Monday, August 31, 2009

Karl Paulnack Welcome Address

Excerpt - "You're not here to become an entertainer, and you don't have to sell yourself. The truth is you don't have anything to sell; being a musician isn't about dispensing a product, like selling used cars. I'm not an entertainer; I'm a lot closer to a paramedic, a firefighter, a rescue worker. You're here to become a sort of therapist for the human soul, a spiritual version of a chiropractor, physical therapist, someone who works with our insides to see if they get things to line up, to see if we can come into harmony with ourselves and be healthy and happy and well...."

Karl Paulnack Welcome Address

Below is an excerpt from a welcome address given to parents of incoming students at The Boston Conservatory on September 1, 2004, by Dr. Karl Paulnack, director of the Music Division.


One of my parents' deepest fears, I suspect, is that society would not properly value me as a musician, that I wouldn't be appreciated. I had very good grades in high school, I was good in science and math, and they imagined that as a doctor or a research chemist or an engineer, I might be more appreciated than I would be as a musician. I still remember my mother's remark when I announced my decision to apply to music school—she said, "you're wasting your SAT scores!" On some level, I think, my parents were not sure themselves what the value of music was, what its purpose was. And they loved music: they listened to classical music all the time. They just weren't really clear about its function. So let me talk about that a little bit, because we live in a society that puts music in the "arts and entertainment" section of the newspaper, and serious music, the kind your kids are about to engage in, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with entertainment, in fact it's the opposite of entertainment. Let me talk a little bit about music, and how it works.

One of the first cultures to articulate how music really works were the ancient Greeks. And this is going to fascinate you: the Greeks said that music and astronomy were two sides of the same coin. Astronomy was seen as the study of relationships between observable, permanent, external objects, and music was seen as the study of relationships between invisible, internal, hidden objects. Music has a way of finding the big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls and helping us figure out the position of things inside us. Let me give you some examples of how this works.

One of the most profound musical compositions of all time is the Quartet for the End of Time written by French composer Olivier Messiaen in 1940. Messiaen was 31 years old when France entered the war against Nazi Germany. He was captured by the Germans in June of 1940 and imprisoned in a prisoner-of-war camp.

He was fortunate to find a sympathetic prison guard who gave him paper and a place to compose, and fortunate to have musician colleagues in the camp, a cellist, a violinist, and a clarinetist. Messiaen wrote his quartet with these specific players in mind. It was performed in January 1941 for four thousand prisoners and guards in the prison camp. Today it is one of the most famous masterworks in the repertoire.

Given what we have since learned about life in the Nazi camps, why would anyone in his right mind waste time and energy writing or playing music? There was barely enough energy on a good day to find food and water, to avoid a beating, to stay warm, to escape torture—why would anyone bother with music? And yet—even from the concentration camps, we have poetry, we have music, we have visual art; it wasn't just this one fanatic Messiaen; many, many people created art. Why? Well, in a place where people are only focused on survival, on the bare necessities, the obvious conclusion is that art must be, somehow, essential for life. The camps were without money, without hope, without commerce, without recreation, without basic respect, but they were not without art. Art is part of survival; art is part of the human spirit, an unquenchable expression of who we are. Art is one of the ways in which we say, "I am alive, and my life has meaning."

In September of 2001 I was a resident of Manhattan. On the morning of September 12, 2001 I reached a new understanding of my art and its relationship to the world. I sat down at the piano that morning at 10 AM to practice as was my daily routine; I did it by force of habit, without thinking about it. I lifted the cover on the keyboard, and opened my music, and put my hands on the keys and took my hands off the keys. And I sat there and thought, does this even matter? Isn't this completely irrelevant? Playing the piano right now, given what happened in this city yesterday, seems silly, absurd, irreverent, pointless. Why am I here? What place has a musician in this moment in time? Who needs a piano player right now? I was completely lost.

And then I, along with the rest of New York, went through the journey of getting through that week. I did not play the piano that day, and in fact I contemplated briefly whether I would ever want to play the piano again. And then I observed how we got through the day.

At least in my neighborhood, we didn't shoot hoops or play Scrabble. We didn't play cards to pass the time, we didn't watch TV, we didn't shop, we most certainly did not go to the mall. The first organized activity that I saw in New York, on the very evening of September 11th, was singing. People sang. People sang around fire houses, people sang "We Shall Overcome". Lots of people sang America the Beautiful. The first organized public event that I remember was the Brahms Requiem, later that week, at Lincoln Center, with the New York Philharmonic. The first organized public expression of grief, our first communal response to that historic event, was a concert. That was the beginning of a sense that life might go on. The US Military secured the airspace, but recovery was led by the arts, and by music in particular, that very night.

