Issue 23 09/2002
5th Anniversary Party
Münster/Germany. Yes, it's true. FolkWorld - The Home of European Music becomes five years of age. The big birthday party takes place on the 1st November 2002 in the beautiful city of Münster in Northwest Germany. We teamed up with the 2nd Pigeon on the Gate-Festival (-> FW#20) to unite the Crème de la Crème of the German Irish folk scene on one stage, namely DeReelium, Fiddlesticks and Deoch an Dorais. Everybody is invited to join us for the party of the year. [wt]
Details: www.folk-treff.de & www.deochandorais.de/pigeon/.
Alan Lomax (1915-2002)
USA. Alan Lomax, the legendary musicologist and folk song collector, passed away on July 19, 2002.
The Texas-born Lomax began his folk song collecting career alongside his father John A. Lomax (1867-1948). In the early 1930's, the Lomaxes developed the Library of Congress Archive of American Folksong, lugging a 500-pound recording machine through the United States. They collected hundreds of songs, including blues man Leadbelly in a Lousiana prison. "The prisoners in those penitentiaries simply had dynamite in their performances. There was more emotional heat, more power, more nobility in what they did than all the Beethovens and Bachs could produce." In the early 1940's, Alan Lomax recorded Woody Guthrie (Shakespeare in overalls) and Muddy Waters. During the McCarthy period, when left-wing performers were blacklisted, he left for England. He collected in Britian, Ireland, Italy and Spain, helping in turn to spur folk revivals throughout Europe. In 1965, Lomax tried to ax the power cables when Bob Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival. As musical consultant for the 1977 Voyager space probe project, he ordered the inclusion of Blind Willie Johnson and Louis Armstrong, Andean panpipes and Navajo chants, polyphonic vocal music from Zaire and Caucasus Georgians. In the 1980's, Lomax began to work on "The Global Jukebox," a multimedia interactive database of songs and dances cross-referenced with anthropological data. In 1997, Rounder Records began issuing the Alan Lomax Collection, including over hundred CDs. A recording Lomax made in Mississippi in 1959 opens the soundtrack of "O Brother Where Art Thou?".
Alan Lomax's mission was "to put neglected cultures and silenced people into the communications chain." He advocated "cultural equity: the right of every culture to have equal time on the air and equal time in the classroom." He believed the centralized electronic communications system is imposing "standardized, mass-produced and cheapened cultures everywhere," "crushing the life out of all the other human possibilities. My life has been devoted to opposing that tendency."
The obituaries show that "father of the American folksong revival" is held in high esteem: "One of the reasons we had a folk revival in this country was that Alan Lomax could recognize those qualities in a song that could make someone 1,000 miles from Kentucky want to sing them," Matt Barton says. Studs Terkel puts it plainly: "What Caruso was to singing, Alan Lomax is to musicology." [wt]
www.alan-lomax.com; see also Tom's Night Shift.
Talking to the
Northern Ireland/Israel. Irish singer/songwriter Colum Sands (-> FW#22) and Israeli storyteller Sharon Aviv have put together a show named "Talking to the Wall" to find out "how stories and songs can help to break the silence and lack of communication so often the mark of divided communities." They have toured Ireland and Israel and Colum reports: "It's a strange time over there but (maybe because of that) the gigs were all sold out and people just wanted to stay and talk after the concerts rather than go home. Met some wonderful people over there, played in the Neve Shalom, (Oasis of peace) the first intregrated village and school for Jews and Arabs. Sharon Aviv also arranged a workshop in a Jewish boarding school that had previously hosted visits from an Arab school until things got too hot about a year ago and they stopped doing it. Anyway the workshop was arranged as part of our tour but a few days before it was to take place, the governor of the Jewish school rang up and said he was really nervous about it, maybe we should cancel it. Sharon talked him out of that and the workshop took place. It was an amazing success, with the help of translators into Hebrew and Arabic, a few songs and stories were told and after some initial stiffness things started to flow and, by the time we left, all the students (15/16 year olds) were singing and dancing together, Jewish youngsters dancing to an Arab wedding song and myself lashing into the bodhran at the same time! The schools have now decided that they will meet again on a monthly basis. Not going to change the universe but every little bit helps and in a certain way, it will change the world for those young people. Anyway, I came home with much hope, energy and the belief that its far safer and healthier to travel these days than to sit at home watching the news." An album has been released. [wt]
home.hccnet.nl/j.poelma/Talking.html - Review of the album in this issue.
