- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Traditional Irish music sessions are rare but worthwhile in the Washington area. Here’s a look at four ongoing sessions.


m Nanny O’Briens: 3319 Connecticut Ave. NW. 9 p.m. Mondays. Sessions are informal but popular with visiting and local musicians. There is no scheduled set leader, although owner Brian Gaffney sits in on occasion. A young people’s session for children aged 8 and up takes place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. the first Monday of the month. Call 202/686-9189 or see www.nannyobriens.com.


m Ri-Ra: 4931 Elm St., Bethesda. 7-10 p.m. Wednesdays. The new restaurant’s Wednesday evening sessions are led by Philippe Varlet and Rob Greenway in the pub. On Sundays, there’s a more family-oriented session between 3 and 6 p.m. in the restaurant space. Call 301/657-1122 or see www.rira.com.

• Royal Mile Pub: 2407 Price Ave., Wheaton. Sessions at 7 p.m every fourth Sunday are led by fiddler Dennis Botzer. A children’s session begins at 6 p.m. Call 301/946-4511 or see www.royalmilepub.com.


m Northern Virginia Irish Sessions: John Wood Center, 3730 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax. 10 a.m.-noon every second Saturday, with some exceptions. These are intermediate sessions sponsored by the O’Neill-Malcom Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, an Irish cultural organization with international chapters. Guest leaders include Patrick Cavanagh (banjo) on Saturday, Dennis Botzer (fiddle) on April 17, Mark Hillman (uilleann pipes) on May 8 and Philippe Varlet (fiddle) on June 19. All are welcome, but players should have command of their instruments and be able to play music without reading. Howard Rhile is the coordinator and facilitator. Call 703/591-4058 or see the Web site at www.geocities.com/novairishsession.

— Gary Tischler

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