From these two experiences, I have come to understand that music is not part of "arts and entertainment" as the newspaper section would have us believe. It's not a luxury, a lavish thing that we fund from leftovers of our budgets, not a plaything or an amusement or a pass time. Music is a basic need of human survival. Music is one of the ways we make sense of our lives, one of the ways in which we express feelings when we have no words, a way for us to understand things with our hearts when we can't with our minds.

Some of you may know Samuel Barber's heart wrenchingly beautiful piece Adagio for Strings. If you don't know it by that name, then some of you may know it as the background music which accompanied the Oliver Stone movie Platoon, a film about the Vietnam War. If you know that piece of music either way, you know it has the ability to crack your heart open like a walnut; it can make you cry over sadness you didn't know you had. Music can slip beneath our conscious reality to get at what's really going on inside us the way a good therapist does.

Very few of you have ever been to a wedding where there was absolutely no music. There might have been only a little music, there might have been some really bad music, but with few exceptions there is some music. And something very predictable happens at weddings—people get all pent up with all kinds of emotions, and then there's some musical moment where the action of the wedding stops and someone sings or plays the flute or something. And even if the music is lame, even if the quality isn't good, predictably 30 or 40 percent of the people who are going to cry at a wedding cry a couple of moments after the music starts. Why? The Greeks. Music allows us to move around those big invisible pieces of ourselves and rearrange our insides so that we can express what we feel even when we can't talk about it. Can you imagine watching Indiana Jones or Superman or Star Wars with the dialogue but no music? What is it about the music swelling up at just the right moment in ET so that all the softies in the audience start crying at exactly the same moment? I guarantee you if you showed the movie with the music stripped out, it wouldn't happen that way. The Greeks. Music is the understanding of the relationship between invisible internal objects.

I'll give you one more example, the story of the most important concert of my life. I must tell you I have played a little less than a thousand concerts in my life so far. I have played in places that I thought were important. I like playing in Carnegie Hall; I enjoyed playing in Paris; it made me very happy to please the critics in St. Petersburg. I have played for people I thought were important; music critics of major newspapers, foreign heads of state. The most important concert of my entire life took place in a nursing home in a small Midwestern town a few years ago.

I was playing with a very dear friend of mine who is a violinist. We began, as we often do, with Aaron Copland's Sonata, which was written during World War II and dedicated to a young friend of Copland's, a young pilot who was shot down during the war. Now we often talk to our audiences about the pieces we are going to play rather than providing them with written program notes. But in this case, because we began the concert with this piece, we decided to talk about the piece later in the program and to just come out and play the music without explanation.

Midway through the piece, an elderly man seated in a wheelchair near the front of the concert hall began to weep. This man, whom I later met, was clearly a soldier—even in his 70's, it was clear from his buzz-cut hair, square jaw and general demeanor that he had spent a good deal of his life in the military. I thought it a little bit odd that someone would be moved to tears by that particular movement of that particular piece, but it wasn't the first time I've heard crying in a concert and we went on with the concert and finished the piece.

When we came out to play the next piece on the program, we decided to talk about both the first and second pieces, and we described the circumstances in which the Copland was written and mentioned its dedication to a downed pilot. The man in the front of the audience became so disturbed that he had to leave the auditorium. I honestly figured that we would not see him again, but he did come backstage afterwards, tears and all, to explain himself.

What he told us was this: "During World War II, I was a pilot, and I was in an aerial combat situation where one of my team's planes was hit. I watched my friend bail out, and watched his parachute open, but the Japanese planes which had engaged us returned and machine gunned across the parachute cords so as to separate the parachute from the pilot, and I watched my friend drop away into the ocean, realizing that he was lost. I have not thought about this for many years, but during that first piece of music you played, this memory returned to me so vividly that it was as though I was reliving it. I didn't understand why this was happening, why now, but then when you came out to explain that this piece of music was written to commemorate a lost pilot, it was a little more than I could handle. How does the music do that? How did it find those feelings and those memories in me?"

Remember the Greeks: music is the study of invisible relationships between internal objects. The concert in the nursing home was the most important work I have ever done. For me to play for this old soldier and help him connect, somehow, with Aaron Copland, and to connect their memories of their lost friends, to help him remember and mourn his friend, this is my work. This is why music matters.

What follows is part of the talk I will give to this year's freshman class when I welcome them a few days from now. The responsibility I will charge your sons and daughters with is this:

"If we were a medical school, and you were here as a med student practicing appendectomies, you'd take your work very seriously because you would imagine that some night at two AM someone is going to waltz into your emergency room and you're going to have to save their life. Well, my friends, someday at 8 PM someone is going to walk into your concert hall and bring you a mind that is confused, a heart that is overwhelmed, a soul that is weary. Whether they go out whole again will depend partly on how well you do your craft.

