Irish music calendar for March – it’s busy, as always

The Greater Boston area resounds with Irish and other Celtic music all year round, of course, but March seems to be a particularly active period – perhaps because of a certain holiday that falls on the 17th. Here’s a look at some of the events taking place in the next few weeks:

• The Deadstring Ensemble of John McGann, Flynn Cohen, Danny Noveck, and Matt Heaton will appear as part of “Celtic Fusion 2012” on March 5 at Berklee College of Music’s Café 939, 939 Boylston St. in Boston. The free concert, which begins at 8 p.m., features Berklee faculty and students in an evening of traditional and original music from across the Celtic diaspora. Also performing will be the trio of Holland Raper, Ellen Appleton and Drew Story, and Jenna Moynihan, Hamish Napier, Courtney Hartman and Lukas Pool. See

• Irish supergroup Dervish will play at The Burren on March 7 as part of the popular Somerville pub’s “Backroom” series. The sextet, led by singer Cathy Jordan, has garnered widespread praise for their musicianship and artistry, as well as the quality of their recordings. More information at

• Another top Irish band, Altan, take to the stage at the Somerville Theater on March 10 at 8 p.m., on the heels of their new CD [see this month’s reviews]. Altan has been at the forefront of the most recent Irish music revival, bringing a fresh perspective to the Donegal music tradition that is at the core of their sound. See for details.

• Celebrating their 50th anniversary year, The Chieftains hit town on March 14 with an 8 p.m. concert at Symphony Hall. Original founding member Paddy Moloney, with Matt Molloy and Kevin Conneff, will be joined by a slew of special guests during the performance. See

• Boston’s own Matt and Shannon Heaton will share the bill with local harpist Maeve Gilchrist at Club Passim on March 15. The Heatons bring both virtuosity and sensitivity to their renditions of traditional Irish music as well as their own material, while Gilchrist has fashioned a unique approach to Celtic harp that draws upon contemporary influences. Go to for tickets and information.

• There are three opportunities to catch Larry Cunningham, an exalted figure in Irish showband annals, when he appears in the Boston area during St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Cunningham – who has appeared with the likes of Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams Jr., and Johnny Cash, and whose show band was the first to play Carnegie Hall – will be at these venues: March 16 at Concannon’s Village in Norwood; an afternoon dance on St. Patrick’s Day at the Irish Social Club in West Roxbury; and a post-St. Patrick’s Parade dance on March 18 in Dorchester’s Florian Hall. See for ticket information and other details.

• The seventh annual “St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn,” with host Brian O’Donovan, will be at New Bedford’s Zeiterion Theatre on St. Patrick’s Day, before heading to Sanders Theatre in Cambridge a week later (March 24). Performers for this year’s edition are: Irish singer Susan McKeown – known for her particularly passionate brand of singing – who will be with Michael Brunnock, a New York City singer-songwriter featured on the soundtrack of the Sean Penn movie “This Must Be the Place; Jefferson Hamer and Eamon O’Leary, who play detailed arrangements of traditional and original songs in Irish and American styles; fiddler Jeremy Kittel, whose style encompasses Celtic, American and jazz elements; multi-genre trio The Bee Eaters, with the compelling sounds of fiddle, cello and hammer dulcimer; the Kieran Jordan Dancers; and a “pure drop” ensemble of bouzouki/flute player Mark Roberts, piper Joey Abarta and fiddler Tina Lech. Go to for more information.

• The Boston College Gaelic Roots Music, Song, Dance, Workshop and Lecture will host an Irish dance and ceili on March 29 at 6:30 p.m. in the Gasson Hall Irish Room. Kieran Jordan will call and direct the dancing, with music provided by Seamus Connolly and friends. The public is invited, and there is no charge for admission. The Gaelic Roots website is

A column of news and updates of the Boston Celtic Music Fest (BCMFest), which celebrates the Boston area’s rich heritage of Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton music and dance with a grassroots, musician-run winter music festival and other events during the year.

The BCMFest monthly Celtic Music Monday series will present “The BCMFest Session” at Club Passim on March 12. The event, which is free of charge, is an opportunity to relax and enjoy an informal evening of music hosted by some of Boston’s best session musicians. Anyone is welcome to bring an instrument and join in, or to share a song, a poem, a story—or even to showcase his or her step-dancing skills. The session starts at 7 p.m. Club Passim is located at 47 Palmer Street in Harvard Square; see for more information.

Next month’s Celtic Music Monday, on April 9, will feature a performance by Kyle Carey, a singer-songwriter who is steeped in Gaelic language and music traditions. Additional details will be available in next month’s column.
For information on BCMFest, and to join the BCMFest e-mail list, see