Today is an excellent day to tell you that Fódhla will be joining us at the 2nd Annual Little Sea Folk Festival on June 8, 2019 in Portland, Maine! Hooray!! Pop over and get your tickets today and join us for what is going to be a fantastic day of folk music, dance, and more!


After 15 years of performing together and recording on each other’s solo albums, Portland, Maine-based flute player Nicole Rabata and Boston-based fiddler Ellery Klein decided a group together was long overdue. With the addition of Bethany Waickman on guitar, the trio found a sound rooted in the traditional Irish music Ellery and Nicole honed during years abroad in the Irish cities of Cork, Limerick, and Ennis. The trio is also influenced by the depths of Nicole’s virtuosic classical music career, Ellery’s Americana sounds, and Bethany’s soft-spoken, yet driving, guitar playing.

Fódhla have been well received at festivals such as Portland’s Saltwater Festival, the Maine Celtic Celebration, and the Boston Celtic Music Festival. Their debut recording, Notes from Millpond, was released in December 2015 to a sold-out show at Acoustic Artisans in Portland.

Fiddler Ellery Klein brings a style steeped in traditional Irish sounds seasoned with American fiddle styles. She toured with the Billboard-charting Irish music group Gaelic Storm from 2003-2007 and was a founding member of the all-female ensemble Long Time Courting. In 2015 she was invited to be a featured soloist with Duluth, MN’s Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, performing Nickitas Demos’ Double Concert for Celtic and Bluegrass Fiddle. She holds an MA in Traditional Irish Music from the University of Limerick. www.elleryklein.net

Irish flutist Nicole Rabata is highly regarded in traditional Irish, classical, and Brazilian choro music circles. She has toured America and Europe. In 2014 she spent two months in India where she performed and taught music at the Gandhi Ashram School in the Himalayas. She spent four years in the west of Ireland where she immersed herself in the local music and was influenced by the playing of many great musicians. She is on the music faculty at Colby College and the University of Maine Augusta, and has an active private home studio in Portland. www.nicolerabata.com

Bethany Waickman is a guitarist based out of Portland, Maine. She grew up in a musical family in the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York state. After college she spent some time traveling, hiking, and playing music in Ireland. Upon returning, she moved to Boston to focus on music. She co-founded the contra dance trio, Anadama, and is the guitarist for VT-based fiddler/singer Lissa Schneckenburger. She’s toured across the US, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, and Germany. Bethany moved to Maine in 2013 and has been enjoying the Portland session scene as well as keeping in rotation in the New England contra dance circuit. www.bethanywaickman.com

Colleen Raney

We are thrilled to announce that renowned fiddler, singer, and stepdancer April Verch will be headlining the 2nd Annual Little Sea Folk Festival on June 8, 2019 in Portland, Maine! Get your tickets today and join us for an amazing day of music, dance, and more!

The April Verch Band

Fiddler, singer, and stepdancer April Verch knows how relevant an old tune can be. She was raised surrounded by living, breathing roots music—her father’s country band rehearsing; the lively music at church and at community dances; the tunes she rocked out to win fiddle competitions. She thought every little girl learned to stepdance at the age of three and fiddle at the age of six. She knew nothing else and decided early on that she wanted to be a professional musician.

She took that leap, and for over two decades has been recording and captivating audiences worldwide, exploring new and nuanced places each step of the way. On February 17, 2017, she will release The April Verch Anthology (Slab Town Records), an 18-track collection celebrating her life’s work. Hand-picked by Verch, the songs on this compilation offer an enchanting mix of regional Canadian, American old-time, bluegrass, country and Americana tracks.

The April Verch Anthology is a testament to the many chapters in Verch’s musical journey. Moving from exuberant stepdancer to fiddle wunderkind and silver-voiced singer; from upstart prodigy to mature and reflective songwriter, interpreter, and storyteller.  The compilation is an excursion through Verch’s 1998-2015 recordings, featuring tunes and songs dear to Verch as well as a healthy dose of fan favorites and two newly recorded tracks.  “Through this anthology, I am reminded of the inspirations with which I began and of the hopes I hold for the future.  I take a moment to reflect and to celebrate,” says Verch.

While Verch is perhaps best known for playing traditional fiddle styles from her native Ottawa Valley, Canada, her performances extend into old-time American and Appalachian styles and far beyond, for a well-rounded tour-de-force of North Americana sounds. Verch and her fellow trio members pare down their arrangements, highlighting the simple pleasures of upright bass, guitar, clawhammer banjo, voices, fiddle, and stepping in intimate conversation. At the heart lie Verch’s delicate voice, energetic footwork, and stunning playing.  Sometimes she sings, steps and fiddles all at once, with apparent ease and precision. Verch is – as they say – a triple threat in performance, her live show a beautiful companion to her music: versatile, robust, and masterfully executed.