Oysterband "Rise Above"
Veteran acoustic rockers back on a roll… with a strong new CD Obscenely vigorous for a band who must soon be applying for legendary status, Oysterband remain a cutting antidote to the blandness of much contemporary music. (Aris CD 21960312)
Eddy Morton & The Bushburys "Timeless"
With their familiar rootsy sound, contemporary songs and excellent musicianship they explore all the areas of acoustic rock, folk and blues with which they have been so successful in creating one of the UKs finest and most hardworking live acts.(Aris CD 21929432)
Horse "Hindsight...it's a wonderful thing"
One of the finest singers in Britain (Q magazine), either austerity instrumented with acoutic guitar or piano, or with strings and brass arrangements impressive accentuated. A Expressive album full of vivacity eroticism. (Aris CD 21960302)
Please find the complete catalogue of ‚pläne' records under www.plaene-records.de.
England. At the Leigh Folk Festival in the fishing village of Leigh on Sea in Essex, the Hoy at Anchor Folk Club organized a marathon traditional folk singaround session in aid of BBC Children in Need. The marathon session started at 10:12 on Saturday morning and carried on until 3:15 on Sunday afternoon, a world record-breaking total of 29 hours and 3 minutes. The organizers insisted that no song could be repeated and consequently 421 different songs were sung by eighty-seven different performers. Organisers Tony Prior and John Clark are currently collating the supporting documentation, which includes audio and video recordings covering the entire event. [wt]
How Many in a Bar?
England. In July, Billy Bragg, David Heath and several other MPs protested in London's Red Lion pub, Whitehall, against the notorious PEL laws which prevent more than two musicians performing in one evening in a pub or club in England and Wales which doesn't have an expensive entertainment license. Only Heath and Bragg were able to sing. The other MPs present had their mouths taped up to prevent them from breaking the law, should they be tempted to spontaneously break into song. After this the performers moved outside to sing "I Fought the Law". [wt]
Details on www.hobgoblin.com. See also FW#21.
England. Tarras, the celebrated folk pop band from England, finalists at the BBC Folk Awards, are disbanded. The end of the band seems to have come spontaneously, as the organisers of the festival "Folk at Fram" found out about it only days before the event where Tarras were booked as the top act. Reasons for the disbandment are not known - the Tarras website is deleted. "Folk at Fram" could, btw., book on a five day notice the Irish band North Cregg to replace Tarras.
Live review of Folk at Fram in this issue.
USA. Alternative Country, Americana, Western Beat, Rig Rock, call it as you like; the only thing in common is to shy away at the Nashville Top 40s. Since the O Brother Where Art Thou? movie and soundtrack hit the nerves, bluegrass, old-time and country music is en vogue again, covering almost anything from hardcore country to roots rock. It hasn't really crept into Europe yet, but you can check it out in the bimonthly US-magazine "No Depression". The reason we started this magazine: the music, writes editor Grant Alden, too much of what we write about and listen to can be heard only rarely, if at all.
Issue #39 (May-June 2002) has 146 pages and features stories about Howe Gelb, Robin & Linda Williams, Josh Graves, Tift Merritt, Patty Griffin, The Flatlanders, and Wilco, obituaries for Waylon Jennings (one of the only folks in Nashville who will walk into a room where there's a guitar and a Wall Street Journal, and pick up the guitar), Harlan Howard (sometimes one of the songwriters was enthusiastically about a new idea he had for a song; Harlan Howard would reply, `Don't bother, I've already written it'), and Dave Van Ronk (Van Ronk befriended Dylan, often giving him a place to stay, and ultimately turning him on to several songs), plus numerous live and CD reviews.
The "letter box" received the mail: Although I was born in San Francisco, my parents were born in India, and in my religion, Sikhism, men happen to wear turbans. Although we're not Muslim, a Sikh man was shot to death in Arizona because the imbecile who shot him wanted to `support his American brothers and sisters' after September 11th. I have loved America, as I understood it, with all my heart ... Thanks to everyone who shares the big-hearted spirit of America and Americana, because I realize where I fit, and it is exactly the place Woody Guthrie laid out. [wt]
No Depression (ISSN 1088-4971) is published bimonthly for US$18 per year. Contact www.nodepression.net.
Freemuse - World
Conference on Music and Censorship
Denmark. "I went on radio and after five minutes there was a phone call and I was pulled out of the studio", tells Andy Brown about censorship in Zimbabwe. "How can I carry on making music if I have to starve?" Pops Mohamed frowns upon curiosities in South Africa during apartheid: "I was a shadow player. We played behind curtains. It was a black guy playing behind the stage and a white player up on the stage."
