Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Boston Celtic Music Festival on the way

There’s a power in live music, music shared in community, that creates moments ofconnection and memory that lighten lives, and sometimes changes them. The artists behind the Boston Celtic Music festival understand that, and they know too that these connections are just a likely to be made in laughter as in serious things. So, as they go into their sixth yea of presenting January concerts in venues around Harvard Square and other nearby areas, the festival will also host a series of fringe events -- but more about those in a moment.

The theme of this year’s festival, which takes place on January 9th and 10th, is Step In Time, meant to highlight the dance aspects of Irish, Scottish, and Cape Breton music as practiced by artists based in the Boston area. There will be plenty of fine singing and playing to go along as well. Many of the concerts will take place at the historic Club Passim, and the finale concert will fill the equally historic First Parish, both near Harvard Square.

Acts already confirmed to appear include Matt Heatonand Flynn Cohen, Annalivia, The Gloucester Hornpipe & Clog Society, Matching Orange,
Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers, Long Time Courting (which is a new band with Shannon Heaton, Liz Simmons of Annalivia, Ellery Klein formerly of Gaelic Storm, and Ari Friedman), Highland Dance Boston, Katie McNally, Folk Arts Quartet, Michael O'Leary and Friends, Fireside, The Bridgebuilders, The Free Range English Country Boogie Band, and Janine Sirignano and Sean Smith.

Several of the performers, such as Matt and Shannon Heaton and Sean Smith, have been with the festival since its start, but there are many new acts as well. "We've been pleasantly amazed by the great interest BCMFest has generated in the local folk and acoustic music scene," says BCMFest co-founder and board member Laura Cortese. "BCMFest has always been about involving the community, getting people to feel they can be part of an event that shows the incredible amount of Celtic music we have here in the Boston area. So it's encouraging to see that, in addition to performers who have supported the festival all along, there are plenty of new acts who want to participate."

Cortese and Shannon Heaton came up with the idea for the fest during an after show conversation one night, and six years later, they have a thriving event on their hands, one which draws people from across new England and beyond, and still maintains its Boston community focus.

Heaton says the fringe events will add another dimension to BCMFest. "No question, we here in Boston take traditional music very seriously, which is as it should be. So what we're saying is, 'Let's get creative and have a little fun in the process' – maybe do something a little out of left field or off the wall, like have a panel of 'experts' advise performers on how they can 'clean up their acts' or give a Celtic-style salute to Paul Simon. Above all,” Heaton says, “we want everyone to have a good time and enjoy themselves."

That’s a safe bet, whether your taste is for the serious on the hilarious -- or both -- dance or song, Scottish music or Irish. Tickets are a bargain, too, especially if you’re thinking you need to watch your spending these days.

for more information about the festival go to

to get a taste of the fun that was had at earlier festivals, take a look here
Music Road: The Boston Celtic Music Festival 2008, 11 and 12 January

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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