☼ ☼ ☼ Rodney Miller Trio | Nelson Town Hall

Rodney Miller Trio Feb 20On Friday, February 20, at 8:00 PM the Monadnock Folklore Society presents the Rodney Miller Trio, in the Nelson Town Hall. The concert features Rodney Miller on fiddle, David Surette on guitar, mandolin and bouzouki, and Gordon Peery on piano. Admission is $15/$12(Sr/Jr).

Individually these musicians enjoy decades-long reputations as some of the finest contra dance musicians in the country. Their concert in Nelson is a rare opportunity to hear them playing in this trio configuration, and in a concert setting.

Rodney Miller has been at the forefront of traditional New England fiddling since the mid 1970’s. He was one of the first musicians to issue a recording of fiddle tunes. As early as 1983, he was designated a “Master Fiddler” in 1983 by the National Endowment for the Arts. He is widely considered to be the foremost exponent of New England style fiddling, a uniquely American blend of French Canadian and Celtic influences. Over the past 35 years, he has toured the U.S., British Isles, Australia and Denmark, performed and taught at hundreds of music and dance festivals, and recorded over ten fiddle albums.

In 1999, Rodney represented the state of New Hampshire, playing traditional fiddle music at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. He has also appeared on Garrison Keillor’s National Public Radio show “A Prairie Home Companion,” performed live with the Twyla Tharp Modern Dance Company, performed at the Lincoln Center in New York, and was recorded on the album Songs and Sounds of the Sea for the National Geographic Society.

In March, 2014 Rodney Miller was appointment by NH Gov. Hassan and the Executive Council as the new Artist Laureate of NH.

David Surette is widely regarded as one of New England’s finest guitarists,  His solo albums “Back Roads” and “Trip to Kemper” have helped to establish him as a top player and arranger of Celtic fingerstyle guitar, yet his diverse repertoire also includes original compositions, blues and ragtime, traditional American roots music, and folk music from a variety of traditions, all played with finesse, taste, and virtuosity. He is equally at home on the mandolin and bouzouki, and is well-known as a top-notch accompanist in New England’s contra dance and Celtic music circles, and is also in demand as a studio musician and sideman. He has performed throughout the country at festivals, concerts, coffeehouses and contra dances, and in 1999 toured in Brittany, France. In addition to performing and recording, Surette maintains an active teaching schedule, and is head of the folk department at the Concord (NH) Community Music School.

Gordon Peery began playing piano for contra dances in the late 1970’s, mentored by Bob McQuillen, and influenced by the Cape Breton styling of fiddler Harvey Tolman. However his style quickly evolved to express influence from rock and roll and later, jazz, while style firmly rooted with the solid rhythmic requirements demanded of traditional contra dance pianists.  His playing has been variously described as “Barrelhouse Irish”, and having the dramatic qualities of a film score.

From 1985 – 95 Gordon played and toured extensively with the celebrated band, Fresh Fish, which included fiddler Kerry Elkin. In addition to a recording with that band, Gordon has contributed to many recordings, including several from fiddler Skip Gorman.

☼ ☼ ☼ Nelson Solstice Party | Nelson Town Hall

MUMMERSOn Saturday, December 20, 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, & Allison Aldrich) and friends; as part of the concert, this year’s Johnny Trombly Scholarship recipient, Everest Witman, will entertain us with his musicianship. 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.

☼ ☼ ☼ Nowell Sing We Clear | Dublin Community Church

NSWC portrait

Monadnock Folklore Society’s annual presentation of this seasonal favorite!  Absolutely the best way to start your holiday season. Music, dance, a mummer’s play and delicious treats!

Dublin Community Church

Friday, December 5, 2014

8:00 pm

Admission $15/$12(Sr/Jr)

Nowell Sing We Clear with its unusual songs, carols, stories, and customs has toured every year since 1975. Drawn mostly from English-language folk traditions, the songs tell both a version of the events and characters involved in the Christmas story and detail the customs which make up the twelve magical days following the return of the light at the winter solstice. Many of these ancient customs are the basis of the today’s holiday traditions, such as visiting and feasting, gift-giving, carol singing from door-to-door and the adorning of houses and churches with garlands of evergreen.

Nowell Sing We Clear celebrates Christmas as it was known for centuries in Britain and North America and as it continues in many places to the present.  The songs come from an age when the midwinter season was a time for joyous celebration and vigorous expression of older, perhaps pagan, religious ideas. There is not always a clear line between these and the rejoicing at the birth of Jesus bringing a fresh light into the world at this dark midwinter time. A special and unusual treat is the enactment of a Mummers Play from Kentucky.  Performed in the traditional manner, the play is typical of folk dramas which survive to this day throughout Britain and North America symbolizing and portraying the death of the land at midwinter and its subsequent rebirth in the spring.

