Upcoming Events

Summer is flying by, one more show the day before high school orchestra classes start and a few things coming up this Fall:

Sunday, August 23, 4-8pm: Mirage at Parlor City Pub, Cedar Rapids, IA. Free. http://www.parlorcitypub.com

Friday, August 28, 7:30-9:30pm, Stacy Webster and Natalie Brown, Lincoln Wine Bar, Mt. Vernon, IA.

Monday, August 31, 7-9pm, Eastern Iowa Folk Club – 2 year anniversary event! Folk club meets on the last Monday of every month at Brewhemia in the New Bo District of Cedar Rapids. Eastern Iowa Folk Club

Sunday, September 6, Mirage, private party

September 25-27, Mirage with Amy Stoner: Tapestry, the music of Carole King. Amana, IA http://www.iowatheatreartists.org/index.html

Wednesday, October 14, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Safeguarding of Scottish Fiddle Traditions, research presentation at North Atlantic Fiddle Convention. http://www.celtic-colours.com/nafco2015/

Friday, December 11, 7-10pm: Mirage at Campbell Steel Gallery, Marion, IA. http://campbellsteele.com 


Friday, April 10th: Lowe Arts Center, Marion, “Coffeehouse Night” – solo show, 7-8:30pm

Friday, May 1st: Mirage with Amy Stoner at Campbell Steele Gallery, Marion, 7 to 10pm

Friday, May 15: Tapestry: the Music of Carole King, Mt. Vernon Community Center

Friday, July 17: Mirage, Friday Night Concert Series, Iowa City ped mall, 6-9:30pm


My most up to date gig calendar can be found here:


Thanks for supporting live music !!


Mirage Success!


Mirage: Jean Luc Ponty Project’s debut at Campbell Steele was sold out! And an absolute success, we are ecstatic about the project and looking forward to our upcoming gigs.

More information about this jazz fusion project can be found in the following articles and on the Mirage facebook page.

Mirage Article in City Revealed Magazine

Mirage in Hoopla


Eastern Iowa Folk Club

Based on the folk clubs experienced in Scotland, musician Natalie Brown hosts this monthly event (last Monday of the month – next event, Monday February 24). **Any style, any age, any level.** Please come along and share a tune, song, poem, story or just come to listen and meet folks. Ground floor meeting room at CSPS – use box office entrance. ~~Coffee and tea will be provided! ~~

Rather than a jam or open mic- everyone that would like to contribute sits in a circle and one by one individuals (or duo, trio) perform one tune and continues around the circle (so everyone gets at least a few contributions) – instrumental, ballads, unaccompanied singing, stories, poems, whatever is your style. No pressure, it’s not about talent or competition, it’s about community, respect, and sharing!

There is much more to this folk club story – with possibilities of guest artists and extended spots, could also involve rotating venues/cities- this is just a start! Let’s get something good going! Join the folk club online: Eastern Iowa Folk Club



Immersed in so many fabulous projects it’s hard to know what to say!

Hard at work practicing, writing up charts, and testing out effects pedals for a project that I’ve always wanted to do…it’s really happening and really coming together! Mirage: Jean Luc Ponty Project, featuring Ponty’s fusion violin compositions, Zappa tunes and so much more. Working with phenomenal guys: Rich Wagor on bass, Jon Wilson on drums, Ryan Phelan on guitar/vocals and Luke Viertel on keys. This is a dream team and a dream project. SO excited for our gigs coming up in April and May! http://www.facebook.com/mirageponty

ORENDA is a band that was put together for the Iowa Women’s Music Festival this past September – and we have been invited to play at the NATIONAL WOMEN’S MUSIC FESTIVAL this summer! Absolutely honored to have this opportunity and to be a part of this exceptional womens group: Lojo Russo, Gayla Drake, Kimberli Maloy, Laurie Haag, Kim-Char Meredith and Natalie Brown. http://www.wiaonline.org/  http://www.facebook.com/OrendaBand

Very excited to be the newest member of The Feralings with brilliant musicians and songwriters: Nicole and Benjamin Upchurch, Patrick Bloom and Stacy Webster. http://www.facebook.com/TheFeralings

I’m playing keys for the Grateful Dead tribute band, Winterland – we have lots of fun gigs coming up: https://www.facebook.com/winterland73

Also have shows coming up with Gayla Drake – fiddle duets, Irish, Scottish and American traditional tunes and some of Gayla’s beautiful songs! Magic happens. https://www.facebook.com/GaylaDrakeInfo

The Mayflies have some gigs coming up, excited to rock out in Dubuque at Eronel on Friday, March 21 and at Parlor City in Cedar Rapids on March 23!! https://www.facebook.com/themayflies

I’ll be playing with Craig Erickson and our jam band at Jazz Under the Stars on August 14th.

