According to many critics, Shantalla is one of the best Celtic groups in Europe. Although formed and based in Belgium, five of the band members are Irish and the sixth Scottish. Their CDs have been unanimously well received by critics and public alike.
Their music is drawn from many sources – Ireland and Scotland obviously, but also the USA, Canada and Brittany – and includes original compositions, new arrangements of contemporary material and reworkings of traditional music. Their live performances are powerful and passionate, yet also full of good humour and interaction with the audience. Each member of the band is individually gifted and experienced and they combine together to make a powerful whole. The unique voice and charm of Helen Flaherty, the driving rhythms of Simon Donnelly and Joe Hennon, and the multi-instrument attack of Michael Horgan, Gerry Murray and Kieran Fahy make Shantalla unique in the world of Celtic music. No other band currently combines uilleann pipes, accordion, fiddle, flutes and whistles under one roof.
Their first CD, ‘Shantalla’, was released in Belgium in 1999 and received rave reviews across Europe and North America.
The second CD ‘Seven Evenings, Seven Mornings’ was released in 2001. Reviews were just as good as those of ‘Shantalla’, with many critics saying it confirmed the band’s arrival as a major force on the international Celtic music scene.
In 2005, Shantalla disbanded and the individual members went their separate ways, playing and recording in different formations, including with The Helen Flaherty Band, Hot Spoons and OMNIA. After a five year break the band re-formed, adding bouzouki & guitar player Simon Donnelly to the original line-up.
Their third CD ‘Turas‘ – an Irish word meaning journey – was released in 2011. Reviewers agreed that the band was as good as ever and had matured into one of the best Celtic music acts on the international folk scene.
Shantalla’s fourth CD ‘From the East unto the West’, will be released in Summer 2019 and will be available at Zomerfolk.