Archives – Music

INBA Holiday Event, SF • Dec 6

Irish Network Bay Area (INBA) rounds off another year with the INBA annual Christmas party in San Francisco on Thursday December 6th, at 6pm at 100 Vallejo Street, San Francisco.
INBA facilitates business networking opportunities among members and friends, and builds and educates community through regular networking, leadership, educational, and cultural events. New members always welcomed. More information

Appetizers and drinks tickets will be available for purchase and all proceeds will go towards to the California Fire Foundation.

Celtic Voices Choirs, SF • Dec. 7

In honor of the 20th Anniversary of the Irish Immigration Pastoral Center, Celtic Voices Choirs presents ‘Mistletoe, Memories & Music’
The choirs, directed by Mary McKeever, will be joined by a host of local artists to present a special selection of the best in Irish music from the past 20 years, including all the Christmas favorites.

The event takes place at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory Auditorium. more

Irish Marvels • Dec. 8

A Brú na Bóinne (Newgrange) Riddle. In this presentation, Jo Coffey will discuss Brú na Bóinne which was built 5 millennia ago during a Golden Age in Ireland. The monument gives evidence of a high degree of social organization among a people who had sophisticated expertise in astronomy, architecture, engineering, art and cosmology.

Jo will focus on a story about Brú na Bóinne, found in several ancient books of Ireland (from the 12th through the 17th centuries), and specifically on a very curious riddle found in these stories. Celebrate the Winter Solstice! more

Michael Keane, Andy Leon, Michael Keehan, SF • Dec. 8

Native son, Michael Keehan returns to San Francisco from the LA music scene for a showcase of folk-rock music at the Plough & Stars on December 8th. Michael will be accompanied by acclaimed singer, Andy Leon and supported by The Fruit Flies (Molly McCormick and Danni Parpan) and fellow San Francisco legend, Michael Keane, in a debut performance.
More information on The Fruit Flies.

Plough & Stars, 116 Clement St. 8pm.

An Irish Christmas, UICC • Dec. 9

An Irish Christmas features an award-winning cast of Irish dancers led by Caterina Coyne (Principal dancer, Riverdance), world champion dancers Tyler Schwartz and Connor Reider. An Irish Christmas is a memorable night that sparkles with charm and magic. Celebrate the great tradition of butter making, chase the wren on St. Stephen’s Day, draw down the half door for spectacular dance, enjoy superb music-making and singing of Christmas carols in an unforgettable Irish night. Tickets for UICC show. ICBA Special Ticket Giveaway: sign up a friend and enter to win two tickets!
Additional shows in San Jose, Mountain View, Napa, Vacaville, Rohnert Park, Monterey, Redding. more info

Shalom Ireland film screening, Palo Alto • Dec. 11

Shalom Ireland is a documentary about Ireland’s remarkable, yet little known Jewish community.  The one hour film, by Bay Area filmmaker Valerie Lapin, chronicles the history of Irish Jewry while celebrating the unique culture created by blending Irish and Jewish traditions.  From gun running for the Irish Republican Army during Ireland’s War of Independence to smuggling fellow Jews escaping from the Holocaust into Palestine, Shalom Ireland tells the untold story of how Irish Jews participated in the creation and development of both Ireland and Israel. JCC, Palo Alto. more

Tony McManus, Soquel • Dec. 12

Tony McManus is the leading Celtic guitarist worldwide and has just been listed as one of the 50 transcendental guitarists of all time by Guitar Player Magazine. Julia Toaspern is a multi-talented musician from Berlin who combines classical training on violin and voice with a wide interest in genres such as jazz, baroque and traditional music. The duo’s twin guitar treatment of traditional music is unique as they support the other in exploring the harmonic possibilities of old, and not so old, tunes. Each of the pair flatpicks and fingerpicks at the highest level, servicing the tune.  more

The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde • Dec. 14

Check out the exquisite new publication of  The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde, with an introduction by Merlin Holland, Wilde’s grandson, at Presidio-based fine press book publisher Arion Press. Artist Sandow Birk will talk about his illustrations, which put a very modern-day twist into these 130-year-old tales. The deluxe edition, with decorative initials foil stamped in 22k gold is sold out, so you can save that $2,200. The 225-copy $800 standard edition has decorative initials printed in green ink. It is machine-sewn; bound with an olive green cloth spine and paper sides imprinted with titling and a foil stamped butterfly; and housed in a slipcase. [more]

A Celtic Christmas, Santa Cruz • Dec. 19

Now in its 20th season, Tomáseen Foley’s A Celtic Christmas recreates the joy and innocence of a night before Christmas in a remote farmhouse in the parish of Teampall an Ghleanntáin in the west of Ireland – when the neighboring families gather around the fire to grace the wintry night with the haunting melodies of traditional Irish Christmas carols, to raise the rafters with the joy of their music and to knock sparks off the flagstone floor with traditional dances, and to fill the night with the laughter of their stories.
UCSC Music Center Recital Hall, Santa Cruz. more

Looking for a Holiday Netflix Binge? “Derry Girls” coming Dec. 21

“Derry Girls” follows a group of teenage girls growing up against the backdrop of The Troubles era of Northern Ireland in the early 1990s.

The series earned an average audience of 2.5 million in the UK, making it Channel 4’s most successful original comedy in 15 years, and it has become the most-watched series in Northern Ireland.” Watch trailer

“Angela’s Christmas” Stealing Hearts on Netflix

“Angela’s Christmas”, an animated holiday short based on a story by Frank McCourt, and inspired by a story McCourt’s mother told him as a child, has arrived on Netflix to rave reviews.

Limerick native Ruth Negga, and McCourt’s brother Malachy provide the narration, with a closing credits song by the late Dolores O’Riordan. Watch trailer

Runa • July 13

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. July 13, Ashkenaz Berkeley. more

House Concert Series, San Anslemo • July 21

The Tree House Concert Series presents an evening of high energy Irish traditional music with Randal Bays, fiddle, Felim Egan, button accordian and Kyle Alden, guitar and vocals. Irish session to follow. Please RSVP to [email protected]. Address in San Anselmo and parking instructions given with your RSVP.  more

John Doyle • Soquel, June 5

Irish musician John Doyle has long been known for his amazing guitar and bouzouki work and has since his early days with Solas, has performed with fiddler Liz Carroll, Nuala Kennedy, Scottish fiddler John Mckusker and piper Mike McGoldrick, among others. His innovative chord choices mixed with amazingly deft melody lines are what makes his instrumental talent stand out. In recent years, John has blossomed into a singer of songs, both traditional and self-penned, all backed by his unique style of accompaniment.

The Celtic Society of the Monterey Bay presents John Doyle on Tuesday, June 5th, 7:30PM at a House Concert in Soquel. more

Helena Byrne • May 18Following the release of her third studio album ‘Tóraíocht Shonais’ (Pursuit of Happiness), Helena returns to North America in May with her new show ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’. Helena delves into the music, superstitions & folklore of Ireland, alongside incredible stories of Irish emigration through the ages; the Great Famine, travelling on the Titanic, the Irish in the Wild West, John F. Kennedy’s visit to Ireland & so much more. Join Helena on this journey through the Irish experience of emigration to the New World; the excitement, the tragedy, the hopes & aspirations for a better life.Irish Cultural Center on Friday, May 18th – 7:30 pm more

Dermot Kennedy • Mar 25, Independent, SF

On his debut EP, ‘Doves & Ravens,’ the young Dubliner draws inspiration from all the moments of brightness and darkness this world has to offer, crafting music that’s at once soaring and intimate, stripped-back and explosive. Stuttery hip-hop and R&B-influenced percussion underpins his weathered vocals as he combines organic and electronic elements into an arresting, emotional blend that calls to mind the adventurous arrangements of Bon Iver, James Blake, and James Vincent McMorrow. tickets

One of the leading traditional Irish ensembles of today. Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center, Livermore. Sat, Mar 17, Davis, CA Mondavi Center – University of California, Davis

Culann’s Hounds & Co. • March 17

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the Great American Music Hall, with Culann’s Hounds (hard-rocking Irish trad), Lucia Comnes (roots fiddler-singer-songwriter) & One Grass, Two Grass (Bay Area Bluegrass pickers) at The Great American Music Hall.

Zoo Station • Mar 17, The Chapel, SF

Since 2001, this talented force has delivered the visual, musical and spiritual thrill of a U2 concert to bars, clubs, outdoor festivals, private parties and corporate events along the West Coast of North America. Singer Bonalmost leads the show, flying high with the vocal strength and confidence of Bono’s The Joshua Tree days. The Sledge showers thick layers of effectual guitar work over crowd as Adamesque on bass and Barely Larry on the drums deliver the pounding heartbeat of some of modern rock’s most memorable songs. more

St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland • Mar 9

Kerry Irish Productions, Inc., coming off of their sold out An Irish Christmas presents St. Patrick’s Day ~ An Irish Hooley. Enjoy a St. Patrick’s Day performance of music,  song and dance by the As Seen on PBS group. United Irish Cultural Center, SF, Friday March 9th. tickets

Seamus Egan Project • Mar 8

Touring for the first time ever as The Seamus Egan Project, the founding member of the seminal band Solas, will be bringing friends and musical guests, and introducing fans to new music he’s never performed live. Beginning with tunes from his groundbreaking album, When Juniper Sleeps, through his 20 year recording career, Egan will explores the further reaches of the Irish tradition, and beyond. tickets

WIN two tickets to Seamus Egan at the Freight & Salvage. Sign up two friends for Irish Culture Bay Area monthly newsletter – email names here

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

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. No Irish traditional band in the last dozen years has had a wider impact on audiences and music lovers throughout the world. March 8 in Felton, at Don Quixote’s International Music Hall March 9, Berkeley, at Freight & Salvage • 10 March, Fort Bragg, at Eagles Hall

Lúnasa • Feb 25-27, Mar 4

Named for an ancient Celtic harvest festival in honor of the Irish god Lugh, patron of the arts, Lúnasa is a gathering of top Irish musical talent. Its members have formed the backbone of the greatest Irish groups of the last decade. Founding member of Hot Rize, Tim O’Brien joins Lunasa on Feb. 27. His songs have been recorded by Nickel Creek, Garth Brooks, and the Dixie Chicks. Sebastopol Feb 25th, Sierra Nevada Brewery Chico, Feb 26th Freight & Salvage, Feb 27th, 7pm, Kuumbwa, Santa Cruz March 4

Danny O’Mahony, House Concert & Seisiun • Mar 3

One of Irish traditional music’s leading performers and teachers, Kerryman Danny O’Mahony comes to San Francisco March 3 for a house concert. $25 suggested donation. RSVP for address [email protected].

Sharon Shannon • UICC Mar 4

Sharon Shannon is known for her arrangements of traditional Irish tunes and Irish-influenced compositions, but is always 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. tickets

Old Blind Dogs • Feb 24-26

Dynamic percussion, polished vocals, soaring fiddle and stirring pipes fuel the delicately-phrased melodies and traditional songs, Old Blind Dogs have stood on the cutting edge of Scotland’s roots revival since forming in the early 1990’s – Auburn, Feb. 24th; Winters, Feb, 25th; Berkeley, Feb 26th. Tickets

Emmet Cahill, Irish tenor • Feb 24

Emmet Cahill, Irish tenor and principal vocalist with the world-renowned Irish music show, Celtic Thunder, will be in concert on February 24, 2018, at the Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre at 2pm. tickets

O’Neill Irish Music Festival • Feb 23 – 24

Tiburon resident Tom O’Neill honors his great-uncle Francis O’Neill, 1848 – 1936 (“The Man Who Saved Irish Music”) with a multi-day tribute festival and variety show featuring the best of Irish musicians.  Friday, Feb 23 & Saturday, Feb 24th more

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

The Heart of an Irishwoman, Vacaville • Feb 4

Irish actor Sheelagh Cullen in a tour de force performance along with Katherine Trimble (singer) and Bella Issakova (violin), take us home to the heart of great Irish women in an afternoon of literature, song and music. From the producer of An Irish Christmas. Vacaville Performing Arts Theater tickets

The Press Gang, House Concert, Soquel • Jan 20

A bold new sound has emerged in New England’s traditional music scene: The Press Gang fuses the talents of squeezebox player Christian “Junior” Stevens, fiddler Alden Robinson, flute-player and vocalist Hanz Araki, and guitarist Owen Marshall into a high-octane musical partnership. The quartet blends their skill and fluency in traditional Irish music with their curiosity and aptitude for other styles. The joy that these musicians pour into playing music together is unmistakable and infectious. The result is a unique sound; at once energetic and sensitive, innovative and reverent.

Reservations: By email to Lynda Haworth or call 831-464-9778

Molly’s Revenge, Winterdance • Dec 22

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 Pacific Grove, Dec 22  more

Cúlarán • Dec 29, 30

Cúlarán formed in 2017 adding to the vibrant Bay Area Irish music scene, with a regular base of The Starry Plough, a Berkeley pub that has been hosting trad session every week for decades. The band, in part, a successor to The Elderberries, features Christopher Dillingham (whistles, concertina), Megan McLaughlin, (guitar), Randall McNeill, (mandolin), Rufus Gondardi, (fiddle, guitar) conjure up jigs, reels, hornpipes, polkas, aires, waltzes, slides, slip jigs, and songs both rowdy and reverent. Catch them this holiday season at both The Starry Plough and the Plough and Stars, San Francisco. For those wondering, Cúlarán is the Irish word for pignut, and Scots Gaelic word for cucumber.

The Starry Plough, Berkeley (info) Yule celebration with Shay Black (info) Friday, December 29, 2017 – 9pm, The Plough and the Stars, San Francisco (info), Saturday, December 30, 2017 – 9pm

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

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

Kevin Burke, Solo • August 17-19

Kevin Burke plays a number of solo gigs in the Bay Area this month. Kevin’s new album is indeed a departure, featuring two great players sharing their musical interests – one steeped in traditional Irish music while the other is a veteran California rocker. Kevin has teamed up with guitar whiz John Brennan from San Diego, an LA sideman to the stars back in the ’70s (Graham Nash, Chris Hillman of The Byrds, Poco). Versions of 60’s & 70’s rock ‘classics’, blues and country tunes, two Bach minuets, and some re-imagined jigs and reels. Hear Kevin’s song “London Town,” an affectionate look back at the post-WWII world of Irish immigrants.
Listen to samples and read more here

August 17, Sebastopol, CA.
August 19, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park Festival of the Sea
August 20, Fifth Street Farms, 1517 5th St., reservations required

Festival on the Sea • August 19

Kevin Burke, Shay Black, and several other familiar names at this year’s Festival on the Sea at SF Waterfront. This year, the Festival’s theme is “High-Tech on the High Seas: The Evolution of Maritime Culture and Technology.” Learn about capstans, the 1907 Hercules’ powerplant, and other “engines that made a difference” while sampling traditional music from internationally renowned acts and local performers on three stages at Hyde Street Pier. This is a chance to “Find Your Park” on the San Francisco waterfront!

Family-friendly activities will include: knot tying; rigging, caulking, steam bending, and rope-making demonstrations; a small boat launch; sail raising; living history performers; kids craft stations; MORE

Tim Flannery • September 3

Tim Flannery may have given up his job as third base coach for the San Francisco Giants, but now he has more time to devote to his music, which he performs with all the love and dedication he brought to baseball. Lunatic Fringe’s music is described as bluegrass, punk folk, country, celtic (and Americosmic!) and band members have been playing together since they formed the group in 8th grade.  Special guests Jeff Berkley and Calman Hart with Berkley Hart, a popular San Diego acoustic duo.

