Coming Up • 

Music Events Archives

7th Annual Irish Festival • Oct 20-22

Venues around San Anselmo and Fairfax, CA

Heartbeat Music presents the 7th Annual Fairfax/San Anselmo Irish Festival Of Music & Dance. Festival features: The Gallowglasses, Noctambule, McCrae’s Battalion, Riggy Rackin, John Caulfield, Vincy Keehan & Kenny Somerville, Moonshine Jelly, Catherine John, Tim Hill & Autumn Rhodes, The Mild Colonial Boys, John Pedersen, Rita Thies, Dan Shea & Rebecca Richman, Kyle Alden & Suzuki Cady, Megan McLaughlin & Cularan, Burke Trieschmann, Erin Ruth Thompson with David Chadwick & Doug Lowder, Daniel Schoenfeld & Anne Goess, Aidan Stone, Culann’s Hounds, Susan Spurlock & Peter Heelan, The Shots String Band, The Snug, Erica & Friends, David Winter & David James, Neil O’ Neill , Stacy Sameuls, Comhaltas Set Dancers, Brosnan Irish Dancers, The Pure Drops, Savage Craic and more.

Van Morrison • Oakland, October 20, 21

“This is a soaring bit of classic Morrison roots-soul — and his best outing in recent years.” – NPR

The lead single off Morrison’s upcoming Roll With The Punches (out Sept. 22) consists largely of the 71-year-old Irish singer belting “gonna be a transformation” over a triumphant soul progression. Morrison plays the Fox Theater in Oakland Sep. 20, 21. tickets

The Coronas • Nov 18

Irish rock band The Coronas joined are by The Hooks for a special Saturday show on November 18 at Brick & Mortar, San Francisco. The band’s extraordinary new album may surprise their army of fans. A sonic leap on from its predecessors, Trust The Wire sees the award-winning, arena-conquering band fuse their arms-aloft melodic pop with lush electronics, spine-tingling atmospherics and a new-found sense of adventure. tix

Niall Horan, Masonic SF • November 22

Irish artist Niall Horan is currently at work on his debut solo album with Capitol Records, and will be hitting the tour circuit in the US, performing live in November in San Francisco. Accompanying himself on piano and guitar, he has been writing new material that takes its inspiration from the music he has favored since childhood – artists such as Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles and Crosby, Stills and Nash. Niall has been working with a small team of producers including Julian Bunetta and Greg Kurstin to hone a cohesive sound for the album. Niall has sold over 70 million records as part of the all conquering One Direction and has toured the globe numerous times. His debut Platinum single “This Town,” released in the fall of 2016, has sold more than three million track equivalent units globally. Tickets

Patrick Ball • Berkeley, Nov 22

Journey to the West of Ireland with this solo, dramatic performance based on the life and works of William Butler Yeats.

Patrick and Peter Glazer (Woody Guthrie’s American Song) were given a Fellowship last year by the National University of Ireland in Galway to study W. B. Yeats. They spent a bit of time in the archives and a lot more time rambling around the countryside and in and out of pubs. The result is “Come Dance with Me in Ireland: A Pilgrimage to Yeats Country,” which tells the story of an elderly Irish couple who lived their adult lives in the states but return to Ireland for a “Yeats Country” tour in search of…well, that would be telling.

Join Patrick on this journey to the West of Ireland for a dramatic evening of music, memories and Ireland’s greatest poet.

Freight & Salvage

See calendar pages for more listings

Reviews & Sessions

Past Reviews

Mary Black •

IRISH CULTURE BAY AREA SPECIAL interview with Mary Black

For the last quarter-century, singer Mary Black has been a dominant presence in Irish music, both at home and abroad. She has shared stages and studios with some of the most revered performers of her time. She has also played a leading role in bringing Irish music to an increasingly appreciative and ever-growing global audience. This summer, Mary is back to tour the US, on the 30th Anniversary re release of “By The Time It Gets Dark”. tickets

Tadgh Dolan checks out Lisa Hannigan’s show at Slim’s, SF on Feb 18th:

Taking to the stage at Slim’s bar San Francisco, it’s clear to see why Lisa Hannigan is a star. Her presence on stage requires little accompaniment, as her melodic voice sweeps over the packed crowd. It’s a Saturday night. It’s busy. And Hannigan, despite a bout of laryngitis, is here to put on a show.

It’s been almost nine years since Hannigan’s debut album Sea Sew established her as one of the go to artists in Irish music. Her new foray is entitled At Swim and captures Hannigan at a fragile moment in time. Tracks like “We, The Drowned” and “Lo” give a new insight into the lows Hannigan experienced while living in London, a city she said she never felt at home in. The haunting ballads on the album seem to exercise the demons of self-doubt that plagued Hannigan during this time. What eventually emerges is a steadiness and control unlike anything we have seen from Hannigan before.

At Swim certainly isn’t a feel-good album. Tracks such as “Prayer for the Dying” and “Funeral Suit” show a softer more self-aware side to the singer. It seems that Hannigan is delving deeper into her own personal experiences, and wants to bring her fans on that journey with her.

Judging by the huge turnout at her San Francisco show, it’s a journey that many fans are willing to take. At Swim is a confessional, thoughtful and authentic piece of work and Hannigan keeps her place as one of Ireland’s top performers.


“A good séisiún can leave you walking on air, send you home happy and keep your mind filled with music for a whole week.” – Charlie Lennon

See calendar pages for details of several regular ongoing Irish music sessions in the Bay Area. For information about Sunday séisiúns around the Bay Area, see here

plough_sessionPlough & Stars, San Francisco • Tuesdays, Sundays

At the Plough & Stars Sunday séisiún – you never know who might show up. Pictured above: a mighty Plough session with special guests Mick Moloney and Athena Tergis (photo Eoin Hobden)

O’Flaherty’s, San Jose • Tuesdays


The South Bay’s longest running traditional Irish music session thanks to Ray and Marie O’Flaherty who have kept the tradition going at the pub. Hosted by Julie Horner, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming, and the music is lively with tunes and songs in the spirit of the tradition. 6:30 to 10:00 every Tuesday evening in downtown San Jose. See Tuesdays on calendar for details.

Meetup groups are also worth checking out for Irish music – and social opportunities. One member shares “…have been playing the whistle for a few years now, originally from India, and have been living in Upstate NY for the last couple years. Kerry music is my favorite!” Join a group or start your own…

In Memory – John Lavelle (1935 – 2016)

johnOne of the San Jose area’s elder statesmen of Irish music, John Edward Lavelle, a regular at O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub sessions, died peacefully at his home October 21st after a long and courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Outside of his love for his wife, Kathleen and sons, daughters and grandchildren, John’s greatest love was playing traditional Irish tunes on the button accordion. He picked up the accordion at the age of five and never put it down. He brought the joy of Irish music to all those around him. He had the honor of playing for Pope John Paul II during his visit to San Francisco in the 1980’s. For years, John could be found performing in Irish music sessions across the Bay Area where he would regale the crowd with selections from the hundreds of traditional tunes in his repertoire. To purchase John’s CD and to find out more go to John Lavelle website.

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