Salsa Celtica

Salsa Celtica’s synthesis of Scottish and Irish traditional music with all the Latin American elements of salsa has taken them and their music all over the world. In the last ten years the group has been a hit equally at major celtic, jazz, world music and salsa festivals. Their albums have topped the New York and L.A. salsa charts and European world music charts, the band has been nominated for folk music awards and appeared as themselves in a feature film.

Their lineup combines some of Scotland and Ireland’s most exciting traditional musicians together with a stellar group of world, jazz and salsa musicians from the U.K. and Latin America.  Salsa Celtica is a stunning combination of virtuosity and energy, making them one of the most exciting groups on the world music circuit today. Started in Edinburgh and Glasgow in 1995 Salsa Celtica has gone on to invent their own genre and then take it around the world and back again to critical and public acclaim.The group has released four studio albums, most recently “El Camino” also to critical and public acclaim. 2010 will see the release of a live Salsa Celtica concert dvd and cd album, see you along the way!

The Story ……..Salsa Celtica’s remarkable success story began in 1995 in the bars and clubs of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Emerging at the start of an era of Scottish folk resurgence alongside artists such as Shooglenifty and Martyn Bennett the group has constantly developed and experimented with their sound. From the early days of sessions and impromptu “descarga” gigs where Salsa Celtica were an immediate hit with the locals and the newly arrived Hispanic community the group have steadily grown in size and originality to where they are now known and loved worldwide.

After recording their debut album ‘Monstruos y Demonios’ (Monsters and Demons), Salsa Celtica took their music around the village halls of Scotland, from Skye to Mull, Iona to Barra, Lewis to Orkney, and everywhere in between. After this they travelled in pilgrimage to Cuba to hang out with salsa groups, including Son14 and Sonora La Calle, and to generally soak up Afro-Cuban sounds of Havana and Santiago de Cuba. Swapping whisky for rum they were asked to join in at musical / religious “bembe” gatherings and were invited to worship the Afro Cuban “orichas”.

Turned to Scotland to sign to Scottish folk label Greentrax. With the worldwide release of The Great Scottish Latin Adventure the band quickly gained recognition and fans throughout the world including to their delight and surprise a great following in the real salsa heartlands. In 2001 they were invited to tour the salsa communities of the the US from New York to LA where their sound had become an immediate hit. After a final triumphant concert in front of 5000 ecstatic New Yorikan’s Salsa Celtica returned to Scotland to work on their 3rd album. The album El Agua De La Vida was released in 2003 to public and critical acclaim, gaining a prestigious “Top Of The World” recommendation in the UK’s foremost World Music magazine Songlines and a top 10 in the Billboard review of the years salsa releases.

Salsa Celtica had established themselves as an important force in World Music in the UK and beyond, winning new fans and reaching a new level of profile and critical acclaim.In  2005 tours of the UK and Canada and Europe kept the band busy. In June the band travelled to London to film two scenes for the movie Driving Lessons, starring Julie Walters and Rupert Grint.

The band then went back into the studio to record a new album, after a three year break. With the sound of the band now developed to include Scottish piping sensation Ross Ainslie and the internationally respected Irish banjo player Eamonn Coyne alongside their long time line up of fiddle, salsa instrumentation and Lino Rocha on lead vocals the group further expanding their sound by collaborating with Scottish harpists, Uilean pipers, guest Afro-uban vocalists and the English folk diva Eliza Carthy. Working with Calum Malcolm as producer the album was recorded live within 4 days.

Released in March 2006 the album El Camino again highlighted the imagination and creativity within the Salsa Celtica. The album has been a huge hit going on to be nominated for 4 radio 2 folk awards and leading to back to back world wide touring for the group over the last 3 years.

The band will begin working on new material including a collaboration with Scots Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis and many more to follow. With a new studio album set for release in 2010 as well as a live album and DVD the band look set to push further their celtic salsa mission

En Vivo En El Norte ( 2010 )

Salsa Celtica En Vivo En El Norte


  • Adios Adios
  • Pa’l Rumberos (Listen)
  • Cuando Me Vaya (Listen)
  • Pipe Solo (Listen)
  • Guajira Sin Sol (Listen)
  • El Agua De La Vida (Listen)
  • An Cailleach (Listen)
  • Rolling Roads
  • Esperanza (Listen)
  • Seis, Ocho, Nueve (Listen)
  • Café Colando (Part 1) (Listen)
  • Café Colando (Part 2) (Listen)
  • Encore (medley including) Cajon solo, Rumba Escocia, Ya Llegó

After 15 eventful years on the road Salsa Celtica release their first live album.The album titled “En Vivo En El Norte” features Salsa Celtica recorded live in concert with some very special guests.

The Salsa Celtica “all-star big band” was captured live in concert on the 22nd of November at the Universal Hall in Findhorn by Scottish producer Calum Malcolm. The concert was our last gig after a year of touring around the USA and Europe. For the concert we were joined with special guests including melodeon player Dermot Byrne from the Irish super group Altan and salsa trombonist Joe De Jesus from the Bronx NY who has played with every one from Tito Puente to David Byrne.

