08/01/2013 11:40 am ET Updated Oct 01, 2013

Scotland Tour: Some Drum Fun with a Bodhrán

Celtic music (both Irish and Scottish) stirs me. It's a great part of travel here. I see the tumult of the past and the love of heritage in the eyes of the musicians. There really is a spark that mixes well with beer, smiles, and good pub lighting. It's a unique conviviality that I find nowhere else in my travels.

Part of the magic of Celtic music is how it's invigorated by the driving and organic beat of the bodhrán -- that ubiquitous handheld, animal-skinned drum thumped with such vibrancy with a single stick. During our group dinner in Oban (the gateway port to the Hebrides), we were entertained by a one-man musical act named Alex MacFie. Alex has been a big hit with our tour groups here for years. He demonstrated several traditional instruments and told stories offering an insight into Scottish culture while we ate (served by the young women enjoying Alex's beat behind the bar).

Where has folk music connected you with a culture and its past like it does for me in Scotland and Ireland?