Clann An Drumma- Gaelic and Tribal?

Clann An Drumma- Gaelic and Tribal?

Bad Marketing Gimmick For A Good Band

Clann an Drumma” or “children of the drum,” is a fun band, I'll say that right off the bat. Combining the great Highland bagpipe with a bunch of loud drums is unquestionably a fun listen. However, that's not what this article is about.


Why? Because the band refers to its sound as “tribal” Gaelic music, derived from the traditions of the ancient Picts, and because people believe them. And that's just a bunch of nonsense.

First, Gaelic music in general didn't even include percussion until the Chieftains popularized a previously rare and obscure type of drum known as the “bodhran,” which had up until then been known only in one small corner of the Irish southwest. Traditional Irish and Scottish music outside of this small area simply did not include the drum before the Chieftains made it popular a few decades ago.


Second, because the bagpipe only came into Gaelic music sometime late in the middle ages. It was completely unknown to the ancient Picts, or to the Gaels of any era that could really be called “tribal.” Gaels of the later part of the clan era did use the bagpipe, and made it an integral part of their culture- but a clan is different from a tribe.


Third, because Clann an Drumma does not play Gaelic music. They play fun music, as I said- but it's not Gaelic. Listen to Clann an Drumma, and then listen to the singing of Donnie Murdo MacLeod. You won't hear more than the faintest hint of a similarity.


It's true that Highland Regiments in the British Army maintained both drummers and pipers on the payroll. That's because drummers were used to control troop movements, and bagpipes were used to inspire the Highland troops. The most you could say is that Clann an Drumma is freely inspired by the tradition of Highland Regiment pipe and drum units. But “tribal and Gaelic”?


Not remotely.