You're not here to become an entertainer, and you don't have to sell yourself. The truth is you don't have anything to sell; being a musician isn't about dispensing a product, like selling used cars. I'm not an entertainer; I'm a lot closer to a paramedic, a firefighter, a rescue worker. You're here to become a sort of therapist for the human soul, a spiritual version of a chiropractor, physical therapist, someone who works with our insides to see if they get things to line up, to see if we can come into harmony with ourselves and be healthy and happy and well.

Frankly, ladies and gentlemen, I expect you not only to master music; I expect you to save the planet. If there is a future wave of wellness on this planet, of harmony, of peace, of an end to war, of mutual understanding, of equality, of fairness, I don't expect it will come from a government, a military force or a corporation. I no longer even expect it to come from the religions of the world, which together seem to have brought us as much war as they have peace. If there is a future of peace for humankind, if there is to be an understanding of how these invisible, internal things should fit together, I expect it will come from the artists, because that's what we do. As in the concentration camp and the evening of 9/11, the artists are the ones who might be able to help us with our internal, invisible lives."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Remaining 2009 Folk Festivals in New England and Eastern New York

Compiled by A. Sherman from information provided by the members of NorthEastFolknRoots. Please send new listings or corrections to

Remaining 2009 Folk Festivals in New England and Eastern New York.

Aug 28-30: American Folk Festival, Bangor, ME

Aug 28&30: Viva la Vinal Festival, Somerville, MA

Aug 29: Essex Music Festival, Essex, MA
(Canceled Weather)

Aug 29: Newport Arts Festival, Newport, RI

Aug 30: Slater Mill Labor & Ethnic Heritage Festival, Pawtucket, RI

Aug 30: Celebration of French Culture (Rescheduled), Pawtucket RI

Sept 4-6: Rhythm & Roots Festival, Charlestown, RI

Sept 4-6: County Bluegrass, Fort Fairfield, ME

Sep 5-6: Plymouth Folk and Blues Concerts, Plymouth, VT USA

Sep 5-7: Newport Waterfront Irish Festival, Newport, RI

Sept 6: New World Festival, Randolph, VT

Sept 7: Bread & Roses Festival, Lawrence, MA

Sep 11-13: Connecticut Folk Festival & Green Expo, New Haven, CT

Sept 12: Stone Soup Folk Festival, Pawtucket RI

Sep 12&13: Boston Folk Festival, Boston, MA

Sep 12&13: Irish Cultural Centre of NE Irish Festival, Canton, MA

Sept 13: Narrows Festival of the Arts, Fall River, MA

Sep 19-20: Joe Davies Folk Festival, Middleborough, MA

Sept 26: Providence Sustainbility Festival, Providence, RI

Sept 26-27: Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival, Portsmouth, NH

Sept 26-27: Working Waterfront Festival, New Bedford, MA

Oct 9-12: Taunton River Folk Festival, Taunton MA
This site has been suspended

Oct 16-18: Eisteddfod Festival, Ellenville, NY

...and looking forward to 2010...

Jan 8-9: BCMFest (Boston Celtic Music Festival), Cambridge and Medford, MA

Last updated: 8/29/09 Al Sherman

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"Sad is Not Forever"

"Sad is Not Forever" was written by Dr. Kari Groff, Chris Eldridge and Kristin Andreassen. It's part of an album they have been working on for children that addresses common mental health issues through music (Kari is a child psychiatrist...). Kristin believes the music will speak to kids of ALL ages but for now they're calling it children's music.

If they win, they get to compete nationally and sing another original children's song on NPR's Mountain Stage radio show!


Jumping Through Hoops members include Kari Groff-Denis, MD, Kristin Andreaasen, Chris Eldridge, David Moore, Paul Kowert, Charlie Shaw, Aaron Lewis, Joe Costa, Rob Hecht, Larry Toto, Stephanie Coleman, Hilary Hawke, Jared Engel, Cassie Jenkins, Brad Einhorn, Jefferson Hamer, Joel Wennerstrom, Michael Riddleberger, "The Hokes" featuring the P-squares on electric guitars, Mystery Man on bass, Coach Buster on drums, and their buddy on vocals, singing the hit song "Bully This!"

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Heyman Celebration

The Heyman Celebration will be an uplifting musical tribute to remember Vic Heyman and to honor Reba Heyman. It will be a mini-folk festival format, benefiting the Heyman Folk Scholarship Fund and Parkinson's Disease research.

Vic Heyman died on January 6, 2009. The folk music community has lost its "Folk Angel."

Vic and his wife, Reba, shown at a folk festival in 2008, were known as the financial guardians of countless folk performers nationwide. Their generosity ranged from financial backing of folk music venues and festivals to no-strings loans to down-on-their luck musicians (for travel or CD production), to thousands of acts of random kindness.

With this musical concert celebration, nationally touring musicians pay homage to their lasting legacy.

