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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 non-members, $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.

Gordon Bok

April 18, 2015: Gordon Bok

Renowned folksinger Gordon Bok, characterized by Time magazine as the “poet laureate of those who go down to the sea,” returns to Branford Folk in April during a swing through the Northeast as Gordon winds up his touring career this spring. He says that while there will still be the occasional concert, he has decided it’s time to retire from official performance tours. Admission to what can be described as a truly bittersweet event for us all is $20 for the general public, $15 for members, and $5 for children age 12 and under.

Gordon hails from Camden, Maine, and has been preserving the musical traditions of the sea for five decades as a performer. His music is largely self-taught and a Bok trademark remains his rich, resonant, mahogany bass-baritone voice. He accompanies himself on 6- and 12-string guitars as well as the “cellamba” – a cross between a cello and a bass viol de gamba – which he designed.

His repertoire consists of a rich trove of well-crafted ballads of Maine and the Maritimes, songs and dances from abroad, contemporary songs, stories of boats and sailors and tales of supernatural seal-folk. He is also renowned as a superb storyteller.

Gordon has recorded over two dozen albums, both solo and with other musicians, and is part of the fabled folk trio of Bok, Muir and Trickett. His solo and trio albums appear on Folk-Legacy Records of Sharon and his own Timberhead label. He has appeared in concert with artists as diverse as the Paul Winter Consort and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and he has been a guest on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” public radio show.

Gordon is a longtime favorite with the 41-year-old Branford Folk Music Society audiences, with his appearances at the society dating back to the early 1970s.

In the words of one music critic, “If the sea had a voice with which to sing, it would be the voice of Gordon Bok.”

May 9, 2015: John Roberts and Tony Barrand

It has been simply too long – would you believe nearly seven years! – since the Branford Folk Music Society presented John Roberts and Tony Barrand, the duo that has been widely acclaimed for nearly five decades as among the primary exponents living in the United States of traditional English folksong.

For those who might not be familiar with this duo (and we believe that’s a very few), they are known for their lively, humorous and entertaining presentations and exquisite unaccompanied two-part harmony singing. John and Tony perform the ballads and songs of the sea, of rural pursuits, of social and sociable situations and of industrial toil and strife. They typically arrange their material thematically to emphasize the stories, history and folklore behind the songs. They draw at times upon a variety of instrumentation to accompany their singing, including Anglo and English concertinas, guitar, banjo and percussion.

John and Tony, both English born and raised, have been singing together since 1969, when serendipity brought them together as graduate students in psychology at Cornell University. In their many years together as a professional team, they’ve recorded with a number of companies including Swallowtail Records, Front Hall, Folk-Legacy Records, National Geographic, and most recently, Golden Hind Music.

These recordings include a critically-acclaimed album of authentic sea shanties, an album of drinking songs recorded live in a Chicago tavern, “An Evening at the English Music Hall”, and a host of albums of songs from their celebrated Christmas pageant, Nowell Sing We Clear. They have also recorded a selection of the songs that the composer Percy Grainger collected in Lincolnshire during the early years of last century and a collection of songs by Rudyard Kipling.

Their latest duo recording is “Twiddlum Twaddlum”, a live performance CD that celebrated their 35th anniversary as performers. John has released a solo album of sea music called “Sea Fever” on Golden Hind Records and Tony recently collaborated with Keith Murphy on the album entitled “On the Banks of the Coldbrook: Atwood Family Songs”, a collection of songs written by Dover, Vermont resident James K. Atwood.

John and Tony

House Hoot March 29

The March House Hoot will be at 4:30 in the afternoon on Sunday, March 29th, at Barbara and Bjorn Ljungstrom’s house. The theme (for the first round only, and not enforced, merely encouraged) is FLOWERS; after that, it’s every man and woman for themselves. Also bring a snack or drink(s) to share.

The address is 122 Court St., Unit #13, New Haven.

Directions: Trumbull St. Exit, turn left on Orange St. , pass Elm St., turn onto Court St. next left, 122 is center of block, on the right. Access is from keypad Dobay #13 to come in door. Elevator on left, second floor, #13. Street parking on Sundays in New Haven is free, or there are parking lots on Court, State and Orange.

Sheldon Campbell


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/