Info about Alan Performances
Music Lessons,


Contact Alan Alan's Recordings,


Videos & Media
Photo Gallery

* * * ALAN FRIEND * * *


BigNew Burninghot BigNew

~~~ Alan's NEW CD! Click here NOW to buy, hear samples, more info ~~~

*** Old-Time Jam: Click here for info ***
*** Next jam on Apr. 29, 2014 ***

Guitar image

Alan Friend performs and gives workshops in Old-Time Music, Traditional Ballads and more...

Banjo image

Photo of Alan

ALAN FRIEND sings and plays a variety of instruments including Fiddle player Concertina player
  • banjo
  • guitar
  • concertina
  • fiddle

He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Events Coming Up (Performances, Workshops, Jams, etc.)

Sat. April 26, 2014 - New England Folk Festival (NEFFA) Performance - Old-time songs & tunes:bad & better times. - Details.
Tues., Apr. 29, 2014 - Old-Time Jam, Brooklyn Farmacy - Details.

Guitar player

Wecome to Alan Friend's website! You are visitor number  on my (courtesy of, started January, 2004).



   BAD TIMES & BETTER TIMES Cover image HAD A DOG Cover image
Click CD cover images above NOW to buy, hear samples, or more info.



Click on underlined titles below to hear music samples from Alan's recordings "Bad Times & Better Times" and "Had a Dog."

~~~ Click here NOW to buy or for info about Alan's recordings ~~~



BigNew Updated 1/20/14
  • Brooklyn Folk Festival - Alan, on banjo, vocals and fiddle, is joined by Craig Judelman on fiddle and vocals in May, 2010.

  • YouTube Videos
  • Dark Hollow:An Appalachian Wozeck. - Alan is a musician on banjo, fiddle, concertina and vocals in this off-Broadway production in August, 2012.
           YouTube Video - One of the scenes in Dark Hollow:An Appalachian Wozeck; actors-- Nick Mason (singer), Kevin Cash, and the band -- Chris Peifer, Donghyuc Chang, Chuck Dorman, Alan Friend, Davidson Mulkey. Dark Hollow song -- music: Chrisopher Peifer, Lyrics: Elizabeth Chaney.
           YouTube Video - Another scene in Dark Hollow:An Appalachian Wozeck; entire cast-- David Dakota Sanchez (singer) and the band -- Chris Peifer, Donghyuc Chang, Chuck Dorman, Alan Friend, Davidson Mulkey. Rye Whiskey song -- traditional.
           YouTube Video - An audio slide show of Dark Hollow:An Appalachian Wozeck; Alan Friend is on banjo, concertina and vocal (for Man's Life's a Vapor).

    Dark Hollow:An Appalachian Wozeck got great reviews, below!!

    • TimeOut NY says

      ~ “...powerful, haunting adaptation of Georg Büchner’s 19th-century expressionist drama Woyzeck”

      ~ " best expressed through the use of American roots music scattered throughout the drama, including spiritual- style songs and traditional folk ditties...

      ~ "Rowdy soldiers, ragamuffin townswomen and plenty of onstage boozing provide comedy that balances the harrowing weight of the story."

      Click here to read the entire TimeoutNY review by Sarah Hucal.


    • CurtainUp says

      ~ "Dark Hollow adds a Southern Appalachian twang and an infusion of traditional mountain music performed by supremely skilled musicians.”

      ~ "It’s a stunning and serious pleasure.”

      Click here to read the entire CurtainUp review by Katherine Osenlund.


    • NYTheatre says

      ~ What a crazy powerhouse of a play Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck is.”

      ~ ...a live band and a plethora of haunting songs... like "Pretty Polly" or "Shady Grove" carry deep wellsprings of strength and darkness that the play discovers through a well-controlled atmospheric staging.

      ~ ... it’s a great production that can make you forget why the play is so great, so that you can remember why it’s so damn scary.”

      Click here to read the entire NYTheatre review by Stephen Cedars.


    • The Village Voice says

      ~ ... the atmospheric Dark Hollow... claims a stirring bluegrass band and a song list drawing on terrific traditional ballads”

      Click here to read the entire NYTheatre review by Alexis Soloski.




