Celebrate St. Paddy’s Day in a new way

Irish MusicSt. Patrick’s Day is the day the world celebrates the patron saint of Ireland. As an Irish musician, it is usually one of my favorite holidays. Mostly because, for me, it’s a recognition of this amazing music — everyone wants to hear Irish music on St. Patrick’s Day.

Regardless of why we have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in the past, I’d like to propose that this year, we make St. Patrick’s Day a day that not only honors of the patron saint of Ireland, but also honors of all American immigrants.

Immigrants bring diversity into our culture, diversity into our music and diversity into our lives. So this year I’d like to raise that glass of green beer (or any drink) in honor of all the immigrants who came to America in search of a better life. We salute you! And thank you to all the musicians from all over the world that brought, and continue to share their music with us all.

This weekend you can enjoy all sorts of Irish music, dancing and other festivities in celebration of St. Patrick and all the immigrants who make up our fine country. Here are few of my favorite events to check out this weekend.

Friday, March 17

St. Patrick’s Day at the Grange Hall, Waterbury
317 Howard Ave, Waterbury Center

A show of local world-class musicians and Irish dancers. The event is family-friendly and includes:

  • Knotwork – with Michael and Annabel Moynihan, Don Schabner and Sebastian James. Knotwork has played Irish traditional music in Vermont and across Europe for over a decade. Recordings are available on iTunes, Amazon, and other digital music stores.
  • The Northern Lights – From foot stopping jigs and reels to dreamy waltzes and hoppy hornpipes, The Northern Lights will take you away to the shores of Ireland. The trio, based out of the Waterbury/Richmond area, is made up of fiddlers Katrina VanTyne and Denise Dean, and multi-instrumentalist, Jonathan Leonard. With 2 fiddles, guitar, bouzouki, button accordion and harmonium you’re bound to enjoy the sweet melodies of this traditional Irish music band.
  • The Church Restoration Project with Allen Church and Pete Haselbach as well as Heather Morris’ Celtic Dance Company

Saturday, March 18


Between the Jigs and Reels: Ireland’s History Through it’s music
Pickering Room, Fletcher Free LibraryTraditional Irish Music
235 College Street, Burlington
Suggested Donation: $8

Music has helped to cheer and sustain the Irish spirit through times of oppression, poverty, and emigration. Benedict Koehler and Hilari Farrington will weave a unique and captivating history of Ireland through music on some of its iconic instruments: Irish harp, uilleann bagpipes, button accordion, and tin whistle. Founders of the Vermont School of Irish Traditional Music, these well-known musicians have played and taught music throughout North America and Ireland.

O’hAnleigh Live
51 Main, Middlebury

All your favorite Irish-pub sing-along song with some old ballads, artful originals, and toe-tapping fiddle tunes.

Sunday, March 19

Burlington Irish Heritage Festival Ceili
Contois Auditorium, Burlington, VT

Brattleboro Irish SessionThe ceili is fun for the whole family with Irish step dancing, and some fine local traditional Irish musicians. There is a bake sale, raffle and information about Irish language, Irish culture and more. After the Ceili, musicians are invited to stick around for a traditional Irish session.

There are a ton more events going on for the next week or so. For more information on the Burlington Irish Heritage Festival download the 2017 schedule of events.



The joy of coming full circle

The London EyeEverything comes full circle and I’m reminded of that more often than not. Take for example, bell-bottoms and leg warmers. Who would have thought they’d be cool twice in my life-time? Or platform shoes, of which I’m still afraid to walk in.

Even when it comes to my writing. I come up with an idea, I start writing. I take my words in another direction (maybe a few) yet I always end up writing about my original concept. Coming full circle.

For the last 4-5 months, I’ve been learning various other genres of music on my fiddle other than Irish music. I’ve been practicing some jazz, blues, folk and everything under the sun except for Irish music. It was not intentional. I was taking a class and Irish music was just not on the syllabus. I’ve also been participating in drum workshops and dance workshops that are completely unrelated to Irish music. Continue reading

The 5 most popular posts in 2015

New Years ResolutionsAt the end of each year it is always fun to know which posts were the most popular. It gives me an idea of what you like to read about and helps me plan for upcoming articles.

