Folk singer Debra Cowan performs in the great tradition of folk singers like Joan Baez and Judy Collins. In her newest release, Fond Desire Farewell, she’s taken contemporary and time-honored public domain songs and put them in a modern setting. Hear Debra Cowan perform on Wednesday, September 5 at 7 pm at Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake Street. Free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 pm. First-come, first-seated. Meet Debra Cowan and purchase her CDs following the concert. This concert is part of a series funded by the Friends of the Oak Park Public Library .
Debra Cowan sings with a clear voice that calls forth the ghosts of long past but can also offer a more modern urban landscape. As a full-time singer, her concerts bridge the old and new with a refreshing stage presence -- she may start with a moving ballad like “Rainbow,” a profile of one woman’s courage, and segue into “Johnny Be Fair,” a song of a poor lass who can’t marry anyone in town because, well, she’s related to everyone. Debra’s captivating warm alto carries each folk song she chooses with such emotion that you’ll forget that they were written by others.
As a young girl, Debra Cowan idolized Julie Andrews and in her teens discovered Jethro Tull and Steeleye Span. At the age of 21, she needed escape out of a small Midwestern town so she threw darts at a map and ended up in northern California where she attended college, sang in bars, and eventually found work as a math teacher. She continued her discovery of folk with English singers like Sandy Denny and Scottish singers like Ray Fisher. Debra Cowan started performing in California 35 years ago and began touring in 1998, with frequent stops in the US and UK, from folk clubs to festivals like the New Bedford Summerfest and the Dunbar Folk Festival in Scotland. That led her to where she is now: Debra has shared the stage with artists as varied as Tret Fure and John Roberts and has also collaborated with well-known guitarists Brooks Williams and Bill Cooley (Kathy Mattea). In 2011, she recorded nine songs encompassing the singing part of Marilyn from Si Kahn's musical production, "Silver Spoon." Debra has performed in many prestigious UK folk clubs and, for six months in the late 90’s, held a residency at Sandy Bell’s Bar, Edinburgh's premier folk music pub. She was a formal showcase artist at the International Folk Alliance Conference in 2009 and 2005, and a formal showcase artist at three of the five regional Folk Alliance Conferences. She has performed twice on the nationally syndicated live radio show, WFMT’s Folkstage, hosted by Rich Warren in Chicago. For more information on Debra Cowan please visit www.debracowan.com .
This free performance on Wednesday, September 5 by Debra Cowan is part of the Friends of the Oak Park Public Library ’s folk music concert series. Zoe Mulford will perform the next free concert on Monday, October 1 at 7 pm at Oak Park Public Library. Singer/songwriters including Bill and Kate Isles, Kevin So, Joe Crookston, and Kat Eggleston have previously performed as part of this series.
Find more events happening at Oak Park Public Library at http://oppl.org/events/calendar .