A wealth of Irish traditional music shows for the green season of St. Patrick


Altan is ready to hit Zankel Hall in New York City.

It is time once again to make our readers aware of the multitude of musical opportunities with within the tradosphere as the Green Season is upon us. 

Get your exercise in marching in all the local parades, then relax and take in some great Irish music by some of the finest artists anywhere, and in some new venues for the first time as well.  You can show your Irishness by supporting the arts and the musicians who create it.

Right off the bat this evening, Wednesday February 27 at 7 p.m. is another rendition of “A Crossroads Ceili” featuring Michael Coleman on fiddle (no, not that one) an RCC student, and Pearl River School musicians including the under-12 All-Ireland champions and more of the standouts from the 15 year old school in Rockland County.   It takes place at Rockland Community College in Suffern, New York; call 845-574-4796. 

Also on a campus on Thursday evening, February 28 at 8 p.m. will be the uproarious Gaelic Storm, who have travelled full-steam ahead since their maiden voyage in the movie “Titanic”. Now one of the most popular Celtic folk-rock bands on the Irish festival circuit, they make a local appearance at William Patterson University Shea Cultural Center in Wayne, New Jersey.  Call973-720-2371. 

On Friday, March 1 the Blarney Star Concerts series welcomes traditional singer Mary McPartlan (Leitrim), currently in New York on a Fulbright scholarship as its featured performer starting at the new time of 8 p.m. at Glucksman Ireland House.  McPartlan will be accompanied by Eamon O’Leary.

The always-exciting instrumental quintet Lunasa have an extensive tour underway throughout much of the U.S. with a number of stops in the Northeast.  This weekend, March 3 at 7 p.m. sees their first ever appearance at Adelphi University Performing Arts Center in Garden City, Long Island (aupac.adelphi.edu).

On Thursday you can catch them for free at the Target Thursday night concert series at Manhattan’s Lincoln Center; two shows are scheduled for 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. in the public space called the David Rubenstein Atrium at the nexus of Broadway and Columbus Avenue. 

Seating is limited and first come, first served; I think this may be the first Irish band to appear there.  Check out the rest of their tour at www.lunasa.ie.

While the name Newtown, Connecticut conjures up horrific images since that awful day in December, those Irish music folks who loyally attend concerts hosted by the Shamrock Irish Traditional Music Society know Newtown for the superb venue across from the big flagpole known as the Newtown Meeting House.  

The colonial era edifice with church-like cushioned pews and great acoustics is an ideal gathering spot to catch a rare appearance by the Irish touring band Sliab Notes, mastering the music of Sliabh Luacra.  With Matt Cranitch from Cork City on fiddle, Donal Murphy on Accordion from West Limerick (Abbeyfeale) and Tommy O’Sullivan on vocals and accompaniment from Kerry (Dingle), they have that spirited musical genre well surrounded.  The show starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 9. Visit www.shamrockirishmusic.org.

Matt Cranitch will join his other box playing mate Jackie Daly for a brief tour that includes an early night concert on Thursday, March 14 for Boston College’s Gaelic Roots Series, a house concert in Assonet, Massachusetts with Gary Martin on Friday, March 15 (508-644-2331) and as a featured act in the St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn (www.wgbh.org) on Saturday, March 16 at 8 p.m. at the Sanders Theatre in Cambridge at Harvard University.

The dynamic duo of Karan Casey and John Doyle have a brief tour beginning this week in the Midwest before making their way to the Northeast.  Both have stepped up their song-writing game in recent years, but have always been a compelling vocal duo since their days as founding members of SOLAS.

They recently recorded a sensational CD called Exiles Return filled with brilliant new and old songs.  They hit the Davis Square Theater in Somerville, Massachusetts on Wednesday, March 6 (davissquaretheatre.com) and finish in Cumberland, Rhode Island at the Blackstone River Theater (401-725-9272) on Sunday, March 10.