BCMFest 2017 Performer Descriptions

Friday night “Roots and Branches Concert”

Our traditional kick-off event is BCMFest in a microcosm, celebrating the roots of traditional music from Ireland, Scotland, Cape Breton and elsewhere in Celtic lands, while also taking a look at the many musical branches that have evolved into the contemporary sounds of today.

Yann Falquet & Friends

Yann, who during the past year relocated to Boston from Montreal, is a creative acoustic guitar player on the Québécois scene well known for his work with the trio Genticorum and the award-winning Celtic/world group The McDades. Inspired by the playing of accompanists from different cultures (Brittany, Scandinavia, Ireland, North America), Yann has explored many styles of music while touring regularly throughout Canada, the US, Europe and Australia. Yann will perform tonight with Laura Cortese on fiddle and Thorleifur Gaukur Davidsson on harmonica.

Heather Cole-Mullen

Heather grew up near Boston and began playing violin at age four. She was raised on New England contra music and dancing, but started playing Irish music as a teenager. She later developed an interest in music of the North Mayo/South Sligo region, and later on, the Ulster singing tradition, with a particular focus on the great Fermanagh singer Rosie Stewart. In addition to playing and singing, Heather hosts a weekly Irish music radio program called “From the Shamrock Shore” on the Louisiana station KRVS.  

Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki Trio

Putting a fresh spin on traditional Celtic music, the Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki Trio serves up a dynamic show full of foot-stomping fiddle tunes and classic Irish songs. Award-winning fiddler Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki is joined by fellow New Hampshire natives Matt Jensen on guitar and Chris Noyes on upright bass. Their shows blend the music of Ireland and Scotland with some of their own material, drawing on multiple genres to produce a unique sound that has been described as a “larger-than-life” and “brisk, lean and exceedingly lovely.” This is their second appearance at BCMFest.

Friday - The Boston Urban Ceilidh

The “BUC” features the high-energy dance music of Ireland, Scotland and Cape Breton. “Ceilidh” (pronounced “kay-lee”) is an old Gaelic word that refers to a user-friendly social dance party. Old dance traditions meet contemporary style. The idea is to get out there on the floor and move with the music. This year’s Ceilidh will feature Rachel Reeds & Friends (Cape Breton Ceilidh), Bagad New York (Breton), and Laura Cortese & Friends (Scottish). All dances are taught, so beginners as well as the more experienced dancers are all welcome.  

Saturday “Dayfest”


10am - Rockport Celtic Duo

Elizabeth and Mary Kozachek have been playing traditional Celtic music for years and have been dancing even longer. Elizabeth started down the trad road with Irish fiddle and later added Anglo concertina. Mary, a versatile fiddle/mandolin/keyboard player who favors the Cape Breton and Scottish styles, is an intrepid musical explorer and tune composer. They’ve traveled to County Clare as part of an exchange, medaled at the Mid-Atlantic Fleadh in Irish music and dance; Mary has medaled at New England Scottish fiddle competitions. Elizabeth and Mary have shared the stage with many.  

10:45am- Keltic Kids

The Keltic Kids are a young group of musicians from Cape Cod, ranging in age from 10-13, who play a variety of Celtic music:  Jonathan Ford (tin whistle, fiddle); Fern Tamigini-O’Donnell (fiddle, vocals); Gavin Rice (banjo, mandolin, bass); Lili Hay (fiddle); Bailey Ford (piano); Ashley Dawn (fiddle), and Alex Birdsey (fiddle). The band has performed at numerous concerts and farmers markets, as well as the annual Yule For Fuel benefit, and its members have all competed regularly in the Mid-Atlantic Fleadh for Irish music.  

11:30am- Scottish Fish

Scottish Fish is a Boston-based fiddle and cello group whose youthful enthusiasm, unique arrangements, and original compositions have entertained audiences throughout New England. Their performances of traditional and contemporary Scottish and Cape Breton music are woven together from years of fiddle camp and session music handed down from past generations. They have performed at BCMFest, Somerville and Arlington Porchfests, Boston’s Earthfest, Club Passim and various other public and private venues. “The Fish” have shared the stage with some of the stars of the Scottish fiddle world and are finishing their first album, supported by Passim’s Iguana Fund.

12:15- “Old World, New Music” feat. Christine Hedden, Gus LaCasse, Peter

Lindquist, & Lindsay Straw

This special showcase features original tunes by Christine Hedden and Gus La Casse in the Irish and Acadian traditions. Described as a fiddler with both speed and savage energy, Gus plays a repertoire that reflects his innovative spirit and dedication to the Cape Breton and Acadian fiddle traditions, playing both standards of the genre and original tunes. Christine explores the fiddle in a variety of contexts, such as free jazz and improvisation, electronic music, contemporary classical music, and of course, in the great rivers of tradition. Accompanying Gus and Christine will be Peter Lindquist and Lindsay Straw.

