Formed in 1995 by folk and jazz musicians, this Scottish group gained a local but enthusiastic following playing in clubs and pubs in Scotland where they were especially popular with the countrys growing Hispanic population. Mainly they played in Edinburgh and Glasgow but they also toured throughout mainland Scotland and many of the island communities. Salsa Celtica visited Cuba, playing with local musicians and extending their repertoire, which was immediately evident on their 1997 recording debut Monstruos Y Demonios (Angels And Lovers). The following year they formed a big band to feature specially written works, a venture that featured guest musicians Salero Carlos Peña and Claude Deppa. In 2003 the superb recording El Agua De La Vida reached number 5 on the European World Music Chart.
Playing an energetic blend of Cuban charanga with Scottish Highlands intensity, they substantially increased their audience. They were featured on BBC Radio 2 and Radio 3 and appeared at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival, Dublins Temple Bar Festival, the Pole Pole Festival in Ghent, Belgium, the Celtic Fusion Festival and the Queens Festival in Northern Ireland and, back in London, at the National Theatres Watch This Space Festival and at the BBC Proms In The Park. In 2005 and 2006, Salsa Celtica toured extensively, visiting venues throughout the UK and Europe and also playing in Canada. They also appeared in the film Driving Lessons (2006).
Over the years the personnel of Salsa Celtica has included pianists Phil Alexander and Paul Harrison, saxophonists Andrew Barnett and Steve Kettley, guitarists Galo Ceron-Carrasco and Éamonn Coyne, bass players Mario Caribé and David Donnelly, pipe players Martyn Bennett and Fraser Fifield, trumpeters Ryan Quigley and Toby Shippey, percussionists Doug Hudson, Eric Alfonso, Guy Nicholson and David Robertson, vocalists Lino Rocha and Sylvia Rae, violinists Jenny Gardner, Andi Neate, Chris Stout and Adam Sutherland, and accordionist Andy Thorburn.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.