The gig was great fun for us and the 13 track recording (including some new sets) really captures the atmosphere and the band at our energetic best.

Recorded and mixed by Calum Malcolm.

El Camino ( 2006 )

Salsa Celtica El Camino


  • Pa’l Rumberos 4.52
  • Esperanza 5.21
  • An Cailleach 2.44
  • Cuando Me Vaya 4.39
  • Córrela 5.00
  • Café Colando 3.46
  • Café Colando (Part 2) 3.16
  • Grey Gallito 5.04
  • Luna Llena 4.39
  • Luna Celosa 2.28
  • Fuego, Alma y Paz 3.40
  • Ya Llegó 2.24

El Agua De La Vida ( 2003 )

Salsa Celtica El Agua De La Vida


An exciting album with a big, big sound! Salsa Celtica have established themselves as one of the hottest bands on the World, Latin and Celtic music circuits, having performed their own special blend of Latin and Scottish music worldwide, from Hollywood (via Toronto, New York, Gran Canaria, Paris and Edinburgh) to Singapore. The past couple of years have seen the band share festival billing with top Latin acts such as Sierra Maestra and Guayacan, performing at New York’s Lincoln Centre, the WOMAD Reading Festival, and the huge Antilliaanse festival in Belgium.

Twenty three musicians from Scotland, England, Venezuela, Cuba, Colombia, New York and Shetland feature on El Agua De La Vida, with most of the material written by Toby Shippey and other members of the band. El Agua De La Vida translates from Spanish into Scottish Gaelic as ‘uisge beatha’ – ‘the water of life’, more popularly known as whiskey!

The band are: Toby ‘El León’ Shippey (trumpet, coro) * Lino Rocha (lead vocals, coro, perc) * Steve Kettley (saxophones, flute) * Fraser Fifield (saxophones, pipes, whistles) * Ryan Quigley (lead trumpet, coro) * Dougie ‘El Pulpo’ Hudson (congas) * David ‘El Chimpo’ Robertson (bongos, bell, coro) * Guy Nicolson (timbales) * David ‘Demus’ Donnelly (bass, coro) * Chris Stout (violin) * Kenny Fraser (violin, tres guitar) * David Patrick (piano on trks 6,7,8,9).

Special guests: Chris Grieve (trombone) * Ricardo Fern‡ndez Pompa (coro, perc, lead vocals on trks 5,8,9) * Roland Perrin (piano on trks 2,3,4,5) * Phil Alexander (piano on trk 1) * Javier Chernicoff (timbales, perc on trks 4,6) * Emeris Solis (congas on trks 1,7,8,9) * Tommy Beavitt (coro, chicken) * Riley Briggs (coro) * John Somerville (accordion on trks 1,9) * Ricky Manning (guitar on trk 5) * ƒamonn Coyne (tenor banjo, tenor guitar on trks 1,9).

Produced by Jim Sutherland, released by Greentrax Recordings.

The Great Scottish Latin Adventure

Salsa Celtica The Great Scottish Latin Adventure


  • Rumba Escocia
  • Cro Chinn t-Saile
  • El Portabello Malacon (Listen)
  • Milonga For Iona
  • Yo Me Voy / Maggie’s Pancakes (Listen)
  • Flaquita
  • Fuerte
  • Vampiras (Listen)
  • Carnoustie Albatross
  • Leonardo Capanga
  • Estrellita Celta
  • El Capitan

The Musicians on The Great scottish Latin adventure are: Andrew Barnett (baritone & alto saxophones), Mario Caribe (bass guitar), Galo Ceron-Carrasco (guitars), David ‘Demus’ Donnelly (bass guitar), Fraser Fifield (pipes, whistles, soprano & alto saxophones), Jenny Gardner (violin), Doug ‘El Pulpo’ Hudson (congas), Steve Kettley (tenor & soprano saxophones, flute & jaws harp), Guy Nicolson (timbales), David ‘Chimp’ Robertson (bongos), Toby Shippey (trumpet & percussion), Andy Thorburn (accordion).

Special guests: Alberto (vocals), Paul Harrison (piano), Carlos Pena (vocals & percussion), Ryan Quigley (trumpet), Sylvia Rae (vocals), Lino Rocha (vocals & percussion) and J. Simon Van Der Walt (trumpet & trombone). Produced by Jim Sutherland, released by Greentrax Recordings.

Monstruos Y Demonios ( 1997 )

Salsa Celtica Monstruos y Demonios


  • Salsa Celtica
  • La Reina Rumbera (Listen)
  • Guajira Del Sol
  • Osain
  • Paisa
  • No Hay Olvido, Pablito
  • La Batea
  • KouKou
  • Frente A Frente
  • El Cometa Bop
  • Escorpion (Listen)
  • Loco A Loco
  • Kulu Ê (Listen)


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Publishing: Rob Bozas International