Christchurch Folk Music Club
Alistair Brown – big ballads, comic ditties, songs of struggle
Alistair Brown has been singing the old songs, and new songs written by people who like the old songs, since he was fifteen years old. He began his career helping out in the folk clubs of his native Scotland during what Utah Phillips called the great folk scare of the 60s, opening bottles (and occasionally concerts) for many of the great names in folk music.
Audiences at concerts and festivals across North America, Australia, New Zealand and the UK have responded enthusiastically to his performances, covering the field from big ballads, comic ditties, songs of struggles (usually unsuccessful) against temptation, odes to conviviality and songs of unashamed sentimentality, to outrageously funny stories from a master of the art – all this accompanied by anglo concertina and button accordion.
From 1972 to 2002, he lived in Canada, where he was active in many aspects of folk song and dance, as a recording artist, radio broadcaster, columnist, festival director, dance teacher, university lecturer, and program director at folk music and dance camps. With several visits each year, he continues to make regular appearances in Canadian and US folk clubs and festivals, performing solo, or with the Friends of Fiddler’s Green, with whom he has played for over 40 years.
He has entertained groups of elementary and secondary school pupils from 20 to 300 with songs and stories, been MC at many festivals and concerts, including hosting a symphony concert for an audience of 5000, has been guest on numerous radio and television programmes. He has called dances and has played in numerous dance bands. He has run courses on folk music in university and summer music camps, and has taught folk dance for many years. From 1978 to 2002, he was producer/ host of A Sign of the Times, heard on CIXX fm London, Ontario (106.9). For five years he also hosted Off She Goes, syndicated nationally in the USA on National Public Radio.
He now lives in Cornwall, on England’s Mediterranean coast, where he calls dances and performs regularly in folk clubs, festivals, pub sessions and several ancient seasonal rituals that require the presence of accordions.
“He held our discerning audience in the palm of his hand whilst singing two sets of songs from the folk club tradition, beautifully accompanied on concertina and introduced with humour and authority. He would be welcome back here anytime.”
… Roger Giles, Devonport Folk Music Club, NZ
“Not only does Alistair have that unique ability to capture an audience but his strong clear voice combines so well with his expertise on the concertina as he sings his story … There’s something special about a house concert, but Alistair can handle a huge festival crowd just as expertly. Book him for your next house concert or festival. I promise you won’t be disappointed. ”
… Margaret Bradford, House Concert, Engadine, Sydney NSW
“You can judge a performer by his technical skills and by his ability to captivate an audience. On both counts Alistair Brown came out tops … Alistair held the entire audience to the end with his engaging manner, his cleverly timed patter and his professional delivery of a wide range of songs. The audience were glued to their seats. He is welcome back to the Illawarra Folk Club any time he is back in the country.”
… Russell Hannah Illawarra Folk Club, New South Wales
“I have heard nothing but praise and many chuckles as people have recounted their enjoyment of your songs and stories- it was just wonderful.”
… John Menzies, Wuurong concert series, Camperdown, Victoria, Australia
“At our Marine Heritage Festival Alistair Brown did it all – from captivating public school students, to calling dances, to playing in the pub – all on the same day! With his arsenal of squeezeboxes and pocket instruments, Alistair is great in both workshop and concert settings and knows more jokes than anyone else I know!” … Ian Bell Curator/Director Port Dover Harbour Museum, Ontario
“Little wonder that he enjoys a healthy reputation as a much-in-demand performer (proficient and appealing both as singer and anglo concertina/ button accordion player) replete with versatility and good humour – a true folk entertainer.” … Living Tradition Magazine
“Outrageously entertaining” … John C. Campbell Folk School, North Carolina
“Alistair Brown’s performances combine good humour and skills that have been refined over time, in a way that captures the attention of the audience immediately but subtlely. His choice of songs and tunes both old and new, and the stories that connect them, provide for a memorable and highly enjoyable experience.”
… Brad McEwen, Director, Mill Race Folk Festival, Ontario
“Every minute…. was exceptional” … Macon County Arts Council, North Carolina
“Two grand masters of traditional singing brought out the best of each other, and the songs, to the absolute joy of everybody” (concert with Danny Spooner) … Camperdown, Victoria, Australia
“A stunning evening” … Wheal Dream Folk Club, Cornwall
“This dancer, teacher, folk singer and raconteur radiates dynamism.”… Buffalo Gap Music Camp, West Virginia
Doors open 7pm. Performance starts at 7.30pm, you will get a seat if you arrive close to 7pm.
VENUE: Irish Society Hall, 29 Domain Terrace, Spreydon The hall is situated up the long driveway, directly next to Domain Park, and there is plenty of well-lit off-street parking.
DOOR SALES CASH ONLY: Tea, coffee, biscuits and cake available during the break, also bar facilities for cold refreshments throughout the night, Eftpos available for purchases only, no cash-out facility. Please remember to bring your current Folk Club membership card as this is required for new club licensing.
23 February 2020
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