The 2nd World Conference on Music and Censorship was held in Copenhagen on 28-29 September 2002 to bring together musicians, journalists, researchers, record industry professionals and human rights activists and to examine, discuss and document a wide variety of abuses from the apparently benign to the overtly extreme. The conference is put together by the Danish organization "Freemuse," advocating freedom of expression for musicians and composers. As its guide are the principles outlined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights as they apply specifically to musicians and composers. Freemuse's objectives are to document violations and discuss their effects on music life; inform media, human rights organisations and the public; support musicians in need and observe at their trials; develop a global network in support of threatened musicians and composers. [wt]
Masked & Anonymous
USA. Bob Dylan is going to strum his guitar on the big screen again. According to Billboard online, Dylan will star in "Masked & Anonymous," the story of the fictitious troubadour Jack Fate who is brought out of prison for one final concert. "The character of Jack Fate is not unlike Bob Dylan's persona, so he is a natural for this role," says Nigel Sinclair, co-chairman of the film's production company Intermedia Films. Dylan will play his own music in the film, but it is not clear whether he write new songs or use some of his existing songs. [wt]
The Weakest Link
Britain. Billy Bragg (see the CD review of his new album "England, Half English" in this issue) has won the celebrity edition of BBC1's The Weakest Link in which he defeated Dave Lee Travis, Suzi Quatro and Lesley Garrett. He donated his winnings of £11,800 to the Medical Foundation for Victims of Torture. [wt]
The Trad Centre
Britain. Murrough O'Kane is the flute player of the Irish traditional music band Óige. He has just finished a masters degree in computing and design and made an on-line information centre for Irish traditional music as his major project, aptly called "The Trad Centre". [wt]
Great Britain. Last but not least, have a look at www.btinternet.com/~pipedown/. Pipedown International has been formed to "counter one of the under-recognised scourges of contemporary life: PIPED MUSIC, also called muzak, muzac, acoustic wallpaper, elevator music or canned music. It is the misuse of this in public areas (and only this) which Pipedown has been formed to fight, encouraging and giving a voice to millions of people who hate piped music but at present often feel totally powerless to do anything about it. Silence - in shop, restaurant, railway station, swimming bath or other public place - seems to be anathema. Cows, when being milked, are supposedly more productive if lulled by piped music; the same principle is used to stupefy us into mindlessness before parting us from our money, votes, wits. Piped music also cripples conversation and mutilates real music. All music is debased by being treated as acoustic wallpaper or a marketing tool. The right to silence in public places is one we must fight to establish." [wt]
invasion in Stockholm
Sweden. Stockholm is usually a place where you get to hear plenty of Swedish folk music, but not much from abroad. This autumn is different; it boosts with an impressive programme of top Celtic bands, workshops and Celtic-Swedish double bills. On 25th September 02, Ireland's most reputed trad band Altan performed already a very special concert together with Frifot, one of Swedens best known folk bands.
The long weekend from 17th to 19th October 02 is dedicated for Scottish music, at Stockholm's premier folk music venue Stallet. Thursday 17th offers a Scottish Bagpipes workshop, Friday 18th a Scottish music workshop with the Wrigley Sisters (register with Lotta before 14th October). The evening of the 18th is dedicated to a concert with the Wrigleys and a piper. The highlight of the weekend will be a double bill concert with surprises at Nybrokajen 11, where the Shetland band Fiddlers Bid meets with Sweden's äsen.
Irish dancing is offered at the first November weekend (1-3.11.2002), at the Nordic Feis of Irish Dancing. And just a week later, on the 8th November, Ireland's best newcomer trad bands is entering Stockholm's stages - Danú will be performing at Nybrokajen 11.
Maybe some inspiration for a shortbreak in Stockholm this autumn?
An open door for Eastern
European musicians to the UK
England. World Music is a new agency based in South West England that aims to help performers from East Europe perform and tour the British Isles. Manager, Les Thompson, has extensive experience of performing at folk festivals and Arts Centres in the UK and also several contacts in East Europe. Artists from Russia, Ukraine, Moldavia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary, are invited to send their details to:email@example.com
HARLEKIN RECORDS - Your source for FOLK MUSIC (North America, Ireland, Great
Britain), COUNTRY, BLUEGRASS and related music. Always more than 10.000 different
compact discs, LP-records and video tapes in stock!
Harlekin Records and its full catalogue is available in the Internet, at www.harlekin-records.de.
Contact: E-mail Harlekin-Records@t-online.de; Jürgen Feuß, Postfach 110142-FW, 28081 Bremen / GERMANY. Phone: +49 421 7 49 10, FAX: +49 421 70 0051
Concerts after midnight
Ennis/Ireland. The 9th Ennis Trad Festival is held this year from 7th to 11th November 2002 in Ennis, County Clare. The description sounds indeed special: "It is a festival which gears itself to musicians as all the concerts happen when the musicians gigs are over i.e. after midnight. It is one big party of musicians - over 100 sessions in four to five days and that is only the scheduled ones."
