Coming Up • 

Music Events Archives


Molly’s Revenge, Winterdance • Dec 7

Molly’s Revenge and special guest vocalist Christa Burch with Irish dancers will present an evening of music, song and dance associated with the festive season. The performance will include Christmas songs both old and new, all played with a Celtic twist, and something new for our regulars.

Molly’s Revenge, whose lineup includes bagpipes, fiddle, whistle, guitar, mandola, and bodhran, have toured extensively in the US as well as Australia, China and Scotland. The band is known for its unique and infectious on-stage enthusiasm. Their arrangements of traditional jigs and reels bring dance tunes up to date with a driving, hard-edged accent.

Winterdance Celtic Christmas Celebration takes place December 7, Don Quixotes, Felton; Pacific Grove, Dec 22  more


Richard Thompson, Berkeley • Dec Dates

Richard Thompson is coming back to the Freight for four solo, acoustic, all request shows. Named by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the Top 20 Guitarists of All Time, he’s also a critically acclaimed and prolific songwriter, and was a founding member of Fairport Convention. Pitchfork calls Richard’s newest album, Still, “intimate, thoughtful, complex, and rewarding.” Dec 12-15th, Freight & Salvage, Berkeley


2017 An Irish Christmas

Take a journey through Christmas in Ireland, as seen on PBS, featuring superb dancing, traditional singing and authentic Irish traditional music celebrating the international spirit of the holiday season. Featuring world-champion Irish dancers Scott Doherty (Riverdance) and Tyler Schwartz (Gaelforce Dance).

Dates Nov 26-30, Vacaville, Monterey, San Jose, Napa

tickets & more information

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.


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)

O’Flaherty’s, San Jose • Tuesdays

oflahertyssessionsm

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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