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. – SEAN SMITH
Going for a song: The BCMFest series at Club Passim in Harvard Square features a Celtic Music Monday concert event this month, “Songs for a Summer Evening,” on August 13 with Kate Minogue, James Hamilton, Lisa Coyne, and their special guest Jim Prendergast, plus host Sean Smith.
Minogue, Hamilton, and Coyne are well-known in both the Boston and Providence Irish music session scenes, but this night will showcase their vocal talents.
Coyne has been singing for many years, influenced by the Irish sean nos tradition. She is the recipient of a grant from the Southern New England Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship program to study with Bridget Fitzgerald, former lead singer for Cherish the Ladies and a renowned expert in the sean nos style. A three-time medalist in the Mid Atlantic Fleadh Cheoil, Coyne is director of Boston’s Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Hanafin-Cooley School of Irish Music, and often performs and plays at sessions with her husband John and daughter Josie. She will be accompanied by Prendergast, a veteran of the Nashville recording scene who in recent years has taken up Irish/Celtic music on guitar and other instruments; he has played with banjo player Ken Perlman and collaborated on the album “…That’s an Irish Lullaby.”
Minogue, a Baltimore native, started out as a classical flute player (and, she says, “self-professed band nerd”) before turning her attention to playing guitar, singing, and songwriting – in 2006, she was voted Charlotte’s best female vocalist by Creative Loafing magazine. A three-month stint in Ireland spurred her interest in playing Irish music, which she has done on a regular basis since moving to Boston.
Hamilton, like Coyne and Minogue, is most likely to be found wielding a flute at Irish music sessions and other events. But the California native grew up in a household where, as he says, “there was always a song – bluegrass, old American hymns, as well as traditional songs from Ireland and Scotland.” Hamilton has continued to share this love of singing, and has exhibited his fine voice at a few BCMFest events, including the finale concert at the 2008 festival.
“If you go to sessions at, say, The Druid in Cambridge, or Brendan Behan’s in Jamaica Plain, you’re likely to run across Kate, James or Lisa, and you’ll see what top-notch players they are,” says Smith, a member of Passim’s BCMFest Committee. “But BCMFest – whether through the annual festival or its other events – has always provided an opportunity for local musicians to collaborate in ways they haven’t before, to try something a little different. At this Celtic Music Monday, they’ll forego the jigs, reels and hornpipes for a change and share some songs. We’re also very pleased to welcome Jim Prendergast, who has been a wonderful addition to the Celtic music scene.
“There’s no real ‘theme’ to the concert – I imagine you’ll hear traditional and contemporary songs alike, joyous or sad, about love, work, fun and strife, and every stop in-between. Just a very laid-back way to spend a late-summer night.”
Admission to the event, which begins at 8 p.m., is $12, $6 for members of Passim, WGBH and WUMB. For reservations and other information, go to passim.org.
In site: BCMFest has a new website, at passim.org/bcmfest, underscoring BCMFest’s affiliation with Passim that has taken place over the past year. The website will provide information on BCMFest and its various events, including the upcoming 10th annual festival in January. The BCMFest Committee is grateful to Sarah Fleischmann of Passim for her work in putting together the new site, and to Jason Kenison for his years of service as webmaster at the old bcmfest.com.