Allan Kirby


Lang Pioneer "Musician In Residence" Allan Kirby has over 35 years of music experience and uses an interactive teaching style that is fun and rewarding for participants. He is a guitar and banjo player who has traveled and recorded with numerous traditional music groups.

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Description:Fifty-five years experience teaching, composing, and playing music. I have a PhD in Canadian Studies from Carleton University where my research focus was rural Ontario traditional music. I also have a B.A. in music from Queen's University and an M.Ad.Ed from St. Francis Xavier University. I have guest lectured at Queen's and Carleton universities and been published in academic journals. I co-wrote and produced "Fowke Tales"; a musical-drama about the scholarly search for rural Ontario folk songs. My performance experience includes many years playing pedal-steel guitar with country/rock bands "Matchbox" and "Bandana;" and banjo with bluegrass bands "McCormick," "Solina Road," "SweetGrass", and the folk/jazz ensemble "Nassau Mills". I am currently “Musician in Residence” at Peterborough County's Lang Pioneer Village Museum.

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Fowke Tales ~ SEPTEMBER 2011: – The historic Macaulay Heritage Park Museum was the ideal setting for toe-tapping history lesson.
A full house enjoyed a dress rehearsal of the incarnation of ‘Fowke Tales’ – the story of Edith Fowke’s search for Ontario’s folk heritage. It provides the distinct flavour of original songs that reflect local history – logging songs, ballads, children’s songs – seamlessly intertwined in a heartwarming package of stories and even some dancing. ‘Fowke Tales’ recalls a time when folks gathered in the kitchen to make their own music and tell their own tales.

Edith Fowke was host of the weekly CBC radio program ‘Folk Song Time’ in the 1950s – a time it was thought traditional music existed only in the Maritimes and Quebec with very little west of the Ottawa Valley.

Fowke proved the view wrong when, in 1956, she made one of the richest discoveries of Canadian folk music in Peterborough County’s Douro Township. Not only did Mary Towns, of Douro, and her father Michael Cleary, provide Edith with a wealth of traditional music, they also helped point her in the direction of many other area singers. Fowke was astounded to discover these singers knew songs that dated back to the 16th century British Isles and also had created hundreds of newer songs that told about life in the New World.

The songs Fowke collected were transcribed into books and the recordings released on albums by Folkways Records. Among others they now reside in Canadian university archives and the Smithsonian Institute.

Her work to popularize Canada’s musical heritage is finely crafted in the show, written by Prince Edward County storyteller Janet Kellough, the late Zeke Mazurek and Peterborough’s Allan Kirby, who had written his dissertation ‘Edith Fowke: Collecting traditional folk-songs in rural Ontario’.

Original cast members Kirby, Kellough and Yates knew they could never re-create the rich contributions by master violinist Mazurek, but decided the show was too important to shelve and instead, re-worked it to include more vocal music performed by ‘Trinity’ (Jeanette Arsenault, Kim Inch and Renie Thompson).

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Allan R. Kirby's PhD (Canadian Studies) Thesis:


Stream every track by this artist (experimental)


Allan Kirby
Sittin In The Kitchen
Banjo Road