Our concert series will be on hold for a while, along with much of the rest of everything. We wish you joy, comfort and health in these challenging times.
Our concert series will be on hold for a while, along with much of the rest of everything. We wish you joy, comfort and health in these challenging times.
John Coster is our guest artist on the first Friday in March – one of America’s most eloquent songwriters and a longtime contributor to the revival of traditional music. He is a distinctive singer and guitarist and a true pioneer among Celtic harmonica players. And he’s a local musical treasure that you may not yet know about.
“A songwriter of unusual eloquence and sensitivity who could become a national figure.”
— Boston Globe
His earliest performing experiences included a tour across Canada in an old time music and magic show featuring Walt Koken of the legendary Highwoods Band and Ricky Jay the magician. During time spent In Canada, he was influenced greatly by Cape Breton’s fiddlers and the guitar playing of John Allen Cameron, the “Godfather of Canadian Celtic music”. As a songwriter and bandleader, he has recorded seven albums and regularly performed with some some of America’s best folk and roots rock musicians, including veterans who’ve worked with Dylan, Leonard Cohen, the Allman Brothers and Crosby Stills and Nash. John’s music blends an edgy but refined song writing style with deep roots in traditional music.
John is currently performing solo and with Jim Matus, master of the laoutar, an eight stringed deeply resonant instrument similar to a mandocello. The two achieve a rich powerful sound, often blending Jim’s laoutar with John’s 12 string guitar and harmonicas. This enables them to create rich textures for John’s songs and explore traditional music with an instrumental combination not heard before. The video below of Old Stones and Broken Bones was taken at the first gig John did with Jim.
We’re looking forward to this concert, and hope you’ll join us!
Friday Feb 14th, Special Second Friday Concert/Valentine’s Day Dance!
7-8 Swing/Lindy Hop Dance Lesson (price included in concert admission) 8-10 Concert/Dance
“Wow, did I have fun dancing to the Butterfly Swing Band! A real blast from the past, and Kate Nicolaou’s vocals were so authentic; mellifluous love ballads and hard-swinging jitterbugs. She is the real deal.” Kit Johnson, Musical Director of Jazz ensemble, Swingset.
“The Butterfly Swing Band knows how to keep us dancing! With lead vocalists Kate Nicolaou and Brian Bender easily shifting from contagiously upbeat to warmly tender and soulful vocals, and the bands creative instrumentation and rhythmic tempos, bring the room alive with enthusiasm and fun no matter the style or genre.”
On Feb 7th, First Friday Concerts at Coho presents trailblazing cellist and award-winning composer Stephen Katz! Besides being a world-class musician, Steven is also a friend of a number of us here at cohousing, and we’re glad to share what will no doubt be an intimate, inspiring, and certainly unusual solo concert with you!
More about Steven below this announcement about our concert/dance one week later:
Friday Feb 14th, Special Second Friday Concert/Valentine’s Day Dance! 7-8 Swing/Lindy Hop Dance Lesson (price included in concert admission) 8-10 Concert/Dance
Stephen has charted new territory for the rhythmic potential of the cello with the groundbreaking approach he calls Flying Pizzicato. His compositions juggle two or three voices at a time, making music that simultaneously lays grooves, weaves tunes, and lifts spirits.
He has premiered his cello compositions at Carnegie Recital Hall and performed internationally as a soloist, and with the Paul Winter Consort, Rachael Sage, the Essex String Quartet and Susan Werner.
He is a National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient through the SUNY/Buffalo Arts in Healthcare Initiative. As a film composer, his score for The Rich Have Their Own Photographers won the Jury Prize Gold Medal for Best Impact of Music in a Documentary at the Park City Film Music Festival. He also scored Two Square Miles which has been broadcast nationally on PBS/Independent Lens. Stephen’s performances have been broadcast on PRI’s Performance Today.
An improviser and composer in the Dance and Theater worlds, Stephen has collaborated and performed with Andrew Harwood, Chris Aiken, members of Pilobolus and Beverly Blossom dance companies, and has been a Visiting Artist at Amherst College (MA). He has made music for hundreds of “movement jams” using digital looping hardware to weave dynamic tapestries of sound. As a co-founder of the movement/theater company Seen & Heard with the late dancer and monologist BJ Goodwin, he literally danced with the cello while accompanying the dramas they played out on stage.
As a teacher, Stephen has been a regular workshop presenter at the New Directions Cello Festival since it’s inception in 1994. He also has the distinction of being the most frequent guest performer at the Fest.
New York Times:
With a bow and fingers as light as feathers Stephen Katz makes a cello bring out meanings you might not have suspected were there.
– Winner of 6 Grammy Awards
Stephen Katz makes some remarkably innovative music with the cello. While revering its traditions, he is on the cutting edge of liberating the instrument from the printed page… His composition Eight Days of Eve is the most beautiful piece of ‘looped’ music I have ever heard.
