The Irish Festival’s had that spirit here since 1979

Copenhagen’s very own Irish Festival celebrates its 35th anniversary this year with a four-day programme packed with the best tunes in trad. While last year saw the Danish capital host two of Ireland’s most legendary musicians, Paul Brady and Sharon Shannon, this year is set to draw the crowds once again with a focus on a more traditional line-up that includes the Rambling Boys of Pleasure and Téada.

Over the decades, the festival has helped launch the international careers of up-and-coming Irish groups, with bands such as Altan, Dervish, Danú and Gráda all having some of their first concerts abroad here. The young trad trio Socks in the Frying Pan could be this year’s ones to watch.

The festival is refreshingly free from any taint of the paddywhackery that makes Irish expats around the world shudder. It is a celebration of the very best in traditional Irish music, with the obligatory dollop of ‘craic’ thrown in for good measure, with free, all-night trad sessions open to musicians. The Céilí Mór, held on the final night of the festival, has proven a hugely popular hit with festival-goers and is an experience not to be missed. This year, it will be held at Rysensteens Gymnasium, so there will be a larger dancing space than ever before for enthusiasts and amateurs alike to get to grips with the popular dance, all accompanied by live music. Bígí linn!

Keeva (The Alan Doherty Band)
PH Salen; Thu (Nov 7) 20:00; tickets: 100kr
Kicking off events on Thursday is Keeva, headed up by Alan Doherty, one of Ireland’s foremost traditional flute players. Doherty, a former member and co-founder of Irish trad band Gráda, is well known as the lead flute soloist on the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. He has recorded with luminaries of the Irish music scene including Damien Dempsey, Declan O’Rourke, Julie Fowlis and Colin Farrell, to name but a few. Doherty continues to tour and give workshops and master-classes in flute and whistle playing all across the globe. He will be joined by Tola Custy (fiddle), Gerry Paul (guitar) and Daoirí Farrell (vocals and bouzouki). Special guests for the night are bass player Trevor Hutchinson, a founding member of Lúnasa, along with vocalist Nicola Joyce.

The Rambling
Boys of Pleasure &
The Jeremiahs

Staldgade 29, Cph V; Fri 8 Nov, 20:00; tickets: 250kr
No concert is ever the same with the globe-trotting Rambling Boys of Pleasure who have made inviting local musicians to play with them an art form. The result is always a unique fusion of their own traditional musical roots with a wide range of culturally diverse influences. The charismatic Gino Lupari, the ‘king of the bodhrán’, is accompanied by trusted stalwarts of the trad music scene Bernard O’Neill (double bass, guitar and cello), Alan Burke (vocals, guitar), David Munnelly (button accordion) and Sean Regan (fiddle). Joining them on the bill are a Dublin-based quartet, the Jeremiahs, who are relative newcomers on the Irish trad circuit, having formed in September 2012. They bring a rich collection of old and new songs gathered from across Scotland, Ireland and England, combined with their own newly-composed melodies.

Téada + Séamus Beagley &
Socks in the Frying Pan

Staldgade 29, Cph V; Sat Nov 9, 20:00; tickets: 250kr
Téada are one of Ireland’s most well established traditional groups and no stranger to the international music stage either, playing in front of audiences all over the globe since their formation in 2001. The band includes Oisín Mac Diarmada (fiddle), Paul Finn (button accordion), Damien Stenson (flute, whistle), Séamus McElwain (bouzouki, guitar) and Tristan Rosenstock (bodhrán). The group have recently been joined by West Kerry legend Séamus Beagley, who brings with him signature vocals and accordion playing. Sharing the bill, Socks in the Frying Pan are a young trad trio who are fast making a name for themselves with their own uniquely modern take on the traditional style. Find out why Tradconnect claimed “these boys are rocking and rolling new life and texture into traditional jigs and reels.”

Copenhagen Irish Festival
PH Cafeen, Halmtorvet 9 & Staldgade 29, Cph V; starts Thu (Nov 7), ends Nov 10; ticket prices vary,;