Tim Flannery & The Lunatic Fringe, with Owen Roberts
HopMonk Novato Cookout Concert Series

Tony McManus, Felton • September 3

Tony McManus has come to be recognized throughout the world as the leading guitarist in Celtic Music. From early childhood his twin obsessions of traditional music and acoustic guitar have worked together to produce a startlingly original approach to this ancient art. Tony has a unique style on the acoustic guitar remarkable talent. “…one of the few Celtic-styled guitarists capable of matching the ornamentation and authority of the best violinists and pipers…” Celtic Society of Monterey more

For more info, sights and sounds, visit

Lark Camp • July 28-August 5

Imagine idyllic days and nights in a magical redwood forest in Mendocino, filled with all the music, dance, and good times you can stand. That’s kind of close to what Lark Camp World Music & Dance Celebration is like. Lark In The Morning Music Celebration was started in 1980 to provide a venue to allow traditional musicians and dancers to get together and share their music & dance. Attendees can take workshops or take part in jam sessions 24 hours a day, or dance into the evening. Workshops are geared for the professional as well as the beginner, adults as well as children. See video below for overview, and visit website for more

Fr. Ray Kelly – July 22, UICC

Father Ray Kelly achieved worldwide YouTube fame when he sang a wedding version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah at a ceremony in St. Brigid’s Church. He has since then signed a contract with Universal Music Ireland, performed several concerts and produced two music CDs, Where I Belong 2014 and An Irish Christmas Blessing 2015. 

Subsequently there have been many interviews, various television appearances, and several concerts in Ireland, US and Europe. Father Ray also keeps up with his Parish work in Oldcastle and continues to share his talent in benefit of charities and good causes.

Father Ray is looking forward to visiting San Francisco to make new friends and fans and promote his CD, “Where I Belong”. This CD is a beautiful collection of inspirational and uplifting songs, both secular and non-secular and with an Irish twist of course! Enjoy a Father Ray show as his beautiful gift of voice soothes and inspires and his natural charm and wit brings a smile to your face.


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.

Erin Thompson and the Crooked Road Ceili Band • June 30

Rising star vocalist Erin Ruth Thompson joins The Crooked Road Ceili Band (made up of Jack Gilder, Concertina & Flute, Doug Lowder, Fiddle, David Chadwick, Guitar & Mandolin, and Julie Horner, Hammered Dulcimer) at the UICC on June 30th.

Erin came to the Bay Area in late 2012 from Tuscon via Hawai’i. With encouragement from Jack Gilder at the Plough & Stars Irish Pub in San Francisco, and Shay Black at the Starry Plough Irish Pub in Berkeley, Erin has built an impressive repertoire as accomplished songwriter, keyboardist, and guitarist. more

Johnny Holden • July 3, Oakland

The Wolfhound Bar in Oakland holds its first ever live show featuring Irish piano maestro Johnny Holden who will sing and play your favorite tunes. A soulful voice and expert musicianship not to be missed. more

 Chloe Agnew – July 8, UICC

“Chloë Agnew has gained international fame for her integral part as one of the original, and youngest members of the internationally acclaimed music group ‘Celtic Woman’ since she was 14 years old. Their debut album reached #1 on Billboard’s World Music chart, where it held the top position for a record breaking 81 weeks total. Chloë went on to spend almost ten years performing all over the world with the group. Now working as a solo act based in Los Angeles and touring internationally with some of America’s biggest and best orchestras, Chloë is also performing her own solo show and is coming to the Irish Center for her first concert solo in San Francisco.


April events

Black Brothers, Felton • April 2

April marks the 25th anniversary of the first concert put on by the Celtic Society Of The Monterey Bay, that featured Michael Black. Michael and Shay Black now play the anniversary concert at Don Quixote’s in Felton, CA.

The repertoire of the Black Brothers is very broad and includes old Dublin street songs, up-tempo reels and jigs, music hall songs and historical ballads, songs from the Irish and Scottish traditions, along with songs by contemporary writers. Shay and Michael are close harmony singers, with a special fondness for songs that include their audience in chorus.   more

Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas • April 6, 7

Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas

Alasdair Fraser has been called “one of the finest fiddle players Scotland has ever produced; his name is synonymous with the vibrant cultural renaissance transforming the Scottish musical scene.” Natalie, a Juilliard graduate, is one of the most sought-after cellists playing traditional music today. She’s toured with Mark O’Connor as a member of his Appalachia Waltz Trio and played as a guest artist on over 50 albums, including those of Irish super-group Solas.
April 6 Freight & Salvage, Berkeley more
April 7 Kuuwumba, Santa Cruz more

Tim O’Brien • April 7 & 8

Berkeley, April 7, Sebastopol, April 8. “A master of American folk music, Irish music, Scottish music – it doesn’t matter; a fine songwriter and one of my favorite singers.” –Mark Knopfler

Tim O’Brien’s tireless dedication to a vast and still-expanding array of instruments, and his ongoing commitment to place himself in as many unique and challenging musical scenarios as possible has made him a key figure in today’s thriving roots music scene. O’Brien’s presence has been strongly felt not only in his own rich music, but in the many recordings of his songs by such artists as the Dixie Chicks, Garth Brooks, the Chieftains, and innumerable others. more

Young Irelanders • April 9

The Young Irelanders are eight young sensational performers who have Irish traditional music running through their veins. Between them they have performed for many heads of state, as well as the Queen of England and Empress Michiko of Japan. They have performed at Radio City Music Hall, the Great Hall of the People in China, and Kremlin State Palace in Moscow, and have toured as lead performers with Riverdance and Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance. Tickets at UICC website

March events

Phil Coulter • March 26

Catch Phil Coulter and special guest Geraldine Brannigan, and opening act, Ryan Doyle. From Derry, Northern Ireland, Phil has performed with everyone from James Galway and the London Symphony Orchestra to Nanci Griffith and The Blue Moon Orchestra, not to mention Henry Mancini, Elmer Bernstein and Quincy Jones. Tickets at UICC

Dervish & Le Vent du Nord • March 15-19

The seven-member Dervish has risen to the top of their genre over the past ten years, sharing the stage with such popular acts as REM, Sting and Britney Spears in front of a crowd of 250,000 at Brazil’s Rock In Rio music festival. Founded in 1989 by a group of five musicians (Liam Kelly, Shane Mitchell, Martin McGinley, Brian McDonagh and Michael Holmes), Dervish initially came together to record an album of local music, released as The Boys Of Sligo. More than a decade later, four of the original members are still at the helm
March Dates: 15th Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Santa Cruz, 16th Freight & Salvage, Berkeley, 17th Mondavi Center, Davis, 18th Laxson Auditorium, Chico, 19th Sebastopol Community Center

The Black Brothers at the Freight • Mar 17

Shay and Michael Black celebrate St. Patrick’s Day Eve with their traditional Freight & Salvage concert in Berkeley, brimming with lilting harmonies, catchy rhythms, and superb musicianship. The brothers never fail to create a sheer celebration of singing, and their infectious humor, wit, and unalloyed joy in performing make it difficult for anyone to remain a spectator for long. more

Lucia Comnes • Mar 17

Lucia Comnes & Her Rockin’ Irish Band: a 4-piece folk powerhouse that combines influences from rock, blues and bluegrass to deliver upbeat Irish and Americana roots music. With her fiery fiddling, Comnes leads high energy sets of groove-oriented traditional Irish, pop and folk melodies. This year’s show will be a down-home and intimate concert at Amnesia in the Mission District, SF more

Colm O’ Riain and Friends, Red Poppy SF • Mar 17

Accomplished Irish-born violinist Colm Ó Riain and musical friends combine the music of Ireland with rhythms and melodies from all over the musical world – jazz, blues, Roma, India, Cuba, Brazil, and much more. Featuring Joe Kyle Jr on bass, Geoff van Lienden on guitar, and
Wade Peterson on percussion. called Ó Riain’s 2016 album, Bridge Across the Blue, co-produced with poet Pireeni Sundaralingam, “one of the Top 7 recordings of poetry and music of all time.” video and ticket info

Zoo Station, The Chapel SF • Mar 17

Zoo Station is a quartet that bills itself “The Complete U2 Experience.” Since 2001, the band  has delivered the visual, musical and spiritual thrill of a U2 concert to bars, clubs, outdoor festivals, private parties and corporate events along the West Coast of North America. Singer Bonalmost leads the show, flying high with the vocal strength and confidence of Bono’s The Joshua Tree days. The Sledge showers thick layers of effectual guitar work over crowd as Adamesque on bass and Barely Larry on the drums deliver the pounding heartbeat of some of modern rock’s most memorable songs. more

Tempest at Dublin, CA festival • March 17-19

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 28 years have seen the San Francisco Bay Area based act release fifteen critically acclaimed CDs and play more than 2,000 gigs. Band members represent an interesting mix of cultural backgrounds, with founding member Leif Sorbye hailing from Norway, and Indian-American progressive guitarist, Ab Menon, Cuban-born drummer Adolfo Lazo. Fiddler Kathy Buys brings her international award winning playing to the Tempest stage, and talented Josh Fossgreen’s innovative bass textures adds a rich dimension. Hopmonk Tavern, Mar 17. Dublin, CA St. Patrick’s Festival Mar 18-19. more

The Quiet Men, Slim’s • Mar 17

San Francisco-based, Irish-style folk rock band. Fusing Irish-style music with modern driving folk, rock, and Americana, The Quiet Men have been blaring through local concert venues, street festivals, and beer festivals with original song-writing since 2011. Prodigiously talented and attractive, this group does not disappoint. Grab a beer, stomp your feet, and a night rocking out at Slim’s, SF. more

Patrick Ball, ILHS Banquet • March 19

The ILHS presents their annual St. Patrick’s Banquet on Sunday, March 19 at the Saint Patrick’s Ballroom in the United Irish Cultural Center. This year’s event features harpist and storyteller Patrick Ball, with song and dramatic reading by Esther Mulligan, and music by fiddler, Anne Goess. more

Sharon Shannon • UICC, March 10

The career of accordionist/fiddler Sharon Shannon began with the internationally acclaimed Irish folk/rock group the Waterboys in 1988. While never losing sight of her roots in Irish folk music, she has undertaken a musical journey which includes collaborations with Bono and Adam Clayton, classical violinist Nigel Kennedy, reggae legend Denis Bovell, the Kodo drummers of Japan as well as Steve Earle, Jackson Browne, Emmy-Lou Harris and Alison Krauss.  more

Gerry O’Connor, Plough & Stars • March 2

Join virtuoso Irish fiddler Gerry O’Connor and local guitar legend, Richard Mandel for an evening of music and fun, to kick off the Irish-American Crossroads 2017 Festival at the Plough & Stars bar in San Francisco. O’Connor has played and recorded with such highly regarded groups as Lá Lúgh, Skylark , Planxty, Bothy Band, De Dannan, Boys of the Lough and Chieftains.  more info

Kyle Alden, Fairfax House Concert • Mar 4

Local musician, Kyle Alden will promote his new CD, “Down In The West – Vol. 2”. Kyle will be joined by Susan Spurlock and Markie Sanders on upright bass.
The Back Room, Berkeley, CA 94704 on Sat, Mar 4 info

The Sanctuary Sessions • Mar 5

Join musicians at the Plough & Stars, San Francisco on Sunday, March 5, for “Sanctuary Sessions: Trad Music for Civil Rights,” a show of solidarity in support of a positive immigration policy, with a goal to make music, encourage positive dialogue, and raise money for the American Civil Liberties Union’s continued effort to defend citizens’ rights under the Constitution. The Plough & Stars joins more than 20 venues around the United States hosting benefit sessions on March 5. more

February events

O’Neill Irish Music Festival, Tiburon • Feb 23-25

The festival opens on Thursday, Feb 23 with a presentation by festival founder Tom O’Neill on the “Incredible Life Of Francis O’Neill – The Man Who Saved Irish Music” at Sam’s Anchor Cafe in Tiburon, with accompaniment by local Irish musicians. Two shows follow on Friday, Feb 24th and Saturday, Feb 25th at the Lodge in Tiburon, featuring Lucia Comnes, The Black Brothers, David Winter, Kyle Alden, John Caulfield, Todd Denman, Marla Fibish, and many more. See full musician lineup here

The Chieftains • Feb 17-23

Six-time Grammy Award-winners, The Chieftains have been credited for reinventing traditional Irish music on an international scale. After fifty years of making some of the most beautiful music in the world, their ability to transcend musical boundaries, blending traditional with modern, has kept The Chieftains’ music as fresh and relevant as when they first began.

“They seem ageless, and so does their Irish music. If common sense tells you they can’t go on forever, you wouldn’t know it from their electrifying performance.” — Boston Globe
Feb 17, Livermore
Feb 19, Davis
Feb 23, Carmel

West Coast Pipers Club Tional • Feb 18

Every two years the San Francisco Pipers Club hosts the West Coast Tionol, a weekend-long festival of uilleann piping, including a concert on the Saturday night. Master uilleann pipers, Todd Denman and Preston Howard plus special guests as well as local band, The Gas Men will be playing at this years concert. The concert will be held at the United Irish Cultural Center, San Francisco. A session will follow in the bar. Tickets

Lisa Hannigan • Slim’s SF, Feb 18

WIN TICKETS! Critically acclaimed Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan is on tour with a new album At Swim. “…a triumph of Hannigan’s understated versatility, as a seemingly simple template morphs to make room for gracefully doomstruck ballads, comparatively peppy midtempo numbers, subtly glitchy and experimental sounds ...” – NPR
Hannigan first came to light as a somewhat mysterious figure singing harmonies alongside Damien Rice. They played together for seven years, but it wasn’t until the release of her solo debut Sea Sew in 2008 that the full spectrum of her abilities became apparent. More

Solas • Berkeley, Feb 10


Irish-American band Solas plays a rich blend of time-honored Irish music, distinctive originals, and the occasional well-chosen cover, weaving together a tapestry of influences from folk, country, jazz, and traditional music from around the world. The Boston Herald trumpeted the quartet as “the first truly great Irish band to arise from America,” From their early days with singer Karan Casey, to the present configuration featuring Moira Smiley on vocals, Solas’ All These Years tour showcases the evolution of one of the most influential bands in the history of Irish music.