1pm - Elizabeth & Ben Anderson

Siblings Elizabeth (fiddle) and Ben (cello) Anderson have steadily built up a                following in the Boston/New England area with their vivacious take on Scottish music. Their sound is full of lively rhythms and innovative harmonies, which they previously shared at past BCMFest and other Passim staples like the Campfire festival.

1:45pm - Laura Feddersen, Joel Wennerstrom, & Owen Marshall

A new collaboration this trio brings a fresh, zesty, and oh-so-reverent take to both the old-time American tradition and traditional Irish music. Joel Wennerstrom plays clawhammer banjo and guitar for contra and square dances in the New England area, and is featured on several recordings. Fiddler Laura Feddersen is renowned for her unique and skillful interpretation of Irish, American, and Irish-American traditional music, and recently released her debut recording “Life is All Checkered” with fiddler Nathan Gourley. Owen Marshall (guitar, mandolin, banjo) has accompanied and collaborated with many of traditional music’s top performers.

2:30pm - So You Thinque You Can Quebecois? feat. Laura Cortese & Yann Falquet

Come watch the best and brightest of BCMFest sweat it out in a game show parody testing their Quebecois music prowess.

3:15pm - Katie McNally & Neil Pearlman

The vibrant musical traditions of Scotland and Cape Breton take on new life in the hands of Katie McNally (“the new face of Scottish fiddling in Americ”–Living Tradition) and Neil Pearlman (“a tremendous pianist”–BBC Radio Scotland). Based in Boston and Portland, ME, this young musical couple is making waves internationally with their fresh approaches to traditional forms. Their brand new album “The Boston States” was recorded under the guidance of producer Wendy MacIsaac at the legendary Lakewind Sound in Cape Breton.

4pm - Colleen White & Sean Smith

Colleen White (vocals, whistle, flute) and Sean Smith (vocals, guitar, bouzouki, bodhran) are of different generations, but find common ground in their love of the music of Ireland and the UK. Their ever-burgeoning, increasingly eclectic repertoire includes traditional songs and instrumentals as well as material from contemporary singer-songwriters like Kate Rusby, Karine Polwart, Steve Tilston and Tommy Sands, presented with pleasing vocal harmonies and solid accompaniment. They’re appearing at BCMFest for the third time.

@ First Parish Church Attic

12pm - Royal Scottish Country Dance Society

The Demonstration Team of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, Boston Branch dances at various celebrations, festivals, town fairs, and private events around the New England area. Besides BCMFest, the group has performed at the New Hampshire Highland Games, the New England Folk Festival, and at their Annual Fall Concert. RSCDS creates original medleys of traditional dances, choreographed for maximum energy, elegance, and audience appeal. Since 2007, the team has been under the direction of Andrea Taylor-Blenis, who brings a family legacy of folk and country dances.

1pm - Instrument Tasting: Lindsay Adler, & Jacob Brillhart

Here’s an opportunity to learn about what makes a musical instrument tick – or, more accurately, sing. Two musicians will demonstrate and talk about the special qualities in their respective instruments: Jake Brillhart, a Cambridge-based violin maker and fiddle teacher and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Lindsay Adler, a virtuoso on the vielle a roue or hurdy gurdy who explores the connections between ancient and modern Celtic-inspired folk music.

2-3pm - Irish Session with Keltic Kids

Come and enjoy an Irish session with this lively group of youngsters.

3:15pm - Sing Along with the Boston Harbor Bhoys

A father-son team specializing in Irish, Irish-American and other Celtic songs, sung in harmony. Come sing along with these and a mix of more more contemporary music done in Celtic style.

4pm- Boston Scottish Fiddle Orchestra Performance

The Boston Scottish Fiddle Orchestra is the performing group of the Boston Scottish Fiddle Club.  Under the direction of Neil Pearlman, the orchestra performs arrangements of various Scottish and Cape Breton tunes at various festivals and events. The ensemble’s roster for BCMFest is: Sue Chari (fiddle), Katharine MacPhail (fiddle), Maggie MacPhail (fiddle, piano), Alex Bowers (flute), Lucinda Brandt (guitar), Bob Littman (fiddle, mandolin), Marilyn Warren (fiddle), Stephanie Franzosa (flute), Mike Falkoff (fiddle), Jennifer Talbot (fiddle), Marianne Brown (fiddle), Margie Pertchik (fiddle), Sid Levin (guitar), Macy Maurer-Levin (fiddle), Sandy Guilfoyle (fiddle), Christine Tessier (fiddle), Diane Lockhart (fiddle), Dan Wheatley (fiddle), Dorcas Sefton (fiddle), Joyce Isen (percussion), and Mike Leach (bass).

4:30pm- Scottish Session with the Boston Scottish Fiddle Club

As a continuation of the 4pm show, the Club will be doing a separate session set.

