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!
Donal Clancy: The balladeer returns
Sunday Jan 29th @ 4pm

There was a lot of giddiness with anticipation when Donal Clancy came to the series in August.  This was someone I had grown to know well, someone who had grown into the footsteps of his famous father, Liam and was comfortable now putting his own stamp on that legacy.  

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 is coming back, and for a lovely afternoon concert.  Don't miss this one.  

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.  

Here is a really well-done mini-documentary/interview from Donal.  Songs and the story of his life in music to date.....

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The East Pointers - from P.E.I.
Sunday Feb 12 @ 4pm
Heres a fun fact about traditional music: its not always old even when it sounds like something lifted straight from a vintage ceilidh. For proof of this, we present The East Pointers from the gorgeous Prince Edward Island.

Guitarist Jake Charron (who accompanied Liz Carroll the last time she visited us in the Backroom), fiddler Tim Chaisson and his cousin, banjoist Koady Chaisson, vocalists all and, in the case of the Chaissons, members of Prince Edward Islands reigning musical dynasty.

The East Pointers unwrap new possibilities in a musical style that dates back centuries yet is still relevant on multiple, divergent continents. Almost without even trying, the trio makes traditional music seem ridiculously hip. Also the most fun thing on the planet to dance (and raise a pint) to.  But don't take my word for it (or do!), check them out here...

The Murphy Beds with Dana Lyn and Kyle Sanna: Double Bill
Wednesday Feb 22 @ 7:30pm

What a night this promises to be!  Seriously.  Jefferson Hamer and Eamonn O'Leary have been singing together for quite a number of years.  It's very hard to get to voices to blend together as seamlessly as these guys do!  And the guitar bouzouki mandolin combinations and accompaniments!  Well, par excellence harkening back to the Paul Brady/Andy Irvine hey days.  

The Murphy Beds is what they call themselves now and they played for us at A St. Patrick's Day Celtic Sojourn in Sanders Theatre and New Bedford a few years ago and as part of a previous double bill in the Backroom in 2013.  Really well received and this is their first return to the area since then.

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Runa PLUS Skipper's Alley
Wednesday Mar 1 @ 7:30pm

Fast gaining recognition as one of the finest voices in traditional Irish music in America, Shannon Lambert Ryan fronts Runa, who are also building huge popularity on the Festival circuit.  Her husband, Fionnan DeBarra from Ireland, is also a part of Fiddler's Bid and a members of one of the first families of Irish music. This will be Runa's second visit to the series and with some new recordings in the interim, promises to be a triumphant one.  See some new video below.    

Sharing this bill, Skippers Alley the 7-piece ensemble whose dynamic take on traditional Irish music has garnered wide critical praise and been featured on stages across three continents, will be making the Boston area debut.

With a sound described as from unaccompanied song through to full Chieftains frenzy (Folk World), the Dublin-based group arrange and interpret traditional Irish folk music on Uilleann Pipes, Harp, Fiddle, Whistles, Bodhrán, Banjo and more, taking influence from such early bands as Planxty, Dé Dannan and The Bothy Band.  Take a listen...



Teada with Seamus Begley
Wednesday Mar 8th @ 7:30pm

TEADA! Yesss.... Teada is just a GREAT band! Simple as that. They have been around for quite a while and have recorded several albums. A few years ago, they were with us for our St. Pats show at Sanders and New Bedford and really wowed the audiences. Top notch individual players who come together seamlessly.

Add in Seamus Begley and you have a combination of accordion player, dancer, raconteur, and rogue. Oh and by the way, one of the sweetest, purist, old-style singing voice you will come across. Add a repertoire of the great Gaelic and English songs from his native Kerry and you are in for a treat indeed. This promises to be again, a great night.

Check out their sound here....

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Kevin Burke
Wednesday Mar 15 @ 7:30pm









Kevin Burke returns solo to the series and what can I say about this musician that hasn't been said 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, and 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.... 

Robbie O'Connell
Wednesday March 22 @ 7:30pm




Robbie O'Connell made his Burren Series debut four years ago and since then, his yearly appearances have been among the most looked forward to.  His story telling, wit, song-writing ability, and a personality that exudes warmth will again make this February evening in his company something to drive the winter chill away.

One of my favorites songs of Robbie's below, a re-working of an old song.  Keg of Brandy.bie O'Connell made his Burren Series debut four years ago and since then, his yearly appearances have been among the most looked forward to.  

Event 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!

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