A preview of Salsa Celtica at The Ironworks, Inverness on the 25th of March, 2012, by Jim Kennedy.


They’ve played countless European and UK festivals, toured all over the world and now they’re coming to Inverness. Salsa Celtica bring a whole new meaning to dance music at the Ironworks.

Salsa Celtica will their unique blend of Cuban Charanga and Celtic Reels to the exotic climes of Inverness. Cuban and Celtic? It really shouldn’t work, but wow! The band started in 1995 with Edinburgh born Toby Shippey’s trumpet, the late Martyn Bennet’s fiddle, a percussionist and a Chilean guitarist popping along to what was supposed to be “folk” sessions. After no doubt a bit of a shock, word began to spread and jazz and yet more Celtic elements found a new home.

The defining moment was a trip to Cuba for the Scot’s born Celtic players and immersion in the sound of Havana. Rumba and reels co-aligned and Salsa Celtica were born. They remain perhaps the only band to successfully bring the Celtic and Latin worlds together.  They have released 5 CDs, most recently 2010’s live “En Vivo En El Norte – In Concert” which was recorded at Findhorn.

So who exactly are they? Well, hopefully an approximation will serve. There will be somewhere between 9 and 14 players with a selection of vocals, bagpipes, percussion, sax, uilleann pipes, guitars, trumpets, fiddle amongst others all playing a part. Who knows what we’ll get! What we do know is that anyone who has seen these guys perform speaks longingly of their infectious rumba rhythms overlain  with bagpipes and fiddle – the Allegre all-stars crossed with Shooglenifty if you will. Try it, just impossible not to dance to.

Salsa Celtica at The Ironworks, Inverness on the 25th of March, 2012. Tickets available via www.Ironworksvenue.com.