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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.

Dec 11, 2018

What’s a sure-fire way to make your season bright? Check out this PLAYLIST and collection of mini-stories from Laurel Martin, Kevin Crawford, Daithi Sproule, Maeve Gilchrist & Nic Gareiss, Trad Youth Exchange, Liz Carroll, The Makem and Spain Brothers, and Cherish the Ladies. 

Plenty of music here, too. Full playlist...


Nov 13, 2018

What’s the secret formula for parent-performers? With Chicago-based box player John Williams and Boston guitarist Matt Heaton share two unique approaches to keeping the music and the insight factory going strong, while still tucking in to family. (Hint: it works for non-parents, too.) Host Shannon Heaton’s...


Oct 9, 2018

What do Benjamin Moore paints have to do with Irish bands, modern performance practice, and gender balance? Insights from Karan Casey, Brian Ó hAirt, Laura Cortese, Nic Gareiss, Ellery Klein, and Dr. Lisa Coyne uncover different shades of inclusivity in the Irish tradition, 150 years after house paint titans Benjamin...


Sep 11, 2018

What’s the story with traditional music and dance camps? And with Irish, Scottish and New England fiddling gatherings in every time zones, who heads to these annual events? Host Shannon Heaton talks with Mick Moloney, Kathleen Conneely, Seamus Connolly, Lissa Schneckenburger, Robbie O’Connell, Kevin Crawford,...


Aug 14, 2018

How did fiddle player and composer Liz Carroll get her groove? How does anybody living a creative life manage? Liz’s thoughts about weathering different creative chapters, appreciating different styles, and savoring all the little moments are an antidote to the frazzled, the doubters, the unsure.

There’s plenty of...