Meet the Band

The Sound of Celtic Routes

Picture yourself in a small town somewhere in Ireland, when a group of local musicians start playing and singing some traditional tunes in the corner. They’re sitting around a few tables, most likely with a few pints of Guinness within reach. Or, maybe you’re strolling down the street in Glasgow or Inverness, or anywhere else in Scotland, and you’re drawn in by the sound of music and song emanating from a local pub. Or, perhaps, you’re somewhere in Atlantic Canada, and you’ve stumbled on to an east coast kitchen party, where local tunes are ringing out well into the evening.

If you envision yourself in one of these settings, you’ll be hearing and singing along or tapping your feet to the music that you’ll find at a Celtic Routes concert or pub night. Celtic Routes – we’re excited and proud to be sharing the music, songs and stories from Ireland, Scotland and Canada’s East Coast.

Celtic Routes History

Celtic Routes, a Lethbridge-based Celtic music group, was formed in 2017, when a group of local musicians who share their love and passion for Celtic music decided to band together. The members of Celtic Routes had all been playing music for numerous years, enjoying and performing various genres of music, ranging from dance hall, classical, folk and Celtic.

Consisting of Anna Linville on fiddle, tin whistle and vocals, Darlene Waldie on accordion, Arturo Tejeda Torres on guitar, and John King on guitar and vocals, Celtic Routes have been impressing audiences throughout southern Alberta with their own brand of Celtic music, including Irish, Scottish and Canadian East Coast music, songs and stories. They have performed at the Water Valley Celtic Music Festival, Lethbridge Folk Festival, New West Theatre’s Arts in the Park Summer Concert Series, Delta Calgary South and are regular performers at Lethbridge Folk Club events. They can often be seen at various other venues in southern Alberta, including cultural events at the Southern Alberta Ethnic Association (Heritage Day, Celebrating Everything Scottish), Lethbridge Dragon Boat Festival, pubs (including Theoretically Brewing, Twin Butte General Store, and The Zoo at the University of Lethbridge), as well as various summer pop-up concerts. They have also been featured on CKXU Radio in Lethbridge. Their brand of high energy, hand-clapping, toe-tapping, and sometimes heart-tugging shows is their way of sharing the rich culture of Celtic music with the community!

If you like Irish, Scottish and Canadian East Coast music, songs and stories, or are just curious, you’ll never regret attending one – or many – of Celtic Routes’ performances!

Anna Linville

fiddle, vocals

Anna hails from the UK and has lived in England, Wales and Scotland and spent time in Ireland. Classically trained, the Scottish ceilidh scene turned her into a fiddler and she’s never looked back. Playing in Edinburgh ceilidh bands of all sizes ranging from 4 to 15 pieces, her first love is jigs and reels, as well as strathspeys and airs, but she also adds ethereal vocal harmony to the Celtic Routes sound.

Anna is definitely our own, “Scottish influence”, in our music selections and performances! With her enthusiasm towards Celtic music, she has greatly expanded our Scottish repertoire, as well as our Irish and East Coast selections.

Darlene Waldie

accordion

Darlene has always loved accordion music and was given a great chance to play old time dance music with Alvin and the Gafflebitters in Southern Alberta.  In Southeast Saskatchewan and Southwest Manitoba, she joined The Happy Wanderers playing for dances and in nursing homes.

Celtic Routes speaks to Darlene’s Irish ancestry and her coastal (BC) upbringing. She especially enjoys playing the poignant, historical and sea songs with Celtic Routes – not to mention the rollicking, toe tapping, hand clapping flights of fancy that oft burst out.

Arturo Tejeda Torres

guitar

Arturo moved to Lethbridge from Queretaro, Mexico a few years ago. Before moving to Canada, he played guitar in several bands in Mexico, and he taught guitar to younger students.

Being a music lover and a musician with a unique guitar style, he decided to join the Lethbridge Folk Club shortly after arriving in Lethbridge. While attending the Lethbridge Folk Club open stages and concerts, and listening to Celtic Routes, he developed a new music interest – Celtic music. He met with and jammed with a few members of Celtic Routes to gain a better understanding of Celtic music and the stories behind the songs. In no time, his interest in Celtic music kept growing and it wasn’t long before he became a member of Celtic Routes.

John King

guitar, vocals

Born the grandson of Irish immigrants and growing up in the Montreal and Ottawa Irish communities, Irish music and culture has always been part of John’s life. When he first picked up his guitar as a teenager, instead of playing rock and roll, he concentrated on songs from the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, Irish folk singers, largely credited with bringing traditional Irish music and songs to North America in the 1960’s.

