The Burren Backroom Series, launched in October of 2011, has already created many memorable, intimate, informal presentations. These shows are held in a truly atmospheric space, created by well-known traditional musicians Tommy & Louise McCarthy in Davis Square, Somerville, Masachusetts.  

Hosted by Brian O'Donovan of A "A Celtic Sojurn" on WGBH radio, these gatherings feature core performers from many aspects of traditional music as well as special guests, & conversations around the music.  

Tickets are $23 in advance, with a $5 discount for WGBH Members.  If you are a member, send an e-mail to celtic@wgbh.org & we will send you the code.

Upcoming Shows...   Seating is VERY limited and these events have been selling out, so get your tickets today!  

Alba's Edge (CD Release Party)
Wednesday May 20th @ 7:30pm

I have gotten to hear Alba's Edge a number of times now in concert and must admit to being very impressed indeed by the innovative, unbridled, and adventurous approach to new and traditional tunes alike.  But its the phenomenal level musical chops and sheer energy they bring to their performances that has most impressed.

This will be a CD release so expect lots and lots of great and enthusiastic guests some of which you will already know of!!  
Battlefield Band
"Alba's Edge is a tapestry of cultures: the expressive Scottish and original fiddle melodies are woven together with jazz improvisation and harmony, funk bass lines and the rhythms of Latin America to form a cohesive and singular musical experience. Fiddle, piano, drums and bass come together seamlessly in a new sound that BBC Radio Scotland has called "a wonderful concoction".  Fresh off a US State Department funded tour of Mexico, Alba's Edge performs and leads clinics across the US and internationally at venues ranging from house concerts to festival stages."



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Wednesday, May 27th @ 7:30pm

Paddy Keenan Paddy Keenan is known throughout the world as one of the finest practitioners of this extraordinary instrument.  He was born in Trim, Co. Meath, a Travelling family steeped in traditional music; both Paddy's father (Johnny) and grandfather were pipers. Paddy himself took up the pipes at the age of ten. He later played with the rest of his family in a group called The Pavees a name that pays tribute to their proud Traveler heritage.

An original member of the seminal Bothy Band, his contributions to the popularization of Irish traditional music over the past four decades can hardly be overstated.  This will be a rare opportunity to see and hear the great Paddy Keen upclose and personal.  We have asked him to bring along some musical friends so you never know what will happen during the course of the evening. 
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Frankie Gavin: The Master Fiddler
Saturday May 30th @ 7:30pm


A short notice gig for one of the master fiddler's of the genre.  Frankie Gavin's playing over the years is regarded as amongst the tops in terms of quality and style.  Needing no introduction essentially to anyone even remotely interested in traditional music, he returns to the Burren Backroom for this one time gig on a Saturday night.

Known as well for his work with the seminal and ground-breaking group De Dannan, Frankie has recorded several solo CDs, and in many other iterations.   This will be an evening of pure trad and fiddle fireworks.  Not to be missed.


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Frankie Gavin

Nuala Kennedy with Eamon O'Leary
Wednesday June 24th @ 7:30pm

Ok. Each of these musicians has played the Backroom Series before and so memorably!

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.

Nula Kennedy and Eamon O'Leary
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The Duhks
Wednesday July 8th @ 7:30pm

The Duhks

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Formed in 2002 in Canada, The Duhks soon became recognized as one of the more dynamic, more agressive, more "punky" bands of the new wave of roots-based contemporary music. During a period of many personnel changes, several critically acclaimed albums, and quite a number of touring miles, the Duhks still retained that edge.

They played the Burren before and what a concert it was. If you were there, you know what I am talking about. If not, come on out for a rollicking treat in the special intimacy of this special room.

The Jeremy Kittel Band
Wednesday, July 22nd @ 7:30pm

Jeremy Kittel

I first saw Jeremy Kittel as a young jazz influenced folk fiddler, at a Folk Alliance gathering in California. He was the talk of the convention and when I saw him perform and especially collaborate, I understood why.

He has since grown into a super, super musical force as a Violinist, Fiddler, Composer, and Improviser He has a well earned reputation as one of the most exceptional violinists and fiddlers of his generation. Influences as diverse as jazz, Scottish and Irish fiddle, bluegrass, classical music, and more. This will be another "one of those rare nights of music" at this series.

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Lunasa: Two Shows
Wednesday Aug 5th @ 7:30pm & 9:30pm

They made a huge impact in their first go-round at the Burren Backroom Series two years ago. Now they are back. Just take a look at this video recorded that night & tell me if both of these shows will not sell out in a few weeks. I'd act immediately if I was you!

Lunasa has been wowing audiences around the world since 1997.  Called "the hottest Irish accoustic band on the planet" by the Irish times, this supergroup of traditional musicians never fails to please.   Taking the dance music of Ireland & beyond, as well as originally penned tunes, the effect if often mesmerizing.


To have them play in the intimate confines of Burren Backroom is a rare treat indeed.  Tickets will be gone in a flash, so if you a reading this ACT NOW!  

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Molloy/Carty/McGlynn Two Shows
Wednesday August 12th @ 7:30pm


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Pinch us all collectively, but this is happening. Can you imagine: Matt Molly, flute. John Carty, Fiddle & Banjo, and Arty McGlynn one of the best guitarists evvaah. And they're coming to the Backroom. Is there much else to say. Cept these shows will sell out in a jiffy. Don't come looking for tickets when they are gone!

David Munnelly & Phil Masure, double bill with
The Fretless

Wednesday, September 23rd @ 7:30pm

Munnelly & Masure
I know. I know. I say this a lot but these two groups will rock the joint from top to bottom. If you come, I guarantee this as a major musical memory. (If you can honestly say it wasn't, I'll buy you & your guests a pint!)

Munnelly & Masure met at a session in Mayo in 1998. Philip's Flemish background & Munnelly's impeccable box style have created something unique. Click below to see a sample.
But wait, that's not all! I have been hoping to work with The Fretless for quite a while...
The Fretless is a new approach to folk music that is quickly gaining high acclaim around the world. But here in Boston, they made a big impact on me, & now with Masure & Munnelly, they agreed to a Burren gig like no other. This unique band is taking string music to fascinating places as it transforms fiddle tunes & folk melodies into intricate, beautiful, high-energy arrangements.

Click below for a sample.
The Fretless
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More shows coming up....stay tuned!