Below are this year’s top posts:

Here are the top 5 posts of the year:

  1. 10 Tips to calm stage fright – Do you get nervous before a performance? If you do, don’t worry you’re not alone. Everyone does at least on some level.  Hell, I even get nervous starting a tune set at a session sometimes. The trick is to not let it get the best of you. Read the post to find out how to cure stage fright.
  2. An Irish Session in Brattleboro – Thanks to Dan Restivo for writing this post about the session at McNeill’s pub. Read about McNeill’s Pub session.
  3. Playing in an Irish session – Jericho Style – Every first and third Thursday of the month, the Jericho Cafe and Tavernplays host to a traditional Irish session open to all Irish musicians. Like all sessions, it has its own flavor. It is designed to be less intimidating and a comfortable place for people of various experiences to share a tune. The intention is to include all who want to play. Learn about this Irish session in Vermont.
  4. Practice tips for the traditional Irish musician – Practicing can make the difference between a good player and a great player. Just playing tunes the way you always played them can be fun but it’s so much more fun when you’re actually making beautiful music. Read my tips on playing Irish music.
  5. 4 Misconceptions of an Irish session – If you’re not versed in Irish music and you happen to stumble into a place like Bagitos on a Saturday afternoon when the place is filled with musicians, you might not know exactly what to make of it. There is definitely an art to sessioning and a few unwritten rules you should know before you either jump in and play or call your friends to come listen to the band. Find out what they are.

Thanks for reading my blog and being a part of this amazing music community. Please feel free to shoot me an email or comment below if you have a topic you’d like me to write about.

I hope you have a very happy, healthy new year that is filled with beautiful music!

When one door closes…

doorWhen one door closes, another one always opens.

If you were an avid session-goer to the On the Rise Bakery session that recently ceased because of new ownership, fear not. The session lives on…It’s just in another location.

This Thursday, November 20 from 7-9pm, marks the start of a new session at the Jericho Cafe and Tavern (the former Village Cup) on Rt 15, just over the Essex town line. The address is 30 Vermont Rt 15, Jericho.

Continue reading

Upcoming traditional music events

sunshineJune is one of my favorite months in Vermont. Mostly because it’s the start of summer. The grass has turned green, flowers have bloomed, caterpillars have turned to butterflies and I can finally leave the house without a warm jacket.

It’s also my favorite time of year because it’s the start of festival season. A time where I can combine my two favorite things: enjoying the outdoors and playing (or listening to) music. And there is no shortage of music in our fine little state -especially traditional music.

Here are a few upcoming concerts and festivals worthy of your attention:

Continue reading

4 Common Misconceptions of an Irish Session

by Katrina VanTyne

If you’re not versed in Irish music and you happen to stumble into a place like Bagitos on a Saturday afternoon when the place is filled with musicians, you might not know exactly what to make of it. There is definitely an art to sessioning and a few unwritten rules you should know before you either jump in and play or call your friends to come listen to the band.

Here are 4 common misconceptions of an Irish session:

Continue reading

Celtic Music in Vermont

For the next couple of weeks there are some great musicians coming to town and shows that should not be missed. It all starts tomorrow. Here’s a video of Karan Casey and Lúnasa.

The list of upcoming shows are below:

Friday, Nov 22, 2013
Wendy MacIsaac and Mary Jane Lamond  – Cape Breton Music
Place: UVM Recital Hall, Burlington, VT
Time: 7:30
Cost: $25
Tickets: call 802.656.4455

Saturday, Nov 23, 2013
Tony DeMarco,
Irish fiddler
Place: Vermont Violins, Burlington, VT
Time: 6:00pm
Cost: $15 suggested donation
Tickets: email mark.sustic@gmail.com

Sunday, Nov 24, 2013
Long Time Courting –
Non-traditional Irish, Scottish and American Music
Place:  House Concert at 1060 Bent Hill Road, Braintree, VT
Time: 7:00pm
Cost: $15 suggested donation
Tickets: call 802.728.6351

Saturday, Nov 30, 2013
Lunasa and Karan Casey –
Irish music
Place:  Barre Opera House, Barre, VT
Time: 7:30pm
Cost: $18-32
Tickets: call 802.476.8188

Wednesday, Dec 4, 2013
Natalie MacMaster  – Cape Breton Fiddler
Place:  Barre Opera House, Barre, VT
Time: 7pm
Cost: $20-58
Tickets: call 802.476.8188