The Basics:

  • Sunday, October 11, 2009

  • Times: 3 p.m. - 11 p.m.

    • Live Folk Music Performances: 3:00 - 5:30 p.m.

    • Dinner Break: 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.

    • Live Folk Music Performances: 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.

    • Golden Circle Reception afterwards: 10:00 p.m.

  • Venue:

    • Olney Theatre Center, Olney, Maryland - Historic Stage


    • Map (click)

    • It is about 10 miles north from the Washington Capital Beltway, due north of Silver Spring, MD.

  • Performers Scheduled:

    • Ellen Bukstel

    • Terry Gonda w/ Kirsti Reeves

    • Patty Larkin

    • Kate McDonnell

    • SONiA

    • Amy Speace

    • LisaBeth Weber and Maggie Marshall

    • Vance Gilbert

    • Cosy Sheridan

    • Tom Prasada-Rao and Cary Cooper

    • Lara Herscovitch

    • Stephanie Corby

    • Plus some unannounced star performers that you know and love.

  • Tickets:

    • 125.00 - 100 Golden Circle seating, dinner & Post-concert Reception with the artists

    • $50.00 - General Reserved seating - center section

    • $25.00 - General Reserved seating - side sections (some seats may have a view that is partially obstructed) - limited number available

    • Tickets are now ON SALE (Click for information on how to order tickets)

  • Benefiting:

Concert Committee:

  • Sherry and Steve Panzer, co-chairs

  • Kristin Fuhrmann Clark

  • Jay Kohn

  • Sandy Lubin

  • Scott Moore

  • Karen Tupek

Contact Information:

Concert Committee:

Additional information at the official website.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Friday, September 11
Saturday, October 03
Friday, November 06
Friday, December 04
Jeremy Kittel Band (featuring Tristan Clarridge, Simon Chrisman and Bodek Janke)
Venue: Unity Church of God,6 William Street, Somerville, MA 02144
Reservations / more information:
Public transportation/ Parking / Access:

Somerville – notloB Folk Concerts’ third Somerville season, featuring the best in
will be presented at the Unity Church of God, 6 William Street (3 blocks north of Davis Square).
Friday, September 11.
Doors 7:30pm, Concert 8:00pm.
Suggested donation $15 at the door, $12 with reservation at least 24 hours in advance to
" Jonathan Byrd doesn’t sing songs; he sings truth."
"Jonathan's delightful, substantive songs are rich with imagery and textures of influences from Appalachian, country, early American balladry, modern atmospheric Mideastern, urban and old timey folk music. A stalwart of modern folk music, Jonathan is constantly evolving in new musical directions and each incarnation has proven to be masterful. Like a gourmet chef, Jonathan does not create the same dish twice, so we're not sure what he will bring to the table tonight. But if music were a meal, Jonathan would prepare us a banquet. Catch this Kerrville New Folk winner as often as you can; you'll never get 'full', your appetite will only grow."
~Uncle Calvin's Coffeehouse, Dallas, TX

Folk legend Tom Paxton discovered Jonathan Byrd's music and sent him a quick email, saying, "What a treat to hear someone so deeply rooted in tradition, yet growing in his own beautiful way." He had just released "Wildflowers," in late 2001, simple tales of love and death that seemed to be a hundred years old or more. In 2003 Byrd released his second album, "The Waitress" and won the prestigious New Folk competition in Kerrville, TX. That year, he set CD sales records at the festival.

For his third album, Jonathan approached his friends, the critically acclaimed world-music duo known as Dromedary, often featured on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. "The Sea and The Sky" is the result, a vast, poetic suite of music that weds world sounds to deeply rooted folk balladry.

A native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Jonathan grew up singing in the Southern Baptist church, where his father preached and his mother played piano. After four years in the Navy, he returned to Chapel Hill to play in rock bands in that legendary underground music scene. A friend of Jonathan's invited him to an old-time fiddle festival in the mountains of southwest Virginia, where his writing began to change. Assimilating the sounds of southern traditional music, Byrd wrote new songs in an ancient style.

One of those first songs was "Velma," a murder ballad based on the true story of Velma Barfield, the last woman to be executed in North Carolina (in 1984) and the murderer of Jonathan's own grandfather. This was the track that prompted Tom Paxton to respond so eloquently to Byrd's music.

