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. Admission prices are listed for each concert.

To Branford Folk's Members and Friends:
Our admission prices are increasing, for the first time since 2008. Admission prices will be $20 for non-members and $17 for members. The fee for children 12 and under will remain at $5. For concerts where the performer fee is higher than our standard fee schedule admission will be $25 for non-members and $20 for members.
The admission fee increase stems from two major factors: Our rent for the church venue is doubling and artists are seeking increased performance fees. Still, Branford Folk concerts remain a bargain: just compare our admission prices for others' concerts in Connecticut. And, our concerts are even a better bargain if you take out a membership in Branford Folk and get our discounted admission, not only here but also at other select venues.
- The Branford Folk Music Society Board of Directors

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.

Elias Ladino Ensemble

November 12, 2016: Elias Ladino Ensemble

Since 1976, the Elias Ladino Ensemble has performed the songs of the Sephardic Jews in venues all over the world. Though Ladino is on the verge of extinction, in the hands of this ensemble the music remains as vibrant as the community once was. There is a "Ladino soundtrack" for every aspect of life. Many of the songs date back to ancient Spain while some reveal melodies and rhythms of the Balkan and Middle Eastern communities where Sephardic groups lived in exile.

The Elias Ladino Ensemble – Daniel Elias, musical director and clarinet; Maurice Sedacca, guitar and oud; and Casey Bond on doumbek – is one of the very few Sephardic groups whose vocalists are native speakers of Ladino. They are the real thing, having been born and raised in the musical tradition of the Spanish Jews, descendants of the Jews who left the Iberian Peninsula in the late 15th century. Their instrumentalists have mastered "A la Turka" ensemble playing as well as world class solo virtuosity.

The group has performed together since their debut at the Smithsonian Institution's Festival of American Folklife in 1976. Since then they have performed and collected material in every corner of the Ladino-speaking world, including Istanbul, Izmir, Bat Yam, Safed, San Juan, Miami, Toronto, Barcelona, Zaragoza, and at folk festivals, universities, Hispanic institutes, and congregations of many religious denominations. They have appeared at the renowned Sephardic Music Festival in New York City. In performance, they will explain each song and how it fits into Ladino culture, which has grown to encompass the entire Mediterranean rim, and the origin of the songs.

Admission: $25 Non-members, $20 Members, $5 Children 12 and under.

December 10, 2016: Bruce Molsky

He's coming baaaack! It's been six long years since his last Branford appearance, so we are overjoyed that Bruce Molsky, one of the most revered "multi-hyphenated career" ambassadors for America's old-time mountain music, will be with as we close out our 2016 concerts.

Without doubt, Bruce is one of the most influential American folk fiddlers of this generation, not only renowned throughout the world as a master fiddler, but also as a remarkable guitarist, banjo player and vocalist. His high-spirited music melds the archaic mountain sounds of Appalachia, the power of blues and the rhythmic intricacies of traditional African music. A Minneapolis Star-Tribune music critic called him "old-time music's answer to Ry Cooder – a commanding musician with a voracious appetite for traditional music styles."

He's a self-described "street kid" from the Bronx who bailed on college and big city life for a cold-water cabin in Virginia in the 1970s. His mission? To soak up the passion that was dramatically upending his parent's life plan for him – authentic Appalachian mountain music – at the feet of its legendary pioneers, old masters who are now long gone.

For decades, he's been a globetrotting performer, ethnomusicologist and educator, a recording artist with an expansive discography including seven solo albums, well over a dozen collaborations and two Grammy nominations. He's also the classic "musician's musician" – a man who's received high praise from diverse fans and collaborators like Linda Ronstadt, Mark Knopfler, Celtic giants Donal Lunny and Andy Irvine, jazz artist Bill Frisell and Dobro master Jerry Douglas. In short he's a true country gentleman aptly dubbed "the Rembrandt of Appalachian fiddlers" by virtuoso violinist and sometimes bandmate Darol Anger.

