☼ ☼ ☼ Alex Cumming ‘Homecoming’ Tour | Nelson Town Hall | March 16, 2024

Join us for a concert with critically acclaimed folk singer and accordionist Alex Cumming as he celebrates the launch of his brand new album, ‘Homecoming’, an exciting album full of toe-tapping tunes, beautiful ballads and rollicking choruses. The concert will take place at the Nelson Town Hall at 7:30 on Saturday, March 16. Joining Alex will be virtuosic fiddler and singer Audrey Jaber, known for her work with The Gaslight Tinkers, Wake Up Robin, Larry Unger, Free Raisins and more. Admission is $20/$15(seniors, students, or in advance).

Alex Cumming is a traditional Singer, Accordionist, Pianist and dance caller hailing from Somerset, England, now living in Brattleboro VT, USA. He performs songs and tunes from around the United Kingdom and America with a great depth of knowledge of the tradition. Alex has made his mark on the folk scene with his rhythmic dance-able accordion style, strong voice and his fun and engaging stage presence. After over a decade of recording albums and touring with various bands, 2024 sees Alex release his debut solo album, ‘Homecoming’, featuring fiddler Audrey Jaber (Wake Up Robin, Free Raisins), guitarist Max Newman (Stringrays, Nor’Easter) and regular recording collaborator Pete Ord (Haystack Records).Alex is a member of Celtic trio Bellwether (with Louise Bichan, Eric McDonald), award winning a capella quartet The Teacups and critically acclaimed duo Alex Cumming & Nicola Beazley. You may also catch him playing for dances in many combos, including Stuart Kenney’s Red Case Band and trio Crossover. Alex is also Artistic Director for Revels North. AlexCummingMusic.com

You know Audrey Jaber is performing if the room is buzzing at a higher level. Her fiddling, featured in bands including The Free Raisins, The Gaslight Tinkers, Audacious (with Larry Unger), and Wake Up Robin, has electrified dance and concert halls across the US and Europe. Hailing from Honolulu and now living in California, she cut her folk teeth in the Boston area, attending Berklee College of Music and spending years exploring the thriving New England folk scene. Audrey’s fiddle playing is rhythmically lively and spontaneous; she’s guaranteed to get you up and dancing. She specializes in English dance, New England, Celtic, and Old Time tunes (and did we mention she’s also an audio engineer?!). You might also have taken a workshop with Audrey, as she’s been on staff at various camps including various weeks at Pinewoods, Ashokan Northern Week, BACDS American week, New London Assembly and Halsway Manor. For more on Audrey, visit her at audreyknuth.com

Click here for advance reservations.

☼ ☼ ☼ Nelson Solstice Party | Nelson Town Hall | December 16, 2023

On Saturday, December 16, we’ll hold our Annual Solstice Party starting at 7:00 PM.

PRESS: DO NOT PUBLICIZE THIS EVENT

The Monadnock Folklore Society brings this community event to the Nelson Town Hall each year, admission is $10, 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, Kim Wallach, & Heather Bower) and friends. 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.

☼ ☼ ☼ Claudia Schmidt | Nelson Town Hall | November 11, 2023

 

CLAUDFEST! What is it? This year marks the 50th year that Claudia Schmidt has been weaving her musical magic for countless delighted audiences. It begins with her multi-octave voice, 12 string guitar and mountain dulcimer. But then the language leaps in, and it all comes together. Her love of language is obvious from the moment she opens her mouth. Her songs are pure poetry, and along her way she began adding spoken word and story,  so that her listeners get to go on a deep journey with her, returning refreshed and replenished from the experience. She has recorded 22 albums and there is much more to come. Why don’t you come and help this amazing performer celebrate as she begins her 6th decade of  composing and performing?! CELEBRATE CLAUDFEST! Join us on Saturday, November 11, for a 7:30 PM concert at the Nelson Town Hall celebrating Claudia’s 50 years of performing. Admission is $25/$20(senior, student).

Claudia Schmidt has been perfecting her craft of writing and performing for 50 years. It is a quirky and wonderful hodge-podge (her word) of music, poetry, story, theater, all invoking the whole gamut of emotions and leaving the listener refreshed and thoughtful. Using her incredible multi-octave voice, 12 string guitar and mountain dulcimer, and a deep love of performing, every concert is a true celebration of the moment. Work in clubs, theaters, festivals, TV and radio has continually added depth and dimension, so whether it is her own work or very personal versions of the work of others, what you get is a unique look at the world from someone who says what she sees with clarity, humor, and wonder. The San Francisco Bay Guardian said: “Schmidt’s shows are a lot like falling in love. You never know what’s going to happen next, chances are it’s going to be wonderful, every moment is burned into your memory, and you know you’ll never be the same again.”