January events

Cillian Vallely & Kevin Crawford • Soquel, Jan 17


Joining Lúnasa in 1997 and 1999 respectively, Kevin Crawford and Cillian Vallely have become key components of a group which has become one of the most acclaimed and influential bands in the recent history of Irish music. Having released seven band albums and worked on numerous solo projects though, the duo decided to combine their individual talents and create something different. The result was the critically acclaimed album, “On Common Ground”, which was awarded The Irish American News album of the year in 2010. House concert, Soquel more

Runa • Felton, Jan 18


Quickly gaining recognition as one of Irish music’s new “super-groups”, RUNA has been enchanting audiences by pushing the boundaries of Irish folk music, since their formation in 2008. Interweaving the haunting melodies and exuberant tunes of Ireland and Scotland with the lush harmonies and intoxicating rhythms of bluegrass, flamenco, blues, jazz, they offer a thrilling and redefining take on traditional music. The group has been honored internationally, winning Top Group and Top Traditional Group in the Irish Music Awards and an Independent Music Award for Best World/Traditional Song. more

An Evening of Broadway • Nov 5


After making his cabaret debut at Society Cabaret last February, Ryan Doyle is back with his second show. Join this rising singer, songwriter, and cabaret performer, along with G. Scott Lacy on piano, as he takes us through a night of his favorite Broadway songs. From current smash hits to classic Broadway shows, it is sure to be an unforgettable night of spectacular music! Saturday, November 5, 8pm. The Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter Street, San Francisco

¡Fandango Bragh! Released September 2016


An album of Irish-Mexican musical fusion, ¡Fandango Bragh! is the culmination of many years of cultural immersion in Irish and Mexican traditional music by Bay Area native Catherine John. It introduces a wider audience to both traditions, and celebrates cross-cultural sharing in the traditional music of Ireland and Mexico.

Catherine is a Bay Area native who started playing the violin at the age of ten. She spent four years of her young adult life living, working, and playing music in Mexico and Ireland. In Cuernavaca, Mexico, she rallied lovers of Irish music in the community and led them in traditional “seisiúns”.  In Dublin, Ireland, she facilitated Mexican music workshops and was a founding member of “Mariachi San Patricio”. This cross-cultural inversion has led to a deeper understanding of both traditions, and has established a unique Irish-Mexican identity. She immerses herself in the Irish, mariachi, and jarocho music scenes, and leads local musicians in Irish-Mexican musical crossover projects.

Listen to tracks, and purchase the CD here

December events

An Irish Christmas • Mountain View, Dec 21

“…The capacity crowd nearly brought the house down at the end of the evening.” – The Irish Herald

Dancers dance through the generations over brooms, on half doors, around butter churns, into the world of mythology and out again. Songs spinning out of the mists and into the familiar Silent Night, Little Drummer Boy and Carol of the Bells, and superb music of the pipes, flutes, fiddles, and bodhráns are just the beginning of this great Irish night.

An Irish Christmas brings just about everything to the table with a superb team of Irish traditional musicians, dancers from the Kerry Dance Troupe lead by Scott Doherty (Riverdance & Lord of the Dance), and the Kerry Irish Productions voice squad.

Journey through Christmas in Ireland and celebrate the great tradition of butter making, chase the wren on St. Stephen’s day, draw down the half door for spectacular dance, enjoy superb music-making and singing of Christmas carols in an unforgettable Irish night.

7:30pm – Mountain View, Center for the Performing Arts, CA more

Celtic Voices • San Francisco, Dec 9

Join Mary McKeever and the Celtic Voices Choirs for a specially selected program of ‘music from 1916 – 2016’ and Christmas In-Between. In addition to the Adult & Youth Choirs, Celtic Voices will be joined by Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann and MissFunktion, for what promises to be a very special evening with a program honoring the men and women of the 1916 Easter Rising, as well as tunes from today and some Celtic Christmas favorites to add holiday cheer. more

Tony Kenny’s Christmas Show • UICC, December 11

14393_christmas_time_in_ir_promoIreland’s Jury’s Cabaret entertainer, Tony Kenny, takes you home for Christmas with a night of favorite Christmas songs and hymns, and dancing and songs by his all-star cast. Kenny has entertained over two million people touring the U.S. on countless tours to packed houses. Tony is joined by Dublin Trinity Band and Dublin City Dancers. more

Irish Christmas in America • Berkeley, Dec 1, Santa Cruz, Dec. 2


Produced by Sligo fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada, the popular and family friendly Irish Christmas in America show features top Irish music, song and dance in an engaging performance rich in humour and boundless energy. The 2016 tour features special guest singer Niamh Farrell, a Sligo vocalist who has toured with UK singer/songwriting star David Gray. Niamh teams up with legendary West Kerry singer Séamus Begley, famous for his charming wit and stunning voice. more

Freight & Salvage, Berkeley Dec 1

Additional Date: Kuumbwa in Santa Cruz on Dec 2nd more

November events

James Vincent McMorrow • Nov 29


McMorrow’s debut album, Early in the Morning, was released in Ireland and the US in 2010/11, to widespread acclaim. In 2016, his cover of the Chris Isaak song “Wicked Game” was used in the first official full-length trailer for Game of Thrones. In April of this year, he was featured on Kygo’s debut album, Cloud Nine. This man is moving, and is now on the road promoting his latest and most expansive, generous and ambitious record to date. “We Move” is ultimately a record open in its portrait of anxiety and social unease. For McMorrow, it’s about celebrating mental fragility – and how we move forward in life – rather than “people listening to my songs and believing that I’m out in the forest all day long, thinking about trees. Because I’m actually at home, trying to convince myself to go out and get milk.” UC Theater, Berkeley more

WIN TICKETS! Sign up a friend for Irish Culture Bay Area’s monthly newsletter and enter to win two tickets to James Vincent McMurrow at UC Theater, Berkeley. Email new subscriber name here

Paddy Homan, I am Ireland • November 11

I_am_Ireland_lgTo honor the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising in Ireland, celebrated Irish tenor Paddy Homan will present “I Am Ireland,” a one-man show to take American audiences on a journey through the songs, speeches and images of the time to honor and celebrate the Irish road to freedom. Produced by Michael Londra’s theatrical production company, Wexfordhouse, “I Am Ireland” is a personal conversation about the songs of Ireland that inspired all those who came before 1916 to continue on that great journey to reclaim Ireland’s independence.

Homan, the renowned Chicago singer, has a strong history with the songs: “These songs and speeches give the narrative of Ireland’s road to independence during that period. To fully appreciate what took place in 1916, one has to look back at the totality of everything that happened up to that point. I believe that songs are the best way to tell the story. As an Irishman, I am only the messenger here. But it is my true honor to represent my country in doing this and to walk in the emotional footsteps of those who sacrificed so much for me and our land.” Presented in two acts with images projected to bring to life the faces of the great statesmen and pictures of the time, Homan performs with a three-piece band of the finest Irish traditional musicians in North America. more

150 tickets available for free to high school students – tickets can be downloaded here

Ronan Tynan • November 13

Event Cancelled: refunds at point of purchase here


Legends of The Celtic Harp • Nov 19


“Legends of The Celtic Harp” is a trio of  world renowned Celtic harpists and multi-instrumentalists. Patrick Ball, Lisa Lynne & Aryeh Franfurter blend storytelling, music, history, humor and drama into a poignant theatrical presentation. They have toured extensively throughout the US to sold out audiences and rave reviews. One recent review states “Legends of the Celtic Harp is a blend of music and oratory, falling somewhere between concert and theater. It spanned nearly the range of human feeling, from humor to tragedy, tenderness to rage, reality to mysticism, and more besides. The effects were powerful and exhilarating.” (Presenter Review)

Audiences will hear three Celtic Harps including the rare wire strung harp, Swedish Nyckelharpa, Cittern and Irish Bouzouki intertwined with humorous and moving stories from history, myths and legend. Pacifica Performances. more

Caitlín Nic Gabhann & Ciarán Ó Maonaigh • Nov 18, 19

Acclaimed musicians Caitlín Nic Gabhann and Ciarán Ó Maonaigh have joined forces to create one of traditional music’s most impressive acts. The pair’s spirited music and dance is rooted in the tradition; brimming with soul and life. Through fiddle, concertina and dance, Caitlín and Ciarán breathe fire into musical pieces, combining their arts with chemistry and energy.

Caitlín and Ciarán have a connection as deep as the Irish folk traditions they come out of. Ciarán’s fiddle is complimented by Caitlín’s concertina and dance, her footsteps expertly tapping out the rhythms and elevating the duo’s musical excellence. See video, below.

House concert, Aptos, Nov 18
For reservations email Russ Bennett, phone 831-251-1652

House Concert, Berkeley, Nov 19 more

October events

Tommy Fleming • October 29

Tommy_FlemingTommy Fleming has many times been described as the “Voice of Ireland” and is one of Ireland’s top entertainers with over 5 million Youtube hits and over 3 million album sales worldwide.

Tommy is regarded as one of the finest singers worldwide and is currently enjoying a hugely successful career. After 25 years honing his craft, Tommy is now taking his place at the forefront of popular music across the globe. The mere mention of a Tommy Fleming concert has ‘sold out’ signs being displayed at venues from Dublin to Darwin within the space of minutes.

Tommy turns each song into his own with his own unique and powerful style touching emotions in you that only music can reach. Tommy is famous for his own arrangement of “Danny Boy”, “Isle of Inisfree” and “Hard Times” all songs that you know and love but you have never heard them until you hear Tommy Fleming’s versions. He also covers songs from “You Raise Me Up” to “Bridge over Troubled Waters”, “From a Distance” and “Something Inside So Strong” along with many more contemporary numbers. United Irish Cultural Center, SF.

Fairfax Irish Music Festival

The 6th Annual Fairfax Irish Festival of Music and Dance takes place October 21-23 at 19 Broadway Bar & Nightclub which will feature events all day Saturday and a session on Sunday afternoon. Other venues include, The Women’s Club, Wu Wei Tea Temple, Sorella’s, Peri’s Bar,  Revolution 9,  Good Earth Natural Foods and Nave’s Bar.
2016 Festival Performers: The Gallowglasses, Lark, The Pure Drops, Riggy Rackin, Vinny & Suzanne Cronin, John Caulfield, Kenny Somerville, Catherine John, John Pedersen, Rita Thies, Dan Shea & Tony Crispino, The Turf Cutters, Kyle Alden, Suzuki Cady, Megan McLaughlin, The Gasmen, Erin Thompson, David Chadwick, Julie Horner, Daniel Schoenfeld & Anne Goess, Jason Pollack, Valerie Rose, The Mild Colonial Boys, Daniel Hersh, Culann’s Hounds, Susan Spurlock, Peter Heelan, Iseult Jordan, The Shots String Band, Robyn Ni Conney & Keith Dubinsky, David Winter & David James, Rory McNamara, Neil O’ Neill , Comhaltas Set Dancers, Brosnan Irish Dancers, Steve & Sara Gardner, Sean O’Donnell and  Savage Craic. more

Van Morrison • October 17-19


Official sites tickets sold out.

The six-time GRAMMY winner and 1993 inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Van Morrison is the definition of a living musical legend – a master storyteller and a mystical, enigmatic figure steeped in spiritualism and folklore. First coming to prominence in the mid-60s as front man of the Irish R&B band Them, who scored an international hit with the anthemic single “Gloria,” Morrison’s career as a solo artist began auspiciously with the release of the smash “Brown Eyed Girl” in 1967.

Morrison plays SF Davies Symphony Hall and SF Jazz October 17-19. Official sites tickets sold out.

Paul Byrom • October 20


Paul Byrom is often hailed as one of Ireland’s premier tenors. The Dublin-born tenor has been in the music industry for over 20 years recording his first album “The Golden Voice” at aged 14. This has been followed by 4 orchestral album of which his last two reached no.1 on the World Billboard Charts. His talent as a singer has taken him far and wide, and some of the many highlights include performing for dignitaries such as Emperor Akihito of Japan, Former Irish President’s Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson and most recently for Barack Obama and Speaker of The House, John Boehner. Paul is an avid sports fan and performs regularly at large-scale sporting events such as six All-Ireland Finals in Croke Park and many International rugby games. United Irish Cultural Center, SF

KVMR Celtic Festival • Sep. 30 – Oct. 1

Nevada City, CA. First founded in 1996, the KVMR Celtic Festival includes eleven performance areas including five musical and six demonstration stages and a weekend-long youth arts instruction that has included Celtic music, magic, dance and songwriting. The Festival is the main fundraising event of the year for KVMR Community Radio and regularly draws over 7,000 attendees for the two days. Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas, The Elders, Jocelyn Pettit, Wake the Dead, Molly’s Revenge, The Jeremiahs, The Outside Track and more. Visit website for more

Glen Hansard • Oct. 1


Glen Hansard plays Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.
October 1, 5pm. Towers of Gold Stage.

Mundy • Oct. 7-9

Mundy is one of a number of artists to successfully make the transition from street busking in Dublin to international stardom; a prestigious list that includes the Frames and the Hothouse Flowers.
Born Edmund Enright in Birr County, Offaly, Mundy moved to Dublin at age 18 and began performing on Grafton Street and at open-mic nights around town.  In 1996, less than two years later, Mundy signed with Epic Records and released his debut single, To You I Bestow.  The presence of Youth, founding bassist with post-punk pioneers Killing Joke, is notable in the Smiths-like bounce of the single, and he was an equally important influence upon the album that followed, Jelly Legs. Shortly before the album was released in October 1996, To You I Bestow was included on the soundtrack Romeo + Juliet.

Oct 7th, Durty Nellys,
Oct 8th, UICC-Main Bar (Tickets are here)
Oct 9th, Fiddlers Féile, Millbrae, CA @ 5pm (Open Air Gig)

September events

Outside Track • September 28, Felton

outsidetrack1 Winner of Best Group in both the Live Ireland awards and the TIR awards, and a finalist for best album in the 2016 Indie Acoustic Project Awards, The Outside Track are one of the top Celtic acts on the scene. Hailing from Scotland, Ireland, and the USA, they fuse traditional and contemporary with winning joie de vivre, blending fiddle, accordion, harp, guitar, whistle, step-dance and vocals.

Wednesday, September 28th Don Quixote’s, Felton

Scottish Highland Games • Dixon, September 24

tempestThe 16th annual Dixon Scottish Highland Games & Gathering takes place Saturday, September 24, 2016 at the Dixon Fairgrounds, 655 South First Street, Dixon, California.
The festivities will include the region’s finest bagpipe bands, Scottish athletic competitions, Scottish Highland and Irish Step-dancing performances, children’s activities, Scotch whisky tasting, finding your Scottish ancestry at the many clan information tents, Scottish animal exhibits, living history displays, sheep dog trials and more fun.
Popular Celtic, Irish and Scottish folk and rock bands include Tempest, Avalon Rising and Flask.
Shop for unique gifts, and taste a variety of British foods, beers and whiskies.
Dixon Scottish Highland Games general admission is $10; youth and seniors are $8; and children, under age 9, and active-duty military may enter free.  Fairgrounds parking is $5.
Dixon is 19 miles southwest of Sacramento, off Interstate 80.
The Scottish festival is hosted by the Dixon Scottish Cultural Association, which is a non-profit community organization dedicated to promoting the culture, education and entertainment of Scotland.
For details, visit

Glen Hansard

glenhansardHardly Strictly Bluegrass, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, Saturday October 1.

Towers of Gold Stage, 5pm

God Is An Astronaut • September 8


WIN TICKETS!! Sign up two friends for Irish Culture Bay Area’s monthly newsletter and enter to win two tickets! email names here

God Is an Astronaut is an Irish post-rock band from the Glen of the Downs, County Wicklow, formed in 2002. The band was formed in 2002 by twin brothers Niels and Torsten Kinsella, who took the inspiration for its name from a quote in the movie Nightbreed.

They announced details of their 8th album to coincide with the Solar Eclipse across Europe. “Helios | Erebus” is the band’s heaviest release yet, capturing fully the band’s intensity live while retaining the dark ambient passages the band are known for. The album concept is Light vs. Dark and there are many palettes of both to be found on this 8 track album. The album was released on June 21st, 2015 (the longest day of the year) to continue the theme of Light vs. Dark.

