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!
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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Foghorn Stringband
Sunday Sep 11th @ 4pm

Appalachian music and Irish Traditional Music are cousins.  Simple as that.  When an Irish audience hears it, its just moves them in the same was as our own jigs and reals.  So much so that I chose Foghorn Stringband for our Christmas Celtic Sojourn series of concerts just two years ago.  And now they return with us to the Backroom Series.  Just can't wait.

If you attended Christmas Celtic Sojourn in 2014, your have seen Foghorn Stringband. Take a listen below to one of their great collaborations with Kevin Burke, and Solas.  Wow!!!

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SEAN TYRRELL with Tim Britton/Mark Simos
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.

And just addded: Tim Britton, one of America's renowned Uilleann Pipers has just been added. Tim will be accompanied by Mark Simos.

Click on the Video to the left to listen to Sean Tyrrell's 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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Nathan Gourley & Joey Abarta with Owen Marshall
Wednesday Sep 28th @ 7:30pm

Boston based Uilleann piper Joey Abarta and fiddler Nathan Gourley are two of Americas great young trad musicians, who have been playing music together daily since 2013.  Their debut duo album, Copley Street, featuring Owen Marshall on Greek bouzouki, has an undeniable chemistry and demonstrates a nuanced understanding of each other's playing.

Their music includes offbeat settings of well-known tunes and beautiful pieces that seem to languish in obscurity. "Copley Street" is a wonderful album from two stunning young players that adds to Bostons rich history of traditional Irish music. Given this is a CD release party, we are sure there will be many guests.  A true celebration of the amazing Boston Trad scene...

Nordic Fiddlers Bloc
Wednesday Oct 5th @ 7:30pm

The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc absolutely wowed the audiences for our Christmas Celtic Sojourn series last December. We couldn't wait for them to come back thru the area and are delighted they have found a date for us. Shetland, Norway, and Sweden come together in the most extraordinary, beautiful, and often "wow" ways.  

 Can't wait for this show at the Burren.  

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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.



De Temps Antan
Thursday Oct 13th @ 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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Katie McNally Trio
Friday Oct 14th @ 7:30pm

Katie McNally has made waves in both the American traditional music scene and abroad since the release of her debut album, Flourish, in 2013.

Based in Boston, her latest project synthesizes her elegant and powerful fiddle playing with the talents of genre-crossing pianist Neil Pearlman and bluegrass phenom Shauncey Ali on viola. The trio will be celebrating their brand-new album The Boston States as it reimagines the historic musical connection between Maritime Canada and New England.

This will be an absolute blast and will once again, illustrate and celebrate the great Boston trad Celtic scene we have.  Check it out the video left.  

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John Carty

John Carty, Bonhomme Setter:
(Double Bill)

Wednesday Oct 19th @ 7:30pm

Talk about a diverse night of music.  John Carty is highly regarded as a traditional musician throughout the world.  He most recently played the Burren as part of a supergroup trio with Matt Molloy and Arty McGlynn.  

Bonhomme Setter have fascinated me since I first received their debut CD last year.  Previously associated with Irish musical traditions and culture, today the group blends a broader selection of Celtic music with the diverse rhythms of the world. The flute player and founding member, Sylvain Laberge, is now joined by Marie-Noëlle Harvey (violin, viola), Marie-Pier Gagné (cello) and Stephane Desbiens (guitar).


The Dardanelles with Matthew Byrne
Wednesday Nov 2nd @ 7:30pm

The Dardanelles have over the past 8 years, established themselves as one of the most exciting groups ever to play Newfoundland Traditional Music on the global stage. Their lead singer, Matthew Byrne has performed as part of our Roots and Branches concert at Lowell Summer Music, and most recently wowed our audiences over five concerts of A St. Patrick's Day Celtic Sojourn.

They play traditional music not out of some 
duty or nostalgic obligation, but because they think its great music. The Dardanelles are a new breed of folk musician with a wide sense of the world, out to show that Newfoundland traditional music is alive, vibrant, and powerful.  Check them out in full-flight below.  
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Fourth Annual Benefit For Somerville Homeless Coalition Wednesday Nov 30th @ 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....