30 Years of Piranha Arts
WOMEX organisers Piranha Arts will celebrate 30 years in 2017, starting with the 30th anniversary of the first concert ever produced on 27 January 1987. Further memorable dates of their inaugural activities are the first Piranha Records release# (April/May 1987) and the birth of the formerly revolutionary, and nowadays much debated term ‘world music’ (June/July 1987). See the little Piranha Arts multimedia story for more @ piranha-arts.com!
WOMEX – the World Music Expo – brings together professionals from the worlds of folk, roots, ethnic and traditional music and also includes concerts, conferences and documentary films.
The 22nd edition of WOMEX brought over 2,400 delegates and more than 60 musical acts from 79 countries altogether to its 2016 host city, Santiago de Compostela, Galicia Spain.
In 2017, WOMEX will take place in the UNESCO city of music Katowice, Silesia, Poland from 25 - 29 October.
Harry Belafonte (*1 March 1927, Harlem, New York, USA). At first he was a pop singer, launching his recording career in 1949, but later he developed a keen interest in folk music, learning material through the Library of Congress' American folk songs archives. Harold George Bellanfanti Jr. was dubbed the "King of Calypso" for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s. He is perhaps best known for singing "The Banana Boat Song", with its signature lyric "Day-O". While primarily known for calypso, Belafonte has recorded in many different genres, including blues, folk, gospel and show tunes. Belafonte was an early supporter of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s, and one of Martin Luther King Jr.'s confidants. Throughout his career he has been an advocate for political and humanitarian causes, such as the anti-apartheid movement and USA for Africa. Since 1987 he has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Phil Coulter (*19 February 1942, Derry, Northern Ireland). One of Coulter's most popular songs, "The Town I Loved So Well", deals with the embattled city of his youth, filled with "that damned barbed wire" during the Troubles. Since the mid 1960s Phil Coulter worked as a arranger/songwriter with acts including Billy Connolly, Van Morrison, Jerry Lee Lewis and Tom Jones. Together with Bill Martin he wrote Sandie Shaw's 1967 Eurovision-winning entry, "Puppet on a String", which became an international hit. The following year their song "Congratulations", sung by Cliff Richard, came second in the Eurovision Song Contest. Coulter produced three albums for Irish folk group Planxty. In 1984 he launched himself as an artist in his own right. In 2001 he was nominated for a Grammy Award in the "New Age" category for his album Highland Cathedral.
Loreena McKennitt (*17 February 1957, Morden, Manitoba, Canada). Born of Irish and Scottish descent, Canadian musician Loreena Isabel Irene McKennitt developed a passion for Celtic music and learned to play the Celtic harp. Starting with her first album, "Elemental," released in 1985, she has sold more than 14 million records worldwide. McKennitt's albums have often been centred around a main theme: "Elemental" and "Parallel Dreams" have been inspired by Irish folklore and history; "The Mask and Mirror" includes elements of Spanish and Arabic music; "An Ancient Muse" was inspired by travels along the Silk Road. McKennitt's live album "Troubadours on the Rhine" (2011) was nominated for a 2012 Grammy for Best New Age Album.
Ivo Papazov (*16 February 1952, Kardzhali, Bulgaria). According to Garth Cartwright, Bulgarian Gypsy clarinetist Ivo Papazov was "the first Balkan Gypsy musician to win a wide international following". He leads the "Ivo Papazov Wedding Band" in performances of jazz-infused Stambolovo music, and is one of the premier creators of the genre known as "wedding band" music in Bulgaria. His original first name is Ibrahim, which he had changed to Ivo during the forced nationalisation of ethnic minority groups by Bulgaria's socialist rule.
