updated 2/5/24

Cat = a furry domestic feline, not usually with spots
Melodeon = a small accordion, not usually able to play in Ab

"Cat's Melodeon"
(1) In Ireland's County Mayo, any kind of unorganized, chaotic situation (think "dog's breakfast").
(2) On Cape Cod, a loosely organized group of folks who love to play Irish traditional music!


Cat's Melodeon is a group consisting of some of the finest Irish traditional musicians on Cape Cod. They perform at sessions, concerts, festivals, and private functions throughout the year. The group (originally named "Cape Tradition") was founded in 2005 by Bill Black.


The group's instrumentation includes fiddle, guitar, flute, recorder, uilleann pipes, banjo, accordion, harmonica, concertina, bouzouki, whistle, mandolin, and bodhrán (the Irish frame drum). The group's repertoire consist of the Irish dance tunes - primarily reels, jigs, and hornpipes - that have been the staple of the Irish instrumental tradition for hundreds of years.

Any musician familiar with the Irish tradition is welcome to attend, regardless of playing ability. It should be noted that our sessions are not "slow sessions" and playing speeds might be a bit brisk for some musicians.
Our policy however is to allow each musician an opportunity to start a tune or two at her own speed, and the rest of us will join in.

It should also be noted that our sessions should not be viewed as an opportunity to "practice". We recommend to less experienced musicians that they devote more time to listening than trying to play, especially on tunes with which they may not be familiar. Recording devices present no problem - we have all learned this music in different ways, and if you do better with a sound file than with notation, go for it!
Most of the Cats are pretty good with tune names, so avail yourself of their experience. (I find it easier to play a tune if I know its name - not sure why!)

Cat's Melodeon is primarily an acoustic (non-amplified) group.

Here are a couple of sound samples: snip 1 - snip 2. (I think we're on YouTube somewhere too.)


Although the group totals about fifteen members, they are quite capable of performing in smaller units depending on the requirements of the audience or the venue. The members are also versatile in that most are capable of performing other types of traditional music - American, Canadian, Scots - and of adding vocals in English and Irish.


Individual members are often called upon to act as teachers to the growing number of young (and not-so-young) people who have become interested in Irish traditional music. Cat's Melodeon is also highly supportive of more formal teaching efforts such as those of the Irish Cultural Center, Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, the West Bend Music School, the "Back of the House" slow session group, and Nik Engstrom's "Sonnay" fiddle group.


Recent venues: Atria Greenbriar (Falmouth), Jack's (Falmouth), Coffee Obsession (Woods Hole), Grey Gables Train Station (for the Bourne Historical Society), Beehive Tavern (Sandwich), Lanes Bowl and Bistro (Mashpee), Beach House (N. Falmouth), Brookside Club (Bourne), Gray Gables Market (Bourne), Tidal Flats Park (Bourne), Titcomb's Bookshop (E. Sandwich), Persy's Place (E. Wareham) , Maplewood (West Yarmouth), the Nineteenth Hole (Hyannis), Kelly's on Main Street (Hyannis), Seafood Sam's (Sandwich), Bourne Library, and the West Falmouth Library

They also perform at
  • the Woods Hole Trad Stroll (May)
  • Falmouth's Art's Alive (June)

Putting the concept of a musicians' "tip jar" to good use, the Cats have raised funds for:
  • wounded Bourne Patrolman Jared MacDonald
  • Project Bread's "Walk for Hunger"
  • Ride for MS
  • Cape Cod Veterans Inc.
  • Housing Assistance Corporation of Cape Cod
  • Bourne Friends Food Pantry
  • USMC Toys for Tots
  • West Falmouth Library Capital Campaign
  • Independence House, Hyannis
  • Red Cross Hurricane Relief


For more information on Cat's Melodeon, contact Bill Black
via email
or at 508.564.8764.

hyannis 2-3-24

At the Auld Triangle Pub in Hyannis, 2/3/24


Cat's Melodeon at Gray Gables Market
for the "Project Bread" fundraiser session


session for the Housing Assistance Corp. 9/19/15


session at the west Falmouth Library 2/6/16

Thanks to Laura T. for the kitty picture
Thanks to Alan Morrisroe for the group name