Anita Best is a true renaissance artist in the Newfoundland folk/traditional scene. Best's involvement in research, teaching, broadcasting and her position as one of Newfoundland's most talented traditional singers has placed her at the forefront of Newfoundland art.
Anita began professional work as a classroom teacher, oral historian and folk archivist and eventually incorporated these into careers as diverse as radio broadcasting, professional recording and university level instruction. She was the host and writer of a local radio series, "A Little Ball of Yarns" in 1995-96, which served as a means for her to continue her much loved oral tradition but it is her singing that has made her most famous. Best has been recorded on any number of albums and has two complete works to her credit, "The Colour of Amber", with Pamela Morgan, and "Crosshanded". Anita Best's beautiful singing and careful interpretation has enriched and extended an art form she has devoted her life to preserving.
Anita is the creator of Newfoundland Voices, her own production company witch runs a bi-weekly concert series from Cape Spear in the summer months, and "Bards and Ballads" from Finnigan's wake. Best tours extensively as both storyteller and singer, and also freelances as an editor, copyreader, and as a professional researcher.
(There will also be a Harmony workshop with Ginny and Tracy the following day in W. Concord.)
Although Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz have been singing together only 16 years, their strong, soul-stirring singing makes you feel their devotion to the place from which their music springs. As they wrap their songs in stories of the people and the places of the music, audiences are transported to another time when life was more real and families were held close. Their harmonies are hair-raising and representative of the finest American traditional music.
Home for Ginny and Tracy is the small village of Tanner, West Virginia in the heart of Appalachia. Ginny is a native of Halifax County, Virginia where she grew up in a large extended family of singers and musicians. Tracy grew up in New jersey and New England where his strongest memories are of days spent on the neighbors' farm in southern Vermont. Ginny and Tracy met in 1988 when both were on staff at the Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp near Woodstock, NY. They soon discovered that, despite their differing childhoods, they shared a deep understanding of and love for the music of the rural south. It was Ginny's birthright and Tracy's lifetime devotion.
When they met in 1988, Tracy had already spent 26 years as a member of The New Lost City Ramblers, the traditional stringband responsible for introducing urban audiences to southern rural music in the 60's and 70's. He was also deep into Cajun music, playing accordion, fiddle, guitar, and always singing in such a soulful way that many people worldwide were drawn to the music he represented so well. The Ramblers have twice been nominated for a Grammy.
In concert, Ginny and Tracy will cover everything from the beautiful unaccompanied ballads of the south to early Bluegrass duets to the songs of The Carter Family. You'll hear fiddle tunes, gospel songs as done in rural families, even some classic country songs. What their concerts will lack is "fillers." Every song they do means something special to them and will invite you to join them in the celebration of your heritage.
(There will also be a Harmony workshop with Craig;Morgan;Robson the following day.)
Since joining forces in November 2003, Craig; Morgan; Robson have been astounding and delighting audiences with their enviable repertoire of songs and ballads from England, Scotland, Ireland and America, and with their outstanding a-capella singing. All three are accomplished and experienced soloists, and when they sing together their combined voices complement each other in spellbinding harmonies from the exquisitely delicate to the richly powerful. Their performance has a variety and capability that produces real musical excitement as they move with ease from dramatic ballads, through sensitive songs of love and longing, to heart-lifting choruses. Craig;Morgan;Robson have been on the receiving end of accolades not only from audience members but also from club and folk festival organisers, fellow performers and the folk press..
Moira Craig is from East Kilbride, where her family have lived for generations. Her grandfather, father and brothers were all singers and musicians. At family parties her brothers and she took turns singing and entertaining. Everyone sang or played and it could be anything from the latest "pop" song, the old songs and ballads to music hall or whatever anyone fancied singing. Moira moved to London in 1983 to work as a nurse and singing has taken up most of her life outside of work since that time. She has long been recognised by club and festival goers for her superb interpretations of Scottish. Irish and English songs and ballads. A former winner of the "Sidmouth Singer of the Year" award, Moira became more widely known through her contributions to the Pastimes albums. She also has a solo album, "Ae Bonny Day". Moira has appeared in Britain, Germany and the USA, charming audiences with her clear ringing voice and wonderful repertoire.
