I have to kind of chuckle that a lot of people spell our band’s name “Cat Angus Cu”. I’m sure lots of the time it’s a typo; your hands just kind of make the word that feels more familiar. But just for the sake of clarification, we have neither a Scotsman nor a cow in our band. “Agus” is the Irish-gaelic word for “and” (often the only one I’ll recognize when I hear a song performed in Gaelic). “Cat”, thankfully, is the same word in both languages so it’s nice and easy to remember. “Cu” (which should have an accent over the “u”) actually means “hound”; the word for “dog” is “madra” but that doesn’t scan nearly as nicely. It lacks the brevity and alliteration.
Also, while I’m just talking about myself (in a blog? Perish the thought!) and the band, I wanted to mention why we don’t say we play “Celtic” music. I’m sure when people say “Celtic” in the case of our music what they mean is “Irish and Scottish”; in which case the word “Gaelic” may be more appropriate. “Celtic” refers to a group of languages, the speakers of which include not only Ireland, Scotland, and Wales; but also Cornwall (in England), Brittany (in France), Galicia (in Spain), Cape Breton (in maritime Canada), and other far-flung places as well.
Well, fair enough, you may say, but what I was referring to was the genre of music. And while it’s true that Irish Trad music often gets lumped into the same category, it’s still not correct. If you ever want a good glaring- and possibly yelling-at, go to a pub in Boston and compliment the seisun musicians on the “Celtic” music they’re playing. To most Trad musicians, Celtic means Enya or Lord of the Dance: new-age, synthesizers, modern compositions. Instead, compliment them on the Irish music. Not only is it more accurate, it sounds more appreciative as well.