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Welcome to Irish Music Stories, the show about traditional music... and the much bigger stories behind it: like how a band of Boston tweens ended up at the big All Ireland music competition in Sligo; or what learning Irish songs together is really about; or how a 7 year old brought a room full of immigrants from Ireland together.

Whether you already play the fiddle or you don't know anything about trad music or dance, I hope you'll join me, Shannon Heaton, as I visit pubs, kitchens, and rehearsal rooms. You'll meet thoughtful and incredibly charming people from the U.S., Ireland, and beyond. And you'll hear toe-tapping and heart-soaring melodies that seem familiar, even if you've never heard them before.

Sep 12, 2017

Irish dance is a many splendored thing, with numerous social, performative, and competitive modes. Dancers Kieran Jordan and Liam Ó Scanláin, the Glencastle Irish Dancers, and accordion player Jimmy Keane help detangle a few of the musical threads in Irish dance today.

Whether you already enjoy dancing a few...


Aug 8, 2017

Here’s the story of Irish piping: how the chanter, drones, and regulators buzz together… and how the lure, the lore, and the love of the uilleann pipes go for The Rowsome family, Tim Britton, Tom Rota, Patrick Hutchinson, and Isaac Alderson. 

Whether you already know about Seamus Ennis—or you don’t know anything...


Jul 11, 2017

Irish “Backing” isn’t just about playing chords along with Irish music. Accompanists Matt Heaton, Neil Pearlman, Keith Murphy, and John Doyle talk about how it feels to accompany tunes and songs in this shorter summer episode of Irish Music Stories.

Whether you already play guitar, sing ballads, or dance...


Jun 13, 2017

Here’s the story of how Irish music gets handed down. From a dance the night before.. to accordion tunes through the floorboards… to university classrooms… to tunes with grandpa, Heaton travels to Pearl River, NY, Galway City, and neighborhoods around Boston, to learn how a few inspired players learned...


May 9, 2017

Two of North America’s most esteemed Irish pubs were opened by musicians. Host Shannon Heaton heads to Chicago’s Chief O’Neill’s Pub, where flute playing owners Siobhan and Brendan McKinney talk about how Irish music has guided their lives. Back in Boston, fiddle player Tommy McCarthy considers how the Burren...