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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.

Sep 10, 2019

What do the Irish music and dance worlds think about practicing? Fiddle players Fergal Scahill, Finn Magill, and Rose Flanagan; banjo player Martin Howley; cellist Natalie Haas; flute player Nicole Rabata; and dancer Kieran Jordan share thoughts about woodshedding in the trad world.

Plenty of music here, too. Full...


Aug 13, 2019

Why learn old songs from your neighbors, when the airwaves are brimming with NEW music? And how can a rooster’s crow affect singing technique? Hear stories behind Len Graham’s life of song in this month’s Cuppa Tea chat. No matter the aperture, apertoire, or repertoire, Len’s got a story (and a song) to suit...


Jul 9, 2019

How do Scottish and Irish music intersect? How are they distinct? And why do so many trendy tunes come from Scotland?  Host Shannon Heaton talks with Aaron Jones, Ed Pearlman, Natalie Haas and Hanneke Cassel to learn what it means to be a traditional Scottish musician today—in Scotland, and in the States. Warning:...


Jun 18, 2019

Is there something strange about speaking Japanese, and removing your shoes BEFORE tucking into a set of Irish reels? Host Shannon Heaton travels around Japan with Tokyo-based trad band tricolor to learn more about the Irish and Celtic music scenes in the Land of the Rising Sun… and discovers heaps of common ground,...


Jun 11, 2019

Was Robert Burns cooking up exciting new stuff when he wrote, “best laid schemes o’ mice an' men gang aft a-gley?” Well, Irish Music Stories is! After hitting a snag in the SECOND Tuesday publishing schedule, IMS will seize the opportunity to launch The Travel Series. Starting next week, host Shannon Heaton will...