While living in Saskatoon several years later, John noted that there were no Irish music groups in town, so he formed the music group, “Tipperary” and joined the Saskatoon Association for the Promotion of Irish Culture, and the Saskatchewan Irish Club. Tipperary later became, “Tipperary Creek”, and for 15 years, the band performed all over Saskatchewan at festivals, pubs, conventions, private parties, etc.

In 2015, John made his first ever trip to Ireland, and the music, songs and stories that had somehow faded away while life happened, were reborn in him. Since then, John has regularly been performing Irish, Scottish and East Coast music in Lethbridge and the surrounding area. By 2017, he joined forces with other local musicians who share his love and passion for Celtic music, and Celtic Routes became a reality.

Frequent Guest Member

Alec Chisolm

Bagpipes, Bellows-blown Small Scottish Pipes, Tin Whistle, Vocals

Alec has played the bagpipes since he was 9 years old and now he’s helping aspiring bagpipers become confident on the practice chanter and transition to the pipes! Receiving professional bagpiper instruction, Alec won many medals competing in solo piping (Grade 3) in highland games across Canada. He also learned many other instruments including trumpet, Irish whistles, the bodhran, banjo and a bit of mandolin.

Alec has busked, played in pub crawls with pipe bands, and performed at various celebrations including weddings, funerals and Remembrance Day ceremonies. He taught himself the bellows-blown Scottish small pipes and wrote half a dozen of his own tunes. He is now studying and learning the Irish uilleann pipes.

Inspired to share his piping knowledge and his love for teaching beginner bagpipers, Alec started leading bagpipe lessons on YouTube in 2019, and now teaches piping online, screened all around the world (getbagpipeready.com).

With Celtic Routes, whenever he can, Alec adds to the vocals, and plays bagpipes, the bellows-blown Scottish small pipes, long whistle, tin whistle and bodhran. Since Alec lives in Pincher Creek, he is not always available to perform with Celtic Routes, but, when he can, he is a most welcome guest performing member of Celtic Routes!

Photos

Sailing Home

Our first full-length album, featuring 15 Celtic favorites.
Purchase directly from Celtic Routes at one of our live shows.
Purchase from The Scottish Shoppe
106A 10 Street NW Calgary
1. Boys of Killybegs. (Tommy Makem).
“There are wild and rocky hills on the coast of Donegal”. For sure, the cliffs of Sliabh Liag (Slieve League) are some of the highest Atlantic cliffs in Ireland. This song is dedicated to the fishermen from the beautiful County Donegal fishing town of Killybegs who “fight to make their living from the sea”.
2. Sailing Home. (Dermot O'Brien).
This sailor’s wandering days are over, and he can’t wait to get back home to Dublin to the girl he loves.
3. Fields of Athenry. (Pete St. John).
The Famine was a terrible time in Ireland (1845 – 1849). Oftentimes, men who stole food just to keep their family going were imprisoned and sent away on prison ships to Botany Bay, a penal colony in Australia. This is a heart wrenching song about one of those families.
4. Ballad of St. Anne’s Reel. (David Mallett).
The welcoming spirit of Prince Edward Island is contagious and lives on well after we move on.
5. Nancy Spain. (Barney Rushe).
A sad story about a lonely guy who hopes against hope that his true love will return to him. This is probably one of Christy Moore’s most popular ballads.
6. Saltwater Joys. (Wayne Chaulk).
Often, songs from “Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers” (of which the songwriter, Wayne Chaulk, is a member) are funny and nonsensical, but they also write about life in Newfoundland and Labrador. This one talks about a local guy who decided to stay at home (along with his reasons why) rather than pursue his fortune elsewhere (maybe Fort McMurray?).
7. Working Man. (Rita MacNeil).
A beautiful tribute to the coal miners of Cape Breton that definitely resonates with us living in coal mining country of southern Alberta and south-eastern British Columbia.
8. Mairi’s Wedding. (traditional).
A Scottish song about a proud father celebrating his daughter’s wedding. We found the accompanying reel, called “Egan’s Reel”, and added it into our interpretation of this old tune.
9. If I Can’t Take the Island with Me. (Aaron C. Lewis).
Aaron Lewis, the songwriter of this song, is the son of one of the original members of the Carlton Show Band. He later toured with the band in the 1990s. He was recently inducted into the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame (2018). This song is about his love for Cape Breton Island and his “longing to return to the people so close to (his) heart”.
10. Will You Go, Lassie, Go. (traditional).
An old Scottish tune. It sounds like a love song, but we have to wonder about his commitment in the last verse, where he says, “If my true love she were gone, I would surely find another”!
11. Mermaid. (traditional).
The mermaid “told us of our doom”! We should have paid attention.
12. Grace. (Sean and Frank O'Meara).
Many songs have been written about the Easter Rising in 1916, during which the leaders who led the rebellion by proclaiming Irish independence in front of the General Post Office (GPO) were defeated and subsequently executed at Kilmainham Goal (Jail). One of them was Joseph Plunkett who was engaged to Grace Gifford at the time of the Rising. He and Grace were allowed to marry in the chapel of Kilmainham and spend about 15 minutes of private time together the night before his execution. A plaque commemorating their marriage is still on display in the chapel at Kilmainham. This poignant song tells a story of the conflicts between Joseph’s love for Grace and his love for Ireland.
13. Cliffs of Doneen. (Jack McAuliffe).
Apparently, the Cliffs of Doneen are fictitious, but are sometimes considered synonymous with the famous Cliffs of Moher (Aillte an Mhothair). Although the Cliffs of Doneen may not be real, the towns of Kilkee and Kilrush are actual towns in County Clare.
14. Maggie. (George Washington Johnson).
What a surprise! Although we thought this love song about growing old together was Irish, we discovered it was actually written by a Canadian from Toronto in 1864.
15. Wild Colonial Boy. (traditional).
A song about Jack Duggan, a fictitious Irish Robin Hood, who, “robbed the rich to help the poor” in Australia.

