Celtus Reflections and Echoes

Celtus Reflections and Echoes

This was the place where Celtus fans shared their stories,  gigs they attended and the Celtus music they loved. It was also the place where they put their questions to John or Pat McManus.

If you would like to have any of your other Celtus stories shared on this page then email me here with the details. The folkmaster.

What goes Around by Vicki Smith

As an avid Celtus fan, I was extremely excited about the release of What Goes Around. There was absolutely no question in my mind, of course, as to whether I would like it or not!! All their material is superb.

The tracks on this CD have fantastic lyrics, and you can hear every single word John sings, clearly, which I feel is so important. I have all their albums and have happily listened to them for hours upon end.

Celtus are magical – whether on a CD at home, or on stage. Whatever mood you may find yourself in, you will find a Celtus track to suit. What Goes Around continues on this theme – their traditional Irish instrumentals are happy and fun, their love songs are heart-wrenching, their medium tempo songs tell wonderful stories of life and love we can all identify with – with great choruses you find yourself singing to all the time.

I often wake in the morning with one or another of the tracks floating around in my mind. Their harmonies give me goosebumps!! This album is full of the most wonderful surprises. It is so well balanced and takes the listener through a whole host of gorgeous sounds and emotions – I am thrilled to bits with it.

Their albums do stand the test of time – you can keep on playing them, month after month, year after year, and they will sound just as fantastic.

Alan and I saw them in concert last week, and they went down an absolute storm. Tracks to watch for, although they are all wonderful, are Jigsaw: which is fun and funky with a great lilting section, Changes: I’m sure you’ll be singing the chorus to this track all the time, Angel: A sad story beautifully told, What Goes Around: very exoctic indeed and another great chorus to sing to, and Shelter: absolutely stunning, very haunting indeed (get your hanky at the ready). Perfection: speaks for itself – fantastic track.

There are many, many gorgeous sounds to soak up, haunting pipes, acoustic guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, electric guitar, fiddle and some lovely piano playing – lots to excite the senses. Great variety of rythms too. I’m sure you will agree, the Celtus magic is as evident as ever – sheer class!!! Well done boys – we really appreciate you.

What goes Around by Lynn Jones

My first impression of What Goes Around was that it’s full of surprises! It kicks in spectacularly with What Goes Around – this I first heard at Whitchurch, along with Liberate, Shelter and Hole Inside My Heart. I knew then I really liked these new numbers and have really been looking forward to this album.

This is an interesting mix that works brilliantly, there are the beautiful heartfelt lovesongs, touching thoughtful tales with a funky-techno-trad feel!

I love the harmonies on Perfection – what a treat! Changes is a fantastic sing a long number, I thought What Goes Around was ‘catchy’ when I first heard it but this may be more so. I really like Breathe, Touch Too Much and Live Again too and as for Jigsaw; that is just delightful and makes me smile!

I find it very difficult to have favourites tracks with Celtus albums because they are all so good that I am spoilt for choice! This is an excellent album with so many textures, it’s truly terrific. Departure is a great number to finish on; a very satisfying conclusion.

I’d liken the album to a carousel ride – when the music stops you’re ready to ‘go around’ again having enjoyed it so much!


I would like to start by saying it was quite difficult knowing at first whether to ask Darren if he would be kind enough to consider the following words for the Review section, or this section. However, as I have been happily “reflecting” all week-end on Friday evening, and the new track “What Goes Around” has most definitely been “echoing” in my head all week-end too, the answer came to me!! The new tracks the boys treated us to on Friday were just wonderful – we all have allot to look forward to regarding the next Celtus album!! They are pure class.

John and VickyMy family and I had never been to a Folk Festival before and didn’t really know what to expect. Ellie, aged 3, had never been to any live musical event. Laura aged 7 is a budding musician, so I knew she would love it. I suppose the natural thing to do initially is to compare it on arrival to a small theatre or club. However, it was nothing like that, of course. A very ordinary sports complex, nothing special, not very big. However, I can honestly say I would rather stand up the front at Whitchurch, with the children stood on chairs up against the stage, with all our new fan club friends, singing, dancing, cheering, shouting and generally having a FANTASTIC time, than sitting quietly in a theatre seat trying very hard to behave myself, when really I just want to get up and party!! How can anyone be expected to sit still with all that fabulous rhythm.