Gabriel Yacoub (*4 February 1952, Paris, France). Born of a Lebanese father and a French mother, Gabriel Yacoub was a guitarist and singer with the Alan Stivell group that toured France in 1971. In 1973, Gabriel and Marie Yacoub recorded "Pierre de Grenoble," which became the starting point for French folk rock group Malicorne. Gabriel played acoustic and electric guitar, mandolin, epinette de Vosges and banjo, while Marie played electric dulcimer, bouzouki and hurdy-gurdy. After Malicorne's disbandment in 1986, he toured solo and as a duo with Marie. Gabriel Yacoub has also written a book of poetry and lyrics.
Melanie Safka (*3 February 1947, Queens, New York City, USA). American singer-songwriter Melanie Anne Safka-Schekeryk is best known for her hits "Ruby Tuesday", "What Have They Done to My Song, Ma", "Beautiful People", and her song about performing at the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival, "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)". Her jazz singing mother had been Pauline Altomare Safka-Bertolo (1926-2003).
Graham Nash (*2 February 1942, Blackpool, Lancashire, England). In the early 1960s, Graham William Nash co-founded The Hollies, one of the UK's most successful pop groups. During a Hollies US tour he met David Crosby and Stephen Stills with whom he formed a folk-rock group. A trio at first, Crosby Stills & Nash later became a quartet with Neil Young. Nash wrote many of their most-commercial hit singles, including "Marrakesh Express" and "Teach Your Children" (which both had been rejected by The Hollies). After moving to California, Nash became politically active. In 1979, he co-founded Musicians United for Safe Energy which is against the expansion of nuclear power.
Matt Molloy (*12 January 1947, Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon, Ireland). The Irish musician hails from a region known for producing talented flautists. As a child, Matt Molloy began playing the flute and won the All-Ireland Flute Championship at age 19. During the 1970s, Molloy was a member of The Bothy Band and the re-founded Planxty. He joined The Chieftains in 1979, replacing founding member Michael Tubridy. Molloy owns a pub on Bridge Street in Westport, Co. Mayo, which is famous for its regular Irish music sessions and concerts.
Nic Jones (*9 January 1947, Orpington, London, England). The 1980 album "Penguin Eggs" was voted second place in the "Best Folk Album of all Time" by listeners of the Mike Harding BBC Radio 2 show. English folk singer and fingerstyle guitarist Nicolas Paul "Nic" Jones toured the UK with folk group The Halliard between 1964 and 1968. He was much in demand as a session musician and guested on albums by June Tabor, Shirley Collins, Barbara Dickson and Richard Thompson. As a solo artist, Nic Jones recorded four influential folk albums, developing an intricate, rhythmically complex fingerpicking and strumming guitar style in a variety of open tunings.
In 1982, Nic Jones was involved in a serious traffic accident, which effectively ended his career as a touring and recording professional musician. He now lives in Devon and continues to play guitar and write songs for his own pleasure.
Maartin Allcock (*5 January 1957, Middleton, Greater Manchester, England). The multi-instrumentalist and record producer began playing professionally in 1976, playing in dance bands and folk clubs. Maartin Allcock's first tour was in 1977 with Mike Harding as one of the Brown Ale Cowboys. He went to Brittany in 1978 and ended up to become a chef. In 1981, he joined the Bully Wee Band, which led to an 11-year stint as lead guitarist with folk rock group Fairport Convention (1985-1996), and four more years as keyboardist with rock band Jethro Tull (1988-1991).
From the early 2000s, Allcock began working freelance from his home on the west coast of Snowdonia as a session man and record producer with the Welsh Sain record label. Allcock's session career includes more than 200 albums, including Robert Plant, Dan Ar Braz, Ralph McTell, Dave Swarbrick, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) and Dafydd Iwan.
John McLaughlin (*4 January 1942, Doncaster, West Riding of Yorkshire, England). His 1970s electric band, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, performed a technically virtuosic and complex style of music that fused electric jazz and rock music with Indian influences, flamenco and Western classical music. One of the pioneering figures in fusion, John McLaughlin was ranked 49th in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" in 2003.