Sarah Morgan has more than thirty years experience as a performer of folk music. As a harmony singer, her experience includes working with American singer Mary Eagle, with Bread and Roses, and with Hen Party (described by English dance and Song as "unaccompanied harmony at its best"), as well as with Mick Ryan and others in Fieldwork's production of "A Tolpuddle Man" and "A Day's Work". As a soloist (unaccompanied or with English concertina), Sarah sings with warmth and conviction, and has developed an enviable repertoire of traditional and more recent songs. She has a particular interest in songs from her adopted county of Hampshire.
Carolyn Robson is a professional singer and musician specialising in traditional folk song and dance. Her extensive repertoire consists mainly of songs from her native Northumberland and Scotland as well as from other parts of the British Isles. She has worked as a radio presenter and regularly sings on radio. In 1981 she made her first album, 'Banks of Tyne' on the Dingle label and can be heard singing on Kathryn Tickell's CD 'The Northumberland Collection'. Her recent albums, 'All the fine young men' and 'Dawn Chorus' were produced by her own company, Reiver Records. Carolyn has a wealth of singing and teaching experience and has made countless club and festival appearances. She is now widely recognised as one of country's finest female singers.
Finest Kind was formed by three musical friends who discovered one night at a song circle that their voices blended beautifully in three-part harmony. That harmony has now become the touchstone of their performances, with a repertoire extending from Copper Family to Carter Family; from Stan Rodgers to Peter Bellamy; from the Santa Fe Trail to the Ottawa Valley. Casting about for a name under which to sing, they adopted a phrase used in the Canadian Maritimes to express utmost approval. Their audiences, no matter where they're from, agree that they are, indeed, Finest Kind.
Ian Robb - Ian is one of North America's best- known singers of English song. He moved to Canada from his native London, England, in 1970. just in time to help found Toronto's inuch-loved and notorious Friends of Fiddlers' Green. Since then, with or without them, he has played folk concerts, clubs, and festivals from Vancouver to Bermuda. lan is known for his strong, direct singing style. He is something of a virtuoso on the English concertina, delighting audiences with hard driving reels, graceful waltzes, and luscious chordal accompaniments. Ian writes a regular column for the venerable folk magazine, Sing Out. and is co-founder and a current director of Ottawa's Old Sod Folk Music Society. His most recent recording, From Different Angels, features a number of tracks by Finest Kind.
Ann Downey - A multi instrumentalist (guitar, banjo and acoustic bass) and singer with wide musical tastes, Ann sits in comfortably wherever music is played; old timey, country, bluegrass, Celtic, English, swing, and klezmer. She has an affinity for yodels and a taste for wacky songs, but one of her great talents is the ability to find precisely the right harmony when singing with a group such as Finest Kind. Ann is originally from the southwestern United States, but she has lived and played music all over Europe and North America. In addition to performing with Finest Kind, Ann is known around Ottawa as the superb stand-up bass player with the Toasted Westerns and the Old Sod Band.
Shelley Posen - Shelley has spent most of his life either performing folk music or studying it. He sports a Ph.D. in folklore (his thesis was on singing in an Ottawa Valley community) and he performs a wide range of songs: traditional Canadian, British, and American, country and bluegrass, Sacred Harp hymns and classic rock 'n' roll. Shelley's versatility as a singer and instrumentalist (guitar, banjo, concertina, dobro) has made him welcome in traditional singers' kitchens, and in bars, folk clubs, and the odd recording studio. He is originally from Toronto, via St. John's, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn. He works as a freelance folklorist out of Ottawa.
Keith Kendrick hails from Ashbourne in Derbyshire and is one of England's most celebrated folk singers and dance musicians whose performing history stretches back four decades. Keith has over this time produced 12 commercial recordings (his latest being "Songs from the Derbyshire Coast" CD for Wildgoose Records), with numerous local and national Radio and TV appearances to his credit, both in England and abroad.
Keith is blessed with a natural, wry sense of humour and a unique and endearing quality to his voice which effortlessly commands your attention and makes him one of the world's very best story tellers in song. Master of both the 'English' and the 'Anglo German' concertinas, his career has taken him all over Europe and indeed the world including places like: France, Germany, Hungary, Scandinavia, The Baltics, Middle East, Japan, New Zealand and the USA. Keith has been performing at Folk Clubs, Concerts/Festivals and squeezing in appearances at a wide variety of other events in between.
Don't miss this rare opportunity to spend an evening with this man!
