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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.

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...


Apr 11, 2017

Here’s the story of why people all around the world head out to Irish music sessions. With visits to Chicago, Clare, Boston, and New York, I attempt to decode what these weekly gatherings mean—to the musicians and the listeners. You’ll hear from big-hearted session hosts Tina Lech, John Williams, Eoin O’Neill,...


Mar 14, 2017

This month’s interview with Waterford singer Karan Casey offers variety from last month’s themed episode, which told the story of the Boston band’s “Trip to Sligo.”

I chat with Irish singer Karan Casey about where Irish songs have been and where they’re going. Karan talks about how learning a song from...


Feb 14, 2017

This inaugural episode tells the tale of Cormac Gaj and the band he formed with fellow Boston tweens. I learn about their amazing journey to the All Ireland music competition in Sligo; and I dig into what it meant to Cormac… and to all the parents, teachers, and peers who were in on the qualifying round in New Jersey,...