The Burren Backroom Series, launched in October of 2011, has already created many memorable, intimate, informal presentations. These shows are held in a truly atmospheric space, created by well-known traditional musicians Tommy & Louise McCarthy in Davis Square, Somerville, Masachusetts.  

Hosted by Brian O'Donovan of A "A Celtic Sojurn" on WGBH radio, these gatherings feature core performers from many aspects of traditional music as well as special guests, & conversations around the music.  

Tickets are $23 in advance, with a $5 discount for WGBH Members.  If you are a member, send an e-mail to celtic@wgbh.org & we will send you the code.

Upcoming Shows...   Seating is VERY limited and these events have been selling out, so get your tickets today!  
Len Graham with Brian O'hAirt &
Oisin McAuley With Noel Scott

Wednesday April 8th @ 7:30pm
Irish traditional singers Len Graham & Brian Ó hAirt are bearers of stories, songs, music, lilting & sean-nós dancing from both the duet singing tradition of Ulster & the lyrical sean-nós singing tradition of western Co. Galway.  Both singers weave their unique talents into the "one" tradition to create a truly magical experience not often found outside of Ireland.

Donegal fiddler Oisín McAuley of famed Irish traditional group Danú brings music from the highlands of Ireland
Len Graham and Brian OhAirt
to the Burren with the help of accordionist Noel Scott.  Their pairing of instruments represents the very living world of Irish 'trad' music while exploring the fringe of tradition with tunes from Brittany, Quebec & beyond.

This will prove to be an unforgettable night of pairings of traditions & musicians unlike anything you've heard.
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Martin O'Connor Trio
Wednesday, April 15th @ 7:30pm

This is something to look forward to indeed.  AND one of those events that doesn't come around too often.  Máirtín O'Connor is recognized as one of the foremost proponents of the accordion or "the box" as it is affectionately and more widely known these days.  Add in fiddler, Cathal Hayden, and singer/guitarist Shamie O'Dowd, and you have what can only be described as a super-trio of traditional music.  

Little more for me to say, cept WOW!  This will be gone in a flash.  Simple as that.  
Battlefield Band
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Wednesday April 22nd @ 7:30pm

What a concert the April Verch Band gave last year in their debut at the Backroom Series.

Along with this amazingly talented front woman who sings, dances and plays multiple instruments, The April Verch Band features world-class musicians Hayes Griffin on guitar and Cody Walters on upright-electric bass and banjo. Together, these three passionate musicians tour tirelessly across Canada, the United States, the U.K., Europe and Australia. They have established a reputation as consummate performers, winning over audiences not only with sheer virtuosity on their respective instruments, but also with charm, humor and boundless energy on stage.

April Verch Band
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Open The Door For Three

WEDNESDAY, May 6th @ 7:30pm

Crawford Valelly

"Road-tested, audience-approved, high-octane, fist-in-glove, laughing-out-loud trio of Irish musicians" is how this new trio has been described and if their new CD is any indication, this will be one of the great nights of music in the Backroom Series this year.  

Each individually is well known in their field;  Liz as one of the best and most diverse fiddlers, Ciaran as a well travelled Piper (who was a star of the 2011 edition of A Christmas Celtic Sojourn btw), and Pat Broaders multi instrumentalist specializing on bouzouki, singer, and Dublin raconteur.  

Coming together as they have in a trio named after a well known Irish jig, a most interesting and entertaining concert of music, songs and wit is on tap with this one.

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Alba's Edge (CD Release Party)
Wednesday May 20th @ 7:30pm

I have gotten to hear Alba's Edge a number of times now in concert and must admit to being very impressed indeed by the innovative, unbridled, and adventurous approach to new and traditional tunes alike.  But its the phenomenal level musical chops and sheer energy they bring to their performances that has most impressed.

This will be a CD release so expect lots and lots of great and enthusiastic guests some of which you will already know of!!  
Battlefield Band
"Alba's Edge is a tapestry of cultures: the expressive Scottish and original fiddle melodies are woven together with jazz improvisation and harmony, funk bass lines and the rhythms of Latin America to form a cohesive and singular musical experience. Fiddle, piano, drums and bass come together seamlessly in a new sound that BBC Radio Scotland has called "a wonderful concoction".  Fresh off a US State Department funded tour of Mexico, Alba's Edge performs and leads clinics across the US and internationally at venues ranging from house concerts to festival stages."



