Branford Folk Music Society

The Branford Folk Music Society, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization recognized as tax exempt under the Internal Revenue Service Code section 501(c)(3). The Society sponsors the Branford Folk Coffeehouse, a monthly folk music concert series, September through May, at the First Congregational Church, on the green in Branford, Connecticut.

The group also produces a bimonthly newsletter with schedules and information on concerts and folk performers in Connecticut and the region. Branford Folk Music Society members receive a copy of the newsletter in the mail, as well as discounts in admission to our coffeehouse concerts. Become a member of the Branford Folk Music Society. Facebook members: Look us up on Facebook.

Branford Folk Coffeehouse

The Branford Folk Coffeehouse is in the auditorium of the First Congregational Church of Branford, 1009 Main Street, Branford, CT. Wheelchair accessible. Concerts begin at 8:00 p.m. Admission prices are listed for each concert. Please pay at the door – there are no advance sales.

Directions: Take I-95 Cedar Street exit #54, go south on Cedar Street to the end (crossing Route 1), turn left on Main Street. The Congregational Church is the brick church on the green (on the right). For more information, call 203-488-7715. Email:
If parking immediately next to the Church and the Green is full, there is additional parking nearby.

Please contact us if you are interested in helping the coffeehouse as a volunteer. In particular, refreshment donations will be welcomed.

If you are wondering if a concert will be held on an evening when the weather is bad, please call 203-488-7715. (There is no one at the church who can give out concert information.) Also, cancellations will be posted on WTNH Channel 8.

January 12, 2019: Josée Vachon

Called the "ambassadrice" of Franco-American music, Josée Vachon presents French-Canadian foot rhythm and songs from her Quebec and northern Maine upbringing, as well as originals about her culture in a return visit to Branford Folk. Her warm vocals and fun-loving, engaging anecdotes capture the "joie de vivre" of New England's Franco-American music.

Josée has been sharing her Franco-American upbringing with audiences for over 25 years. She began singing publicly with the support of the Franco-American Center at the University of Maine, where she discovered others who shared her rich heritage. After receiving her BA in Romance Languages in 1984, she continued to perform, quickly gaining recognition as a new Franco-American voice through early performances at festivals and at schools and parish soirées. In 1999 she received the National Culture through the Arts Award from the New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers, and was inducted into the French-Canadian Hall of Fame Class of 2007 for the American-French Genealogical Society.

She has presented her music at hundreds of venues throughout the world as varied as Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.; to the Congrès Mondial du Conseil International d'Etudes Francophones in Martinique, to the Festival été indien in St-Etienne, France. Her numerous international television appearances include "Bonjour!" on which she made over 500 tapings from March 1987 to April 1998 of what became the most widely viewed French-language television show in the United States.

Josée made her Branford Folk debut in 2014, appearing with master fiddler Donna Hébert in a memorable concert. In folk music circles, she is well recognized as a co-founder in 1993 of the folk group Chanterelle with Hébert and singer/guitarist Liza Constable. They were often joined by bass and Cajun accordion player Alan Bradbury. The group released the albums French in America and Soirée Chez Nous.

Josée has 12 solo recordings to her credit and her music is included in "La Bolduc", a documentary made for Canada's History Channel; Microsoft's AutoMap Trip Planner software; and the Smithsonian Folkways CD, Mademoiselle voulez-vous danser: Franco-American music from the New England Borderlands.

Admission: $20 non-members, $17 members, $5 children 12 and under.

Josee Vachon

James Keelaghan

February 16, 2019: James Keelaghan

Called Canada's finest singer-songwriter by American critic Dave Marsh, one of the most respected and lauded music journalists and historians of the last 50 years, James Keelaghan is an artist who has proven to be a man for all seasons. Fusing his insatiable appetite for finding the next unique storyline, James forges his pieces with brilliantly defined craftsmanship and a monogrammed artistic vision, making him one of the most distinctive and readily identifiable voices of not only the Canadian folk music scene, but as a member of the international singer-songwriter community.

