The Irish & Celtic Music Podcast is an award-winning free Celtic radio show of independent Irish & Celtic music. The show won “Best Podsafe Music” in 2009 and 2010 in the People’s Choice Podcast Awards. It is one of the Top 40 music podcasts on Apple Podcasts and receives over 20,000 downloads of each show. It is hosted by Marc Gunn, known as The Celtfather for his incredible network of promotion for Celtic music.
Each hour-long show features a mix of indie Celtic music with a variety of styles from traditional Celtic tunes, Irish drinking songs, Scottish folk songs, bagpipes, music from Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Australia, the United States, and around the world. As a podcast, you can listen to or download at your leisure. It is also syndicated on a number of internet and terrestrial radio stations.
We are helping you celebrate Celtic culture through music!
Support the Podcast
How to support the musicians?
The Irish & Celtic Music Podcast exists due to the generosity of the Celtic musicians who share their music with the show. I say "generosity" because, they do not earn any compensation from having their music played on the show. Instead, they rely on your good will and love of their music to support them.
So if you find music that you enjoy, here's how can support them.
- Visit their website.
- Sign up to their mailing lists.
- Buy their CDs on CD Baby or Amazon.
- Buy their digital downloads on CD Baby, Amazon, or iTunes.
- Listen to their music on Spotify.
- Buy their t-shirts or other swag.
- Go see them perform live.
- Tell a friend about their music.
- Share their website on social media.
- Take pictures of the band and share.
- Make videos using band's music and share your pictures or videos. (YouTube pay royalties to most artists who have their music used there. Please contact artists to see if that includes them)
How to support the podcast?
If you truly love this show, then you probably want to show your financial support of it. The Irish & Celtic Music Podcast has a lot of expenses that go into the creation of the show, including my time in producing the show. You can show your support in these ways:
- Make a one-time donation to the podcast.
- Buy our swag or compilation CDs.
- Become a Patron of the Podcast on Patreon for as little as $1 per episode.
- And don't forget to support the artists as outlined above.
Frequently Asked Questions and Comments
You should play…
I need permission from every artist that I play on the podcast. If there's an artist you love who hasn't appeared on the podcast before, please email them. Ask them to complete the permission form and submit their music to the show.
How do artists submit to the podcast?
If you are in a band or know a band that you want to hear on this podcast, please tell them to go to 4celts.com
How do I listen to the show?
The podcast is 100% free to listen to. You can do so in any of the following ways:
- Listen on the website.
- Download the free iPhone app and get regular updates.
- Download the free Android app in the Amazon store and get regular updates. (If you enjoy my music, you might also like the Marc Gunn Celtic Music app)
- Listen on Apple Podcasts.
- Listen through one of our syndicated websites.
- Subscribe and listen on YouTube.
Do artists get paid to be featured in the podcast?
I truly wish. One of my earliest goals with this podcast was to find a way to pay artists. Unfortunately, it is financially not viable. The cost to play an artist in a podcast is 9.1 cents per song per download. There about 16 songs per show, and as I write this, I'm getting over 10,000 downloads. That means each podcast episode will cost over $14,560. The podcast earns $482 per episode on Patreon (as of April 2017).
This is one of the reasons I elected to donate a portion of the the profits to Celtic Non-Profit organizations.
Now that said, shows are cross-posted to YouTube. They do pay royalties to artists.
Where does the profit go then?
Here are some the monthly expenses associated with running this podcast:
- Website hosting $250 per month
- MP3 Hosting $30 per month
- Mailing list $80 per month
- High-speed internet $100 per month
Total = $460 per month
Plus, there are numerous miscellaneous expenses I must hire on a nearly monthly basis, including:
- Web designers
- Computer repair
- Graphic designer
- WordPress technician
- Business card printing
- Sticker printing
- Banners for festivals
- Minimal online advertising
Average cost per month $270 in 2013.
