Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:00pm – 10:45pm

Branford Folk Opens 2018 Season Jan. 13

Sponsored by: Branford Folk Music Society

The Branford Folk Music Society opens its 2018 concert series on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 8 p.m. in the auditorium of the First Congregational Church of Branford on the Town Green with a return visit from internationally renowned and respected balladeers Debra Cowan and John Roberts.

Admission is $20 for non-members, $17 for members and $5 for children age 12 and under. For more information, call 203-488-7715 or access the society’s Web page at

With their eloquent voices and expert musicianship, Cowan and Roberts bring to life songs seldom heard on TV or radio these days. Drawn from both the folk tradition and the work of contemporary songwriters, many of these songs tell of the timeless joys and sorrows of human experience. They offer windows into where we’ve come from and perhaps where we’re headed.

Both musicians can also spin a ripping good yarn and whether illuminating, inspiring, or laugh-out-loud funny, their stories convey their love of the songs and the people who’ve sung them over the years, decades and, in some cases, centuries.

Roberts and Cowan’s musical partnership began in 2009 with a simple question: “How are you getting to Chicago?” And with that, they 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 they continue to perform together both in the U.S. and in the United Kingdom. They’ve recorded one album, “Ballads Long and Short” on Golden Hind Music that has already become a folk music classic and both still pursue solo music careers.

From the minute she begins to sing, Debra Cowan grabs her audience and doesn’t let go. Her ability to communicate the story within the song is a rare art. It’s agreed by music presenters and radio programmers alike that she possesses one of the best voices in folk music today. Her rich nightingale soprano conjures images of stony-grey Celtic castles, green and rolling English landscapes and humorous American scenes as she moves through a repertoire full of traditional balladry with a sprinkling of sea music, contemporary songs and outrageously comic songs.

John Roberts is the proverbial “walking encyclopedia” of folk songs and folklore. For over 45 years, Roberts, a British expatriate, has been singing and playing old songs, meaning that many of the songs and tunes in his extensive repertoire can be traced back at least 100 years. He is also considered one of the foremost Anglo concertina players in the English-speaking world and uses the banjo for unique settings in many of the songs he sings. Roberts and his long-time music partner, Tony Barrand, are often cited as influences and mentors to many listeners, singers and musicians when it comes to traditional folk music of the English-speaking world.

Admission: $20, $17
First Congregational Church of Branford
1009 Main Street
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