July will see some celebrated female Irish/Celtic acts come to Greater Boston and vicinity:
• Mary Black, one of Ireland’s most influential and accomplished female singers, will bring her “Last Call” tour to Eastern Massachusetts this month with two performances, on July 27 at Scituate’s River Club Music Hall [theriverclubmusichall.com] and July 29 at the Cabot Theater in Beverly [thecabot.org]. Black announced a few years ago that she would wind down her performances abroad, but decided to add a second leg to her US tour. The Dublin native first rose to prominence in the 1980s as a solo singer as well as a member of the traditional band De Dannan. Her albums “By the Time It Gets Dark” and “No Frontiers” established her as an international star of folk, contemporary, and traditional genres, and led to her appearance on the landmark compilation recording “A Woman’s Heart,” along with other pioneering Irish female artists like Maura O’Connell and Dolores Keane. She has accumulated numerous honors from, among others, Irish Music Magazine, The Irish Post and Hot Press Awards.
• Another featured performer on “A Woman’s Heart,” Sharon Shannon, will play at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England in Canton on July 8. Over more than two decades, Shannon has taken the Irish accordion into many different settings, from traditional to Appalachian, country, rock, hip-hop, reggae, French-Canadian, and Portuguese music. She has collaborated with such luminaries as Christy Moore, Jackson Browne, Sinead O’Connor and, perhaps most memorably, Steve Earle on his hit song “Galway Girl.” Shannon recently released the album “Sacred Earth.” For information on the concert, see irishculture.org
• Groundbreaking Irish-American band Cherish the Ladies heads to the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport on July 30. Originally formed in 1985 as a concert series showcasing female Irish musicians, the group has proved to be a mainstay in the Irish/Celtic music scene, for its excellent interpretations of traditional tunes and songs and as a launch pad for distinguished performers like Aoife Clancy, Eileen Ivers, Winifred Horan, Cathie Ryan, and Bridget Fitzgerald. Cherish the Ladies is led by co-founders Joanie Madden and Mary Coogan; current members also include Mirella Murray, Grainne Murphy, Deirdre Connolly and Kathleen Boyle.
On July 15, Shalin Lu will host Scottish-American duo Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas. Fraser is one of the leading Scottish fiddlers of the past few decades, and Haas has been a foundational figure in the use of cello in various forms of traditional music. In their duets, the two exchange riffs, trade off melody versus rhythm, and otherwise converse in various tones of emotion and intensity, drawing on Scottish and other Celtic traditions, as well as elements of Scandinavian, Breton, American, classical, jazz, and other music forms.
Information on these events is available at rockportmusic.org.
• The Burren Backroom series will present four events this month, beginning on July 5 with a twin bill: Andrew Finn MaGill, a two-time All-Ireland fiddler, has branched out beyond his native tradition to explore old-timey and bluegrass, as well as music from Brazil and Malawi; he’ll be accompanied by Nathan Gourley, a fiddler and guitarist who has become a fixture in the local Irish music scene since moving to the Boston area a few years ago. Also performing will be The Jeremiahs (Joe Gibney, vocal, whistle; James Ryan, guitar, bouzouki; Jean Christopher Morel, fiddle, mandola), whose brand of urban folk music interpolates many traditional and modern influences in a seamless, enthralling fashion.
On July 12, the trio of Colin Farrell, Johnny B. Connolly and Cary Novotny will come to the Backroom. Farrell (fiddle, whistle) has performed and recorded with Karan Casey, Flook, The Elders and, more recently, Lúnasa. Connolly (button accordion) has appeared locally with supergroup Solas at “A Christmas Celtic Sojourn” and was on their 2016 album “All These Years”; Novotny (guitar, vocals) has been a major player in Pacific Northwest Irish/Celtic music happenings – among other activities, he and Connolly have been part of the touring Irish dance show “Celtic Legends.”
Another storied trad trio, Jesse Smith, Sean Gavin and John Blake, takes to the Backroom stage on July 19. Smith (fiddle), raised in a musical household and a former student of legendary Brendan Mulvihill, has played along with London-born Blake (guitar, piano, flute) in The Tap Room Trio and as part of a collaboration with Boston’s own Colm Gannon, while Midwesterner Gavin (flute) has been a part of bands such as Téada and Bua. The three released their first album, “The Lost Continent,” last year.
Then on July 26, Irish singer-songwriter Róisín O returns to The Burren, almost four years after her first visit, which coincided with her debut album, “The Secret Life of Blue.” Her music has a folk-rock-pop quality, often compared to Joni Mitchell, with an organic immediacy and intimacy. She’s appeared on live TV with such performers as Christy Moore and Imelda May, and recently released a new single, “Warn Me of Silence,” with an accompanying video filmed in Dubai.
All Backroom events start at 7:30 p.m. For more, go to burren.com/Backroom-Series.html.
• Boston-area trio Ceol Corvus will play at the annual Strawberry Concert hosted by the Wayside Inn in Sudbury on July 11. The band (Emily Peterson, concertina, whistle, vocals; Steve Levy, vocals, mandolin, banjo, bouzouki; and Sean Smith, vocals, guitar, bouzouki, bodhran) plays mainly traditional Irish songs and tunes, combining the spirit of a session with contemporary influences and arrangements. See wayside.org/node/360 for event details.
• A reminder that July 2 is the third annual Summer BCMFest at Club Passim in Harvard Square (previewed in last month’s edition), with a full day and evening of music from Greater Boston and New England performers Katie McNally, Daymark, Alba’s Edge, the Keltic Kids and the Rockport Celtic Duo. Go to passim.org/bcmfest for details.