Boston-based husband-and-wife duo Matt and Shannon Heaton round out the season for Home Routes first concert series, which began last September, in Thompson, April 19, offering traditional - and non-traditional - Irish music on Irish wood flute, guitar, bouzouki and accordion. They met in Chicago in 1991.
Tickets are $15 per person for the concert in the basement Bijou Room of the Thompson Public Library.
Matt and Shannon Heaton play updated and traditional Irish music. Their newest album Lovers' Well is a collection of traditional Irish love songs, traditional and original tunes, and one Thai traditional classic, "Lao Dueng Duen," to honour the time Shannon has spent studying Thai music and language.
Matt's first taste of professional music was behind the organ console as a page-turner for his father Charles Heaton, a noted organist and composer. After a couple of false starts on the piano and trumpet, Matt picked up his first guitar, a Harmony electric, plus amplifier, for $35 at a garage sale. After the amplifier exploded, he devoted his energies to the acoustic guitar.
Before focusing on Irish music, Matt earned a classical guitar degree, played with Chicago popsters the Flavor Channel, and fronted Nuevo tango group Orquesta Atipica.
Meanwhile Shannon, who grew partially in Africa in Nsukka, Nigeria, studied flute and ethnomusicology at Northwestern University, joined Matt's tango band, and took weekend trips to Chicago's Wat Dhammaram to continue the Saw Oo (lap fiddle) and Thai singing studies she began when she was an exchange student in Thailand.
Before performing as a duo they toured with the Boston band Siucra. The just wrapped up performing as part of the Irish Heartbeat Tour of Germany earlier this month where they played in Leverkusen, Illingen, Alsfeld, Münster, Eisleben, Balingen, Augsburg, Neustadt an der Aisch and Garching.
Homes Routes is a not-for-profit organization. The chairperson is Derek Black, a 25-year veteran of the Winnipeg Folk Festival, including eight years as its board president. Black plays guitar and sings as well.
Other board members include Chris White, artistic director of the Ottawa Folk Festival, who is also a songwriter; Troy Greencorn, artistic director of the Stan Rogers Folk Festival in Canso, Nova Scotia; Manitoban Steve Schellenberg, a songwriter who is the artist representative on the board; Robert Lyons of Regina, an owner of nightclubs and restaurants, who is also described as "a very decent lyricist and guitar player and an old hand at producing house concerts" and Les Siemieniuk, general manager of the Calgary Folk Festival and a long-time broadcaster including producing CBC Radio's Simply Folk.