Irish fests at Music Circus, Melody Tent, and much more

The South Shore Music Circus in Cohasset will hold its first-ever Irish music festival on Aug. 21, featuring renowned fiddler Eileen Ivers and her world-music band Immigrant Soul, along with The Fighting Jamesons and Celtica: Pipes Rock. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the concert begins at 7 p.m.
“As everyone knows, there is such a huge Irish population in this area,” says Deanna Lohnes, who is marketing director for the South Shore Music Circus and its sister venue, the Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis, where the festival will take place on Aug. 22. “The Irish/Celtic events we’ve featured in the past have all sold out, so we thought it would be fun to try something a little different, and have a festival atmosphere.”
Grammy winner Ivers is a familiar, and popular, personality to Irish-Celtic music fans in the Boston area, known in particular for her work on the original “Riverdance” production and her appearances – including this year – at the Boston Irish Festival. Growing up in the Bronx, she found herself drawn to the many different strains of music she heard and integrated them with her Irish traditional background. The Immigrant Soul ensemble is an outgrowth of Ivers’s interest in other genres, especially those of South America and Africa.
The six-piece Fighting Jamesons play classic Irish songs in the high-energy, aggressive rock style of the Dropkick Murphys and Young Dubliners – both of whom they’ve shared the stage with – mustering fiddle, banjo and accordion alongside electric guitar, bass and drums. Celtica: Pipes Rock, with members from Scotland and Austria as well as the US, brings the power and presence of Highland bagpipes to its rock-band persona.
Also on the bill, notes Lohnes, will be some local color, with the Haley School of Irish Dance from Whitman and the Highland Light Scottish Pipe Band of Cape Cod. “We’re hoping this will be an annual event,” she says. “There’s definitely a bit more of a rock edge to this festival than some of the others, but plenty for everyone to enjoy. It’ll be a great summer’s night.”
For information on the festival and on South Shore Music Circus, see; the website for the Cape Cod Melody Tent is
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Meanwhile, up on the North Shore, uilleann piper Joey Abarta will perform on Aug. 14 as part of the Peabody Institute Library’s Courtyard Concert Series spotlighting Greater Boston area musicians. A native of Los Angeles who moved to Boston in 2010, Abarta is acknowledged as one of the great young pipers around; in addition to his solo performances, Abarta tours with Mick Moloney and the group The Green Fields of America, teaches at Comhaltas’ Boston Music School, and organizes various traditional music concerts and events.
On Aug. 28, the series will present Molly Pinto Madigan, whose songs draw on, or originate from, Irish and other folk traditions. Among other events and venues, Madigan has appeared at Boston’s Celtic Music Fest, as has Abarta.
All concerts in the series are free and begin at 6 p.m. For directions to the Peabody Institute Library, see
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Club Passim in Harvard Square will feature a split bill on Aug. 27 with Scottish-style fiddler Katie McNally and the duo of Liz Simmons and Hannah Sanders. A native of Westford, McNally has performed and recorded with the fiddle ensemble Childsplay, and toured with Carlos Nunez; she released her debut album “Flourish” last year. Simmons is a member of Long Time Courting – which McNally joined last year – a local all-female quartet playing neo-traditional Irish, Scottish and American music, and also plays with acoustic folk string-band Annalivia. Several years ago, Simmons joined up with Sanders – an English native who, like Simmons, grew up in a musical family – to present a repertoire of Irish, English and Celtic-Americana material, as well as contemporary-original songs, with a harmonic blend of voices and guitars. Although Sanders moved back to England in 2012, she and Simmons have maintained their partnership.
Admission to the concert, which begins at 8 p.m., is $15, $13 for members of Passim. For reservations and other information, see
Earlier in the month, on Aug. 16, Club Passim will host a concert of musicians – including McNally – who are teaching at this year’s Boston Harbor Scottish Fiddle School []. Other faculty at the school this year include Scottish-born fiddlers Douglas Lawrence and Ronan Martin, as well as local favorites Hanneke Cassel and Barbara McOwen (fiddles), Mike Block (cello), Beth Murray (piano) and Eamon Sefton (guitar). See for details.