Christine Lavin (*2 January 1952, New York, USA). In 1975, Christine Lavin was waitressing at Caffé Lena in Saratoga Springs, New York, when Dave Van Ronk convinced her to move to New York City and make a career as a singer-songwriter. Lavin is known for her sense of humor, which is expressed in both her music and her onstage performances. Many of her songs alternate between emotional reflections on romance and outright comedy. She has recorded numerous solo albums, and has also recorded with other female folk artists under the name Four Bitchin' Babes.
Country Joe McDonald (*1 January 1942, Washington, DC, USA). His parents were both Communist Party members in their youth and named their son after Joseph Stalin. Joseph Allen "Country Joe" McDonald began busking in Berkeley, California, in the early 1960s. In 1965, he co-founded Country Joe & the Fish which became a pioneer psychedelic rock band. Their best known song is "The "Fish" Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag" (1965), a black comedy novelty song about the Vietnam War, whose familiar chorus ("One, two, three, what are we fighting for?") is well known to the Woodstock generation and Vietnam veterans of the 1960s and '70s. The "Fish Cheer" was the band performing a call-and-response with the audience, spelling the word "fish", followed by Country Joe yelling, "What's that spell?" During the summer of 1968 the band modified the cheer to spell the word "fuck" instead of "fish."
Marianne Faithfull (*29 December 1946, Hampstead, London, England). She began her musical career in 1964 after attending The Rolling Stones party where she was discovered by Andrew Loog Oldham. After the release of her hit single "As Tears Go By", Marianne Evelyn Gabriel Faithfull became an international star and had a highly publicised romantic relationship with Mick Jagger. However, her popularity was overshadowed by personal struggles with heroin addiction, alcoholism and anorexia. After a long commercial absence, Faithfull made a comeback with the 1979 release of her critically acclaimed album "Broken English," followed with a series of successful albums.
Kari Bremnes (*9 December 1956, Svolvær, Lofoten, Norway). With a M.A. in language, literature, history and theatre studies from the University of Oslo, the Norwegian singer and songwriter worked as a journalist for several years before deciding to dedicate herself to music full-time. Kari Bremnes received the Spellemann Award (Spellemannprisen) for the record "Mitt ville hjerte" and "Spor" in 1987 and 1991, respectively. With her two brothers, Lars and Ola Bremnes, she also received the prize for the record "Soløye" in 2001.
Eamonn Campbell (*29 November 1946, Drogheda, Co. Louth, Ireland). Best known as a guitarist with a rough voice similar to the late Dubliners founding member Ronnie Drew, Eamonn Campbell had been a member of The Dubliners since 1987. It was his suggestion that the Dubliners work with London Irish folk punk band The Pogues in the mid-1980s, thus giving them their biggest hit ("The Irish Rover") and an appearance on Top of the Pops. Eamonn Campbell is still touring with three other ex-Dubliners as "The Dublin Legends".
Agnes Buen Garnås (23 November 1946, Jondal, Telemark, Norway). The Norwegian folk singer comes from a famous musical family from the county of Telemark and is known particularly for her singing of ancient unaccompanied Norwegian ballads, as well as her updated arrangements of these songs in collaboration with the Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek. Other family members who are well known as traditional musicians include her brothers, Hauk Buen and Knut Buen, and her son Per Anders Buen Garnås.
Billy McComiskey (*21 November 1951, Brooklyn, New York City, USA). Known as the "finest and most influential B/C box player ever to emerge from the US" (Earle Hitchner), Billy McComiskey started studying the accordion with the late Sean McGlynn from Tynagh, Co. Galway in his early teens. He won the first of four All-Ireland titles in 1986, and formed two legendary trios: Washington DC’s Irish Tradition alongside with Brendan Mulvihill, Jesse and Terry Winch, and the internationally acclaimed Trian featuring Liz Carroll and Daithi Sproule.