Videos

Are Ye Sleepin’, Maggie with Lethbridge Highland Dancers. Lethbridge Highland Dancers, Fiona Urquhart and Ava Trotter, dancing to an old Scottish tune. Recorded live at ATB Financial Lethbridge Rotary Dragon Boat Festival, 2023.

Are Ye Sleepin’, Maggie. A very old Scottish poem, written in the 1700s by Robert Tannahill, which was later set to music. The story was about a Young Scottish lad courting his lassie (Maggie), who’s “sleeping” in her father’s house. The words are in old Scottish English, so it’s hard to follow the story. Let’s just say he managed a successful liaison with his lover! Recorded live at a private St. Patrick’s Day event in 2023.

Up She Rises. A fun Newfoundland singalong, clap along tune – try to just listen without clapping!. Recorded live in the School Tent at Water Valley Celtic Festival, 2023.

Home Boys, Home. A traditional Irish tune. Since we were playing this at a family-friendly event (Chamber Tent at Water Valley Celtic Festival 2023), we sing the family version!

Rambles of Spring. A whimsical celebration of spring, sung by a travelling Scottish (or Irish) fiddler! Recorded live on Settle In Stage at Water Valley Celtic Festival, 2023.

St. Patrick Battalion. In order to escape the Great Famine in Ireland in the late 1840’s thousands of Irish people emigrated to North America. Many of the young men who landed in Boston or New York were immediately conscripted into the US army. At that time, the Americans were engaged in a war with Mexico, fighting over the Texas territory. One group of Irish soldiers decided that the Mexicans were being exploited by the Americans, so they traded sides, formed The St. Patrick Battalion and fought alongside the Mexicans. Mexico lost the war and, therefore the territory. Most of the fighting Irish perished in that war. Recorded live on Settle In Stage at Water Valley Celtic Festival, 2023.

Lanigan’s Ball. Our fun version of Lanigan’s Ball. As the story goes, Jeremy Lanigan inherited a small fortune from his father (which was good because he really didn’t have much money!). He threw a “grand party for friends and relations”, but the party didn’t go as planned! It started out OK, but then it erupted into “a row and a ruction”, and deteriorated quickly. We sing only 2 verses: the first to set the stage and the last to summarize the disastrous ending! The jigs include, “Tenpenny Bit”, “Rakes of Kildare”, “Dancing Master” (also known as “Swallowtail Jig:) and “Lanigan’s Ball”. Recorded live at Theoretically Brewing, Lethbridge, 2023.

Paddie Lie Back. An silly Irish tune about finding work on a sailing ship, followed up by 2 traditional Irish jigs “Kesh Jig” and “Morrison’s Jig”. Recorded live at Theoretically Brewing, Lethbridge, 2023.

