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 produces a bimonthly 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. Admission prices are listed for each concert. Please pay at the door – there are no advance sales.
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 9, 2017: North Sea Gas
We're kicking off our 44th season of concerts in super-high gear with a return visit from North Sea Gas, one of Scotland's most popular folk bands. Ronnie MacDonald, Grant Simpson and Dave Gilfillan comprise North Sea Gas and in concert they bring along guitars, mandolins, fiddles, bouzoukis, whistles, bodhrans, banjos and cracking senses of humor. They last visited Branford Folk in 2013 and it was standing room only!
North Sea Gas is known for their energetic repertoire that incorporates lively vocals and awe-inspiring three-part harmonies. The trio has been together for more than 35 years and has recorded 20 albums, the latest entitled "When We Go Rolling Home" released just this summer.
In the same way as their albums, their show features traditional, contemporary and self-penned material. North Sea Gas is a hard touring band with regular swings through Scotland, America, Canada, Germany and Austria, and occasional extended tours that take them around the globe. In 2008, they recorded for Chinese television with an estimated audience of 800 million! Their Branford appearance is part of a six-week tour in the U.S.
The group has received numerous Gold and Silver disc awards from the Scottish Music Industry Association and regularly sells out shows at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Their album "The Fire and The Passion of Scotland" won the 2013 Album of the Year bestowed by the Celtic Radio Music Awards in the U.S. as well as a first place in the "Jigs and Reels" category for a set of tunes on the album.
As Irish music journalist and broadcaster John O'Regan put it ".....they inherit the mantle vacated by The Corries and The McCalmans with tight vocal harmonies and well-chosen material.... most commendable about North Sea Gas is their ability to balance up tempo material with quieter more thoughtful moments and treat each with commitment and professionalism."
Admission: $25 non-members, $20 members, $5 children 12 and under.
October 14, 2017: Joel Mabus
It's been far too many years since Michigan's Joel Mabus graced the Branford stage in 2005 with his impeccable musicianship, warm humor and storytelling and fine songwriting. Now he's finally making a return visit.
A one-off in the folk world, Joel defies any easy pigeon-hole. His palette ranges from mountain banjo to jazz guitar – from sensitive introspection to wicked satire. He's both picker and poet, and from coast to coast over the past 40 years this Midwesterner has brought audiences to their feet, wanting more.
He's the son of a 1930's old time fiddle champ and a banjo-pickin' farm girl. His performing career began in college during the Vietnam Era, where he studied anthropology and literature by day and played coffeehouses by night. One critic writes, "Joel Mabus knows his way around the English language and American culture just as well as he knows his way around a fretboard."
His roots may be in American old-time music, yet his music speaks to the times we live in. Born in 1953 in the southern Illinois town of Belleville, Joel has recorded 25 solo albums of original and traditional music since his recording career started in 1978. His latest recording released early this summer is "Different Hymnals", a collection of tunes representing a wide variety of inspiration and traditions, different dogma and creeds. His previous release was 2015's "A Bird In This World", a guitar-driven album of original songs exploring the blues.
"Performing Songwriter" magazine described Mabus this way: "His sharp writing and soft singing have an amused and gently knowing quality that suggests Garrison Keillor or Jean Shepherd. In fact, Mabus might've simply become a storyteller, had he not wielded such a rock-solid guitar pick, versatile among several traditional genres."
Admission: $20 non-members, $17 members. $5 children 12 and under.
November 11, 2017: Bob Zentz
Beloved performer Bob Zentz, who has been described as a one-man minstrel show, brings his smorgasbord of contemporary, traditional and original songs and stories to Branford Folk in November.
From schools to concert halls, festivals to fairs, museums to libraries, and everywhere in between, Bob is dedicated to a life of presenting, performing and introducing traditional music and its derivatives to those who are already fans – and those unaware of its existence.
Bob has been described in many ways, all of them right on and to the point:
Zentz, who hails from the Tidewater region of Virginia, has been performing for more than five decades and offers up a program that is a unique testimony to this vast repertoire and varied personal interests. Concertgoers can expect to hear a concert that includes traditional Celtic tunes and ballads, science fiction songs, sea chanteys, tales of "old timers and old rhymers", and poetry set to music.
Two of the most storied songwriters of the 20th century praised Bob's work, each in his own way. Upon hearing Bob's first recorded release, "Mirrors and Changes" (on Connecticut's Folk-Legacy Records) country music legend Johnny Cash was moved to send the young artist an encouraging letter, saying, "Mirrors and Changes" ... is one of the finest works I've heard by any artist." And in 2007, at a symposium at the Library of Congress American Folklife Center honoring members of the Seeger family for their contributions to American music, music legend and humanitarian Pete Seeger asked Bob, "Are you still writing those good songs? Your songs get around!"
