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Arts and Entertainment

As days get longer, the music heats up

By Sean Smith, special to the BIR, February 7, 2013


While it may have only 28, or sometimes 29, days, February (along with the early part of March) can seem like the longest month: closer to spring than January, but often with cold, wintry weather and days that gradually but oh-so-slowly get longer. Fortunately, the Greater Boston area has plenty of Irish and Celtic music events this period to brighten spirits. Here’s a sampling: Read more

What are you going to do with your life? ‘I’m going to play music,’ said Colm Gannon

By Sean Smith, special to the BIR, February 7, 2013


There was never any doubt, really, that Colm Gannon would play music – nor any doubt as to what kind of music, nor which instrument he would use to play it. Not with a father who is an accomplished Irish accordion player, and an older brother following suit.
But then, Gannon hardly needed any nudging to take up the box. Quite the opposite. Read more

Hollywood disrupts a rural Kerry village in Lyric Stage’s ‘Stones In His Pockets’

By R.J.Donovan, special to the BIR, February 7, 2013


This month, Lyric Stage Company of Boston is presenting “Stones In His Pockets,” the poignant but very funny tale of what happens when a movie crew descends upon a village in County Kerry.
As the story unfolds, two local guys, Charlie and Jake, secure jobs as extras in the movie but soon find the film business is far from the glittering world they expected. Ultimately, they decide to write a film of their own to tell what actually happens to a small town and its people when Hollywood takes over. Read more

At last, tin whistler Conneely comes through: it’s an album

By Sean Smith, special to the BIR, January 7, 2013

For years, Kathleen Conneely’s friends asked her the same question over and over: “So when are you going to make an album?”
Conneely has finally satisfied them, although the result may only create demand for a sequel. Read more

Katie McNally answers big challenge with élan Whirlwind tour with Carlos Nunez

By Sean Smith, special to the BIR, January 7, 2013

Boston-area fiddler Katie McNally already knew it was going to be a busy fall, what with recording her first album, getting ready for her annual stint with the Childsplay ensemble and, basically, living life as a college grad trying to make it as a Celtic musician.
Then, suddenly, opportunity came knocking. Read more


By Bob Donovan, Special to the BIR, special to the BIR, January 7, 2013

Frank McCourt’s ‘The Irish And How They Got That Way’ Opens Jan. 24 at Davis Square
by R J Donovan
Special to the BIR

Frank McCourt, born in Brooklyn and raised in Limerick, will forever be known as the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Angela’s Ashes.” What may not be as well known is that he also wrote the musical revue “The Irish And  How They Got That Way,”  which premiered at the Irish Repertory Theatre in 1997.  Recounting the tumultuous history of the Irish experience, both on the Emerald Isle and here in America, the evening is a colorful tapestry of music and dance with a healthy dose of irreverent humor added.  The musical numbers include:  “Galway Bay,” “The Rose of Tralee,” “Finnegan’s Wake,” “Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?,” “Harrigan,” “No Irish Need Apply,” “Skibbereen,” and others. Read more

A Q & A with Clannad’s Moya Brennan

By Sean Smith, special to the BIR, November 30, 2012

Forty years ago, a quintet from Gweedore, Donegal – siblings Moya, Pol, and Ciaran Brennan, and their twin uncles, Noel and Padraig Duggan – first made its way into the Irish music scene, joining a generation of influential performers like Christy Moore, Andy Irvine, Paddy Keenan, Triona Ni Dhomhnaill, Michael O Domhnaill, Donal Lunny, Paul Brady, Kevin Burke, Frankie Gavin, Dolores Keane, and many others who helped reshape Irish traditional music. Read more

‘Sojourn’ notes a decade of delights

By Sean Smith, special to the BIR, November 30, 2012

It’s a bona-fide Boston holiday tradition that, 10 years along, has now captured wintertime fancies in other parts of New England.

This month, “A Christmas Celtic Sojourn” celebrates its first decade of bringing to the stage an inimitable blend of Celtic music, song, dance, and storytelling, with a series of performances from December 15-22 at venues in Worcester, Providence, Rockport, and Derry, NH, as well as the Cutler Majestic Theater in Boston. Read more

‘Christmas Revels’ sets sail with Irish bent on a better life

By R.J. Donovan, special to the BIR, November 30, 2012

Symbolizing the holiday season as indelibly as the welcoming fragrance of evergreen, “The Christmas Revels” returns to historic Sanders Theatre in Harvard Square from December 14 - 27. This year, the participatory theatrical solstice celebration that is filled with joyful music, dance, comedy and carols will focus on Irish immigration. Read more

Childsplay en route to Lexington this month

By Sean Smith, special to the BIR, November 2, 2012

Childsplay, the all-star fiddle ensemble featuring many musicians with ties to the Boston area, makes its annual visit later this month to the National Heritage Museum in Lexington and perform three concerts.

The group – whose repertoire is taken mainly from Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton, French Canadian, Scandinavian, and American folk traditions – will appear at the museum on Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m., then return on December for two shows, at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Read more