Orthodox Celts: The Celts Don’t Keep Their Mouth Shut


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Text: Žikica Milošević

The band Orthodox Celts, in the year of its 25 years of operation, has issued long-awaited sixth studio album titled “Many Mouths Shut”. The album’s producer is Dejan Lalić, and a band recently launched their own label O’Celts Records through which the new album was released. Album “Many Mouths Shut” brings 13 tracks six out of which are traditional Irish songs, and seven are their original songs. Particularly interesting is the album cover, a work of great Walter Venturi, one of the world’s best cartoonists. In cooperation with Una Isailović the first animated music video was made, for the song “I Wish You The Very Worst”, which will be the best introduction to the concert promoting the album on St. Patrick’s Day, in the Great Hall of the Youth Centre. We talked to Aca Seltik, frontman of the band.

During one birthday party, as kids, we were not able to create the relaxed atmosphere until we played the Irish folk-rock, The Pogues. Later we used to create the atmosphere playing Orthodox Celts. Was this idea, the true rebellious joy that the Celts have, the guideline for the formation of the band?

Well … Yes! It is just that we were not able to define it this way at that point. Specifically, a group of Orthodox Celts was created virtually from the need to play and to express the way we feel instinctively fit for us. It was the form which we preferred. It turned out that there was already much more metaphysics than we could assume. On the other hand, one of the main things was the fact that we had nowhere to listen to it live, so we practically played so that we ourselves enjoy the music and the energy that is its integral part and the common denominator of ourselves and the audience reacted to it.

Who do you consider your role models? The Pogues, Dropkick Murhpys… someone else?

There are many role models who have influenced me. This is not a simple question at all. But, come on, I will confine myself to the genre in question… So, certainly the greatest literary influence on me as a songwriter was Shane MacGowan. This is what I’ve always tried to reach, the Shane-wannabe ease of streaming images in the lyrics and that’s what makes him, in my eyes, the greatest Rocker or Celtic Rocker, one of the greatest poets of all time. I like the ability to close your eyes while listening to his song and that at the same moment you see images in your head, on your “home big screen”. And, as far as the personality and appearance in wole is concerned, two role models are unsurpassed: Ronnie Drew of The Dubliners, whom I affectionately call “my granpa”, and Ian Anderson, Jethro Tull mastermind. Ah, yes, I can never forget, perhaps the greatest of the greatest, Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin. And, I might add, after The Pogues there was not any bands from this genre which would have significant impact on us, better to say, we got no influence at all. And that reflects their timeless size, making it impossible to confuse them with any other band. And now all these new guys… All these are divided into two groups: either they are total punk or dry folk. There is nothing in between.

Genetic studies say that the residents of the former Yugoslavia largely originate from the first romanised and then slavicised Celts. The similarities in physical appearance and mentality are more than obvious. Even you, I believe, have found “the Celtic gene” in yourself?

I belong to the haplotype R1A M45, which is the most typical Slavic gen and says that my ancient male ancestors originate somewhere from the triangle between Poland, Ukraine and Belarus. But that does not mean that the Celts are not in this story. My deepest conviction, is that the Celts are one part of a former Slavic Corps, and these similarities that you mentioned are just one more proof of that.

Did you believe that this would last for 25 years and that the culture of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day will be “implanted” in Serbia? How much is a pleasure for you to know that you have contributed to it?

Never, not in my wildest your dreams! If someone had said then that someone would listen to my songs and force me to write and record new albums, and even ask me for an opinion, and attach a special significance to my opinion, I would think he was crazy. But, well… that makes the satisfaction greater. Then again, recognising ourselves on a genetic level or, as I like to say, “level under the threshold” soon followed and it is a kind of proof that we are Celts, ie, that the nations we now call the Celts, and we, if we are not the same people, then we are brothers from the same mother, separated few thousand years ago.

You have issued a new album after a long time. What next? What promotions are planned, along with the usual St Patrick in March? We hope to see you more because of it.

This album is unique in many ways, it comes in a year in which we have plenty of reason to celebrate, but none of this can be compared with the fact that this is the true Orthodox Celts album in every sense of the word. I mean the fact that we ourselves have done almost everything and this is that we are today, here and now, from the first to the last tone, from the first to the last verse. A special thanks goes to our fans and friends who, from the first rows at the concerts jumped into the studio and together with us jointly sang background vocals. We will be sure to work hard to play as much as possible because the stage is our natural habitat, and I hope it will be followed by few more videos, and many, many concerts.

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