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Music Events Archives

Tempest • 2018 Dates

Since forming in 1988, Tempest has delivered a globally-renowned hybrid of high-energy Folk Rock fusing Irish reels, Scottish ballads, Norwegian influences and other world music elements. The last 30 years have seen the San Francisco Bay Area based act release fifteen critically acclaimed CDs and play more than 2,500 gigs. Tempest plays Blue Lake, Ca Jan 13, Soquel, Jan 20, and a string of dates around the Bay Area thru April dates for January-March

We Banjo 3 • Feb 17, 18

We Banjo 3, two sets of brothers from Galway, play a unique mix of traditional Irish and American roots music. Collectively the band has over 20 All Ireland championship titles on banjo, fiddle, mandolin and guitar. The band reached Billboard World #1 in July 2016 with their new album String Theory and have performed for President Obama at Capitol Hill. They are currently the biggest headlining band on the US Irish circuit.

“No holds-barred, high octane live music” – The Irish Times

Feb 17th – Firehouse Arts Centre, Pleasanton, CA more
Feb 18th – Firehouse Arts Centre, Pleasanton, CA (2pm show)
Feb 18th – Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley, CA more

ICBA Special! Win two tickets to see We Banjo 3 at Sweetwater, Mill Valley on Feb 18th
Simply sign up two friends to receive Irish Culture Bay Area’s monthly newsletter and enter to win!

Open The Door For Three, Soquel • Feb 15

A road-tested, audience-approved, high-octane, fist-in-glove, laughing-out-loud trio of Irish musicians

Open the Door for Three is fiddle player Liz Knowles, uilleann piper Kieran O’Hare, and Dublin-born singer and bouzouki player Pat Broaders. Their music is a combination of unearthed tunes from centuries-old collections, newly composed melodies, and fresh arrangements of songs old and new.  For more information, visit the band’s website here
7:30PM Michael’s On Main, Soquel. See Celtic Society of the Monterey Bay website for this and other upcoming concerts

Emmet Cahill, Irish tenor • Feb 24

Emmet Cahill, Irish tenor and principal vocalist with the world-renowned Irish music show, Celtic Thunder, will present two concerts on February 24, 2018, at the Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre. Emmet’s talents have been recognized at home and abroad, and he has enjoyed success as a multiple prize winner in the RIAM ‘Promising young singer of 2010’, the ‘John McCormack Young Tenor Award’, as well as being voted ‘Tenor of the year’ in 2013 by The Irish Music Association in the US. He also performed in stage productions at The National Concert Hall as well as The Gaiety Theatre, Dublin. Emmet makes his debut at Carnegie Hall, on March 16, 2018. tickets

O’Neill Irish Music Festival • Feb 23 – 25

Francis O’Neill, 1848 – 1936, is considered as “The Man Who Saved Irish Music” and widely recognized as the authentic source for Irish music through his collecting, preserving and publishing books of the largest selection of Irish music still in use today. Tiburon resident Tom O’Neill honors his great-uncle with a multi-day tribute festival and variety show featuring the best of Irish musicians.  Music Around Town – Pub Crawl – on Friday, Feb 23; Variety Show, featuring Black Brothers, Tiburon Lodge, Saturday, Feb 24th; Wake The Dead, and Irish musicians playing 1960s Summer of Love music, Sunday matinee, Feb 25th. more

Old Blind Dogs • Feb 24-26

Since forming in the early 1990’s, Old Blind Dogs have stood on the cutting edge of Scotland’s roots revival. The band has developed its own trademark style with an energetic mix of songs and tunes. Dynamic percussion, polished vocals, soaring fiddle and stirring pipes fuel the delicately-phrased melodies and traditional songs.

24th SAT | The State Theater | Auburn         25th SUN | Palms Playhouse | Winters      26th MON | Ashkenaz | Berkeley

Lúnasa with Tim O’Brien, Berkeley • Feb 25-27

Named for an ancient Celtic harvest festival in honor of the Irish god Lugh, patron of the arts, Lúnasa is indeed a gathering of some of the top musical talents in Ireland. Its members have helped form the backbone of some of the greatest Irish groups of the decade.

