Drawing from Scottish, Irish, and Maritime music traditions, Tiller’s Folly continues to expand and refine its repertoire, focussing on Celtic, roots, and Canadian songs. Prior to COVID, the trio performed a lot of public shows throughout B.C., Washington, and Oregon and looks forward to getting back to that soon. (Tiller’s Folly/Special to Black Press Media)

VIDEO: Celtic band celebrates Saint Pat with song

A Maple Ridge and White Rock based trio, Tiller’s Folly, share its music on green-themed holiday

Irish music figures prominently in Tiller’s Folly musical makeup, so it’s no wonder members of the Maple Ridge-based band are raising a glass and guitar on St. Paddy’s Day.

March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day, a day marking the death of Saint Patrick and observed by the church starting back in the early 17th century as the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.

While some still observe the occasion by attending mass or services, in more current day around the globe St. Paddy’s Day is simply seen as a reason to celebrate with parties, smaller gatherings, and parades. It’s known as the one time each year to get decked out in green, decorate with shamrocks, consume large quantities of beer and whisky (including some of the green variety), and listen to Celtic music.

It’s the latter, that would ensure Maple Ridge’s Bruce Coughlan and his Tiller’s Folly cohorts (Laurence Knight of White Rock and Nolan Murray of Birch Bay) would usually be booked to perform some of their favourite tunes – many of their own making – for St. Paddy’s Day audiences.

But due to COVID, and gathering restrictions still in place, musicians like Coughlan aren’t booking many gigs. That’s why the trio chose to share a few of their ditties and a huge St. Paddy’s Day salute online – instead.

“What I like most about Celtic music is the ballads, and the way they capture and carry stories through the ages,” Coughlan said.

” Each song is like a snapshot of history and of culture, whether it’s the story itself, the style of music and/or language. That was the reason why I chose to write songs about history. To preserve our history in song. It’s gratifying to feel a part of the age-old bardic tradition,” he elaborated.

“I am a sixth generation Canadian of Irish descent and Laurence’s grandfather was Irish, so it’s partly in the blood I suppose,” he added.

That part of their motivation, “and also because the music is so much fun to play. It’s authentic, and organic, and you really get a sense of connection, both with other musicians and the listening audience,” Coughlan said, joining other members of the band in extending fans, friends, and family a healthy and happy St. Patrick’s Day.


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