As Jonathan grows into a contemporary artist of increasing influence, his traditional roots are always evident in his simple, poetic storytelling and classic flatpick guitar style. But, as quoted in a recent interview for Dirty Linen magazine, Jonathan says, "Everything I do is a departure from what I've done." "The Sea and the Sky" is certainly evidence of that. Keep an ear out for an upcoming electric album, sure to take us further out on a limb without forgetting our roots.
"I thought I was listening to a young Doc Watson."
~ Jay Moulon, Southeast Performer Magazine
Greg Klyma is a Buffalo-born troubadour who has been living on the road performing music full-time since August 1998. Traveling from the Rust Belt to FEMA villages with guitar and mandolin in hand, capturing the stories of the people he's met and seen for over a decade, Greg has honed his songwriting and storytelling while developing a show that lands somewhere between the worlds of Steve Earle and Steve Martin - it's literate, witty, visual, sometimes comical and forever building on tradition while seeking its own voice.
In August 2008, Greg released his 5th independent solo album, Rust Belt Vagabond, featuring the song "Two Degrees in Buffalo." Later in 2009, he'll follow up with the release of KLYMALIVE in Buffalo.
Anthony da Costa IS not afraid of nothing.

A public statement, a self-realization, an album title, a cool chance to use a double negative…or all of the above.

Not sure. But one thing is certain:
Anthony's new record is anything but careful.

In 2007, at 16, he became the youngest winner ever at the Falcon Ridge and Kerrville Folk Festivals. In 2008, at 17, he released two, critically- acclaimed albums. He also played prestigious folk festivals, including the Philadelphia Folk Festival and Tonder Festival in Denmark, and opened for music icons, like Loretta Lynn and Dan Bern.

Now, in 2009, at 18, and before heading off to Columbia University this fall, he's released a new record, "Not Afraid of Nothing." But, in this album, his 8th, Anthony ventures into new musical territory. While one foot's in folk, the other foot's loose and wandering into various genres, influenced by the work of Elliott Smith, Ryan Adams and some other, less-obvious artists, like The Smiths and Jay-Z.

"I needed to get to someplace else with this record — someplace with a little groove."

"Not Afraid of Nothing" is a homegrown record, recorded mostly on a Macbook Pro with an MBox in living rooms and basements throughout Anthony's hometown of Pleasantville, NY. As for the songs, they document his last year in high school — a year of clarity and confusion, love and loneliness, change and nostalgia and, ultimately, renewal.

