202 South Broadway Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
Charlie King and Karen Brandow are musical storytellers and political satirists. Their repertoire covers a century and a half and four continents. They perform with the sweet and precise harmonies of life partners. They sing and write passionately about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. “Two voices that complement each other beautifully & instrumentation that is spare, acoustic & just right” Victory Music Review
Their central vision as entertainers is to leave audiences with a sense of optimism and possibility about the future. “We try to cover a broad emotional landscape in our concerts. The stories we collect and the songs we write take the listener on a journey of humor, heartache and hope. What we most value in a song is the way it helps us see an old reality in a totally new light.”
Charlie King has been at the heart of American folk music for over 40 years. His songs have been recorded and sung by other performers such as Pete Seeger, Holly Near, Ronnie Gilbert, John McCutcheon, Arlo Guthrie, Peggy Seeger, Chad Mitchell and Judy Small. Honors include an “Indie” award for one of the top three American folk recordings of 1984. In May of 1998 the War Resisters League gave their Peacemaker Award to Charlie and to Odetta. Pete Seeger nominated Charlie for the Sacco-Vanzetti Social Justice Award, which he received in November 1999. Charlie has released a dozen solo albums since 1976. He has also released three albums with the touring ensemble Bright Morning Star, and numerous compilation albums with other artists.
Charlie was born in 1947, and was raised in Brockton, MA. He cites as musical influences the folk music revival of the 1960’s, the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War era. Folk legend Peggy Seeger says, “If we had more Charlie Kings in the world I’d be less worried,” and Tom Paxton adds, “Luckily, we have him!”
Karen Brandow has been performing with Charlie King since 1998. While doing human rights work in Guatemala from 1986-1994, Karen studied voice, performance and classical guitar. She performed at political and cultural events in that country as a soloist and was a founding member of the a cappella singing group, the Non-Traditional Imports.
Karen was born in 1954 in Philadelphia, PA. She began singing and playing guitar as a teenager. While living in Central America, she broadened her repertoire to include Latin American music of the “Nueva Canción” or New Song Movement. She performs songs in English and Spanish.