Irish Flute Player & Singer | Composer | Teacher | Podcaster
Deeply rooted in Irish traditional music, Boston-based flute player/singer/composer Shannon Heaton performs with acclaimed duo Matt & Shannon Heaton, and with other fine traditional performers from around the world, including dancers Kieran Jordan and Kevin Doyle, Tokyo-based Tricolor, and guitarist/singer Keith Murphy.
As a teacher and ambassador of the tradition, Shannon hosts the culture podcast Irish Music Stories which explores universal themes through an Irish music and dance lens. (You don’t have to know anything about Irish music to listen.) And her free Tune of the Month video series and instructional books cater to students of Irish music.
Stretching a bit from pure traditional music, Shannon also composes for winds, strings, and piano, bringing Irish music to players outside the tradition. Her chamber trad pieces for flute and piano/strings include gestures an Irish musician might actually use, but that also play to the existing strengths and expressive artistry of classical players. It’s a chance for classical players to enjoy traditional music, even if they are not able to spend 10 years in the field learning tunes on a 19th century wood flute.
Heaton received a 2016 Artist Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council; Live Ireland named her Female Artist of the Year in 2011 and 2010; and Irish American News named her 2009 Female Musician of the Year.
With her combination of vocal grace, instrumental prowess, and warm stagecraft, Shannon brings passion and presence to her onstage projects:Media Photos and Bios available here
MATT & SHANNON HEATON
Updated and traditional Irish duo Matt & Shannon Heaton mix flute, accordion, guitar, and bouzouki with sweet husband-and-wife harmony singing. Drawing deeply from the Irish tradition and the music they absorbed during their winters in Clare and Galway, the Heatons play masterfully-crafted, well-informed traditional music. They also weave in Thai music Shannon learned as a kid. With innovative repertoire and engaging stage presence, Matt & Shannon Heaton offer shows that satisfy traditional music aficionados and general music fans alike. Learn more at the Duo Site
Shannon also performs with fiddle players around the Boston area; with dancer Kieran Jordan, who has choreographed Heaton original dance tunes as well as vocal numbers; and with Newfoundland native Keith Murphy, whose guitar playing and singing wells from traditions in Ireland, Eastern Canada, Quebec and his adopted home of Vermont.
She has also toured with Tokyo-based Tricolor, New England fiddle band Childsplay, and National Heritage Fellow dancer Kevin Doyle.
IRISH MUSIC STORIES LIVE (one-woman multi-media show)
An onstage extension of Shannon’s IMS Podcast, Irish Music Stories Live weaves together flute, voice, and stunning stagecraft with pre-recorded stories, guitar work, dancing feet, and archival sound clips. Equal parts concert and culture show, this multi-media experience digs into universal stories through an Irish music lens.
“A wonderfully entertaining show. I loved all the glimpses into Irish music history interspersed with the fabulous music!” -Kristen Lee
“Very creative, informative and entertaining. And her playing was masterful and expressive. A very complete one-person show.” -Marty Somberg
“I loved hearing so much flute playing without accompaniment. The blending of live and recording was really fun and interesting. I went home and subscribed to the podcast right away!” -Tom Voiles
“First-rate in its composition and entirely engaging with the mix of story and music. Thanks for the experience.” -Shawn Cayson
APIAN ARMY (Flute/voice and strings)
As a skilled arranger, Heaton’s chamber folk project features music for Irish traditional voice, flute and string quartet.
Whether appearing with musicians in her hometown of Boston, or guesting with existing players around the country, Shannon’s “chamber folk” program features lush arrangements of original and traditional tunes and ballads. “A masterful fusion of contemporary sophistication and traditional music appeal.”