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!  
Ten Strings & A Goatskin with Tara Howley
Wednesday Feb 17th @ 7:30pm
Ten Strings & a Goat Skin

Introducing new groups to the Boston audiences is one of the joys of this series.  Ten Strings & A Goatskin, are from Prince Edward Island.  They take the trad influences of Scotlish/Irish/French/Bluegrass & make it into their own unique mix. Youthful, adventurous, a little wild and yet with the welcoming spirit of the gorgeous & storied Island they grew up on!  

Take a listen below:

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Dana Lyn & Kyle Sanna with Eric McDonald & Ryan McKasson
Wednesday Feb 24th @ 7:30pm
This is going to be some night of virtuosic playing.  Maybe you know these players already, but if you don't, this is one of those shows where I say COME ON OUT!   You wont regret it.  The chops on these four individually; phenomenal.  They are two separate duos, but at The Burren, anything goes,& the mind boggles at the thought of them doing  a tune or two together.
Dana Lyn & Kyle Sanna connect the dots between their experience as composers & improvisers in New York City's rich musical community & their deep admiration for traditional Irish music. The duo has collaborated with some of the greatest living interpreters of Irish music, including Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill, Cillian Vallely, Kevin Burke, & Susan McKeown. Take a look/listen here...
Ryan McKasson & Eric McDonald are masters of tradition who purposefully explore the dark corners floating on its edges. When they come together, the result is an alluring mix indeed full of spontaneity & improv with a sound compelling enough to transcend boundaries and appeal to music lovers of all stripes.  Take a listen below...
Wednesday March 2nd @ 7:30pm

Daimh (pronounced Dive) takes its name from the Gaelic word for kinship. This is the Gaelic tradition at its contemporary best with focus on Highland music. They are largely based around West Lochaber & the Isle of Skye. Formed about 15 years ago, they - individually & collectively have - an international a reputation as giants of the Bagpipes & Fiddle, Angus Mackenzie & 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 & Accordion to complete the instrumental line up.

Daimh have always had the renown & notoriety of working with some of the finest Gaelic singers in Scotland & 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..

Check out this introductory video. Well worth watching...

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The Alan Kelly Gang
Wednesday Mar 9th @ 7:30pm

Alan Kelly Gang


The Alan Kelly Gang wowed our audiences around New England for a St. Patrick's Day Celtic Sojourn in 2013. A truly outstanding collections of fine musicians & singers, they provide an evening that is a trip around the roots & branches of traditional Irish music. Just take a look & listen below, & I'm sure you'll agree....

The Tannahill Weavers
Wednesday Apr 20th @ 7:30pm
The Tannahill Weavers released their first album in 1976, & ever since have been one of Scotland's premier traditional bands. Their diverse repertoire spans the centuries with fire-driven instrumentals, topical songs, & original ballads & lullabies. Their music demonstrates to old & young alike the rich & varied musical heritage of the Celtic people. These versatile musicians have received worldwide accolades consistently over the years for their exuberant performances & outstanding recording efforts that seemingly can't get better...yet continue to do just that.

 Take a look below...

The Tannahill Weavers
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David Power & Willie Kelly
Wednesday May 11th @ 7:30pm
David Power & Willie Kelley
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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.

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.... Eden
The Kane Sisters with Pat O'Connor & Eoghan O'Sullivan Wednesday June 8th @ 7:30pm
The Kane Sisters

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.

Pat O'Connor & Eoghan O'Sullivan
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!  
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Matt Cranitch, Jackie Daly & friends...
Wednesday July 20th @ 7:30pm

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.  

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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.

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The Tannahill Weavers
Wednesday Sep 28th @ 7:30pm
David Power & Willie Kelley

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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  More shows coming up....stay tuned!