As the calendar pages have turned, for almost a quarter of a century now, this poet laureate of the folk and roots music world has gone about his work with a combination of passion, intent and intensity, and curiosity. Armed with a songbook that has enlightened and enthralled, and been embraced, by audiences around the world, James's life as an artist is one that is a perpetual journey on so many levels.

Most important, it's a journey that has invited fans of literate and layered songwriting to be a part of his artistic expeditions, some that weave their way through marvelously etched stories of a historical nature with underlying universal themes, and others that mine the depths of the soul and the emotional trials of human relations. Still yet others display a deep concern about social problems and justice in society.

Born in Calgary, Alberta, James now resides in Perth in Eastern Ontario. In addition to his life as a performing artist, since 2011 he has served as artistic director of the Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival in Owen Sound, Ontario.

His masterful storytelling, over the course of nine recordings, has been part of the bedrock of his success, earning James his share of nominations and awards, and acclaim from Australia to Scandinavia.

For James staying at the top of his game comes down to a very clear rule: "Never stop accumulating."

"I want my audiences to know that I am open enough to try new things and push their bounds." Simply put, he is an artist who continues to set the bar at a lofty height.

Admission: $20 non-members, $17 members, $5 children 12 and under.

March 9, 2019: Joel Mabus

Joel Mabus is a maverick in the folk music world. He defies any easy pigeonhole. By turns, he picks a mountain banjo to accompany an ancient ballad, sings a witty song about modern life, plays a sweet Irish melody on guitar, swings a hot jazz number, and then reaches deep for a soulful expression of values in a troubled world. He tops it all with a fiddle tune or old Carter family song – all skillfully blended into a seamless flow, accompanied by keen commentary on the music.

April 13, 2019: Battle of the Sexes in Harmony

In a bit of innovative programming (if we do say so), two harmony groups will be gracing our stage on this night: members of the The Connecticut Yankee Chorus, an award-winning a cappella barbershop ensemble, and Village Voices, a New York-based female ensemble that will present Bulgarian village harmonies from the region's women's tradition. Announcement of the concert at our first concert of the year in mid-September elicited "oohs and ahhs" from the audience, so mark your calendars.

May 11, 2019: Too Blue

We close out the society's 2018-19 concert season on a high, lonesome note with the region's own Too Blue. Flatpicking guitarist Betsy Rome and banjoist Joan Harrison flawlessly blend their voices. Mandolin powerhouse Michael Sassano astounds and entertains, while jazz bassist Jamie Doris brings a creative and unique perspective to the band. Together, Too Blue makes exciting bluegrass that swings and entertains.

Previous concerts at the Branford Folk Coffeehouse

Branford Folk Photo Gallery


Branford Folk Coffeehouse performers are often provided overnight accommodations by volunteers in their homes. However, some performers are very sensitive to furry critters, so if you can provide overnight accommodations in a pet-free environment, please let us know, either at a concert or by email at Hosts receive complimentary admission to the show! Thank you!

Wanna be on our Board?

The all-volunteer Board of Directors of the Branford Folk Music Society is looking for new members with a passion for traditional and tradition-based folk music and the skills to help us bring the joy of that music to wider audiences. We are seeking interested people with the time and willingness to take an active role in creating awareness of Branford Folk Music Society events in Connecticut, particularly in the broader shoreline community, and with skills to complement those of members of the current Board. These could include experience in public relations, arts or events coordination (not necessarily in music), outreach or fundraising; or connections with media, historical and cultural organizations in the New Haven area and towns along the shoreline. Anyone interested should contact us at 203-488-7715 or

In memory of Stacy Phillips

The Branford Folk Music Society primarily books "traditional" and/or "traditions based" acoustic music, rooted in the Anglo-Celtic and/or American folk genres, and other traditional forms, such as Cajun, French Canadian, Klezmer, etc. We are also open to booking "traditions based" performers who write their own material provided their music demonstrates a knowledge and respect for these long established traditions.

The Branford Folk Music Society is a member of the Folk Alliance International, the Arts Council of Greater New Haven, and the Shoreline Chamber of Commerce.

Other folk music events in Connecticut and southern New England

Please send event listings to the editor at

Branford Folk Music Society
P.O. Box 441
Branford, CT 06405