I am actually a fairly reserved person – we don’t drink or go out that often, and lead a quietish, but very happy, family life. BUT, when Celtus are on stage my personality seems to change. I am sure if I saw myself on video I would cringe!! (but who cares) As Jean Camp, a lovely lady in the folking.com team from Devon said, it was one of those nights you wish you could keep in a bottle, to be able to enjoy all over again. I couldn’t agree more. I witnessed the looks on people’s faces in the audience whom I guess hadn’t seen Celtus before. It is not an exaggeration to say they looked on in disbelief at their skills – how do they play their instruments to that level of skill!!! It made me feel very proud of “my” band.

We all met up with the boys and Lindy after the show; there’s always so much I want to tell them, mostly just to praise them and hope they understand just how much we all enjoy and appreciate their talents. The boys are so charming and interested in us too, and it seems all the fans enjoy that part of the evening immensely.

I hope very much Celtus will be invited, and want, to return to Whitchurch next summer – the relaxed, yet electric, atmosphere is something I would definitely love to relive.


Lynn and Elise Jones, Bournemouth.

We first saw Celtus last November when the Jimmy Nail tour came to Poole Arts Centre. It was Elise’s (my 14 year old daughter) first live concert that she had been to. I looked across to see how she was enjoying herself during the first number – we’d never heard of Celtus before and did not know what to expect. Well, she just had this smile that got bigger the more she heard and I was completely hooked after the first few minutes, totally enthralled

Elise and JohnWe then got the Portrait CD which the boys signed for us, we were delighted to meet them and it is really great that they take the time and trouble to meet people, it is really appreciated, I’m sure that others feel the same too. Having really enjoyed Portrait we began to wonder what Moonchild was like. We then decided the only thing to do was to catch the tour again at Portsmouth in December, see them play again and get Moonchild. We got hopelessly lost, and kept seeing a pub called the ‘Navigator’ and by this time concluded that we couldn’t navigate our way out of a paper bag! Eventually we found the Guildhall and it was there we heard ‘Navigator’ for the first time which seemed a strange coincidence!

We loved the concert and must confess it wasn’t Jimmy we’d gone to see this time but Celtus! (Sorry Jimmy!) We got the Moonchild CD and had that signed too. Pat told us about the forthcoming headline tour in March of this year and that they’d get to be on for longer – sounded like heaven to me! Moonchild proved to be fantastic also.

The tricky thing for me is I can’t commit myself to a favourite track or CD at all. There is something about all of their music which I enjoy so much. It might be the lyrics, the melody, or a particular instrumental piece. It could be great to sing along to or it could be great hand clapping, foot stomping stuff but whatever it is, it is totally brilliant. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone sing like John before or appreciated it so much. The whole combination is total perfection – amazing. I next saw Celtus at the Royal Festival Hall in March. Sadly Elise couldn’t make it because it was term time, so I gave her a full report and brought home Rooted as a peace offering! Another brilliant concert and yet another fantastic CD. I decided to find out a bit more about them so I joined the fan club (a first for me!) to discover how Celtus came to be. I then found out about the Web Site and frequently visit to see what’s new and I think that was how it came about that Elise and I decided to make the pilgrimage to Sheffield on May 28th.

Elise and PatWe were lucky enough to have front row seats that virtually touched the stage, we couldn’t believe how close we were and it was incredible to watch them performing in such detail. Apparently the band were experiencing sound problems which I have to say didn’t spoil it for us because we were too busy having a good time for it to interfere with the evening! They have managed to create a live performance of Cathedral which is excellent, and the air on the end of Moment In Time which I think was called Dear Irish Boy was breath taking. The audience were totally transfixed whilst Pat played and hung on every note, it was absolutely enchanting. After another terrific concert, Elise was lucky enough to have her photograph taken with the boys, which she was absolutely thrilled with. We met Lindy and also Darren from the Web Site which was nice. We went home with wonderful memories of a great evening, as ever and Elise has officially rated it as the best day of her life which I think I’d have to agree with her. Marvellous!

Jacqueline Brikkels – Wanted to know how the idea for the song Cathedral was born.