Even this year, Molsky continues to pioneer new ground. The debut disc by Molsky's Mountain Drifters, the first band the legendary fiddler has fronted, was just released. In addition, another new release, "Can't Stay Here This a-Way", is a unique CD/DVD collection recorded in Los Angeles for Dave Bragger's Tiki Parlour series. Not a recording session in the traditional sense, Bruce just showed up, sat on a couch while the camera and recording device rolled – capturing all the spontaneity as he casually reeled off and provided insightful comments on traditional favorites and some new offerings. Also on the slate is "Rauland Rambles" from Molsky and Norwegian collaborators, Arto Järvelä and Anon Egeland. This recording, which fuses traditional American roots with Scandinavian folk, comes from an impromptu session set after Bruce performed at this year's Rauland International Winter Festival in Norway.

"Performing and teaching traditional music is the biggest thing in my world," Bruce has said. "For me, being a musician isn't a standalone thing; it informs everything I do in my life. It's always been about being creative and being a part of something much bigger than myself, a link in the musical chain and part of the community of people who play it and love it."

Admission: $25 Non-members, $20 Members, $5 Children 12 and under.

Bruce Molsky

April Verch

January 14, 2017: April Verch Band

While Verch is perhaps best known for playing traditional fiddle styles from her native Ottawa Valley, Canada, her performances extend into old-time American and Appalachian styles and beyond, for a well-rounded tour-de-force of North Americana sounds. Verch tours with world-class musicians as a trio, featuring acoustic guitar, mandolin, bass and clawhammer banjo in addition to Verch's vocals, fiddle and foot percussion. Admission: $25 Non-members, $20 Members, $5 Children 12 and under.

February 11, 2017: Coracree

Coracree melds a transatlantic mix of traditional Celtic, Old-time, European, and original music with a playful, improvisational style. Featuring the lively fiddling of Jane Rothfield, the driving swing of Bill Quern on tenor banjo, mandolin & melodeon, Sarah Gowan's inventive guitar stylings and the melodic and rhythmic stand-up bass playing of Allan Carr. Admission: $20 Non-members, $17 Members, $5 Children 12 and under.


Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem

March 11, 2017: Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem

Harmony, rhythm, indelible songs are the hallmarks of Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem. This band's steadfast brew of wit, camaraderie, and musicality leaves audiences everywhere humming and hopeful, spirits renewed. Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem are Rani Arbo (fiddle, guitar), Andrew Kinsey (bass, banjo, ukulele), Anand Nayak (electric and acoustic guitars) and Scott Kessel (percussion). Admission: $25 Non-members, $20 Members, $5 Children 12 and under.

April 8, 2017: Lou and Peter Berryman

Lou and Peter Berryman are musical humorists who have delighted nationwide audiences for more than thirty-five years. Frequent comparisons to Tom Lehrer, Flanders and Swann, and Gilbert and Sullivan notwithstanding, these two are originals, blending Midwestern culture with intelligent observation in a whimsical and wonderfully accessible performance. Admission: $20 Non-members, $17 Members, $5 Children 12 and under.

Lou and Peter Berryman

Tom Lewis

May 20, 2017 (third Saturday): Tom Lewis

Tom is a 24-year veteran of Her Majesty's Royal Naval diesel submarines; although now he's comfortably located on dry land. His songs cover a wide range of nautical topics, from life on board H.M. ships, through the loneliness and lure of the sea, to traditional shanties and classic nautical poetry, set to his own, and others' melodies. Admission: $25 Non-members, $20 Members, $5 Children 12 and under.

House Hoot October 21

It's coming time to Hoot again.

The October House Hoot will be at 7:30 on Friday, October 21st, (note this is a change from the pre-season date I sent out in August) at Tom Stio and Amy Novick's house. The theme (for the first round only, and not enforced, merely encouraged) is Edifice Complex; any song about or including a building; after that, it's every man and woman for themselves. Also bring a snack or drink(s) to share.

Tom Stio & Amy Novick
95 Jackson Rd.
Hamden, CT

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