We strongly recommend that you purchase tickets in advance for this show. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to FSSGB Tickets, c/o Lori Fassman, 17 Faulkner Hill Road, Acton MA 01720.
Advance tickets can also be purchased (at the NON-member advance price only) from Sandy's Music in Cambridge and the Minor Chord in Acton.
This will be the thirty-second touring season of Nowell Sing We Clear with its unusual songs, carols, stories, and customs. 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 songsheets 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 Just Say Nowell, Hail Smiling Morn has a cover designed by famous Vermont artist, Mary Azarian, and Nowell SingWe Four.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.
You may be interested in attending the next West Gallery sing, which will be a Christmas party on Sunday, 12/9, intended to make up for the cancelled pub sing.
The West Gallery Quire meets in Newton Lower Falls, at St. Mary's Church at 258 Concord St., which is right off Rt. 16 just before the Wellesley border.
They start at 1:30 and usually end at 4:30, but may go later this month if there are enough people still singing. Bruce Randall is hoping to do all the Christmas music we would have done at the pub at the carol sing. Some people will bring snacks so we'll take a break sometime in the afternoon.
If you have any questions, you can email Bruce: melismata AT hotmail DOT com.
Norman Kennedy is one of Scotland's finest traditional singers with a unique repertoire of folk songs and ballads. Born and brought up in Aberdeen, he was a neighbor of the great ballad singer Jeanie Robertson and during the evolving folk scene of the 1960's he picked up many songs from her and from other singers such as the bothy ballad singer Jimmy McBeath and the traveller and street singer Davie Stewart.
Norman Kennedy is a "keeper of the old ways", a master practitioner and teacher of textile arts as well as an unaccompanied singer of traditional Scottish Songs that he learned while growing up. In 1966 he moved to the USA after representing Scotland at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival where he was an immediate success with the "folkies" and the academic alike. The former loved his relaxed, easy style, while the latter recognized a deep knowledge and understanding of the songs, which went way beyond book learning. Here was a young man truly immersed in his tradition and culture. And 36 years later he has lost none of that magnetism.
But there's more to Norman than just singing and storytelling. He is an accomplished weaver, who cards, spins, and dyes his own wool in the "old ways". It is a mark of his quest for perfection that he is as well-known in this field as for his singing. But he does not see them as separate entities - the songs help him to concentrate on his weaving and the weaving gives rhythm to his songs. When Norman sings as he weaves it seems the art and the craft were meant to be together.
He has frequently spoken of his need for songs and ballads and of how they are essential in sustaining him through long hours of repetitive work and how in turn this regular use keeps his extensive repertoire in both Scots and Gaelic active. So in the old way, singing is part of his everyday life, not just something to be rehearsed for concert hall performance, although Norman Kennedy is no stranger to the club or festival stage.
In June 2003, Norman was awarded the highest honor in folk and traditional arts in the United States. This Master Artist was the recipient of one of eleven fellowships awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts. The award was presented in The Library of Congress by United States President George W Bush.
There has always been an intimacy in Norman's performance, no matter how grand the setting or how large the audience. His songs and stories flow naturally as part of an extended conversation in which the attitudes of a contemporary creative artist are sublimated by a knowledge and continuing fascination with the lives and concerns of past generations.
Hearing Norman Kennedy sing today is unlike witnessing the performance of a singer who came to prominence as part of the Sixties folk revival. Unlike his contemporaries, he recast his whole lifestyle in a traditional mode around his work as a weaver, making the connection between life, work and song a seamless intermeshing where context is an established given. His way of life has brought him closer to the singers from which he learned as a young man and has helped form his understanding of them and the material they passed on. His own performance is thus enriched with strands of meaning that interpret the songs with verbal portraits of the old singers who sang them, giving them their due credit.
Wondering what to expect? Listen to some sound clips on CDBaby.com!
The annual FSSGB members' concert is always a popular event. Our members perform songs which range from traditional ballads to original compositions, and from instrumental to a cappella pieces. Some of the instruments that have been played at this concert in the past include violin, cello, banjo, mandolin, guitar, bass, keyboard and concertina. Some FSSGB members who have performed at this event have gone on to have successful performing careers, such as Elijah Wald, Mark Ryer, Fool's Errand and Merle Roesler.
