Distinguished visiting Irish/Celtic musicians such as Aoife Clancy, Michael Tubridy, James Keane, Phil Coulter and Andy Cooney will be at Eastern Massachusetts venues this month, as will a number of local performers, including Aine Minogue and Kieran Jordan. And what would the month of St. Patrick’s Day in Boston be without an appearance by locally grown Celtic rockers Dropkick Murphys? They, along with The Narrowbacks and Tiger Army, will be at the House of Blues March 16-18 – see houseofblues.com/boston.
• The Berklee Performance Center will host “Celtic Crossings,” a rare dual performance by legends Phil Coulter and Andy Cooney on March 12 at 7 p.m. Coulter is a pianist, singer-songwriter, and composer associated with such hits as “The Town I Loved So Well,” “Puppet on a String,” “Saturday Night” and “My Boy,” which was performed by Elvis Presley. A native of Derry, Northern Ireland, he has recorded and produced numerous best-selling records, and in 2001, he was nominated for a Grammy Award in the New Age category for his album “Highland Cathedral.” Cooney’s professional career took off 30 years ago when he toured as the vocalist with bandleader Paddy Noonan. For more than two decades he has led a highly successful solo career that has included collaborations with the likes of Ronan Tynan, Crystal Gayle and the RTE Orchestra, as well as with Coulter, who produced Cooney’s 2014 album “Bright Brand New Day.”
For information about this concert, see berklee.edu/events/celtic-crossings.
• The trio of Makem & Spain, representing a wealth of family music tradition, will be in concert on March 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Merrimack College’s Rogers Center for the Arts in North Andover. Rory Makem – the son of legendary Irish singer Tommy Makem – and brothers Mickey and Liam Spain, whose father also had a strong love of Irish music, are noted for their musicianship and harmony singing in their performances of classic Irish songs and ballads, as well as their own material. Tickets and other information available at merrimack.edu/live/events/49012-makem-and-spain.
• Two of Ireland’s most influential and active traditional musicians, Chieftains co-founder Michael Tubridy and accordionist James Keane, will be in concert at Boston College on March 22 as part of the Gaelic Roots series. Tubridy is widely known for his excellent flute, tin whistle, and concertina playing, and also is an accomplished “old style” step dancer. Keane is one of the finest accordion players of his generation – Italy’s Castagnari accordion company created a line of signature instruments named for him – and has performed and recorded with numerous leading figures in Irish music. The concert, which is free, will be held on BC’s Brighton Campus in the Theology and Ministry Library, beginning at 6:30 p.m. See the Gaelic Roots website bc.edu/centers/irish/gaelicroots for more details.
• Aoife Clancy – a member of Ireland’s famous Clancy family and long-time New England resident before she moved to North Carolina – will make her return to the region when she appears at the Coffeehouse Off the Square in Hingham on March 19 at 8 p.m. Clancy began her musical career in her teens, singing with her father Bobby Clancy of the Clancy Brothers, and went on to perform at various festivals and concerts around the world where she has become known for her passionate vocals and diverse repertoire. Clancy was a member of the pioneering Irish-American all-woman band Cherish the Ladies, and since then has done a number of collaborations – including with Robbie O’Connell and Donal Clancy as The Clancy Legacy – in addition to her solo work.
For ticket information and directions, see oldshipchurch.org/coffeehouse-off-the-square.html.
• On March 19, the day before the equinox, the One World Coffeehouse in Essex will present “To Welcome in the Spring” with Aine Minogue. A native of Tipperary now living in the Greater Boston area, Minogue is widely recognized as a premier Irish harpist and singer who conveys the lyricism and richness of Irish music, mythology, and poetry. Minogue also is attuned to the traditions, rituals, and celebrations associated with the ancient Celtic world, and often presents special concerts that evoke a particular season or major theme – such as the arrival of spring. The concert will begin at 8 p.m. See oneworldcoffeehouse.org for more details.
• The Burren Backroom series in Somerville will host three events this month, starting with the Scottish band Daimh on March 2. About as old as the 21st century, the group – a recent winner of Folk Band of the Year honors at the Scottish Traditional Music Awards – focuses on the wildly beautiful music traditions of the Scottish Highlands and islands. Angus Mackenzie (bagpipes) and Gabe McVarish (fiddle) lead the melodies, backed by Ross Martin (guitar) and Murdo “Yogi” Cameron (mandola, accordion); vocalist Ellen MacDonald imbues the songs, in Scottish Gaelic, with a full emotional range.
• March 9 sees a Boston-area return appearance by The Alan Kelly Gang, led by namesake Alan Kelly, an innovative piano-accordionist who has played with such luminaries as Matt Molloy, Arty McGlynn, Nollaig Casey, and his fiddle-playing brother John. The band, whose members also include Steph Geremia (flute, vocals), Kevin McGuire (double bass) and Ewan MacPherson (guitar, mandolin, vocals), is renowned for its energetic performances and varied repertoire that includes not only Irish but Scottish, Breton, American and other influences.
