The Wolfe Tones are an Irish rebel music band deeply rooted in Irish traditional music. They are named after the Irish rebel and patriot Wolfe Tone, one of the leaders of the Irish Rebellion of 1798 with the double entendre that a wolf tone is a spurious sound that can affect instruments of the violin family.
The Wolfe Tones began in the early 1960s, and have continued recording and performing to this day. They originally consisted of the brothers Derek and Brian Warfield and their friend Noel Nagle, with Tommy Byrne joining soon after.
Their unabashed Irish Republican stance has sometimes caused controversy; and their music was effectively banned from the airwaves in the Republic of Ireland in the 1980's. More recently, their music was banned from Aer Lingus flights, after the Ulster Unionist politician Roy Beggs Jnr. compared their songs to the speeches of Osama bin Laden.
In 2002 Derek Warfield left the group to pursue a solo career but the rump of The Wolfe Tones still tour constantly, usually appearing at small function halls. However, 2004 was their last tour year doing that. They will continue to tour, but only at select venues according their website.
The well known rebel song, "Celtic Symphony" was written by Brian Warfield back in 1987 for the 100th anniversary of Celtic Football Club. It has been covered by countless bands around the world. Other famous songs written by the group include Joe McDonnell, a song about the life and death of the IRA Volunteer who was the 5th person to die on the 1981 Hunger Strike, which is also said to be their most popular stage song.