Nov 202017
 

On Saturday, December 16, we’ll hold our Annual Solstice Party starting at 7:00 PM. The Monadnock Folklore Society brings this community event to the Nelson Town Hall each year, admission is $5, and treats are appreciated for the dessert potluck. This year the evening will begin with a 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; as part of the concert, 2017 Johnny Trombly Scholarship recipient Elias Elliot will perform. The Folklore Society invites you to bring along your favorite holiday dessert and we’ll supply the beverages for the intermission. After the concert the chairs and benches are 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.

 Posted by on November 20, 2017 at 6:35 pm
Oct 092017
 

Jeff Warner, photographed at Strawbery Banke Museum, Portsmouth, NH.
Photograph by Ralph Morang

The Monadnock Folklore Society presents a concert on Friday, November 10th, commemorating the 250th anniversary of the founding of the town of Nelson, featuring folklorist Jeff Warner performing Songs of Old New Hampshire.

Drawing heavily on the repertoire of traditional singer Lena Bourne Fish (1873-1945) of Jaffrey and Temple, New Hampshire, Jeff Warner offers the songs and stories that, in the words of Carl Sandburg, tell us “where we came from and what brought us along.” These ballads, love songs and comic pieces, reveal the experiences and emotions of daily life in the days before movies, sound recordings and, for some, books. Songs from the lumber camps, the decks of sailing ships, the textile mills and the war between the sexes offer views of pre-industrial New England and a chance to hear living artifacts from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Jeff Warner connects 21st-century audiences with the music and everyday lives of 19th-century people. Warner accompanies his songs on concertina, banjo, guitar and several “pocket instruments,” such as bones and Jew’s harp. Warner is a Folklorist and Community Scholar for the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and was a 2007 State Arts Council Fellow. He has toured nationally for the Smithsonian Institution and has recorded for Flying Fish/Rounder Records and other labels. Jeff Warner’s web page: http://www.jeffwarner.com

The concert begins at 8:00 PM and admission is free thanks to the generosity of the Town of Nelson and a grant from the New Hampshire Humanities Council.

The concert will take place in the historic Town Hall in Nelson, NH at 7 Nelson Common Road. For more information call 603-762-0235 or visit http://monadnockfolk.org.

 Posted by on October 9, 2017 at 4:03 pm
Sep 152017
 

Several people interviewed for this story described contra dancing as what you would see in a Jane Austen film. That might be more accurate if Jane Austen’s characters danced barefoot, wore Fitbits and moved so vigorously they had to stop to dry their face off with a towel or change their clothes. And if they cared less about class. While Jane Austen’s characters are typically nobility and spend much of their time concerned with status, this dance feels uniquely egalitarian.

http://www.nhmagazine.com/September-2017/Swing-Shift/

 Posted by on September 15, 2017 at 11:02 am
Aug 142017
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join us for an evening of Cape Breton music featuring Troy MacGillivray and Mac Morin on Wednesday, September 13 at 7:30 PM in the Nelson Town Hall.

Admission is $18/$15(Sr/Jr)

Troy MacGillivray of Lanark, Nova Scotia, came into this world with a birthright. Heir to the centuries-old music his Scottish ancestors brought to Canada over 200 years ago, he has become a master of the fiddle and piano traditions that have been passed down through the generations. Audiences around the world have been captivated by the flying fingers and energetic pace of this multiple award winner…and if you’re lucky, you just might get a little step or two out of him! From a young age, he impressed audiences with his fiddle, piano and step dancing skills.

Troy’s roots-centered approach to playing has the power to inspire any audience. This is repeatedly proven in his performances in Canada (including Nunavut), the US and UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan and Australia. Troy’s musical prowess can be attributed to a deep commitment to musical craft built upon the foundation of an impressive bloodline. The Lanark MacGillivrays and MacDonalds have been proprietors of the Gaelic tradition in North Eastern Nova Scotia for decades. Troy’s immediate family have all displayed their musical talents by joining him on both the stage and in the studio.

As with most Cape Breton musicians, music for Mac Morin started early and was humbly nurtured in the home. Step dancing came first, with his earliest steps and guidance provided for by his mother, Mary Catherine, herself a noted dancer who toured the UK and performed at the the World Expo in Montreal in 1967.