"This album is definitely the most of ME that I've put out there, but I hope it can be about all of US in a way. If it's not, than I'm not doing my job."
Saturday, October 3.
Doors 7:30pm, Concert 8:00pm.
Suggested donation $17 at the door, $15 with advance reservation at least 24 hours in advance to
"May be the finest young Scottish band since Silly Wizard"
~ Boston Globe
"Malinky should be one of the folk bands of 2009"
~ The Guardian
“Scots music at its most evocative”
"producing great music...another gem of Scottish folk"
~ Irish Music Magazine
"a class act...just gets better each time you play it"
~ fRoots
"just glorious"
~ Living Tradition _____ Rock’n’Reel
With their stunning fourth album Flower & Iron, Malinky celebrate their tenth anniversary and introduce a newly revamped line-up, meanwhile underscoring their reputation as one of Scotland’s most distinctive and accomplished folk bands. While retaining their hallmark song-based repertoire, performed by three superb lead vocalists and arrayed with tastefully inventive instrumentation, Malinky today unite seasoned maturity with sparkling freshness, casting their musical net wider than ever. Formed in Edinburgh in 1998, Malinky showed their mettle early on by winning a prestigious Danny Kyle Open Stage Award at the following year’s Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow. Ten years on, the two remaining members from that founding line-up – Steve Byrne (vocals/bouzouki/guitar) and Mark Dunlop (vocals/whistles/bodhrán) – are now joined by Fiona Hunter (vocals/cello), who replaced original lead singer Karine Polwart in 2005, alongside recent recruits Dave Wood (guitar/bouzouki) and Mike Vass (fiddle).
With Dunlop hailing from over the water in Antrim, and Wood from Derbyshire, their respective roots in Ulster song and English tradition add further vibrant layers to Malinky’s core Scottish sound. Malinky’s three previous recordings, Last Leaves (2000), 3 Ravens (2002) and The Unseen Hours (2005), all on top Scottish folk label Greentrax, have each won successively greater acclaim, establishing the band not only as outstanding interpreters of traditional song, but as equally gifted exponents of contemporary material. This breadth of artistry is firmly to the fore on Flower & Iron, with Hunter, Byrne and Dunlop all taking turns to shine on vocals, while Wood and Vass bring renewed dynamism and verve to the instrumental arrangements.
Combining the very best of tradition and modernity, hard-earned experience and revitalised enthusiasm, Malinky enter their second decade with the world increasingly at their feet.
Friday, November 6
Doors 7:30pm, Concert 8:00pm.
Suggested donation $15 at the door, $12 with reservation at least 24 hours in advance to
"World class fiddler... far from just offering one dance tune after another, simple settings allow the true beauty of the music to shine through" - Sing Out
The traditional music of New England can be as warm and comforting as a winter fire or as potent and exhilarating as a summer thunderstorm. Fiddler and singer Lissa Schneckenburger is a master of both moods, a winsome, sweet-voiced singer who brings new life to old ballads and a skillful, dynamic fiddler who captures the driving rhythm and carefree joy of dance tunes old and new.
Raised in a small town in Maine and now living in Vermont, Lissa grew up with music. She began playing fiddle at the age of six, inspired by her mother's interest in folk music and a family friend who was a professional violinist. Soon she was studying with influential Maine fiddler Greg Boardman and sitting in with the Maine Country Dance Orchestra. By the time she was in high school she was playing concerts on her own, specializing in the sprightly New England dance tunes that combine influences from the British Isles and Quebec with homegrown twists that have been evolving since Colonial days. Another of her major influences was the diverse musical community that she found at fiddle camps, where she had a chance to play with and learn from a wide variety of musicians including noted Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser. In 2001 she graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music with a degree in contemporary improvisation, and since then has been performing around the US and internationally for a growing audience of enthusiastic listeners. She has recorded seven CDs, (four solo and three with various groups).
Lissa's fiddling is uplifting and lively, and her singing is gentle and evocative. Both in concert and in the studio she is regularly accompanied by some of New England's best musicians, including guitarists Keith Murphy and Matt Heaton and double bassist Corey DiMario.
Recently she has been closely studying the roots of the Downeast traditional music that she first heard as a young girl. Her latest project is a pair of CDs dedicated to reintroducing some wonderful but largely forgotten songs and tunes from New England that she uncovered through archival research at the University of Maine and elsewhere. "Song", to be released in April 2008, contains ten timeless ballads that go back as far as the eighteenth century that she set to carefully crafted modern arrangements, while "Dance", scheduled for 2009, will feature fiddle tunes. "There is currently a lot of focus on traditional American music from the South", she explains, "and many bands are exploring and recording that repertoire, but no one is getting to hear the amazing repertoire of traditional music from the North. This is my first attempt at getting some of that music out there for people to enjoy."
Whether playing for a folk club audience or a hall full of dancers, Lissa brings to the stage enthusiasm, energy, and the bright future of New England?s musical traditions.
Ari and Mia Friedman are members of a dynamic up-and-coming folk band. Their music is all at once driving, uplifting and moving. Ari is a recent graduate of Northwestern University where she studied cello performance with Hans Jorgen Jensen. A winner of ASTA's 2009 Alternative Styles Award, she is an inventive folk cellist and, aside from gigging with Mia, she performs, tours, and records with Scottish National Fiddle champion Hanneke Cassel. She also is a member of the new Boston-based girl band, Long Time Courting, as well as New England's highly acclaimed fiddle band Childsplay. She teaches classical and folk music at a music school outside Boston (, at various fiddle camps during the summer, and has her own private studio.
Mia is a talented fiddler, singer and banjo player studying at New England Conservatory's Contemporary Improvisation program. She won first place at the New England Regional Scottish Fiddle Champion in 2006 and performs around New England with various musicians. Both girls live in Boston and are the founding members of Fireside, a four-piece band that mixes old-time Appalachian songs and Scandinavian fiddle tunes. Visit for more information on Fireside.
Ari and Mia perform mostly original and traditional music. Their main influences are Southern Appalachian, old-time, folk, celtic and bluegrass traditions.
Their first CD, titled Lady and the Pants, was released in December 2006. This well received, eleven-track, self-released CD is based mainly in the folk/Celtic tradition. You can order copies on CDbaby or iTunes.
Friday, December 4
Doors 7:30pm, Concert 8:00pm.
Suggested donation $15 at the door, $12 with reservation at least 24 hours in advance to
US National Scottish Fiddle Champion and winner of 6 Detroit Music Awards leads an exceptional band whose musical roots transverse the world. With the drive of Celtic fiddling, the spontaneity of jazz, soul of bluegrass, rhythms of Africa and Latin America, layered melodies of Eastern Europe and intricacies of chamber music, the Jeremy Kittel Band consistently captivates audiences.

Fiddle: “Outstanding Michigan Celtic-jazz-bluegrass fiddle wiz Jeremy Kittel” (Boston Globe). Kittel grew up with Scottish, Irish and American music traditions and explored the rich jazz traditions of Detroit and New York as a young man, earning a Bachelors in Jazz from the University of Michigan and a Masters in Jazz Violin from Manhattan School of Music. A true multi-stylist, the 24 year-old fiddler has received numerous accolades including the U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Championship, three Detroit Music Awards for Outstanding Folk Artist, two Alternative Strings Awards from the American String Teachers Association, the University of Michigan Stanley Medal and Detroit Music Awards for Outstanding Jazz Recording, Jazz Composer, and Acoustic Instrumentalist. Kittel has produced three CDs of traditional and original material, and his second, Roaming, was named the 4th best Celtic CD of 2003. He has performed at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Milwaukee Irish Fest, Detroit International Jazz Festival, and “A Prairie Home Companion” been guest artist with the Rochester Philharmonic, Vancouver Symphony and Detroit Symphony orchestras; toured with fiddle legends Darol Anger and Mark O’Connor; and currently tours internationally with the Grammy-winning Turtle Island Quartet.

