St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner. It’s a good time partake of the pleasures of music from Ireland. Making its way across the Atlantic, Irish music cross-pollinated with American traditions, which were already one big gnarled mess of hybrid vigor to begin with. And so when Americans think they detect a connection in fiddle tunes and sad ballads from both countries, we’re not exactly imagining things.
Exploring the strong ties between Irish and American music, and celebrating the music of Ireland, the Pennsylvania-based quintet Runa — with fiddle, mandolin, guitar, percussion and vocals — can function like a bluegrass outfit at times.
Listen to their Irish-kissed version of the emphatic gospel classic “Ain’t No Grave.” The group can shift impressively into a five-piece a cappella outfit, performing zippy all-vocal Irish songs. Singer and frontwoman Shannon Lambert-Ryan has experience stepdancing, acting, performing opera and in world-music ensembles. Irish guitarist Fionan de Barra has performed with Riverdance and with members of Clannad. Versatile Canadian percussionist Cheryl Prashker adds rhythmic muscle to the band.
Runa will be at Infinity Hall, 2 Front St., Hartford, on Friday, March 9, at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $29 to $54. 866-666-6306 and infinityhall.com.