Irish Music Stories Podcast

Irish Music Stories Podcast
The show about traditional music, and the bigger stories behind it

44-Not Easy Playing Green
Aug 11 • 44 min
The topic of sustainable travel for touring musicians has been reframed, as Covid-19 has cancelled most music live music events for an unforeseeable amount of time. But as activity kicks up again, conversations about responsible, viable, grateful…
43-From the Fringe to the Fore
Jul 14 • 51 min
Hear how the banjo came into common acceptance in Irish circles from Daniel Neely, Enda Scahill, and Martin Howley… and check in with the joys and challenges of outsider status from harpist Maeve Gilchrist, cellist Natalie Haas, and saxophone players…
42-The Long Arm of the Irish Tradition
Jun 9 • 57 min
Persistent infections like Covid-19 … and social injustice.. and racism… loom large. And still, these little Irish jigs and reels are forming bridges across oceans. What happens when people fall in love with a foreign music culture and pull themselves out…
41- Transplating Tradition in the Land of the Trees
May 12 • 50 min
What do rampant evictions, military ship collisions, and Christmas trees have to do with jigs and reels? Learn how Gaelic culture resonated in Canada’s “New Scotland,” and down in the Boston States, from singer Mary Jane Lamond and fiddle players Troy…
40-Irish Tunes in the Key of C-19
Apr 14 • 54 min
How are traditional musicians and dancers continuing creative careers and group music events during the Covid-19 pandemic? How is social distancing affecting the jigs and reels? In this unexpected open of Season Four of Irish Music Stories, musicians from…
39-Tune Tale with Eileen Ivers
Mar 10 • 5 min
What’s a soccer ball, a school uniform, and a wedding dress have in common? New York-based fiddle player Eileen Ivers helps jar memories and connections, with a jig she wrote for her granny, in this month’s off season installment.
38-Tune Tale with Jimmy Keane
Feb 11 • 7 min
Are all traditional tunes created equally? And if they aren’t, what happens to the, um, lesser tunes? Do they end up like lost dryer socks? Chicago-based accordion player Jimmy Keane reflects on the room of bad tunes, and shares one of his loveliest…
37-Tune Tale with Helen Kisiel
Jan 14 • 5 min
What do you do when language just can’t capture how hilarious—and important—an encounter in Ennis, County Clare was? Write a tune about it. That’s what Brendan Tonra did. Pianist Helen Kisiel recounted one of those tune memories in this month’s off season…
36-Tune Tale with Billy McComiskey
Dec 10, 2019 • 5 min
Where do the tunes come from? When does inspiration hit? Host Shannon Heaton learns that it’s all about timing, in this short story about a jig by accordion player Billy McComiskey.
35- Last Night’s Food
Nov 12, 2019 • 33 min
What’s up with the endless cups of Irish tea? Is there something genuinely nourishing about a pile of french fries and melted cheese? Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Matthew Olwell, Jamie McClennan, and Matt Heaton help host Shannon Heaton digest the meaning behind…
34-Fairy Forts and Changelings
Oct 8, 2019 • 52 min
Are Irish fairies REAL? And if so, could there be Sí folk living in New England?? Fiddle player Martin Hayes, singer Emily Smith, and storyteller Máirtín de Cógáin help me and this month’s co-producer Nigel Heaton investigate songs, stories, and possible…
33-The Irish Woodshed
Sep 10, 2019 • 45 min
What do the Irish music and dance worlds think about practicing? Fiddle players Fergal Scahill, Finn Magill, and Rose Flanagan; banjo player Martin Howley; cellist Natalie Haas; flute player Nicole Rabata; and dancer Kieran Jordan share thoughts about…
32-Cuppa Tea with Len Graham
Aug 13, 2019 • 38 min
Why learn old songs from your neighbors, when the airwaves are brimming with NEW music? And how can a rooster’s crow affect singing technique? Hear stories behind Len Graham’s life of song in this month’s Cuppa Tea chat. No matter the aperture, apertoire,…
31-The Scottish Connection
Jul 9, 2019 • 48 min
How do Scottish and Irish music intersect? How are they distinct? And why do so many trendy tunes come from Scotland? Host Shannon Heaton talks with Aaron Jones, Ed Pearlman, Natalie Haas and Hanneke Cassel to learn what it means to be a traditional…
30-GMT Plus Nine
Jun 18, 2019 • 46 min
What’s the story with speaking Japanese, removing your shoes, and then tucking into a set of Irish reels? Host Shannon Heaton travels around Japan to learn more about Irish and Celtic music in the Land of the Rising Sun… and discovers heaps of common…
