Irish Music & Arts Calendar- October 2019

Tara O’Grady will launch her book and perform in concert Oct 10 at the ICCNE

The Irish Cultural Centre of New England in Canton will feature a combination book launch and concert with Tara O’Grady, a multi-genre singer who recently published an on-the-road memoir, “Migrating toward Happiness: The Soundtrack to My Spiritual Awakening,” on Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m. The daughter of Irish immigrants, and past winner of the Irish Voice’s Most Influential Woman honor, New York City-based O’Grady has released five albums, with original music and traditional Irish songs marked by arrangements that evoke the Jazz Era.
“Migrating Toward Happiness” recounts O’Grady’s effort to renew her life – at a time when she was at a low ebb – by retracing her grandmother’s 1957 road trip across America in a Chevy Bel Air. The book intertwines her impressions, thoughts and observations of Americana with memories of her childhood summers at her grandparents’ farm in Donegal, and how these all contributed to her personal soundtrack – which she and guitarist Vinny McElhinney will recreate at the ICC.
Also at the ICC this month is popular Irish country singer T.R. Dallas, on Oct. 5 at 8 p.m. With a career spanning more than three decades, Dallas – who has also appeared locally at the Dorchester Irish Heritage Festival and other venues – has made numerous radio and TV appearances and toured with such notable performers as Johnny Cash, Boxcar Willie, Don Williams, and Foster and Allen.
And on Oct. 19, the center will host its first-ever Boston Irish Beer Fest, which will include two stages of Irish music, and activities and entertainment for children and families.
Details on ICC events are available at
•Tommy Sands, the Northern Irish singer-songwriter widely hailed for memorable anthems to peace, fellowship and human rights like “There Were Roses,” “Daughters and Sons” and “Carry On,” will perform twice in the Boston area this month, at the Boston College Gaelic Roots series on Oct. 16 at 6:30 p.m., in the Theology and Ministry Library on BC’s Brighton Campus (see; and on Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. at the New Moon Coffeehouse in Haverhill []. Read a recent Boston Irish Reporter interview with Sands at
•Scotland’s Talisk, whose propulsive, tightly-knit blend of Scottish and Irish music elements has earned them widespread critical and public acclaim, kicks off Club Passim’s October schedule on Oct. 1 at 8 p.m. The enthralling melodic chemistry between Mohsen Amini (concertina) and Hayley Keenan (fiddle) is bolstered by Graeme Armstrong’s canny guitar-playing, creating a sound that pushes beyond tradition while maintaining ties to it. Talisk’s honors include the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award and Folk Band of the Year from the BBC Alba Scots Trad Music Awards; Amini also was the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards’ Musician of the Year for 2018.
Go to for tickets and information.
•The Burren Backroom’s characteristically full and diverse program of events begins Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. with The Jeremiahs, who since emerging several years ago from Dublin’s music scene have gained an enthusiastic following for their brand of urban folk, immersed in Irish instrumental tradition while evincing a decidedly contemporary lyrical style. Joe Gibney’s vocals have a true gravitas, edgy in one moment or incredibly tender in another, supported by James Ryan (guitar, bouzouki, harmonica) and Frenchmen Jean-Christophe Morel (fiddle, bouzouki) and Julien Bruneteau (flute, whistle) – crisp rhythm, superbly delivered fills and breaks, and flat-out gorgeous harmonizing. The band has brought its songwriting talents – with a keen sense of language, humor, and turn of phrase – to the fore of late; no less an authority than Christy Moore singled them out as winners of the 2015 TradConnect Songwriter Showcase. The band’s 2018 album “The Femme Fatale of Maine” has brought them further praise.
Opening for The Jeremiahs will be the Boston-area duo of Colleen White (vocals, flute, whistle) and Sean Smith (vocals, guitar, bouzouki), presenting mainly traditional music from Ireland, Scotland, and England with an abundance of good cheer and taste.
White and Smith also will perform on October 27, 2 p.m., at the Wellesley Public Library [].
Two generations and two iterations of Scottish music are at the Backroom on Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Local fiddle-harp duo Jenna Moynihan (from New York) and Màiri Chaimbeul (Isle of Skye) have forged a collaboration that fuses Scottish and Appalachian/old-timey music, with elements of classical and jazz, as captured on their widely praised 2017 album “One Two.” Alan Reid first captured attention in the 1980s with groundbreaking Scottish group the Battlefield Band, skillfully blending synthesizers, electric piano and organ with fiddle, bagpipes, whistles, and other acoustic instruments. But he has long been a songwriter of considerable merit, his compositions exploring Scottish history and historical figures but also the life and times of “common” people.
