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Welcome to Irish Music Stories! This is the LIBSYN Landing page for Irish Music Stories.

Irish Music Stories is 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.

Mar 10, 2020

What’s a soccer ball, a school uniform, and a wedding dress have in common? New York-based fiddle player Eileen Ivers helps jar memories and connections, with a jig she wrote for her granny, in this month’s off season installment. 

Plenty of music here, too. Full playlist below.

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Thanks to everybody for...


Feb 11, 2020

Are all traditional tunes created equally? And if they aren’t, what happens to the, um, lesser tunes? Do they end up like lost dryer socks? Chicago-based accordion player Jimmy Keane reflects on the room of bad tunes, and shares one of his loveliest compositions in this month’s off season installment. 

Plenty of...


Jan 14, 2020

What do you do when language just can’t capture how hilarious—and important—an encounter in Ennis, County Clare was? Write a tune about it. That’s what Brendan Tonra did. Pianist Helen Kisiel recounted one of those tune memories in this month’s off season installment. 

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


Dec 10, 2019

Where do the tunes come from? When does inspiration hit? Shannon learns that it's all about timing, in this short story about a jig by accordion player Billy McComiskey.

Plenty of music here, too. Full playlist below.

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Thanks to everybody for listening. And a special thank you to Chris Murphy, Naka Ishii,...


Nov 12, 2019

What’s up with the endless cups of Irish tea? Is there something genuinely nourishing about a pile of french fries and melted cheese? Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Matthew Olwell, Jamie McClennan, and Matt Heaton help me digest the meaning behind the menu. And I’ve also got tasty tales from Kevin Doyle, Liz Carroll, John...