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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.

Oct 14, 2023

Boston producer Brian O’Donovan made a lot of space for Irish music and culture. He was dedicated to sharing it widely.  And though he presented music on formal stages and through his WGBH broadcast “A Celtic Sojourn,” casual, public Irish music sessions were ever important and enduring for him. This beloved...

Sep 28, 2023

Could traditional music sessions exist without listeners? Are the non-playing listeners in public spaces important for tune players? Here’s a brief podcast adaptation of a video response to this intriguing little question!

For playlists, transcripts, links to videos, companion essays, and to...

Aug 31, 2023

Communities. Forests. Families. All of these different ecosystems contain a lot of different components that weave and work together. And as people, plants, and pests carry on and creep around, rich and sometimes unlikely collaborations emerge. In this episode, with the help of Karine Polwart, Colin Farrell, and Steve...

Jul 18, 2023

In part one of the Fruitful Fells, we met modern and 19th century activists dedicated to making beauty available to current and future humans. In this episode, we learn how our heroes saved acres of woods and bushels of old ballads, and we follow enduring struggles in the crusade for preservation. As always, there’s...

Jun 20, 2023

There are little creatures, trees, ponds, and pedestrians all over the earth. And there are bushels of ballads about the charms of nature. And while there are ecological activists like Mike Ryan and 19th century Elizur Wright, and song collectors like Francis Child and Olive Dame Campbell who are out to enjoy and save...