Boston producer Brian O’Donovan made a lot of space for Irish music and culture. He was dedicated to sharing it widely. And though he presented music on formal stages and through his WGBH broadcast “A Celtic Sojourn,” casual, public Irish music sessions were ever important and enduring for him. This beloved leader lifted up traditional music. And he elevated the practice of ‘just going to the local pub’ into an act of radical community building.
Here’s a list of Boston area session. Of course these gatherings, like the living traditions that propel them, can evolve. So make sure to check with the pub before heading out, to confirm times!
* Burren Pub (Somerville): 6pm slow session in the back room of the Burren, followed by 8:30pm faster session in front room
* Druid Pub (Cambridge): 8pm singing session at the Druid https://www.druidpub.com/music
* Druid Pub (Cambridge): 8pm Scottish session
* The Haven (JP), 6:30m session
* Druid Pub (Cambridge): 8-11pm Irish session
* Medford Brewing Company (Medford): 6-pm session Second Weds of the month
* Druid Pub (Cambridge): 8pm SONG Session
* Piper’s Club @ Canadian American Club: 7:30-10 FIRST Thursday of the month, https://canadianamericanclub.com/sessions
* BeBop (Boston), 6pm session https://www.thebebopboston.com/
* Irish Cultural Center (Canton): 6-9pm session
* Burren Pub (Somerville) 9:30pm
* Backbeat Brewery (Beverly), 10:30am-1:30pm every other Saturday
* Bunratty Tavern (Reading), 1-4pm
* Emmetts’ Pub (Boston), 3-6pm… and also 9pm-midnight
* Hugh O’Neill’s (Malden), 5-8pm, mix of half singing, half tune playing
* Tavern at the End of the World (Charlestown), 5pm: http://www.tavernattheendoftheworld.com
* Burren Pub (Somerville), 9:30pm
* Druid Pub (Cambridge), 3:30-6:30pm
* Brendan Behan (Jamaica Plain), 5pm – https://www.brendanbehanjp.com
* Druid Pub (Cambridge) – 12-3pm
* Burren Pub (Somerville) – 3-6pm
* Dubliner (Boston) – 3-6pm
Thank you to everybody for listening. And a special thank you to this month’s underwriters: The Irish & Celtic Music Podcast, John Sigler, Randall Semagin, Ron Kral, Isaiah Hall, David Vaughan, Susan Walsh, Matt Jensen, John Ploch, Tom Frederick, Paul DeCamp, Suezen Brown, Jonathan Duvick, Gerry Corr, Mike Voss, Sean Carroll, Isobel McMahon, Bob Suchor, Finian McCluskey, Rick Rubin, Ken Doyle, Chris Armstrong, Ian Bittle, and Chris Murphy.
Episode 76-The Power of the Local Pub
How Brian O’Donovan set Boston’s stage for connection and community
This Irish Music Stories episode aired October 14, 2023
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Transcript coming soon!
Episode guests in order of appearance
Cork native who transformed Boston’s traditional music community.