29B-Travel Update from Tokyo
Jun 11, 2019 • 1 min
After hitting a small snag in the SECOND Tuesday publishing schedule, IMS will seize the opportunity to launch The Travel Series! Starting next week, host Shannon Heaton will take listeners on a very traditional music tour of Japan, Scotland, and Cape…
29-Trad on Canvas
May 14, 2019 • 56 min
How do artists paint trad? And how do they capture the sounds and feelings—and the bigger stories behind Irish music and dance—in two dimensions? In conversations with Brian Vallely, James Gurney, Vincent Crotty, and Catharine Kingcome, host Shannon…
28-Travel Update from Thornhill
Apr 15, 2019 • 3 min
What happens when songs are written with the backdrop of moss covered trees, hillside cottages, and ravens on top of stone walls? And what happens when people play tunes together for hour after hour? (Hint, they need to eat…). Travel with host Shannon…
27-Touching Down on Different Fields
Apr 9, 2019 • 50 min
Irish Music Stories digs into universal stories through an Irish music and dance lens. This month, host Shannon Heaton talks to ‘trad’ players who are ALSO fluent in non Celtic traditions, to find out how they manage different cultures without fumbling or…
26-Kitchen to Concert Stage
Mar 12, 2019 • 52 min
What happens when old traditional music and dance move onto modern concert stages? Do Celtic traditions get a big boost? Do they lose anything on the road to the performing arts center? Journey with host Shannon Heaton as she speaks with Jean-Michel…
25-Season Three Overture
Feb 12, 2019 • 10 min
What’s on tap for IMS 2019? Host Shannon Heaton talks to trad world movers and shakers about instruments on the fringe of the session; Scottish, Cape Breton, and Irish music connections; the long (global) reach of Celtic traditions; practice habits of…
24-Joe Cooley Meets Clark Kent
Jan 8, 2019 • 7 min
What was the earliest Irish music live streaming event? Billy McComiskey revisits the night TWO accordion giants gave a concert in the Catskills while a landlord in NYC tuned in; and Rose Flanagan remembers how her dad and his buddy learned tunes on their…
23-IMS Playlist
Dec 11, 2018 • 44 min
What’s a sure-fire way to make your season bright? Check out this PLAYLIST and collection of mini-stories from Laurel Martin, Kevin Crawford, Daithi Sproule, Maeve Gilchrist & Nic Gareiss, Trad Youth Exchange, Liz Carroll, The Makem and Spain Brothers,…
22-Jigs in the Key of P
Nov 13, 2018 • 36 min
What’s the secret formula for parent-performers? With Chicago-based box player John Williams and Boston guitarist Matt Heaton share two unique approaches to keeping the music and the insight factory going strong, while still tucking in to family. (Hint:…
21-Fifty Shades of Gender Equality
Oct 9, 2018 • 56 min
What do Benjamin Moore paints have to do with Irish bands, modern performance practice, and gender balance? Insights from Karan Casey, Brian Ó hAirt, Laura Cortese, Nic Gareiss, Ellery Klein, and Dr. Lisa Coyne uncover different shades of inclusivity in…
20-Trad Music Summer Camp
Sep 11, 2018 • 51 min
What’s the story with traditional music and dance camps? And with Irish, Scottish and New England fiddling gatherings in every time zones, who heads to these annual events? Host Shannon Heaton talks with Mick Moloney, Kathleen Conneely, Seamus Connolly,…
19-Fiddle in the Windy City
Aug 14, 2018 • 36 min
How did fiddle player and composer Liz Carroll get her groove? How does anybody living a creative life manage? Liz’s thoughts about weathering different creative chapters, appreciating different styles, and savoring all the little moments are an antidote…
18-Wax Cylinders to the World Wide Web
Jul 10, 2018 • 46 min
Is there magic in the medium? Do different recorded formats influence how we hear and absorb traditional music? Are we missing out on anything now that it’s much easier to record and FIND recordings online? Jeff Kszaiek, Kieran Jordan, Happy Traum, Steph…
17-Why Willie and Mary Matter
Jun 12, 2018 • 49 min
Why do old ballads endure? Does it make sense to sing about Willie and Mary, when our playgrounds are filled with Ozzies and Loxleys? Do we really need to say “my love is like a red, red rose,” or can’t we use a modern metaphor and call her really hot?…
16-Pushing All the Right Buttons
May 8, 2018 • 31 min
What exactly IS folklore… and tradition (in 2018)? Host Shannon Heaton talks with accordion players Billy, Sean and Mikey McComiskey and folklorist Maggie Holtzberg about stories that transcend the bellows of the button box. Learn why it’s important to…
