“[In her playing,] an intense involvement is revealed as the music appears to wash over her. She sings of experience way beyond her years, old songs from Appalachian sources, stories that reflect a more difficult way of life.”
“Little Nora Brown has a host of roots music legends pouring out of her fingertips and through her lips.”
-The Bluegrass Situation
“This fretless version of the banjo, more in tune with its African ancestry, allows a seamless glissando, a spirited game of snakes and ladders, doggedly climbing and then slipping easily back to the start.”
-UK Folk Radio
Nora Brown started learning music at the age of 6 from the late Shlomo Pestcoe. From his studio apartment in Brooklyn, Pestcoe instilled in her the belief that music is meant to be shared.
Nora plays old-time traditional music with a particular interest in eastern Kentucky and Tennessee banjo playing. Along with the banjo she’s interested in techniques of unaccompanied ballads form the Southeast region of the United States.
She has played at numerous venues and festivals on the East Coast including TED salon in NYC, Joe’s Pub, the Floyd Radio Show, Washington Square Park Folk Festival, Brooklyn Folk Festival, Brooklyn Americana Festival, Oldtone Roots Music Festival, Irvington Folk Festival, Summer & Winter Hoots at the AshokanCenter, and has had multiple month long residencies at famed Barbès in Brooklyn NY.
Nora has taught both beginning and advanced banjo classes at the Ashokan Center’s long standing old-time camp known as Southern Week in Olivebridge, NY. Nora continues to travel and learn from old masters and has taken regular trips to eastern Kentucky to visit with 90 year old master banjo player and former coal miner Lee Sexton and master banjo player and historian George Gibson.
Nora has won numerous banjo and folk song competitions at various fiddlers conventions including the Clifftop Appalachian String Band Music Festival and Grayson County Old-time and Bluegrass Fiddlers Convention.
In October 2019 Jalopy Records released Nora’s first album of 11 traditional songs and tunes called Cinnamon Tree. It was produced by the legendary Alice Gerrard and pressed by Third Man Pressing in Detroit. It’s only available on limited edition vinyl with a digital download and liner notes. Cinnamon Tree landed #7 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chartsthe 2nd week of its release.
In September 2021 Jalopy Records released Nora’s EP of 7 traditional songs and tunes called Sidetrack My Engine. It was recorded in mono in underground brick arched space in Brooklyn NY. Using an Ampex tape machine and vintage RCA ribbon mics from BigTone Records. 10” vinyl Pressed by United Record Pressing in Nashville.
Nora plays solo regularly and also as duet with fiddler Stephanie Coleman or fiddler Jackson Lynch.