Branford Folk Music Society
The Branford Folk Music Society, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization recognized as tax exempt under the Internal Revenue Service Code section 501(c)(3). The Society sponsors the Branford Folk Coffeehouse, a monthly folk music concert series, September through May, at the First Congregational Church, on the green in Branford, Connecticut.
The group also holds monthly "House Hoots" at members' homes, open to all for informal singing and playing, and produces a monthly newsletter with schedules and information on concerts and folk performers in Connecticut and the region. Branford Folk Music Society members receive a copy of the newsletter in the mail, as well as discounts in admission to our coffeehouse concerts. Become a member of the Branford Folk Music Society. Facebook members: Look us up on Facebook.
The Branford Folk Coffeehouse is in the auditorium of the First Congregational Church of Branford, 1009 Main Street, Branford, CT. Wheelchair accessible. Concerts begin at 8:00 P.M. Unless otherwise specified, admission is $15 for nonmembers, $12 for members, and $5 for children 12 and under.
Admission policy for this season's great folk shows: Pay at the door. Thanks!
Directions: Take I-95 Cedar Street exit #54, go south on Cedar
Street to the end (crossing Route 1), turn left on Main Street. The
Congregational Church is the brick church on the green (on the right).
For more information, call 203-488-7715.
If parking immediately next to the Church and the Green is full, there is additional parking nearby.
Please contact us if you are interested in helping the coffeehouse as a volunteer. In particular, refreshment donations will be welcomed.
If you are wondering if a concert will be held on an evening when the weather is bad, please call 203-488-7715. (There is no one at the church who can give out concert information.) Also, cancellations will be posted on WTNH Channel 8.
September 13, 2014: Finest Kind
We continue our 40th Anniversary Celebration with the return to Branford of Finest Kind, the remarkable folk trio from Ottawa whose exquisite harmony singing and brilliant vocal arrangements bring a fresh sense of excitement and discovery to the performance of old songs.
Finest Kind, with its glorious sound – much of it a cappella – and its easygoing humor, has won a devoted following across North America and the United Kingdom since being established in Ottawa, Canada in 1991 by Ian Robb, Ann Downey and Shelley Posen. The group's material is an exhilarating mix of British, American, Irish and Canadian traditional ballads and drinking songs, gospel rousers, sea shanties, pop golden oldies and a few novelty numbers. One music writer characterized the trio's vocal blend as "molecular bonding" and noted, "Any closer and they wouldn't be allowed to do it in public."
Ian Robb, an ex-pat from London, England, is regarded as one of North America's most gifted performers of British folksong, a concertina player extraordinaire and composer of such contemporary folk standards as "The Old Rose And Crown."
Ann Downey originally hails from America's Southwest and plays guitar, banjo and bass, and has performed in bands playing old-time and cowboy music, bluegrass, klezmer, jazz and swing.
Shelley Posen is a professional folklorist originally from Toronto and is a versatile singer and multi-instrumentalist who has spent a lifetime researching, teaching, writing about, performing and occasionally composing songs.
Finest Kind's vocal arrangements are a creative tour de force. Tradition-based yet curiously modern, the trio's harmonies are a feast of opulent chords and ever changing textures.
October 11, 2014: Diane Taraz
October will also bring the return of Diane Taraz to the Branford Coffeehouse Stage. Diane previously performed a split bill for the society with Judy Cook and was part of another concert with the Gloucester Hornpipe & Clog Society. She is an artist who loves to write songs and loves to interpret traditional music. Variety is the spice of life, and Diane enjoys singing not just folk but blues, standards, the classic singer-songwriter repertoire, plus Renaissance music of the 1500s. Her latest album is a collection of jazz standards.
Voice is her main instrument, although she delights in playing her three guitars and her mountain dulcimer. She's performed in hundreds of venues including coffeehouses, schools, concert halls, churches, libraries, museums, restaurants, historical societies, and private houses. She's director of the Lexington Historical Society Colonial Singers and is a member of Vox Lucens, a 12-voice Renaissance choir who are artists-in-residence at the Church of Our Saviour in Arlington, Mass. She also sings with the UUlations, an eight-woman a cappella group.