This will be the band’s first U.S. tour in 5 years. more

Niall O’Sullivan • September 9th

14391_Niall_OSullivan_lg copy

“Ireland’s Niall O’Sullivan has firmly established himself as one of the finest trumpet players of his generation. His self titled album of classical works, jazz standards, contemporary pop and traditional Irish songs entered the Classical iTunes chart at #1 in Europe, his second release ‘Ballads’ entered the Jazz iTunes chart also at #1. O’Sullivan has performed as featured soloist in both the classical and lighter repertoire with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Cecilia and Irish Baroque Orchestra. Niall has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in the music industry, from Tom Jones to Michael Bublé, Dionne Warwick to Perry Como. His unique ability to superbly play a variety of styles from classical to jazz, broadway to big band, shows the versatility that has gained him multitudes of fans on both sides of the Atlantic.” United Irish Cultural Center, San Francisco

Noctambule, Darcy Noonan & Lindsay Straw • Sep 2, 4


Two intimate house concerts of Irish music and more featuring two duos, Noctambule (Marla Fibish & Bruce Victor) and Darcy Noonan & Lindsay Straw in Berkeley, September 2 and Fairfax, September 4. See calendar for more. Email for reservations

The collaboration of Bay Area fiddler Darcy Noonan & Boston-based bouzouki & guitar player Lindsay Straw brings together fiery, high energy Irish tunes, agile accompaniment, and traditional songs from all over the British Isles and America. Darcy began playing violin with Annemarie Sudermann at age 7 about the same time she began lessons at the Healy Irish dance school. Lindsay has impressed with her tender singing voice and an extensive repertoire that is rooted in the Scottish and Northern Irish traditions, but which also delves into contemporary songwriters. more

MARLA FIBISH and BRUCE VICTOR are NOCTAMBULE. They play original and traditional music in a variety of forms — joining together poetry they have set to music, instrumental pieces, and traditional Irish tunes and songs. Their music is alive with lush beauty, sensitivity, and humor on guitars in creative tunings, mandola, mandolin, cittern, accordion, tenor guitar, and their blended voices. more

“The arrangements have the kind of genius that reflects lives lived fully, souls not unscathed, but with glittering musical imaginations grounded in joyful glorious experience. The playing is simply beautiful, and the interplay between Bruce’s moving, deft yet muscular guitar playing and Marla’s always magic mandolin reminds me of watching two strong dancers moving together, creating so much more than the sum of the parts” – Kevin Carr, Folkworks

August events

Alisa Rose • August 22, 23


Old Folk in New Ways… Experience an intimate house concert with Alisa Rose, one of Irish traditional musics premiere vocalists. Having appeared on stage with multiple Irish music legends, including John Doyle, Mick Moloney and Athena Tergis, Alisa is among Irish musics celebrated, up and coming singer-songwriters.   Alisa’s rich and smoky voice is both distinctly unique, yet deeply invocative of the celebrated inheritance of Folk and Traditional music. Her work brings Irish and American Folk music into a stark new context, both lyrical and edgy. more

Lark Camp • Mendocino, July 29 – August 6

Imagine idyllic days & nights in the magical redwood forest filled with all the music, dance, and good times you could possibly stand, and that’s kind of close to what Lark Camp World Music & Dance Celebration is like. You are free to take as many or as few of the workshops offered as you like; jam sessions 24 hours a day, big dances every evening. Plenty of good food, new friends, and musical stimulation. Truly a unique total immersion into the joys of nature, music, song and dance. Many workshops for the professional as well as the beginner! An adult and family event. Visit website for list of dance, music and vocal instructors and to register. More info email Mickie Zekley.

See video below, with an introduction by instructor Lisa Lynne

July events

Chloë Agnew • UICC July 8


Chloë Agnew has gained international fame for her integral part as one of the original, and youngest members of the internationally acclaimed music group ‘Celtic Woman’ since she was 14 years old. Their debut album reached #1 on Billboard’s World Music chart, where it held the top position for a record breaking 81 weeks total.  Chloë went on to spend almost ten years performing all over the world with the group. Now working as a solo act based in Los Angeles and touring internationally with some of America’s biggest and best orchestras, Chloë is coming to the Irish Center for her first solo show in San Francisco. more

LaborFest Concert Tribute To Renee Gibbons • July 9

Lo_renee5This year’s LaborFest commemorates the 1916 Easter Rising and Irish struggle for independence as well as the life of LaborFest supporter and singer musician Renee Gibbons. Renee, who passed away last year, used her beautiful voice and talents to get the story of working people out from Ireland to the US and all countries. Performing at the commemoration concert will be: Margaret Cooley, Pat Wynne, Bernie Gilbert, Carol Denney, Jack Hirschman, Elisabeth Creely, Jimmy Kelly and others. 6:30 PM (Free) ILWU 34 Hall – 801 2nd St. next to AT&T Ball Park website

Paul McKenna Band • July dates

Combining their love for traditional and folk music as well as original songs and tunes the Paul McKenna Band have been playing to audiences throughout the UK since 2006. Their debut album Between Two Worlds was released on the Greentrax record label in 2009. The album was produced by the band with guidance and assistance from Dick Gaughan and engineered and mixed by Kris Koren and John Weatherby in Moffat, Scotland in late 2008.

In 2009 and 2010 they toured with throughout Europe, visiting Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Spain and the UK. The band won the award for Best Up and Coming Artist at the Scots Trad Music Awards[1] in November 2009 and subsequently performed a concert at the Arches in Glasgow which was broadcast on BBC Alba.

July 14th  The Back Room Berkeley
July 15th Plough & Stars, San Francisco
July 17th, Don Quixotes, Felton

June events

Ring of Truth Trio • June 24, 25


The Ring of Truth Trio, which hails from Santa Rosa, California, has been playing together since 2008. The band is made up of Rory McNamara of The Mild Colonial Boys, Henry Nagle, an ace pedal steel and guitar player and multi-instrumentalist Roxanne Oliva, who is also a composer and Celtic music teacher.

They play at Tony’s Seafood Restuarant, Tomales Bay on June 24th and Aqus, Petaluma June 25th. See calendar

Kevin Burke House Concert • June 20

Named Musician of the Year 2016 in the traditional-music awards presented by TG4, Kevin Burke is considered to be one of the finest living Irish fiddlers. For nearly four decades he has been at the forefront of Irish traditional music, performing and recording with the seminal groups The Bothy Band, Patrick Street, and the Celtic Fiddle Festival.

Inheriting a love of Irish music from his Sligo-born parents, he took up the fiddle at the age of eight, studied under Jessie Christopherson, and eventually acquired a virtuosic technique in the Sligo fiddling style. In 2002, Burke was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the highest honour given in the United States for folk and traditional music.

Reservations required: email Julie Horner, phone 831-325-1974.

For more on this and other concerts visit Celtic Society of Monterey. For more on Kevin, visit

Emmet Cahill, UICC • June 17

cahillWidely regarded as one of Ireland’s most exciting young performers, multi-award winning Irish tenor Emmet Cahill will perform at the United Irish Cultural Center on June 17th. Cahill’s show will include a mix of Irish classics (“Danny Boy”, “Wild Mountain Thyme”, “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” and “Cavan Girl”) as well as love songs, contemporary tunes and many Broadway/movie favorites (“Some Enchanted Evening”, “Bring Him Home”, “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “This is the Moment”). more

Paddy O’Brien • June 18, 19


Paddy O’Brien’s mastery of the two-row button accordion has been acknowledged through many prestigious awards including All-Ireland senior accordion champion. Paddy is regarded as one of the tradition’s most important repositories; in a musical career that spans more than fifty years, he has collected more than 4,000 compositions—jigs, reels, hornpipes, airs, and marches, including many rare and unusual tunes. Catch Paddy with Richard Mandel at the Plough & Stars, SF on Saturday, June 18th. On Sunday, June 19th Paddy will conduct a two-hour Irish traditional tune workshop. Learn some interesting repertoire from the master, as well as how to add feeling and expression to your playing of dance music. more

May events

Broken Hearts Benefit, UICC • May 20


The Broken Hearts Club Band play a one-off special musical benefit for the American Heart Association at the United Irish Cultural Center on May 20. Local musicians Vincie Keehan, Rory McNamara, John Caulfield and Michael Black have each suffered with heart health issues over recent years (er, hence the name Broken Hearts Club Band). Houseboat and other special musical guests will join the hearty party. more

Legends of the Celtic Harp, SF • May 21


Three of the premier Celtic harpers in the world take you deep into the myths, magic and fabled history of this most captivating instrument. Featuring Patrick Ball (Celtic harp and spoken word), Lisa Lynne (Celtic harp, Irish bouzouki, and mandolin), and Aryeh Frankfurter (Celtic harp, cittern, and nyckelharpa). San Francisco Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. more

One Lane Bridge, Felton • May 25


One Lane Bridge is a trio of seasoned musicians from the SF Bay Area, that play traditional and original music from Ireland, Scandinavia, Galicia and JS Bach on guitar, fiddle and cello. One Land Bridge released their first CD in September 2014. The band features locals John Weed from Molly’s Revenge, Aria DiSalvio, and William Coulter covering traditional and contemporary tunes with modern influences. Presented by the Celtic Society of The Monterey Bay. more

Charmas  • May dates

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Charmas is a Santa Cruz-based Celtic band featuring Aaron Clegg, Elise Ferrell, Jim Powell, Doug Simmons, Devin Lara,  Richard Dwyer, Matt Johnson and Mick O’Broain showing their talents on fiddle, flute, Irish whistles, Scottish bagpipes, saxophone, guitar, bass, kit drums or bohdran, and vocal music…

Saturday, May 28 – By Request: A Celtic Twist on Top 40 Favorites. The full band performs traditional Celtic, Irish-American, and favorite baby-boomer songs for an evening at Angelicas, Redwood City. more

Thompsonia, Brass Farthing, Berkeley • May 17

san-francisco-folk-music-club-presents-thompsonia-05Bridging the past and the future of the Bay Area’s roots music scene, this show features Thompsonia, an entertaining mix of originals, rockabilly, and hokum blues, featuring the genetically matched voices of the mother-daughter team of Suzy and Allegra Thompson. Brass Farthing is a group of stalwart lads brought together to sing songs, raise good cheer, and otherwise make merry in the company of friends both old and new. They take inspiration from many periods and enjoy performing historical, traditional, and contemporary compositions in traditional styles. more

The Least of Them, Z Space SF • May 12-14


In the company’s 9th home season, The Least of Them, the David Herrera Performance Company seeks out to examine perceived notions of identity that people have toward skin tone while challenging its audience to reflect and confront their own biases. Featuring new music composed and performed by Colm Ó Riain, Adam Starkopf  & Josh Roberts, the performance asks what drives communities to set up political, racial, and literal division lines between shades of brown, white, and black?  more

The Hermit Songs, Berkeley • May 14ariana-strahl-and-miles-graber-hermit-songs-28-e1461107833710

The performance will center on Barber’s Hermit Songs, a ten-song cycle based on anonymous poems written by Irish monks and scholars from the 8th to the 13th centuries.  Irish-American Soprano Ariana Strahl has been called ‘the discovery of the night’ (Voralberger Nachrichten) and has been celebrated as a singer with ‘fearless, accurate vocalism’ (Opera Now). Miles Graber received his musical training at the Juilliard School. He has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1971, where he has developed a wide reputation as an accompanist and collaborative pianist for instrumentalists and singers. more

The Shams, Oakland • May 14


The Shams began in 2011 in San Francisco, lead by energetic and charismatic front man Sean Daly, from Donegal, Ireland. They are quickly becoming a fan-favorite by combining their hard rocking, punked-up beat and raw, powerful vocals. Their repertoire of original songs reach deep down into their rebel roots and pulls out incredibly original tracks that illuminate what it means to be Irish. They play the Silicon Valley Fleadh on May 7, the Legionnaire Saloon in Oakland May 14, and Great American June 11.  more

3rd Annual Silicon Valley Fleadh • May 7, 8

Silicon Valley Irish Fleadh 2014

Fleadh (pronounced “Fla”) is a festival and gathering to celebrate Irish culture. After an acclaimed second edition, the 2016 and third edition of the Silicon Valley Irish Fleadh will take place on May 7th and 8th 2016 in downtown Mountain View. This two-day event will feature Irish performers both traditional and modern, Irish dancers, Irish arts & crafts, Irish food vendors and a Kids’ Zone. Bands featured included The Shams, Martin L, The Kavanaugh Brothers, Culann’s Hounds, The Wild Rovers, and the Crooked Road Céilí Band. Festival website

The event is organized by St. Stephen’s Green Irish Bar & Restaurant in Mountain View, and they are still taking on volunteers, so you can apply here.

Blues Harp Women, Berkeley • May 12blues-harp-women-1

Blues Roots DJ/Promoter Norman Davis along with the Freight & Salvage presents an evening spotlighting a diverse group of female harp players. This particular show spurs from the Ruf Records release, a double cd called “Blues Harp Women” produced by Norman Davis, a DJ out of Idaho, following harp blowers: Jenny Kerr, Beth Kohnen and LynnAnn Hyde. more

John Faulkner House Concert, Fairfax • May 13

faulknerLondon-born multi-instrumentalist, film composer, producer, and songwriter John Faulkner, will be performing in Fairfax! John has played with many of the best Irish traditional musicians over the years and lives in Co. Galway. To reserve seats and retrieve venue address email Cormac Gannon. more

Jim Page & Teresa Tudury, House Concert • May 6

teresajimSinger/songwriters, Jim Page and Teresa Tudury, will share their music at a house concert in Fairfax, Marin. To retrieve venue information and reserve seats for a great night’s entertainment,  email Cormac Gannon.

April events

Culann’s Hounds, Fairfax • April 30

sfhounds1A traditional Irish folk band from San Francisco, California and founded in 1999 by Steve Gardner and Michael Kelleher, they’re known for their amazing rocking celtic sound. The Hounds have toured in the United States and Europe, playing concerts and festivals with numerous top shelf acts from various genres, and every Irish band of note. more

Ireland’s Poet-Patriots, Grace Cathedral • Apr 22

poetspatriotsIn partnership with San Francisco’s Consulate General of Ireland and Grace Cathedral, commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the historic “Proclamation of the Irish Republic” with the World-Premiere of Ireland’s Poet-Patriots, A Musical Tribute. Benefiting the Irish Immigration Pastoral Center.

A musical commemoration of and reflection upon Ireland’s struggle for independence as told through the stirring poems, lyrics and writings of ten of Ireland’s great poet-patriots – from Robert Emmet to W. B. Yeats, James Connolly, Maud Gonne, Padraic Pearse and more – Ireland’s Poet-Patriots brings to life 113 years of Irish history that led directly to the Easter Rising of 1916. Composer Richard B. Evans marries Irish traditional music with the expressive power of original classical crossover to pay tribute to the enduring spirit of Ireland’s people, music, history and literature. more…

March events

Barry Douglas, Oakland • April 8


The Mills College Music Department and the Center for Contemporary Music present Mills Music Now with Internationally renowned Irish pianist Barry Douglas who performs a program of works by Schubert and Brahms.