Since publishing this, I've added one employee who compiles New Celtic CDs and Celtic Music News as a service to the artists. I pay him $150 per month.
I donate 10% of all Patreon income to Celtic non-profits. I also donate a variety of income from my Celtic compilation CDs to Celtic non-profits between 10%-90% of the income.
The remainder of the money pays for my time in producing the show. I spend between 10-15 hours per week creating the podcast and promoting it. The money helps me continue to produce this podcast while still feeding, clothing, and housing my wife, 2 daughters, 3 cats and 2 mice.
Who is Marc Gunn, The Celtfather
“[he] has the ability to generate many moods, both with his lyrics and the music. From thought provoking to jubilant” (Sixty Seven Music)
Nicknamed “The Celtfather”, Marc Gunn is a champion of indie Celtic music. He quit his day job in 2005 to pursue music full-time. He got involved in podcasting during his downtime. His Irish & Celtic Music Podcast is one of the top 20 music podcasts on Apple Podcasts. It was voted the #1 Best Podsafe Music Podcast in the People’s Choice Podcast Awards in 2009 and 2010. His Celtic Music Magazine is published monthly and goes out to over 3,000 subscribers. He has given away over 20 million MP3s since he began his Celtic music career.
Irish drinking songs and science fiction. Nowhere else but from the bizarre imagination of Marc Gunn would those elements be so neatly integrated. It’s like a satirical jam session between The Clancy Brothers and Weird Al Yankovic featuring Celtic-style songs about hobbits, cats, kilts, Firefly, Star Wars, Star Trek, plus, Gunn’s rockin’ acoustic renditions of traditional Scottish and Irish songs.
Marc Gunn was there at the beginning of the indie music revolution. While other bands fought to sign to a record label, Gunn started Mage Records to promote his music in the DIY fashion. Mage Records focues on indie Celtic and folk music, the traditional and the twisted. He has released over fifty albums on his Mage Records label since its inception in 1997.
Marc Gunn combines his love of travel with his love a music. Every year, he hosts Celtic Invasion Vacations which are different from standard vacation tours. They are not about “what you can see”. Instead they are about “what you experience.” Gunn believes that it is the people around you who ultimately make a vacation great. He finds one single location abroad and gathers like-minded vacationers to experience his motto, “Good food, good drink, good company”. In 2013, he will take Celtic music lovers on a Celtic Invasion of the Highlands of Scotland.
The phrase “celtic music” has many different meanings to many different people. It is often the subject of many arguments among Celtic music lovers. Who is right? And who is wrong?
Well, there is no right or wrong answer. At it's core, “celtic music' could be defined as the traditional music of the Celts who settled in Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, Wales, Galacia, Brittany, Nova Scotia, and the Isle of Man. But during the last thirty years or so the term “celtic music” has undergone a transformation.
Traditional Celtic Music
Thirty years ago, “celtic music” referred almost exclusively to the traditional music of Ireland. The now-dormant website Ceolas defines “celtic music” in terms of their website as traditional Irish and Scottish music. They make the supposition that most Celtic musicians are bound to play those styles of music if they play traditional Celtic music no matter where they are from.
Another school of thought is that of Texas-based Celtic website owner. He told me that to be a Celtic musician in terms of his website, you must have a background in the traditional music of the Celtic nations. Basically, if you don't know how to play reels and jigs, you can't play Celtic music. His argument was that even Enya started off playing Irish traditional music.
Traditional Celtic Folk Music
John Wilmott of Celtic Ways pointed out to me that there are also regional differences in definitions of “celtic music”. In the United Kingdom, when people mention “celtic music”, they too are talking about the traditional reels and jigs of the Celtic nations. And often times, even traditional folk songs of Ireland and Scotland are called just that “folk songs” not “celtic songs”.