ALAN FRIEND has been playing banjo, guitar and concertina, and singing traditional songs from America and the British Isles for many years. He is a member of the New York City-based old-time band "The Chelsea String Band" and formerly of the contra dance band "The Contrapolitans." He was a founding member of the former old-time band “Steal the Donut” and the traditional singing group "Buttermilk Channel." Alan has performed in concert solo and with numerous bands and singing groups at festivals such as the New Jersey Folk Festival, West Virginia’s Pipestem Festival, the Park Slope Old-Time/ Bluegrass Jamboree, the New England Folk Festival (NEFFA), the Northeast Music Art and Dance Festival (NOMAD), the Kings County Opry, the Eisteddfod-NY Festival of Traditional Music and the Brooklyn Folk Festival. He has also played at coffee houses from Montreal to Washington, D.C., on local radio stations and at numerous community events. Alan gives banjo, traditional ballad, old-time string band and group singing workshops as well. He is a contributing writer for the Banjo Newsletter. Alan's recently released CD, “Had a Dog,” features songs and old-time tunes from the southern mountains, with guests on fiddle, guitar and harmony vocals. Alan is an Executive Board member and past President of the Folk Music Society of New York, Inc., also known as the New York Pinewoods Folk Music Club. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.



“I study clawhammer and two finger banjo with Alan. He is a wealth of knowledge and a great teacher.” --Gina Samardge, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, educator, actress.

Old-Time Banjo Alan gives private old-time banjo lessons, both clawhammer and finger picking styles, to beginning and intermediate level students. He gears the lessons to the proficiency and preferences of the student. Depending on what the student already knows, Alan may start with the basics and then move on to various left and right hand techniques such as the hammer-on, pull-off, slide, drop-thumb, pinch and simple roll. He teaches these in the context of actual old-time tunes, so that the student comes away with an ever growing repertoire. Alan stresses learning the traditional old-time way, by ear, but also gives tablature.

You can contact Alan via email at or by phone at (718) 965-4074.


“In the relatively short time frame that I studied banjo with Alan Friend, he gave me a rock-solid foundation of technique and tunes from which to bloom. Alan breaks things down into manageable steps, and he does so with a calm guidance and an easy patience, which inspires his students to feel like they are musicians from day one. At every session, I learned a new tune -- first, by ear, then with a take-home tablature sheet, and by the last session, I had a pretty substantial repertoire of old time tunes that I could play. If I hadn't moved down to North Carolina, and I were still in Brooklyn, I'd be studying banjo with Alan Friend." --Cynthia Bruckman, educator.

Traditional Ballads Alan presents traditional ballads from the United States and the British Isles. He accompanies some on the banjo, guitar or concertina, and sings others a cappella.
Clawhammer Banjo This is a hands-on old-time clawhammer banjo workshop for beginning or intermediate players, depending on the level of the participants. For beginners, Alan starts out with the very basics, and then adds various techniques such as the hammer-on, pull-off, slide and drop-thumb. He presents additional, more advanced material for intermediate players. Old-time tunes using these techniques are taught both by ear and with tablature.
Old-Time Jamming Essentials Alan leads an old-time jamming session. The primary purpose of this "ensemble" instrumental activity is to learn how to have fun playing with other musicians. Participants are encouraged to actively listen to one another in order to create a great old-time band sound. Particular attention is paid to tempo and instrumental blend. Mostly standard tunes are played, starting at a slow tempo and playing up to speed as the participants become comfortable with the tune. More advanced tunes are chosen for sessions with more experienced participants.
Group Singing
Starting with the premise that everyone can enjoy singing, Alan starts by introducing songs with simple, easy-to-learn choruses. Participants are encouraged to sing the melody and add harmony lines as a song becomes familiar. Attendees are encouraged to contribute their own favorite songs as well. Songs are done by ear, without written music. Primarily, traditional songs, rather than commerical pop songs, are done.

You can contact Alan via email at or by phone at (718) 965-4074.


“The environment was warm, intimate and welcoming. Fiddles, banjos, a guitar...multi-instrumentalists. We played the tunes fast or slow, depending on what worked. Consensus democracy in action. Sadly, you can't buy a beer at Farmacy...but the tea and desserts are really good." --Mathew M., musician.

Old-Time Jam BigNew
Next jam Tues., Apr. 29, 2014
Wanna JAM? Alan leads an Old-Time jam from 7:30 to 9:30 PM at the Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain every other Tuesday. CONTACT ALAN TO BE SURE IT'S ON! Bring your fiddle, banjo, guitar, etc. and play old-time music at this warm, friendly venue. Acoustic instruments only--- no electric ones. Buy some delicious desserts and socialize while you’re here, as well. The Farmacy is located at 513 Henry St. (at Sackett St.) in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Info: Contact Alan via email at or by phone at (718) 965-4074.

You can contact Alan via email at or by phone at (718) 965-4074.


Website revised 11/10/13

© 2004 Alan Friend All Rights Reserved.