Keene Vocal Ensemble: Folksongs from East and West

Keene World Harmony Chorus to perform at Unitarian Universalist Church

Traditional American folksongs, rich Georgian chords, haunting Bulgarian harmonies, the toe-tapping call and response songs of Quebec, and an American premier of a folk song from Kyrgyzstan will all be part of a concert by the Keene World Harmony Chorus, on May 14th, 2014, at 7:30 PM, at the Keene Unitarian Universalist Church Parish Hall, 69 Washington Street, in Keene.

The World Harmony Chorus is a multi-age choir who loves unaccompanied singing, and particularly the chance to sing traditional folksongs from around the world. The chorus was started three years ago, and is led by Will Thomas Rowan and Lynn Mahoney Rowan of Marlboro, Vermont. The Rowans are accomplished singers and teachers, having toured with the world-famous youth chorus Village Harmony; and are currently among that group’s teachers. They have studied with Petrana Kucheva of Bulgaria, and Malkhaz Erkvanidae of the Republic of Georgia, and have just returned from a State Department goodwill tour of Angola, Turkemenistan, and Kyrgyzstan with their quartet, Windborne.

Members of the chorus live in and around the Monadnock region and southern Vermont.

All are amateurs, drawn together by their love of singing.

The concert is free, appropriate for all ages, and will be followed by light refreshments.

The Nelson Music Collection

Nelson Music Collection
Photo from the cover of the Nelson Music Collection

The Nelson Music Collection was first published in 1969, as a “Collection of Authentic Square Dance Melodies. Compiled by Newt Tolman, a flute player from Nelson, and his piano accompanist, Kay Gilbert from Peterborough, it contains 64 tunes that might be heard at one of the local square dances. It became an important resource over the next decade as the face of square dancing evolved (and became more commonly known as contra dancing), and as young musicians aspired to learn the tunes so that they could play for the dances. Eventually it took a back seat to newer collections which offered additional and newly popularized tunes, but serious scholars and musicians remained aware of its existence. Newt and Kay also issued an LP recording of the same name, which featured many of the tunes from the book. It was one of the first commercial recordings of this music. Read more

Sally Rogers, Howie Bursen, and Jeff Davis: at the Mariposa Museum

Sally, Howie, JeffFolksinger Sally Rogers, who first become known to Monadnock region audiences through her concerts at the Folkway, returns to Peterborough with her husband Howie Bursen, and frequent collaborator Jeff Davis, for a concert at the Mariposa Museum on Friday, November 8, at 7:30 p.m.

Sally and Howie, whose harmonies will send shivers up your spine, have racked up a string of successes in song writing, studio recording, and crowd-pleasing displays of instrumental virtuosity.  They have appeared on Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion,” and have toured from coast to coast.  Howie is known for his warm baritone voice, devilish sense of humor, inventive guitar arrangements and red-hot banjo wizardry.  Sally is well known for her mesmerizing voice, brilliant songwriting, her dulcimer playing, and 15 solo recordings.  Rounding out the trio is Jeff Davis, a masterful musician, who plays banjo, fiddle, mandocello, and more.  A respected collector and interpreter of traditional music, Jeff has traveled to visit source singers who remembered the old songs and tunes, and to libraries and archives, looking for the best of the music that was once common in our towns and villages.
Together they will be playing ballads, old and new, songs written by Howie or Sally, songs from all sorts of places including North Carolina, Nova Scotia, the Upper Peninsula, the west of Ireland, unaccompanied vocals from East Sussex, England, the Georgia Sea Islands, and likely a few songs from New Hampshire, too.  There will also be fiddle tunes from all over, fiddle-banjo duets, double banjo pieces and all manner of other things.
CDs will be available for sale at the event.
Admission: Adult $15 Member $10
The Mariposa is wheelchair accessible.