@ First Parish Church Parlor

12pm- Buttons & Keys

Overview of Irish music as played in the Irish American dancehalls of the 20th century, often led by accordion with piano accompaniment.  Playing evolved from the early 1900’s through the end of the century facilitated by advances in the physical box and methods of performance.  As time went on, the button box was able to move away from an overpowering (loud) instrument to one which, played right, would fit into sessions with fiddles, pipes, and flutes.  The piano, in skilled hands, was the essential backup instrument. Come have a listen.

12:45pm- Mink & Sock

Mink & Sock is an energetic young duo that plays fiddle music from Québec, Ireland, Scotland and Atlantic Canada. Hailing from Montreal and rural Wisconsin respectively, Eric Boodman (fiddle, foot percussion, voice) and Angus Mossman (cittern, whistles) met as students at Yale. They taught each other reels late at night in entomology labs and library basements, wrote new tunes while doing fieldwork in forests and swamps. With their quartet, they have played scores of dances and concerts around the Northeast and Midwest. Now, Eric and Angus present a more intimate sound rooted in a deep friendship and a love of traditional music.

1:30pm- Liz & Dan Faiella

This pair of siblings brings to life the traditional Irish and New England music of their roots with Liz’s lyrical fiddle and vocals and Dan’s spirited low whistle and guitar, presenting everything from haunting murder ballads to the lyrical compositions of Turlough O’Carolan to snappy and danceable jig and reel medleys Liz and Dan have performed at Club Passim, BCMFest, the New England Folk Festival, the Acadia Trad Festival, and New Hampshire’s Seacoast Irish Festival.  

2:15pm- Jenna Moynihan & Mairi Chaimbeul

Rooted in traditional Scottish and Appalachian Old-Time music, Jenna and Mairi have developed a sound which celebrates and explores beautiful melodies. The pair met whilst studying at Berklee College of Music and are a product of the thriving and rich Boston music community.  

3pm- The Next Generation

Come see our next generation of young musicians who have been featured throughout the festival come together for this great collaboration.

3:45pm- Big Ham & Shadow Hands

BCMFest vets Lindsay Straw and Dan Accardi present songs and tunes of the British Isles with inspired interpretations, tasteful arrangements, and light double entendre. An accomplished singer and scholar of both British and Irish song, Lindsay will be performing a selection of her favorites, including material from her second album (supported by Passim’s own Iguana Fund). Dan contributes some instrumental texture, along with his own offerings of unusual Irish tunes on the fiddle and accordion. Expect driving rhythms, surprisingly upbeat lyrics, and all the good cheer you need to kick off 2017.

4:30pm- Celtic Yoga

Come, decompress and re-center after a long day of music with yoga instructor Abby Buckland.

@ First Parish Church Sanctuary Stage

12pm- Alex Cumming, Dan Foster, & Eric McDonald

An English native who moved to the Boston area in 2015, Alex brought along his strongly rhythmic piano accordion style and robust singing voice, as well as his repertoire of mainly traditional tunes and songs from around England. Alex has performed with The Teacups and as part of a duo with Nicola Beazley – they’ve just released their debut album, “Across the Water.”  

12:45pm- Galen Fraser Quartet

Galen Fraser is an accomplished fiddler and composer from Northern California with a love for Improvisation and spontaneity. His love for singing and writing led him to pursue music as a career, earning a bachelor’s degree from Berklee College of Music. This past year, Galen released his debut solo album, “Mischief Managed,” featuring all-original fiddle music and songs. He also performs with Afro-Celtic funk band Soulsha, a perennial BCMFest crowd-pleaser.

1:30pm- “All In Always” feat. Laura Cortese

Laura, a co-founder of BCMFest, has taken her fiddle and voice on extensive travels throughout the world the last few years. “All In Always” is a performance by Laura and some friends of her original tunes, inspired by enigmatic international meetings.

2017 Nightcap Concert

Tradition and Renewal: Looking Back and Moving Forward

Come and watch this great spectacle with an incredible lineup in this two part finale

7:30pm- Cape Breton House Party Feat. Rachel Reeds

Rachel Reeds will host a Kitchen Ceilidh to start out the night. We’ve gathered together some of New England’s finest players of Cape Breton music for an intimate house party right here on the finale stage. We’ll share music, dance, and song as heard in living rooms, kitchens, and community halls across Nova Scotia and The Boston States.

8:45pm- Irish Music Stories feat. Shannon Heaton

Because Irish and Cape Breton music are deeply related, the second half of this year’s finale features a live performance of Shannon Heaton’s Irish Music Stories Podcast. It’s a show about traditional music, and the bigger stories behind it. With live performance from Matt and Shannon Heaton, George Keith, Laura Cortese, Susan Lindsay, Maggie Holtzberg, and Kieran Jordan--and with short pre-recorded clips from the Irish Music Stories podcast--the show will explore why Irish music is meaningful to people personally, and in the wider collective sense. The audience will learn a bit about where the music has been, and where it might be going.