Chris White, Director, New Directions Cello Association:
A cellist whose name is almost synonymous with our festival, Stephen Katz has revolutionized pizzicato technique for the cello. In addition, his use of looping to layer multiple tracks of cello in performance is breathtaking. All of this is in the service of his beautiful and imaginative, original music.
Eugene Friesen, cellist, composer, Grammy winner:
Stephen’s musical talents are formidable! He has a distinctive harmonic language, lovely sense of phrasing, chops, and a beautiful voice.
Jody Elff, Sound artist, technician (Laurie Anderson, Paul Simon):
Of all the live looping performers I’ve heard, Stephen Katz has not only mastered his instrument, reinvented its technique, but also integrated the potential of electronics into his compositions.
by James Heflin, Valley Advocate:
When Stephen Katz breaks out his cello to illustrate a musical point, he often wears an expression somewhere between concentration and delight. He’s having a very good time. That’s probably why he’s in such demand—Katz plays solo shows (often using looping), backs up dancers at area shindigs, plays with the Paul Winter Consort, and is musical director of Wire Monkey Dance. He also regularly plays at the New Directions Cello Festival, where he teaches some of the techniques he’s developed for the instrument.
In a recent interview, Katz revealed that he began his musical life wanting to be a drummer. “I loved rhythm in pop,” says Katz. “I played drums with a pillow and a box.” But his mother talked him out of such a loud, non-melodic instrument. That led to the cello, says Katz: “I started playing chamber music before I really knew what anything else was.”
Later, he discovered guitar, and found a lot to like. “When I got a guitar I could play rhythms, which is what I loved about music,” he says. Even so, Katz says, he eventually decided to study classical cello in college, rather than focus on guitar.
Katz, originally from San Francisco, got an invite to audition for a quartet at UMass-Amherst, and came to New England to join the group in 1986. When that group disbanded, Katz taught at a school in northwest Connecticut. His time there offered him a chance to return to composing, and his cello playing went in some quite new directions.
“I started composing things on the cello that were a lot like what I liked on the guitar. I’d done a lot of contemporary music and I knew a lot about making sounds on the cello… music that was close to my heart, but without a lot of heart in it. I wanted to write music that was more basic, rhythmic music, but on the cello.”
When Katz picks up his instrument, it’s quickly apparent that the strictures of classical methods aren’t enough to encompass his imaginings. He doesn’t seem to need a bow, and his rhythmic approach has helped him discover new ways to get the sounds he wants. The result of his experimentation was a rhythmic sort of finger-striking that resembles electric bass methods more than traditional cello playing.
Katz explains that, groundbreaking though such styles might have been when he first started using them, the context of contemporary music and the desires of cellists to play in new settings have conspired to make the unusual usual: “Folks like me, listening to contemporary music, pop music, want to make rhythmic music with the cello, and sing with it, and play in bands, put it through a distortion pedal, through an echo or a looping pedal.”
At the most recent installment of the New Directions Cello Festival, now in its 14th year, Katz shared one of his methods—a finger-and-thumb near-strum using a big arm motion to sweep across the strings—with other cellists. “I gave a workshop in the technique I call ‘flying pizzicato.’ When Katz demonstrates “flying pizzicato,” it looks much like a guitar player’s strumming. But the result is a quick kind of string hit that is downright funky, evoking African rhythmic complexities and even the guitar stylings of players like Habib Koite or Oliver Mtukudzi.
“What I love about drumming, especially native, indigenous African drumming less influenced by contemporary media, [is that the] rhythms are more inherent to the way the body moves. I’m doing it through my arm. That’s part of why this approach works for me. Because it’s a continuous flow. It’s very simple, the premise. The limitations are great. There are only four strings, one hand to tune them while I’m playing, and a thumb and a finger. What are the possibilities? How much music can be made?”
Rather than simply learning how one is supposed to play the cello, he has made the instrument his own with his adventurous style. When he speaks about his playing, Katz often sounds more like a philosopher than a classical musician, and it is his well-thought-out approach that has led him both to new discoveries and to an unusual, engaging style that is a joy to watch in action.
“This instrument was not made for rhythm—it was made for melody in particular, for the bow, which I still use occasionally,” says Katz. “But I have wanted to bring those things together. It’s what I love to do.”
On Friday, November 15th, Rob is bringing in Greg Tamblyn, NCW (No Credentials Whatsoever). Greg has been a successful singer, songwriter, speaker, and humorist for over 20 years. He combines outstanding audience rapport with an irreverent sense of humor, and has a special interest in the relationship of music, laughter, and lifestyle to physical and emotional well-being. Greg’s humorous musings on cultural absurdities, as well as his messages of effectiveness, optimism, and service, have garnered him a large international following.
Greg has become well known for his inspiring songs about the power of the human spirit, as well as his off-the-wall send-ups of modern life, such as “The Shootout at the I’m OK, You’re OK Corral,” “My Life is a Beer Commercial“, and “Type A-Ness”. Based for many years in Nashville, he now makes his home in Kansas City, and performs throughout the world for a wide variety of groups interested in wellness.
Jack Canfield, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul says of Greg: “I’m sure your songs are Chicken Soup for a lot of Souls out there in the world!”
