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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.

Jan 10, 2023

Presenting concerts can be about a lot more than throwing someone onstage. Matt Smith manages Club Passim in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which has been the central venue and fountain of support for 20 years—and is now the official presenter—for Boston’s Celtic Music Festival.  For Matt, it’s all about creating...


Dec 20, 2022

Why did kids carry dead birds on sticks all over Ireland on the 26th of December? And what did this all have to do with first century Christian martyr St. Stephen? Just like traditional tunes, which can vary from player to player, the whole history of Wren Day depends on the storyteller. Learn more about the role a...


Nov 15, 2022

Loss can spark achingly beautiful music. It can also spark new forms of creativity for musicians. This episode is a meditation on the stubborn insistence and the transformative power of creativity, featuring beautiful conversations with Emmanuelle Le Blanc, Daniel Neely, Joe DeZarn, Tina Eck, and a poem from...


Oct 18, 2022

As tunes travel they change. And to turn an old Irish reel into an old time tune can involve adjusting notes to suit different instruments, using different techniques… and also digging into the non-musical stories. In this episode I tuck into some early railway stories while Agi Kovacs and Jesse Winch help me follow...


Sep 20, 2022

Beauty is in the eye of the (informed) beholder. Where many of us might overlook a grubby little copy book or an awkwardly named interlibrary loan, others can help us understand them as treasures that shine new understanding on Irish history. Learn how Laura Flanagan in Texas and Dáibhí Ó Cróinín made unexpected...