With their new alternative / progressive rock offering “Songs of Saints & Reivers”, Irvine, North Ayrshire, Scotland based quintet Culann brings together PJ Kelly, his brother Sean Kelly, Greg Irish, Ross McCluskie, and Calum Davis, beckons listeners to an audacious blend of musical influences. From the foot-tapping Celtic melodies, through the labyrinthine musings of prog rock, to the heart-thumping cadence of anthemic rock, they paint a sonic tableau that captivates and intrigues.
Birthed in 2008, Culann’s narrative has been one of weaving intricate melodies while challenging conventional song-writing. The fusion of traditional Scottish harmonies with a contemporary lyrical approach paints a soundscape that is tantalizingly unpredictable. Their latest offering, the EP ‘Songs of Saints & Reivers‘, stands testimony to their unyielding commitment to crafting music that’s not just heard, but deeply felt.
Nurtured and brought to life at Watercolour Studios in Ardgour and finely tuned by Greg Irish and Jon Astley in London, ‘Songs of Saints & Reivers’ is not just an auditory delight but an experiential journey through time, history, and raw emotion.
As listeners, we are beckoned to delve deeper, to explore the layers of each track, and appreciate the artistry of Culann. For those eager for more intimate insights, stay tuned for the band’s track-by-track commentary, shedding light on the depths of their creative processes and inspirations.
We’ve always been interested in folklore and the part of Scotland we’re from in steeped in it.
The inspiration behind this song was taken from a story within the book ‘Historical tales & legends of Ayrshire’.
The tale is called ‘Rovers doom on the Carrick shore’ & explores the story of a Viking ship that raided the coastal towns of Ayrshire, one night the younger crew member hears a siren coming from the coastline, a mermaids voice that eventually leads them to their doom as the ship crashes on the shore.
We made a video for this last year & were fortunate enough to win an award for the efforts, we modernised the storyline a bit.
This was maybe one of the most personal songs we have written from a Kelly perspective lyrically. When we were growing up our dad would always say that it was one of his life’s goals to take us to Rome, basically to see the majesty of the place. It really was a special place to him. The subtext beyond just the awe-inspiring nature of the city for him was that he had went before we were born with our mum and it was a place where they didn’t have to hide their relationship (they had been seeing each other secretly as he was about to leave the priesthood to get married to her, a bit of a local scandal for its time!!).
In the end he passed away before he could actually take us there, but we have since both been at different times and felt his presence heavily taking that trip.
Saint Andrew again takes influence from our interest in Scottish history and mythology, in the past we’ve written songs about other key figures who have captured our interest.
This song focuses on an early Scottish King who faced overwhelming odds before a battle, it’s about his struggle and eventual vision of a cross in the sky, he prayed to Saint Andrew & strengthened by this divine intervention they overcame the outnumbering force & won the battle.
It’s a high paced driving song that works well with the story behind the song.
Heart of the Sea
This is another really personal one, I think hopefully people can relate to this one
It was written in the first lockdowns of 2020, the isolation helped with the focus of this song in a round about way .
It’s essentially about being lost at sea after something devastating happening in your life & that one person who helps you find your way home. It was overwhelming at times, writing this song but we’re so glad how it turned out. The entire process was really cathartic.
We have always been fans of Scottish folk and traditional music, this takes an influence from some of our favourite artists. We were lucky enough to have Ewen Henderson from ‘Manran’ record fiddle on this for us too.