This is Pat’s response…

 Hmmm.. Reason being because of the several ‘scandals’ in Ireland with priests who had hidden illegitimate children, and also the child abuse case – made me cross because of the hypocrisy & that’s basically what inspired the song. The reverence in which priests were held – no longer exists in the same way, by the public. That’s my view anyway…

 This is Jacqueline’s response…

Dear Pat, thanks for the answer on Cathedral. I am glad you have the guts to sing out loud about ‘sensitive’ issues that need to be addressed. I thought it quite brilliant Portrait and Cathedral deal with the present, past and future situation, but the way you have worded them, there is no blame or finger pointed at anyone in particular. Thanks again for the explanation, I needed to be sure. Take care and keep on making music, it’s great.

Patricia and  Caroline, Avid fans from Switzerland, present us with their personal view.


We have known the Boys for nearly nine years (May 1991); we were thirteen years old when we first met them, little school girls! It was the very first time we had ever met a rock group personally… which of course was something special for both of us even now!

Twins Pat

Caroline__Tommy_It was Tommy who introduced us to the band Mama’s Boys. From then on, we were their biggest fans! During three years we saw them 17 times in Switzerland. We saw Tommy the last time on the Mama’s Boys farewell tour in December 1993. We were devastated when he died and thought of John & Pat often, the thought of them both seemed to help us with our grief.

Celtus greenLast year we saw our first CELTUS show at the Borderline in London and last Monday was our first show this year. We really LOVED it!

Hopefully many shows will follow! It was great to be able to meet the boys again after the show especially John and Pat’s parents who were thrilled with our gift – a painting of Tommy.

Reviewed by Vicky Smith of Northampton

The Reflections & Echos section is absolutely made for people like me. After any of the shows, I’m absolutely bursting with enthusiasm, excitement, memories, words etc. etc. – it is so wonderful to have an outlet for all that emotion. I don’t sit and write words out first – it’s straight from the heart, unrehearsed, unrestrained!! Thank you for giving us all the opportunity to be involved. I’m looking forward to reading other fan’s pieces too.

Here is Vicky’s review

Reflections of the Celtus March Tour

VickyJohnOf the three shows I was privileged enough to be a part of, Ronnie Scotts in Birmingham is most dear to my heart. Our table was virtually touching the stage, hence it was a very personal experience, with lots of eye contact and smiles between Celtus and ourselves. I was absolutely spellbound all evening. I sang all night, glancing across to Lindy’s table to exchange grins of approval and happiness. I felt as if I was in a “Bubble”, which I did not want time to burst, it was such a brilliant evening.

VickyPatI am 41 years old, happily married with two young daughters, and I can with hand on heart say, I have never enjoyed my music SO much. WHY? How much space can you give me!! My first Celtus experience was in May 1998, during the Paul Carrack tour. It was the spine-tingling harmonies that initially hit me – WOW –

I bought Moonchild that night and have been well and truly smitten ever since. I am full admiration and wonder at John & Pat’s musical skills – not only do they sound fantastic, but they are quite a spectacle to watch too.

Returning to Ronnie Scotts, on that evening Alan & I met our Japanese friend, Sachiko, from Nottingham. She sat on the table next to ours, and has been a fan since way back in the Mama’s Boys days. Unfortunately, Celtus came on stage a good deal later than planned, through no fault of their own. Sachiko would have only heard one or two songs before having to leave to catch a train home to Nottingham. So, after having a brief chat, Alan and I offered to take Sachiko home with us after the show so that she didn’t have to miss any of it. We all decided that being members of the Fan Club was all the introductions we needed and so that it exactly what she did. We sat up until 2am talking about what a wonderful evening we had enjoyed, and a new friendship was born.

What note to end on? May the fan club and website continue to flourish, may the “Celtus” word spread so that many more people can share what we’ve already found.

Yoko Honda, Japan

yoko and PatI first saw Celtus on Time Out Magazine in Jan 98, and I just bought Moonchild…since then I’ve been addicted. I’ve been to their shows about 15 times. Some of my friends in Japan also love them when they saw their live concerts in UK.

I can’t explain what I love about them but their music just hit my heart. I’ve met a lot of nice people through them and I’m so proud of being their fan. Best of luck to them for the future


My daughter Laura, age 7, and I enjoy playing the melody using the recorder. However, we get frustrated as we can’t play along with the CD as the key is different, and the range of notes too limited. Our knowledge of musical theory is very basic. We don’t manage to fit in as many notes as you do John, but we enjoy trying anyway!! Many thanks, Vicki Smith

John’s reply

It’s played on an Overton Low whistle in the key of F & if you are
interested in getting one, you’ll find it in most folk shops.


