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 email@example.com to get the discount code.
Seating is VERY limited and most shows sell out in advance, so get your tickets today!
Kilkenny comes to Boston but not with out picking up some experience in the process. Mick McAuley, perhaps best know for his almost 15 years of work with Solas, is no stranger to lovers of traditional music - & increasingly, song - around the world. Teaming up with fellow Kilkenny man, guitarist/singer Colm O'Caoimh, he has created a duo to be rekoned with. Colm is recently a part of Caladh Nua, & Frankie Gavin & De Dannan.
The duo has already played the Burren Series twice to rave reviews with Win Horan. As a duo, they promise to expand the song repertoire while still rockin' the tunes.
One of those nights, I personally am really looking forward to.
Take a listen to Mick singing "Sailing Back to You.".
The Young Irelanders Wednesday May 4th @ 7:30pm
This is a Boston debut for what promises to be "the next big thing" in traditional Irish music, song and dance.
The Young Irelanders comprises eight sensational performers who have Irish traditional music, song & dance running through their veins. Although still in their 20s and 30s, these performers have achieved more than most people would aspire to in a lifetime. Between them they have performed for many heads of state, Presidents of Ireland, US Presidents, the Queen of England, the President of China, Prince Albert of Monaco, Empress Michiko of Japan, performed at Radio City Music Hall, theGreat Hall of the People in China, Kremlin State Palace in Moscow, the US Capitol Building,
Fox Theatre in Detroit and the Pantages Theatre in L.A . The artists have also toured as lead performers with Riverdance and Michael Flatleys Lord of the Dance, been soloists on PBS Specials, shared the stage with Bono, and have recorded with Ronnie Wood (Rolling Stones) and been chosen by Sting to perform for his exclusive private parties.
Wow! Add new singer, Niamh Farrell to that grouping and you have some punch on stage in the intimate confines of the Burren. NOT to be missed, this one. Take a look at the video (left)...
David Power & Willie Kelly Wednesday May 11th @ 7:30pm
New Pipes & Fiddle duo like you have never heard before. David Power is one of Ireland's foremost musicians on the uilleann pipes. Fiddler, Willie Kelly was born in the Bronx to a musical family from Ireland & is an extremely well-respected player & teacher. Together, they are embarking on a selective tour in the Northeast, launching their album, "Apples in Winter."
David is well known in the Boston area having toured here many times with "Masters of Tradition" at the Somerville Theatre. He has also played with Tony MacMahon, Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill, Donal Clancy, & Ciaran Somers, & has been in literary productions with Gabriel Byrne, Dermot Bulger, Seamus Heaney, Kerry Hardie & many others.
Willie Kelly has appeared on recordings with his friend & mentor, flute player, Mike Rafferty, with whom he has also performed live. He also played in the '80's & 90's with his older brother Joe in a duet called the Kelly Brothers. A well-respected fiddle teacher in New Jersey for the past twenty years, Willie also plays the uilleann pipes & the flute. He lives in New Jersey with his wife Siobhan, an accomplished flute player from County Clare, & their children.
KEVIN BURKE Wednesday May 18th @ 7:30pm
What to say about Kevin Burke. His name is synonymous with four decades of growth in world-wide interest in Irish traditional music. From his early days recording with Arlo Guthrie, through the halcyon days of the Bothy Band, & onto Nightnoise, Patrick Street, Open House, Fiddle Festival, he has stood as the gold standard. Often emulated by young players, he is the zenith of players in the decorous Sligo style today. Give him some time solo with just a fiddle, his personality, his stories, and his playful sense of humor, and you will have an evening to truly relish and remember. Take a look and listen below....
Nollaig Casey and Arty McGlynn, with Tommy Sands. Double Bill Wednesday May 25th @ 7:30pm
Nollaig Casey and Arty McGlynn are a most exciting duo who together provide a rich mix of talent and experience. Nollaig and Arty first met in Dublin in 1979, after which their musical paths crossed again and again at recording sessions, television and radio studios and on stage with Andy Irvine, Planxty, Makem & Clancy and Maura O'Connell.
Tommy Sands from County Down is a good friend of Nollaig and Arty and is a singer, songwriter and social activist. He achieved something akin to legendary status in his own lifetime. From the pioneering tours with the highly influential Sands Family, playing Carnegie Hall to Moscow's Olympic Stadium, he has become one of Ireland's most powerful songwriters and enchanting performers. He enjoys celebrity status in many parts of the world, tempered by artistic integrity and the sorrow of personal tragedy in his war-torn homeland.
Le Vent Du Nord Wednesday 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'SullivanWednesday June 8th @ 7:30pm
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
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!
Dallahan 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 Wednesday Aug 17th @ 7:30pm
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....
Daimh 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
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....
SEAN TYRRELL Wednesday Sep 14th @ 7:30pm
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.
Nuala Kennedy with Eamon O'Leary Wednesday Sep 21st @ 7:30pm
Who reading this, remembers the magic of a summer's night in 2015 when the power went out in Davis Square& these two stood on stage for four magic candlelit songs without microphone or speakers! The soul of the music is in Nuala & Eamon & they are coming back!!! Love it!
Video below is from that same night. (Thanks Stephen Shephard for posting).
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.
ANDY IRVINE Wednesday Sep 28th @ 7:30pm
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.
De Temps Antany 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!
Celtic Fiddle Festival Wednesday Oct 12th @ 7:30pm
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.
JOHN DOYLE Sunday Oct 16th @ 4pm
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! .