For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or check our website www.ennistradfestival.com (under construction)
Scottish autumn festival
Scotland/Innerleithen. From the original intended "one-off" basis, the "Both Sides of the Tweed" festival in the Scottish Borders gets ready for its third outing from Oct 4th-6th 2002 in the town of Innerleithen. The bill includes Dick Gaughan, Micheal Marra, the Gaelic band Cliar, Lindisfarne, Pete Coe, Fine Friday and Give Way to name but some.
Funding is also guarenteed for next year when the festival will move to a different location, of a genuine working fishing town of 3500 pop, called Eyemouth.
Details from Hector Christie, at email@example.com
Trouble Over Bridged Water
Scotland/Isle of Skye. A few year ago the Isle of Skye, famous for its abundance of stunning scenery and highest quality Gaelic music, was connected by a bridge to the Scottish mainland. Most islanders were not too happy about this development, as it meant that crossing the bridge became much more expensive than the traditional crossing with the - now closed down - ferry.
SKAT stands for "Skye & Kyle Against Tolls". This initiative has just produced a CD in order to raise funds for the campaign. The CD’s title ‘Trouble Over Bridged Waters’ is a play on the rather more famous ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ produced by Simon & Garfunkel. However, this CD will be enthusiastically received locally at least, given that it features some of the area’s finest musicians. Many folk sympathetic to the SKAT cause have offered tracks from their productions for the new CD and people such as Wolfstone, Malcolm Jones & Donald Black, Arthur Cormack and Dr Angus MacDonald feature.
An Drochaid - Music from
the Isle of Skye and Lochalsh
Scotland. The Skye and Lachalsh Traditional Music Project, established to support the folk music scene in and from this part of Scotland, has recently published a CD sampler with music and song from Skye and Lochalsh. The aim of the album is to advertise and promote the wealth of talent from this area. The album is a promotional album only, and will be sent out free of charge to individuals and organisers involved in the folk music scene, throughout the UK and the world. It is also given to businesses and establishments in Skye and Lochalsh, so that pubs and shops can play the "real" local music to attract interest among their customers.
The album features a broad range of music, from Gaelic song (e.g. Anne Martin & Ingrid Henderson; Cliar; Arthur Cormack; Christine Primrose) via modern and traditional instrumental music (e.g. Peatbog Fairies, Dàimh, Archie & Farqhuar) and solo piping (e.g Iain MacFadyen, Dr. Angus MacDonald), to folk pop (Donnie Munro) and a Gaelic choir. There is a lot of talent presented on the album; and there should be something for everybody among the 17 tracks of the album.
An Drochaid is a project financed by the Skye and Lochalsh Enterprise; indicating a wise move towards recognising the economic potential of folk music for the more remote areas of Scotland.
If you think that you should have the CD sampler, or would like to have more information on An Drochaid and the music of Skye and Lochalsh, you should consult the An Drochaid website at www.skyemusic.org, or contact: An Drochaid, Meall House, Portree, Isle of Skye, IV51 9BZ, Scotland. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Crossing - An Tasainn
Scotland/Prince Edward Island. The year 2003 sees the two hundredth anniversary of the arrival of the first Scottish emigrant settlers in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada. These emigrants came mainly from Skye, Raasay and the near mainland, and undertook the adventure under a scheme established by Lord Selkirk. They arrived on the “Polly” close to the Belfast area of PEI, and started an overall piecefully life side by side with the Natives.
To mark this milestone in the joint Scottish-PEI histories, it is intended to run a series of celebratory events on both sides of the Atlantic during 2003, including exhibitions, performances, publications, an internet website, exchange visits, tours and lectures. Some suggestions for events include an Internet Site for information and as a Picture Gallery, exhibitions – physical and virtual, cultural, musical and sporting events, exchange visits, drama, oral history project, exploration of contemporary issues, schools projects and publications. A similar range of projects has been suggested in PEI.
The Scottish contact for the organisational arrangements for An Tarsainn is Iona MacDonald, e-mail: email@example.com
Pan-Celtic night in London
London. Celtic Night brings together five young folk bands from all around Celtic Europe: Brittany, Asturias, Ireland and Scotland. The event is held on 2nd November 2002 at Cecil Sharp House in Camden Town, and features concerts, light show, animations and folk dancing, as well as live broadcasting on the internet and a direct link to a Celtic party (Fest Noz) held on South Brittany. Celtic Night is an initiative from Le Breizho, the Brittany association in London. (www.breizho.org.uk).
