Music aplenty in September; Fiddlers take the spotlight

Appearances by Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, Cape Cod fiddler Rose Clancy and guitarist Pierre Bensusan plus a reunion of the Boston-area fiddle trio Halali are among the highlights of September Irish/Celtic events taking place in the Greater Boston area.

The fiddle-cello duo of Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, who will perform at the Amazing Things Arts Center in Framingham on Sept. 20, recently released their latest CD, “Abundance” [see this month’s CD reviews]. For more than a decade, the two have cultivated a compelling partnership of sounds that draw not only on Scottish and other Celtic traditions, but elements of Scandinavian, Breton, American, classical, jazz and other music forms.

Also at Amazing Things this month will be a CD release concert on Sept. 13 by the band Low Lily. Formerly known as Annalivia, the trio of Liz Simmons (vocals, guitar), Flynn Cohen (vocals, guitar, mandolin) and Lissa Schneckenburger (vocals, fiddle) focuses on the interconnectedness of American folk music with its Irish, Scottish, English, New England and old-time/Appalachian offshoots, and interpolate their own modern ideas and approaches.

For times, ticket information and other details regarding these shows, see

Rose Clancy will kick off the fall schedule of Boston College’s Gaelic Roots series of traditional music on Sept. 24. Raised in a musical family – she’ll be joined at the concert by her father Gene (guitar, vocals) and brother John (string bass) – Clancy plays the fiddle traditions of Ireland, Scotland and Cape Breton. She took her career in a new direction several years ago when she decided to become a violin-maker. [See feature story on Clancy elsewhere in this edition.]

Admission to the concert is free; it will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the School of Theology and Ministry Library on the BC Brighton Campus. See the story in this month’s issue about the fall Gaelic Roots series, or go to

Pierre Bensusan will perform at Club Passim in Harvard Square on Sept. 25. With a career spanning some four decades, Bensusan is widely regarded as an innovator whose multiply influenced acoustic guitar style anticipated, and helped usher in, such popular genres as world and New Age music. But Bensusan in particular had an impact in the Celtic and traditional music realm, his playing often compared to luminaries such as Martin Carthy, John Renbourn and Davey Graham.

Halali, which plays two shows at Club Passim on Sept. 17, is anchored by the majestic fiddling of Laura Cortese, Hanneke Cassel and Lissa Schneckenburger, and the estimable Flynn Cohen accompanying on guitar. Individually and collectively, all four have been major figures and influences in the 21st-century Boston/New England Celtic music scene; what with thriving solo careers and various collaborations afoot (Schneckenburger and Cohen are part of the aforementioned Low Lily), they rarely have the opportunity to perform as Halali.

Club Passim will feature a number of other performers of Celtic and related music this month, including at the club’s Campfire Festival over Labor Day Weekend: Among those appearing are Joey Abarta & Nathan Gourley, Elizabeth & Ben Anderson, Cat & the Moon, Lindsay Straw, Sean Smith, and Molly Pinto Madigan. Madigan also will be the opening act on Sept. 9 for a CD release concert by Hannah Sanders, an English folk/traditional singer who lived and performed in the Boston area and elsewhere for a few years.

Jenna Moynihan, whose fiddling combines Scottish and Appalachian influences, will close out this month’s Passim slate with her own CD release concert on Sept. 30.

For more details on these shows, see

The Burren “Backroom” series in Somerville will host the duo of David Munnelly and Phil Masure on Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Munnelly is a dynamic accordionist in the Mayo tradition who has played with distinguished musicians such as The Chieftains, De Danann, Gerry O’Connor and Sharon Shannon, in addition to touring with his own band. A native of Belgium, Masure has been one of Europe’s most in-demand folk/traditional music guitarists, with dozens of recordings on his resume. Opening for Munnelly and Masure will be The Fretless, a band that explores the rhythmic, harmonic, and structured arrangement of folk music from their native Canada and elsewhere in the essence of a chamber string quartet; among its members is Ivonne Hernandez, a Berklee College of Music alumna who performed at various Boston venues and events.
See for more information.

Also on Sept. 23, Celtic piper Dick Hensold will play traditional music from Scotland, Ireland and Northumberland at the Somerville Armory café. Hensold is regarded as one of the foremost players of the Northumbrian bagpipes in North Americas, and has performed and taught in England, Scotland, Japan and Canada as well as across the United States; earlier this year, he went on a multi-city tour with Cape Breton musicians Andrea Beaton and Troy MacGillivray. The concert, which begins at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7:30), is presented by notloB Music. Admission is by free-will offering, with a suggested donation of $15-20, $10 for students and seniors. Reservations through are suggested. For more details, see or e-mail