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Gaelic Roots Spring Schedule Includes Local, Regional, International Artists

Matt Cranitch, left, and Jackie Daly are among the performers appearing on campus this semester in the Gaelic Roots series.

By Sean Smith | Chronicle Editor

Published: Jan. 17, 2013

Boston College’s Gaelic Roots series of traditional music will host the acclaimed duo of fiddler Matt Cranitch and accordionist Jackie Daly during the spring semester portion of its schedule. Also featured will be Boston native Brendan Bulger, New England husband-wife duo Keith Murphy and Becky Tracy, and the trio of Kathleen Conneely, Dan Gurney and Eamon O’Leary.

The series, directed by Sullivan Artist-in-Residence and master fiddler Séamus Connolly and sponsored by the Boston College Center for Irish Programs, brings to campus acclaimed musicians and experts in Irish, Scottish and other related Gaelic music traditions. Gaelic Roots events, all of which begin at 6:30 p.m., are free and open to the public.
Bulger, a former student of Connolly, will open the spring schedule on Jan. 31 in the Walsh Hall Function Room. His credits include the prize-winning recording “Music at the House” with Marty Fahey and Kathleen Gavin, the Huntington Theatre production of Edwin O’Connor’s “The Last Hurrah,” and the soundtrack of the independent film “The Bounty.”

The Feb. 12 concert with Conneely (whistle), Gurney (accordion) and O’Leary (guitar, vocals) – postponed from November due to weather conditions – will take place in the Gasson Hall Irish Room. Conneely is a widely respected musician and teacher who has often appeared at BC, and just released her first album. Gurney, who lived in Boston while attending Harvard University, released a well-received solo album in 2011. Dublin native O’Leary has been part of the thriving New York City Irish music scene for the past two decades.

Cranitch and Daly, whose concert takes place March 14 in the Walsh Hall Function Room, are regarded as among the foremost interpreters of the rich tradition of instrumental music from Sliabh Luachra, the unique cultural area on the borders of northwest Cork and east Kerry that is marked by a special repertoire of tunes as well as a very distinctive style of playing. The two — who were part of the faculty at Gaelic Roots when it was a summer festival — have made or appeared on numerous recordings, including their 2010 release “The Living Stream.”

On April 2 in the Walsh Hall Function Room, Murphy (guitar, mandolin, piano, foot percussion, vocals) and Tracy (fiddle) will present traditional music from Newfoundland, Quebec, Ireland and New England. In addition to playing with Tracy — as a duo, and as part of the popular trio Nightingale — Murphy has shared his natural, intimate singing and quietly powerful percussive-style guitar style in stints with Boston-area fiddle ensemble Childsplay, among others. Tracy, who studied Irish fiddling with Brendan Mulvihill and Eugene O’Donnell, has a strong background and wealth of experience in the New England contra dance scene.

The 2012-13 Gaelic Roots series will close out on April 17 with an Irish dance and ceili in the Gasson Irish Room, with music by Connolly, Boston College students and other area musicians. There will be participatory dances, all of which will we be taught; no experience is necessary.

See the Gaelic Roots website at /gaelicroots