Strange Moments Again

Many years ago I worked in a duo with a harper.  It was a good gig while it lasted, people seemed to enjoy it, certainly we had more than our share of decent nights.  Of course, if you’re doing something like that long enough you’re going to collect a few interesting times.

They had decided to organize a first Canadian folk harp conference, and put together a big deal concert which they invited us to be part of, honoured guests actually.  Was nice to feel supported, so of course we accepted.  The concert was being held in a large church with ample room for a decent-sized audience, although the performance space was a bit tight.  However, we made it work by taking my three guitars and placing them on their stands each one in front of the next, three in a row (I know, I know, one was an electric, one was my main acoustic guitar tuned in dadgad, the third was another acoustic in standard tuning used to avoid having to re-tune on stage).  Sound check went well and by show time there were several hundred people in the audience.  We were given a nice introduction, walked out to solid applause thinking ‘Hey, it sounds like they like us, we’re going to have a good time!’, and took a bow.  Then my partner turned around and sat at the harp, while I took a half-step backwards so I could take up my position standing at the mic.  All good, just like we’d rehearsed it.  Except I’d misjudged where exactly I was standing.  And there wasn’t a lot of room for error.  None, in fact.

And that was when it happened.  The most amazing sound.  You see there were several hundred people there, they said five or six hundred, I don’t remember.  And many of them were musicians.  And when every one of them saw what was about to happen, I heard the sound of a significant number of people all catching their breath at the same time.  Yup, I backed up and caught the edge of the first guitar behind me, just like people had hoped wouldn’t happen, which then fell backwards onto the guitar behind it, which fell in turn domino-like and knocked over the third.  Either a strike or a full-house, I don’t know how you measure these things.  But you couldn’t have staged it more perfectly if you tried.  Happily there was no real damage and we picked up and gave a solid performance.

But the thing I remember about that night is not my goofy move.  Do enough shows and something like that’s bound to happen no matter how careful you are, no big deal in the grand scheme of things.  No, what I remember quite clearly is that sound.  Wordless gasp, large number of people.  Some folks carry colour, they have a memory for it.  I guess I carry sound.

And it’s funny what’s in my sound memory.

Bu yeah, that was a moment.

May 1 Concert–first pictures

Hey friend, sorry you couldn’t be there, but here are a couple of pictures for the moment, more to come.


Great fiddling and delightful piano playing, and they even let me do a few things I’d arranged years ago and never had the chance to play for anyone.  Thanks guys.


Yes, it was a real grand piano.


No, they really weren’t going to let us go without an encore.  So this is where we find out what we’re going to do, and take a moment to thank everyone there for their support.

I’ve got a few more nice shots, and maybe a video, I’ll put them up as soon as I get a chance.  But yeah, had a great time playing.  Hope you get a chance to see it some time.

In Concert–May 1

As you know I promised my friends I’d let them know when I’m performing before the event happens.  So now is probably a good time to tell you about a concert coming up.  Would be great to see you there.  We’ll wander through a few of my songs and a bunch of great tunes with fiddle, piano and me on guitar and upright bass.  The whole thing should be huge fun.  The details look like this;

Karen Reed & Ken Brown
in concert
with special guest Emilyn Stam (piano)

Friday May 1, 8pm

The Registry Theatre
122 Frederick Street, Kitchener

Tickets $20, available at the door
or phone (000) 000-0000 to reserve

The Registry is a nice intimate venue with good sound and great sightlines.  Parking is plentiful, information on where to park can be found on the Registry’s website.  In case you need it a map is here.

I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this show.  Karen Reed is one of Canada’s fiddle champions with a great driving sound and a sweet, sweet tone.  Emilyn Stam can play piano in the tradition straight-up but she’s just as happy putting her own twist on things.  And me?  Well, I get to wander through some of my favourite songs and tunes with a couple of like-minded players while demonstrating just how much this kind of music lives and breathes.

Excited?  You bet!  Hope you can make it.

Because I Promised–Cambridge Concert

Remember I promised a while ago that I’d tell you when I’m playing in the area?  Funny, I always assume that friends are busy, but you made it clear that you want me to let you know.  Just so I don’t make that same mistake again, there’s a concert coming up that you might enjoy.

You know that traditional music festival that happens in Cambridge every summer?  Well the folks that do the festival have a concert series that happens in a really lovely room downtown.  And they’ve asked me to play for them.  Given the nature of the festival I thought I’d put together some of my personal takes on traditional songs and tunes.  Made me realize I don’t think I’ve ever done that before.  I’ve certainly never put all of them down in one place.  I’ll have to do that sometime.  In the meantime, the details look like this;millracelogo

The Mill Race Folk Society

Ken Brown

Friday February 27     8pm

The Galt Room, 2nd Floor, Café 13
13 Main Street, Cambridge (Galt)
Admission $10

If you’re coming from out of town the map looks like this (at the corner of Water and Main Streets).  I can vouch for the food downstairs, it’s worth coming early enough to have dinner.  As for the summer festival, modelled after many of the in-town festivals in Britain, it’s a wonderful reason to wander through downtown Galt.  The Mill Race organizers also hold their Annual Spring Preview which is a great concert and their major fundraiser, well worth checking out.