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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.

May 31, 2024

When you’re making an instrument, you’re forming something that can be used to design a melody. Or a musical life. This episode follows a precious flute’s unexpected journey. And flute makers Patrick Olwell and Eamonn Cotter, piper Colleen Shanks, and fiddle players Bob Childs and Pat O’Connor talk about what...

Feb 29, 2024

Irish musicians, and writers, and home makers can all benefit by learning some rules and technical skills—and by allowing a little spontaneity and flexibility. But how much great technique do you need? Does that get in the way of the magic? In this episode, Nathan Gourley, Brendan Mulholland, and Sharon Murphy reflect...

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...