1996 – present (21 years)
Plzeňský kraj, Czech Republic
Rollicking, lollicking songs, jigs and reels from the heart of Bohemia
Poitín (pronounced 'patcheen') is of course that famous Irish firewater distilled from wheat and rye, but it's also a trad Celtic band from the Czech Republic not averse to a little experimentation - they've got a didge player and a saxophonist who doubles up on low whistles and tin whistles. The band is, however, firmly grounded in the pub session tradition and like nothing better than sitting round a table in the corner of a cosy pub and bashing out old favourites about tarry sailors, merry maids and drunken nights (or is it drunken sailors, tarry maids and merry nights?!)
Review: Here's what they said about them on the Free MP3s Celtic Music Magazine (thanks, Karen J. Brady!)…
'It seems an odd combination…Celtic music from a Czech band, but it turns out that in the 1990s, the Czechs were just beginning to rediscover their Celtic roots, especially in the west, where the ruins of a Celtic fortress still remain. The history of the land is as interesting as the music of Poitin, who perform not only dreamy ballads, but also rollicking pub sing-a-longs, scintillating jigs, and thundering reels from Ireland, Scotland and England. Since they formed, Poitin has undergone a metamorphosis as far as their sound, incorporating more progressive elements into their traditional repertoire. With their new album having caused a bit of controversy with the addition of a saxophone, the band promises something that even traditionalists will enjoy. Nothing wrong with a fresh sound. And that is precisely what Poitin brings to the world of Celtic music.'
Over the last 10 years they have played in France, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland and Italy and are still going strong.
History: Poitín play Celtic music in all its shapes and forms from haunting Breton melodies to raunchy traditional Irish songs. They've performed at festivals across Europe in Italy, France, Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. The latest cd, Hot Days (2006) features a daring mix of saxophone, didgeridoo and more traditional instruments to create a sparkling collection of songs and tunes, some traditional, some new, all suffused with Poitín magic. They formed in Pilsen, CZ, in 1996 and have released 3 albums to date on their own label and are also included on three compilation albums (two released by Popron, CZ and one by Marc Gunn in the U.S.). The first album, 'Poitín' was released in 2000 and featured a very traditional collection of tunes including the 'Congress Reel' and songs such as 'Spanish Lady' as well as lesser known Breton and English songs.
The second album, 'De la Basse Bretagne' was eventually released in 2003 and was a tribute to the talents of the band's French singer, Neige Pruvost on her return to her birthplace. It consists mainly of French and Breton songs and tunes and features Dan Eberle on double bass. There's a lovely traditional Czech folk song, 'Lida, Lidunka' at the end of the album in acknowledgement of the band's own roots. Poitín were pleased to be invited to contribute to Popron's 'Best of Celtic Music I and II' compilation albums and recently Marc Gunn's 'Victims of Irish Music' which has had excellent reviews on CD Baby.
Poitín have featured continuously in the Soundclick music charts, Congress Reel and Laird O'Cockpen both reaching number one and Congress is rarely out of the top ten. The band host a regular Thursday night session in Pilsen at the Hospudka v Chaloupce (hos-POOt-ka ve ka-LOPE-sa) pub which is fast becoming a legendary venue for new and more established performers to strut their stuff.
They released their first CD back in 2000, imaginatively called ‘Poitín’ , it has 17 tracks of traditional Irish, Scottish and French songs and tunes plus a bonus traditional Czech folk song, ‘Lida, Lidunka’. It features Neige Pruvost on the French and Breton songs, Jeremy King’s vocals on the Scottish and Irish numbers and Tonda Muzik on bodhran.
Their second CD was made as a farewell tribute to Neige who returned to France in 2001. It is a compilation of 12 French and Breton songs called ‘De la Basse Bretagne’ with Tyna Frankova and Neige Pruvost on vocals. It was finally released in 2003.
Their third and most recent CD was released in 2006 to mark the band's tenth anniversary and is called ‘Hot Days’. It features 13 tracks with Helena Markova on saxophone. You can hear scintillating arrangements of classic jigs, reels and songs, plus completely new compositions by Helena, Honza and Kuba, all with an unmistakable Celtic flavour.
They also feature on three compilation albums, ‘The Mystery of Celtic Music I’ and ‘The Mystery of Celtic Music II’ (released in the Czech Republic by Popron) and Marc Gunn’s compilation of Celtic music from around the world, ‘Victims of Irish Music’.
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