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Welcome to Irish Music Stories, the show about traditional music and the much bigger stories behind it. IMS is about everything--through an Irish music lens.

Whether you already play the fiddle or you know nothing about trad music or dance, I hope you'll join me, Shannon Heaton, as I learn how a band of Boston tweens ended up at a big music competition in Sligo, and what it meant to their families... and as I dig into the darker, sweeter side of Irish humor... and as I explore what learning Irish songs together is really all about.

Meet thoughtful and incredibly charming people in pubs, kitchens, and backstages throughout the U.S., Ireland, and beyond, underscored with toe-tapping and heart-soaring melodies that seem familiar, even if you've never heard them before.

Nov 14, 2017

This first season of Irish Music Stories closes with this conversation with singer and guitarist Dáithí Sproule, about how he has integrated the beautiful songs he learned as a kid in the Gaeltacht with the pop music that opened his heart to harmony and arranging. 

Whether you already play Irish music, or you know...


Oct 10, 2017

Traditional musicians place a premium on humor and social rapport. IMS investigates the deep wellspring of Irish wit with Rory Makem, John Doyle, John Williams, Aidan Collins, Pauline Logue, Lisa Coyne, and Siobhan and Brendan McKinney.

Whether you already have an arsenal of quick comebacks, or you’ve never heard...


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...