Debby McClatchy in Concert

What: Cornell Folk Song Club Concert
When: Saturday, September 17, 2005
Where: 165 McGraw Hall
Cornell University
How Much: $15 advance / $17 door / usual discounts

Debby McClatchy

Debby McClatchy is a superb banjoist and an authentic American voice. Family history has profoundly influenced her music. She grew up in San Francisco with the political and musical legacy passed on from her father's great grandfather, who left Ireland during the Famine to join the '49ers gold rush and to found the San Francisco Bee, northern California's foremost newspaper. Her mother, born in the Smoky Mountains, traced her ancestry back seven generations to Thomas Jefferson's sister. From her mother, Debby McClatchy learned Carter family and music hall songs, as well as the occasional wild yodel.

Although she began her professional career in the 1960s, playing ceilidh and old-time string band music in California, Debby McClatchy found her true calling in the traditional songs and dances of the Appalachians, where she has made her home. She is regarded as a master of the frailing banjo style and has crisscrossed "the Pond" many times to share her wealth of historical ballads and tunes, along with a dash of vaudeville, Jimmy Rodgers, Old West, and original compositions. Keeping the old music alive, she has produced 11 recordings and has taught many a workshop on banjo and singing techniques.

On her 1907 Bacon "FF Professional" banjo or lonesome mountain fiddle, she delivers sweet, sad, and silly songs with honesty and good humor. She may break out into spontaneous Appalachian step dancing. Sing Out! writes "Debby McClatchy has shown herself to be one of our most indefatigable collectors and flawless interpreters of American traditional music. There's a way McClatchy wraps her resonant alto voice around a song that brings a real warmth and presence to this material. She's a treasure!"

Debby McClatchy defines herself without hesitation: "Old-time music is not a career. It's my life!" The Cornell Folk Song Society welcomes you to share a moment of her creative life when she opens the Fall Concert Series.

Tickets are available at Ithaca Guitar Works, Greenstar Co-op, Small World Music, Colophon Books, and, if any are left, at the door. You may also order tickets online and by mail: SASE to CFSC, PO Box 481, Ithaca, NY 14851.

(Margaret Shepard)

For information about the concert, contact

More info about Debby McClatchy
Folkstuff home page

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