In February of this year, Bob became the first folk artist ever honored by a star in the Virginia "Legends of Music Walk of Fame" in his hometown of Norfolk.
Admission: $20 non-members, $17 members. $5 children 12 and under.
Love of Sicilian and Southern Italian roots music is what drives Rosa Tatuata
to passionately interpret the traditions and melodies of their ancestors. Just
as their name comes from Tennessee Williams' beloved play about the happy,
raucous collision of immigrant and American cultures; likewise Rosa Tatuata's
performances mingle Old and New World.
With an enchanting mix of ballads and dance tunes, Rosa Tatuata will take your imagination to sunbathed Southern Italy and the clear, crystal-blue waters surrounding Sicily.
With their eloquent voices and expert musicianship, John Roberts and Debra Cowan bring to life songs seldom heard on TV or radio these days. Drawn from both the folk tradition and the work of contemporary songwriters, many of these songs tell of the timeless joys and sorrows of human experience. They offer windows into where we've come from and perhaps where we're headed. Both John and Debra can spin a ripping good yarn and whether illuminating, inspiring, or laugh-out-loud funny, their stories convey their love of the songs and the people who've sung them over the years, decades – and in some cases centuries.
Internationally and nationally acclaimed Toby Walker has been hailed as an award winning, roots music fingerstyle guitar virtuoso and songwriter who has toured the US, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, Cyprus and Holland. Blending the styles of blues, ragtime, country, bluegrass, old-time jazz and rock, Walker has a style of his own and as such received numerous awards, including being the 1st place recipient of the International Blues Challenge Award – Solo division – given out by the Blues Foundation in Memphis TN.
Since 1971 Bob has traveled the country taking old time music to audiences of all ages at festivals, fairs, concerts, dances, schools, libraries, music camps, radio and TV programs. This is rural music as played in homes, at dances and for earlier entertainments such as minstrel shows and country radio. Along with a repertoire including dance tunes, ballads, cowboy songs, humorous and sentimental numbers, blues and rags, he spices their shows with stories, history and folklore. Bob sings (yodels, too) and plays guitar, harmonica, banjo and autoharp.
Matthew Byrne was born into a family of Newfoundland music makers and his repertoire is heavily influenced by his unique musical lineage. This tradition thrives on the song – the weaving of a great story with a beautiful melody – and Matthew's music reminds us how satisfying traditional songs can be when stripped down to these basic elements. His live performance offers tasteful and honest interpretations of folk songs delivered with polished guitar work and powerful vocals. His repertoire transcends time and place with traditional songs from both sides of the Atlantic.
The dynamic father-son duo Ken & Brad Kolodner weave together a captivating soundscape on hammered dulcimer, banjo and fiddles pushing the boundaries of the Old-Time tradition into uncharted territory. Regarded as one of the most influential hammered dulcimer players and Old-Time fiddlers in North America, Baltimore's Ken Kolodner has joined forces with his son Brad Kolodner, a rising star in the clawhammer banjo world. Together, they infuse their own brand of driving, innovative, tasteful and unique interpretations of traditional and original fiddle tunes and songs.
Previous concerts at the Branford Folk Coffeehouse
Branford Folk Photo Gallery
Restaurants in Branford
Lodging in Branford
BRANFORD FOLK NEEDS VOLUNTEERS!
Branford Folk Coffeehouse performers are often provided overnight accommodations by volunteers in their homes. However, some performers are very sensitive to furry critters, so if you can provide overnight accommodations in a pet-free environment, please let us know, either at a concert or by email at email@example.com. Hosts receive complimentary admission to the show! Thank you!
Wanna be on our Board?
The all-volunteer Board of Directors of the Branford Folk Music Society is looking for new members with a passion for traditional and tradition-based folk music and the skills to help us bring the joy of that music to wider audiences. We are seeking interested people with the time and willingness to take an active role in creating awareness of Branford Folk Music Society events in Connecticut, particularly in the broader shoreline community, and with skills to complement those of members of the current Board. These could include experience in public relations, arts or events coordination (not necessarily in music), outreach or fundraising; or connections with media, historical and cultural organizations in the New Haven area and towns along the shoreline. Anyone interested should contact us at 203-488-7715 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Branford Folk Music Society is a member of the
Folk Alliance International,
the Arts Council of Greater New Haven and the Shoreline Chamber of Commerce.
|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/
Please send event listings to the editor at email@example.com.
Branford Folk Music Society
P.O. Box 441
Branford, CT 06405