Rani Arbo and daisy Mayhem

rani-arbo-daisy-mayhemGrand View Barn, Jaffrey

On Tuesday July 23 at 7:30 pm, Electric Earth Concerts presents a concert for the whole family at the Grand View Barn, Rt. 124 (Mountain Rd.), Jaffrey, NH. Tickets are $25, and reservations may be made by calling 603-593-5245. You may also just show up – seats will be available.

The American roots-music quartet Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem takes the audience way beyond foot tapping, plumbing the great folk traditions for a moving, collective spiritual experience. In 13 years touring festivals and concert halls across North America, the band are renowned as good medicine. With fiddle, guitar, recycled percussion and four masterful singers, this quartet shouts a soulful hallelujah to the human condition — and regularly moves audiences to laughter and tears.

 Using 200 years of American roots music as a palette, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem marry tradition and improvisation in lush arrangements with “stylish, unexpected choices” (Acoustic Guitar).  Unafraid to pair a banjo with Leonard Cohen, an Afro-Cuban cajon with a fiddle tune, or a New Orleans rhythm with almost anything, the band creates deep grooves under timeless melodies and thoughtful, uplifting lyrics.

“These are true chamber musicians. They sing and play together with the alert sensitivity of a great string quartet, and they cast a powerful spell: simultaneously loose and tight, alternately boisterous and hushed, always riveting”, says Laura Gilbert, Electric Earth’s Artistic Director.

At the helm is Rani Arbo, who grew up a chorister at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Her luminous alto is full of sass and grace, and she has toured and recorded with Joan Baez, John McCutcheon and others. Arbo’s keenly observed original songs have been arranged for choirs and recorded by multiple artists.

Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem have released five recordings on Signature Sounds; their 2010 family album won a Parents’ Choice Gold Award and is an American Library Association Notable Recording. The band’s residency offerings include family performances, school shows and workshops, choral collaboration and arts in medicine work.

“This quartet has a rare gift for fashioning hip, sleek sounds from the solid cloth of vintage American music.” – The Boston Globe

“Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem dig deep into their collective souls, finding joy in the moment, peace in the harmonies, and rapture in the rhythmic drive.” – Hartford Courant

Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem is Scott Kessel (percussion, vocals), Rani Arbo (fiddle, vocals), Anand Nayak (guitar, vocals), Andrew Kinsey (bass, banjo, ukulele, vocals)

Sunflowers Restaurant and Catering will be taking orders for pre-concert dinner picnic baskets. (603) 593-3303

Appalachian Music with Ken & Brad Kolodner | Bass Hall | Peterborough

Join us for an evening of lively yet subtly crafted traditional and original Appalachian folk music performed by Ken & Brad Kolodner, a nationally-acclaimed father-son duo from Baltimore, MD.

This concert is being held in Bass Hall at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture. Admission is $15 / $12 for Monadnock Center members, seniors, and students. Click here for more information or to order tickets online.

Ken is a world-class hammered dulcimer player and old-time fiddler who recently joined forces with his son, Brad, a rising star in the old-time music community. Brad is a contest-winning clawhammer banjo player who also plays fiddle, guitar, gourd banjo and sings.

Brad_and_Ken_Koldner“This is old time music played in the purest way: at home, with family, with heart, and with a creative curiosity that lets all listeners know that a passion for traditional music yet thrives in every generation.” – Dulcimer Player News

“Ken Kolodner is a world class instrumentalist. Otter Creek is a joyous recording featuring two fine musicians who playing excellently together. There must be something special to that father-son thing.” – Sing Out!

“Father and son have reached that musical telepathy that family members can sometimes achieve. The blend of the hammered dulcimer and banjo is exceptional.” – The Old Time Herald


Otter CreekIn 2010, Ken and Brad recorded their first studio album: Otter Creek. The album is a mixture of original and traditional Appalachian old-time tunes. However, this album is by no means “traditional.” The recording showcases Ken’s mastery of the hammered dulcimer with Brad’s expressive clawhammer banjo playing, a unique combination seldom heard in old-time music. Not only did Ken pass on the musical gene to his son, he passed on the art of writing tunes. Nearly half of Otter Creek is comprised of tunes written by Ken or Brad. The title track, Otter Creek (Brad Kolodner), was the most-played instrumental song on the FolkDJ-L charts for 2011. The father-son duo is joined by Scottish National Fiddling Champion Elke Baker and guitarist Paul Oorts. Ken also plays the rarely heard hammered mbira (on Swift House) while Brad adds the banjola on Rocky Beaches and Needle Case.