•Steph Geremia, who plays on Oct. 13 at 4 p.m., combines trad Irish flute and whistle with a background marked by, among other things, forays into world music – such as a sojourn in India learning the bonsuri flute – and collaborations with experimental jazz multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton. Her virtuosity and creativity were in full flower on her 2018 album, “Up She Flew,” on which her accompanists included bouzouki player Aaron Jones and fiddler Ben Gunnery, who will join her as The Flyaways.
•Celtic/Americana singer-songwriter Ashley Davis returns to the Backroom on Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. with her band, whose members include Lúnasa fiddler Colin Farrell and multi-instrumentalist Dave Curley. Davis’s songs often plumb myths and folklore, and elements of the natural world, to make for an oft-otherworldly presentation of stories and set pieces. Her recently released new album, “Burning Down,” sees Davis make a significant departure in style, utilizing samples and electronic sounds.
•Singer-songwriter Bob Bradshaw, a Cork native now residing in Boston, will showcase his latest album, “Queen of the West,” on Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. Bradshaw’s brand of country-rock/acoustic folk-pop is enriched by a songwriting approach that can be observational, introspective, economical yet eloquent, sly, and endearingly tender. “Queen of the West,” his eighth release, represents a new direction for Bradshaw – it’s a modern-day concept album built around the title character, who assumes many forms as the songs unfold.
Also on the bill is Carla Ryder and The Blue Ribbons Trio.
Two distinguished members of the Irish music revival, Gerry O'Beirne and Frankie Gavin, will join forces with another accomplished pair of musicians, Tommy McCarthy and Louise Costello – spouses who happen to be The Burren’s owners – on Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m. O’Beirne is a highly lauded singer-songwriter and guitarist who, in addition to his solo work, has played with the Sharon Shannon Band, Patrick Street, Midnight Well, Andy M. Stewart, Kevin Burke, Andy Irvine, and the Waterboys. A founding member of one of Ireland’s most beloved traditional music bands, De Dannan, Gavin has established himself among the finest fiddlers of his generation. McCarthy (fiddle) and Costello (banjo) both took up music in childhood – McCarthy spent his in London, where his parents had emigrated, while Costello grew up in Galway – and have played together for more than 30 years. In addition to running The Burren and The Bebop (near Berklee College of Music), the two have spearheaded and supported numerous causes, such as the St. Patrick’s Mental Health Foundation and its Walk in My Shoes campaign.
Quebecois trio Genticorum will play at the Backroom on Oct. 27 at 4 p.m. – and they won’t be alone. Pascal Gemme (fiddle, foot percussion, vocals), Nicholas Williams (flute, accor-dion, piano, vocals) and Boston-area resident Yann Falquet (guitar, jaw harp, vocals) present a polished yet potent sound, fully rooted in the instrumental and song traditions of Quebec while also mindful of North American and European folk influences. For this occasion, they will celebrate the various musical friendships and alliances formed over the years, inviting some special guests to join them.
Winifred Horan, a member of two landmark Irish-American bands – Cherish the Ladies and Solas – will play excerpts from her new album, “The Memories of Magic,” when she comes to the Backroom on Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Classically trained (she studied at the New England Conservatory), Horan went on to become a talented Irish-style fiddler who, in addition to recording 12 albums as part of Solas, released three solo albums and several other duo and trio recordings. On “The Memories of Magic,” she connects her Irish and classical backgrounds, sharing melodies and tunes going back to her childhood as well as newly composed and more obscure tunes and musical soundscapes. Accompanying Horan at the Backroom show will be Utsav Lal on piano and Dan Faiella on guitar.
Tickets, details for Burren Backroom concerts are available at
•The Gore Place Carriage House series in Waltham hosts O’Carolan Etcetera on Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m. This local trio draws on three centuries of instrumental folk music, from early English dance tunes to selections from the traditions of Ireland and Scotland, as well as flavors of New England, Appalachia and Quebecois, played on fiddle, flute, guitar and hurdy-gurdy.
Go to for information and tickets.