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Wednesday, May 27th @ 7:30pm

Paddy Keenan Paddy Keenan is known throughout the world as one of the finest practitioners of this extraordinary instrument.  He was born in Trim, Co. Meath, a Travelling family steeped in traditional music; both Paddy's father (Johnny) and grandfather were pipers. Paddy himself took up the pipes at the age of ten. He later played with the rest of his family in a group called The Pavees a name that pays tribute to their proud Traveler heritage.

An original member of the seminal Bothy Band, his contributions to the popularization of Irish traditional music over the past four decades can hardly be overstated.  This will be a rare opportunity to see and hear the great Paddy Keen upclose and personal.  We have asked him to bring along some musical friends so you never know what will happen during the course of the evening. 
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Nuala Kennedy with Eamon O'Leary
Wednesday June 24th @ 7:30pm

Ok. Each of these musicians has played the Backroom Series before and so memorably!

Nuala Kennedy is an Irish singer and flute player whose music features liltingly beautiful vocals, adventurous instrumentation, and an imaginative mix of influences. Although she is rooted in the Celtic music of her native Ireland and adopted homeland of Scotland, Nuala has gained critical attention for her eclectic cross-genre work.

Eamon O'Leary is originally from Dublin and now a fixture on the trad Irish scene in New York where he lives. A multi-instrumentalist and find singer and harmonizer, he has performed a few times now in the Backroom Series with Jefferson Hamer as part of The Murphy Beds, and as part of the trio called The Alt that featured John Doyle as well as Nuala.

Nula Kennedy and Eamon O'Leary
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The Duhks
Wednesday July 8th @ 7:30pm

The Duhks

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Formed in 2002 in Canada, The Duhks soon became recognized as one of the more dynamic, more agressive, more "punky" bands of the new wave of roots-based contemporary music. During a period of many personnel changes, several critically acclaimed albums, and quite a number of touring miles, the Duhks still retained that edge.

They played the Burren before and what a concert it was. If you were there, you know what I am talking about. If not, come on out for a rollicking treat in the special intimacy of this special room.

The Jeremy Kittel Band
Wednesday, July 22nd @ 7:30pm

Jeremy Kittel

I first saw Jeremy Kittel as a young jazz influenced folk fiddler, at a Folk Alliance gathering in California. He was the talk of the convention and when I saw him perform and especially collaborate, I understood why.

He has since grown into a super, super musical force as a Violinist, Fiddler, Composer, and Improviser He has a well earned reputation as one of the most exceptional violinists and fiddlers of his generation. Influences as diverse as jazz, Scottish and Irish fiddle, bluegrass, classical music, and more. This will be another "one of those rare nights of music" at this series.

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Lunasa: Two Shows
Wednesday Aug 5th @ 7:30pm & 9:30pm

They made a huge impact in their first go-round at the Burren Backroom Series two years ago. Now they are back. Just take a look at this video recorded that night & tell me if both of these shows will not sell out in a few weeks. I'd act immediately if I was you!

Lunasa has been wowing audiences around the world since 1997.  Called "the hottest Irish accoustic band on the planet" by the Irish times, this supergroup of traditional musicians never fails to please.   Taking the dance music of Ireland & beyond, as well as originally penned tunes, the effect if often mesmerizing.


To have them play in the intimate confines of Burren Backroom is a rare treat indeed.  Tickets will be gone in a flash, so if you a reading this ACT NOW!  

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Molloy/Carty/McGlynn Two Shows
Wednesday August 12th @ 7:30pm


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Pinch us all collectively, but this is happening. Can you imagine: Matt Molly, flute. John Carty, Fiddle & Banjo, and Arty McGlynn one of the best guitarists evvaah. And they're coming to the Backroom. Is there much else to say. Cept these shows will sell out in a jiffy. Don't come looking for tickets when they are gone!

David Munnelly & Phil Masure, double bill with
The Fretless

Wednesday, September 23rd @ 7:30pm

Munnelly & Masure
I know. I know. I say this a lot but these two groups will rock the joint from top to bottom. If you come, I guarantee this as a major musical memory. (If you can honestly say it wasn't, I'll buy you & your guests a pint!)

Munnelly & Masure met at a session in Mayo in 1998. Philip's Flemish background & Munnelly's impeccable box style have created something unique. Click below to see a sample.
But wait, that's not all! I have been hoping to work with The Fretless for quite a while...
The Fretless is a new approach to folk music that is quickly gaining high acclaim around the world. But here in Boston, they made a big impact on me, & now with Masure & Munnelly, they agreed to a Burren gig like no other. This unique band is taking string music to fascinating places as it transforms fiddle tunes & folk melodies into intricate, beautiful, high-energy arrangements.

Click below for a sample.
The Fretless
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More shows coming up....stay tuned!