WGBH's 'A CHRISTMAS CELTIC SOJOURN' Returns for 12th Season Tonight

WGBH's "A Christmas Celtic Sojourn with Brian O'Donovan" returns for a 12th season this month with performances in Boston, Worcester, New Bedford and Rockport. Based on the popular 89.7 WGBH radio program "A Celtic Sojourn," this year's concert program promises to be one of the most exciting yet.

Featuring both familiar faces and exciting additions, "A Christmas Celtic Sojourn" will include the holiday traditions audiences have grown to love. This year, the show will also explore the rich music, song and dance traditions that crossed over from Ireland and Scotland to the New World, where they transformed into what we now know as Appalachian old-time, country and bluegrass.

"This year's 'A Christmas Celtic Sojourn' combines the best of all worlds," said O'Donovan. "It is the finest of musicians, singers, dancers and storytellers of Celtic traditions, as we always bring. But this year, we're going even further in exploring how those traditions have crossed over evolved here in the U.S., giving us an entirely new set of musical gifts."

Music director Seamus Eagan returns with his group, Solas, which NPR's "Thistle & Shamrock" calls "Irish-America's most influential band." Audiences will experience the virtuosity of Winifred Horan on fiddle; Johnny Connolly, from Connemara in Galway, on accordion; and Eamon McElholm, of County Tyrone, with Chico Huff on bass. One of the founding members of the legendary Bothy Band, Kevin Burke, will delight audiences as well as fiddler, dancer and harmonica player, Matt Gordon. The Christmas Celtic Sojourn horns trio is back in 2014 and is led by Dieterich Strause. And in their "Christmas Celtic Sojourn" premiere, the acclaimed Foghorn Stringband will lead an exploration of the deep kinship between Celtic and Appalachian music.

The 12th season of "A Christmas Celtic Sojourn" features, for the first time, the internationally recognized vocal duo Lumiere, direct from County Kerry. Well-known for their past solo and ensemble work, Pauline Scanlon and E?ili?s Kennedy have been entertaining audiences as a duo, with their superb harmonies, exquisite traditional material and a warm stage presence that typifies the Celtic tradition.

Cara Butler and Nathan Pilatzke, of The StepCrew, will highlight the traditions of Celtic dance and its evolution in the U.S., and the young dancers from the Harney Academy of Irish Dance in Walpole will once again take the stage, a performance that has long been a crowd favorite.

A full schedule of WGBH's "A Christmas Celtic Sojourn with Brian O'Donovan" performance locations and times is below. Tickets are available at www.wgbh.org/celtic for $25-$85; station member discounts apply.

"A Christmas Celtic Sojourn with Brian O'Donovan" is produced by WGBH, greater Boston's leading public broadcaster.

About WGBH - WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web. Television channels include WGBH 2, WGBX 44, and the digital channels World and Create. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH, Boston's Local NPR®; 99.5 WCRB; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. Find more information at wgbh.org.

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