Barry Douglas has established a major international career since winning the Gold Medal at the 1986 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition, Moscow.  As Artistic Director of Camerata Ireland and the Clandeboye Festival, he continues to celebrate his Irish heritage whilst also maintaining a busy international touring schedule. see calendar

Little Green Cars, Slim’s • April 4

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Little Green Cars can trace their roots back to a former band, The Revolts, founded in the mid 2000s in Dublin, Ireland. O’Regan and Seaver-O’Leary played with this band which subsequently grew on to become Little Green Cars upon its dissolution. Since signing professional terms, the band has toured America and the UK extensively, appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, played at the SXSW music festival in Austin, and Coachella. Their second album, Ephemera, went on release March 11. more

Sign up two friends by April 1 for Irish Culture Bay Area, and enter to win 2 tickets. Winners announced April 2.

Molly’s Revenge, Turco Irish Dancers • March 26

Molly's Revenge - featuring: The Turco Irish Dancers Photo #1

Molly’s Revenge is a dynamic, acoustic Celtic band known for its unique and infectious enthusiasm. The classic combination of bagpipes, whistle, and fiddle, with a backdrop of guitar, mandola, and bodhran guarantees an enjoyable experience for all fans of Scottish and Irish music. Molly’s Revenge has performed at many of the top folk festivals and performing arts events in the USA, and prestigious events in Scotland, Australia and China. Their arrangements of traditional Celtic jigs and reels bring these dance tunes up to date with a driving, hard-edged accent that always leaves audiences shouting for more. tickets

Fiddler Kevin Burke • March 19 Burke is an Irish fiddler maestro whose most recent award is the 2016 Gradam Ceoil (Traditional Music Awards). Burke, considered the most influential Irish traditional musician to emerge in the past 30 years, has been hailed as a “virtuosic and powerful” performer by the New York Times.

He is a giant among players, audiences and critics worldwide. His impossibly silky, lyrical playing has been a focal point of the great Celtic revival, from his own classic solo recordings to membership in legendary bands like The Bothy Band, Patrick Street  and Celtic Fiddle Festival.

Part of the Irish American Crossroads Festival more info

Altan, Berkeley • March 20


The Irish super-group Altan is coming back to the Freight. PopMatters calls them “Ireland’s leading interpreters of its musical tradition.” “Altan’s special strength,” says the New York Times, “is the clarity and coordination of its textures.” The Los Angeles Times declares, “Altan continues to be one of the Celtic world’s great treasures, gifted with a front line that is a sheer powerhouse,” and the Irish Echo adds, “Under no circumstances should they be missed in concert.” more

Black Brothers • Mar 4-19

blackbrothersThe repertoire of the Black Brothers includes old Dublin street songs, music hall songs and historical ballads, songs from the Irish, English and Scottish traditions, along with songs by contemporary writers. This year’s performances include a special tribute to the events of 1916. Shay and Michael are close harmony singers, with a special fondness for songs that include their audience in chorus, and many of the songs are narratives with stories. The performances include a lot of up tempo reels and jigs, along with some mighty fine dancing from their dances, which brings an added excitement to every concert. Visit their website for information on March gigs around the Bay – from Santa Cruz to San Jose to Pacifica to SF, San Rafael and Occidental.

Loreena McKennitt • March 17-18

loreenamckCelebrating three decades as Canada’s foremost, groundbreaking independent artist and following a much lauded North American fall tour, Loreena McKennitt will continue her rare and intimate series of performances in the Bay Area in 2016. Traditionally performing with her band in large concert halls around the world, this unique series will feature McKennitt in the trio formation that garnered her a 2012 Grammy nomination for Troubadours on the Rhine. see calendar for more info

James Galway • Sonoma, March 18, 2016

Galway_filter630x310Sir James Galway, Lady Jeanne Galway and the Galway Chamber Players. After decades of performing for kings, presidents and popes; selling more than 30 million albums worldwide; and winning vast numbers of accolades, what still matters most to this consummate performer – the “Man with the Golden flute” – is that his performances “should touch the listener at all times.”

“Nonchalant virtuosity and sterling musicianship.” – Chicago Tribune
Weill Hall, Sonoma. See calendar, Friday, March 18, 7:30 pm

 Swedish and Irish Trad, Aptos • March 18


A meeting of Swedish and American traditional music, with masterful Swedish fiddler Lena Jonsson, mandolin wizard Dominick Leslie and National Fiddle Champion/rhythmic cellist Tristan Clarridge. The trio bridge the waters with traditional music of Sweden and Ireland. Concert at New St John’s Episcopal Church, Aptos. more information here

Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde • Mar 16

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Plough & Stars, San Francisco. Doimnic is a well known sean-nós singer from Gaoth Dobhair, Co. Donegal and winner of Corn Uí Riada, the Oireachtas sean-nós singing competition. He has performed in many festivals and concerts in Ireland and thoughout Europe in the past few years

Immersed in the culture of his native home from a young age, Doimnic has taken guidance from well known local sean-nós singers like Caitlín Ní Dhomhnaill and Lillis Ó Laoire.

In 2002, Doimnic founded Cór Thaobh a Leithid, a four part choir, in the Donegal Gaeltacht made up of the finest sean-nós singers in the area. The choir has had many successes: in 2008 they performed in a special concert of newly composed pieces by Dónal Lunny, which was televised on TG4. In 2009 the choir performed a set of songs newly arranged for choir and string quintet by Doimnic as part of the Errigal Art’s Festival. See video and more details here

Lúnasa w/Tim O’Brien • March 16 – 18


Lúnasa is back in the region where they were once an annual fixture, in particular at the much missed Sebastopol Celtic Music Festival. Their last show was at the SF Jazz Center in 2014 with Karen Casey as the guest singer. Fiddler Sean Smyth was missing which left flute player Kevin Crawford without his usual verbal sparring partner. Smyth returns for this tour along with Trevor Hutchinson on double bass, Ed Boyd on guitar, and Cillian Vallely on uilleann pipes and low whistles.

This instrumental setup gives the band a completely unique sound with multi-faceted sets of tunes from diverse musical cultures, and inventive arrangements. And, this time, they have another powerhouse singer and multi-instrumentalist in Tim O’Brien

Lúnasa has been active for 20 years and their March 16 gig is at The Great American Music Hall. They also play in Davis on St Patrick’s Day and in Chico on March 18. Read Tom Clancy review

The band is internationally acknowledged as being the finest traditional Irish instrumental outfit of recent times. They have performed over 1,500 shows across 36 countries since the band formed in 1997. See event.

Enter to win a pair of tickets by sending a new subscriber email to Irish Culture Bay Area. Time limited offer 3/11. Submit name here

March 16, 2016 – San Francisco Great American Music Hall
March 17, 2016 – Jackson Hall, the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis
March 18, 2016 – Laxson Audiorium, Cal State University, Chico

Lucia Comnes & her Rockin’ Irish Band • March 17


Lucia Comnes & Her Rockin’ Irish Band present their annual concert at the Travis Marina Bar (AKA The Presidio Yacht Club) in Sausalito, on Thursday, March 17th. Known for rocking the night away with high energy sets of groove-oriented pop, rock and folk melodies, Comnes leads the band as a songwriter committed to writing infectious music for the people. This year’s show will be a down-home concert in a spectacular location on the Bay. more

Old Blind Dogs, Marin • Mar 13

obdScotland’s pick-of-the-litter for traditional bands, Old Blind Dogs, returns to one of their favorite kennels, Don Quixote’s in Felton this month. One of the most highly touted Celtic groups of our time, OBD is the only multiple winner of the prestigious Scots Trad Music Award as ‘Folk Band of the Year’ and released 11 acclaimed CDs. OBD continues to distinguish themselves as vital, innovative ambassadors of Scots music by subtly and ingeniously expanding upon the very tradition they celebrate in harnessing the rich resonance and timeless themes of the songs and tunes of their homeland and weld them to new rhythmic frameworks, dynamic arcs and textural expanses, This produces a uniquely identifiable sound that reflects the rich heritage of their forefathers, yet comes across as resoundingly fresh and immediate. calendar
March 13th Studio 55 – San Rafael

“Hands-On-Harps” Workshop, Concert • March 6

Lisa Lynne is a multi-instrumentalist and performer who has gained worldwide recognition for her original music featuring her Celtic harp. She specializes in Traditional acoustic folk and rare instruments and is widely acclaimed for composing memorable and heartwarming melodies that transcend category and genre.

Lisa’s “Hands-on-Harps” workshops are a unique interactive experience, where participants will enjoy a Celtic harp concert and those who reserve a harp will have an opportunity to learn some basic techniques. No experience necessary, but reservations are on a first-come basis.  more

A Celtic Appalachian Celebration • March 2-4

mickmoloneyA hundred years after the 1916 Irish Rebellion, renowned folklorist and Irish music pioneer Dr. Mick Moloney has put together a compelling program of song, dance, and poetry to honor this pivotal historical moment. Performers will include Mick on fiddle, All Ireland accordion champion Billy McComiskey on button accordion, world dance champion Niall O’Leary, Athena Tergis on five-string fiddle, and several special guests. “A terrible beauty is born,” said William Butler Yeats in his poem “Easter 1916,” and the beauty of that music, dance, and poetry will be on full display at the Don Quixote’s (3/2), Freight & Salvage (3/3) and The Great Star Theater, SF (3/4) more…

Eileen Ivers, Marin – March 4

Eileen Ivers with Band

Tickets on sale now! Irish-American Crossroads Festival

A Grammy award-winning artist, Ivers “suggests the future of the Celtic fiddle” (Washington Post) while illuminating the influences of the Celtic tradition on roots music, bluegrass, Cajun, Appalachian and American country music traditions. Do not miss this event of the St. Patrick’s Day season!

Ivers is the pre-eminent exponent of the Irish fiddle in the world today. Beyond the Bog Road, her forthcoming album, captures music, songs, stories, and the spirit of the dance to celebrate the journey of the Irish immigrant, the impact of the Irish on America, and America’s impact on them.

“Her playing is tradition-rich yet adventurous, spiced with world, jazz and pop,” says The Boston Globe. A former member of Cherish the Ladies, Ivers was also the musical star of Riverdance (composed by Bill Whelan). She has also performed with Sting, Patti Smith, Hall & Oates, and symphonies, as well as for presidents and royalty, worldwide.

Also featuring Whelan-Kennelly Academy of Irish Dance. more

February Events

Téada • February 26, 27


A traditional band with a truly worldwide reach, Téada has appeared as a frequent headliner at major music festivals throughout the world. Highlights include a 30,000-capacity stadium concert in Brittany, Harare International Festival of the Arts in Zimbabwe, and an extensive tour of Japan. Téada band members are Oisín Mac Diarmada, fiddle,  Sean Gavin, uilleann pipes & flute, Patrick Doocey, guitar, Brian Cunningham, dance, and Samantha Harvey, keyboard & dance. See website for more.

Téada starts the 2016 U.S. tour here with their show Re Awakening, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the “Spring Uprising” that led to the formation of the Republic of Ireland in 1919.

Feb 26, Don Quixote’s Felton. Feb 27, O’Neill Music Festival Tiburon

O’Neill Irish Music Festival • Feb 26, 27

Two days of fine Irish music in Tiburon. Irish night on Feb. 26 features a selection of music around the town, featuring the best of Bay Area Irish musicians. On Feb 27th a multi act variety show at the Corinthian Yacht Club features Irish musicians and a stage show highlighting Irish music, poetry, oratory, humor and dance by internationally acclaimed musicians, including fiddlers John Caulfield, Lucia Comnes, and Jamie Kuhn. Featured performance that night is by the internationally acclaimed band, Téada, direct from Ireland. See calendar for details

The Chieftains • February 27

chieftains_filter630x310To call The Chieftains a folk band doesn’t begin to describe their range and impact. These six-time Grammy® Award winners have collaborated and performed with some of the biggest names in rock, pop, classical and traditional music, and have made Irish music beloved around the world. “The world’s best-loved Irish folk band.” – The Guardian UK

Saturday, February 27, 7:30 pm, Weill Hall, Rohnert Park, CA

Solas – 20th anniversary tour • Feb 27

solasFifteen years ago, in a manner befitting their name (Gaelic for “light”), Solas burst onto the Irish music scene and instantly became a beacon. Anchored by founding members Seamus Egan (flute, tenor banjo, mandolin, whistles, guitars, bodhran) and Winifred Horan (violins, vocals), Solas is rounded out by Mick McAuley (accordions, low whistle, concertina, vocals), Eamon McElholm (guitars, keyboards, vocals), and newest member and lead singer, Niamh Varian-Barry.
Saturday, February 27, 8:00 pm, Freight & Salvage, Berkeley.

Kronos performs Donnacha Dennehy • Feb 6

Kronos photographed in San Francisco, CA March 26, 2013©Jay Blakesberg

©Jay Blakesberg

Special Irish Culture Bay Area Subscriber Discount

Kronos Festival, day three, at the SFJAZZ Center presents A Thousand Thoughts, features Malian balafon player Fodé Lassana Diabaté and his new work written for Kronos’ Fifty for the Future project. Kronos also performs Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy’s One Hundred Goodbyes
 for the upcoming centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising, the rebellion that led to Ireland’s independence. (see interview) Concert also includes Homayun Sakhi Trio and Bay Area’s KITKA… more

January Events

Fiddle Workshop, Palo Alto • January 23

Donegal Fiddle Workshop with Caoimhin Mac Aoidh – see more, and check him out here playing Traveller’s Rest:

Crooked Road Céilí • January 30

crookedCatch some New Year’s lively up-tempo Irish melodies and traditional dancing and cheer as The Crooked Road Ceili Band presents their third community set dance and ceili at the historic Trout Farm in Felton. Michael Murphy calls and music features Jack Gilder (concertina, flute), Julia Horner (hammered dulcimer), David Chadwick (fiddle, banjo), Doug Lowder (fiddle), and Ken Bewick (guitar). All ages welcome – see calendar for details.

Tempest, Berkeley • January 30


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 23 years have seen the Bay Area-based act release fifteen critically acclaimed CDs and play more than 2,000 gigs, with appearances at countless American Celtic festivals. Hailing from Oslo, Norway, founding member and lead singer/electric mandolinist, Lief Sorbye, is recognized as a driving force in the modern folk-rock movement. Tempest’s original fiddler Michael Mullen’s high energy performance and versatile style combined with his love for Scottish and Irish traditional music makes him a valuable member of the band.

Songs of Freedom • January dates


The James Connolly Easter Rising Tour 2016 – January 10th to 30th, 2016.
Using James Connolly’s own songs along with others made famous in Ireland’s fight for independence, Mat Callahan and Yvonne Moore perform a spirited tribute to the rebels of Easter Week and the leadership of James Connolly. From the publication of Songs of Freedom in 1907 to the declaration of the Irish Republic on the steps of the General Post Office in Dublin 1916, Connolly’s vision was a beacon in the struggle for liberation.
See calendar listing for Bay Area dates and venues

Van Morrison, Fox Theater Oakland • January 18, 19, 20

vanFrom his earliest days, Van Morrison has channeled the influences of such giants as Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Muddy Waters, Mahalia Jackson, and Leadbelly. His music has defied boundaries, offering everything from the swinging soul-jazz of Moondance to the traditional Celtic styles of Irish Heartbeat. The breadth and reach of his collaboration work continued in 2015 with the release of his new album ‘Duets: Re-working The Catalogue’. Featuring singers as influential and diverse as Bobby Womack, Gregory Porter, Mavis Staples and Michael Buble, the album re-works songs handpicked from Morrison’s catalogue of over 360 tracks across his career.  more info

December Events

Irish Christmas In America • December 12, 13

An exuberant holiday celebration with high-energy Irish music, dance, and storytelling featuring All-Ireland Fiddle Champion, Oisin Mac Diarmada from the award-winning group, Teada; West Kerry ‘Singer of the Year’ & button accordionist, Seamus Begley; uilleann piper & flute player, Sean Gavin; harpist & concertina player, Grainne Hambly; Irish singer & flute player, Teresa Horgan; Champion Irish step dancer, Samantha Harvey

Now in its 11th year, this atmospheric, family-friendly production is rich in history, humor & boundless enthusiasm. Bringing to life ancient customs, the evening will be filled with lively traditional tunes, evocative Irish ballads & carols, stirring narration, and thrilling Irish step dancing. Visit the website for more information. 