• Boston-based Irish sean-nos dancer Kieran Jordan will hold an “Irish Dance Party” on March 23 to celebrate the launch of her new instructional DVD, “Musical Feet, Volume 2: The Next Step” [read a Boston Irish Reporter story about the DVD at http://bit.ly/1NHSE9A]. Jordan will be joined by special guests Michael Tubridy and James Keane – who are performing March 22 at Boston College’s Gaelic Roots series, as noted above – and The Vox Hunters (the duo of Armand Aromin and Benedict Gagliardi, who appear on the DVD), as well as dancer Kevin Doyle and bouzouki player and vocalist John Coyne, plus a multitude of dancers including her own dance company.
All Backroom shows start at 7:30 p.m. See burren.com/Backroom-Series.html for more information.
• Kieran Jordan also will present “Little Gifts,” a celebration of the creative experience in Irish dance and music, on March 11 and 12 at Green Street Studios in Cambridge. Jordan and her colleagues and former students Jackie O’Riley, Rebecca McGowan, Kristen Kelly, Hannah Pelton, Amanda Carey, Lauren Milord, and Samantha Jones will perform, with music by The Vox Hunters and John Coyne; there also will be an appearance by children of O’Riley Irish Dance. Ticket information/reservations and other details are available at littlegifts.brownpapertickets.com.
• The week of St. Patrick’s Day will be quite the eventful one for The Burren’s owners and guiding spirits, Tommy McCarthy and Louise Costello, who are celebrating the pub’s 20th anniversary. On March 16, and 18-20, McCarthy will debut “Another Fiddler of Inishbofin,” the sequel to his 2013 play “The Fiddlers of Inishbofin.” This romantic comedy, performed by Burren staff along with McCarthy and Costello, has been developed by playwright Peter Holm and introduces new music and musicians to continue the story of the goings-on – musical and otherwise – on the isle of Inishbofin. Proceeds from the show will go to the Cancer Care Leahy Clinic. For tickets, go to brownpapertickets.com/event/2508175. [Read the Boston Irish Reporter story on “The Fiddlers of Inishbofin” at http://bit.ly/219tfPy.]
McCarthy and Costello also will hold their annual St. Patrick’s Day party at The Burren on March 17, during which they will be joined by Robert Elliot and Seamus Noonan, as well as other special guests, for traditional tunes, ballads, stories and dancing. There will be four shows, at 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m., all of which will include a traditional Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage or Guinness beef stew with soda bread (a vegetarian option is also available), followed by Burren Shamrock Cake. For reservations, go to brownpapertickets.com/event/2501330.
• New England fiddler-vocalist Lissa Schneckenburger and husband Corey DiMario (double bass, tenor guitar) will come to Harvard Square’s Club Passim on March 16 at 8 p.m. Schneckenburger, who recorded a companion set of CDs of New England traditional songs and contra dance music, has played with fiddle trio Halali and the Childsplay ensemble, while DiMario is a member of the groundbreaking bluegrass/old-timey group Crooked Still. Ticket information is at passim.org/club/lissa-schneckenburger-corey-dimario.
• The duo of Richard Wood and Gordon Belsher will be at the Canadian American Club of Massachusetts in Watertown on March 12 at 8 p.m. for a concert and dance. Wood is an award-winning Prince Edward Island fiddler noted for melding his traditional style with rock-and-roll energy, and his appearances with The Chieftains, Shania Twain, and former “Riverdance” star Jean Butler, among others; Belsher has featured his guitar, mandola, bodhran and vocals on two CDs, both nominated for the “Roots/Traditional Solo Recording of the Year” category of the East Coast Music Awards.
See canadianamericanclub.com for more details.
• Boston-area Irish trio Ceol Corvus will play a free concert on March 5 at 3 p.m. in the Belmont Public Library Assembly Room. The band (Emily Peterson, concertina and whistle; Steve Levy, banjo, mandolin, bouzouki and vocals; Sean Smith, vocals, guitar, bouzouki and bodhran) has performed at various local festivals and concerts, including BCMFest, the Club Passim Campfire Festival and Irish Cultural Centre Boston Irish Festival. See belmont.lib.ma.us.
• Emmet Cahill, an award-winning 25-year-old Irish tenor who performed with the Irish phenomenon Celtic Thunder, has embarked on a solo career. He will be performing at the Irish Social Club of Boston on Fri., March 18, at 8 p.m. Last year, he performed in sold-out shows in over 30 cities across the United States and he expects 2016 will be his “busiest and most exciting year yet” with touring and the release of his official debut album.