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:
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.


February 13, 2016: Notorious

The dynamic musical duo known as Notorious returns to Branford Folk after a seven year absence to present a thrilling musical experience in genres that span many continents. Master musicians Eden MacAdam-Somer and Larry Unger comprise Notorious and they are renowned for bringing together traditional and contemporary acoustic music sure to get the audience on their feet and dancing.

With Eden on fiddle and vocals and Larry on guitar and banjo, their music is full of rhythmic drive and melodic candor. Music critics have employed terms such as "sparkling" and "exhilarating" to describe their performances which present a panoply of music from traditional American and Celtic fiddle tunes to jazz, blues, klezmer and Gypsy as well as the duo's vast repertoire of original compositions.

Eden is one of the most exciting and versatile young musicians performing and teaching today. Her music transcends genre through soaring violin and fiddling, vocals, and percussive dance. She has been a featured soloist with symphony and chamber orchestras, jazz and swing bands, and Eastern European and American folk ensembles.

As an educator and composer/improviser, Eden has been a guest artist at such institutions as the Afghanistan National Institute of Music and the Dundalk Institute of Technology, and a featured performer at the Eastborne and Beijing International Music Festivals. She maintains a full-time studio at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where she joined the faculty of the Contemporary Improvisation Department in 2012.

Larry has been a full time musician since 1984 and has presented a diverse range of musical performances at dances, festivals, and concerts across the United States, Canada, France, Scotland, Denmark, and Sweden. He's one of the busiest musicians around, playing for more than 150 dances every year. He has played with many top contra dance bands, including Reckless Abandon, Uncle Gizmo, Big Table, and the Reckless Ramblers, and has accompanied such fiddlers as Judy Hyman, Alasdair Fraser, Elke Baker, Rodney Miller, Matt Glaser, Ralph Blizard, and Vermont's Lissa Schneckenburger who made her debut at Branford Folk in December.

His solo concerts include a wide variety of music, including fingerstyle blues and slide guitar, rags, and old time banjo tunes as well as melodies played on a handful of unusual instruments including banjo-guitar, fretless banjo, and piano-harp. Larry's original waltzes and fiddle tunes have been played and recorded by musicians around the world. He has a great breadth of understanding of traditional music to complement his considerable technical proficiency and enjoys telling stories about the origins of his music and the people who taught him.

He's written more than 600 fiddle tunes and waltzes, many of which have been recorded by one of his bands or by other bands. His tunes are widely played at contra dances everywhere. He has published two books of original tunes.

March 12, 2016: John Kirk and Trish Miller

John Kirk and Trish Miller present fiery fiddle tunes, folksongs and fancy footwork in concert so bring your dancing shoes to this concert which will mark the Branford Folk Music Society debut of this married couple. Determined, as they aptly put it, "to changing the world one tune at a time," they've been performing together since 1988 and have toured throughout the world, from the Grand Canyon to Barbados, from New York City's Carnegie Hall to the Academy of Culture in St. Petersburg, Russia, playing music and singing in concerts, festivals, and schools, and calling contra and square dances. Much of their music is rooted in the local lore of the Northeast woodlands. They have a love of traditional tunes and witty songs.

John's lyric voice, good sense of humor and versatile instrumental skills (fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo, keyboard and ukulele) have earned him widespread recognition in folk and traditional music circles, while Trish is especially known for her clogging and guitar and banjo work. Both call square dances and have taught folk music and dance programs. In 2011, the U.S. State Department selected John and Trish (along with Sara Milonovich and Greg Anderson as Mountain Quickstep) to be touring music ambassadors in Eastern Europe and Turkey.

Both John and Trish teach at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and John has been on the music faculty at Bennington College in Vermont since 1998. Working as a teaching artist in public school music and dance residences has been an important part of John's career. Branford Folk audiences will surely remember him for the 2012 zany and fun-packed concert at the coffeehouse when he was accompanist for balladeer Chris Koldeway.

In addition to his group, Quickstep, John continues touring with the Susquehanna String Band. He is on staff at several music camps and has theatrical experience as a composer, musician and actor. The Dixie Chicks recorded his song, "Long Roads" and John has worked for many years in recording studios as a musician and producer. He has been known do some fancy quicksteppin'.

Trish plays guitar, banjo, dances and sings traditional and original music. She teaches banjo at Skidmore and is also a dance caller and country dance choreographer. She has a diverse repertoire of circle, square, contra and mixer dances. As a member of the Green Grass Cloggers, from Asheville, N.C., Trish learned ensemble footwork and toured extensively. Her rhythmic stepping style is rooted in the Southern mountains with a mix of traditional clogging and more modern percussive steps.

John and Trish

Stacy Phillips

April 9, 2016: Stacy Phillips and His Bluegrass Characters

Grammy Award-winning musician Stacy Phillips returns to Branford Folk for this first concert of spring. He'll be joined by a select group of bluegrass pickers for what will be an exciting night of "folk music in overdrive."

Stacy, a New Haven fixture who's graced the Branford Folk stage many times throughout the society's 42 years, is an internationally renowned fiddler and Dobro player who in 1995 won a Grammy and an International Bluegrass Music Association Award for his featured work on "The Great Dobro Sessions" album. He promises to assemble a five-piece band for this appearance that's expected to include fiddling legend Kenny Kosek and a "surprise" member or two to make for a memorable night.

Stacy is the author of more than 25 books and DVDs on resonator guitars and fiddling, with several of his works considered standard classic texts in their fields. In addition, he's recorded three solo albums and has released an album, "Neo-Urban Traditions" with longtime musical partner Paul Howard that ranges from Brazilian and Hawaiian to klezmer and swing styles. It's indicative of his wide-ranging and inventive musicianship that has earned him accolades throughout the world.

He currently hosts a monthly bluegrass jam at the Outer Space in Hamden that features an ever-changing host of bluegrass "characters" and in recent years he's been playing as a member of the New Haven-based Professors of Bluegrass.

May 14, 2016: David Littlefield

The BFMS concert season will close in May with Dave Littlefield, a Mystic Seaport chanteyman and a member of the highly-regarded sea music quartet, Forebitter. Bring your voice because there no doubt will be plenty of choruses to be sung during this night of sublime music. Dave is a mandolin and guitar wizard, an outstanding songwriter of the Northeast coast, and a fine interpreter of the songs of the late Canadian singer-songwriter Stan Rogers.

House Hoot February 12

The February House Hoot will be at 7:30 on Friday, February 12th, at Sheldon Campbell's house, 85 Heloise St., Hamden, 06517. The theme (for the first round only, and not enforced, merely encouraged), in honor of election season, is Wise Men / Women and / or Fools; after that, it's every man and woman for themselves. Also bring a snack or drink(s) to share; if you're a beer fan, please bring your own, I don't know anything about beer and it'd 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. It's 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.

Sheldon Campbell

Previous concerts at the Branford Folk Coffeehouse

Branford Folk Photo Gallery

Restaurants in Branford

Lodging in Branford

Volunteers Needed!

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 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

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: at
Nonprofit Bulletin at

Other folk music events in Connecticut and southern New England

Please send event listings to the editor at

Branford Folk Music Society
P.O. Box 441
Branford, CT 06405