Tony Barrand interviewed on MuseMentors Podcast

Seasonal Music and Story-Telling to Warm Your Heart

At this time when the darkness turns toward light, the podcast MuseMentors offer a very special seasonal episode featuring Tony Barrand who is sure to give you a new spin on the season.

Tony Barrand was born in England in 1945 but has lived most of his life in southern Vermont in the vibrant town of Brattleboro—a place that shines all the more brightly because of him. This Cornell PhD and Professor Emeritus of Boston University is not just an academic, but also a singer, dancer, and story-teller.

Tony Barrand offers stories of his mentors and mentees, as well as plenty of music and intriguing tales about seasonal carols. You’ll hear the best Christmas carols you’ve never heard of and will never forget. Guaranteed to brighten your days during this darkest time of year.

Listen for free with this link: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1278755/7001557-tony-barrand-sing-me-a-story-dance-me-a-song

Mummers

☼ ☼ ☼ A Virtual Nelson Solstice Party | Wherever You Are

On Saturday, December 19, 2020, we published our Annual Solstice Party as a collection of YouTube videos. The Monadnock Folklore Society produces this community event every year, and this year we’ll forego the admission and the dessert potluck will be DIY.

In 2019, we had more interest in this event than the Nelson Town Hall could accommodate and many people were turned away at the door. Here is the 2019 Holiday Concert featuring a selection of traditional and original seasonal music performed by The Solstice Sisters (Alouette Iselin, Melanie Everard, Kim Wallach, & Heather Bower) and friends including a performance by our Johnny Trombly Scholarship recipient. 

After the concert, the chairs and benches are usually cleared to make way for a traditional New England Contradance. Unfortunately, or not, the dance is often interrupted by various groups of unsavory characters presenting their idea of seasonal entertainment. These diversions, sometimes involving costumed individuals making complete fools of themselves or performing ancient ritual dances to help us through this dark time of the year, are generally tolerated as once they are applauded and fed we can return to dancing the night away. Last year we had to endure this 2019 Mummer’s Play.

Due to our current circumstances, we are not able to host this event in the traditional manner but we have managed to collect some video performances including Kim’s solo version of the Nelson Wassail and our 2020 Mummer’s Play.

You may also be interested in these videos from previous Solstice concerts:

https://youtu.be/ytHSRV510Ns – harp and hammer dulcimer

https://youtu.be/zvGHVqDU7HY – Green Grows the Holly

https://youtu.be/wdU3NBlvfQY – Let This Be My Prayer

https://youtu.be/sAGjuTFUDMY – Traveler’s Prayer

https://youtu.be/tKWgGlcVlyo  Wassail the Silver Apple

https://youtu.be/4A3guUyKzUk Comfort of Singing Voices

https://youtu.be/0pazXEjvM34 Keep Me Warm Medley

https://youtu.be/5OZEnsU_ICg Children Go Where I Send Thee

https://youtu.be/BlWzz27AQso Walking in the Air

Photo of Nelson Town Hall

A New Song to Sing about Dancing

Lynn Arnold has written a new song

Still We Will Dance

It starts out unexpectedly; the catching of an eye;
A simple question posed by one, the other’s quick reply.
You’ll never guess how much can change, from just that first glance—
A seed is planted with the words, “May I have this dance.”

CHORUS
The seasons turn, the years go by, and so we dance along;
Sometimes the rhythm’s hard to find, sometimes the beat is strong.
The steps may change, the tempo slow, by choice or by chance;
We may not know what lies ahead, but still we will dance.

In early days, it’s hard to know just where a dance might go.
Though tempted to rush through the steps, we keep the rhythm slow.
The future calls, we both agree that we’ll take the chance
And promise to be partners for a lifetime of dance.

A partnership must be a dance in order to succeed.
Sometimes I slip, you hold me up, sometimes I take the lead.
If, through whatever time we have that good fortune grants,
We move together, not against, we can’t help but dance.

A dance may be a waltz or jig, or something like a walk.
As we grow old, it may just be the times we sit and talk.
The dance evolves; it doesn’t mean the end of romance—
We carry on, in our own way, continue to dance.