Diane's songs draw much inspiration from traditional folk and many of her songs celebrate weird and wonderful events of the past. To wit: "The Sea-Serpent of Cape Ann" tells the story of that mythical New England beastie while "Les Filles du Roi" looks back at her great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother's leap into the unknown as one of the young women who sailed to New France in the 1600s to marry the settlers in Quebec. And one of her favorite creations is "Let's Go Canoeing on Lake Chargoggagoggmanchaugagoggchaubunagungamogg," which sings the praises of this actual body of water in central Massachusetts, also known (thank goodness) as Webster Lake.
November 8, 2014: The Honey Dewdrops
A severe snowstorm last December cancelled the Branford debut of the Virginia-based Honey Dewdrops but we worked quickly to make sure they graced our stage as part of our 40th Anniversary Celebration. There is a high lonesome quality to the way the voices of Laura Wortman and her spouse Kagey Parrish blend that is familiar, yet the mixture is unique. Their music covers the ground between hand-crafted folk songs, Appalachian fiddle tunes, and a cappella spirituals.
The musical career of Laura and Kagey has been on an upward curve since they captured the "Prairie Home Companion" Talent Contest in 2008, besting five other groups in the finals of the national radio show competition hosted by Garrison Keillor. Up to that time, Kagey and Laura were teachers who performed music on the side but who desired to ultimately make music a full-time occupation. "Winning the contest really inspired us to keep on going and writing at the time," Kagey says. A year later, they recorded their first CD, let their teaching contracts expire and they hit the road performing.
Since then they've crisscrossed America with their blend of new Americana and traditional folk music, building up loyal audiences along the way. They create inspired songs that are rooted in the experience and lives of people. The songs they write shine with energy and emotion through intimate performances with a handful of acoustic instruments and tightly layered harmonies. On stage, the Honey Dewdrops focus on dynamically blending the sounds of instruments and voices by singing and playing into a single microphone.
Today this duet is in the vanguard of a new generation of young performers bringing contemporary folk into the American mainstream. The Honey Dewdrops have recorded three albums and are now gathering material for a fourth. Their latest offering, "Silver Lining", ranked fourth in 2012 in folk music radio play monitored by FolkDJ. It's no wonder that Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine said this about the duo: "Their talent is such that it's quite possible that a new band recording in the year 2020 might cite the Honey Dewdrops as a prime influence."
Itís time to Hoot again.
The September House Hoot will be at 7:30 on Friday, September 12th at Sheldon Campbellís house, 85 Heloise St., Hamden, 06517. The theme (for the first round only, and not enforced, merely encouraged) is Anything But Love; after that, itís every man and woman for themselves. Also bring a snack or drink(s) to share; if youíre a beer fan, please bring your own, I donít know anything about beer and itíd be a big mistake to count on me for that.
The House Hoot, loosely associated with the Branford Folk Music Society, has been going since the 1950s. Itís an opportunity to get together and Sing Good Songs, mostly folk but occasionally wandering into other musical realms. All acoustic instruments and voices are welcome.
The October Hoot will be 4 PM Sunday, October 26th, at Barbara and Bjorn Ljungstromís in New Haven.
Previous concerts at the Branford Folk Coffeehouse
Branford Folk Photo Gallery
Restaurants in Branford
Lodging in Branford
The Branford Folk Music Society is looking for a volunteer to manage the signs that we put up at the church for each concert. This includes storing the signs at your home, bringing them to each concert and setting them up. If you are interested or would like more information, please let us know at a concert or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Board Members Sought
The Board of Directors is currently accepting nominations to fill at large positions on the Board.
The Branford Folk Music Society is a member of
the North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance,
and the Arts Council of Greater New Haven.
|The Branford Folk Music Society primarily books "traditional" and/or "traditions based" acoustic music, rooted in the Anglo-Celtic and/or American folk genres, and other traditional forms, such as Cajun, French Canadian, Klezmer, etc. We are also open to booking "traditions based" performers who write their own material provided their music demonstrates a knowledge and respect for these long established traditions.|
The Branford Folk Music Society posts monthly concert listings on the following web sites and blogs:
americantowns.com at http://www.branford.americantowns.com/
Nonprofit Bulletin at http://www.nhbulletin.blogspot.com/
Branford Folk Music Society
P.O. Box 441
Branford, CT 06405