The Irish Arts Center’s enterprising and valued SongLives series resumes this year with the first concert coming up on Saturday, February 8 at 8 p.m. featuring Maria Doyle Kennedy.

While I have not heard her sing personally, anyone who has recorded five albums and has performed with folks like Damien Rice, Paul Brady and John Prine surely knows how to entertain, and her career in Ireland and Britain has brought her greater recognition over there. 

But isn’t that the point of this series, to give a listen to voices that matter and make live music worth listening to.  Reservations can be made at or 866-811-4111.

Over four decades ago out of the wilds of Donegal came a family band that would set heads spinning with its new wave approach to what we now call Celtic music born in the tradition but with a very contemporary flair and jazzy instrumentation.

That is when we first became aware of the phenomenon known as Clannad from Northwest Donegal.  Some 40 years later they reunited and released their first new CD since 1998 with new material called Nádúr (or Nature) last September, and they are embarking on a brief U.S. tour to support it coming up this week.

The Northeast segment of the Clannad tour ( begins in Ridgefield, Connecticut at the Ridgefield Playhouse ( or 203-438-5795) on Thursday, February 6 at 8 p.m. followed by Saturday at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, New Jersey, a suburb of Philadelphia near Camden.

On Sunday, February 9 they will be at B.B. King’s Blues Club in Times Square at 7 p.m. ( or 212-997-4144).