Celtic Spotlight: Ceili Rain

Kathy Mattea affectionately describes Ceili Rain as “a seven-headed musical joy-monster.” With electrifying performances on bagpipes, tin whistle, violin, button accordion, guitar and drums, the Celtic rock band’s unique blend of sounds reaches out and pulls the listener into their “heavenly party,” as Ceili Rain lead singer/songwriter, Bob Halligan, Jr. refers to the band’s show.
Ceili (KAY-lee) Rain began in 1995 as Halligan, who boasts tracks on albums that have totaled some 30 million sales and whose songs have been recorded by rock and pop greats Michael Bolton, Cher, Joan Jett, Judas Priest, and Mattea, brought his incredible songwriting talent to the band. Their 1997 debut release, Say KAY-lee, was described by Billboard magazine as “an intriguing musical tapestry – fresh and innovative.” Ceili Rain followed their successful debut with the worldwide distribution of their most recent releases, No You – No Me and Erasers on Pencils.
Ceili Rain is not so much a band as it is an idea, a movement. “You have dreamed it with us, you have given it life for YOU are the reason it lives,” says the band’s website. “It isn’t bagpipes, button accordions and tin whistles, it’s dreams and hopes and encouragements in the face of disappointments, trials and fears. It’s not guitar, bass and drums, it’s a God-given shared creative impulse. We on stage are your humble servants. You are not our fans, you are our friends, our comrades-in-arms. We seek to lock arms with you in the name of family, loyalty and mutual encouragement. We seek to take up the sword with you against oppression, prejudice and poverty. There is MUCH TO DO!! Let us go forth with a light heart, let us make each other stronger and better.”
“Ceili is a Gaelic (Irish) word that means ‘party,’ specifically one with live musicians, dancing, general merriment, an all-ages crowd. ‘Coeli’ is a form of the Latin word for ‘heaven.’ Rain is that stuff that falls from the sky. Thus, Ceili Rain is a ‘downpour of heavenly partiness.’ May it be ever thus!!!!”
Ceili Rain will be performing a 10th Anniversary show on May 5 at Sherlock Holmes Pub on Elliston Place in Nashville. Ceili Rain played its first shows in Nashville in May of 1995.  

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