I was performing once with The Rogues, a Scottish pipe & drum quartet. The former bodhran player argued that they did not play Celtic music. They played Scottish music. And he has a point considering the Celtic people of Scotland were based in the Highlands an 95% of the current population is based in the lowlands of Scotland. However, as one reader pointed out, the vast majority of the music was originally Celtic and preserved despite the Highland Clearances and repression of the Scottish Celtic culture.
Celtic New Age
This takes us to the other side of the spectrum–Celtic New Age. In the early 1980's “celtic music” took a new direction. Enya and Clannad introduced a new sound that is now known as Celtic New Age. This style of “celtic music” is largely based more around synthesizers and heavy effects. It attempts to capture the “feel” of “celtic music”. Clannad was followed by Loreena McKennitt, Sara McLaughlin and many more artists. Each one having less of traditional sound and having more of a “feeling”.
Then, there is Celtic Rock. Celtic Rock began with the formation of the Scottish band Runrig who combined Scots Gaelic in a modern rock band. They were the first successful band to do so, and their success spawned countless imitators.
In general, most Celtic Rock bands combine their sound with some traditional Celtic sound whether that be instrumentation (fiddle, bagpipes) or vocal (singing in Gaelic). But Larry Kirwan of Black 47 would argue differently. In the band's biography, Black 47 was playing at an Irish pub when someone shouted out “Play some Celtic music”. Kirwan's response was basically, “I'm from Ireland. I am Celtic. Therefore, we are playing Celtic music.”
‘Celtic Music' Redefined
Obviously, there are some varying definitions as to what Celtic music is. For a more complete definition and the it's evolution, check out the Standing Stones article on What Is Celtic Music?
From what I've seen, many Celtic organizations like the Southwest Celtic Music Association and the Arizona Irish Music Society seem more interested in promoting and educating the growth of the organization and the music community, than hindering it with archaic definitions. I, too, am more concerned with helping Celtic music grow than to hinder it with old definitions. For better or worse, “Celtic music” has changed. Consequently, if you're looking for traditional Celtic music, look for “pure drop” Celtic tunes.
Tunes vs. Songs
You see, there are two types of Celtic music: tunes and songs.
Tunes make up the bulk of the instrumental “celtic music” that you hear about. The Chieftains perform tunes. If you go to an Irish seisun, you will Irish tunes.
Songs, on the other hand, are the traditional vocal compositions that were passed down. Songs like “Whiskey in the Jar” have been performed hundreds of different ways by countless artists.
How does Celtic MP3s.com define “celtic music”?
In case you haven't figured it out, I do not subscribe to the traditionalist view of “celtic music”. As far as I'm concerned, a musician can call their music whatever they want to call it. But will I print it in my newsletter? Not necessarily. I have my standards too.
I'm kinda of in the middle ground. Yeah, I love the music of Enya as much as I love the music of The Chieftains. And as far as I'm concerned, they both play Celtic music.
What Are Folks Saying?
“With more than a dozen albums under his belt and the highly successful the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast, it is easy to see why Marc Gunn is one of the highest regarded names among the Celtic Music scene” – Phil Duckworth, Paddy Rock Radio and Grinning Beggar's Paddy Rock Podcast
Wanted to tell you that I really enjoy your podcast. I grew up in the Boston area in a large IRISH family listerning to irish music every weekend,with nothing else was played.I also had my Da make copies on tapes which he would send to me in S.C. were I was Station with the army. But now I'm working a job were I'm doing third shift and listening to your podcast makes work alot easier. So kept up the good work and when I can afford it I'll join your fan club. SLAINTE
Just wanted to say I've been listening for over a year now; you've been my college soundtrack as of 27 I began to make a go of it. So it's now over a year later, and I finally got around to getting all the back archives downloaded! I'm up to 24, and I'm saving the Christmas ones for wearing out in December, along with the Celtic Christmas Podcast.