Freight and Salvage, Berkeley, December 13. tickets
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Santa Cruz, December 12. tickets

Winterland Celtic Christmas • December Shows

WinterdanceCharmasMolly’s Revenge, starring David Brewer, John Weed and Stu Mason and guest vocalist Christa Burch along with the Rosemary Turco Irish Dancers provide a festive evening of music, song and dance with a Celtic twist.

“There is an engaging freshness and yet an impressive maturity in their playing. There is also a lovely balance of repertoire, alternating a familiar with a most arcane selection of tunes and songs.” –Mick Moloney, National Heritage Award recipient.

Trinity Cathedral, San Jose, December 11 – see calendar listing for more information.

Don Quixote’s Felton, December 3 – see calendar listing for more information.

Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas, Berkeley • December 6

121012_0Scots Magazine has called Alasdair “one of the finest fiddle players Scotland has ever produced; his name is synonymous with the vibrant cultural renaissance transforming the Scottish musical scene.” His richly expressive playing transports listeners across a broad musical landscape including haunting laments drawn from the Gaelic tradition, classically styled airs, and raucous dance tunes, all delivered with sincerity, flawless virtuosity, and the sweetest of sounds. Natalie, a Juilliard graduate, is one of the most sought-after cellists playing traditional music today. She’s toured with Mark O’Connor as a member of his Appalachia Waltz Trio and played as a guest artist on over 50 albums, including those of Irish super-group Solas.

The duo play at Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage, December 6. See calendar listing for more information

November Events

Riverdance • November 2015

9105030The international Irish dance phenomenon is back by popular demand, drawing on Irish traditions and cultures in an innovative and exciting blend of dance, music and song. Of all the performances to emerge from Ireland in recent decades, nothing has carried the energy and the spectacle of Riverdance, composed by Bill Whelan, produced by Moya Doherty and directed by John McColgan. Riverdance – The 20th Anniversary World Tour comes directly to North America from a sold out run across Europe and Asia. Visit Riverdance site for more show information. See calendar for venue info and show times.

Read interview with Emma Warren, principal dancer here

November 24-29 • Broadway San Jose
Discounted Tickets! San Jose Show  (enter Promotional Code ICBA)

An Irish Christmas • Folsom, CA Nov. 27-29


Harris Center, Folsom November 27-29. An Irish Christmas brings “joy, hope, laughter, friendship, celebration, of life through storytelling, music song, and dance in a night that sparkles with life and a bit of ‘magic!” see calendar

An Irish Christmas • Napa Nov. 25


Uptown Theatre Napa, November 25th. Harris Center, Folsom November 27-29. An Irish Christmas brings “joy, hope, laughter, friendship, celebration, of life through storytelling, music song, and dance in a night that sparkles with life and a bit of ‘magic!” see calendar

Tim Flannery and Lunatic Fringe, Berkeley • Nov 22

flanneryTim Flannery may have given up his job as third base coach for the San Francisco Giants, but now he has more time to devote to his music, which he performs with all the love and dedication he brought to baseball. Lunatic Fringe’s music is described as bluegrass, punk folk, country, celtic (and Americosmic!) and band members have been playing together since they formed the group in 8th grade.  Special guests Jeff Berkley and Calman Hart with Berkley Hart, a popular San Diego acoustic duo.

Freight & Salvage, Berkeley, November 22 tickets

Legends of the Celtic Harp, Berkeley • November 12

Winter Gift-Patrick Ball trio - Version 3This trio of Celtic harpers has toured extensively throughout the US to sold out audiences and rave reviews. Legends of the Celtic Harp with Patrick Ball, Lisa Lynne & Aryeh Frankfurter opens the door into a mystical world with music played on Celtic harps, Irish bouzouki, cittern, and Swedish nyckelharpa. One review states “Legends of the Celtic Harp is a blend of music and oratory, falling somewhere between concert and theater. It spanned nearly the range of human feeling, from humor to tragedy, tenderness to rage, reality to mysticism, and more besides. The effects were powerful and exhilarating.”

Audiences will hear three Celtic Harps including the rare wire strung, Swedish Nyckelharpa, Cittern and Irish Bouzouki intertwined with moving stories from the mystical land and legend of the faery. “The Door Between the Worlds” is a dramatic journey in music and story into the realms of the Celtic “Otherworld.”  The Celtic people have always believed that there are two worlds. There is the world that we live in. And there is “The Otherworld.” Freight and Salvage, Berkeley. see calendar

Wake the Dead, Marin • November 14


With 16 years of solid success, the world’s only Celtic all-star Grateful Dead jam band “Celtifies” the Dead, the Airplane, the Youngbloods, & more is delighting Celtoids, Deadheads, rockers, and folkies alike.

Wake the Dead is Danny Carnahan (vocals, octave mandolin, fiddle), Sylvia Herold (vocals, guitar), Paul Kotapish (vocals, mandolin), Kevin Carr (uilleann pipes, fiddle), Cindy Browne (bass), Maureen Brennan (Irish harp) and Brian Rice (percussion). Unique sound, extraordinary energy—a rare collision of worlds to leave you dancing and grinning! Studio 55, San Rafael tickets

Gavin James • November 5 Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 7.08.18 PM

Already on his way to becoming one of 2015’s international crossover-stories, Gavin James is a 22-year-old artist who grew up in a Dublin suburb. After years of playing Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin covers in the garden shed, he joined a band while in his teens and, upon drawing the short straw, was drafted as its singer. James’ very first single won Ireland’s answer to the Mercury – the Choice Prize for Song Of The Year. Say Hello, James’ Irish debut EP, charted for more than six months, leading to a string of sold-out headline dates and supporting tours with such artists as Lianne La Havas, Beth Orton and Marina & The Diamonds.

James is the first artist ever to sell out the historic Olympia Theatre in Dublin before releasing a studio album. He embarked on his first U.S. tour in early 2015, opening for Seinabo Sey. While writing and recording his debut studio album, he continues to tour, selling out venues in Dublin, London and Amsterdam, playing a rooftop show at the historic Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood and supporting Kodaline on their spring 2015 U.S. tour. Rickshaw Stop, SF. For info, see calendar

Paul Brady • November 7, 8

151108One of Irish music’s most influential and respected figures is making a rare appearance in the Bay Area. Paul Brady is playing two shows, one on November 7 in Napa and the following night at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley. He is one of the musical wellsprings of his generation nestled alongside Donal Lunny, Christy Moore and Andy Irvine. His ongoing musical career has covered an enormous, genre-busting swath of ground. Brady is unique in that he commands equal respect in the  Irish traditional, folk/rock and pop musical worlds. read more

Paul is supported by Kyle Alden, a Bay Area singer and songwriter steeped in Irish tradition. His third album, Songs From Yeats’ Bee-Loud Glade, is a collection of original folk songs inspired by the poems of William Butler Yeats. Kyle has worked with Mick Moloney, Athena Tergis, Tommy Peoples, Paddy Keenan and many local bands.

Freight & Salvage, Berkeley. November 8. Tickets

Napa City Winery November 7

Glen Hansard, San Francisco • November 10


Glen Hansard is the celebrated principal songwriter and vocalist/guitarist for the influential Irish group The Frames. Whether busking the streets of Dublin, where he got his start, or headlining a gig, Hansard has garnered a reputation as an unparalleled frontman. Hansard is also one half of the acclaimed duo The Swell Season. In 2007, he and Czech songstress Markéta Irglová took home the Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Falling Slowly” off the Once soundtrack. His debut solo album Rhythm & Repose was released in 2012 and now he is promoting his new 2015 album Didn’t He Ramble on tour throughout North American this fall. Hansard plays with Aoife O’Donovan at San Francisco’s Masonic on November 10. see calendar  order tickets

October Events

Fairfax Irish Festival • October 23-25

4796f2_7f898cd4bb0f47b7be1f1260950ecdc7.png_srz_p_367_287_75_22_0.50_1.20_0The fifth annual – and free – festival is shaping up to be one of the best yet, showcasing the very best in local talent including Culann’s Hounds, Mild Colonial Boys, Marla Fibish & Bruce Victor, The Gas Men, Kyle Alden, Jack Gilder, The Gallowglasses, Brosnan Irish Dance, and many more. See schedule or visit festival website for updates.

Hozier, Berkeley • October 23


Hozier’s popularity seemed to flourish overnight, causing quite a stir all over the world most notably with the hit single “Take Me To Church.” At just 15 years old, Hozier’s music taste was already very developed, leaning towards blues, R&B, soul and gospel, influenced from his musical household. Soon after leaving college, Hozier released an E.P. and just a year later, his debut album which swiftly accumulated half-million in sales. A unique and intelligent singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Hozier cites Leonard Cohen, John Lee Hooker, and community choral singing among his influences, as well as James Joyce’s “Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man.”

In June 2015 Hozier sang the recessional hymn at the funeral of Olivia Burke, a 21-year-old Irish J-1 student who was killed when an apartment balcony collapsed in Berkeley. This is his second Bay Area concert this year. Tickets sold out but available on Craigslist and the likes. Worst case is you check him out on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Or go to Reno.

Greek Theatre, Berkeley.
October 22. Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, Reno Tickets

Frankie Gavin, Salinas • October 19

frankiegavinPresented by The Celtic Society of the Monterey Bay. Frankie Gavin has been playing fiddle and flute since his teenage years. At the age of seventeen, he won two All Ireland competitions – for fiddle and flute. Originally influenced by some of the great Irish and American-Irish fiddle players, James Morrison, and Michael Coleman, he later found himself playing with stars such as The Rolling Stones, Stephane Grappelli, Elvis Costello, Earl Scruggs and Yehudi Menhuin as well as with some of the great contemporary players and singers of traditional Irish m See More

Chris de Burgh • October 15

chrisdeburghWith sales over 50 million albums worldwide, Chris de Burgh’s songs are staples on the radio. “The Lady In Red” to this day remains one of the most played songs on the planet. De Burgh’s other classic songs include: “Don’t Pay the Ferryman”, “Spanish Train”, “Sailor”, “Natasha Dance” and “A Spaceman Came Traveling”.
The legendary singer/songwriter returns to California, for a night of his best-loved hits and live cuts from his brand new, 20th studio album, The Hands of Man.

Flint Center, Cupertino. Tickets See calendar October 15

The High Kings • October 18


The High Kings, are Finbarr Clancy, Brian Dunphy, Martin Furey and Darren Holden.  Since they started in 2008, they have sold out hundreds of shows in Ireland and the US, recorded three studio albums and one live album and achieved platinum status with their first two albums. The High Kings recently signed to Sony International and released their fourth album “Friends for Life” featuring tracks written by the lads and some old favorites. Showcasing versatility and skills as multi-instrumentalists, they play 13 instruments between them bringing a rousing acoustic flavor to brand new songs as well as some old favorites.

The High Kings play the United Irish Cultural Center, San Francisco. Tickets. See calendar October 18 for more

Carlos Núñez, Berkeley • October 1

From Galicia, the Celtic region of northwest Spain, Carlos Núñez is widely hailed as the leading player of the gaita (Galician bagpipes) as well as an outstanding performer on the flute and whistle. Coming to international prominence in the 1990’s when he was ‘adopted’ by The Chieftains, his frequent tours and recordings with the Irish supergroup leading to his being dubbed ‘The Seventh Chieftain,’ Núñez has since released ten ‘solo’ CDs that have attained gold and platinum status in Spain, including, most recently, ‘Inter-Celtic.’ Carlos’ stage magnetism and magisterial musicianship have led to raves from the world’s press; ‘If it’s possible to become a pop star playing the bagpipes, Núñez could be the man…” – Los Angeles Times.

Freight & Salvage, Berkeley October 1.  tickets. KVMR Grass Valley October 2-4

KVMR Celtic Festival Grass Valley • October 2-4

sharon-shannon400Carlos Nunez, Sharon Shannon, Cassie & Maggie MacDonald, Dàimh, and more at KVMR Grass Valley, CA. Festival includes eleven performance areas including five musical and six demonstration stages and weekend-long Celtic music, magic, dance and songwriting workshops. Visit website for more

Flogging Molly, The Hooks • Oct 3, 4

floggingFounded in Los Angeles in 1997, Flogging Molly infuses punk rock with Celtic instruments – violin, mandolin and the accordion – and they merge blues progressions with grinding guitars and traditional Irish music, the music of vocalist/guitarist Dave King’s youth. “We’re not a traditional band,” explains Dublin-born King. “We are influenced by traditional music and inspired by it, but without question we put our own twist on it.” Theirs is music of exile and rebellion, of struggle and history and protest. Whether it’s a driving anthem like “Black Friday Rule” or the upbeat duet with Lucinda Williams, “Factory Girls”, the band’s only criteria for its music is that it is simple and bone-deep.
October 3 – Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Golden Gate Park SF more
October 4 – Slim’s San Francisco Tickets

Tim Flannery and Lunatic Fringe • Oct 10

Former MLB player, and singer-musician-storyteller Tim Flannery and his band of fighting poets, the Lunatic Fringe, perform a benefit concert at the Plough and Stars October 10 in support of the Love Harder Project an initiative that uses music to raise awareness and funds to assist victims of violence.

Lunatic Fringe’s music is described as bluegrass, punk folk, country, celtic (and Americosmic!) Band members Jeff Berkley, Dennis Caplinger, Dean Smith, Shawn Rohlf, Doug Pettibone, AJ DeGrasse, Randi Driscoll, Barbara Nesbitt, Brent McClain, Turi McClain, Jon Edwards, Donna Flannery, and John Spriet have been playing together since they formed the group in 8th grade.  see calendar October 10

September Events

Dàimh • September/October Dates

Dàimh, pronounced ‘dive’ & meaning ‘kinship’ in the Scots Gaelic, following becoming long-established favorites at festivals in Scotland, Ireland & across Europe, comes to the West Coast of America for the first time celebrating the fab five’s hot-off-the-press sixth CD, timed for release with their tour. A multiple nominee by the Scots Trad Music Awards for ‘Band of the Year,’ Dàimh have been hailed in Irish Music Magazine as ‘One of the most exhilarating bands on the Celtic map.’ See Calendar September 30-October 4

Carlos Núñez • September/October Dates

From Galicia, the Celtic region of northwest Spain, Carlos Núñez is widely hailed as the leading player of the gaita (Galician bagpipes) as well as an outstanding performer on the flute and whistle. Coming to international prominence in the 1990’s when he was ‘adopted’ by The Chieftains, his frequent tours and recordings with the Irish supergroup leading to his being dubbed ‘The Seventh Chieftain,’ Núñez has since released ten ‘solo’ CDs that have attained gold and platinum status in Spain, including, most recently, ‘Inter-Celtic.’ Carlos’ stage magnetism and magisterial musicianship have led to raves from the world’s press; ‘Pipe music as if played by Coltrane or Hendrix’ – The Guardian (UK), and ‘If it’s possible to become a pop star playing the bagpipes, Núñez could be the man…” – Los Angeles Times.

