The Burren Backroom Series, launched in October of 2011, has firmly established itself as one of the premiere series, focusing on traditional music, in the world. A new CD featuring tracks from the first three years, was released in January of 2015 to much acclaim. The shows are now well known for their intimacy, pristine sound, and affable audience and the unique atmosphere created by well-known traditional musicians Tommy McCarthy & Louise Costello.

Hosted by Brian O'Donovan of "A Celtic Sojourn”, these gatherings feature core performers from many aspects of traditional Celtic music as well as special guests, and conversations around the music. They are broadcast regularly on WGBH radio in Boston on Saturday afternoons, and on the internet at www.wgbh.org/celtic.

Tickets prices vary, with a $5 discount for WGBH Members. If you are a member, send an e-mail to celtic@wgbh.org to get the discount code.

Upcoming Shows...

  Seating is VERY limited and most shows sell out in advance, so get your tickets today!
Le Vent Du Nord
Friday May 27th @ 7:30pm

I love exploring the connections between Celtic Music and its cousins, both close and distant. From the waves of immigration to Canada over the centuries, so much collaboration and cross influence has happend over the years, and today this music while predominantly French, resonates loudly with lovers of Celtic music - and for good reason. Quebec's Le Vent du Nord knows how to turn the lost past into intense and beautiful performances that push their roots in striking global directions. The group is blazing a path that connects their Québecois roots to the wider world, in both arrangements and on stage. Considered a driving force in progressive folk, Le Vent du Nord captures the energy and mirth of a Saturday night kitchen party, infusing old Québec with a breath of fresh, cosmopolitan air.


The Kane Sisters with Pat O'Connor & Eoghan O'Sullivan Wednesday June 8th @ 7:30pm
The Kane Sisters

Brilliant twin fiddling & often in unison, they create a unique & rooted sound. Take a listen...


A Festival of Pure Drop Traditional Irish Music.

Wow!  This is something I have dreamed about for a while. Pure Drop Trad at its VERY BEST.  And on the same night!   In the Backroom.  Oh my!  

Liz & Yvonne Kane, are much respected musicians & educators. Born in Letterfrack, North Connemara. They were educated in Kylemore Abbey School and first came to national and international prominence during the three year period in which they toured with accordion player, Sharon Shannon as members of her band, The Woodchoppers.

Pat O'Connor & Eoghan O'Sullivan
Ok. (be still my aching heart!), Pat Connor (Feakle) & Eoghan O'Sullivan (Mitchelstown) come together for some tunes as naturally as if they were at a session in the back of Pepper's Bar, or any good Irish pub in the world for that matter.  The ease of their music & the way they present it will invite you to the very soul of the tradition.  What a night this will be!  What a night!  
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Frankie Gavin
Wednesday June 15th @ 7:30pm

Frankie Gavin was last with us at the series as founder/leader of the band De Dannan.  Well, this time he returns solo but armed with what has become known as one of the biggest repertoires of traditional music in one man anywhere in the world.  He also has a great store of stories, and is not shy about telling them!  

This will be just one of those "special" nights you will remember forever.  Bound to sell out rapidly, so don't delay.



Matt Cranitch, Jackie Daly with
The Raw Bar Collective
Wednesday July 20th @ 7:30pm

In this double bill, the absolute best in bottom-line, pure traditional music will shine.  

First:  Sliabh Luachra comes to Boston.

Sliabh Luachra (Mountain of Rushes) as the name suggests, is a rugged area that incorporates parts of Cork, Limerick, & Kerry. Its remoteness led to the development & maintenance of a particular branch of Irish traditional music that is as ancient as it is unique.  Jackie Daly & Matt Cranitch playing in this duo, epitomize all that is great & uplifting about it!   Not to be missed, this concert.  More musicians to be added by the way, so get your tickets soon.  

Matt Cranitch Jackie Daly
Then, as if that wansn't enough, the much talked-about Raw Bar Collective will make its Boston debut.  With a totally uncluttered approach to playing, this trio present a vibrant and excitingly earthy style of Irish Traditional music. The Raw Bar Collective is a fluid gathering of Irish musicians, each of them an acknowledged standard bearer within the tradition. They are anchored by Conal Ó Gráda (flute), Benny McCarthy (accordion) & Dave Sheridan (fiddle), all long recognized as among the top instrumentalists in Ireland.  Just take a listen below:  
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Caleb Klauder Band
Wednesday July 27th @ 7:30pm

Well, this is a little outside of our normal Wednesday night trad offerings, but then again, I'm prone to that, and will be more, AND I just love Country.  

