June 2023 Calendar of events

Aine Minogue performs on June 20 at the Cary Memorial Library in Lexington.

A look at some upcoming Irish/Celtic events in Greater Boston:

UPDATE: The US tour of Frankie Gavin and Catherine McHugh has been postponed to a later date. Anybody with a passing interest in Irish traditional music over the past, oh, five decades knows that Frankie Gavin is one mighty fiddler – he holds the Guinness Book of World Records as “the fastest fiddle player,” having played “The Foxhunter’s Reel” at 150 beats per minute at a 2010 performance – and he along with pianist Catherine McHugh will make two stops in the area: June 8 in the Burren Backroom and June 9 at the Irish Cultural Centre of Greater Boston in Canton. 

There’s more to Gavin – co-founder of the iconic De Dannan – than just speed, although that’s certainly a compelling part of his playing: He has a great respect for and interest in the Irish/Irish-American styles of James Morrison and Michael Coleman, as well as the different routes Irish traditional music has taken down through time, notably in 1920s America (hence his founding of the Roaring Twenties Irish Orchestra). And his collaborations span all along the musical spectrum: Stéphane Grappelli, Yehudi Menuhin, the Rolling Stones, Elvis Costello. McHugh, like Gavin a Galway native, is a multiple All-Ireland champion who has drawn on some of the foundational Irish pianists like Charlie Lennon and Carl Hession to develop an approach that goes well beyond simply playing rhythm.

The Boston Scottish Fiddle Orchestra, under the direction of Neil Pearlman and with special guest Maura Shawn Scanlin, presents its annual gala on June 3 at the Canadian American Club in Watertown beginning at 6:30 p.m. The performance ensemble of the venerable Boston Scottish Fiddle Club, the orchestra features not just fiddles but cello, guitar, mandolin, flute, accordion and other instruments, playing traditional and contemporary Scottish and Cape Breton tunes with fresh, innovative arrangements reflecting Pearlman’s creative bent. Scanlin, a two-time US National Scottish Fiddle Champion, also has impressive credentials in the classical realm, having earned a master’s degree in violin performance from Yale. She’s half of the Celtic-inspired duo Rakish, with guitarist Conor Hearn, as well as a member of the Rasa String Quartet. Scanlin has just released her first solo album, which spotlights her Irish and Scottish fiddling and her interest in chamber and American music on nine tracks of original tunes and songs.

The evening also includes ceilidh dancing, and attendees can bring instruments to be part of the pick-up band. More info at www.bsfc.org.

•Another event with a participatory aspect to it will be the Revels Summer Solstice Pub Sing at the Burren on June 14, led by Revels denizen (and improbable TikTok star) David Coffin. Expect plenty of sea chanteys and maritime songs, but also odes that celebrate the (official) arrival of summer.

Tickets at burren.com/music.html.

•Tipperary-born harpist/vocalist Aine Minogue will mark the season as well, with a concert on June 20 (the day before the solstice) in Lexington’s Cary Memorial Library. Minogue’s work is marked by a serene, meditative sound, with elements of new age and world music blended with those of Irish and other Celtic traditions, and an abiding interest in the spirituality and mythology found in the ancient Celtic world and its traditions and rituals – as demonstrated in albums such as the holiday-themed “To Warm the Winter’s Night” and “The Spirit of Christmas,” and “Circle of the Sun,” a collection of songs and tunes that mark the passage of seasons. She’s also recorded “Eve,” an album of all-original music that explores the “many definitions and varied manifestations” of Eve, from the the Bible to pop culture.

For tickets, see Minogue’s website at www.aineminogue.com


Boston Irish contributor Sean Smith will hold a reading, discussion, and signing event for his new novel, “Transformation Summer,” on July 9 from 4p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Scandinavian Living Center Nordic Hall in Newton.