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!
The East Pointers with Emerald Rae Sunday Feb 12 @ 4pm
Heres a fun fact about traditional music: its not always old even when it sounds like something lifted straight from a vintage ceilidh. For proof of this, we present The East Pointers from the gorgeous Prince Edward Island.
Guitarist Jake Charron (who accompanied Liz Carroll the last time she visited us in the Backroom), fiddler Tim Chaisson and his cousin, banjoist
Koady Chaisson, vocalists all and, in the case of the Chaissons, members of Prince Edward Islands reigning musical dynasty.
The East Pointers unwrap new possibilities in a musical style that dates back centuries yet is still relevant on multiple, divergent continents. Almost without even trying, the trio makes traditional music seem ridiculously hip. Also the most fun thing on the planet to dance (and raise a pint) to. But don't take my word for it (or do!), check them out below...
The Murphy Beds with Dana Lyn and Kyle Sanna: Double Bill
Wednesday Feb 22 @ 7:30pm
What a night this promises to be! Seriously. Jefferson Hamer and Eamonn O'Leary have been singing together for quite a number of years. It's very hard to get to voices to blend together as seamlessly as these guys do! And the guitar bouzouki mandolin combinations and accompaniments! Well, par excellence harkening back to the Paul Brady/Andy Irvine hey days.
The Murphy Beds is what they call themselves now and they played for us at A St. Patrick's Day Celtic Sojourn in Sanders Theatre and New Bedford a few years ago and as part of a previous double bill in the Backroom in 2013. Really well received and this is their first return to the area since then.
Runa PLUS Skipper's Alley Wednesday Mar 1 @ 7:30pm
Fast gaining recognition as one of the finest voices in traditional Irish music in America, Shannon Lambert Ryan fronts Runa, who are also building huge popularity on the Festival circuit. Her husband, Fionnan DeBarra from Ireland, is also a part of Fiddler's Bid and a members of one of the first families of Irish music. This will be Runa's second visit to the series and with some new recordings in the interim, promises to be a triumphant one. See some new video below.
Sharing this bill, Skippers Alley the 7-piece ensemble whose dynamic take on traditional Irish music has garnered wide critical praise and been featured on stages across three continents, will be making the Boston area debut.
With a sound described as from unaccompanied song through to full Chieftains frenzy (Folk World), the Dublin-based group arrange and interpret traditional Irish folk music on Uilleann Pipes, Harp, Fiddle, Whistles, Bodhrán, Banjo and more, taking influence from such early bands as Planxty, Dé Dannan and The Bothy Band. Take a listen...
Teada with Méabh Begley Wednesday Mar 8th @ 7:30pm
TEADA! Yesss.... Teada is just a GREAT band! Simple as that. They have been around for quite a while and have recorded several albums. A few years ago, they were with us for our St. Pats show at Sanders and New Bedford and really wowed the audiences. Top notch individual players who come together seamlessly.
Seamus was originally scheduled for the concert but has had to cancel due to a touring conflict. However, Méabh Begley, Seamus' wonderful daughter and beautiful singer will in fact be with them.
This promises to be again, a great night.
Check out their sound here....
Kevin Burke Wednesday Mar 15 @ 7:30pm
Kevin Burke returns solo to the series and what can I say about this musician that hasn't been said 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, and 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....
Robbie O'Connell Wednesday March 22 @ 7:30pm
Robbie O'Connell made his Burren Series debut four years ago and since then, his yearly appearances have been among the most looked forward to. His story telling, wit, song-writing ability, and a personality that exudes warmth will again make this February evening in his company something to drive the winter chill away.
One of my favorites songs of Robbie's below, a re-working of an old song. Keg of Brandy.bie O'Connell made his Burren Series debut four years ago and since then, his yearly appearances have been among the most looked forward to.
Ten Strings and A Goatskin: The Return!!
Wednesday Apr 12 @ 7:30pm
Youthful, exuberant music from Prince Edward Island that ROCKED the place on their first trip last February.
Tara Howley, who was initially scheduled to join us, unfortunately has had to cancel. Tara assures us she will be back to the series and we are so looking forward to that. Extraordinary musician and singer, Emerald Rae has agreed to step in and it will be great for us to have her perform for us as she opens for this this amazing PEI group.
Introducing new groups to the Boston audiences is one of the joys of this series. Ten Strings and A Goatskin, are from Prince Edward Island. They take the trad influences of Scotlish/Irish/French/Bluegrass and make it into their own unique mix. Youthful, adventurous, a little wild and yet with the welcoming spirit of the gorgeous and storied Island they grew up on!
Cantrip WITH Fódhla (Double Bill) Wednesday Apr 19 @ 7:30pm
What a lovely double bill this promises to be.
Cantrip is a leader in Scottish music and or over a decade they have been breaking boundaries in the tradition, touring extensively throughout Scotland and the US. Known for their innovative arrangements, un-produced sound and dry wit this power trio can be seen on some of the largest Celtic stages in the world. From the strong base of its Celtic roots their music branches out into, and takes influences from, the music of other European cultures. Check them out below.
Matt and Shannon Heaton WITH Natalie Haas and Yann Falquet Wednesday May 3rd @ 7:30pm
Another great night of diverse music on tap with this double bill.
Matt and Shannon are multi instrumentalists and have built a terrific following - for good reason - around the country since moving to Boston some 15 years ago.
With engaging stage presence and masterfully-crafted music,they offer well-travelled Irish music from the heart. Steeped in sessions in County Clare and brewed in the acoustic music scenes of Chicago and Boston, their flute/guitar/bouzouki instrumentals and sweet husband-and-wife harmony singing draw deeply from the Irish tradition.
Natalie Haas is one of the most sought after cellists playing traditional music today. She and Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser have toured as a duo for over 15 years, wowing audiences at festivals and concerts worldwide with their unique sound. Natalie got married a few years ago to Yann Falquet who is one of the trio of Quebecois musicians known as Genticorum. Take a look below and you'll see what kind of music they are playing these days. Don't miss out on this eclectic evening.
MATTHEW BYRNE Wednesday May 10 @ 7:30pm
Matthew Byrne was devastated last year when his band The Dardanelles had to cancel. He was determined to return to the Boston area and now he is!!
Matthew was with us for our St. Patrick's Day Celtic Sojourn last year, and our audience have grown to LOVE his voice. He is from Newfoundland and from what is essentially musical royalty there. A lot of Irish influence with a distinctive Maritime's influence, makes him a unique artist indeed. Just listen to his cover below of Norman Blake's True Love knows no Season. Kind of like, wow...
Caleb Klauder Band returns.... Wednesday June 7 @ 7:30pm
These guys just rocked the place when they played with us back last sumemr. Well, tho 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. So Caleb Klauder is coming back! Yeah!!
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! Take a listen below:
The Jeremiahs WITH Andrew Finn McGill and Nathan Gourley Wednesday Jul 5th @ 7:30pm
This will be a fun evening of youthful exuberance arising out of two different sides of the music. One Ireland based the other U.S. Roots and Branches - in the case of Finn, the actual names of his two last recording projects you can hear described in the video below.
The Jeremiahs combine traditional and contemporary sounds to create their own brand of Urban Folk music. Since founding in 2013 they have trailblazed across Ireland and Europe playing some of the top venues and Festivals. Click below for a good sample of their dynamic sound.