By 15, Mac was known as one of Cape Breton’s finest dancing performers and began teaching traditional dance in Cape Breton. He continues to travel through out Canada, the US and Europe teaching/performing the traditional dancing of the Island with recent workshops at the Gaelic College (Cape Breton), Sabhal Mor Ostaig (Scotland), and the University of Limerick (Ireland). He has also recently performed several tours with Dannsa, a Scottish dance/music ensemble during the winters of 2009-2013.

Although piano was not his first display of the Cape Breton culture, it has become another element that Mac is now known for. Since he began to play nearly 20 years ago, he has managed to record and tour with many great performers including Yo-Yo Ma, the Rankin Family, Ashley MacIsaac, Allison Krauss, Dianna Krall, the Cheiftains, Art Garfunkle, and many more. He was a cofounder/coproducer of the Cape Breton traditional group, Beolach, whose 2 albums were nominated for East Coast Music Award (ECMA). He has most recently recorded with Natalie MacMaster on her ECMA award winning album, Cape Breton Girl, and continues to tour with her throughout North America and Europe. On rare occasions when he is home in Cape Breton, he is highly sought after to lend his skills at dances, concerts, ceilidhs, and the house parties.

Not only a performing artist, Mac produced and recorded a self titled album (released in 2004) that was nominated for an ECMA and is now in preproduction on another future release.

 Posted by on August 14, 2017 at 7:01 pm
Jul 102017
 

The Monadnock Folklore Society & Tricinium Present

Keith Murphy
as Dudley Laufman
In the world premiere performance of
The Dancingmaster of Canterbury

Keith Murphy with guitar

Keith Murphy (photo by Kiqe Bosch)

Dudley Laufman at Newport (photo by Murry Lerner, courtesy of David Millstone)

Dudley Laufman at Newport (photo by Murry Lerner, courtesy of David Millstone)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Larry Siegel’s latest Verbatim Musical Theater Portrait
Featuring Dudley’s own words, Sung by Keith,
Accompanied by Becky Tracy and Larry Siegel
with original choreography by Mary DesRosiers 

The evening also features Keith and Becky in a solo set of songs and tunes
Tickets will be available at Brownpapertickets.com
Saturday, September 23, 2017
8:00 pm at the Peterborough Town Hall
Peterborough, NH
General Admission: $20 in advance, $24 at the door

Tickets available for purchase at Brown Paper Tickets

 

Second Show added in Putney at Next Stage on Sunday September 24th

For tickets to the VERMONT show, use this link.

 Posted by on July 10, 2017 at 11:15 am
Jun 182017
 

Dudley Laufman at Newport (photo by Murry Lerner, courtesy of David Millstone)

The Dancingmaster: Portrait of Dudley Laufman

We are seeking crowdfunding donations to support this exciting project, click on the link to make a secure donation using the Hatch Fund:
https://www.hatchfund.org/project/the_dancingmaster

Keith Murphy plays Dudley Laufman in an original musical theater work by Lawrence Siegel: September 23rd, 8 P.M., Peterborough Town House; September 24th, 7 P.M. Next Stage, Putney VT. Tickets will be available later this summer.

The Dancingmaster is a whimsical musical portrait of the legendary contra dance caller, Dudley Laufman. Dudley almost single-handedly provided the link between the old days of rural contradancing in the hamlets of New England, and the vibrant network of dances taking place every week throughout the United States and beyond. The Dancingmaster tells his story in his own words, adapted by composer Lawrence Siegel from his interview with Dudley in 2011. The character “Dudley” is played by the great traditional musician, Keith Murphy. Becky Tracy and Larry Siegel provide the musical accompaniment. Mary DesRosiers, a dancingmaster in her own right, creates original choreography performed by a group of traditional dancers from the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire.

These premiere performances are jointly sponsored by the Monadnock Folklore Society, Next Stage, and the Brattleboro Music Center. They will appeal to fans of traditional music and dance and at the same time to audiences for musical theater and classical music.

The story of The Dancingmaster is of a self-made, independent person finding a home and a life in rural New England: a life focused on the simple gifts of time to build your own house, garden, play music and dance, to develop pursuits out of step with the hectic pace of contemporary life. Dudley, as well as most of those participating in this production, exemplifies and champions these virtues.

