Tradition is important to Sarah Bauhan, who brings together family and long-time friends to share in performances and recordings, and pens waltzes, laments, reels, and the like in honor of people who are dear to her. That’s no surprise, as the music she plays on whistle and flute shares her Celtic and New England roots.
Born and raised in the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire, Sarah picked up the tin whistle at the age of 10. Within two years she was performing at contra dances with Dudley Laufman’s Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra. In addition to Laufman, who is credited with a contra dance revival in southwest New Hampshire, Sarah was influenced by her godfather, Newt Tolman, a flute player and writer, and by Bob McQuillen, a musician and composer who in 2002 was named a National Heritage Fellow. The flood of Irish and Scottish musicians, from The Chieftans and The Boys of the Loch to The Battlefield Band and Silly Wizard, brought exciting new (old) music to the shores of New England, which increased Sarah’s passion and expanded her repertoire.
Her first band was Strasthpey, with, among others, Jane Orzechowski; the two then formed the band Solomon’s Seal with Rick and Lorraine Lee (Hammond), and recorded two albums, Greengate and The Old Road.
In 1987, while performing with Solomon’s Seal at Pete Seeger’s Clearwater Festival in New York, Sarah fell in love with, and soon came to own, a wood concert flute made in 1912 by the Wm. S. Haynes Flute Company of Boston. She added to that instrument a collection of fine wood and silver whistles made by Chris Abell of Asheville, NC, adding both depth and scope to her repertoire of music.
Sarah has released five solo albums, including four on her own label, Whistler’s Music: the 1991 Chasing the New Moon, the 1999 Broad Waters, the 2007 Lathrop’s Waltz, and the 2017 Elmwood Station. The Untamed Grasses came out in 1993 on the Alcazar label, and was re-released on Alula Records in 2008.
In the ten-year gap between Lathrop’s Waltz and Elmwood Station, Sarah revived her father’s book publishing company. Bauhan Publishing, a New England independent press, produces up to a dozen books a year with New England connections. She now divides her time between publishing books and creating music. She lives with her spouse, Jane Eklund, in Hancock, New Hampshire.
In addition to recording, Sarah performs at festivals, concerts, and dances, and has taught whistle and flute to children and adults at dance camps, in schools, and in workshops. Her performance options range from a simple duo with a guitarist or pianist to a four-piece band with fiddle, guitar, bass, and piano.
Praise for Sarah Bauhan’s work:
Gail Kelley, the Boston Globe: “She has few equals among American Celtic Flutists and whistlers.”
Tim Burrows, Folk Roots: “She’s clearly been a stalwart of New England sessions for quite awhile. It shows in her playing which is fluid, tasteful and assured…”
Garnet Rogers: “Our friendship has grown over the years – likewise my admiration for her playing. As a one-time flute player who now only dabbles, I really envy her tone and fluidity, not to mention her facility with so many styles of playing.”