Life has a rhythm all its own, in all the tunes it plays,
The opportunities to dance a constant through our days.
To live a life that satisfies, fulfills, and enchants,
Just listen for the music and remember to dance.

Words and music by Lynn Arnold © 2020

Still We Will Dance – Lyrics Only

Still We Will Dance, music with words and chords

Audio of the Melody, arranged by Carol Compton

☼ ☼ ☼ CANCELLATION: Cold Chocolate’s Ethan Robbins | Nelson Town Hall

The Monadnock Folklore Society regrets to announce the cancellation of this concert, due to concerns about affecting the spread of COVID-19 in our region.

MFS welcomes Ethan Robbins, the guitarist/songwriter for Boston-based band Cold Chocolate back to the Nelson Town Hall on Friday, March 20 for an 7:30 PM concert. Admission is $15/$12(Sr/Jr).

Ethan Robbins is the guitarist/songwriter of Americana band, Cold Chocolate, a genre-bending Americana band that fuses folk, funk, and bluegrass to create unique a sound all their own.  Ethan began his bluegrass career at Oberlin College where he began to explore how this hard-driving fast-paced genre could be stretched. A classical violinist from age four, Ethan fell in love with the guitar when he turned fourteen and his father bought him five quintessential albums: The Band’s “Music from Big Pink,” Bob Dylan’s “Bringing it all Back Home,” John Hartford’s “Steam Powered Aereo-plane,” Hank Williams “Live at the Grand Ole Opry,” and the Grateful Dead’s “Workingman’s Dead.”  Ever since, Ethan has attempted to bring those raw, rootsy sounds into his own original material.His band, Cold Chocolate, has established itself as a force in the Americana genre.   Ethan and his band have shared bills with Leftover Salmon and David Grisman, and regularly perform at venues and music festivals up and down the East Coast.

☼ ☼ ☼ Windborne | Nelson Town Hall | December 6, 2019

Coming off two years as featured vocalists for Christmas Celtic Sojourn in Boston, as well as a collaboration with Nowell Sing We Clear, Windborne, known for their powerful vocal harmony and stunning original arrangements, presents songs of the season along with their diverse repertoire of music from around the world in this can’t-miss concert.  Windborne has collected and studied polyphonic vocal music for over 15 years from traditional singing masters from cultures around the world, Windborne is able to shift from radically different genres like no band you have ever heard, as comfortable with an improvised Corsican couplet son, as an English protest ballad from the 17th century. Lynn Mahoney Rowan, Will Thomas Rowan, Lauren Breunig, and Jeremy Carter-Gordon share a vibrant energy onstage – their connection to each other and to the music clearly evident. They educate as they entertain, telling stories about the music and explaining the characteristics and stylistic elements of the traditions in which they sing. Join us on Friday, December 6, 2019, 7:30 PM at the Nelson Town Hall for a concert of seasonal music. Admission is $18/$15(Sr/Jr).

While all four singers had other careers, ranging from trapeze artist to dance anthropologist, the outpouring of requests for performances led them to make spreading this music and message their full time work, and they are now touring across the US and UK.

“The best musical discovery of the year…Stunningly powerful vocal harmony in the tradition of the Watersons, The Voice Squad, and Coope, Boyes, and Simpson, Windborne sets a new bar for folk harmony singing today”

-Brian O’Donovan, National Public Radio

☼ ☼ ☼ Catherine MacLellan | Nelson Town Hall | September 14, 2019

Catherine MacLellan will grace the Nelson Town Hall stage on Saturday, September 14 for a 7:30 PM concert. Admission is $18/$15(Sr/Jr).

Catherine MacLellan has become one of Canada’s finest and favourite singer-songwriters on her own merits. She’s kept away from the media circus and celebrity scene, preferring to live at home in rural P.E.I. She’s worked diligently at her craft, releasing a series of remarkable, creative albums, culminating in the Juno Award-winning The Raven’s Sun from 2014, to go along with multiple East Coast Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Awards, and Music PEI Awards. Most impressively, she has chosen to carve out her career path without trading on her family name, that’s pretty hard to do, when your father is one of the country’s most famous songwriters, Gene MacLellan.