Sue and Will Morson from Dudley in the West Midlands

Just a message to say how much we enjoyed Celtus at Ronnie Scott’s in Birmingham last night. We first heard their music when we went to see Jimmy Nail last year and thought they were fabulous. They deserve to be successful and we wish them all the best. Their songs have depth and are a reflection of their talent.

Dave Grist form Portsmouth, England.

We first encountered Celtus when I bought the Moonchild album “Sight Unseen” (should that be “Hearing Unheard”?) after reading a gig review (The Borderline) in The Times. I was already into Irish/Celtic music and the reviewer’s description of the band made me think they would be worth a try.

Well, I ordered their album on-line from MVS (Our Price didn’t seem to know about them) and when it arrived my life changed. Never have I been so gripped by a piece of music. From the moment the opening bars of “Strange Day in the Country” started, I was hooked.

I played that CD continuously, getting more and more immersed in the Celtus sound and, for the first time ever, I applied to join a fan club and I sent an e-mail to Lindy. The response – so personal and “caring” – opened up a whole new dimension to the Celtus Experience. I had become a member of the “Family”.

I’ve seen them play live at Portsmouth (with Deacon Blue and Jimmy Nail), at The Stables in Milton Keynes and (last) at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. Every gig a first class event and then you meet the band afterwards! My 10 year old son, Ashley, loves the band and their music too and he was thrilled to meet them after the Deacon Blue gig  – he wanted me to ask them round for tea (bless).

Well that’s about it for now – suffice it to say that CDs can wear out when the music is as good as John and Pat’s. “Portrait” set the seal on my love for their music and “Rooted” continues the tradition. All three albums bear their autographs and so does the T-Shirt I made to wear at the QEH gig. I don’t know whether I’ll be at Finsbury Park yet but I’ve already got my tickets for the Whitchurch Festival in August – see you all there I hope (I’m the one with the “Tour Flyer T-Shirt” on!).

Jane Misquitta

I went to the concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall last night and it was really exciting. Five of us went and my friends thought Celtus were amazing and would love to see them perform again. The music was even better live. Are they playing anywhere on St Patrick’s Day or will they be at The Fleadh in Finsbury Park this summer?

Dave  Palmer of the Heavy Metal Resource – St. George, Utah. A fairly small town of around 50,000 residents. I am 115 miles north of Las Vegas, Nevada.

It might seem awkward to some Heavy Metal fans to see Celtus on my site. You know what? Who cares? The McManus brothers had their place in metal history. They deserve the space as I think they are really doing what they do best…. Writing great songs.

Mrs Lynn Jones

Many thanks for signing cd insert at London 13/03/2000. Concert was absolutely brilliant, well done and thanks. Have also seen you on Jimmy Nail tour @ Poole & Portsmouth. Pat thought I was mad to come from Bournemouth, but it’s always so great to see you perform – you are all so talented and deserve to have great success.

Robert Rimmer

Cracking website, good on yer, keep spreading the news about this excellent band. They have all the magic of Yes, brilliance of the best of the Moody Blues and acoustics reminiscent of Led Zeppellin. Never thought these jaded ears would here such sounds again. Music lives on.

Ricardo Castellano – Spain

Well I’ve talked to Lindy about how hard its been for me not only to get in touch with you, but also to know simply what had happened to the three of you (I didn’t know Tommys decease…I’m so sorry for that). John, its been great for me to hear your voice again (Keith and Mike…their voices…you know what I mean…). I’m Mamas Boys main ambassador in Spain (no doubt about it), and I’ve been waiting for 15 years to be able to tell you so. I’m 32 years old, and there has been no other group for me in the past two decades better than yours. The melodies of your songs were much closer to the best AOR American groups than to the noisy European HM bands, keeping though a hard approach to rnr. Using a common expression, your records have been my life’s soundtrack. I just want to thank you for being so good musicians, for having let me go through so good times (undoubtedly, “Lonely Soul is an anthem”, and it sounds so well in a car with a girl initially beside you…) and hope to meet you if ever come back to Spain to play. Fortunately, I also like Celtic music a lot, and I promise I wont miss a concert of Celtus anywhere close to Madrid… Keep on making it.


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