Hammer dulcimer / bass: Simon Chrisman is an existentially confused hammer dulcimer player who lives in Boston and isn't very good at writing about himself. Most often, he plays with The Bee Eaters. Aside from the dulcimer, he plays double bass and various forms of body percussion, and wishes that the key of E flat didn't exist.

Percussion: Polish-born Bodek Janke is an exceptional musician in the Jazz and World Music scenes, a cultural commuter between the USA, Kazakhstan, Russia, Poland and Germany. In 2008, he received the “Jazzpreis Baden-Wirttemberg”, the highest-endowed and most acclaimed jazz award of Germany. Janke creates a distinctive style, merging drumset with a wild variety of instruments, drawing upon African, Indian, Eastern European and Latin American music traditions. Playing World music with a jazz attitude, his energetic and expressive performances and compositions captivate every audience.

Cello: A talented multi-instrumentalist from the northern mountains of California, Tristan Clarridge is the youngest person to ever win the Grand National Fiddle Championship, and he did it for three consecutive years. An inventive cellist, Tristan plays with the bluegrass sensation Crooked Still, and has toured with Natalie McMaster and Darol Anger's Republic of Strings. For six years he’s been an instructor at Mark O'Connor's String Conference and Alasdair Fraser's Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School. Mark O'Connor says,"...[Tristan] has a lot going on in that musical mind of his and will step out in life to make wonderful contributions through his music".
Dinner and a show! Phone ahead for reservations ~ 781-648-8882, present your printed reservation confirmation and get 10% off your dinner check at House of Tibet Kitchen, 235 Holland Street, Somerville, Ma 02144. Reservations recommended.
And desert! Members of the Unity Church of God Church will be providing deserts, teas and coffee, so save room for desert.
Admission is by donation (check the website as the suggested amount and discounts vary by concert).
About the series. notloB Concerts are volunteer run and not for profit. Whether presented at historic and intimate museum houses like the Loring-Greenough House in Jamaica Plain or the Jackson Homestead in Newton, or at one of several church venues, or at private residences, all are run as house concerts where, after expenses, 100% of the patrons’ donations go to the artists. More information about the concert series can be found at the notloB website,
"In this era of pop-driven acoustic music, notloB is keeping the folk tradition alive."
~ Jack Hardy
notloB Folk Concerts
Bringing traditional American, Canadian, British, and Celtic folk, folk revival, world, blues, roots and bluegrass/newgrass music to
Arlington, Newton and Somerville.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Timothy Mason & Tom Begich

Timothy Mason


Tom Begich

Saturday, August 15, 2009 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM EDT

notloB Folk Concerts is proud to announce the next "kitchen" concert at the historic Jackson Homestead, 527 Washington St., Newton, MA 02458, located at the corner of Washington Street and Jackson Road, between Newton Corner and Newtonville.

Phone 617-796-1496

Suggested donation $10, $40 family maximum.

Doors 7:15pm
Concert 7:30pm

About Timothy Mason

The poetry blends with the musicians present - not exactly free form but free flowing............................................................................... ..............................................................................................

.................. Now bi-coastal Tim spends half his time in Boston, managing the bookings for Club Passim (no don't ask for a gig here) and working with the very hip web based business platform for professional independent musicians, Nimbit (check it out in the "Top 8") and trying to keep up with his teenage daughter Ruby. (who just happens to be the coolest kid on the planet)........................................................................................................................................................................................ The balance of his time is spent in the East Bay getting to know the West Coast scene and working with Shannon Flattery on her innovative community buliding arts and oral history project TOUCHABLE STORIES, now associated with UC Berkeley and based in Richmond CA, visit for the scoop on this. Its very cool .................................................................................... .................................................................................................................. Whichever coast he hangs his hat on the poetry is what keeps it together.

About Tom Begich

"It's the words that tell the story." That is Tom Begich. The bohemian son of a family steeped in Alaska politics and the product of a life of music, Tom's music resonates with stories and the conflicts of the human condition.

Part of the Alaska music scene in the early 1980's, Tom dropped out and tuned in to the world of politics and business for a decade before finding his way back to local coffee shops, street corners, and music festivals. Since returning to performing and recording, Tom has opened for recording artists Stephen Fearing, Don Morrell, Paul Geremia, and Kim Richey. Tom also hosted a monthly Songwriter's Showcase in his hometown of Anchorage for three years and has performed live on numerous radio stations and on the nationally syndicated radio show "West Coast Live" (October 1999).