I was born to do this, and my father taught me the ways of a songwriter. I first used songwriting as a way to find out who I was. Now with every song I hope to find truth in inspiration and light in the dark.

After releasing her debut album in 2004, Catherine MacLellan earned immediate critical acclaim, winning awards and being labeled “Critics Favourite New Discovery” by Penguin Eggs magazine in 2008. Since then she has toured internationally and her music has been a perennial fixture at the top of Canada’s Roots Music Charts, winning acclaim from international media including the Austin Chronicle, The Boston Globe, BBC Radio, Maverick Magazine and Q Magazine.

“…the Canadian singer-songwriter hearkened Gillian Welch, with guitarist Chris Gauthier playing electric Dave Rawlings to her acoustic strum. Gauthier’s tones wound richly around MacLellan’s crystallized vocals, whether cutting low blues or in delicate trill on tunes like “Isabel’s Song.” Perhaps most remarkable is the sheer effortlessness with which MacLellan and Gauthier unravel the songs..  –    Austin Chronicle, SXSW Review

 

☼ ☼ ☼ Lissa Schneckenburger & Corey DiMario | Nelson Town Hall | July 14, 2019

Lissa Schneckenburger and Corey DiMario will appear in concert at the Nelson Town Hall on Sunday, July 14 at 7:00 PM. Admission is $15/$12(Sr/Jr)/$10 if you pedal, walk or run.

Vermont based fiddler and folk singer Lissa Schneckenburger is well known for her anthemic interpretations of traditional New England fiddle tunes and her recent release of original songs for foster and adoptive families, but this summer she is pairing down and playing duo shows with her husband, double bassist and tenor guitar player Corey DiMario (of Crooked Still, The Sweetback Sisters, and The Karen Casey Band). Although both musicians are long time veterans of the stage, this tour marks the first time they will be traveling to each show via bicycle. Inspired by concerns about climate change, and a community of activists in their hometown of Brattleboro VT, the couple wants to shift environmental conversations from that of fear and denial, to empowerment and creativity, in order to inspire others with ideas of how to move forward as a healthy society. The musical couple will travel to each show on cargo bikes with electric assists, bringing their son, merchandise, and all of their instruments (except a double bass, which will provided at each venue) with them. Audience members that follow suite and arrive at each concert via pedal power will be sold discounted tickets.

The music that Schneckenburger and DiMario make is inspired by other beloved musical duos (like Ani DiFranco and Todd Sickafoos, Chris Wood and Andy Cutting, and young new-comers Jenna Moynihan and Mairi Chaimpbeul). They have crafted an intimate show together with sparse interpretations of both traditional and contemporary music. Selections will include pieces from Schneckenburger’s release, Covers (2013), which is a mix of pop songs re-imagined with the luscious foundation of fiddle and bass on each selection, as well as her newest album Thunder in My Arms (2019) which is a song cycle of original songs written for foster and adoptive families about attachment, developmental trauma, and resiliency.

The two first met sixteen years ago in the Klezmer ensemble at The New England Conservatory in Boston, and have played and recorded together in a variety of ensembles ever since. As Schneckenburger explains, “although performing with a big band can be exhilarating and really fun, we’re looking for a deeper connection to our favorite music with this duo approach… stripping back the layers to find the bones of each piece and appreciate it’s simple beauty.” She continues, “Many musicians are self conscious about the carbon footprint of their touring lifestyle, but uncertain how to make changes that will be sustainable both for their careers and for the environment. It’s certainly challenging, but we want to be part of the solution, and I’m certain we’ll have a lot of fun in the process.”

If you’re interested in learning more, check out some of the amazing organizations that exist both locally (http://www.vbikesolutions.org, https://350vermont.org) and internationally (https:// sustainabletouringarts.org). The musicians encourage you to come out and support the music, in addition to contacting your state and national legislators to ask for better infrastructure for alternative transportation (biking, walking, and public transit) and an end to new fossil fuel infrastructure and subsidies.

For more information, please visit Lissa’s website at www.lissafiddle.com

 

☼ ☼ ☼ High Drive | Nelson Town Hall on Sunday, March 24, 2019

On Sunday, March 24 at 3:00pm in the afternoon the band High Drive will perform a concert anchored in Celtic music, with some enticing diversions into folk songs, gospel,  and original fiddle tunes at the Nelson Town Hall. Admission is $18/$15(Sr/Jr).

