A lot to like about these Celts

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Experienced hands make up Likely Celts: Tim Conlan (left), Merran Moir and Glenn Hudson.

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #A5CECD;”] T [/dropcap]ake a generous serving of Scottish and Irish music, add a dash of jazz and a pinch of Reggae and you might have something close to the magical formula of Likely Celts, although I doubt it.

That’s because the individual talents behind this funky three-piece band are what makes it so special.  In what should be an unlikely – rather than a likely – combination, Likely Celts brings together three seasoned, but very different South-West Victorian musicians in Merran Moir, Irishman Glenn Hudson and, more recently, Tim Conlan.

Merran (Scottish small pipe/tin whistle) comes from a background steeped in traditional Scottish music and she grew up as possibly the only girl at Warrnambool High School in the late 1970s to have mastered the bagpipes. Glenn (vocals/guitar) has the rich Irish accent of someone who moved to Australia only 10 years ago, but his musical heritage is rock, while local Tim (double/electric bass) cut his teeth on a diet of Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa and The Beatles.

The trio – so fresh they have only just created a Facebook page – have focussed their energies on honing a mix of traditional and original songs and tunes that have proved both foot-tapping and mesmerising for those lucky enough to see them live.

merran stage
On stage at Fifteen Minutes of Fame, Crossley.

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #A5CECD;”] T [/dropcap]heir most recent gig at Fifteen Minutes of Fame at Crossley brought the house down with Merran’s blazing finger work on the tin whistle and her skill with the bellows pipes that, to the uninitiated, appeared to involve far more co-ordination than humanly possible.

Upon closer inspection, it is revealed that the “bag” is tucked under her left arm, while a small pair of bellows is tucked under her right – with both working in unison to create the “wind” – as her fingers run up and down the pipe to play each note. Got that?

“And you have to remember to smile while you’re playing,” Merran adds with a chuckle.

Of course you do.


Merran Moir with the Scottish bellows pipe that gives Likely Celts such a distinctive sound.

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #A5CECD;”] L [/dropcap]aughter, however, is never in short supply around Likely Celts, who have immersed themselves in the “trad” (traditional) Irish music scene in South-West Victoria purely for the joy of playing.

“Music is all about thoughts and feelings – how it makes you feel when you play it, and when you hear it,” says Glenn.

For Tim, it is an opportunity to stretch himself musically:

“It’s a whole new style to what I am used to, but I like getting out of my comfort zone.”

In earlier years, Merran performed and recorded with John Farnham for You’re the Voice, but it has been at least 10 years since she has done any regular performing due to all the other commitments life throws our way.

Likely Celts appears to be the right fit.

“There are no rules – we mix it up a bit and just have a great time,” she said.

So does the audience.

[box type=”bio”] You can find the Likely Celts on Facebook here. [/box]  

Can’t wait that long? Check out this sampler on Youtube: 

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