Verch began her full time touring career in 2000 and has performed around the world, including festival, theatre and performing arts centre appearances in Canada, USA, China, Australia, United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Spain, Czech Republic and the United Arab Emirates. She also presents workshops, master classes, and lectures as part of her tours and at selected music camps.

Verch won’t be the one to tell you about her championship titles, nominations, and awards, or the fact that she was one of 6 fiddlers who represented the Canadian fiddle tradition to the world at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, as part of a segment called “Fiddle Nation”.  Instead, in speaking with her, you’ll hear about how passionate she is about sharing her music; in small gatherings in remote communities in Iqaluit, to large prestigious concert halls like Mozartsal in Vienna.

Even as she plays with the tradition she inherited, Verch keeps the community-fired celebratory side of her music at the forefront, honing a keen awareness of how to engage contemporary listeners. It’s why Rolling Stone cited her “One of the 12 best things we saw at MerleFest in 2016.”

“Just as contemporary bluegrass has Alison Krauss as an ambassador, the Ottawa Valley has April Verch,” said NPR’s Marco Werman on “The World.”  And Verch never forgets the roots of her music, that connection to the people out there in the audience, on the dance floor, to the community sparked by a good song.  “It’s about joining together to celebrate everyday life, through music.  We’re all in this together.”

Colleen Raney
Peaks Island Community Dance Series
peaks dance series full.jpg

We are delighted to partner with the Peaks Island Fund to present a series of live music and dance events on Peaks Island in 2019!

January 26 • Swing Dance (The Hadacol Bouncers with dance lesson from Gillian Davis)

March 29 • Irish Céilí (Junior Stevens, Amanda Gale Stevens, Alden Robinson, Hanz Araki with dance lesson from Colleen Raney)

June 29 • Contra Dance (Stomp Rocket with dance lesson from Mary Wesley)

Other details:
Suggested donation $10 - $20 per family, kids ages 12 and under admitted free.
No experience necessary.
No partner required.
Spectators very welcome.
Light refreshments will be available, but a water bottle is always a good idea.
Dances finish before the last boat to Portland, so all are welcome!

Colleen Raney
Giving Tuesday 2018

On Tuesday, November 27, Little Sea Folk Festival joins non-profit organizations worldwide to ask for your support.

Youth access, from the very start of Little Sea, has been a pillar of operation. All Little Sea events - dances, concerts, festivals, workshops - are free of charge for children ages 12 & under, and deeply discounted for youth from ages 13-18. We were able to accommodate roughly 100 children in our 2017-2018 events and we not only would like to expand that number, but dedicate resource to the development of specific programming for youth of all ages, interest levels, and communities.

Our goal is $3000

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Direct giving to the Little Sea Folk Festival. You can click here to contribute.

  2. Host a fundraiser on Facebook.

    • click here to begin fundraiser

    • select Little Sea Folk Festival from the list of non-profit organizations.

    • select the goal amount of your fundraiser (Facebook will be matching up to $7 million of selected fundraisers on Giving Tuesday).

    • set the date you’d like your fundraiser to end (hint: Nov 27 is Giving Tuesday).

    • Give it a title and information (hint: Facebook autofills this for you with all pertinent information about Little Sea and our goals and qualifications).

    • Choose cover art (we have some options there for you).

    • You did it!

  3. Share this post to your friends a family in advance of Giving Tuesday so they can host fundraisers as well. The more merrier!

  4. Share a fundraiser on social media to let people know that you support the goal. Every little bit of an awareness campaign helps a small organization like ours!

Those are just some ideas. If you’d like to help us with the festival, admin, marketing, or something else we’ve forgotten, we’d love to hear from you. Please email hello@littleseafolkfestival.com and we’ll chat.

Thank you!

Colleen Raney
Announcing the Second Annual Little Sea Folk Festival!

Just a quick note to announce that earlybird tickets for the Second Annual Little Sea Folk Festival on June 8, 2019 at Woodfords Church in Portland, Maine go on sale at 8am on Friday, October 2018!

Use the code EARLYBIRD until Dec 31 to receive $5 off of any full festival pass or day pass level admission.

We’ve been working hard to make some good changes to the festival and we’re excite to share them with you in the coming months!

Colleen Raney