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 firstname.lastname@example.org to get the discount code.
Seating is VERY limited and most shows sell out in advance, so get your tickets today!
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.
Grainne Hambly & William Jackson WITH Elias Alexander & The Bywater Band Wednesday Apr 26 @ 7:30pm
Grainne Hambly and William Jackson bring their Masters of the Celtic Harp show to Somerville with what one critic calls the most creative interpretations of Irish and Scottish traditional music youre likely to hear.
Besides the contrasting and complimentary sounds and styles of the harps, their performance includes concertina, whistle and bouzouki. This is the first appearance at the Burren Backroom Series for these foremost harpers of Ireland and Scotland.
Also sharing this bill, Elias Alexander and Bywater who are on the forefront of creativity in contemporary Celtic-influenced music. Rising from the thriving Boston music community, their unique version of Scottish traditional music, infused with their own compositions, improvisation, and tones of American roots music, is something truly special.
Matt and Shannon Heaton with Natalie Haas and Yann Falquet Wednesday May 3 @ 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...
Pauline Wells Thursday May 11 @ 6:30pm
TThe talented vocalist Pauline Wells is teaming with friends DEVRI Boston is a special benefit to support the New England Chapter of C.O.P.S., a nationwide non profit that provides essential services to the families and survivors of Law Enforcment Officers killed in the line of duty.
May is National Police Memorial month and as a veteran Cambridge Police Lieutenant, this issue is close to Pauline. Over 120 law enforcement officers were killed in 2016 and this single performance will take place at the historic Somerville Music venue, "The "Burren."
Dont miss your chance to catch a terrific musical performance in support of our law enforcement heroes
Cassie & Maggie MacDonald with Whelan/Foley/Cohen Wednesday May 17 @ 7:30pm
"2016 Live Ireland Radios SINGERS OF THE YEAR Nova Scotian sisters Cassie & Maggie are lighting up the world with their unique blend of traditional & contemporary Celtic Roots music. Exciting and innovative, they have found a perfect balance between musical integrity, & sheer entertainment. While staying true to their Nova Scotia Celtic roots, they have explored & tested the boundaries of traditional music. Take a listen below.
John Whelan has had a huge impact on Irish traditional music here in the US since coming here from England in the 1980s. He has decided to move from his long time East Coast base to the pacific northwest, and has put together a short tour to say farewell! Dylan Foley and Flynn Cohen with join John on stage. I love all of John's playing but particularly attracted to his slow airs. Listen to one below.
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.
Colin Farrell, Johnny B. Connolly, and Cary Novotny Wednesday July 12 @ 7:30pm
What a trio this brings together! Colin Farrell (regularly touring with Lunasa), Johnny B. Connolly (most recently of Solas) and Oregon-based guitarist, Cary Novotny. A great night of tunes and songs.
Jesse Smith, Sean Gavin, and John Blake Wednesday July 19 @ 7:30pm
Touring to support the release of their new CD, Music from a Lost Continent, this trio of musicians bring a sensibility and sensitivity to their music that is second to none.
Jesse Smith and Sean Gavin are American born but from traditional music royalty, and John Blake, a multi-instrumentalist from London Irish background is one of my favorite accompanists - not to mention his formidable skills on the flute. This will be just a lovely night.
Take a listen below to the wonderful blend of Jesse's fiddle and Sean on flute below. Outstanding...
Annual Benefit For Somerville Homeless Coalition Wednesday Dec 6 @ 7:30pm
This is always a sell-out and features the best in eclectic music and some Christmas Sing-Alongs as well. Now a Boston-area tradition and for such a greatcause. I would get tickets NOW if I were you!
This event sells out quickly..
It will feature as always 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.