If you attended Christmas Celtic Sojourn in 2014, your have seen Foghorn Stringband as we traced, in a fun way, the links between Celtic and Appalachian music.  

Well Caleb Klauder was a big part of that band and he is returning to Boston with his six piece, all-star country band including the wonderful harmonies of Reeb Willms who was also with Foghorn at that magic series of Christmas shows.

If you don't believe in reincarnation, try listening to Caleb Klauder's music and singing below.

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Caleb Klauder Band

There's little other explanation for why a small island Washingtonian can write, play, and sing music that sounds like it should be rolling out of a Great Depression honky-tonk. Born from the heart of Portland, Oregon's red-hot music scene, and recently featured on A Prairie Home Companion, Caleb Klauder's music continues to challenge and transform how we think about roots music in America.  

And what a celebration of country, gospel, swing, old-time, and bluegrass this promises to be.  As they say in my area of Co. Cork: the height of craic!

Wednesday Aug 10th @ 7:30pm


Dallahan is one of the fastest rising forces on the international folk circuit; heavily rooted in traditional Irish music, but with hugely diverse backgrounds and influences. They call on their mixed Irish, Scottish and Hungarian heritage to create a unique and seamless musical montage, drawing in influences from jazz, funk, pop and classical music. Dallahan will push and pull you along on a musical journey, artistically from tender and delicate songs from central Europe, to relentlessly punchy Irish dance tunes littered with funk grooves and everything in between. Take a listen below...  

Sharon Shannon (2 nights - 4 Shows!)
Wednesday Aug 17th @ 7:30pm & 10pm - Thursday Aug 18th @ 7:30pm & 10pm

Returning to the Burren Backroom after unforgettable shows there in 2014!  

Sharon Shannon burst on the scene in Ireland in the early 1990s.  Her amazing ability on the accordion combined with an exuberant personality and a constant smile, attracted people immediately to the wonderful music she grew up with.  

Just look a the energy she exudes while staying totally connected to the tradition....

Sharon Shannon
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Wednesday Aug 31st @ 7:30pm

Daimh (pronounced Dive) takes its name from the Gaelic word for kinship.  

They just rocked the Burren back in early March, and have decided to return as the travel through Boston from the Milwaukee Irish Festival.  This will be a triumphant return indeed.

This is the Gaelic tradition at its contemporary best with focus on Highland music.  They are largely based around West Lochaber and the Isle of Skye.

Formed about 15 years ago,  they - individually and collectively have - an international a reputation as giants of the Bagpipes and Fiddle, Angus Mackenzie and Gabe McVarish lead the melodic powerhouse with fellow founder member Ross Martin underpinning the groove on the Guitar. The Band are joined by "new guy" Murdo "Yogi" Cameron on Mandola and Accordion to complete the instrumental line up. Check out this introductory video.  Well worth watching.

Daimh have always had the renown and notoriety of working with some of the finest Gaelic singers in Scotland and the current line up only serves to cement that distinction with the addition of the Gaelic firmament's most rapidly rising star, Ellen MacDonald on vocals.

And opening for Daimh, the dynamic siblings Elizabeth and Ben Anderson, a Scottish fiddle and cello duo, who habe been gaining an enthusiastic following in he Boston area and

tthroughout New England. They had a thunderous introduction to the Burren audience when they opened for The Battlefield Band


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Socks in the Frying Pan
Wednesday Sep 7th @ 7:30pm

We had this band with us for our Lowell Summer Music Series Celtic Roots and Branches Concert last year and they rocked the place! They are a multi-award winning trio from County Clare on the West coast of Ireland, the universal hub of Irish traditional music. Their dynamic vocal harmonies, virtuosic musical ability and their onstage wit has captured and captivated audiences the world around. One of the most sought after groups in Irish music today, the worldwide Sock Invasion continues! Check them out in the video below....

Socks in the Frying Pan
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Wednesday Sep 14th @ 7:30pm
Sean Tyrrell
Sean Tyrrell is no stranger to the Burren Backroom or indeed, this series.  In the past, he has wooed the audience with tales and songs about Irish American Heroes, Ghostly Hunters, crazy bombers, lonely lovers, and broken hearted travellers.  Last year in this series, he celebrated his recording of some of the "big" Irish songs that, to paraphrase Yogi Berra, were so popular, nobody sang them any more.  

