To further our commitment to Celtic culture, USA Kilts is teaming up with musicians to advance the spread of Celtic music across the globe.
We’ve partnered with Ireland’s own The Screaming Orphans to give away some great music!
Every customer who places and order through the USA Kilts website will get an email with a link to download 5 Screaming Orphans songs for free. This promotion runs from November 10th 2017 to Jan 15th, 2018.
We sat down with the ladies of The Screaming Orphans and asked them a few questions…
USAK: When / Where did the band form and what is the origin story?
TSO: Well, you could say the band formed when we were born as we are four sisters. Our mother sang with her two brothers in a Céilí band (The Richard Fitzgerald Céilí Band) but when she started a family she left her brothers’ band but still loved to sing. As we grew up and showed some musical talent, we became her backing band for gigs in the local hotels. So I would say the band formed as soon as we were able to play a tune together.
USAK: What age did you start playing music?
TSO: I think we all started playing classical piano at about 7 years of age and Angela and Gráinne started violin lessons at 9. We started playing drums, bass, guitar in our teenage years.
USAK: Who were your musical influences?
TSO: Very much our Dad, our mother and uncle Richie. Our mother never stopped singing around the house, she has an incredible repertoire of songs. Our uncle toured with the great Scottish accordion player Jimmy Shand in Ireland when he was a teenager which resulted in him being a life-long lover of Scottish music, which in turn influenced us as kids as he taught us the tunes and songs when we were small. Our Dad loved old American Country music so we heard a lot of Hank Snow, Hank Williams, Boxcar Willie, he also loved John Mc Cormack. I have to mention Irish D.J. Larry Gogan and his Golden Hour, we never missed his programme. Later on, when Angela was starting the bass, she listened incessantly to The Pixies, Talking Heads & Fleetwood Mac.
USAK: What brand / model instruments do you / the band play?
TSO: Angela usually plays her 1973 Fender Precision Bass guitar. Her violin is grandfather’s. Gráinne generally plays a Taylor or a Breedlove acoustic ….until she puts a hole in them. She has a Takamine acoustic guitar at home in Ireland that she loves but won’t take it on the road. In the U.S , Joan plays a $250 (ebay) Sonor kit, at home she has a Yamaha 9000 kit she got years ago. She has an Albert Alfonso bodhran. Marie Therese plays a small Paolo Soprani piano accordion bought on ebay for $500 and her keyboard of choice is the Korg SV1.
USAK: What was the funniest thing that happened to you on the road?
TSO: Most of the stuff that happens to us on the road is not very funny at all …….maybe get back to us in a few years and we’ll have a different answer for you then.
USAK: What is your favorite song to play live?
TSO: It’s always the latest one so at this time it’s a song called Shine. We haven’t recorded it yet but plan to do so in the next few weeks. Now if you were to ask Joan what her least favourite song is, it would always be the same answer……..Whiskey In The Jar.
USAK: How important is it to have Celtic influence in your music?
TSO: When we were teenagers, our prime focus was rock/pop music but when we came to the U.S and got involved in the Celtic music scene over here we re-discovered our love for the Celtic music of our childhood. You take for granted what is part of you and when we realized how much people here love and celebrate their heritage it woke us up and made us realize that the old songs from home are dying out so we needed to perform them to keep them alive. There is a great effort going on in Ireland at the moment to pass on the tunes and to some extent traditional songs but the ballads are being neglected and the ballads are the songs of the working class people celebrating their areas and events so they have to be kept alive also. Some of our original pop songs are now starting to have more of a Celtic twist so it’s an ongoing journey for us.
USAK: Name ONE Other band in the Celtic Music scene who you think are doing an awesome job or are talented and tell us why you feel that way.
TSO: This is an easy question and we have 3 names……. Albannach, Rathkeltair and Old Blind Dogs. We consider ourselves extremely lucky to get to share stages with them. They are super talented and hard working and there’s not one ego amongst them. They inspire us and when we play with them we don’t just settle for a good show, we strive for excellence as all 3 bands never fail to raise the bar every time they perform.
USAK: What do you do when you’re not performing or on tour?
TSO: A whole lot of nothing.
USAK: What Social Media do you use the most if fans want to connect with the band?
TSO: Facebook is the only one we bother with. We are not that big on social media but we are forced into it because of the band. Still, it’s a great promotional tool so I can’t knock it.
USAK: What are the future plans for the band?
TSO: To keep writing, performing and getting better.
USAK: Any words of advice for budding musicians?
TSO: Never give up. The minute you stop is the minute you fail.
That sounds like great advice for more than just musicians! To see when the band will be playing near you, visit: www.thescreamingorphans.com