BIR CALENDAR: Irish/Celtic events this month

Highlighting this month’s slate of Irish/Celtic events in Greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts is the annual South Shore Irish Festival, which takes place at the Marshfield Fairgrounds in Marshfield on Sept. 9 and 10. Headliners for this year include Derek Warfield & The Young Wolfe Tones, The American Rogues, Fr. Ray “The Singing Priest” Kelly (who in addition to performing will also say Sunday Mass), Deirdre Reilly, and local U2 tribute band The Joshua Tree.

There also will be a number of Boston, Massachusetts, and New England acts, such as: The Lindsays, The Silver Spears, Jinty McGrath, The Fenian Sons, Devri, Pauline Wells, Curragh’s Fancy, Colm O’Brien, The Gobshites, The Dooleys, Erin’s Melody, Denis O’Gorman, Ciaran Nagle with Tara Novak, Boston Erin’s Og, Rare Old Times, Keohane & Kenneally, and DJ Sean O’Toole.

Other attractions at the festival include an encampment of The Viking Irish, a corn hole tournament, and a tug-of-war. For more information, including ticket prices and the schedule of events, go to

In addition to their appearance at the South Shore Irish Festival, The Joshua Tree also will present a concert at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England in Canton on Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. The band has developed a national reputation in evoking the magic and majesty of U2, and prides itself on reproducing the legendary Irish rockers’ distinct sound — covering the very early years up to the present — while maintaining artistic integrity.

For information, see

A collection of Boston-area Celtic music performers will play a benefit to support humanitarian aid for Syria at the Westford Public Library on Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. The line-up is Scottish/Cape Breton-style fiddler Katie McNally; Irish music duo Matt and Shannon Heaton; Emerald Rae, who plays Irish, Scottish and Cape Breton fiddle, as well as the Welsh crwth, and sings traditional and original songs; Mariel Vandersteel, versed in Scandinavian and American fiddle styles; and Louise Bichan, a fiddler from Scotland’s Orkney Islands living in Boston and attending the Berklee College of Music.
Proceeds will go to NuDay Syria, a non-profit that seeks to address housing and food needs for displaced families with single mothers or wounded family members. NuDay Syria also facilitates educational and micro-financial opportunities to help ensure financial independence and otherwise improve quality of life.

For tickets and other information, see, or call 978-692-6333.

Internationally renowned ballad group The High Kings come to the Somerville Theatre on Sept. 30, at 8 p.m. Vocalists and musicians Finbarr Clancy, Brian Dunphy, Martin Furey and Darren Holden joined forces almost 10 years ago to form The High Kings, whose sound derives from the classic Irish ballad style that swept into popularity during the 1950s and 60s through such bands as the Clancy Brothers and The Dubliners. Since then, they’ve toured extensively throughout the US and Europe, recorded four studio albums and two live albums, and released two live DVDs, combining modern songs in the folk idiom – and even from other genres – with some of the classic ballad repertoire.

For details about the show, which is presented by World Music/CRASHarts, go to

The Burren Backroom series schedule for the coming weeks, as usual, features a variety of sounds and styles, beginning on Sept. 6 with Nova Scotian-based quartet Còig (Darren McMullen, guitar, mandolin, mandola, banjo, bouzouki, whistles, flute, vocals; Rachel Davis, fiddle, viola, vocals; Jason Roach, piano; Chrissy Crowley, fiddle, viola), all of whom have enjoyed successful solo careers. Originally formed to promote the 2014 Celtic Colours International Festival in Nova Scotia, the band proved to have staying power, thanks to their energetic renditions of traditional and folk music from the Canadian Maritimes. Còig’s first album won the Canadian Folk Music Award for Traditional Album of the Year, among other honors; the band’s second album, “Rove” – which includes a cover of the Peter Gabriel hit “Solsbury Hill” – was released earlier this summer.

Fiddler Jeremy Kittel, whose style encompasses Celtic, American, and jazz elements, returns to the Backroom on Sept. 13. Kittel has worked with a wide range of artists, including local American Scottish fiddler Hanneke Cassel, Boston native singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan, and celebrated cellist Yo Yo Ma; he also was a member of the Grammy-winning quartet Turtle Island.

Sept. 20 will see a visit from The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc, three musicians from some of the world’s northern-most places: Olav Luksengård Mjelva (Norway), Anders Hall (Sweden) and Kevin Henderson (Shetland Islands). The trio, part of the 2015 “Christmas Celtic Sojourn,” mines its respective fiddle traditions to create a fascinating synthesis of styles and sounds – sometimes haunting, sometimes vigorous, sometimes jovial – while upholding the distinctive flavor of each element.

Also appearing in the Sept. 20 show is the fiddle-guitar duo of Qristina and Quinn Bachand, siblings from British Columbia in Canada who in the past decade have moved from their Celtic beginnings to incorporate old-timey, roots, jazz and original material into their music, and introducing experimental and improvisational elements – as witnessed by their most recent album, “Little Hinges,” which includes fiddle tune sets and edgy vocal numbers alike.

On Oct. 1, the trio Open the Door for Three, a trio of highly acclaimed musicians with strong roots in the Irish tradition, whose individual and collective resumes include “Riverdance,” Cherish the Ladies, Mick Moloney and The Greenfields of America, Liz Carroll, John Doyle, Danú, Robbie O’Connell, The String Sisters, and John Whelan. Liz Knowles (fiddle) strikes that elusive balance of classical technique and tonality with the verve and drive of traditional music; Kieran O’Hare (uilleann pipes, flute, whistle) is in great demand as performer, session musician and teacher, and developed a keen sense of how to design music for the stage; Pat Broaders (bouzouki, vocals) gained a love of singing through his father and the vibrant music scene of his native Dublin, and has an equally good reputation as an accompanist.

For tickets and other information concerning the Backroom series, see

Scottish-born David Francey, whose observational, slices-of-life songwriting style propelled him – at age 45 – into a musical career, will perform at Club Passim on Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. Francey moved with his family at age 12 from Scotland to Canada, and as an adult worked in rail yards, construction sites, and the Yukon wilderness – all the while composing poetry and setting it to music for his own enjoyment. Urged by family and friends to share his gift, Francey wound up becoming a three-time winner in Canada’s prestigious Juno Awards, and earning first prize in the USA Songwriting Competition and John Lennon Songwriting Contest; a reviewer called him “the closest thing Canada has to Woody Guthrie.” Last year, he released his 11th album, “Empty Train.”

Go to for tickets and other information.

Medford’s Chevalier Theatre will host a performance on Sept. 23 by Irish country singer, guitarist, pianist and accordionist Nathan Carter, who will be on his debut North American tour. A former All-Ireland accordion and singing champion, the 26-year-old Carter has three number-one albums, two number-one singles and two number-one live performance DVDs, as well as a recently aired PBS special. Special guest star Chloë Agnew, formerly of Celtic Woman, will join Carter for renditions of old country favorites, Irish folk songs and adult contemporary classics.

For more details, see

Master traditional singer – and weaver – Norman Kennedy will give a house concert on Sept. 23, sponsored through the Folk Song Society of Greater Boston. Born in Scotland and now living in Vermont, Kennedy has been active as a singer and weaver for decades, and in 2003 was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship – the highest honor in folk and traditional arts in the United States.

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