Opening act: Gordon Kramer & Rob Peck perform humorous parodies and original songs.
Friday Dec 6th – Kit Johnson and Swing Set – acapella swing and jazz
Sunday Dec 15 – special birthday concert from Tony Silva – spanish guitar
Friday, November 1st, we present Valley favorites, The O-Tones! Known for their swinging standards, R&B, and Motown covers, this band will rock the common house! You probably already know them, and if you don’t, even more reason to come out and have a great time.
Hey everyone, this one is going to be as wonderful as it is unusual.
Come join Libby Kirkpatrick, Dave Dersham, and Dave Haughey for an intimate evening of Indie-Soul-Folky-Jazzy-Ava
More about the artists:
Dave Haughey changes the way people think about the cello. His holistic approach to modern cello playing encompasses myriad genres and techniques, making him one of the most versatile young cellists in the world. He is an improviser, composer, and teacher who is always searching for new ways to expand the unique capabilities of the cello, thus trailblazing a path to a world where the instrument is known not only for is place in classical music but also as a versatile and ubiquitous tool for music making in any genre. He has performed with the Paul Winter Consort, Eugene Friesen, Zohar Fresco, Armen Ksajikian, Roman Stolyar, Andrew Bishop, Glen Velez, Loire Cotler and others across the globe from the USA, to Asia, South America, Europe, and the Middle East. Dave has taught private lessons and workshops at festivals and schools around the world, including at The Berklee School of Music, The Conservatory of Tatui, the Rio International Cello Encounter in Brazil. He works as a performer, recording artist, teacher, and composer.
In his 20s, he spent a searing Wyoming summer prepping gruel for Dornan’s chuck wagon beneath the Teton’s purple haze; taught Eco-Ed to middle schoolers among the butterscotch-laced pines of the Black Hills; trekked the sage and occasional cottonwoods with underserved youth in southern Idaho; and explored the cultures of Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. (He never saw the resplendent quetzal that reportedly, “hung around the Coca-Cola sign” near Coban, but he did manage to see a lonely motmot calling an incredibly low “WOOVE!” at the Jaguar Reserve.)
By his 30s, the muse pulled Dave to the luster of the Cambridge folk scene where he completed his first CD, “The Burn of Summer.” The album enjoyed regular airtime on folk radio’s WUMB, Emerson College’s WERS, and produced a finalist selection for the nationally syndicated Mountain Stage Emerging Artist competition.
His second album, “Gilding the Lilies” was recorded with the assistance of Lloyd Thayer’s unorthodox lap-steele, as well as the shrewd production/instrumentation of Jared Fiske. The CD was released in the fall of 2011 and was distributed internationally.
Dave is currently based in Northampton, MA and tours the subterranean folk pockets of the Northeast, Southern California and Texas. He’s currently working on his third collection of songs to be released in late 2019 / early 2020.
Growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Libby Kirkpatrick began playing classical piano at age 3. At age 14, deeply moved by the musical era of singer songwriters in the 1970’s, she switched to acoustic guitar while immersing herself in the artistry of Joni Mitchell, Joan Armatrading, Neil Young and Rickie Lee Jones. Drawn by her adventure-seeking desires as a nomadic youth, Libby left home to live minimalistically overseas in India and Thailand, and then busking in Ireland where she began writing her first original songs. She then returned to the States to live in Boulder, Colorado where she began performing professionally for the first time in 1995. Spending her next several years touring folk venues, befriending and co-mingling with the jamband circuit, and honing her musical crafts, she began developing solid regional followings along the West Coast, Southwest, and Northeast.
In 2001, Libby took root in Austin, Texas where she primarily resides between tours. With her sometimes rigorous touring schedules combined for her off-touring need to keep traveling (for fun!) Libby often jokingly claims her true residency to be “Toyota USA” (her road-dog-eared blue Tacoma truck). To this day, Bryn Mawr Pensylvania, Boulder Colorado, Orcas Island Washington, and Portland Oregon are all places she still calls home–often literally–for weeks if not months at a time.
Beyond music, Libby’s other interests include nutrition, (macrobiotic) cooking, yoga mind-body connection (she’s a certified massage therapist and a yoga instructor), dance, travel, visual and performance art (she’s a member of The Everyone Orchestra), language (she recently taught herself basic Portuguese before vacationing in Brazil). astrology and metaphysics (the illustrations on the cover of “Goodnight Venus” are by artist Julie Paschkis, illustrator of famous Philadelphia folk-art tarot card and palmistry decks). An unquenchable listener of inspired music, recently found in her CD player were: Devon Sproule, Tin Hat Trio, Townes Van Zandt, Forrest Sun, Kate Fenner, Fats Waller, Django Reinhart & Stephan Grappelli, Jeff Buclkey, Nickel Creek, Greg Brown, Gilberto Gil, Alexi Murdoch, Catie Curtis, Mindy Smith, Rob Halverson, Patty Griffin, Andrew Bird, Ray Lamontagne, and Martin Sexton.