Many new musical relationships have formed as a result of the members' concert, including our hosts for the evening, Two for the Show - Ellen Schmidt and Jake Kensinger! They began playing together many years ago for a members' concert, and have since become very active performers in the local folk music scene.
Members are invited to sign up to perform - one song or a spoken word piece. You may perform alone or with others. Some performers have been participating for years; others will do so for the first time. Children are most welcome. The program will feature professional musicians as well as living room folk enthusiasts. All are welcome. The Midweek Singers are an important part of the program as are the many members who show up especially for this event. The audience is always supportive and lively.
To sign up, you may contact Ellen by email at eschmidt01742 AT yahoo DOT com by January 20th.
The Folk Song Society is pleased to present Martyn Wyndham-Read in concert. Martyn Wyndham-Read has become known as one of the best living authorities on Australian folk music, as well as one if it's best known and most respected performers, in the world today.
English by birth, Martyn Wyndham-Read first developed his great interest in folk songs of the outback when he went Australia in the early 60's and worked on a sheep station. He fell in love with Australia and it's music, and spent much of his time learning the songs from drovers, cane cutters, and sheep shearers he met during his travels.
The music which Martyn collected describes the rich legacy of the many peoples of Australia. He brought his collections of songs back to England, where he found himself in the middle of a folk music revival. He's been singing his songs around the world ever since.
Martyn Wyndham-Read's recording career, starting in 1963 and spanning thirty years, has encompassed over a score of albums, both solo and in combination with his many illustrious friends in the folk world. In concert, Martyn accompanies himself on guitar, and is noted for his powerful, pleasant voice, as well as a genuine warmth and great offbeat sense of humor.
This concert will benefit the Matenwa Community Learning Center
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. Like many in Cape Breton, music is not new to Kimberley's family. She proudly owns the fiddle of her great great grandfather, spanning the musical tradition within her family over a hundred years.
Though still in her early 20s, Kimberley's career is already a distinguished one. She has traveled the world, bringing Cape Breton music with her wherever she goes. Dan MacDonald of the Cape Breton Post says this 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 squaredance or on stage for a concert in Bras d'Or or Boston, Scotsville or Scotland." She has played with Cape Breton's finest, including Ashley MacIsaac, Natalie MacMaster, Gordie Sampson and the late John Allan Cameron. Internationally, Kimberley has shared the stage with such notables as Alasdair Fraser, Lunasa and Danu. Kimberley is also in demand for her piano skills, accompanying various Cape Breton fiddlers at home and abroad. She had the honor of being the pianist for the acclaimed Irish musical group, Cherish the Ladies, during their tour of Sweden in May of 2004. Her impact upon the music of Cape Breton has not gone unrecognized. In 2000, Kimberley received the Tic Butler award for significant contribution to Cape Breton culture.
Kimberley's latest accomplishment includes the release of her second studio album, "Falling on New Ground", which won an East Coast Music Award in 2008 for Roots/Traditional Solo Recording of the Year. This self-produced album reflects on her experiences and growth as a musician since the release of her first studio album, "Heart Behind the Bow", in 2000. Kimberly is currently studying music at Berklee in Boston.
Troy MacGillivray's musical prowess can be attributed to an especially rare combination of commitment and bloodline. By the age of six, Troy was already impressing audiences with his step dancing skills. By 13 he was teaching piano at the renowned Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts in St. Anne's, Cape Breton. He has completed grade seven of the Toronto Conservatory of Music for classical piano, has spent four years in a stringed orchestra and has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in music from St. Francis Xavier University.
Troy's recordings "Boomerang" (2003) and "Musical Ties" (2001) both received East Coast Music Award nominations as well as Music Industry Association of Nova Scotia nominations. "Musical Ties" is a blend of contemporary and original compositions with two hundred year old melodies played on the piano and fiddle. A collection of uplifting Strathspeys, Jigs and Reels are complimented by the graceful presence of two beautiful Gaelic airs. His third recording, titled "Eleven", is wonderful, and his fourth, "Live at the Music Room", just earned an East Coast Music Award for Instrumental Recording of the Year.
At the age of 24, he was the 2004 recipient of the "Auleen Theriault Young Tradition Award" from the Goderich Celtic Roots Festival in Goderich, Ontario. This award is given to an artist that shows outstanding talent and love for traditional and roots based music. Whether playing piano or fiddle, or showcasing his stepdancing capabilities, Troy MacGillivray certainly displays intense commitment to the Celtic heritage he inherited from his Highland ancestors.