During the Covid lockdown, she created weekly concerts on Facebook to stay connected with her fans. all of which (along with many more videos!) are archived at her website www.claudiaschmidt.com

She released her 22nd recording in autumn of 2022, called Reimagining, and continues writing toward a new project. She is at her peak in terms of performance, and is so happy to be doing live concerts again, and shows no sign of slowing down or stopping. She describes the stage as ‘her natural habitat’ and thrives there. So, in turn, do her listeners.

☼ ☼ ☼ Troy MacGillivray & Kimberley Fraser | Nelson Town Hall | Sept. 16, 2023

Join us for an evening of Music from Cape Breton and Nova Scotia with Troy MacGillivray and Kimberley Fraser at the Nelson Town Hall on Saturday, September 16 at 7:30 PM. Admission is $25/$20(senior, student, or in advance). Troy and Kimberley will accompany each other on fiddle and piano in the classic Cape Breton style, and if past performances are any guide, treat us to some step dancing. This will be our first Cape Breton concert in quite some time and will be a night to remember. The concert is presented in part with the support of the Thomas Wright Foundation.

Troy MacGillivray is from Lanark, a small community on the north-eastern shore of Nova Scotia. Troy’s commitment to music has spanned 30 years and includes both practical and academic accomplishments – most recently an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Limerick in Ireland. From as young as six years old, Troy was impressing audiences step dancing and soon after, fiddle and piano skills. His first teaching gig was at 13 years old at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s, Cape Breton. His roots-centered approach comes from a family of proud Scottish heritage where fiddle playing and Gaelic traditions runs in the bloodline.

In 2012, Troy was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for contributions to culture in Canada. Troy’s strong career has brought him around the world playing and teaching from the North Pole to the Afghanistan while solo recordings have received numerous nominations and awards from East Coast Music Awards and the Canadian Folk Music Awards.

Kimberley Fraser was born on Cape Breton Island, and nurtured within its rich musical heritage. She first began to impress audiences at the age of three with her step-dancing talents. Soon after that she took up both the fiddle and the piano.  Kimberley’s career is a distinguished one; she has traveled the world, from Victoria to Afghanistan, performing at venues such as The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. bringing Cape Breton music with her wherever she goes. Dan MacDonald of the Cape Breton Post says about Fraser’s versatility, “She has matured to become one of the stellar players of the Cape Breton fiddle tradition, equally at home at a house party, playing for a square dance or on stage for a concert in Bras d’Or or Boston, Scotsville or Scotland.” Kimberley has shared the stage with the finest acts in Celtic music, such as Alasdair Fraser, Martin Hayes and Lunasa. Kimberley is also in demand for her piano skills, accompanying musicians at home and abroad.

Kimberley holds a degree in Violin performance from Berklee College of Music in Boston as well as a BA with Honours in Celtic Studies and major in Jazz piano from St Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Education is important to her, reflected in Kimberley’s dedication to teaching Cape Breton music both at home and abroad. A master at the trio of fiddling, step dancing and piano, Kimberley is a much sought after teacher for all three. Her reputation as a teacher has brought her to conduct workshops at many camps and festivals, including Alasdair Fraser’s Valley of the Moon Fiddle Camp, the Swannanoa Gathering in Asheville, North Carolina, and The American Festival of Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, Washington to name a few. She is now a full-time faculty member for the Music Arts program at the Nova Scotia Community College’s Marconi Campus in Sydney, NS where she teaches music theory, ear training, piano keyboarding skills and a variety of ensemble classes.

Kimberley has released 2 studio albums: Heart Behind the Bow in 2000 and Falling on New Ground in 2006 which earned her an East Coast Music Award for Best Roots/Traditional Record in 2008.

Tim Eriksen Shape Note Singing School Winnepesaukee | May 29, 2023

The New England Literature Program is sponsoring a Shape Note Singing School with Tim Eriksen at Camp Kabeyun on Monday, May 29, 2023.

The session will take place from 1 PM to 6 PM.  Singers are welcome to join the Literature Program for dinner after the session. 

Camp Kabeyun is located at 43 Camp Kabeyun Rd., Alton Bay, NH 03810; and there is ample parking for visitors. 

Note that the Monadnock Folklore Society will present Tim Eriksen in concert on Sunday, May 28, 2023.