I have to say that so far my favorite episodes are #65 and #63: 63 gave me Sonic Impulse “Shimara Shuffle” and Skully's “Molly Malone;” those and Sligo Rag's “The Whiskey Never Lies” are only second to the gift of Ceann, both of which I first heard in #65. Every time I find “Almost Irish” in an earlier episode I get an internal YAY! XD and turn it up. I'm very glad I got to know and love the music of Ceann because of the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast- I was heartbroken when you announced Patrick Halloran's passing… I was walking home and had to stop and rewind- I just couldn't believe it.
— Rachel McDonnell-Mojica
Love, LOVE your podcast. Makes for the absolutely best city sidewalk tromping soundtrack. Many thanks, keep up the excellent work please!
Hi Marc! I recently spent two weeks backpacking through the beautiful highlands of Scotland, and I took several episodes of your great podcast along on my journey. As I walked through the striking mountains and moors, the jolly tunes from your show made my 40 pound backpack feel much lighter! The trip was a life-changing event, and thanks to the music on the podcast I felt I was really able to touch the spirit of the land! Thanks for all your hard work, and keep the great shows coming!
— Adam from Baton Rouge
Hey Marc, Thanks so much for the podcast. I recently returned from the Spanish Peaks Celtic Festival in La Veta, CO, where I got the opportunity to listen to, meet, and take classes with Ed Miller, Robbie O'Connel, the Old Blind Dogs, and a host of others in a weekend filled with music, learning, and FUN! I wanted to thank you, because it was your podcast which got me interested in Celtic music in the first place, and I have since been inspired to learn to play the harp. I am now building my third harp, and am looking forward to playing many tunes on it as my skill improves. And all of this started with your podcast. Thanks again, and keep up the good work!
I just subscribed to the cast and am working on listening to all the episodes. I found the podcast while looking for Irish music on iTunes. I love all kinds of music but Irish and Celtic music just speaks to me. I am partially Irish. I'm not sure how much though I work 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, and your podcast keeps me hoppin' through my shifts. I would definitely like to hear more Potcheen music, preferably either “Steel Blue Sea” or “Drunken Sailor”. Any way, love the show. Keep them coming I will definitely be listening.
– Christopher H.
Thank you very much for producing the Irish and Celtic Music Podcast. I have been listening to the podcast for several years now. I discovered the podcast while searching around the iTunes store for Irish/Celtic music podcasts. Your podcast caught my attention due to the high quality of work you put into your podcast. It gives me the feeling that I am listening to a radio station, but with fewer commercials (and only commercials I want to hear like the ones for Celtic Invasion Vacations). I hope to be listening to your podcast for many years to come!
– John Wall
“Wow! The Loathsome Worm and the Mackerel of the Sea is a wonderful and weird song. You should put on more from that guy… (if you haven't already)” – Jesse Weinstein
“Just a quick note to say thanks for the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast. Originally from Dublin but been living in Sydney Australia for 14 years, playing your podcast always reminds of home and lots of emotions but usually good. Also makes me proud of my Celtic Heritage! Can't believe I only found it last week. Sláinte chugat” – Tony McHugh
“I have listened to The Irish and Celtic Music podcast for a year and a half. I have bought a few CDs and plan to buy more. Your podcast helped me in my college speech class. Our impromptu speech was pass/fail. If you failed that speech, you failed the class. I was very nervous about such an important presentation. At the beginning of the semester we wrote down a list of our interests. Naturally The Irish and Celtic Podcast was high on my list. When the day came for my speech I was handed a slip of paper that read ‘Marc Gunn's Irish and Celtic Music Podcast'. My jitters were lifted. I knew I could speak confidently and fluently about my favorite podcast! I gave the speech about the Celtic Music Diaspora, Celtic artists who live outside of Ireland like The Brobdingnagian Bards, Heather Dale, and Paisley Close, and about all the different instruments that are incorporated into Celtic rock, like the autoharp. I got an A for the speech and an A for the class. Thank you Marc! You made my big speech a breeze. Thank you for the gift of your podcast!” – Kate Scherer, Ohio
“Anyway, I have a song request, Could I hear a rendition of Robert Burns' classic, “Scots Wae Hae”. I love Burns' Dialect of English. My being an Irish Studies major, I like to take in as much celtic-based language stuff as I can. Thanks a bunch, and keep up the good work!”