Carlos Núñez plays Berkeley October 1; Grass Valley KVMR Festival October 3 & 4. See calendar for more details

Gaelic Storm • Berkeley September 20

Gaelic Storm started as a pub band in Santa Monica, California, and has gone on to perform more than 3,000 live shows, appear in the blockbuster movie Titanic, top the Billboard World Music Chart four times, and release 11 albums, including their latest, Matching Sweaters. Their music features sea shanties and drinking songs, traditional tunes and originals, instrumental workouts and vocal showcases.

The band has mixed tradition and innovation for nearly two decades, infusing Celtic roots music with modern influences for a new generation of fans raised on rock, country, and folk. The band includes Patrick Murphy on accordion, spoons, bodhran, and lead vocals, Steve Twigger on guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, and lead vocals, Ryan Lacey on percussion and vocals, Peter Purvis on pipes, and Kiana Weber on fiddle, mandolin, and vocals. see calendar

Sea Music Festival • September 12

Celebrate a long-standing maritime tradition with the Sea Music Festival at Hyde Street Pier. A day of heartfelt singing and sweet instrumentals from a talented crew of local musicians and nationally-renowned performers of traditional music. From two stages on Hyde Street Pier, and onboard the historic vessels Balclutha and EurekaPerformers include Mick Moloney & Dana Lyn, Shay Black, Jason Pollack & Kyle Alden, and Autumn Rhodes. see calendar

Colleen Raney • September Dates

Award winning traditional singer Colleen Raney will be joined by acclaimed musicians Bob Soper and Ryan Davidson for an exclusive tour of the California in Sept 2015. Concerts from September 10th to 12th include Berkeley, Cobb and Gilroy (see calendar September 10-12 for details) Among the finest interpreters of traditional songs of her generation, Portland, Oregon’s Colleen Raney recently released her fourth album, titled Here This is Home, recorded in Dublin, Ireland over the summer of 2013. Colleen grew up inspired by the Irish and Scottish songs and tunes in the rich Irish community in Seattle, Washington.  Her four solo CDs have staked her claim as a serious presence in Celtic music today and provoked Hearth Music to enthuse, “Singing with a deep love for the tradition and the dark poetry of Celtic song, Colleen has been drawing new life from old ballads and renewing our love for Celtic music.” Irish Music Magazine recently called Raney “among the best in her genre.”

Colleen is joined by Bob Soper and Ryan Davidson. Bob Soper is counted among Portland’s most astonishingly versatile multi- instrumentalists.  A rock and jazz drummer from a young age who also studied classical Indian percussion at the Ali Akbar College of Music, he went on to learn the Irish fiddle, ultimately becoming one the Northwest’s most sought after players. Ryan Davidson is known for his powerful vocals and soulful style of folk storytelling. Since returning home after two years of living and playing traditional music in the West of Ireland, Ryan has been utilizing his extensive background to tirelessly write, play, tour and collaborate with numerous songwriters and traditional artists. see calendar September 10-12

August Events

Finbar Furey, UICC • August 14

Finbar Furey is a multi-instrumental folk musician, best known for his band of brothers The Fureys. Finbar’s well known musician father Ted started him on the uilleann pipes while he was very young. By his teens he had won three All Ireland medals. Finbar popularized the pipes worldwide while on tour with his brother Eddie in the 1960s. In 1969, Finbar and Eddie began touring as backup musicians for The Clancy Brothers. The Furey brothers left the group the following year and began performing as a duo again. Many bands followed in their wake, but Finbar and Eddie were awarded Single of the Year by BBC’s John Peel in 1972. They received many other accolades because they were the spearhead of contemporary music of that time.

Younger brothers Paul and George joined the band and The Fureys soon reaped their reward and enjoyed a string of best selling records all over the world, including When You Were Sweet SixteenGreen Fields of France, and The Lonesome Boatman. In Britain, they became one of the first Irish folk groups to play on Top of the Pops. In 1997, after nearly thirty years as The Fureys‘ front man, Finbar decided the time was right to follow his own path as a singer songwriter on a solo career. In 2011 he released the album Colours, and in August 2013, Furey appeared on the Irish television show The Hit. He recorded a single pitched by a songwriter, Gerry Fleming. The single, “The Last Great Love Song”, charted at number one in the Irish charts.

Vince Keehan & Friends will provide supporting entertainment.

Purchase Tickets

Gary Lightbody • August 2, 4, 5

garyGary Lightbody and Snow Patrol have been responsible for several era-defining singles, including ‘Run’, ‘Chocolate’, and ‘Chasing Cars.’ Originally from Northern Ireland, Gary formed Snow Patrol at University in Dundee in 1994. The band released the single ‘Run’ which went to number five in the UK singles chart, and their career success continued with their 4th album, ‘Eyes Open’ released in 2006. Their albums have been nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, BRITS, Grammys and MTV Europe Music Awards and have sold over 14 million copies worldwide. Gary resides in LA and continues work with longtime collaborators including Jacknife Lee, Iain Archer, and Richard Colburn. He has written with One Direction, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift.

• August 2, Swedish American Hall, SF • August 4, Don Quixote’s Music Hall, Santa Cruz • August 5, City Winery, Napa. See calendar for more details

Lark Camp Mendocino, July 31- August 8 2015

Imagine idyllic days & nights in the magical redwood forest filled with all the music, dance, and good times you could possibly stand, and that’s kind of close to what Lark Camp World Music & Dance Celebration is like. You are free to take as many or as few of the workshops offered as you like; jam sessions 24 hours a day, big dances every evening. Plenty of good food, new friends, and musical stimulation. Truly a unique total immersion into the joys of nature, music, song and dance. Many workshops for the professional as well as the beginner! An adult and family event. Visit website for list of dance, music and vocal instructors. Registration or for more info, email Mickie Zekley

See video below, with an introduction by instructor Lisa Lynne

Dana Lyn and Kyle Sanna, SF • August 7


kylesannaBrooklyn-based fiddler/violinist Dana Lyn and guitarist Kyle Sanna bring their inventive arrangements and nuanced interpretations of traditional Irish music to San Francisco’s Center for New Music. Hailed as “ground-breaking” by noted folklorist and NEA Award-recipient Mick Moloney and “bursting with creativity” by renowned fiddler Kevin Burke, Lyn and Sanna connect the dots between their experience as composers and improvisers and their deep admiration for traditional music. This concert will celebrate the release of their second album, “The Great Arc”. Center for New Music, SF. See calendar for more details. (incorrect Aug 8th date on monthly events email. Event is August 7th)

Zoo Station, Redwood City • August 7

Zoo Station, a quartet that bills itself “The Complete U2 Experience” has delivered the visual, musical and spiritual thrill of a U2 concert to West Coast audiences since 2002. Singer Bonalmost leads the show, flying high with the vocal strength and confidence of Bono’s Joshua Tree days. The Sledge showers thick layers of effectual guitar work over the crowd as Adamesque on bass and Barely Larry on drums deliver the pounding beat of some of modern rock’s most memorable songs. Part of Redwood City’s Music on the Square Summer Friday Concerts. Zoo Station

July Events

Stiff Little Fingers, Slim’s SF • July 28

thumbOnly a handful of groups have the credibility that Stiff Little Fingers fought long and hard to retain throughout their career by remaining in high gear with constant touring and quality music. Relevant and thought-provoking music is what SLF is and has always been about. In concert, they leave new-school punk fans and those that have followed the band over the years energized, as they all pump their fists in celebration. Tickets

Irish Singer Nicole Maguire • July Concerts

Championed early by fans such as Damien Dempsey and Nanci Griffith, who both took her under their wing with prestigious frontline support slots wowed by the quality of her songwriting, Ireland’s Nicole Maguire now steps out into the limelight with her own record funded by the sale of her car, and working countless hours in two jobs, Nicole took off for the US to work with multiple Grammy nominee producer, Mitchell Froom, who wanted on-board simply from hearing one demo, “What You Really Mean” Her record features an amazing line-up of musicians recruited by Mitchell’s passion for the project, signing on simply for the love of the music: Elvis Costello and the Attractions’ drummer, Pete Thomas; Crosby Stills and Nash’s bass player, Bob Glaub and Val McCallum, guitarist for Sheryl Crow and Lucinda Williams.
Sunday, July 19, Keith Holland Guitars, Los Gatos, and Wednesday, July 22, Angelica’s Redwood City (event cancelled), July 24, House Concert Emerald Hills, July 26, Mike’s Place, South San Francisco. See Calendar

 The Gothard Sisters, Studio 55 Marin • July 24

gothardThe Gothard Sisters are the tremendously entertaining and dynamic result of infectious youth combined with years of performance experience and quality musical training. Real siblings Greta – on fiddle, guitar, Irish dance and vocals, Willow – on fiddle, mandolin, bodhran, Irish dance and vocals and Solana – on lead vocals, Irish dance, bodhran, fiddle, and djemb. The Gothard Sisters were the winner of Best New Irish Artist in the Irish Music Awards 2013 and were honored with Album of the Year and Jig /Reel of the Year from Celtic Radio in 2011.

Studio 55 Marin, San Rafael …see calendar

Music & Dance Party with The Crooked Road Céilí Band

Get your dancing shoes on July 11 at the Trout Farm Inn, Felton. Back by popular demand, The Crooked Road Céilí Band invites you to the second community Irish dance party in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This is an all-ages event, full dinner menu and bar. Bring the whole family for a swim in the afternoon and stay into the evening for a lovely summer supper – and real Irish music for real Irish dancing! Dance instruction is provided by Michael Murphy. See Calendar July 11 for more…

Jack Lukeman, Leo’s Oakland • July 16


Read Irish Culture Bay Area’s Exclusive Interview with Jack Lukeman by Music Writer Tom Clancy

Women’s Centers International is honored to have Jack Lukeman perform for the benefit of Oakland Women’s Center. Jack is an award winning multi-platinum selling Irish artist known for captivating live performances, world-class vocals and songwriting. Winner of  Best Music Award at the San Diego fringe festival in 2014, Jack has played and worked with such luminaries as Golden Globe nominated composer Brian Byrne, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic and producers Greg Wells, Craig Armstrong. Lukeman has also performed over the years alongside U2, John Lee Hooker, Elvis Costello, Jools Holland, and Marianne Faithfull.

“Jack Lukeman is a true entertainer. He makes singing look easy. He moves between genres effortlessly and he has the audience in the palm of his hands time and time again…” 

In 2013 Lukeman released the Great Wall of China EP, a song cycle and travelogue with songs such as The Ghosts of Malta and Nick Drake.

Women’s Centers International (WCI), a 501(c)3 non-profit incorporated in California develops community Centers managed by and for women living in poverty, providing access to integrated training, support and capital needed to advance out of poverty and build stronger communities. We create a safe space where women can access the tools of empowerment: training, support and capital. Tickets

WCI is contributing 10% of ticket sales to the “J1 Berkeley Tragedy Fund” managed by The Irish Immigration Pastoral Center (IIPC).

One Direction, Levi’s Stadium • July 11

Honda Civic Tour presents One Direction at Levi Stadium Santa Clara. Tickets

 Zoo Station, Dan’s Walnut Creek • July 11

Zoo Station, a quartet that bills itself “The Complete U2 Experience” has delivered the visual, musical and spiritual thrill of a U2 concert to West Coast audiences since 2002. Singer Bonalmost leads the show, flying high with the vocal strength and confidence of Bono’s Joshua Tree days. The Sledge showers thick layers of effectual guitar work over the crowd as Adamesque on bass and Barely Larry on drums deliver the pounding beat of some of modern rock’s most memorable songs. visit Zoo Station website

Elvis Costello & Steely Dan, Shoreline • July 11

steely-elvis-300x229Hardly strictly Irish guy Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus (AKA Elvis Costello) joins with 70s jazz rockers Steely Dan (hitting the road for their Rockabye Gollie Angel Tour). These great artists from the 1970s and 1980s are very much alive and very much kicking here in 2015!

June Events

San Francisco Free Folk Festival June 20

Various Artists | Best of the Fest-San Francisco Free Folk Festival 2012The free folk festival is a full day of music and dance workshops, concerts, dance parties, crafts, vendors, formal and informal music-making, and fun for the whole family. All ages and musical interests are welcome, and make sure to check out Michael Riemer’s Irish set dancing workshop.

All events and workshops are open to anyone who wants to drop in and participate or just listen. see calendar for details

Real Vocal String Quartet, Freight & Salvage • June 11

Real Vocal String Quartet Choose a box, any box, and the Real Vocal String Quartet will think outside of it. They’re a string quartet and a vocal quartet. They play Irish fiddle tunes and Brazilian choro, chamber music and wild improvisation. They backed up Feist on her indie-pop hit Metals, which Jon Pareles of the New York Times named his favorite album of 2011, and appeared with her on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Rik Malone of KQED Arts has described their music as “by turns beautiful, haunting, mesmerizing, and foot-stomping fun.” The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs recently sponsored the quartet on a tour to Eastern Europe as musical ambassadors for the American Music Abroad program. Their self-titled debut album is a “marvelous accomplishment” and a “breathtaking bouquet with one luscious hybrid after another,” according to KQED’s California Report, and their 2012 album, Four Little Sisters, is a wonderful blend, according to, of “Irish reel, Persian echoes, Appalachian down-homery, prog-ish rock and very generous slices of classical, neo-classical, and meta-classical improvisation set off by multi-layered vocal rondos, refrains, ritardando, and relish.” Violinist and vocalist Irene Sazer founded the group a decade ago. An original member of the famed Turtle Island String Quartet, she wanted to combine her musical passions – chamber music, improvising, composing, and singing. She found ideal collaborators in Alisa Rose on violin and vocals, Matthias McIntire on viola and vocals, and Jessica Ivry on cello and vocals. The Real Vocal String Quartet brings together a world of music and a wealth of musical possibilities. Freight & Salvage, Berkeley

Melanie O’Reilly Quartet, Redwood City • June 7

download (1) Jazz on a Summer’s Day: A Tribute to Anita O’Day Fresh from her successful performance of Jazz on a Summer’s Day: A Tribute to Anita O Day, at the Pavilion Theatre in Dublin, Ireland, award-winning jazz vocalist, Melanie O’Reilly returns to Angelica’s in Redwood City in June. Capturing the essence of an unconventional musical genius who shattered the traditional image of the ‘girl singer’ with her smoky swinging style and brilliant sense of rhythm, this show was devised by O’Reilly. (Melanie is joined by Frank Martin on piano, Fred Randolph on bass and Jack Dorsey on drums.) O’Reilly’s riveting Anita O’Day tribute, which garnered four-star reviews and standing ovations at the International Edinburgh Fringe Festival and from a growing number of Bay Area audiences, brings new life to the memory of the legendary jazz vocalist and pays tribute to one her great musical inspirations. more on Melanie Event information

May Events

Celtic Woman • May 27-31

CelticWomanIt was a decade ago that Celtic Woman first traveled from Ireland to America to introduce millions of new fans to the group’s fusion of Irish musical tradition, contemporary song craft and state-of- the-art stage production. Since then, Celtic Woman have touched the hearts of a devoted audience that’s embraced the group’s massively popular public television specials and made the group’s CDs and DVDs into multi-platinum best-sellers. Celtic Woman play Sacramento, Stockton, San Rafael, San Jose. See calendar for dates.