Music in Bass Hall: An Afternoon of Scottish Music

Did you know that New Hampshire has it’s own Scottish Music society?  Founded in 1988, the Strathspey & Reel Society of New Hampshire has promoted Scottish culture through the playing of traditional Scottish music. With over 100 members, the group gathers monthly to play music and learn about the rich heritage of the musical traditions of Scotland.

We are very pleased that a select contingent of this organization will be performing an afternoon concert of Scottish music in Bass Hall. Fiddles, woodwinds, accordion, guitars and other instruments make up the orchestra (we will forego the Highland pipes for this event, as they would be a bit much for Bass Hall). We’ll hear some classic Scottish tunes, as well as some more recently composed tunes in the Scottish genre, and of course some tunes from Cape Breton as well, where the Scottish music tradition has a life of its own.

And what could be more appropriate for Peterborough, whose early population was heavily represented by Scottish settlers. Come join us for a delightful musical experience.

Supplement this afternoon of entertainment with brunch before, or dinner after, the show. Our friends at Waterhouse Restaurant in Depot Square are generously donating 10% of this day’s proceeds to the Peterborough Historical Society. Call today for your reservation: 603-924-4001.





Sarah Lee Guthrie & Jonny Irion ~ Mariposa ~ Peterborough

A rising folk phenomenon in their own right, the duo come to Peterborough fresh from a performance with the Guthrie Family Reunion at the Newport Folk Festival. They will perform original songs from their three albums as well as classic Woody tunes. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children.

( for directions.

Press Contact: Mose Olenik
Mariposa Museum & World Culture Center
26 Main Street
Peterborough, NH  03458



Will Kaufman’s All You Jim Crow Fascists! | Peterborough

NOTE: This is a Mariposa Museum event but is being held at another location (see below).
Guthrie scholar and performer Will Kaufman’s All You Jim Crow Fascists! is a lively musical presentation and commentary exploring Guthrie’s anti-racist songs and activism. Kaufman is Professor of American Literature and Culture at the University of Central Lancashire in England and the author of Woody Guthrie: American Radical (University of Illinois Press). Conventionally known for his championing of unions and poor white Dust Bowl migrants, Guthrie also left an extensive body of songs condemning Jim Crow segregation, race hatred and racial fascism. Most of these songs were never recorded, but remain a legacy of Guthrie’s  personal transformation into a committed civil rights activist working and singing with the likes of Lead Belly, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee and Paul Robeson in the 1940s and 50s. Along with Guthrie’s lifetime body of work, it is a heartening and uplifting legacy. Please note, this special performance will be at Four Winds Farm Barn, in Peterborough. Check the museum Web site ( for directions. Tickets are $15; members $12

A number of films and children’s events are also planned for the series, which whether you are a seasoned Guthrie fan or just want a peek into a fascinating era in American cultural history offers something for just about everyone.


Press Contact: Mose Olenik
Mariposa Museum & World Culture Center
26 Main Street
Peterborough, NH  03458


A Celebration of New England Contra Dance Music Honoring Bob McQuillen

Peterborough Unitarian Church
corner of Main and Summer Streets
Peterborough, NH
Event Web Site

Name a musician or dancer who hasn’t been influenced in some way by Bob McQuillen, patriarch of contra dance piano players.

At this presentation, Gordon Peery will offer some brief narrative of the history of New England contra dance music, weaving in the role that Bob has played in both preserving and defining the musical traditions. But most of the program will be some actual music, presented by Old New England (Jane Orzechowski, Deanna Stiles, and of course, Bob himself.