Far Side of the World. A modern day song from Scotland – a guy reminiscing about his Highland Girl, and obviously missing her! The traditional tune, “Maggie in the Woods”, made famous by The Chieftains just seemed to fit nicely at the end of the song! Recorded live at Theoretically Brewing, Lethbridge, 2023.

Kelligrew’s Soiree and I’s th’ B’y. A couple of popular Newfoundland tunes. Recorded live at Theoretically Brewing, Lethbridge, 2023.

I’ll Tell Me Ma. A Belfast street song! We start with The Road to Boston, then I’ll Tell Me Ma, then finish with O’Keefe’s Reel. Recorded live at Theoretically Brewing, Lethbridge, 2023.

Irish Rover. Traditional Irish tune about the craziest ship that ever sailed from Cork en route to New York….but it didn’t quite make it! We have lots of fun with this one! Recorded live at Theoretically Brewing, Lethbridge, 2023.

The Osprey and Drunken Piper. Medley of Scottish Tunes – The Osprey (written by Dougie MacLean) and Drunken Piper (traditional). Recorded live at Theoretically Brewing, Lethbridge, 2023.

Jolly Beggarman. Alec Chisolm joins us on Scottish small pipes for this fun traditional Irish tune about the life of a wandering beggar man. Recorded live at The Venue of New Hope, Park Lake Alberta on Canada Day 2023.

Scottish Medley – McPherson’s Lament and Athol Highlanders. Alec (tin whistle and border pipes) and Anna (tin whistle and fiddle) duet recorded live at Petals Paws and Beans, September 2023.

I Wish I was Hunting. A lively Irish/Scottish song about the joys of hunting. We follow this with 2 Irish reels – “Denis Murphy” and “John Ryan”. Recorded live at Theoretically Brewing, Lethbridge, 2023.

Walking on the Waves. A modern Scottish love story. Recorded live on the patio at Theoretically Brewing, Lethbridge, AB, 2023.

In Memory of Herbie MacLeod A beautiful traditional fiddle tune from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Recorded live at Legion Arms, Lethbridge, August 2023.

Live Events

Upcoming Shows

Please note: All upcoming dates may be subject to health restrictions and/or cancellation due to Alberta Health Services regulations due to Covid-19.

January 2024
  • Saturday, January 6, 7:00 – 9:00 PM – Lost Things Distillery, 967 Main Street, Pincher Creek, AB
  • Monday, January 15, 1:15 – 2:45 PM – Nord-Bridge Outreach Program, Nord- Bridge Seniors Centre, 1904 13th Avenue North, Lethbridge, AB
  • Friday, January 19, 2:30 PM – Piyami Lodge, 300 Rogers Avenue, Picture Butte, AB
  • Saturday, January 20, 6:00 – 9:30 PM – Everything Scottish Celebration, Multicultural Centre, 421 6 Avenue South, Lethbridge, AB
March 2024
  • Wednesday, March 13, 2:00 – 3:00 PM, Edith Cavell Care Centre, 1255 5 Avenue South, Lethbridge, AB
  • Thursday, March 14, 1:30 – 2:45 PM – Blue Sky Lodge, 1431 – 16 Avenue North, Lethbridge, AB
  • Friday, March 15, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM – Nord-Bridge Annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration, 1904 13th Avenue North, Lethbridge, AB
  • Saturday, March 16, 7:00 – 9:00 PM (or maybe a bit later!) – St. Patricks’ Day Celebration, Theoretically Brewing Taproom (expanded!!), 1263 2 Avenue South, Lethbridge, AB
  • Sunday, March 17, afternoon (times TBD) – St. Patricks’ Day Celebration, Twin Butte General Store and Restaurant, Twin Butte, AB

Jams & Open Stages

Upcoming Jams & Open Stages

Celtic Routes proudly support and share our music at the following music jams and open stages.

General Schedule
  • Every month, first and third Wednesdays – Open Stage, Petals, Paws & Beans, 24 Mount Burke Blvd W, Lethbridge, AB
  • Every month, first Thursday, 7:00 PM – Celtic Music Jam – Theoretically Brewing, 1263 2nd Avenue South, Lethbridge, AB
  • Every month, September to May, second Friday, 7:00 PM – Lethbridge Folk Club Open Stage, McKillop United Church Hall, 2329 15th Avenue South, Lethbridge, AB (except where noted)
  • Every month, second Wednesdays, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM – Open Stage/Circle Jam, Taber Public Library, 5415 50 Avenue, Taber AB

Contact Us & Booking Enquiries

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