The band is a result of fiddler Bonnie Bewick and pianist Gordon Peery meeting at Maine Fiddle Camp. After playing a single set of Scottish tunes together they knew they wanted to have the opportunity to play a full concert, exploiting their broad and diverse musical experiences. Filling out the band is bassist Larry Wolfe.

Bonnie Bewick enjoys playing many different musical genres. She has been a violinist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1987. She plays with the folk orchestra Childsplay, and performs in a folk duo, “Frame”, with her brother, singer-songwriter Ken Bewick. The concert will feature several of her original tunes.

Larry Wolfe once conducted an ensemble of eighty bass players at Disneyland in his own arrangements of Disney tunes.  As a composer, he has numerous popular songs and three musicals to his credit. Larry is the assistant principal bassist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Gordon Peery’s piano playing brings an orchestral energy to performances. He was a founding member of the bands Fresh Fish (with fiddler Kerry Elkin), the New Hampshire Fiddlers Union, and Trip to Nelson. He also plays in jazz, blues, and rock and roll ensembles.

The trio will be joined by singer Jazimina MacNeil for some songs.

Members of Windborne

☼ ☼ ☼ Windborne at the Nelson Town Hall Saturday September 8, 2018

The Monadnock Folklore Society presents internationally acclaimed vocal band Windborne making an appearance at the Nelson, NH Town Hall on Saturday, September 8 at 8:00 PM. They are touring in support of their new project: Song on the Times: A Songbook and Album for Social Struggle. Admission is $15/$12(Sr/Jr).

Windborne was catapulted to wider recognition after a video of them singing a protest song from the 1840s outside Trump Tower went viral, gaining over a million views between YouTube and Facebook. Windborne had set out to raise $5,000 for the project, but ended up raising over $80,000 from 2,600 people, from every state, and 22 countries around the world!

“Picking up the torch of folk protest music…old songs for new struggles”

Song on the Times is an illustrated songbook and album that collects music from working class movements for peoples’ rights in the US and UK over the past 400 years, and sings them for the struggles of today. The album features Windborne’s richly harmonized arrangements, accompanied by a book of beautifully illustrated lyrics and music alongside guest essays providing historical context from activists, singers, and scholars such as Eliza Carthy, Reggie Harris, John Sayles, Tony Barrand, and more.

The album has been getting rave reviews; SingOut! Magazine named it “One of the Best Albums of 2017 and praises Windborne as “Some of the finest singers of protest and folk music that I have ever heard.” No Depression writes: “Completely enthralled with them from the first notes…their harmonies are gorgeous,” and Blues and Roots Radio calls Song on the TimesSpectacularly good…utterly brilliant, a hugely impressive album.

 While all four singers had other careers, ranging from trapeze artist to dance anthropologist, the outpouring of requests for performances led them to make spreading this music and message their full time work, and they are now touring across the US and UK, with performances in 20 states this year. Their performance in Nelson is sure to be a highlight that will amaze and delight audiences! Full schedule at windbornesingers.com/events

☼ ☼ ☼ Summer Solstice Concert | Nelson Town Hall | June 23, 2018

The Solstice Sisters return for a celebration of the Summer Solstice on Saturday, June 23, 2018 at 8:00 PM at the Nelson Town Hall. Admission is $15/$12(Sr/Jr).

 

Alouette Iselin, Melanie Everard, Kim Wallach, and Heather Bower have been a mainstay of our Winter Solstice party for years, presenting a program of original and traditional and sometimes just wacky seasonal music. They decided that getting together for the solstice concert was so much fun that it was a shame it was only once a year. But wait …….. there are two solstices in the calendar year, what better excuse could there be?

So come celebrate the Summer Solstice, Fathers Day, the end of black fly season, St. John’s Day, the longest day of the year, Midsummer, Ivan Kupala night, Wianki, Jani, the shortest night of the year, the Red Sox or whatever floats your boat with a selection of music that only the Solstice Sisters could put together.