Patrick Molard (*15 November 1951, Saint-Malo, Britanny, France). Britanny's Molard brothers are recognized as experts in their respective instruments. Jacky on the violin, Patrick for the bagpipes (Scottish Highland pipes, Irish uilleann pipes, Breton binioù kozh) as well as flute and bombard. Patrick Molard is recognized as a specialist in pìobaireachd, played on several records of Alan Stivell and participated in the Celtic revival in Britanny. He has been part of various ensembles throughout the years, some of which have marked Breton music such as Gwerz, Pennoù Skoulm and Gwendal. In 2016, he played the classical and old repertoire of the bagpipes in a new project, Ceol Mor - Light & Shade.
Mari Boine (*8 November 1956, Gámehisnjárga, Karasjok , Finnmark, Norway). Her parents made a living from salmon fishing and farming on the river Anarjohka in the far north of Norway. Mari Boine grew up steeped in the region's natural environment, but also amidst the strict Laestadian Christian movement with discrimination against her people: singing in the traditional Sami joik stylem, for example, was considered 'the devil's work'.
Boine's songs in a traditional folk style, using the yodelling 'yoik' voice and the addition of jazz and rock, are strongly rooted in her experience of being a member of a despised minority. For example, the song 'Oppskrift for Herrefolk' (Recipe for a Master Race) on her 1989 breakthrough album 'Gula Gula' speaks directly of 'discrimination and hate', and ironically recommends ways of oppressing a minority: "Use bible and booze and bayonet"; "Use articles of law against ancient rights".
In 2003, Boine was awarded the Nordic Council Music Prize. She was appointed Professor of Musicology at Nesna University College in 2008, and knight, first class in the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav for her artistic diversity in 2009.
David Krakauer (*22 September 1956, Manhattan, New York, USA).
His performance career focused on jazz and classical music before he joined the Klezmatics in 1988. He sees
klezmer as his "musical home," saying "I can write music within klezmer, improvise, do experimental stuff, be an
interpreter and a preservationist. Every side of me can be fulfilled within this form."
In 1996, the clarinetist formed his own band Klezmer Madness!, fusing traditional klezmer tunes
with rock music. In 2001, David Krakauer incorporated rapper Socalled and hip-hop rhythms into Klezmer Madness!
Esma Redžepova (1943-2016). Esma Redžepova had been born on 8 August 1943 in Skopje, Macedonia. Her father Ibrahim, who had lost a leg during a German bombing, sang and played drums and sometimes performed at weddings. In 1956, Esma's teacher suggested she sing at a school talent contest for Radio Skopje. Esma performed "A bre babi", a Macedonian Roma traditional song. Esma won the contest. It was the first time a song in Romani was aired by the station.
Macedonian composer Stevo Teodosievski was impressed by Esma's performance and she joined his Ansambl Teodosievski and started touring. Redžepova and Teodosievski recorded many albums and took part at radio and television shows. Her musical style was mostly inspired by traditional Roma and Macedonian music. She was nicknamed Queen of the Gypsies.
Stevo Teodosievski, with whom Esma fostered 47 children, died in 1997 at 72. During the 2000s, she gained a more modern image and redefined herself as a worldbeat artist. Her best known single, "Čaje Šukarije," is the feature song on the 2006 Borat movie soundtrack, which she claims was used without her permission. Esma was particularly upset because her song was used to illustrate backwardness, something she always fought.
In 2010, she was awarded the Macedonian Order of Merit and in 2013 entitled National Artist of the Republic of Macedonia. Esma Redžepova died on the morning of 11 December 2016 in Skopje after a short illness, she was 73.
Leonard Norman Cohen (1934-2016).
Leonard Cohen considered himself nothing more than a minor poet. I considered him a master. I fell in love, first with his work, and afterwards with the man. I loved the wisdom in his words and the deep calm of his speaking voice. He could sing too. His voice changed a lot of over the decades, in the end there was little difference between Leonard singing and Leonard speaking.
