BIR's January Calendar of Irish events across Boston

January 2018
The BCMFest Nightcap concert, “From Spark to Flame,” will be devoted to the stories that define the lives of musicians and singers, according to festival organizers. The concert, which takes place on Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. in The Sinclair (52 Church St. in Harvard Square), is the closing event for BCMFest (Boston Celtic Music Fest), celebrating its 15th anniversary with a four-day feast of music, song and dance that begins January 18.

A musician’s inspiration can come in many forms, say BCMFest organizers: family legacies; invaluable advice and guidance from a valued friend or mentor in the music community; a special time evoked through the melody of a jig or reel, or the verses of a song. At the BCMFest Nightcap,
performers will share the songs and tunes that hold special meaning for them and talk about the people and experiences that provided the spark to light their musical flame. The concert will be an evening of fond memories and fine music, offering an insight into the talent, commitment and passion found in Boston’s Celtic music community.
Among the Nightcap performers are:
Pumpkin Bread– Conor Hearn (guitar), Maura Shawn Scanlin (fiddle), Steven Manwaring (mandolin), Aidan Scrimgeour (accordion), and Jackson Clawson (piano) play original folk music flavored with Celtic fiddling, spirited improvisations, and relentless groove. With songs that range from pensive and heartfelt to driving and playful, the band draws its strength not only from keen musicianship but its camaraderie and close-knit friendship.
Sailbow – With roots in the Celtic music scenes in Rochester, NY, and northern California, Emilie Rose (fiddle) and Casey Murray (cello) are students at Berklee College of Music and deeply involved with the school’s American Roots Program, and are happily exploring Boston’s Celtic community.
Molly Pinto Madigan – A BCMFest veteran, Madigan is a singer-songwriter (a past winner of the Boston Folk Festival Songwriting Contest) whose words and music have been greatly influenced and inspired by the folk ballad tradition of America and Europe, and sung with a voice that has been praised as “pure and sweet.”
Cape Breton Showcase – Fiddlers Rachel Reeds and Jake Brillhart will lead a tribute to Cape Breton’s distinctive music tradition, which has a long history in the Boston area that continues to this day.
Neil Pearlman – An innovative musician and creator of the “TradCafe” podcast –music and conversation with unique artists in the world of traditional music – Pearlman will host the Nightap concert and converse with the performers about their musical odysseys and adventures.
Other performers were still being confirmed as of press time.
BCMFest is a program of Passim, a Cambridge-based non-profit seeking to build a vibrant music community through Club Passim, music school, artist grants and outreach initiatives.
For updates, ticket information and other details about BCMFest 2018, see
Other Irish/Celtic music events taking place over the next few weeks in Greater Boston:
• On Jan. 21, notloB music will present Nic Gareiss in “Solo Square Dance,” his one-person percussive dance show that commemorates the 80th anniversary of the Irish Dance Halls Act, which banned citizens from dancing in homes. Renowned for his joie-de-vivre, Gareiss has performed with the likes of the Chieftains, the David Munnelly Band, Beoga, Teada, and Le Vent du Nord and appeared in “A Christmas Celtic Sojourn” (he’ll also be performing at BCMFest), and is a scholar of dance as well – he holds a master’s degree in ethnochoreology from the University of Limerick. The show will take place at 3 p.m. in Hildreth House, 13 Ayer Road in Harvard. Reservations are advised, and can be obtained at notlobtickets. For more information, phone 978-226-8862 or e-mail
• Super-group Lunasa comes to the Somerville Theater on Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m. For two decades, the quintet has been widely praised and respected for its layered, harmonically sophisticated, and quite modern treatment of Irish traditional music, marked by tight – but not suffocating – precise and polished arrangements yet full of passion and power. The event is presented by World Music/CRASHarts – go to or call 617-876-4275 for tickets.
News bits from Comhaltas
The Boston Branch of Comhaltas (The Reynolds-Hanafin-Cooley Branch) will kick off the New Year hosting a Seisiun / Ceili on Sun., Jan. 14 at the Canadian-American Hall, 202 Arlington Street, Watertown from 3 to 7 p.m. Admission $10. Live Irish Traditional Music under the direction of Tara Lynch, branch chairperson. Musicians, Set Dancers, and Toe Tappers; All are welcome. Email:
Comhaltas’ s February dates are the 11th and the 25th. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 25th for a slow session (free admittance). Aspiring musicians are invited to attend. Comhaltas Set / Ceili Dance Workshop is held on Tuesday evenings at the Canadian-American Hall in Watertown at 7:30 p.m. Beginners always welcome. Email:
Boston Comhaltas Music School: Spring semester begins on Sat., Jan. 20, at a new location: St. Joseph Prep. (formerly Mt. St. Joseph Academy) 617 Cambridge Street, Brighton. More info and Registration details: