Northern Roots Traditional Music Festival offers noted musicians, workshops, pub-singing, and more

BRATTLEBORO — The Northern Roots Traditional Music Festival - set for Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 25 and 26, includes performances by noted musicians, workshops, and a session of pub singing.

Now a cornerstone of the traditional music calendar in New England, the festival, directed by Keith Murphy, continues to offer a unique showcase of a variety of northern musical traditions, including Irish, Scottish, English, and French Canadian.

The festival, which musters the considerable local talent in the area as well as a select roster of regional guests, begins Saturday, Jan. 25, at noon, with a full slate of daytime participation and performance activities at the Brattleboro Music Center, including workshops, panels, mini-concerts, and a dance band class.

A special “family track” includes a concert and a dance for all ages.

This year's Saturday performers include:

• John Roberts, who plays concertina and banjo, and sings the traditional folksongs of his native Britain.

• Debra Cowan, who performs a cappella and with guitar in the great tradition of folk singers like Joan Baez and Judy Collins.

• lydia ievins, who plays nyckelharpa and five-string fiddle for Scandinavian and English Country dancing.

• Katie McNally, who made waves in both the American folk music scene and abroad since the release of her debut album, Flourish, in 2013.

• Neil Pearlman, multi-instrumentalist, step dancer. and host of podcast TradCafe.

• Piper Joey Abarta and fiddler Nathan Gourley, two of America's great young trad musicians.

On Sunday, Jan. 26, a series of “boisterous participatory sessions” - pub singing, French Canadian and Irish tune jamming, and more - will take place at McNeill's Brewery on Elliot Street.

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