Kyle Alden, Vincey Keehan Studio 55 Marin • May 16

Folk musicians Kyle Alden and Vincey Keehan have played together for years in San Francisco-based Irish trad band The Gas Men. Each of these talented multi-instrumentalists is also an accomplished songwriter and singer. Join them for an evening of new and old folk and original songs highlighting the threads that run between Ireland and California, Kyle’s home state and Vincey’s adopted state. see calendar for more

The Waterboys – The Fillmore, SF • May 18

Mike Scott The Waterboys with Connor Kennedy & Minstrel “People should expect the unexpected from The Waterboys,” says Mike Scott, a grin in his voice. It’s a mission statement which has inspired three decades of compelling musical shape-shifting, and one which yields thrilling results on The Waterboys’ magnificent eleventh album. Recorded in Nashville, Modern Blues is an electric, eclectic, soulful, bold and gloriously freewheeling rock’n’roll record, arriving at a time when the relevance and popular reach of The Waterboys has never been greater. In 2013 Ellie Goulding scored a top 3 UK hit with their “How Long Will I Love You” and earlier this year Prince performed “The Whole of the Moon” solo at the piano during his Hit + Run show at Ronnie Scott’s in London, while the same song was performed by finalist Sally Barker on primetime BBC 1 show The Voice. In recent times “A Pagan Place” has become a live staple for hot US indie band The War on Drugs and Waterboys’ songs have been used in movies like About Time, Dom Hemingway and What We Did On Our Holiday. Info and tickets

U2 – San Jose • May 18, 19U2U2 – Catch the Innocence + Experience Tour Live!Bono, The Edge, and the rest of the band are bringing their 2015 “Innocence + Experience” Tour  to San Jose. New songs and old classics they will be performing the music from their new hit album, Songs of Innocence. Live at the SAP Center in San Jose.  Tickets & Info

Zoo Station – U2 tour celebration, San Jose • May 16, 17 zoostationIf you can’t see the real thing, or for pre- and post-U2 concert live performances….swing by O’Flaherty’s Pub in San Jose before and after the show for a beer and a chance to hear what you really want… see calendar

Kodaline – May 6, The Fillmore San Francisco

Kodaline-460x305Kodaline‘s debut album spent nine weeks at No.1 in Ireland and made Britain’s Top 3 paving the way for inroads in Europe and the U.S.That Kodaline are ready to release their second album has still to sink in with the men who made it. The Dublin quartet didn’t plan to follow up last year’s 350,000-selling In A Perfect World so promptly. In fact, they didn’t plan at all. Sparked by an experiment that inspired them to shake up their sound, the band started recording and couldn’t stop. Just eight weeks later, Coming Up For Air was complete. “If you’d told us at the start of the summer that we’d be finished our album by autumn we wouldn’t have believed you,” says singer Steve Garrigan. “It happened so quickly. A lot of the songs were done live in the studio, on the spot.”Fillmore

Frankie & Sean Gavin – May 8, Plough & Stars

FrankieSean1Two legends of the Irish music genre, Frankie Gavin and his brother Sean (button accordion) are performing at the Plough and Stars San Francisco in an exclusive engagement. See these fine fellows who’ve come all the way from Galway, Ireland to share their amazing music! There are also several house concerts May 1 through May 17: Arcata, Mendocino, Berkeley, Boulder Creek, Santa Barbara, and Altadena (email RSVP to Julie Horner.) See calendar Fiddle player Frankie Gavin was born in County Galway, Ireland in 1956 and is the youngest of four siblings from a musical family, with older brother Sean playing the accordion. more

Silicon Valley Fleadh •

martinl_tbn zoostation_tbn

(event has passed) Fleadh (fla) is the Gaelic word for festival, and is a gathering and celebration of Irish music and culture. This Second Annual fleadh is a two-day event hosted by St. Stephen’s Green, an Irish Bar & Restaurant in the heart of Silicon Valley in Downtown Mountain View.

The fleadh will feature Irish performers – traditional and modern – Irish dancers, Irish arts & crafts, Irish food vendors and a Kids’ Zone. Featured artists are: Martin L, The Whelan Kennelly Dance Academy, The Crubeens, The Black Donnellys, The Shams, Zoo Station. Visit the fleadh website for more

Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill – May 8, Berkeley

59-atxl1Freight & Salvage, Berkeley. The great musical duo Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill return to the Bay Area for a May 8 performance at the Freight & Salvage, Berkeley. ticketsMartin Hayes plays with Sting and Paul Simon! Dublin, April 22 The last Bay Area Hayes & Cahill performance was reviewed by Tom Clancy:coverOne online dictionary notes that few English speakers will know the meaning of the word gloaming. The rapt audience at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley on November 12, 2014, will remember it from the brilliant performance of the word made flesh in The Gloaming. This band of creative peers is led by Irish fiddler Martin Hayes and sean-nos singer Iarla O’Lionaird, and they were superbly supported by Dennis Cahill on guitar, Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh on hardanger fiddle, and Thomas Bartlett on piano. Read more of Tom Clancy’s review

April Events

Hozier – April 14-16 The Masonic SF

hozier4©Took them to the heights: Hozier rocked the Masonic San Francisco, April 14.

Andrew Hozier-Byrne known as Hozier, the Irish musician and singer-songwriter from Bray is making international strides around the world. His debut studio album, Hozier, was released through Island Records in Ireland in September 2014 and globally in October 2014. The album contains some tracks from his previous two EPs, Take Me to Church and From Eden. Tickets

Young Dubliners – April 15 Yoshi’s

63-atlgThe Young Dubliners are a hard working band, playing hundreds of shows to thousands of fans across the US and Europe every year. In recent years they have twice appeared on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, had songs featured in TV shows (Sons Of Anarchy, Human Target) and toured extensively as a headliner and as the opener for such a diverse list of artists as The Flaming Lips, Collective Soul, Jethro Tull, Johnny Lang and many more.The Young Dubliners sound is most commonly called ‘Celtic Rock’, but the Irish influence is not the only influence that rears its head on their albums, or in live shows. “The sound was always intended to be a hybrid because we all come from different backgrounds. Even though two of us are from Ireland, a lot of the music we listened to growing up wasn’t Irish at all, but when we got here, we got homesick and developed a new appreciation for Irish Music. In truth the Celtic riffs can just as easily come from the American band members.Special $5 off for Irish Culture Bay Area subscribers – enter CELTIC at checkout ticketssee calendar for more details

Story Road Scholarship Benefit Concert – April 18

SR-Spring-2015-Player 2The San Jose-Dublin Sister City Program proudly presents Story Road at Prospect High School Performing Arts Center in Saratoga. One of the premier traditional Irish bands on the West Coast, with stunning vocalist Colleen Raney, two members of Molly’s Revenge, award-winning fiddler John Weed, multi-instrumentalist Stuart Mason, and phenomenal flautist Hanz Araki. See sample, taken in San Jose on March 3, 2013.Story Road began in 2012 as a side project for two members of Molly’s Revenge (Santa Cruz, CA) and vocalist Colleen Raney (Portland, OR). Before long they had become one of the premier traditional Irish bands on the West Coast.Fronting the band is Portland, Oregon’s Colleen Raney, whose open-minded and warm-hearted approach to her repertoire was instilled by Seattle’s celebrated Raney Family, where she grew up steeped in step-dancing and song. In 2013, Colleen released her fourth album, Here This is Home, to international critical acclaim. see calendar for moreThis performance proceeds benefit the San Jose-Dublin Sister Cities Program Pat McMahon Scholarship Programs. Tickets

Damien Rice – April 23, Fox Theater Oakland

damoriceDamien Rice’s nationwide tour this spring — his largest U.S. run in nearly a decade — includes a stop at the Fox Theater in Oakland. Of his live set, Billboard hails, “Spellbinding, captivating, riveting, mesmerizing, dazzling — there aren’t enough words in the thesaurus to convey the bravura and depth it takes to hold an entire room in 2014 for two hours with no production, no visuals, no frills, just songs and stories.”My Favourite Faded Fantasy, the highly anticipated new album from Rice, is now available and continues to receive critical praise both stateside and abroad. The record debuted #1 in Ireland, #2 in Holland, #3 in Belgium, #7 in the U.K. Rice also performed the album’s single “I Don’t Want to Change You” on “The Late Show with David Letterman.” Fox Theatre Website

Cassie & Maggie MacDonald – April 25, MarinCassie & Maggie

Sisters, cohorts and collaborators Cassie and Maggie MacDonald are passing through Marin on tour from Nova Scotia. While still staying true to their Celtic roots, the duo has explored and tested the boundaries of traditional music, bringing a breath of fresh air to the genre with their original compositions and arrangements. Cassie and Maggie have been enchanting audiences far and wide with their infectious energy, driving rhythms and lilting melodies. Born to a family with a rich musical heritage and raised in Nova Scotia, they play tunes passed down through generations of musicians. The music community has taken note; Galaxie Radio Rising Star award winners, Canadian Folk Music Award nominees for Young Performers of the Year, East Coast Music Award nominees for Traditional Album and double Music Nova Scotia Award nominees for New Artist and Roots Album of the Year. Book tickets at Studio 55 Marin

Alba’s Edge – April 30, Freight & Salvage

150430_albasedgeGroundbreaking progressive Celtic band, Alba’s Edge, will team up with local folk-rock favorites, A Thousand Years at Sea, at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, CA on Thursday, April 30th at 7:30 PM to celebrate the release of the debut Alba’s Edge album, Run to Fly. Coming off a month-long tour in Spain and following the release of the band’s 4th studio recording last fall, A Thousand Years at Sea is excited to welcome back one of the band’s founding members, Neil Pearlman, for this rare and highly-anticipated collaborative performance. more

March Events

The Hooks with Lucia Comnes and her Rockin’ Irish Band – March 17th, Slim’s SF

luciaCelebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year with a true Irish-American roots rock dance party: The Hooks in concert with Lucia Comnes & Her Rockin’ Irish Band. Both bands, known for rocking their audiences with high energy sets of groove-oriented pop and folk melodies, are led by songwriters committed to writing infectious music of the people. With origins in San Francisco and Ireland, their songs spin Irish and American narratives that are both timeless and relevant. Throw in their eye for fashion and you have a show that is nearly as pleasing to the eye as it is the ear. more

Four Shillings Short

hugefourshillingsshortheadshSince its inception in 1985 in the San Francisco Bay Area, Four Shillings Short has taken an experimental approach to folk and traditional music. Since 1995, Aodh Og O’Tuama, from Cork, and Californian Christy Martin have formed the core of Four Shillings Short. In a single evening, the pair performs Traditional Irish tunes, Indian Ragas, Folk Ballads, Medieval and Renaissance instrumentals, a cappella numbers as well as contemporary folk and original compositions. The husband-wife duo will be performing traditional and original music at many venues in March including the Occidental Center for the Arts, Murphy’s Irish Pub in Sonoma, a St. Patrick’s Dinner in Palo Alto, Healdsburg Public Library, the United Irish Cultural Center San Francisco, a gaelic mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Mountain View. They perform on St. Patrick’s Day at Angelica’s in Redwood City.  See details of events in the calendar, and on their website

The Black Brothers – March Concerts

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 3.24.02 PMShay and Michael and Co. play several venues over Irish month in the Bay Area. You can find them at the Sonora Celtic Faire (March 7th & 8th) at Trinity Cathedral, San Jose, March 13th for San Jose Sister City Irish Week event and at their annual gig at St. Patrick’s Day concert at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley. See calendar for details or visit the Black Brothers website.

Altan with Liz Carroll, Mar 24-26

altanWith their 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 has moved audiences from Donegal to Tokyo to Seattle. Bringing the beauty of traditional music, particularly that of Donegal fiddlers and singers to contemporary audiences, the seeds of the band (founded by Belfast flute-player, Frankie Kennedy, and Gweedore singer and fiddler, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh) lie in the music and fun of gatherings and sessions in kitchens and pubs in Donegal.Altan’s latest release, The Widening Gyre (title is borrowed from W.B. Yeats poem The Second Coming) was recorded in Nashville to collaborate with long time friends and guests.Introducing new band member, Martin Tourish on accordion, the band will be joined by special guest Liz Carroll. Born in Chicago of Irish parents, and an All-Ireland Fiddle Champion, Liz is featured on eleven albums, and is a recipient of the National Heritage Fellowship Award (1994). In 2010 she became the first Irish-American musician nominated for a Grammy.Altan with Liz Carroll play Napa Mar 24, Berkeley Mar 25, Folsom Mar 26.

Ring of Truth CD Launch Party SF – March 26

roryRory McNamara and The Ring Of Truth Trio will be hosting a CD release party at the friendly Bernal Heights neighborhood bar, The Lucky Horseshoe Bar (453 Cortland Avenue) – the bar has had a long history of presenting live music.The CD that is being released to the wild on this evening is titled Dangerous Business. It is the Trio’s second CD (and they say it is the best one yet!)

Molly’s Revenge – March Concerts

mollysrevenge“There is an engaging freshness and yet an impressive maturity in their playing. There is also a lovely balance of repertoire, alternating a familiar with a most arcane selection of tunes and songs.” –Mick Moloney, National Heritage Award recipient.Molly’s Revenge (David Brewer, Highland bagpipes, border pipes, uillean pipes, whistles, bodhran; John Weed Fiddle;  Stuart Mason, Guitar, mandola) is a dynamic, acoustic Celtic band known for its unique and infectious enthusiasm. The classic combination of bagpipes, whistle, and fiddle, with a backdrop of guitar, mandola, and bodhran guarantees an enjoyable experience for all fans of Scottish and Irish music. Molly’s Revenge has performed at many of the top folk festivals. Their arrangements of traditional Celtic jigs and reels bring these dance tunes up to date with a driving, hard-edged accent.They play next on Sat March 21, at Angelicas Bell Stage Redwood City, CA. Visit website for more

 Zakir Hussain/Celtic Connections – April 2, 3 at SF Jazz

article_zakir_2Tabla genius Zakir Hussain’s cross-cultural project combines an ensemble of master Indian musicians with a stellar group of artists from the Celtic tradition in an exploration of their shared language. This inspired concept first took shape in 2011 during Hussain’s appearance in Glasgow with an esteemed cast of Celtic musicians, with a triumphant reprise at the 2012 London Olympic Festival. The harmonious blend of sonorities from these disparate cultures provides a musical experience that explores common threads with sounds rarely heard together. In Zakir’s words: “I had all these preconceived ideas of what we would do and how we would make it work. But the more I think about this the more I’ve come to feel that we’re musicians. We’re the same the world over. If you put us in a room together, we’ll make music…There’s no meter that hasn’t been played, no rhythm that hasn’t been composed. It’s the musicians’ own qualities that allow them to make music different – that’s what’s exciting about this project for me. It’s fresh music sparked by the humanity of those involved.”SF Jazz Center, San Francisco