Kimberly and Troy will perform individually and together on fiddle and piano in addition to step-dancing.
A Little of What You Fancy -- Songs and recitations from the great Victorian and Edwardian era of the English Music Hall and the Vaudeville Stage. Murray Callahan, David Jones, and Heather Wood will provide the bill of fare, with the infamous Dr. Jerome at the keyboard.
Songs of entertaining sadness, of damsels in distress (and even sometimes enjoying it), of a bit of bubbly and fine comradeship, of all those things that made for popular entertainment in a time a bit more simple it would seem than what songs are about today. Our performers are as good as you can find these days at bringing out the soul of this period, a twinkle and a tear in the eye, and the good doctor will provide tasteful and sensitive accompaniment. The performers will perform in some approximation of the costume of the period, and we invite the public to dress up for the occasion. Make it an event, not just a concert. Let's recreate a grand old time, since we all know the old days were much better than they actually were.
Plenty of opportunity to sing your heart out and cry your eyes out, and a good laugh in between.
This concert is being held in conjunction with the Cambridge Center of Adult Ed's Spring Dulcimer Festival
Martin Grosswendt, once described by U. Utah Phillips as "a rumor in his own time," has been a performer, session musician and teacher for more than three decades. A multi-instrumentalist and singer long known as an interpreter of 1920s and '30s blues, Martin is equally at home playing the old-time music of the Southern Appalachians or the Cajun and Creole music of Southwest Louisiana. He plays six- and twelve-string guitar, five-string banjo, mandolin, fiddle, bass, Cajun accordion, and Dobro. Martin has performed and taught at numerous festivals.
The Boston Globe wrote about Lorraine and Bennett Hammond "These two are gentle masters of folk melody". "Quite simply acoustic music at its finest", asserted Dirty Linen Review. Guitarist Bennett Hammond's technical inspiration comes from varied sources including Duane Eddy, Lightnin' Hopkins, Etta Baker. His aesthetic inspirations come from the three Bs: Bach, Bluegrass and Bo Diddley. With over three decades of playing, performing, teaching, writing and recording at the highest level, Lorraine Hammond is recognized as one of this country's leading proponents of the Appalachian dulcimer. She teaches at many of the finest folk programs in the country and is an internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist (dulcimer, harp, banjo and mandolin). Jingalo Gypsy, produced by Robbie O'Connell, is their latest CD.
Jon and Rika are singers of traditional song and amateur (for-the-love-of-it!) scholars of ballads, shanties and other folk songs. They are teachers, too, and have always been interested in how these songs are passed on -- in both theory and practice.
Jon and Rika met at the Vancouver Folk Song Society (VFSS), where they were (and still are) active as singers, organizers and board members. They began singing together in 1976. At the time they focused primarily on Canadian folk songs and presented workshops to teachers and students from Kindergarten to the post-graduate level. Their educational work culminated in 1979 with the production of Songs and Stories of Canada, a sixteen-part radio series for the CBC schools’ broadcast. In 1980 they produced The Green Fields of Canada, an LP of Canadian folk songs extracted from the radio shows.
During this time Jon and Rika were active in Canadian folk songs on a national level. They sang at folk festivals and folk clubs across the country and in the US. They published Canada Folk Bulletin, a bi-monthly national magazine about folk music.
Jon and Rika have incorporated singing into political action. Over the years they have sung at many marches, demonstrations and picket lines. They were founding members of Cultural Workers Against the Budget (CWAB), which organized the 70,000 strong march and rally of October, 1983. From 1991 to 1999 Jon and Rika were involved in organizing CityFest, a cultural festival presenting the music, dance, visual and spoken arts of Vancouver area ethnic and community groups. Jon was co-ordinator of the festival for its last four years.
Most recently Jon and Rika have been pursuing the singing and study of traditional ballads. They have put together an archive of cassettes of the traditional ballads from the F.J. Child collection and for two years they ran a ballad study group.
String Band Magic is comprised of:
Alan Kaufman: fiddle, mandolin, guitar, limberjack and vocals
Suz Slezak: Guitar, fiddle and vocals
Rebecca Hall: Banjo, guitar and vocals
Come see and hear fabulous fiddling, hypnotic banjo playing and traditional southern mountain sing-alongs. Fun for the whole family!