NOTICE: Due to cancellation of flights out of Britain resulting from volcano eruptions in Iceland, it now seems highly unlikely that Brian Peters will be able to arrive in time for his scheduled concert Saturday night. If you are planning to attend, please check here [Cornell Folk Song Society web site: http://www.cornellfolksong.org/ ] before driving any long distance.
BRIAN PETERS — Concert for the Cornell Folk Song Society 165 McGraw Hall, Cornell Arts Quad. Saturday, April 17, 8 pm
Fingers flying, this British musician from Glossop is one top-notch button man (Anglo concertina, accordion, melodeon), and he’s no slouch on guitar. Brian Peters’ intricate, energetic arrangements, combined with a fervent voice and sly humor, give life to old jigs and reels, wild sea songs, ragtime, blues, hillbilly rock, contemporary songs, and his own clever compositions. His passion for music of the past is evident, but he is hardly mired there: you can expect a surprising performance with forays in many directions, anchored by musicality and wit.
Where he truly shines is as a world ambassador and guardian of centuries-old ballads: ghosts and dragons, the wise child and the devil, the beggar and king, the spells, the magic ring. Brian Peters plunges deep into these ancient songs to find their mystery, evil, drollery, and courage, and brings them to us fresh. Some of the old Child ballads he has unearthed had no tunes, so he has ably met the challenge of writing music that fits them beautifully. This is a fine gift. Roy Harris of The Living Tradition calls him “A ballad hero….a man who sings these vivid tales as though he read them in this morning’s headlines.” He’s not afraid to give some songs a shake-up. Steve Winick of Dirty Linen praises his “folk-rock arrangement of Three Ravens worthy of Steeleye Span…. tragedy, action, excitement, and humor, to say nothing of sex, drugs, and even rock ‘n’ roll. You couldn’t ask for more.”
In concert, Brian Peters’ musical integrity and easy-going nature draw in his audience. A fine teacher, he is in demand in Europe and the States for vocal and instrumental workshops. DANCERS TAKE NOTE: Brian composes traditional-style dance tunes, researches dances and songs from rare old manuscripts, and is a powerful force in the resurrection of dance music from Northern England. When he isn’t busy nosing out new old material, performing, and teaching, he’s likely to be found in a recording studio: 11 fine albums to date.
For a sampling of his style in live performance, Brian suggests checking out You Tube on his web site, http://www.harbourtownrecords.com/peters.html.
A Dirty Linen reviewer describes Brian Peters as “a singer, guitarist and melodeon player of rare ability, unusual repertoire, and unusual conviction in singing it.” And Rock’n'Reel puts him in fine company: “No singer outside Nic Jones and Martin Carthy has embraced the tradition and used its wellsprings in as vivid and ingenious a way.” Help us welcome in the spring in lively fashion with this thoroughly grounded, well-rounded angular Anglo!
Tickets: $15 advance/$17 door; $3 rebates at door for members, seniors, teens; children 12 and under free. CU students $10/$12. Tickets at Ludgate Farms, Ithaca Guitar Works, GreenStar, Autumn Leaves Book Store, Bound for Glory, and online <http://www.cornellfolksong.org/>. Info: website or 607-279-2027.
– Margaret Shepard