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.

The Branford Folk Music Society mourns the loss of Henry Farkas, who passed away on the evening of Wednesday November 23, 2016. Henry was a member of the Branford Folk Music Society's Board of Directors and a good friend. He will be missed.

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. Pay at the door.

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.

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

And even more good news if you love old-time music. Branford Folk will kick the new year of 2017 into high gear on Jan. 14 when it presents dynamic Canadian fiddler, singer and step dancer April Verch in concert.

April knows how relevant an old tune can be. She was raised surrounded by living, breathing roots music – her father's country band rehearsing; the lively music at church and at community dances; the tunes she rocked out to win fiddle competitions. She thought every little girl learned to step dance at the age of three and fiddle at the age of six. She knew nothing else and decided early on that she wanted to be a professional musician.

She took that leap, and for over two decades has been recording and captivating audiences worldwide, exploring new and nuanced places each step of the way. In February, she will release The April Verch Anthology (Slab Town Records), an 18-track collection celebrating her life's work. She hand-picked the songs on this compilation which offer an enchanting mix of regional Canadian, American old-time, bluegrass, country and Americana tracks.

The April Verch Anthology is a testament to the many chapters in April's musical journey: Moving from exuberant stepdancer to fiddle wunderkind and silver-voiced singer; from upstart prodigy to mature and reflective songwriter, interpreter, and storyteller. The compilation is an excursion through April's 1998-2015 recordings, featuring tunes and songs dear to her as well as a healthy dose of fan favorites and two newly recorded tracks.

"Through this anthology, I am reminded of the inspirations with which I began and of the hopes I hold for the future. I take a moment to reflect and to celebrate," she says.

While April 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 far beyond, for a well-rounded tour-de-force of North Americana sounds. She and her fellow trio members pare down their arrangements, highlighting the simple pleasures of upright bass, guitar, clawhammer banjo, voices, fiddle, and stepping in intimate conversation. At the heart lie April's delicate voice, energetic footwork, and stunning playing. Sometimes she sings, steps and fiddles all at once, with apparent ease and precision. She is – as they say – a triple threat in performance.

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. The group features the lively fiddling of Jane Rothfield, the driving swing of Bill Quern on tenor banjo, mandolin and melodeon, Sarah Gowan's inventive guitar stylings and the melodic and rhythmic stand-up bass playing of Allan Carr.

It could very well be a good night for dancing in the aisles at Pilgrim Hall. Coracree (pronounced korah-kree) has garnered impressive praised in dance circles. As the groups notes, "We like to rock out with great chops and driving rhythms that move the dancers and get them yelling whoo! We play music with deep roots and a lot of fun...a mix of traditional and original tunes with a fresh contemporary sound."

Two Coracree members, Jane Rothfield and Allan Carr, have graced the Branford Folk stage in previous years as members of the Red Hen String Band. Jane has performed for many years in both the U.S. and Scotland and England playing old time and Celtic style music. As a dance fiddler, Jane has played dances at numerous festivals such as Old Songs, Champlain Valley, Wheatland Traditional Music Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival and the Dance Flurry Festival. She plays fiddle with her own band, Jane's Gang, JaneBob and Great Big Taters. Her tunes "Too Late for the Bacon" and "Red Hen" won the coveted award for Best Non-Traditional Tune at, respectively, the 2006 and 2010 Clifftop Appalachian Mountain Music Festival Contests.

Allan Carr is originally from Scotland and has deep roots in Celtic music, both as an instrumentalist (guitar and bass) and as an award winning traditional singer. He combines his Celtic musical sense with his 25-plus years of playing old time music with spouse Jane, to contribute to the unique sound of Coracree.

Bill Quern, Corecree's banjo, melodeon and mandolin player, is a dance musician, tune-smith and dancer. His father filled the house with instruments for his ten offspring to explore, so Bill developed into a multi-instrumentalist. He plays for a host of varied dances and plays for Philadelphia's clogging group "Fiddlekicks". He is the foreman of the Kingsessing Morris Men (eight time winners in the Philadelphia Mummer's Parade).

Sarah Gowan plays guitar and English concertina with Coracree, Rumpus, the Big Phat American K-Lee Band, Boxwood, Live Wire, Box and String, and the French dance music group Cabriole. Sarah performs with FiddleKicks and can be seen on MindTV's "World of Dance" featuring Fiddlekicks. She teaches clogging, and traditional couple dancing and has a solid background in vintage dance from performing with the Philadelphia based Vintage dance group, Mixed Pickles.

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 December 9

The December 2016 House Hoot will be at 7:30 on Friday, December 9th, at Bennet Lovett-Graff's house. The song (for the first round only, and not enforced, merely encouraged) should include the name of a recognizable major city. So Chicago, yes. Collinsville, CT, no.; after that, it's every man and woman for themselves. Bennet lives at 352 West Rock Avenue, New Haven. Located at the corner of West Rock Avenue and Whalley Avenue. Best to Google for directions. Local restaurants within walking distance. Also bring a snack or drink(s) to share.

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