– Byron of New Scotland
“Dia duit! I was scrounging around on the ‘net this past week, looking for some Celtic music (I'm Scots-Irish, you see, and need my music “fix” every once in a while) rather than listen to every song in my iTunes library for the umpteenth time… and guess what I found! What a great variety of music, from old traditional Gaelic songs to Celtic Revival to even a few unique styles of Irish rock. Gotta thank you for providing this service! Keep it going!!!” – Mike Sinclair
“Hey Marc, Thanks for the great music! I work at a bed and breakfast in Colorado and play your podcasts when I'm preparing and serving breakfast for the guests. Many of them have commented on the music and have said that the morning music helps get their day off to a great start. Thanks for providing a great podcast.”
-David Jordan, Manitou Springs, CO
“Here is a big fan from Germany. I love your podcast. Wonderful so wonderful. My favourites are Traditional Music. I have all the podcast in my MP3 Stick,do my work on nightshift,and hear alltime,great. Here in Opladen i hear Irish Folk at the Guinness Stand, Beerfestival, biggest in the World in August. The Band Celtic Confusion play here with Gerry Doyle, Shane Mc Dermot and others. Come to visit us and have a Guinness together All the best” – Michael Dornbusch
Wall of Celtic Music Saints
The Irish & Celtic Music Podcast would not survive without the generosity of people just like you. You love the free Celtic music. You love the message of helping independent Celtic musicians rise above the corporations that smother or exploit great cultural music. You make a difference to these bands and to this podcast. I'm proud to honor my Celtic Music Saints for helping making this happen.
The Celtic Music Saints are Lifetime Song Hengers who were some of the first to launch the podcast when I started Song Henge back in 2006. You can become a Lifetime Song Henger for $2000 donation to the podcast. Or just become a Patron of the Podcast.
Special Thanks to the Celtic Music Saints
- Tony Bretherton, Australia
- Jeff Harrison, Kansas
- Susann Nutter, New Mexico
- Isabell D., Germany
- BodhranBob, Colorado
- Stephen O'Donnell, Ireland
- Karen Carothers, Maryland
- Cindy Rogers, Oklahoma
- Karen Wilson, Oregon
- Wolfgang K., Wiesbaden, Germany
- Terry Allan Hall, Republic O' Tejas
- Katie D, Maine
- Kevin Mihalik, Florida
- Gip Plaster, Texas
- Jim Callahan “Irish Ukulele”, Illinois
- Erin Nix, Washington
- Adrian von Allmen, Switzerland
- Joel Schonbrunn, California
- Susan Hamrick, North Carolina
- John Johnson, Iowa
- TomFoolery, County Cannon, Tennessee
- Lisa Tate, USA
- Alan Guanella, Wisconsin
- Keith, THE Keith, Indiana
- Bob Mooney, Canada
- Ken Hintz, Virginia
- Erin R., Colorado
- Delwood's Barbecue LLC, North Carolina
- Chris CII, France
- Charles Beers, California
- Bob Stoeckig, Nevada
- Laura Simpson, California
- filkferengi, Georgia
- Gita T., California
- Matt N. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Larry Rosenblum, California
- John Considine, Ag State
- Tom Smith, Massachusetts
- Jeff Boice, Indiana
- John S White, II ,Tennessee
- Alan G.
