Four Shillings Short perform a special afternoon concert — Around the World in 30 Instruments — at Atlanta's Red Light Café as a benefit for the Frank Hamilton School.
Four Shillings Short is part of the creative fusion that is happening in World Music today. Blending music of India, Ireland, Scotland, Medieval and Renaissance Europe, the Americas, Blues, Folk and Original compositions, the international duo have carved out a musical identity all their own.
$15 Adv – $18 Door
Doors @ 3 PM
All ticket sales are final. No refunds.
Since its inception in the San Francisco Bay Area, Four Shillings Short has always had an experimental streak. Co-founded in 1985 by Aodh Og O’Tuama and Ernest Kinsolving, the band has included a changing cast of Northern California’s Irish, Folk, Jazz and Classical musicians. Since 1995, the current partnership of Aodh Og O’Tuama and Christy Martin have formed the core of Four Shillings Short. In 1997, the duo began their first tour of the US and have since toured continuously, staying with friends along the way, camping and traveling as the bards of old once did.
Born in Cork, Ireland, Aodh Og O’Tuama comes from a family of poets, writers, musicians & teachers. He studied music at University College Cork in Ireland and Stanford University in California. Aodh Og plays Medieval and Renaissance woodwinds, tinwhistles, recorders, bowed psaltry, dumbek, spoons and sings in English and Gaelic.
Californian Christy Martin grew up in a family of musicians and dancers and began studying the Sitar at age 16 with a protégé of famed sitar maestro Ravi Shankar. She later picked up the hammered dulcimer and mandolin performing in the folk band Your Mother Should Know and joined Four Shillings Short in 1995. She plays hammered dulcimer, Sitar, mandolin, mandola, bouzouki, banjo, guitar, Charango, bowed psaltery, bodhran and bones and sings in English, Gaelic, Sanskrit and Spanish.
In a single night, Four Shillings Short perform Traditional Irish tunes and airs, Indian Ragas, Folk Ballads, Old-Time songs, Medieval & Renaissance instrumentals and acappella numbers as well as contemporary folk and original compositions. Their sound has been described as “wondrously diverse”, “truly refreshing” and “alternative neo-Celtic folk of the first order”.
The Frank Hamilton School is modeled on the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Founded by folk musicians Frank Hamilton and Win Stracke, the School opened in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago in 1957. It began modestly by offering guitar and banjo lessons in a communal teaching style and hosting performances by well-known folk musicians. As a teaching and performing institution, the Old Town School of Folk Music launched the careers of many notable folk music artists. Currently the school has an enrollment of about 6,000 students per week, 2,700 of them children.
Win Stracke was a classically trained singer and Frank Hamilton, a young multi-instrumentalist and teacher of folk music; Frank had previously studied under Bess Lomax Hawes, daughter of folklorist John Lomax. The two met at the Gate of Horn nightclub in Chicago where they were both performing. Together Frank and Win developed a classroom technique based upon traditional oral and folk teaching methods: listening, watching, trial and error, and playing by ear. Where other music schools taught sight reading and performance, Win and Frank wanted the Old Town School “method” to retain its emphasis on participation and development of aural skills.
“We wanted to make music accessible to everyone, we wanted to bypass the formal educative type of note-reading you’d get in a music academy and emphasize the social aspects of music. We wanted to see involvement by people who wouldn’t normally think they had musical talent, and bring out whatever they had,” says Frank Hamilton, once a member of the iconic folk group, The Weavers. Frank is an Atlanta resident, and a key player in the establishment of the new Frank Hamilton Folk School.
Throughout its existence, the school in Chicago focused on offering both instruction and performance with many performing musicians also acting as teachers and mentors. It also proved a rich ground for collaboration. The late 1960s was a “golden era” as several musicians associated with the Old Town School rose to national prominence, including Roger McGuinn of The Byrds, Steve Goodman, John Prine, and Bob Gibson.
Today, the Old Town School has grown immensely and continues to offer music, dance, art and theater classes and performances for adults and children at two locations, plus children’s classes in some suburban branch locations. Atlanta’s Frank Hamilton Folk School offers music classes in several instruments at the Epworth at Candler Park UMC. Atlanta Area Friends of Folk Music, the parent organization for the Atlanta school, also holds its monthly coffeehouse concert, “Fiddlers Green” at the same location.