Dynamic duo

Familiar faces Cindy Kallet and Grey Larsen will play at Pathways.

Grey Larsen and Cindy Kallet will play at Pathways. — Alison Shaw

Folk singer Cindy Kallet has come a long way from her first gig playing at a fish-and-chips place in Aquinnah in the 1970s. She’s gone on to forge a successful career playing all around the country, recording 11 albums — one of which was voted one of the Top 100 Folk Albums of the Century by Boston’s WUMB, and earning praise from the media, including the Boston Globe, which hailed Kallet as “one of folk music’s most respected songwriters” and “a brilliant guitarist.”

Now splitting her time between Indiana and Maine, Kallet and her husband and collaborator, Grey Larsen, will be returning to the scene of Kallet’s musical beginnings when the duo perform at Pathways at the Chilmark Tavern on Thursday, Jan. 31, at 7 pm.

Kallet describes the couple’s music on her website. “The duo’s repertoire includes Cindy’s sparkling original songs, distinctive settings of traditional Irish music, Scandinavian fiddle duets, old-time fiddle and guitar tunes from southern Indiana, and new music that Cindy and Grey are inventing together. There is plenty of variety and breadth of musical territory here, all deeply rooted in folk traditions, and interwoven with the renaissance and baroque counterpoint in which both Cindy and Grey, coincidentally, were immersed while growing up. Included are vocal duets, guitar, Irish flute, Irish alto flute, tin whistle, concertina, harmonium, and duet fiddling, and plenty of stories that put the music into a personal context.”

Larsen is known as one of America’s finest players of the Irish flute and tin whistle, as well as an accomplished singer and concertina, fiddle, piano, and harmonium player.

Kallet has been playing guitar and writing songs since she was a young girl. “I started writing when I was 11,” she says. “It’s pretty much what helped me survive my teenage years.”

The burgeoning singer and songwriter moved to the Vineyard when she was 17 years old, and forged a musical collaboration with Ellen Epstein. The two became regulars at the famed Wintertide coffeehouse, and played gigs at other venues around the Island, including Hot Tin Roof. During her decade on the Island in the ’70s and ’80s, Kallet worked variously at Felix Neck, the Black Dog, Humphreys Bakery, and Gus ben David’s Serpentarium. She also shucked scallops, did carpentry, and taught music. Her connection to the Vineyard goes back to childhood summers spent here with her family.

From the Vineyard, Kallet moved to Cambridge to study teaching at Lesley University before settling for a while in Western Massachusetts. During that time, she became part of the flourishing Boston music scene, playing at various clubs around the city, including Club Passim. She and Larsen have since settled in Maine, while spending part of each year in Larsen’s home state of Indiana.

The accomplished musician makes an effort to return to the Island whenever she can. In the past few years, she has performed at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, the Katharine Cornell Theater, and the West Tisbury library.

“The Vineyard is a big part of my heart’s home,” says Kallet. “I’m just delighted and so happy to be coming back.”

Cindy Kallet and Grey Larsen at Pathways at the Chilmark Tavern. Thursday, Jan. 31, at 7 pm. Doors open at 6:30. All ages, free admission.

On Feb. 3, Pathways honors Black History Month with an exhibit of work by Harry Seymour and Boston-based artist Nygel Jones, whose work was just featured at the National Center for Afro-American Arts in Boston. Opening reception for the show takes place on Sunday, Feb. 3, from 3 to 6 pm. The work will hang throughout the month of February.