- Gerry in Oz
- Kimberly K: New Mexico
- Noel P, California
- I. Martin, Nebraska
- Tammy Glover, Alabama
- Travis Senzaki, Japan
- Chris Duck, Washington State
- Al Walsh, Wyoming
- Kelly H, Maryland
- Brian Kavanaugh, Nebraska
- Waylon J., Washington
- Michael Johnson, Arizona
- Dawn Medford, “German Leprechaun”, O' Wisconsin
- Bill Bartgen, Chicago, Illinois
- Ryan M., Manitoba
- M. Gail P., Louisiana
- Craig “Aldwyn” Wallerstein, Chicagoland
- John M, Wisconsin
- W. T. Shammas, USA
- Graeme M., New Zealand
- Laura Simpson, California
- Margaret C., Pennsylvania
- Terry M., Montana
- Brian B., North Carolina
- Dave G, Canada
- Michael Goodman, New Jersey
- Laura Cummings, Iowa
While I don’t charge a dime for this podcast, there are numerous fees involved in running it. That’s why I invite you to become a Patron of the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast!
Why should I support the podcast?
It’s tough finding quality entertainment online. The Irish & Celtic Music Podcast simplifies the process. We find the musicians who want to be heard and we share them with you a few times a month. We are actively creating an outlet for these entertainers, who just want to be heard. It’s a valuable service. Again, it’s all free. But your generous support helps pay for the content you enjoy.
CDs sold through my Celtic Music CD Store benefit this podcast, as do sales through CD Baby, Amazon, or iTunes. A portion of the profits of the compilation CDs listed below also benefit Celtic non-profits. To date, Mage Records has donated over $12,000 to non-profit Celtic organizations to help them continue promoting the Celtic culture that we love.
Ultimately, we are happy if you will just support the artists who support the podcast. So at the very least do that.
Thank you in advance for any contribution to the Celtic community you are willing to make.
1. Support the Artists
The first and best way to support the podcast is to support the artists who donate their music to be heard on my show. Many of them sell their CDs on CD Baby, Amazon, or iTunes. Buy a CD or merch. See a show. Like them on Facebook or other social networks. Tell them you are a fan!
2. Become a Member of the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast
The next best way is to Become a Member of the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast. Song Henge is the fan club of the podcast. You'll get episodes before regular subscribers, 2-4 extra-long episodes per year, and you might even get a free album of MP3s by artists featured in the podcast. It costs as little as $1 per episode. Just click here to subscribe. It’s that easy. And you help keep this show running!
3. Buy One of Our Celtic Compilation CDs
A third way to both support the podcast is to purchase one my Celtic compilations CDs. Each album features a mix of some of the best independent Celtic artists that you've heard on this show. Each is hand-selected. And while a portion of the money does benefit the podcast, I send thousands of dollars a year to non-profit Celtic organizations around the United States because of your purchases of these Celtic compilations.
4. Buy Marc Gunn CDs
I am a musician also. I play acoustic Celtic and folk music. I have over ten albums to my credit ranging from traditional Celtic songs to some folk bluesy originals to some Sci fi geeky music. One of my groups, The Dubliners' Tabby Cats, offer a wild mix of Irish drinking songs for cat lovers. And for those who like more comedic music, my old band, Brobdingnagian Bards, have a bunch more albums of fun Celtic and comedy music. And so the fourth way to support the podcast is to buy one of Marc Gunn's albums.
5. Buy Podcast Swag
The fifth way you can support the podcast (yup, I'm still going) is to buy a T-Shirt or some Swag. I started offering T-shirts so you could not only have a means to support the podcast financially but also so you could show your Celtic colors. So the next time someone sees you wearing your Irish & Celtic Music Podcast T-Shirt, perhaps they will ask about it and soon we'll have another fan of the show.
6. Make a Donation
Finally, I'm not above donations. In fact, I LOVE donations!
Your donations whether monthly, annually, or just by becoming a member of the podcast mean a lot to me. It means you have enough faith in what I am doing that you will happily support my podcast with nothing expected in return. That's incredible! So thank you. I hope I may continue to live up to your expectations for years to come!
Make any donation and I'll send you a sticker.