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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.

Branford Folk Coffeehouse

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. Email: branfordfolk@gmail.com
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.

Lissa Bethany

February 14, 2015: Lissa Schneckenburger and Bethany Waickman

How’s this for a special Valentine’s Day musical outing with that someone special: A night of the dynamic fiddling and melodious singing of New Englander Lissa Schneckenburger, accompanied by the inventive stylings of guitarist Bethany Waickman.

The traditional music of New England can be as warm and comforting as a winter fire or as potent and exhilarating as a summer thunderstorm. Lissa is a master of both moods, a winsome, sweet-voiced singer who brings new life to old ballads and a skillful, dynamic fiddler who captures the driving rhythm and carefree joy of dance tunes old and new. Raised in a small town in Maine, Lissa grew up with music. She began playing fiddle at the age of six, inspired by her mother's interest in folk music and a family friend who was a professional violinist. Soon she was studying with influential Maine fiddler Greg Boardman and sitting in with the Maine Country Dance Orchestra. By the time she was in high school she was playing concerts on her own, specializing in the sprightly New England dance tunes that combine influences from the British Isles and Quebec with homegrown twists that have been evolving since Colonial days.

Another of her major influences was the diverse musical community that she found at fiddle camps, where she had a chance to play with and learn from a wide variety of musicians including noted Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser. She graduated in 2001 from the New England Conservatory of Music with a degree in contemporary improvisation, and since then has been performing around the U.S. and internationally for a growing audience of enthusiastic listeners.

Early in her professional career, Lissa began closely studying the roots of the Downeast traditional music that she first heard as a young girl. The study resulted in a pair of albums dedicated to reintroducing some wonderful but largely forgotten songs and tunes from New England that she uncovered through archival research, including at the University of Maine. “Song” contains ten timeless ballads that go back as far as the 18th century that she set to carefully crafted modern arrangements, while “Dance” features fiddle tunes.

Lissa has also performed with several ensembles, including Childsplay, Halali and the recently formed Low Lily with Liz Simmons and Flynn Cohen, who performed at Branford Folk in spring of 2013.

For this concert, Lissa will be joined by longtime accompanist guitarist Bethany Waickman, who is well known in contradance, square dance and Irish music circles. Bethany, who is Boston-based, also plays with the groups Firefly and Anadama.

March 14, 2015: Beppe Gambetta and Rushad Eggleston

This will be a night of high musical energy. The Branford Folk Music Society is proud to present a rare joint appearance by two master musicians – acclaimed guitarist Beppe Gambetta and Grammy Award-nominated cellist Rushad Eggleston. The duo are presenting a program called “The Old and The New World”, a magical presentation that will traverse the musical road from old Italian songs and dances to American roots music, from new instrumental compositions to original songs for cello and guitar.

This will be Beppe’s third appearance at Branford Folk, where he’s performed to SRO audiences while showcasing his inimitable and award-winning guitar stylings. Hailing from Genoa, Italy, Beppe is respected on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean as one of today’s most distinctive and accomplished acoustic guitarists. He possesses a broad stylistic range that mixes flatpicking and fingerstyle guitar in a variety of unusual and unique tunings. He’s also a fine, understated vocalist who sings in Italian and English.

Likewise, Rushad is a wackily inventive cellist and composer who electrifies audiences wherever he displays his virtuosic technique, infectious showmanship and musical passion. Grounded in classical music but highly influenced by rock, bluegrass, hip-hop and a myriad of other alternative styles, he has taken his chosen instrument to new levels of creativity and accomplishment.

With the horizon’s line as a challenge and attraction, Beppe is continually composing his personal mosaic of sounds and flavours. From his unique background as an Italian musician in love with both American roots music as well as the music of his native country, Beppe has travelled the world and even crossed the former “Iron Curtain” to dazzle and charm music enthusiasts everywhere. After 11 CDs, DVDs, teaching books and collaborations with many other top-flight musicians, Gambetta is increasingly known as one of the true live master innovators of the acoustic guitar.

For his part, Rushad stands in the vanguard of the younger generation of virtuosic cellists who are bringing this relatively unwieldy instrument into the folk and acoustic music spotlight. It’s anyone's guess what may happen when Rushad takes the stage, but we do guarantee one thing: a night of fabulously inventive, supremely virtuosic, endlessly surprising music. He never fails to knock his listeners’ socks off as he ushers them in a joyful, eccentric alternate reality. He challenges the fundamental ideas about musical genres, rules, and boundaries – not to mention appropriate footwear.

Beppe Gambetta

April 18, 2015: Gordon Bok

May 9, 2015: John Roberts and ...


Previous concerts at the Branford Folk Coffeehouse

Branford Folk Photo Gallery

Restaurants in Branford

Lodging in Branford

Volunteers Needed!

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 branfordfolk@gmail.com.

New Board Members Sought

The Board of Directors is currently accepting nominations to fill at large positions on the Board.

  • Qualifications: enjoyment of traditional folk music and desire to see it continue in Branford. Skills in particular areas such as finances, grant writing, small business administration, etc. are welcome but not required. Must become a member of BFMS if not already a member.
  • Responsibilities: attend about eight board meetings a year, attend and help at most of the nine concerts of the season (September through May).
  • Benefits: free attendance when you help out at a concert, decision making contribution to the programming and other issues of the society, opportunity to get to know some wonderful people who are musicians.

Click here for the application form.


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/


Other folk music events in Connecticut and southern New England


Branford Folk Music Society
P.O. Box 441
Branford, CT 06405
http://branfordfolk.org/