The name Dudley Laufman is so closely associated with the contra and barn dances of New England that most long-term residents refer to local gatherings as “Dudley Dances.” Two forms of community dances evolved in New England — contra dances, done in lines with partners facing one another, and square dances featuring sets of four couples. After the Revolutionary War, dances such as these, associated with England, fell out of favor, except in the rural areas of the Northeast where they continued to occur in informal settings such as kitchen parties and barn dances. Laufman came to New Hampshire in 1947 to work at a dairy farm and began to attend these local dances. He called his first dance in 1948 and soon started his own musical group for the dances, which later became the Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra. Ernest Thompson, New Hampshire resident and author of On Golden Pond, succinctly conveys Laufman’s contributions to New England dance: “I think Dudley Laufman belongs in the pantheon of genuine American artists. He belongs in Franconia Notch, the real Old Man of the Mountain.”

A native of Newfoundland, Keith Murphy’s traditional song repertoire is based in Eastern Canada and Quebec as well as his current home, Vermont. He is also renowned for his work as a multi instrumentalist, including his distinctive Irish style guitar playing, French Canadian piano, as well as his work as a mandolin player. He is an accomplished composer and arranger in the realm of traditional music and has also composed for theater and film. Several of his compositions have been featured on the recent Ken Burns documentary on the Roosevelts. Keith is a faculty member of the Brattleboro Music Center and the artistic director of the BMC’s Northern Roots Traditional Music Festival in Brattleboro Vermont which he founded in 2008.
Becky Tracy has been a defining presence in some of the most popular and innovative contra dance bands to come out of New England, being the fiddler for both Wild Asparagus and Nightingale. Her sound is unmistakable: a distinctive clarity of tone, a rhythmic attack owing much to French Canadian playing and the melodic quality of Irish music.

Mary DesRosiers is a New Hampshire native who has been calling traditional American dances for over thirty years. She has taught the contra and square dances and singing games of New England to audiences of all ages in town halls, schools, and at music festivals around the country. Mary previously collaborated on choreography for Lawrence Siegel’s opera Village Store Verbatim, a work which served as inspiration for many towns across the country to research, write, and stage their own folk histories. Mary is dedicated to preserving the heritage of old-time music and dancing for all to share.

Lawrence Siegel is a composer, theater artist, traditional musician, and creator of a range of music through collaboration and innovation. For more than 25 years, in leading his Verbatim Project, he has facilitated and empowered groups to create original music-theater performances in their own voice, ranging from the quirks of small-town life in New England, to the redemptive telling of the Holocaust story through the acclaimed oratorio, Kaddish. Siegel’s Verbatim projects have been widely recognized as unique examples of public art.

These premiere performances are jointly sponsored by the Monadnock Folklore Society, Next Stage, and the Brattleboro Music Center. They will appeal to fans of traditional music and dance and at the same time to audiences for musical theater and classical music.

The Dancingmaster is not to be missed. We seek your support to pave the way to our two scheduled performances in September: September 23rd at the Peterborough Town House, in Peterborough, NH, sponsored by the Monadnock Folklore Society, and September 24th in collaboration with Next Stage Theater in Putney, VT. Our minimum goal is $3,500; our stretch goal is $6,500. These funds will directly support the excellent artists performing The Dancingmaster for you.

https://www.hatchfund.org/project/the_dancingmaster

Thanks so much for your interest and support!

 Posted by on June 18, 2017 at 2:57 pm
Jun 112017
 

Join us for on Thursday, August 3 at 7:30 PM for an exciting evening of music with Night Tree. Admision is $18/$15(Sr/Jr).

Rooted in original works spanning from the Celtic world, sextet Night Tree creates original music that borrows from the Swedish, Jewish and American folk tradition. Night Tree includes the dark resonance of the cello, baritone saxophone, and cajón meeting with the drones of

accordion and intertwining with the soaring melodies of dueling fiddles. Contrast is created with the replacement of the baritone saxophone with the soprano saxophone, adding another fiddle-like melodic instrument to the mix. Drawing from an unusually diverse mix of musical backgrounds, Night Tree has discovered a sound both colorfully and resonantly different while delving into the realm of harmonies and rhythm that range from edgy to inviting, both unheard of and timeless.

