Toby Koosman

I was born the year that Sputnik was launched, for those of you who remember the Cold War, and brought up in Van Nuys, California. I survived the ”New Math,” was degreed in it, and I now count beans for the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, ably led by the Laurel Theater’s sound engineer Lou Gross, music aficionado and one time host of JCA’s Live at Laurel, who happens to have a day job as an internationally recognized scientist. I am also part-time concert manager at the Laurel Theater for Jubilee Community Arts, working under my great friend and advisor folklorist Brent Cantrell, host of Wild Hog in the Woods.

I became familiar with British Isles traditions first through popular contemporary artists, and later found my way to older styles that persist in these cultures or were preserved in early commercial and field recordings. These recordings excite me because they capture the wonderful variety of local sensibilities and lack the dull consistency of music produced for the world market. I hope to educate people about what the music sounds like in its raw state and celebrate its shared ancestry with Appalachian traditional music, which I also love. (If I introduce any doubts about prevailing notions of the Celtic Mystique, so much the better).

Last Night’s Fun is the name of the tune I use as the opening theme, performed by the late Joe Cooley of County Galway on the button accordion.