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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 produces a bimonthly 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. Please pay at the door – there are no advance sales.

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, 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.

The Branford Folk phone is not functioning at this time. Email: branfordfolk@gmail.com for concert information. If you are wondering if a concert will be held on an evening when the weather is bad, please contact us by email. (There is no one at the church who can give out concert information.) Also, cancellations will be posted on WTNH Channel 8.


Notice!

Because of the risk posed by the COVID-19 virus, the March 28 concert will be cancelled. We will keep you informed concerning the ramaining concerts in our schedule.

This also applies to our "Other Folk Music Events" listings. Please check ahead before venturing out.

To help keep safe, see the CDC guidance at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html for more information.


Bedlam Brothers

April 18, 2020: The Bedlam Brothers String Band

The Bedlam Brothers String Band is a group of four musicians who have played together in one form or another for the last 40 years. Jeff McHugh on banjo, Dave McCann on fiddle, Mike Kachuba on guitar, hammered dulcimer, and accordion, and Geoff Kooris on bass and lap steel guitar are still at it.

The nucleus of the band formed when they were just a few years out of college, in the early 70's. They met quite by accident, living in the same neighborhood, and not knowing it. It all started by getting together to play music on Sunday mornings at each other's houses. Old Time Music seemed to take preference over most other acoustic folk music forms. Old Time is the music that came before Bluegrass. It's a blend of influences, most notably traditional tunes, born out of slavery, played by African American string bands, whose tunes were soon being played by white Southern musicians. Even the banjo, a staple of Old Time and Bluegrass music, is a direct descendant of several African instruments, including the Banjar and the Akonting. The other major component is the wealth of Irish, English, and Scottish fiddle tunes that came over with people who settled in the American rural South and Appalachia. Add to that all the singing traditions that came with these groups and you've got a wonderful and inspiring mix.

So more than 40 years later, with band members and band names come and gone, the four of them still play these old tunes. Along with traditional songs from Appalachia, Ireland, England, and Scotland, Uncle Dave Macon, Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers, Charlie Poole, and countless others, as well as a smattering of 'new' songs written by a Bedlam Brother or a contemporary songwriter that they like to do in their style, are the sources that these songs come from. Fats Waller, Merle Travis, and the Carter Family also find a place on the set lists, along with Steve Earle, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Stephen Foster, and a few more.

In addition to traditional arrangements and other folks' tunes, Mike Kachuba, a former Connecticut State Troubadour, has written more than a few good songs, and they've featured some of his songs onto their CD collections. All of them love to sing, and work things out in four part harmonies. Traditional southern gospel tunes, sea shanties, work songs, and country music from the 20's through the 40's are a usual part of their offerings.

They've played at coffee houses, festivals, town concert series, churches, synagogues, and a few pretty strange events we won't mention here. Audiences have ranged from 20 to over 3,000. Sometimes they look at pictures of themselves and can't believe that they've been making music and have been friends for this long. Many years ago, a concert promoter told them that they were great at what they do, but they'd made a terrible choice for a music career. I guess they couldn't help themselves.

Admission: $20 non-members, $17 members, $5 children 12 and under.

May 9, 2020: Connie Dover and Skip Gorman

The society closes its 2019-20 concert season with another unique pairing of gifted performers: Songstress Connie Dover and Skip Gorman, a singer and player of songs of the American West.

Acclaimed by the Boston Globe as "the finest folk ballad singer America has produced since Joan Baez," Connie is a singer, poet and Emmy Award-winning producer and composer. Her soaring, crystal-clear voice and inspired arrangements of the music of Scotland, Ireland and the early American West display a depth and breadth of range that have established her as one of the world's pre-eminent traditional singers.

Through his music, Skip Gorman brings back to life the workaday world of the cowboys of the American West. His music is not the music of the Hollywood cowboy, but rather the simple, yet beautifully poignant music that was performed around campfires by cowboys and westward settlers in the 19th century. Skip brings to the music a scholar's knowledge of the cowboy's Celtic, Spanish and Afro-American roots as well as the personal experience gained by working as a cowboy on a Wyoming ranch.

Admission: $20 non-members, $17 members, $5 children 12 and under.


Previous concerts at the Branford Folk Coffeehouse

Branford Folk Photo Gallery

Other folk music events in Connecticut and southern New England

Please send event listings to the editor at bshall@cox.net.

HOME HOSPITALITY HOSTS SOUGHT

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 branfordfolk@gmail.com. Hosts receive complimentary admission to the show! Thank you!

BRANFORD FOLK NEEDS VOLUNTEERS

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 branfordfolk@gmail.com.

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 is a member of the Folk Alliance International, the Arts Council of Greater New Haven, and the Shoreline Chamber of Commerce.


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