One patron a few years ago, described him as "the Robert Johnson of Ireland."   Can't wait to have him back with us.

Click on the Video to the left to listen to a unique and brilliant reinterpretation of The Rising of the Moon.
Wednesday Sep 21st @ 7:30pm
Andy Irvine

When Andy arrived at the Burren last time he played a few years ago, he had just arrived from Ireland but into Newark & driven thru traffic to Davis Square.  I was nervous that this veteran would be exhausted.  Ha!!!  It was one of the best concerts I ever heard him give!   What history!  What soul! What impact! What dedication to his art!  

It was one of the most anticipated concerts in the series to that date and it exceeded expectations.  Andy Irvine is truly an icon of traditional and now, contemporary Irish music.  As a member of Sweeny's Men, then Planxty, & most recently Patrick Street, his ensemble playing has created its own unique style of approach to the music. As a solo artist, his original songs have simply become part of the tradition, & his collaborations with Paul Brady, & Dick Gaughan are the recordings of legend.

Take a listen to this rendition of his hero Woody Guthrie's aptly named, Never Tire of the Road.


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De Temps Antan
Friday Oct 7th @ 7:30pm

As with Scandanivian and Appalachian music, I love exploring the connections between Celtic Music and its kin.  So much collaboration & cross influences have happend over the years in Canada between Scottish, Irish,& French music.

It takes a special blend of musical flair to create memorable songs of yesteryear! Songs with a hint of contemporarydosed with uncontrolled laughter, deep-rooted couplets and sudden, impromptu shifts that speak to familiar rhythms of the past. Welcome to the original musical stylings of De Temps Antan!

Nula Kennedy & Eamon_OLeary
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Celtic Fiddle Festival
Wednesday Oct 12th @ 7:30pm
Celtic Fiddle Festival
Again, a group eschewing the big theater for the intimate Backroom.  We don't take this for granted and your support of the series has made it possible.  

Called "three of the finest folk violinists anywhere" by The Washington Post, Celtic Fiddle Festival celebrates the violin in all its globe-trotting variations.  Fiddlers Kevin Burke (Ireland), Christian Lemaître (Brittany, France) and Charlie McKerron (Scotland) showcase a fascinating juxtaposition of international and individual styles. With the able & agile accompaniment of Nicolas Quemener (Brittany, France) you have a perfect storm of the finest Celtic music your ears will ever encounter.  

These are two shows and both will sell our rock solid, so act soon when they go on sale on May 7th at 10AM.



Sunday Oct 16th @ 4pm
John Doyle


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One of the best known names in traditional Irish and American music - and for good reason - John Doyle makes this his first solo appearance in Boston in support of a new CD.

One of those events that will sell-out in a flash because of its rarity. Name many of the most notable recordings and/or performers in Irish music and it's a fair bet that John Doyle had something to do with them. Liz Carroll; Eileen Ivers; Karan Casey; Solas; Michael Black; Mary Black; the trio of McCusker, McGoldrick and Doyle; The Teetotalers (Martin Hayes, Kevin Crawford, John Doyle); and now Usher's Island (Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny, Mike McGoldrick, Paddy Glackin and John Doyle) - a vertible who's who of the greatest names in Irish music. These are just a very few of the stellar artists for whom John Doyle's signature guitar sound, singing or songwriting is essential.

Fourth Annual Benefit For Somerville Homeless Coalition Wednesday Dec 7th @ 7:30pm

This is always a sell-out & features the best in eclectic music & some Christmas Sing-Alongs as well.  Now a Boston-area tradition & for such a good cause.  I would get tickets NOW if I were you!  

This event sells out quickly..  Always on the first Wednesday of December features feature a wide variety of local and visiting talent.  The purpose is to raise funds for the Somerville Homeless Coalition while celebrating the diversity of live music in this wonderful space.  

Again, 100% of everything goes to Somerville Homeless, so please be generous.'

The Burren Backroom series creates create intimate, informal presentations held in the atmospheric space created by well-known traditional musicians Tommy McCarthy & Louise Costello in Davis Square, Somerville, Masachusetts.  

Because this is a charity event, no discounts apply.

Seating is VERY limited and these events have been selling out, so get your tickets today! .


Somerville Homeless Coalition2015 performerss

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  Stay tuned....more shows to be announced....