And of course, along with all this – it’s gearing up for busy season teaching orchestra at Washington High School – spring is contest, competition and invitational time! I’m also enjoying my first year teaching string techniques at Coe – it’s fun finding ways to teach the basics of how to play violin, viola, cello and bass all squeezed into a term. And my research from last year in Scotland continues – I’m looking forward to presenting my updates at ‘Steppin Steens o Knowledge': Folklore, Ethnology and Ethnomusicology Conference in Aberdeen, Scotland this July.

Yay! Busy busy and loving it.

*Up to date gig schedule, videos, mp3s, and much more all here: http://www.reverbnation.com/nataliebrownviolin

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Somehow it is already June, classes done, exams done – feeling great about it all, just don’t know where the time went. Just the dissertation to tackle and complete! This is a brief update- but first to say I’ll have a major overhaul to my website shortly- to make it more accessible to me, to you: as a musician’s and educator’s site and research resource!
I recently had a great visit from my aunt and uncle- we started with a visit to Portsoy for a music festival, my uncle Clarence sang and seemed to immediately have the audience in a trance.

In Portsoy we met Gaelic singer and language/culture advocate- the amazing Griogair Labhuridh, who invited us to a breath-taking visit to the Glencoe/West Highlands area.

Spectacular and dramatic landscape, stories of the land and lots of music and song sharing!!

My mom is the last to visit later this month – and I have some performances and directing here and there over the 30 days in between dissertation writing- then back to Iowa!! Lots to do when I get back – besides planning for the upcoming school year, check out my gigs page – starting to fill up with exciting and special events! Plus- get ready for the Cedar Rapids Folk Club announcement (based on the unique Scottish folk club format that I’ve learned so much about and enjoyed here).
~~More updates and details to come after I re-do this website!

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Since the last post…

Lots of traveling, music and studies!
From playing with Aberdeen’s bluegrass band at a carousing Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve)
Hogmanay at the Blue Lamp
to playing the national anthem for the US delegation at the International Softball Cup 2013 in Rotterdam, Netherlands – this winter has been an absolute adventure!
A side trip to Paris ….
….and attending a traditional Burns Supper in Garlogie, Scotland have been magical as well.
Burns Supper
Haggis, neeps and tatties!
Now, while in classes, I am beginning to really go in depth with my research. I am finding that there is excitement for my research interests. I will be starting observations and interviews of music educators this month. As a teacher and a musician my main focus in the degree program is how traditional music is passed on from one generation to the next.
I am investigating the relation between music educators personal history (influences, training, and such from childhood on) and their current practice/suppositions/point of view.
So I’ll be speaking with these educators about the transmission of traditional Scottish music from their perspective in a variety of educational settings.
I’ll be doing some recording projects this and next month with local musicians and in the spring I will be doing a recording of my own to document and communicate some of my musical memories and techniques learned here!
In April I will be back in Iowa for a week during my spring break and will have a couple performances – Thursday, April 4 at the Lincoln Wine Bar with Craig Erickson and Saturday, April 6 at Gatherings with the Mayflies. If you are in Iowa please come around and say hello!
Then I’ll be back to Aberdeen to continue with classes, exams and dissertation until late summer. I am looking forward to all this spring and summer will bring and to returning to Iowa and teaching in August!!