While much of the singing is done in unaccompanied style, the pageant is also stamped with the energetic dance band sound of fiddle, button accordion, electric piano, drums, and concertina.  The audience will be supplied with song sheets and encouraged to sing along, though after three decades of touring in New England, a whole generation of young people have grown up with these songs and carols and sing along with as much as they can. Some “new”, that is “different”, songs and carols are introduced every year.  Performers are John Roberts and Tony Barrand, widely known for their lively presentations of English folk songs, and Fred Breunig and Andy Davis, well known in New England as dance callers and musicians.

Nowell Sing We Clear has become a regular part of some communities on the Eastern seaboard.This year the ensemble will be playing as far south as West Chester, PA, and as far north as Brattleboro, VT.   The group has several recordings of songs from the show which have been popular items in many households at this time of year. Their CDs are drawn from songs learned for their concerts: The newest is Nowell, Nowell, Nowell. Others are Just Say Nowell, Hail Smiling Morn (which has a cover designed by famous Vermont artist, Mary Azarian), Nowell SingWe Four,  and Nowell, Nowell, Nowell. The first three LP recordings are all well represented on a compact disk, The Best of Nowell: 1976 – 1985 All recordings are available from Golden Hind Records.

Trip to Nelson plays a Concert and Contra Dance at Grand View Barn

ttnsmallAs part of the ecclectic June in Jaffrey Music Festival , Electric Earth concerts will be presenting the band Trip to Nelson, performing a combined concert and contra dance at Grand View Barn on Friday, June 27.

Trip to Nelson was formed in 2012  by several musicians who met at the Nelson (NH) Monday night dance. They quickly developed a reputation as being a high energy band who embraced innovation while still respecting the parameters of traditional New England contra dance music. Their recording, The Winding Road, gives full display to the breadth and versatility of the band, which consists of Perin Ellsworth-Heller, fiddle; Richard Backes, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo; Lizza Backes, concertina, flute, whistle; Matt Garland, flute, whistle, accordion; and Gordon Peery, piano and guitar. Since it’s sold out CD release concert in January 2013, the band has played throughout New England, and has quickly become a favorite for contra dancers in the Monadnock region.

The June 27 program opens with a concert, at 7 p.m., giving the band a chance to play some arrangements that would not typically be played at a contra dance, and giving the audience a chance to listen in greater detail to the tunes. At 8 pm, the irresistible urge to dance will become satisfied, as the concert flows seamlessly into a contra dance under the direction of caller Lisa Sieverts. Sieverts is a popular caller (from Nelson, of course), who is especially skilled at providing welcoming instruction to new dancers, while delivering dances that are equally satisfying for experienced dancers.

Concert-goers are invited to arrive with picnic baskets at 6 pm to enjoy dinner on the lawn with its dramatic proximity to Mt. Monadnock.

Admission is $15 for the concert and dance, with an $8 option for those just wishing to attend the dance. For more information or reservations: http://electricearthconcerts.org/, 646-522-3352

☼ ☼ ☼ Chanterelle | Nelson Town Hall

CHanterelleCrop

Josée Vachon and Donna Hébert have embodied traditional and original Franco-American fiddle and song all their lives. Twenty years ago, they met and became musical partners, forming Chanterelle with former guitarist Liza Constable and bassist Alan Bradbury. Alan returns with Josée, Donna and her guitarist, Max Cohen, for a performance at the Nelson Town Hall on Sunday March 9 at 7:00 PM. Admission is $15/$12(Sr/Jr).

Josée’s unabashed ‘joie de vivre’ is infectious. Born in Lac Megantic and raised over the border in Brownville ME, singer-songwriter Vachon is beloved of Franco audiences, who regularly sing along in French. Her long stint hosting “Bonjour” on cable in the Northeast brought her to many Franco-American homes, and she has continued to record and tour. A recipient of awards from the keys to the city of Woonsocket, to a spot on NEA traditional touring rosters like “The Women’s Singing Traditions,” Josée is an icon within the Franco-American culture.

Western MA fiddler Donna Hébert, named an Artist Fellow in Franco-American fiddling by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, was recognized by Governor Deval Patrick in 2009 for “outstanding artistic achievement.” A fiddle instructor at Smith and Amherst Colleges, Donna performs in a fiddle/guitar duo with Max Cohen (who joins them on this tour), Celtic trio Mist Covered Mountains with Max and her daughter, Molly Hebert-Wilson, and the new Panache Quartet with fiddlers Andrea Beaton, Veronique Plasse and Jane Rothfield.

Alan Bradbury’s Cajun group, Magnolia, are the mainstay of the region’s Cajun music and dance scene. Check out their Providence area dances. Alan’s bass, accordion and vocals just make Donna and Josée so happy that it’s always a homecoming to play Chanterelle gigs with him. Donna’s played dances with Alan since the early 1980s, so she snared him early on for Chanterelle.

