BCMFest: One month to go

One month to go - Just a few more weeks to go before the 7th annual BCMFest on January 8 and 9, including performances by The Makem and Spain Brothers; Tina Lech and Ted Davis; David O'Docherty; The Gobshites; Liam Hart; Sean and John Connor; Tri; Colm O'Brien; Flynn Cohen and John McGann; Calum Pasqua and Susie Petrov; Kate Chadbourne; Nancy Mulrey; Michael O'Leary; Laurel Martin, Kieran Jordan and David Surette; Bento Boxty; Gordon Aucoin and Lloyd Carr; Cedar Stanistreet and Max Newman; plus a family-oriented musical story, "The Fiddler's Wish," and a special one-of-its-kind ensemble that will evoke Boston's classic big-band Irish sound.

The complete list of performers, and schedule, will be available at bcmfest.com later this month.

BCMFest 2010 "Sneak Preview" - If you'd like a little taste of BCMFest 2010, then come out to this month's edition of BCMFest Celtic Music Monday at Club Passim in Harvard Square on Dec. 14, which will feature just three of the many acts at the festival:

Kimberley Fraser & Janine Randall: The Cape Breton fiddle tradition is alive and well, and Kimberley Fraser is living proof: Her virtuosity and expressiveness has enlivened many a stage, dance hall and parlor. She has played with the likes of Ashley MacIsaac and Natalie MacMaster, shared the stage with such notables as Alasdair Fraser, Lunasa and Martin Hayes, and ably served as pianist (her "other" skill) for Cherish the Ladies during their Swedish tour in 2004 Since moving to Boston a few years ago, she has become an integral part of the local traditional music community, especially with her regular appearances at Canadian-American Club dances. Janine Randall is not only considered one of the finest performers of Cape Breton-style piano, she is widely respected as a teacher and as founder of the Ceilidh Trail School of Celtic Music, an internationally acclaimed summer school that was the first of its kind in North America to specialize in instruction for Cape Breton fiddle and accompaniment.

Colm O'Brien: A Dublin native, Colm O'Brien came to the US in 1999 with strong family roots in traditional music - his father, grandfather, grand uncles, and great grandfather were all members of the famed Fintan Lalor Pipe Band, and his grandmother, May Keogh "Mayday" O'Brien, was a legendary fiddler in Irish music circles - and a wealth of experience playing in sessions and bands. His credentials include a stint with the Irish rock band The Prodigals, appearing on their fourth album, and his well-received solo effort "It Is What It Is" - the Irish Echo described him as "an extraordinary talent, with a voice that resembles a cross between Ronnie Drew and a Dublin Tom Waits." More recently, he has been part of the group Rud Eile, whose debut album included contributions by Aoife Clancy, former Prodigals member Andrew Harkin, as well as piper Patrick Murray and fiddler Amy Basse, both well-known figures in the Greater Boston Irish scene.

Barbara & Robert McOwen: This husband-and-wife duo has been a veritable institution of Scottish music and dance in the Boston area for decades. Barbara, in addition to her work as performer, arranger, scholar, band leader, and tune composer, has helped mentor countless fiddlers as a teacher, and as founder/co-director of the annual Boston Harbor Scottish Fiddle School and the Fiddle Village of the New Hampshire Highland Games. Robert is an accomplished performer, instructor, and choreographer of Scottish country and highland dance - he's the founder and director of Highland Dance Boston - and also is a consummate musician on guitar and string bass. The McOwens' good cheer, and excellent musicianship, make for a winning combination.

The BCMFest "Sneak Preview" begins at 8 p.m. in Club Passim. Admission is $12, $6 for members of Passim, WGBH and WUMB. For tickets and other information, see clubpassim.org.

Volunteer! - BCMFest always can use a helping hand, or two, or three. If you're interested in volunteering, please drop a note to the festival's volunteer coordinator Darlington Howland, at darlington.howland@gmail.com.

For more information on BCMFest, see bcmfest.com; you can also sign up for the BCMFest e-mail list via the Web site.