In addition to Summer BCMFest [see separate story], this month also will see the annual New Bedford Folk Festival (July 7 and 8), which regularly features Irish/Celtic and related music. Among this year’s performers are Newfoundland guitarist-vocalist Matthew Byrne; Emerald Rae, Massachusetts-born fiddler, singer and songwriter; Northern Irish quintet Connla; Cape Breton fiddler, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist J. P. Cormier; Celtic/jazz/classical fusion Jeremy Kittel Trio; vocalist and guitarist Keith Murphy, whose repertoire is drawn from Canadian and New England folk traditions; Quebecois a cappella quintet Musique à Bouches; and Irish and early-music duo The Harper and The Minstrel.
For more about the festival, see newbedfordfolkfestival.com.
Other Irish/Celtic music events in the area taking place in July:
• Prior to their New Bedford Folk Festival appearance, the Jeremy Kittel Trio will play at Club Passim on July 3 at 8 p.m. The threesome of Jeremy Kittel (fiddle), Josh Pinkham (mandolin), and Quinn Bachand (guitar) play a melodically and harmonically complex mixture of Irish, Scottish, jazz, classical, and modern styles, full of exhilarating riffs and improvisations. 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.
On July 14, the acclaimed fiddle-guitar duo Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill comes to Passim for two sets, at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Hayes is a masterful player in the lyrical, “lonesome touch” East Clare fiddle style, but during his career has ventured into other domains, including the jazz-rock band Midnight Court, where he met guitarist-mandolinist Cahill. Since then, the two have cultivated a distinctively meditative, often mesmerizing, interpretation of traditional tunes, as a duo and also as part of the quintet The Gloaming and the “Masters of Tradition” touring ensemble.
Cork native Mick Flannery, one of Ireland’s most successful singer-songwriters of recent years, will make his debut at Passim on July 19 at 8 p.m. Flannery grew up listening to singer-songwriters such as Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Kurt Cobain, started playing guitar at age 14, and at 19 became the first Irish musician to ever win awards at the International Songwriting Competition in Nashville – his honors also include a Meteor Music Award. A stonemason by trade, Flannery has released five albums, with the most recent – “I Own You” – marked by a shift to songs that touch on social injustice and economic inequality.
Passim’s “Small World Big Ears” series will feature fiddle-guitar duo Gus LaCasse and Eamon Sefton on July 23 at 7 p.m. Maine fiddler LaCasse is known for both speed and savage energy, as well as a repertoire that reflects his innovative spirit and dedication to the Cape Breton and Acadian fiddle traditions. Boston-area resident Sefton has played in numerous special and ongoing collaborations, including fiddlers Jamie Laval and Maura Shawn Scanlin and bands such as Cat and the Moon and Bywater. Also performing will be Klezwoods, an ensemble of strings, horns, and percussion that melds the spirit of traditional klezmer and Balkan music.
Tickets, information at passim.org.
• The Burren Backroom series will present an energetic double bill on July 25 at 7:30 p.m. Heron Valley (Euan McNab, pipes, guitar, whistle; Nick Hamilton, banjo, drums; Arlene Mackechnie, keyboards; Abigail Pryde, guitar, vocals; and Callum Cronin, bass) plays music of their native Scotland, as well as of Ireland, while also integrating country, bluegrass and contemporary folk. In addition to their high-octane performances, the band also is known for its ambitious videos, including “Home,” which they filmed in the midst of climbing up Beinn an Lochainn, a hill in the west coast of Scotland.
Also in concert will be The Gothard Sisters, who entertain with song and dance as well as instruments (Greta, guitar, violin, octave mandolin; Willow, violin, mandolin, bodhran; Solana, violin, bodhran, djembe, percussion). The Pacific Northwest natives perform original music built around traditional and modern Celtic styles as well as world and classical influences, with what’s been called a “big-league” presentation.
For tickets and other details, see brownpapertickets.com/event/3381477.
• Toronto-based Enter the Haggis will play at Rockport’s Shalin Liu Performance Center on July 19 at 8 p.m. For more than two decades, the band (Craig Downie, bagpipes, guitar, keyboards, whistle; Brian Buchanan, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, accordion; Trevor Lewington, guitar, mandolin, keyboards; Mark Abraham, bass, banjo; and Bruce McCarthy, drums) has brought together a prodigious – even quirky – blend of rock, fusion, bluegrass, traditional Celtic fare, agitpop, folk, and other strains. From head-banging, arena-friendly Celtic rock to more nuanced, lyrical, indie-type offerings, “ETH” combines a versatile repertoire with sociopolitical conviction.
Go to rockportmusic.org for information.
– SEAN SMITH