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The five best places to hear traditional Irish music every week in Colorado

Comparing a traditional Irish music session to a typical jam session is more than misleading; it's just plain false. A casual jam session could easily consist of an unplanned meeting of friendly musicians who just happen to be carrying around instruments, and it could feature extended riffs on any number of improvised or cover tunes. The Irish session (more accurately, seisún in Irish Gaelic) is much different.

Sure, there's an element of spontaneity to the tradition of Celtic fiddlers, pipers, guitarists and other musicians meeting to play live music, but it's far from casual. Traditionally, the Irish session has stood as a connection to a musical tradition that spans centuries. The players stick to a very specific set of tunes, whether they're ballads, jigs, reels, hornpipes or polkas. A musician's chops have to be consummate -- there's not piddling around on a serious jig played in a breakneck tempo. The Irish session is a tradition unto itself, and it's alive and well in several Celtic bars in the Denver metro area. If you've got faith in your skills as a player, you're welcome to show up and try your luck. As we prep to casually become Irish for a weekend of drinking and abandon, we've rounded the top five local sessions that are liable to connect a Coloradan to the storied musical ritual of the Irish session.

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A.H. Goldstein