15-Heartbeat of Irish Music
Apr 10, 2018 • 37 min
What’s at the core of Irish dance music? Host Shannon Heaton talks to Eileen Ivers, Nic Gareiss, Marla Fibish, and Jimmy Keane about trad ‘feel’ and how our instruments, our bodies, our intentions, our culture, and even magical forces shape our rhythmic…
14-Dance Hall Days
Mar 13, 2018 • 34 min
What did Irish Boston look like in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s? What were the days of social dance halls all about? Host Shannon Heaton talks to Sue Lindsay, Joanie Madden, Kevin Doyle, Helen Kisiel, and Brian O’Donovan about this colorful time in Irish…
13-The C-Word
Feb 13, 2018 • 37 min
What’s up with the word ‘Celtic,’ and what does it have to do with Irish music? Why does the C-Word sometimes come off as non-specific, simplistic, or academic? Host Shannon Heaton unpacks the meaning and mysteries of Celtic culture with Seamus Egan, Neil…
12-Season Two Preview
Jan 9, 2018 • 4 min
What’s on tap for Season Two of Irish Music Stories? In 2018, host Shannon Heaton will explore mid century Dance Halls; old ballads in a millennial world; Irish summer schools; the HEARTBEAT of traditional music and… the C-Word. (Um, ‘Celtic’…)
11-Return to Sligo
Dec 12, 2017 • 36 min
Why listen to Irish Music Stories? The common thread of this month’s stories is, of course, Irish music. But it’s not the only thread. Digging into stories—whether they center around Irish music, chess, or ballet—uncovers real struggle and triumph. And it…
10-Cuppa Tea with Daithi Sproule
Nov 14, 2017 • 27 min
What does the Irish language have to do with the Beatles? If it hadn’t been for an unlikely stew of songs of pop music and songs learned in the Gaeltacht, singer and guitarist Dáithí Sproule might never have opened his heart to harmony and arranging. Host…
09-Want of Wit
Oct 10, 2017 • 28 min
Why do traditional musicians place a premium on humor and social rapport? Rory Makem, John Doyle, John Williams, Aidan Collins, Pauline Logue, Lisa Coyne, and Siobhan and Brendan McKinney help Shannon investigate the deep wellspring of Irish wit. Whether…
08-Miss McLeods Reel at 113
Sep 12, 2017 • 32 min
How does Irish dance connect with traditional music today? And what’s up with all the different types of social, performative, and competitive trad dance? Kieran Jordan, Liam Ó Scanláin, the Glencastle Irish Dancers, and Jimmy Keane help host Shannon…
07-The Piper
Aug 8, 2017 • 36 min
What’s the buzz behind the uilleann pipes? Here’s the story of Irish piping: how the chanter, drones, and regulators hum together…. and how the lure, the lore, and the love of the uilleann pipes go for The Rowsome family, Tim Britton, Tom Rota, Patrick…
06-The Backer
Jul 11, 2017 • 18 min
What’s up with Irish ‘backing’? How does accompaniment fit in the melodic Irish tradition, and how does it feel to invent chords for Irish tunes and songs? Accompanists Matt Heaton, Neil Pearlman, Keith Murphy, and John Doyle talk about share their…
05-Handed Down
Jun 13, 2017 • 41 min
How does Irish music get handed down? Host Shannon Heaton travels to New York, County Galway, and Boston to talk with musicians about how they learned their music, and how this has led them to pass it on. Hear stories about from Rose Flanagan, Margie…
04-Cuppa Tea with McKinneys and McCarthy
May 9, 2017 • 33 min
Can you really open a pub with a tune and a dream? Siobhan and Brendan McKinney and Tommy McCarthy, owners of two of North America’s most esteemed Irish pubs, talk about what happened to them when they put the music and the welcome first.
03-Every Tuesday at Nine
Apr 11, 2017 • 40 min
Why do people all around the world head out to Irish music sessions. Big-hearted session hosts Tina Lech, John Williams, Eoin O’Neill, and Brian Conway help host Shannon Heaton decode what their weekly gatherings in Boston, Chicago, Clare, and New York…
02-Cuppa Tea with Karan Casey
Mar 14, 2017 • 32 min
What’s it like to have a head full of songs? Waterford singer Karan Casey talks about Irish songs, and how learning a song from someone is really about making connections. This conversation urged host Shannon Heaton to listen–and sing–just a little more.…
01-Trip to Sligo
Feb 14, 2017 • 34 min
This inaugural episode investigates why 400,000 people–and a band of kids from Boston–ended up at the All Ireland music competition in Sligo. With visits to Boston, Dublin, Clare, and Chicago, host Shannon Heaton digs into what the competition meant to…
00-Introducing Irish Music Stories
Jan 10, 2017 • 3 min
the show about traditional music, and the bigger stories behind it