Debra Cowan with Special Guests: The Vox Hunters
Debra Cowan was once asked what kind of songs she writes. Her reply? "Bad ones. Besides, there are so many good songs out there written by others and they should be sung." Her captivating warm alto carries each folk song she chooses with such emotion that you'll forget that they were written by others. She performs a cappella and with guitar in the great tradition of folk singers like Joan Baez and Judy Collins, with a clear vocal that calls forth the ghosts of long past but can also offer a more modern urban landscape. In her newest release, a live recording entitled "Among Friends", she demonstrates her ability to interact with her audience and have them enthusiastically sing along on choruses and refrains.
As a young girl she idolized Julie Andrews and in her teens discovered Jethro Tull and Steeleye Span. At the age of 21 she needed escape out of a small Midwestern town so she threw darts at a map and ended up in northern California where she attended college, sang in bars, and eventually worked as a middle school math teacher. She continued her discovery of folk with English singers like Maddy Prior and Scottish singers like Ray Fisher. Debra started performing in California 35 years ago and began touring in 1998, with frequent stops in the US and UK, from folk clubs to festivals like the Old Songs Festival and Broadstairs Folk Week in England. That led her to where she is now, a full-time singer who bridges the old and new with a refreshing stage presence she may start with a moving ballad like "The Rainbow," a profile of one woman's courage, and segue into "Johnny Be Fair," about a poor lass who can't marry anyone in town because, well, she's related to everyone.
Debra's shared the stage and sung with artists as varied as Colum Sands, Tret Fure, and Si Kahn. For the last six years she has been joining her good friend, John Roberts for a number of tours and her newest CD, "Ballads Long & Short". She has collaborated with well-known guitarists Brooks Williams, Bill Cooley (Kathy Mattea) and British fiddler Tom Leary. Her third solo recording, "Fond Desire Farewell" was arranged and produced by former Fairport Convention drummer Dave Mattacks. She's performed in many prestigious UK venues and for six months in the late 90's held a residency at Sandy Bell's Bar, Edinburgh's premier folk music pub. She has performed many times on nationally syndicated American live radio shows such as WFMT's Folkstage, hosted by Rich Warren and Tom May's River City Folk.
Her recordings have won high praise from both sides of the Atlantic and her music has been included in many compilation recordings, most notably on the 2006 Free-Reed Records box set "RT-The Life and Times of Richard Thompson" and the 2014 "Dear Jean: Artists Celebrate Jean Ritchie". When Debra isn't touring internationally or busy with her activities as American Federation of Musicians Local 1000 Vice-President (USA), she makes her home near Worcester, Massachusetts with her husband and their two cats, Hazel 'n Herman.
The Vox Hunters
ARMAND AROMIN is a violin maker and musician based in Providence, Rhode Island. He has studied at Berklee College of Music and the University of Limerick, and is a graduate of the North Bennet Street School in Boston, MA where he earned his diploma in Violin Making & Repair. He currently works as a repair technician at McCarten Violins in Pawtucket, RI, and when time allows, he makes his own instruments (Aromin Violins). Armand also plays with the Boston-based Irish music group, The Ivy Leaf.
Picking up the fiddle and tin whistle in his mid-teens, Armand learned much of his music from renowned Irish musicians and tunesmiths Jimmy Devine and Patrick Hutchinson, both of whom helped to foster an interest in the lyrical and colorful styles of older musicians such as Denis Murphy and Julia Clifford, Bobby Casey, Johnny Doherty, and Tommy Reck. In addition to being the 2010 Mid-Atlantic Fleadh Cheoil Champion for Senior Fiddle, Armand was also a finalist at the Séan Ó Riada Gold Medal Fiddle Competition held in Cork, Ireland in 2011. Since 2010, he has taught fiddle and tin whistle for the Reynolds-Hanafin-Cooley branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann in Boston. Much to Ben's delight and dismay, Armand is working on incorporating English concertina into his repertoire of instruments.
BENEDICT GAGLIARDI was produced and developed in central Connecticut. He discovered folk music in high school by way of a cassette tape of CT-based band, The Morgans, and immediately bought a concertina (likely aspiring to become a pirate). His style is the result of an eager student and an ill-advised teacher (both of which were him). Although Ben never received formal lessons, his music-making was nurtured and encouraged at sessions by local trad musicians including Joe Gerhard, John Tabb, Jeanne Freeman, Jon Warner and many others from the time he first started going to sessions in CT. He is now a regular session guest host at McKinnon's in Hartford, The Playwright in Hamden and up until its untimely end, Anna Liffey's in New Haven.
Ben has been in a number of folk music bands (including Full Gael with Will O'Hare and Gary Palmer, and Shinbone Alley with Tyler Bussey and Chris Biase) and played throughout the Northeast at festivals, house concerts, coffeehouses, farmers markets and other venues small and large. He has had the pleasure of joining Robbie O'Connell, Dan Milner and Jeanne Freeman at the 32nd and 34th annual Mystic Sea Music Festival. On a number of occasions, Ben has joined Don Sineti and other members of The Morgans on stage which has been a satisfying 'full-circle' sort of experience. He has also played a few gigs with Jeff Davis who has become a close friend and musical mentor.
To his great surprise, Ben placed first in the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Fleadh Senior Duets competition with Jon Warner as well as Senior Melodeon and Mouth Organ (Harmonica). Since 2012, Ben has led a slow session and taught concertina at the CT Academy of Irish Music and has also been an anchor at the Lower Valley Beginner Irish Session in Holyoke, MA. In his undergraduate days, he established and led a Folk Music club at UConn. Ben can't dance a step, so he tries to make good use of his time sitting by singing and playing banjo, baritone ukulele, harmonica, or melodeon. In real life, Ben is currently pursuing a Master's degree in entomology at the University of Connecticut in Storrs and highly enjoys teaching biology.
This program is supported in part by a grant from the Marblehead Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
me and thee coffeehouse (View)
28 Mugford St
Marblehead, MA 01945
|Kid Friendly: Yes!
|Dog Friendly: No
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!