October 1, 2015
The Dorchester Irish Heritage Festival [see separate story in this edition] is certainly the big highlight event in Boston-area Irish/Celtic-related doings for October, but as always there will be plenty of activity elsewhere, including performances by Irish super-trio The Alt, iconic singer-songwriter Eleanor McEvoy, and the revered fiddle-guitar duo Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill.
• The Alt – with Nuala Kennedy (flute, whistle, vocals), John Doyle (guitar, bouzouki, vocals) and Eamon O’Leary (bouzouki, guitar, vocals) – will be at Club Passim in Harvard Square on Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. All three enjoyed phenomenally accomplished careers even before they began playing as a trio a couple of years ago, and released their highly acclaimed first album in 2014.
For tickets and other information, see passim.org.
• Two of the more beloved singer-songwriters of their generation, Scotland’s Archie Fisher and Canada’s Garnet Rogers, come to The Burren “Backroom” series in Davis Square, Somerville, on Oct. 7. Fisher, from a venerable singing family and active in Scottish music since the 1960s, is a Member of the Order of British Empire and holds a place in the Scots Traditional Music Hall of Fame as well. Rogers started out playing in the band of his famous singer-songwriter brother, the late Stan Rogers, and in the years since Stan’s death has become a musical force in his own right, noted for his on-stage presence and charisma as well as his writing and prowess on guitar, flute and fiddle. The two have toured together several times in the past 20 years; they will be accompanied at the Backroom performance by Danish fiddler Harald Haugaard.
• Three days later, Eleanor McEvoy makes her appearance in the Backroom. An accomplished singer-songwriter herself, McEvoy has been honored several times for her work, including by Irish Music Magazine, and her music has been featured in TV and films, including “Some Mother’s Son,” HBO’s “Six Feet Under” and ABC’s “Clueless.” One of her most famous songs, “A Woman’s Heart,” was the title and centerpiece for the best-selling Irish album of all time, on which she appeared with Dolores Keane, Mary Black, Frances Black, Sharon Shannon, and Maura O’Connell.
• Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill wrap up the Backroom’s schedule this month on Oct. 21. Hayes grew up immersed in his native East Clare’s fiddle tradition (his father P.J. was a founding member of the famed Tulla Ceili Band) but in his 20s experimented with other kinds of music, notably with the jazz-rock band Midnight Court, where he met guitarist-mandolinist Cahill. Deciding to work as a duo, they revisited the music of Hayes’s youth and have earned plaudits for their meditative, often mesmerizing, interpretation of traditional tunes.
All Backroom shows are at 7:30 p.m.; Hayes and Cahill also will play a 9:30 p.m. show. See burren.com/Backroom-Series.html for information and links to purchase tickets.
• The Burren also will feature a concert of music, songs and stories from County Clare on Oct. 9, an event to raise funds for the Michael Dunleavy Foundation, which supports the fight against pediatric brain cancer. The performers for “From Clare to Here” will be Oliver O’Connell (accordion), Mickey Dunne (uilleann pipes, fiddle), Mick Nestor (flute) and Boston-area resident John Coyne (bouzouki). The concert begins at 7:30 p.m., and there is a suggested minimum donation of $20. See michaeldunleavy.com for ticket information.
• The notloB Music series will present a concert by Emma Beaton and Nic Gareiss on Oct. 10 at Gregorian Rugs, 2284 Washington Street in Newton Lower Falls at 8 p.m. A native of Canada and daughter of Scottish immigrants, Beaton grew up playing Celtic music on cello but subsequently expanded her tastes to include American roots and picked up banjo, all the while honing her singing talents. Named Canadian Folk’s Young Performer of the Year in 2008, she lived in Boston while studying at the Berklee College of Music and is now in Nashville. Gareiss is widely known for his innovative percussive dance style – he has performed locally at “A Christmas Celtic Sojourn” and BCMFest, among other events – but is also considerably skilled on vocals and bouzouki. The two released a CD in 2010.
General admission for the show is $20, seniors and students $15. Tickets are available through Eventbrite [eventbrite.com/o/notlob-music-6730833315].
• An event of a more participatory nature will take place on Oct. 15 when Boston College will host an Irish ceili as part of the Gaelic Roots series, led by Kieran Jordan, a Boston-based dancer, choreographer and teacher, with Seamus Connolly, director of BC’s Irish music programs, and area musicians. The ceili will be held in the Irish Room of Gasson Hall on BC’s Chestnut Hill Campus, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. See bc.edu/gaelicroots.
• Music of faith will be the focus when the Belfast Community Gospel Choir comes to the Irish Cultural Centre of New England in Canton on Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. Touted as Northern Ireland’s first and only multicultural choir, BCGC describes itself as committed to “performing music that carries the message of love, joy and peace and to promoting a positive image of our country,” following many decades of “violence, division and political upheaval.” Comprised of over 100 auditioned singers from all over Northern Ireland who perform in various-sized ensembles, the choir – hailed as “the soul of Belfast” – appears at concerts, festivals, and civic, charitable, corporate and other events.
The concert is free. For directions or other information, see irishculture.org. To learn more about the Belfast Community Gospel Choir, go to bcgc.biz.