Highlights: Coming Up

Paradise Square • to Feb 17

Paradise Square is a powerful musical based on extraordinary real-life stories. It’s 1863 at Five Points, NY, where Black and Irish Americans live in racial harmony until the intensifying Civil War results in the first-ever Federal draft, leading to riots as whites are called to enlist while blacks are barred from serving. Featuring superb Irish step-dancing and African traditional forms, Paradise Square reframes some of the most popular music of the 19th century, with musical arrangements by Larry Kirwan, of Black 47 fame. A must-see! See Datebook article here. Berkeley Repertory Theater. more

RUNA • Berkeley, Jan 17

RUNA redefines traditional music of Ireland and Scotland with rhythms of jazz, bluegrass, flamenco and blues. The group has been honored internationally, winning Top Group and Top Traditional Group in the Irish Music Awards and three Independent Music Awards including Best LIVE Album, Best World/Traditional Song and Best Bluegrass Song. tickets

Robert O’Driscoll • Jan 23

The Honorable Robert O’Driscoll was appointed Consul General of Ireland to the Western United States in 2017. Prior to his appointment, Mr. O’Driscoll was Deputy Director in the Trade Division. He also served as Private Secretary to Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister (Tánaiste) and to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade from 2013 to 2015. The Consul General joins the World Affairs Council for an in-depth discussion on Ireland as a member of the EU, as well as its relations with the US and California. more

ILHS Speaker, Emer Martin • Jan 27

The ILHS presents writer Emer Martin, who will speak about her widely acclaimed new novel The Cruelty Men, a sweeping multi-generational account of an Irish-speaking family who moved from Kerry to the Meath Gaeltacht and the disasters that befall their children in Irish institutions.
Sunday, Jan 27th, 5pm at the UICC, 45th Avenue and Sloat Blvd. more

Kevin Crawford & Cillian Vallely • Jan House Concerts

Cillian Vallely, uilleann piper and low whistle player, and Kevin Crawford, flute and whistle player are two exceptional members of world-class band Lúnasa. This month the Celtic Society of the Monterey Bay presents an intimate house concert in Soquel on Jan 14 (more info), and the duo also performs a house concert in Oakland on January 16 (more info)


The Outside Track • Feb 6 & 7

Hailing from Scotland, Ireland, and Cape Breton, The Outside Track were winner of ‘Best Group’ in both the Live Ireland awards and the Tradition In Review awards; were ‘Best Live Act’ nominees in the MG Alba Scots Traditional Music Awards, and won the German Radio Critics Prize, for their album Flash Company. Live Ireland called them, ‘Among the top bands in the world – stunning on every cut!’. Michael’s on Main, Soquel, Feb 6 more Auburn Theater, Feb 7 more

Phil Coulter • UICC, Feb 10

Phil Coulter and Special Guest Geraldine Brannigan will perform at the UICC, February 10th. Coulter is up there with the biggest selling Irish recording artistes of all time, rubbing shoulders with Bono and the Boys. From Derry, Northern Ireland, Phil has performed with everyone from James Galway to the London Symphony Orchestra to Nanci Griffith and Quincy Jones. He has contributed to the list of Great Irish Songs with The Town I Loved So Well and the haunting Scorn Not His Simplicity, among others. tickets

Mostly British Film Festival, Irish Spotlight • Feb 17

This year’s Mostly British Film Festival Irish Spotlight features “Black ’47”, “Lost & Found”, and “Pickups”. “Black ’47” was the highest grossing Irish film of the year in Ireland. Directed by Dublin-based director Lance Daly, the story follows Connaught ranger Martin Feeney (James Frecheville), who returns to Ireland after fighting for the British Army to find his family dead or decimated by hunger, sparking a quest for revenge. The film also stars Jim Broadbent, Stephen Rea and Barry Keoghan. More info here Jan 5

Lúnasa • Feb 22 & 24

Named for an ancient Celtic harvest festival in honor of the Irish god Lugh, patron of the arts, Lúnasa is composed of Kevin Crawford (flutes, low whistles and tin whistles), Trevor Hutchinson (double bass), Ed Boyd (guitar), Seán Smyth (fiddle and low whistle) and Cillian Vallely (uilleann pipes and low whistles). Lúnasa has sold more than quarter of a million albums in the course of the band’s career and boast an impressive back catalogue of seven highly acclaimed and award-winning studio albums.
Freight & Salvage, Feb 22 more
Kuumbwa, Feb 24 more

The Chieftains • Feb 22 & 23

2019 marks the 57th Anniversary of The Chieftains beginning. Since 1962 they have been six-time Grammy Award winners and been highly recognized for reinventing traditional Irish music on a contemporary and international scale. Their ability to transcend musical boundaries to blend tradition with modern music has notably hailed them as one of the most renowned and revered musical groups to this day. Modesto, Feb 22 / Rohnert Park, Feb 23 tickets