Mento is a fairly obscure form of Jamaican folk music, however (ethno-musiologists cover your ears), it's basically just an earlier form of Reggae. So Googling Celtic Reggae seemed like the obvious thing to do. I mean, we know Celtic Rock, as crappy as it tends to be, exists, so could Celtic influenced Reggae really be any worse? There's a strong chance that it could be more appealing.
|Paddyrasta - Listen to Your Heart|
I gave Paddyrasta's album Listen to Your Heart a spin on Rhapsody and I think they do a good job taking what could be (and will be) perceived as something cheesy and infusing it with a good-time energy. The mix of instruments is the appealing thing here - how well the Celtic melodies jive with the Reggae rhythm backup. However, the socially conscious humanitarian lyrics are a little over the top. Personally I prefer Mento's secular, tongue in cheek topics of sexual innuendo to the quasi-gospel themes of Reggae, but I'm not gonna find anybody doing Irish trad-Mento so this is as close as I'm gonna get for now.
I should mention that Irish music can easily fall into cliches as well - think Riverdance, Celtic Woman, pub songs, too many whistles, pipes, audiences clapping along, and so on. To their credit, Paddyrasta doesn't play into those stereotypical aspects of Irish music. At the very least this was simply an inspiring study of how these sounds intersect - perhaps giving me the affirmation I need to pursue this. Yes, this would take me even farther away from a purely traditional style...but I've never had a traditional approach to traditional music anyway. If I'm able to somehow mix elements of Mento and Irish into the music I make at least I'll have something that I enjoy. As I always say, music self played is happiness self made.
Here's Paddyrasta's video for their song Meditation.
Good craic! Jah rastafari!