD and play more festivals on the East Coast.  Further than that,  who knows - we're just incredibly blessed to have the fans & friends we've made these past 5 years. We are a band that is more like a family with iron-clad livers and devilishly good looks.



The Kilmaine Saints

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