Shape Note Singing Workshop with Tim Eriksen 

It’s been called “proto-Americana” and “America’s earliest music” but whatever you call it, shape note singing is one of America’s earliest and most vibrant roots music forms, and a critical, if underappreciated, influence on artists like Jean Ritchie, Doc Watson, Johnny Cash, and the Louvin Brothers. It is best known from the venerable Sacred Harp tunebook, where “Amazing Grace” and “Wayfaring Stranger” meet the blistering “fuguing tunes” of early New England, familiar folk melodies like “Old Lang Syne” and the African-tinged “camp meeting” choruses of the nineteenth century, all harmonized for social singing and written in a unique notation system developed in the northeast USA in 1800. 
 
Tim Eriksen is a three-time GRAMMY nominee, songwriter, and Hardcore Americana/world music artist who has helped bring the sounds of shape note music and traditional American folksong to the fore with his pioneering punk folk band Cordelia’s Dad, his courses at Dartmouth College and the University of Minnesota, and his shape note “singing schools” from the Newport Folk Festival to Singapore’s Tapestry of Sacred Music and Dance, where his students have ranged from inner city kindergarteners to the cast of the movie Cold Mountain. His Ph.D. research and published writing detail previously unreported connections between this repertoire, the 19th-century Abolitionist movement, and the birth of science fiction.
 
No one has done more to help revive Sacred Harp singing among a younger generation.
   -Josh Jackson, Paste Magazine
 
One of the best voices in music
– T Bone Burnett
 
Otherworldly harmonies
-Barbara Kingsolver
 
Apart from being the coolest-looking man in folk song, Eriksen is an uncompromising performer, ethnomusicologist, Sacred Harp singing master, musical adventurer and punk-folk pioneer, who seems to play every instrument under the sun and has shared a stage with both Kurt Cobain and Doc Watson.
-The Guardian, UK

☼ ☼ ☼ Tim Eriksen | Nelson Town Hall | Sunday, May 28, 2023

The Monadnock Folklore Society is excited to welcome back Tim Eriksen to the Nelson Town Hall for an afternoon concert on Sunday, May 28 at 3:00 PM. Admission is $25/$20 (senior/student/advance). Masks recommended.

Tim Eriksen is acclaimed for transforming American tradition with his startling interpretations of old ballads, love songs, shape-note gospel and dance tunes from New England and Southern Appalachia. He combines hair-raising vocals with inventive accompaniment on banjo, fiddle, guitar and bajo sexto – a twelve string Mexican acoustic bass – creating a distinctive hardcore Americana sound.

☼ ☼ ☼ Cosy Sheridan w/Kent Allyn & Charlie Koch | Nelson Town Hall | November 13, 2022

Cosy Sheridan will appear in concert at The Nelson Town Hall on Sunday, November 13 at 3 pm.  She will be accompanied on bass and keyboards by Charlie Koch and Kent Allyn.  Special guest appearance by Julie Snow!

This will be MFS’ first indoor concert since early 2020. There is NO ADMISSION FEE, but we will have a basket out for donations to cover our presentation costs. We are still in the midst of a pandemic and require that masks be worn indoors and there will be no refreshments served. Help us return to the world of music presentation while keeping everyone safe. Please review our COVID protocols.

Cosy Sheridan first appeared on the national folk scene in 1992 when she won the songwriting contests at The Kerrville Folk Festival and  The Telluride Bluegrass Festival.  The Boston Globe wrote: ”she is now being called one of the best new singer/songwriters”. She plays a percussive bluesy guitar  – often in open tunings and occasionally with 2 or more capos on the guitar. She is backed up with the strong rhythms and harmonies of bass player Charlie Koch and keyboardist Kent Allyn. 

Cosy continues to be one of the most prolific songwriters in the folk scene. My Fence & My Neighbor was number four on the folk radio charts in 2018. Pretty Bird was listed in Sing Out Magazine’s Great CDs of 2014.  

She learned guitar when she was nine years old from her babysitter – using an old guitar she found under the family piano. She was a voice student at The Berklee College of Music, and a guitar student of legendary fingerstyle players Eric Schoenberg and Guy Van Duser.  She has played at Carnegie Hall, The Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and on the Jerry Lewis Telethon.

She teaches classes in songwriting, performance, and guitar at workshops and adult music camps across the country. She is the director of Moab Folk Camp in Moab, Utah.

“Her user-friendly musical philosophy sets her happily apart from the myopic, self-involved songwriters… she is a wonderfully lively, very funny and enormously amiable entertainer with a keen and wicked eye for the excesses of our fast-food, tv-happy  and noisome culture.” – The Boston Globe

“A Buddhist monk in a 12-step program trapped in the body of a singer/songwriter.” – The Albuquerque Journal

“Sheridan is frank, feisty, sublimely and devilishly funny. She fuses myth with modern culture, Persephone with Botox.” – Cornell Folksong Society

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