Bassist Trevor Hutchinson was a key member of The Waterboys, and later he, with guitarist Donogh Hennessy, would form the dynamic rhythm section of The Sharon Shannon Band; Ed Boyd (Flook, Michael McGoldrick Band) has recently replaced Hennessy; Fiddler Sean Smyth is an All-Ireland champion who has played with Donal Lunny’s Coolfin; Kevin Crawford, considered to be among the finest flutists in Ireland played with the acclaimed traditional group Moving Cloud; and, piper Cillian Vallely of the famous Vallely artistic clan has performed with Riverdance and recently recorded with Bruce Springsteen. Folk Roots magazine has rightly termed them an “Irish music dream team.”

Tim O’Brien’s career is eclectic. A founding member of Hot Rize, he’s also a notable solo performer, and his songs have been recorded by Nickel Creek, Garth Brooks, and the Dixie Chicks. His recent album, Pompadour, features originals, Woody Guthrie and James Brown songs, and a traditional fiddle tune.

Sebastopol Community Centre Feb 25th, Sierra Nevada Brewery Chico, Feb 26th Freight & Salvage, Feb 27th, 7pm

Danny O’Mahony, House Concert & Seisiun

One of Irish traditional music’s leading performers and teachers, Kerryman Danny O’Mahony comes to San Francisco March 3 for a house concert and seisiun. Whether you are a musician, a dancer, or an Irish music and culture enthusiast, don’t miss this chance to hear and meet Danny in person. Refreshments will be provided. $25 suggested donation. Learn more here. Email enquiries to

Sharon Shannon • UICC Mar 4

Sharon Shannon is a musician who likes to surprise. While she is known for her arrangements of traditional Irish tunes and Irish-influenced compositions, she has always been eager to explore new styles. Her new album, Sacred Earth, has Irish influences mixed in with unexpected styles from around the world, including – for the first time – Africa.


St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland • Mar 9

Get your early bird tickets for St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland show at the UICC, Friday March 9th.


Seamus Egan Project • Mar 8

In 2017, Seamus Egan, founding member of the seminal band Solas, will be touring for the first time ever, as The Seamus Egan Project, bringing along friends and musical guests, and introducing fans to both the entirety of his immense and influential catalog of music, as well as new music he’s never recorded or performed live. Beginning with tunes from his groundbreaking album, When Juniper Sleeps, which was the impetus for the formation of Solas, through the 20 year recording career of this iconic band, along with new tunes, Egan will continue to explore the further reaches of the Irish tradition, and beyond. tickets

Check it out:

Glen Hansard, Fox Theater, Oakland • Mar 12

Irish songwriter, actor, vocalist and guitarist for Irish group The Frames, and one half of folk rock duo The Swell Season. He is also known for his acting, having appeared in the BAFTA-winning film The Commitments, as well as starring in the film Once, which earned him a number of major awards, including an Academy Award for Best Song. tickets

Altan • March dates

No Irish traditional band in the last dozen years has had a wider impact on audiences and music lovers throughout the world than Altan.

With their exquisitely produced award-winning recordings, ranging dynamically from the most sensitive and touching old Irish songs all the way to hard hitting reels and jigs, and with their heartwarming, dynamic live performances, Altan have moved audiences from Donegal to Tokyo to Seattle. Throughout, there has been the unwavering commitment of the band to bringing the beauty of traditional music, particularly that of the Donegal fiddlers and singers, to contemporary audiences in a way that brings out all its qualities and destroys none. In fact, Altan have always believed that Irish traditional music is a modern music in every sense and its growing influence and popularity have proved them right.

Hailing from Counties Waterford, Cork, Dublin and Donegal, Danú is one of the leading traditional Irish ensembles of today.

Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center, Livermore, CA, USA
Sat, Mar
17, Davis, CA Mondavi Center – University of California, Davis, CA, USA

Reviews & Sessions

Bay Area Irish Music Sessions

“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)

Starry Plough, Berkeley • Sundays, Mondays

Every Sunday evening The Starry Plough presents a traditional Irish music session featuring instrumentals & vocals. Players and singers welcomed. Every Monday is Irish Dance and Céilí, hosted by John Slaymaker. Dance lessons at 7pm. Music and Dancing at 9pm.

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, 2016 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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