Celtic music with a local flavor will once again be part of Boston’s Independence Day Weekend, as Club Passim in HarvardSquare presents the second annual Summer BCMFest on July 3.
This year’s event will include a free outdoor concert from 2:30-5 p.m. with Afro-Celtic funk band Soulsha and Armand Aromin & Dan Accardi from the Celtic group The Ivy Leaf. The festivities continue in the evening with a ticketed show in Club Passim featuring innovative fiddler Mariel Vandersteel & Owen Marshall and a second performance by the Coyne Family Band.
Summer BCMFest is a warm-weather version of the annual BCMFest (Boston’s Celtic Music Fest), a weekend festival held each January to celebrate the Greater Boston area’s richness of music, song and dance from the Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton and other Celtic traditions.
This year’s edition of Summer BCMFest kicks off at 2:30 p.m. with a free outdoor concert on Palmer Street (directly adjacent to Club Passim). Providing the entertainment will be Armand Aromin & Dan Accardi. Also on the bill is Soulsha, which brings together Scottish and West African music with a vibrant, infectious big-band energy that includes fiddle, bagpipes, electric bass, keyboards, percussion and horns.
At 7 p.m., Summer BCMFest moves inside Club Passim for an evening that showcases the diversity of Celtic sounds in Boston.
•Mariel Vandersteel has connected with folk music in a variety of ways, whether exploring traditional music archives in Ireland, studying the hardanger fiddle in Norway, firing up fiddle tunes from the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, or finding inspiration through touring places like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, India and Bangladesh. She creatively bridges new and old worlds, melding the styles and sounds of the various fiddle communities in which she’s traveled.
At Summer BCMFest, Mariel will be accompanied by Owen Marshall (guitar, bouzouki), who has frequently appeared at BCMFest in various collaborations. Owen also is a member of the acclaimed Maine-based traditional Irish music trio The Press Gang.
•The Coyne Family Band embodies the enduring appeal of traditional Irish music across generations. Husband and wife John (bouzouki) and Lisa (flute, whistle) are among the most active and appreciated musicians in the local Irish scene; their children Josie (fiddle) and Rory (accordion) are already accomplished players. Together, the Coynes present the “pure drop” brand of Irish music with verve and a healthy respect and love for the tradition.
Summer BCMFest is supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Tickets for Summer BCMFest are $18 for the general public, $10 for Passim members and students and can be purchased below.
14th Annual BCMFest
BCMFest was born after Laura Cortese (Scottish fiddle) and Shannon Heaton (Irish flute) realized that recently they had seen many great, traditional Celtic music acts playing it the area; they thought it would be exciting if more of the Boston-area trad players worked with local folk music venues like Club Passim, the Burren, Johnny D’s, and the Canadian American Club. Soon after their talk, Laura and Shannon began planning a weekend-long showcase of local traditional talent—a Boston Celtic Music Fest to celebrate the rich, diverse pool of traditional music and dance in the Boston area.
The festival has become a hub for generating ideas, energy, and community support for local, traditional Celtic music and dance performers. In 2011, BCMFest became an official program of Passim. Today, in addition to the annual festival in January, audiences and artists can enjoy monthly concerts at Club Passim that feature a broad selection of Boston-based Celtic music and dance acts.
As BCMFest enters its tenth year, the festival is stronger than ever, and its vision is more refined. By presenting touring professionals, tradition-bearers, and young performers, the festival offers a variety of music not found anywhere else. The list of performers and fans involved in the festival continues to grow, a sign that BCMFest is a vital addition to the Boston music community.