For a photo gallery of Celtic cats: CLICK HERE
Marc Gunn was born on St. Patrick’s Day. There's a clue right there. But not as you'd expect.
March 17 is not just the day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, it’s also the day of St. Gertrude, the patron saint of cats (not to mention the patron saint of Those with a Morbid Fear of Mice and Rats).
Call it destiny: Gunn is not only an award-winning Celtic American musician, but he is known to his fans as the “Cat Bard.”
Gunn’s hit CD, “Irish Drinking Songs for Cat Lovers,” features fan favorites such as “Lord of the Pounce” and “Wild Kitty,” the Cat Bard’s version of “Wild Rover.”
The Celtic musician owns two cats himself, and notes, “Cats have a special connection and they’re very personal.”
Now Gunn knows what you’re thinking – is this guy crazy? Is he drunk? (In fact, Gunn recognizes that about a large percentage of commentary on his cat music involves the statement, “Oh my God, this guy needs to stop drinking.”) Why would someone be impelled to write Irish Cat drinking songs?
The answer’s simple, really. According to Gunn, “There are a lot of Irish music lovers that just love cats.”
Gunn, who cites his influences as the Wolfe Tones, The Dubliners and the Irish Balladeers from Pennsylvania, noticed cats popping up all over Celtic culture, from Irish poems to Scottish emblems.
Through his recognition of this connection, and his eye for niche marketing, the Scots Irish American came up with the winning combination of Celts and cats, and made a Celtic cat album.
“It was definitely a personal project, Gunn says, “but I wanted to create something that people would get behind and enjoy.”
And it’s not only the cat lovers who enjoy Gunn’s music – it’s the cat themselves. Songs on the Celtic cat albums are filled with cat sound effects, including many “meows.”
“For the cat lovers – they like the ‘meows,’ and they say their cats like the ‘meows’ too,” says Gunn.
In fact, some have called Gunn the “Pied Piper of Cats.”
When asked if this is indeed true, Gunn says, “I’d love to call myself a cat whisperer but I’m still trying to understand what they’re doing.”
Gunn was fairly confident that his first Irish cat album would do well, and he was quite right. “Irish Drinking Songs for Cat Lovers,” released in 2005, was so successful, that in 2008, Gunn released a follow up, “Whiskers in the Jar: Irish Songs for Cat Lovers.”
The new CD featured hits such as “Catnip Kitty,” which is one of Gunn’s personal favorites.
Make no mistake – these albums are no joke.
“I actually really don’t consider these CDs comedy CDs. I think they’re a matter of cat loving CDs.” Gunn aims for the songs to sound as traditional as possible. “’Whiskers in a Jar’ sounds more like a trad music CD, except all the lyrics are about cats.”
The musician and podcaster gets his fair share of raised eyebrows, but it doesn’t bother him.
“I get a lot of guys who question my sexuality, that’s for sure.
“It’s a guy singing about his love of cats, you know. But I’ve found a lot of guys out there who love cats as well.
“And I’m sure there are some people who think I go a little bit overboard with it. They think it’s the type of thing – a couple songs and that’s fine – but I made a CD.
“I don’t feel the need to justify it – I just say ‘This is what I do.’ I love cats and I love Celtic music, and basically it’s fun stuff. And there are songs that I’ve written I just really absolutely adore because they really kind of carry the character of my cats and other cats I’ve met along the road. So it’s okay. If they don’t like it it’s fine…it’s not for everyone.”
The music may not be for everyone, but the songs sure do please the cat lovers in the world. “People just love their cats and they want to show appreciation for them,” as Gunn explains. “And people don’t want just novelty music either – they want something that will cherish and honor the cats that they love. And that’s what I’m aiming for. Honor the cats. Honor the people who love the cats.”
So what about dogs? Hounds are prevalent in Celtic myth, and many people are wondering if Gunn will expand his music to cover Celtic dogs.
“People have mentioned it before,” Gunn says. And though he grew up with Pekanese dogs, he definitely prefers the cats, and isn’t necessarily aiming to be the Celtic animal go-to guy.
Gunn may release another cat CD, but the if and when remains unknown. So, cat lovers, while you wait with bated breath, visit catdrinkingsongs.com and enjoy the sounds of “Catnip Kitty,” and if you’re dying for more, see Marc Gunn perform Irish drinking songs for feline fanatics when his tour comes to a town near you.
Marc Gunn’s upcoming tour dates:
April 3-5: (BRENTWOOD, NY) I-Con
April 17-19: (DENVER, CO) StarFest
May 13-22: (TUSCANY, ITALY) Celtic Invasion of Italy
For details, visit http://www.marcgunn.com
Check out Marc Gunn's podcast at http://celticmusicpodcast.com