BostonIrish Arts Calendar June 2024

Viral sensation The Wellermen are at City Winery Boston June 12 and 13.


A look at some upcoming Irish/Celtic-related music events in Greater Boston

Fódhla, the trio of Medford fiddler Ellery Klein and Maine residents Nicole Rabata (flute, whistle) and Bethany Waickman (guitar), makes a rare and welcome return to the Greater Boston area with a June 1 appearance in Harvard – the town, not the university – presented by notloB Parlour Concerts. Given their various individual commitments, musical and otherwise, Fódhla’s gigs – they’ve played at BCMFest, the Burren Backroom, Medford’s Chevalier Theatre and the Maine Celtic Festival, among others – tend to be few and far between, and thus well worth a listen. Klein and Rabata have spent considerable time in Ireland and developed a solid foundation in its music tradition, with a repertoire to match; Waickman is a well-regarded accompanist whose DADGAD style and sound has enlivened the New England contra dance circuit as well as numerous concert settings. As their 2015 CD “Notes from Mill Pond” demonstrates, the trio has a fine ear for arrangements to showcase their instrumental abilities, and is perfectly happy to go outside the Irish tradition – like, say, to play a Quebecois waltz or two. 

For ticket information and other details, see

•Usually, when Keith Murphy appears in performance, he plays a supporting role, but he’ll be front and center on June 19 at the Burren Backroom Brian O’Donovan Legacy Series. Murphy is one of New England’s more accomplished folk/traditional musicians on guitar, mandolin and piano – accompanying artists like Hanneke Cassel, Lissa Schneckenburger, Liz Carroll and Brian Conway, among others – and has an equally exalted reputation as a singer of mainly traditional songs from the British Isles, Ireland, France, Canada and New England, which he delivers in a clear, resonant, unpretentious voice. His 2023 solo album, “Bright Amber,” saw him go in a new direction, teaming with electric guitar, double bass drums for a sound reminiscent of the 1960s/’70s folk-blues-jazz fusion. Murphy’s solo concerts also are an opportunity for him to unleash a quite witty stage patter. 

See for details on this and other Brian O’Donovan Legacy Series events.

•Not every day when you can go see a folk/trad performer whose work is featured via a popular video game. On June 6, Harvard Square’s Club Passim welcomes Seán Dagher, a singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger with interests not only in Irish, French-Canadian and maritime music but also baroque, medieval and Arabic. Dagher, a Montreal resident, gained a huge following through his “Shanty of the Week” YouTube series, with classics like “Leave Her Johnny,” “South Australia” and “Roll and Go” – multitracking his voice to serve as a chorus – and other videos of him performing maritime songs like “Liverpool Judies.” His renditions have been used in the “Assassin’s Creed” video game series, including “Dark Flag.” Co-artistic director of La Nef, a French-Canadian early music performance group, he’s composed and arranged various scores, some of which are used in films and videos. Dagher also plays as part of the bands The Swindlers and Skye Consort & Emma Björling.

Boston fiddler/violinist Mari Black teams up with Cape Breton fiddler/pianist Troy MacGillivray at Passim on June 20. Read more about the event, and Black, in an interview here.

•Speaking of maritime music: The Wellermen – an exponent of what might legitimately be called the “shanty craze” of 2021 – will be at City Winery Boston on June 12 and 13, as they mark their first anniversary as an actual in-the-flesh performing band. A 21st-century origin story if there ever was one, the quartet of Jonny Stewart, Sam Pope, Luke Taylor and Bobby Waters only interacted online for the better part of two years, first combining their vocals in close harmony via TikTok on the sea shanty “The Wellerman,” that had originally been posted by Scotsman Nathan Evans. The four went on to make a slew of other recordings: other maritime songs like “Old Maui,” “Drunken Sailor” and Stan Rogers’ “Northwest Passage,” covers of Ed Sheeran’s “Nancy Mulligan,” Merle Travis’s “Sixteen Tons” and “Misty Mountains” from Tolkien’s The Hobbit, and even “The Parting Glass.” They finally met in person last June for their debut show in the UK.


Sina Theil, who will play at the Irish Cultural Center of Greater Boston on June 13, would seem to embody the word “multi-tasker”:  German-born and Irish-based, Theil is a social media influencer, psychologist, a contributing health-and-wellness writer for Irish Runner Magazine, a motivational speaker and a TV and radio presenter. And she also happens to be a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who’s won a bunch of Irish music awards. Theil draws on country and acoustic pop styles for her own material, such as the tender, wistful “Wishing Well” and a playful holiday number, “Mistletoe Rock,” and covers of traditional and contemporary songs like “The Parting Glass,” “Fields of Athenry,” Dougie MacLean’s “Caledonia” and the Saw Doctors’ anthemic “Green and Red of Mayo.” She recently collaborated with Meadhbh Walsh to record Frank and Seán O'Meara’s heartstrings-tugging “Grace,” an evocation of artist Grace Gifford’s marriage to 1916 martyr Joseph Mary Plunkett hours before his execution.


•A couple of local duos will present “One Summer Night,” an evening of Celtic and chamber music on June 21 at the Lilypad in Cambridge’s Inman Square. Mrs. Wilberforce (Kyra Davies, fiddle, viola, vocals; Sean Smith, guitar, bouzouki, tenor banjo, vocals) features a repertoire from Ireland, Scotland and Cape Breton – but also further afield, like Shetland, Brittany and Galicia, among other places. Although their sound is rooted in tradition, they readily draw upon classical and contemporary folk/folk-rock domains. The pair have appeared at BCMFest, Newton PorchFest and The BeBop. Room to Spare is the union of Julia Connor, a classically trained violinist with a penchant for Irish fiddling, and David Leach, a jazz pianist with a heavy-metal habit. Their improvisation-rich compositions blend evocative, virtuosic instrumentalism with introspective lyricism, while drawing on vocabularies of classical, jazz, traditional Irish, rock, and new music. Room to Spare, which released an album in 2019, was recognized by WBUR as one of the top entries from Massachusetts in NPR's “Tiny Desk” Contest.

Details will be available at, and