Tom has released four CDs, "Such a World" in 1997, "Hotel Metropol" in 1999, and "Albuquerque Road" in 2001. His latest CD, "Cool Blue Light", was released November 20, 2004 and has already garnered favorable reviews.

Tom continues to play in Alaska and small venues throughout the country. Citing musicians as different as Taj Mahal, Harry Chapin, and Christopher Parkening as influences, Tom combines an easy picking style with blues rhythms and storytelling skill to create a musical montage that is always interesting to the ear. His music includes a wide-variety of music ranging from acoustic instrumentals to blues and folk rock. A musician with a wholly original sound, Tom Begich will keep you humming for more long after he's done.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mike Seeger, American Folk Revivalist and Historian

From Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Today at 2:27pm
August 8, 2009

"Old-time rural music remains at the center of my life. It's a tactile, emotional, aural pleasure — the words are my Shakespeare and my mysteries, the music is my Bach, my pastime, and it makes me want to dance...Classic, timeless qualities in this music endure. For me, there ain't no way out but nature, and I'll make the most of it."

-Mike Seeger (from the liner notes to the 1997 album There Ain't No Way Out by The New Lost City Ramblers)

Mike Seeger, who devoted his life to documenting, teaching, keeping alive, and carrying forth the sounds of traditional music of the American South, died from cancer August 7th at the age of 75. A self-taught multi-instrumentalist and singer, Seeger's 50-plus-year career included recordings as a solo performer, as a founding member of the influential group The New Lost City Ramblers, and as a documenter of many of the finest 20th-century performers of the genre including Dock Boggs, Elizabeth Cotten, and Kilby Snow.

We invite all fans of Mike to share thoughts, memories, and stories on the Smithsonian Folkways official Facebook page or email them to SmithsonianFolkways@SI.EDU
. Selected submissions will be posted on

Seeger's career highlights include producing the first long-playing bluegrass album, American Banjo: Three-Finger and Scruggs Style, earning six GRAMMY nominations (including nominations for Smithsonian Folkways albums Southern Banjo Sounds and 1997's There Ain't No Way Out with The New Lost City Ramblers), and earning the 2009 Bess Lomax Hawes Award from the National Endowment for the Arts among many other awards and grants. In all, Mike Seeger contributed to 75 Smithsonian Folkways albums, most recently a box set available August 25th, 2009 celebrating the 50th anniversary of The New Lost City Ramblers, and numerous Smithsonian Folklife Festivals as a researcher, presenter, and performer, including the first-ever festival in 1967. Mike Seeger will be remembered as tireless preserver, performer, and teacher of traditional music.

Please visit for a profile of Mike Seeger, including video and audio samples.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Summer/Fall NE Folk/Roots/Celtic/Bluegrass Festivals

Summer's heat is finally kicking in, so get out and enjoy these remaining Summer/Fall festivals.

Feel free to share, but please cite the source.

Aug 8: Prescott Park Rhythm & Roots Fest, Portsmouth, NH
Aug 8: Naukabout Music Festival, East Falmouth, MA
Aug 8: Valley Stage Music Festival, Huntington, VT
Aug 8: Rutland Long Trail Festival, Rutland, VT
Aug 9: Wachusett Valley Folk Festival, Westminster, MA
Aug 14-16: HickoryFest, Wellsboro, PA
Aug 15: Berkshire Womaen's Muse Fest, Pittsfield, MA
Aug 22: Great Waters Folk Festival, Wolfeboro, NH
Aug 22: Move the Muse Fest, Brockton, MA
Aug 27-30: Blistered Fingers Bluegrass Music Festival, Sidney, ME
Aug 28-30: American Folk Festival, Bangor, ME
Aug 29: Essex Music Festival, Essex, MA
Sept 4-6: Rhythm & Roots Festival, Charlestown, RI
Sept 4-6: County Bluegrass, Fort Fairfield, ME
Sep 5-6: Plymouth Folk and Blues Concerts, Plymouth, VT USA
Sept 6: New World Festival, Randolph, VT
Sept 7: Bread & Roses Festival, Lawrence, MA
Sep 11-13: Connecticut Folk Festival & Green Expo, New Haven, CT
Sept 12: Stone Soup Folk Festival, Pawtucket RI
Sep 12&13: Boston Folk Festival, Boston, MA
Sept 13: Narrows Festival of the Arts, Fall River, MA
Sept 26-27: Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival, Portsmouth, NH
Sept 26-27: Working Waterfront Festival, New Bedford, MA
Oct 9-12: Taunton River Folk Festival, Taunton MA
Oct 16-18: Eisteddfod Festival, Ellenville, NY
Jan 8-9: BCMFest (Boston Celtic Music Festival), Cambridge and Medford, MA
Last updated: 7/16/09 Al Sherman, with help from members of NEFolknRoots.
Please send additions and corrections to