Irish/Celtic events upcoming this month

A look at Irish/Celtic events in the Greater Boston area taking place over the next few weeks:
• Gaelic Storm, one of the hardest-working touring bands around (they travel more than 200 days a year by their estimate), will come to the Cabot Theater in Beverly on Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. Now into its third decade, the one-time California pub band – which famously made a cameo appearance in “Titanic” – the quintet of Steve Twigger, Patrick Murphy, Ryan Lacey, Pete Purvis, and Katie Grennan continues to tout its mix of Celtic, country, rock/pop and crowd-rousing antics. Last year, they released “Go Climb a Tree,” their 13th album. For information, see

• The 2018 edition of the Pure Dead Brilliant Fiddle Concert – the kick-off event for the annual weekend retreat/workshop series with a focus on Scottish fiddle – takes place Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. in the Log Cabin Chapel at Grotonwood, located in Groton. Special guest Kevin Henderson, one of the Shetland Islands’ most well regarded fiddlers and a member of bands such as Fiddlers Bid, the Boys of the Lough, and the Nordic Fiddlers Bloc, will appear along with Boston-area performers Hanneke Cassel, Natalie Haas, Katie McNally, Neil Pearlman, Elias Alexander, Eamon Sefton, Galen Fraser, Pumpkin Bread and guest step dancer Abbie MacQuarrie. For further details, go to
• The Burren Backroom series hosts four events this month, beginning on Feb. 7 with a concert by celebrated composer of Irish traditional music Charlie Lennon and his daughter Éilis. Charlie, an accomplished fiddler and pianist who was named TG4 Composer of the Year in 2006, has written several books, suites, and an orchestral work commemorating the Easter Rising of 1916, and many of his tunes have entered traditional musicians’ repertoire. Éilis is a talented fiddler herself who helped her father set up recording studio in Spiddal. [Lennon’s appearance at the Burren coincides with his performance as part of the “Seeking Sanctuary” program at the Boston Center for the Arts February 9-11. See story in this edition.]
The following night, Claudine Langille – a former member of the groundbreaking 1980s Celtic/Appalachian band Touchstone – and Silas Hamilton will bring their multifaceted musical styles to the Backroom. Langille (vocals, tenor banjo, mandolin, guitar) and Hamilton (vocals, accordion, fiddle, guitar, mandolin), who are two-fifths of the band Gypsy Reel, have drawn inspiration from Irish, Appalachian, Quebecois, and other related traditions.
Former Solas member Niamh Varian-Barry and button accordionist Peter Staunton will play in the Backroom on Feb. 21. Varian-Barry is a singer, and a classically trained violinist and violist who co-founded the Clare Memory Orchestra. Staunton, producer of the Super Ceili dance music show, utilizes electronics and other effects as part of his performances to push the boundaries of traditional Irish dance music. The duo has an album of traditional tunes, “Get Up the Yard.”
Sarah Bauhan, a mainstay of New England folk music, will hold a CD release celebration on Feb. 25. A native of New Hampshire with strong Scottish roots, Bauhan became involved in the contra dance revival of the 1970s, playing flute and whistle with, among others, Dudley Laufman’s Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra. She also was influenced by pioneering bands from abroad such as The Chieftains, Boys of the Lough, Silly Wizard and the Battlefield Band. Her newest album, “Elmwood Station,” is her first in 10 years and fifth overall.
Enduringly popular singer-songwriter Robbie O’Connell will make a return to the Backroom on Feb. 28. Waterford-born and Tipperary-raised, O’Connell – who moved to Massachusetts almost 40 years ago – began performing concerts at age 13, and toured with his uncles the Clancy Brothers before embarking on a solo career. Many of his songs, like “Kilkelly,” “There Were Roses,” “Keg of Brandy” and “You’re Not Irish,” have become staples of the Irish/Celtic music scene. He will be accompanied by Rose Clancy, a Cape Cod-based fiddler and violin-maker, and impresario of the Chatham
All shows begin at 7:30 p.m., except for the Sarah Bauhan concert, which takes place at 4 p.m., and the Claudine Langille-Silas Hamilton show (7 p.m.). For information and links to ticket sales, go to For Langille-Hamilton, see
• The Gaelic Roots series at Boston College will kick off its spring semester schedule with a lecture and concert by Niall Vallely, a concertina virtuoso who is one of his generation’s most prolific composers of traditional tunes. Born in Armagh to a musically active family (his brothers Cillian and Caoimhín also are highly regarded musicians), Vallely has worked with eminent performers such as Nomos, Lúnasa, Donal Lunny, and the Boston Pops Orchestra. His tunes have been recorded on more than 75 albums. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the BC main campus in Connolly House, 300 Hammond St. Go to for registration and other information.
•Boston-area duo Colleen White and Sean Smith will perform at the Open Book Coffeehouse in Canton on Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. White (vocals, flute, whistle) and Smith (vocals, guitar, bouzouki, bodhran) sing mainly traditional songs from Ireland, Scotland, and England, but also contemporary, tradition-influenced compositions by singer-songwriters like Kate Rusby, Steve Tilston and Sean Cooney, among others. More details at