The Tannahill Weavers are one of Scotland’s premier traditional bands. Their diverse repertoire spans the centuries with fire-driven instrumentals, topical songs, and original ballads and lullabies. Their music demonstrates to old and young alike the rich and varied musical heritage of the Celtic people. These versatile musicians have received worldwide accolades consistently over the years for their exuberant performances and outstanding recording efforts that seemingly can’t get better…yet continue to do just that.
The Tannahills have turned their acoustic excitement loose on audiences with an electrifying effect. They have that unique combination of traditional melodies, driving rhythmic accompaniment, and rich vocals that make their performances unforgettable. As the Winnipeg Free Press noted, “The Tannahill Weavers – properly harnessed – could probably power an entire city for a year on the strength of last night’s concert alone. The music may be old time Celtic, but the drive and enthusiasm are akin to straight ahead rock and roll.”
Born of a session in Paisley, Scotland and named for the town’s historic weaving industry and local poet laureate Robert Tannahill, the group has made an international name for its special brand of Scottish music, blending the beauty of traditional melodies with the power of modern rhythms. The Tannahill Weavers began to attract attention when founding members Roy Gullane and Phil Smillie added the full-sized highland bagpipes to the on-stage presentations, the first professional Scottish folk group to successfully do so. The combination of the powerful pipe solos, Roy’s driving guitar backing and lead vocals, and Phil’s ethereal flute playing breathed new life into Scotland’s vast repertoire of traditional melodies and songs.
Three years and a dozen countries later, the Tannahills were the toast of Europe, having won the Scotstar Award for Folk Record of the Year with their third album, The Tannahill Weavers. Canada came the next summer, with thousands at the national festivals in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Toronto screaming an approval that echoed throughout the Canadian media. The Regina Leader-Post wrote, “The Tannahill Weavers personify Celtic music, and if you are given to superlatives, you have to call their talent ’awesome’.”
Since their first visit to the United States in 1981, the Tannahills’ unique combination of traditional melodies on pipes, flute and fiddle, driving rhythms on guitar and bouzouki, and powerful three and four part vocal harmonies have taken the musical community by storm. As Garrison Keillor, the host of “Prairie Home Companion”, remarked, “These guys are a bunch of heroes every time they go on tour in the States”.
Over the years the Tannies have been trailblazers for Scottish music, and their tight harmonies and powerful, inventive arrangements have won them fans from beyond the folk and Celtic music scenes. The Ithaca Journal writes, “Traveling overseas to perform always thrusts the artist into the role of cultural ambassador. If that is the case, the Tannahill Weavers make Scotland out to be a country to desire, one with an appreciation of the old, an acceptance of the new and a quick and playful wit.”
1994 saw the release to critical acclaim of Capernaum, which won the Indie Award in the USA for Celtic Album of the Year from the National Association of Independent Record Distributors and Manufacturers. Now with their 15th album, Alchemy (2000), the Tannahill Weavers are firmly established as one of the world’s premier Celtic artists. From reflective ballads to footstomping reels and jigs, the variety and range of the material they perform is matched only by their enthusiasm and lively Scottish spirit.
Quotes From the Press
“These guys are a bunch of heroes every time they go on tour in the States” – Garrison Keillor, Prairie Home Companion
“…world class musicians with passion and a healthy sense of fun, keeping alive and making accessible the very heart of the tradition itself.” – Mojo Magazine
“…as close to perfect as it gets in an imperfect world…there is no Celtic group which can match the enigmatic Tannahill Weavers for pure excitement.” – R. Weir, Sing Out
“…no band of their ilk has performed with more energy or authority than the Tannies, who blend guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, fiddle, whistles, bodhran and pipes into a lilting product as fine and enduring as the textiles woven by namesake weavers of their Scottish hometown, Paisley.” – Westword, Denver, Colorado
“…the Weavers’ unpretentious manner and superlative playing set them apart from most other Celtic groups. In a world where good taste has become a scarce commodity, the Tannahill Weavers are a wealthy bunch.” – Michael Lipton, The Charleston Gazette
“Versatility is their strong suit, backed up by instrumental brilliance and on-stage high spirit.” – Vancouver Press
“Past meets present for a heckuva future!” – St. Paul Pioneer Press
“If you haven’t yet discovered the emotional power and beauty of Celtic music, then you owe it to yourself to see firsthand one of the best traditional Celtic folk bands in the world – The Tannahill Weavers. No other group comes close to matching their musical style and breathtaking harmony. Whether they’re performing an a cappella ballad with beauty and precision, or a hard-driving Gaelic battle tune, this band is one of a kind, featuring stunning vocals, as well as the best guitar, pipes, fiddle, bodhran, and tin whistle players anywhere.” – Miami Valley Guide to Musical Diversity