 

Night Tree, named the 2016-2017 Wildcard Honors Ensemble at the New England Conservatory (NEC), first began in a practice room starting with just fiddle, cajon, and accordion. It quickly expanded to include an additional fiddle player, cellist, and baritone saxophone. This creative and spiritually connected band held early rehearsals in complete darkness to have an unobscured focus on developing their musical and aural connection. These rehearsals guided them as they targeted each other’s individual sounds. Duos and trios formed within the ensemble, as well as building and molding the sound of the band. Rehearsals consisted from free improvisations to traditional Irish jig-to-reel sets and everything in between, as can be heard in their arrangement ‘Ships’, which surrounds two traditional tunes about actual ocean vessels with improvisational sections that depict a shipwreck.

 

 

Night Tree are:

Lily Honigberg – violin

Chris Overholser – violin       

Zach Mayer – bari and soprano sax, voice

Sunniva Brynnel – accordion & voice

McKinley James – cello

Julian Loida – percussion

 Posted by on June 11, 2017 at 9:11 am
May 262017
 

The Nelson 250th Anniversary Committee invites the community to an all-day celebration of the town’s history on Saturday, July 8th. Activities begin at 10 AM and continue until 7 PM.

At 10 AM and again at 2 PM, there will be a presentation on the history of the Nelson Congregational Church, to be held at the Church.

At 12 noon, local dignitaries will gather for the bell ringing in the Old School House and the reading of proclamations from legislators.

The Ebenezer Hinsdale Garrison Re-enactment Group will provide a living history “day in the life” of ordinary folks from the time of the early days of Nelson. Wearing traditional clothing of the mid-18th century, they will demonstrate such things as cooking over an open fire, sewing, embroidery, making a broom, making a basket, butter churning, candle dipping, children’s games, music, demonstrating what a soldier or scout would carry, and possibly even musket firing.

There will be an exhibit of Things Made and Used in Early Nelson from clothespins to samplers at the Old Library.

R.P. Hale, Colonial Printer, will be operating an antique printing press and selling wood-cut prints.

The Nelson Fire Department will sell food for lunch to raise funds, and from 3 to 5 PM, there will be an Ice Cream Social ($5.00 to benefit the church) and Town Band Concert on the Nelson Congregational Church lawn.

Beginning at 5 PM, a Colonial Dance will be held in the Nelson Town Hall taught by Allison Aldrich Smith, Mistress of Dance. Music provided by Hunt Smith and R. P. Hale on instruments of their own making. Period dress encouraged but not required.

All ages are welcome. Admission is free. More information is available at http://nelsonhistory.org.

 Posted by on May 26, 2017 at 3:41 pm
May 242017
 

Join us for a special evening of traditional New Orleans jazz with Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses at the Dublin School in Dublin, NH. This will be an outdoor event, weather permitting, Friday, July 7, 7:30 pm at the Fountain Arts Building on the Dublin School campus. The concert is co-sponsored by The Walden School, the Monadnock Folklore Society and the Dublin School and is free and open to the public.

The New Orleans Moonshiners, Meschiya Lake’s Little Big Horns, Panorama Jazz Band, Rory Danger and the Danger Dangers, Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship?—just a partial list of groups to which Aurora Nealand claims membership.

The Royal Roses grew out of the rich resurgence that traditional jazz is seeing in New Orleans amongst the younger generation of musicians today. Saxophonist/vocalist Aurora Nealand has been playing in various groups in New Orleans since 2005, and the Royal Roses, founded in 2010, is her first venture as a bandleader. The Royal Roses draw their repertoire heavily from Sidney Bechet, Django Reinhart and traditional jazz of New Orleans. Comprised of some of the finest young players on the New Orleans music scene today, the Royal Roses are seeking to breath new energy, arrangements and compositions into this genre of music while exploring and learning from its rich history and tradition. They’ve performed in New Orleans at the French Quarter Festival, Satchmo Festival and Preservation Hall, as well as in NYC at Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival. Their first album “A Tribute to Sydney Bechet: Live at Preservation Hall” was released in 2011 to national acclaim. Their second album “The LookBack Transmission” was released in 2014 and includes original and traditional compositions including one Ms. Nealand wrote for the HBO series “Treme”.

The Royal Roses lineup fronted by Aurora Nealand on vocals and saxophone includes Dave Boswell on trumpet, Jon Ramm on trombone, Matt Bell on guitar, Josh Gouzy on bass, and Paul Thibodeaux playing drums.

 Posted by on May 24, 2017 at 8:22 pm
May 072017
 

The Solstice Sisters return for a celebration of the Summer Solstice on June 30 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.

 Posted by on May 7, 2017 at 8:39 am