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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.

Feb 9, 2021

How much power does a backdrop have? As the Irish Music Stories production team works to assemble episodes and bonus materials, Shannon explores the wooded hills of Medford, Massachusetts to find visual and organizational surrounds that look and feel like time-worn jigs, and ballads, and nights of music and dance.

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Jan 12, 2021

After a horrific week of social unrest in the U.S., and as Irish Music Stories begins a major overhaul, host Shannon Heaton offers a meditation on how cataloging and organizing can soothe the soul.

There’s also plenty of music in this episode. Full playlist below.

And for Japanese speakers who want to get started...

Dec 8, 2020

What’s up with stage banter? And why all the joking around between tunes in a session? Explore the on- and offstage chat that surrounds traditional music with Máirtín de Cógáin, Paddy League, Joanie Madden, Rus Bradburd, Liz Carroll, and Jean-Michel Veillon. 

There’s also plenty of music in this episode. Full...

Nov 10, 2020

How do new traditional Irish and Scottish tunes come together? How do composers conjure melodies? Composers Liz Carroll, Dáithí Sproule, and Katie McNally share thoughts on creativity, the tune writing process, and the myths behind the music.

There’s also plenty of music in this episode. Full playlist below.

And for...

Oct 13, 2020

Learning just a few words in Gaelic is mannerly when visiting Ireland and Scotland. And it can be a way IN to cultural values and humor. Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Séamus Ó Flatharta, Ciarán Bolger, Michael Coult, Julie Fowlis, Mary Jane Lamond, and Brian Ó hAirt help me understand connections between language and...