The event will be live broadcasted on the internet, at the event website www.celticnight.com. At this website you will find also further information about participating bands and the programme.
Irish Spirits Festival
Rüsselsheim. The third "Irish Spirits Festival" takes place on 19th Ocotber 2002, presenting the duo Ian Smith and Stephen Campbell, the 22 year old harpist Harriet Earis from England, and one of the reputed German Irish bands, An Tor. Information and Tickets at the website of the Folk Club "Dorflinde": http://www.dorflinde.de
Germany. Another high profile Bodhrán weekend takes place between 22nd and 24th November 2002, at the "Seminarhof Proitzer Mühle". On offer are workshops for beginners, advanced beginners and intermediate players. The teachers are both well known in and beyond the German Irish Music Scene - they are Guido Plüschke and the internationally reputed Rolf Wagels. Parallely to the bodhrán workshops, a concertina meeting takes place at the Proitzer Mühle - you might expect quite a few bodhrán-concertina sessions there. Infos and registration at http://www.bodhran-info.de
Rolf Wagels is also responsible for initiating a bodhran player forum on the internet - plenty of information on the bodhrán, all in German language, at http.//www.bodhran.de
Silver jubilee of Peter
Germany. Peter Kerlin, German singer songwriter with influences from Irish traditional music, celebrates his 25th year on stage. He celebrates this big day with a concert with friends in Goslar. More info at www.peterkerlin.de
Hot Irish autumn
Germany/Austria. Plenty of Irish Music can be heard in Germany and Austria this autumn. Here a selection of the highlights:
The Irish Folk Festival tour has this year the slogan "A Blast from the Past", and offers music from Geraldine MacGowan (-> FW#12), Eric Liorzou und Jake Walton (-> FW#20), the Alan Kelly Band and Slide (-> FW#19).
The Celtic Halloween Festival is a bit sidelined by the Irish Folk Festival (as it is run by the same organiser, Magnetic Music), and has lost a lot of its special qualities that it used to have; offering this year only Germany-based bands, An Erminig (-> FW#18), Midnight Court (-> FW#4, FW#19) and Bachelors Walk (-> FW#2).
The Austrian Irish Christmas Festival presents this year Cathy Ryan, Alan Kelly, John Carty & Brian Mc Grath sowie Sean Tyrrell & Fergus Feely.
Additionally on German and Austrian tour between October and November: Karan Casey, Kate Rusby (siehe Magnetic Music), Calico, Dervish and Cara Dillon (Music Contact), Paul Joses (www.ozellamusic.com) sowie Sean Tyrrell, The Dubliners und Luka Bloom (K. Jahnke).
A longer outlook goes into spring 2003, to the German Irish Spring Festival and the Austrian Celtic Spring Festival. Bth take place in March 2003; Irish Spring presents Sessions from the Hearth, Eilis Kennedy and Liz Doherty, Celtic Spring Slide and Téada.
New Bad Penny
England. Jez Lowe, the reputed singer songwriter from North East England, announces a new line-up for his band, The Bad Pennies. For the autumn UK tour, a new Bad Penny will be the highly skilled Northumbrian piper Andy May, taking over on pipes, whistles, keyboard and accordion. He is a nine-time winner of the Northumbrian Pipers Society Annual Open Competition, currently a record, and comes fresh from two recording projects with internationally acclaimed piper Kathryn Tickell.
Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies features now Jez Lowe on vocals, cittern and guitar; Simon Haworth of bass, guitar and keyboards; Kate Bramley on fiddle and vocals; Andy May on pipes, whistles, keyboards and accordion.
The Great Ceili Wars
Northern Ireland/Isle of Man. The auditions for a new film, "The Great Ceilidh Wars", have been held in late September in Ballymena and Belfast, looking among others for about ten musicians who will have minor roles in the film. The filming will take place in Belfast, the Isle of Man & Glenarm Estate in Co. Antrim. On the Glenarm estate, a Fleadh village from 1971 will be recreated for the film. Filming is due to start in early October and be completed by December. [News item by Dick Glasgow]
Causeway Coast musical
Northern Ireland. The Meehans, Paul Meehan & Sorcha, were married on the 26th September in Portrush, Co. Antrim. Many of Paul's musical friends from around Armagh were at the wedding and played at the chapel. Musicians, including some from bands like 'Na Dorsa' & 'North Cregg', included Paul Meehan (Martin's brother), Paul Bradley, Donal O'Connor, Martin Quinn & Tiarnan O'Duinnchinn, to name but a few. [News item by Dick Glasgow]
In the German news you can find as additional news:
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