Max Cohen is one of the best kept secrets in the guitar world, the true musician’s musician (producer, engineer, arranger), the ‘masked man’ of accompaniment who makes the singers realize the song’s potential. Max also accompanies folksinger Priscilla Herdman, who says, “Max is one of those rare guitarists able to create an atmosphere that supports and cradles the voice with both tenderness and strength.” Donna adds that he “rocks like crazy.”

 

☼ ☼ ☼ Nelson Solstice Party | Nelson Town Hall

mummersOn Saturday, December 21, 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, & Allison Aldrich) and friends; as part of the concert, this year’s Johnny Trombly Scholarship recipient  will entertain us with their musicianship. 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.

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

☼ ☼ ☼ Nowell Sing We Clear | Dublin Community Church

NSWC portrait

Monadnock Folklore Society’s annual presentation of this seasonal favorite! Admission $15/$12(Sr/Jr).

Nowell Sing We Clear with its unusual songs, carols, stories, and customs has toured every year since 1975. Drawn mostly from English-language folk traditions, the songs tell both a version of the events and characters involved in the Christmas story and detail the customs which make up the twelve magical days following the return of the light at the winter solstice. Many of these ancient customs are the basis of the today’s holiday traditions, such as visiting and feasting, gift-giving, carol singing from door-to-door and the adorning of houses and churches with garlands of evergreen.

Nowell Sing We Clear celebrates Christmas as it was known for centuries in Britain and North America and as it continues in many places to the present.  The songs come from an age when the midwinter season was a time for joyous celebration and vigorous expression of older, perhaps pagan, religious ideas. There is not always a clear line between these and the rejoicing at the birth of Jesus bringing a fresh light into the world at this dark midwinter time. A special and unusual treat is the enactment of a Mummers Play from Kentucky.  Performed in the traditional manner, the play is typical of folk dramas which survive to this day throughout Britain and North America symbolizing and portraying the death of the land at midwinter and its subsequent rebirth in the spring.

While much of the singing is done in unaccompanied style, the pageant is also stamped with the energetic dance band sound of fiddle, button accordion, electric piano, drums, and concertina.  The audience will be supplied with song sheets and encouraged to sing along, though after three decades of touring in New England, a whole generation of young people have grown up with these songs and carols and sing along with as much as they can. Some “new”, that is “different”, songs and carols are introduced every year.  Performers are John Roberts and Tony Barrand, widely known for their lively presentations of English folk songs, and Fred Breunig and Andy Davis, well known in New England as dance callers and musicians.

Nowell Sing We Clear has become a regular part of some communities on the Eastern seaboard.This year the ensemble will be playing as far south as West Chester, PA, and as far north as Brattleboro, VT.   The group has several recordings of songs from the show which have been popular items in many households at this time of year. Their CDs are drawn from songs learned for their concerts: The newest is Nowell, Nowell, Nowell. Others are Just Say Nowell, Hail Smiling Morn (which has a cover designed by famous Vermont artist, Mary Azarian), Nowell SingWe Four,  and Nowell, Nowell, Nowell. The first three LP recordings are all well represented on a compact disk, The Best of Nowell: 1976 – 1985 All recordings are available from Golden Hind Records.

☼ ☼ ☼ John Roberts & Debra Cowan | Nelson Town Hall

RobertsCowan_promo_4c-500x385We’re excited to bring John Roberts back to the Nelson Town Hall for a concert with Debra Cowan on Saturday, April 27.  The show gets underway at 8:00 PM. Admission is $15/$12(Sr/Jr).

It all started with a question in 2009: “How are you getting to Chicago?”

And with that, folk musicians John Roberts and Debra Cowan decided to team up for a series of small concerts in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Illinois before arriving as separately booked artists at the Fox Valley Folklore Society’s annual festival. The combination of car-pool and mini-tour was successful enough that John and Debra decided to do more performing together both in the USA and the United Kingdom.

John and Debra met for the first time at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in 1999 where John and his long-time musical partner, Tony Barrand were performing a concert of Maritime Songs. Afterwards, they continued to meet at various folk music events in New England and became friends, often appearing on stage together at New England folk festivals.

John and Debra both share an enthusiasm and passion for the old songs and ballads that have been handed down through the oral tradition in the English-speaking world. Even though a John Roberts and Debra Cowan evening will certainly include many traditional songs, there will be contemporary songs as well, some by writers personally known to both performers. Be prepared to join in and sing along!

“a brilliant evening, and they complement each other beautifully!”

– Audience member in Cleveland, OH

Finnish Dance Concert | Peterborough

The Finnish dance group Revontulet (Fitchburg, MA) and band Oivan Ilo (New Ipswich, NH) will perform at Mariposa on Saturday, November 17, 7 PM.  You may have enjoyed their wonderful performance in June, 2010 when they appeared as part of “Peoples of the North”.

Tickets will be $12/adult, $10/member and $5/child & student.