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Music, Castle and ‘Tightners’

Enroute to the Doric Festival concert in Rothienorman I had my first ‘High Tea’ at Kintore Arms, Inverurie- High Tea= main course (scampi, neeps, chips, green beans, vegg), toast, and then fancies with tea. Quite the ‘tightner!’ The Doric festival featured bothy ballads, fiddle tunes and Doric verse.
The trip to Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven is a trip I will never forget. The ruins tower over the cliffs that lead to the sea. Breathtaking. It was a wonderful day with class-mates, in awe of the beauty of the castle and the power of the sea.
Next was a trip to the Ellon Accordion and Fiddle club. Performers from age 10 to 80s. My rendition of Ashoken Farewell was complimented throughout the night and onstage by the featured musician- Iain MacPhail, whose band was foot stomping awesome!
This weekend was the Perth All Scots Accordion and Fiddle Festival. Perth is a beautiful city with quite different architecture from Aberdeen. Looking forward to heading back there to explore more sometime.
I was so happy to see all the fiddlers, the junior, senior and under 12 — 29 competitors in all. So I was able to see many renditions of march, strathspey and reel sets. When I went to the Kirriemuir Festival there was only one fiddler- I was wondering what that meant for the status of fiddlers but this festival in Perth was a better look at the scene. Actually, the one fiddler from Kirriemuir ended up winning the Senior Solo Championship in Perth! The judge for the fiddlers was Marie Fielding- a well known musician, composer and fiddler. Got to see her perform at a session and concert that evening. She was inspiration during the fiddle auditions – stressing the importance of the fiddler and traditional music.

The accordion and band championships were also amazing- blazing talent!! It was said that the senior accordionists were of the highest quality ever, and after the six finalists had played for the second time the judges went away to deliberate and when we left an hour later, they still had not produced a result!  Of course, had to have a few ‘tightners’ – breakfast of sausage, bacon, eggs, tomatoes and toast. Lunch ‘denner’ was minestrone and dinner, ‘supper,’ was tasty spaghetti and meatballs at an Italian restaurant!

I have band rehearsal tonight with ‘Oval is Back,’ a four piece band with fellow University students. We have a charity performance coming up next week. And I’ve had my first performance with Denis and the Menace- traditional and local popular music trio at Denmore residential home a couple weeks ago. As Denis reminds me, I will have to be on my toes for future performances as the other 2 members are regularly dragged out in mid-performance to move their cars (and occasionally get locked out leaving the third member to run the show). Between all that, yes I am keeping up with my classes- essays, research, keeping busy and loving it!
And a quote from Denis of things to come: “Natalie has still quite a bit to go to becoming an Aiberdeen quine. She still has to experience real haggis, neeps and tatties, the malt whisky and the eightsome reel, and she disna even ken fit first-fittin’ or a reid puddin’ supper is!”

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Home in Aberdeen

I’ve been in Aberdeen just about a month now and I am really settling in. The flat feels like my home, the streets seem familiar, and the people here have made it easy for me.
I can still remember that first walk down High Street to the University and seeing the King’s Chapel on Campus. What a sight! And in the days to come, I wandered to the city centre, to the beach, to parks, and to various open mics, folks clubs and sessions.
The people at the Aberdeen Folk Club gave me a warm welcome my first visit, letting me borrow a mandolin and play a few tunes. Since then I’ve been back every week with my violin and feel as though I’ve been accepted as a musician and friend. The folk club is different than a session where everyone jams at once… a folk club is when everyone sits in a circle and each individual plays or sings one by one. I was in awe of this set up my first time, Irish ballads, funny stories in Doric (local dialect), and all kinds of instrumentalists. There’s a mutual respect and appreciation, no matter the skill or talent. Through this folk club I am now a member of a traditional trio (sometimes quartet) and have some performances coming up!
I have played solo at two open mics- a bit of tango, jazz and folky things – and have met people that way as well. Next week I’ll be playing in a pop duo with someone I met at an open mic, and in 2 weeks I’ll be playing jazz standards with another chap. The music and people I’ve experienced here in Aberdeen are diverse, entertaining and genuine.
I am looking forward to classes starting next week. Induction and registration to the graduate program in Ethnology and Folklore begins Tuesday. My first classes will delve into ethnology and folklore concepts, specifically in Scottish contexts. Not only will there be lectures and tons of research and reading, but fieldtrips to browse through archives and museums.
Tarland session
I think the experiences I’ve had here so far- meeting people, asking a lot of questions, learning about local music curriculum in the schools, hearing and participating in a variety of traditional and non-traditional music experiences have been a great start to a year in Aberdeen, Scotland!


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