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!
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.

Buy Tickets
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!

The Bloom of Youth: A Musical Celebration with Boston's Young Talent
Wednesday Aug 3th @ 7pm

What a special & joyous evening this will be: a celebration with some of the younger members of our musical community as we toast their achievements at the recent Mid-Atlantic Fleadh Championships for Irish music.

 The evening will see performances from several young musicians who competed at the Mid-Atlantic Fleadh, including several who were selected to go forward to represent Boston &New England at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil in Ennis, Co. Clare.  This International Festival is the world's largest festival dedicated to celebrating Traditional Irish Arts & we are tremendously proud of all our young musicians who will make the trip to represent our region.

It will be an opportunity for our community to support all our young performers, and provide them with a chance to perform for the home crowd before heading off to Ireland.

All funds raised will go to support youth programing within the Reynolds-Hanafin-Cooley Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann music school.  

Buy Tickets

Bloom of youth

The below was filmed in Sligo as part of
the same competition last year....

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
Buy Tickets
Donal Clancy
Wednesday Aug 24th @ 7:30pm


There is a lot of giddiness with anticipation of this night of songs and tunes.

I have known Donal Clancy for many years, and knew his father the famous Liam Clancy, through Liam's nephew Robbie O'Connell for many years before that.  Anyone who listens to A Celtic Sojourn will know what a fan of Liam's singing I am.   Well, Donal, known for so many years as an instrumentalist/accompanist - with Danu - has been coming into his own as a fine (I mean seriously FINE!!) singer.  And his last album proves it.

With a distinctive style, store of songs, and interpretative chops, you can clearly hear the genes and the poetic influences of the family he grew up in.  Honestly, this will be just a lovely night of singing, stories, and tunes.  And of course, as a guitarist, playing tunes, he is second to none.


See video (right) for a really well-done mini-documentary/interview from Donal.  Songs and the story of his life in music to date.



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


Buy Tickets

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
Buy Tickets
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!!!

Buy Tickets
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.

Buy Tickets

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
Buy Tickets
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
John Doyle


Buy Tickets

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.  

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

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