For me, he was an inspiration, as a songwriter of course, but equally so as a human being. Somehow, Leonard's brand of greatness seemed like something you could dare to reach out for in a lifetime. Whereas someone like Bob Dylan seems like an altogether different creature, Leonard was human, vulnerable and not perfect. He wrote slowly, carefully. He spoke in the same way. He was drawn to hard work and discipline, and had an unerring commitment to his craft. These same impulses showed up in his spiritual life. In 1996 he was ordained a Zen Buddhist monk following a five year retreat to Mt. Baldy Zen Center near Los Angeles, a well earned break from Boogie Street.
In reading about the man and watching many interviews, his humility and humour always shone through above all else. His presence, clarity, his thoughtfulness and charm was always deeply inspiring. Truly inspiring, as in ... "this is the type of human being I would like to be someday". These are the type of qualities I would like to nurture in my own life.
When he passed, it felt like the death of a friend or a family member. A disturbance in the force. We have lost a master and the world feels darker for his light not being there. But, like Bowie earlier this year, he has left us with a last parting gift. His final album, "You want it darker" is to my mind, one of his best. Lyrically and musically it's pretty much flawless and the production - courtesy of his son Adam - sounds warmer and truer than maybe anything he's done. If you haven't heard the record yet I can't recommend it enough - so beautiful. I hope it brought him some comfort to know that he was going out with some of his best work. Maybe he didn't think about those things at the end. Maybe he was just doing what he always did, waking up early and getting to work. He said in recent interviews that he knew his time was coming to an end and that he was simply trying to put his affairs in order; to finish old poems and make sure all his business affairs were taken care of, that his children would be okay.
I am deeply thankful for all the gifts Leonard Cohen gave to the world. Thankful that he continued to work through years of anxiety and depression and come out on the other side. Thankful for his songs and for his Grace. He is gone now to stand before the Lord of song, with nothing on his tongue but Hallelujah. He will be missed.
For further reading on the life of this great songwriter I highly recommend Sylvie Simmons excellent book "I'm Your Man".
Irish Music Stories Podcast
Irish Music Stories is the new podcast about traditional music, and the bigger stories behind it.
Thanks to Shannon Heaton's 2016 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship, she had been able to travel around the USA and Ireland to talk about Irish music and dance … and the bigger human stories--like friendships, heritage, history, culture.
The Irish Music Stories preview has been launched on January 10th, 2017 (ft. some thoughts from accordion player John Williams, fiddle player Liz Carroll, and singer Karan Casey).
The Happy Valentine episode of Irish Music Stories explores why Irish music brought 400,000 people--and a band of Boston tweens--to Sligo.
Shannon talks to Cormac Gaj in Boston about the band he formed with other kids. She heads to Tulla in Clare, to visit with concertina player Mary MacNamara, and also make a mad dash to Dublin to check out Comhaltas HQ. Liz Carroll shares blueberries and stories in her Chicago kitchen. Mairin Ui Cheide, Seamus Connolly, and Karan Casey all open Shannon's heart about what Irish music means to them.
Download at your convenience,
and/or subscribe to Irish Music Stories in iTunes
or your favourite podcast catcher.
Steel Cimbalom - New Musical Instrument?
Is it possible nowadays to create a new viable musical instrument? Some time ago Petr Pavlinec (Musica Folklorica) introduced an instrument called a marimbalom (see below) and now has tried to create something new. He has assembled an instrument combining the advantages of a cimbalom, chimes and a metallophone. The steel cimbalom is a system of stainless steel plates of different lengths, flexibly mounted on the frame of the instrument. The sound is further amplified by the tuned tube resonators. Velvety jingling sounds with an almost four octave musical range makes the instrument an interesting alternative to the conventional large cimbalom. Listen to the tones of the steel cimbalom in the track Crystal Drops, which Petr Pavlinec wrote especially for this instrument and recorded in November with Musica Folklorica.
Cimbalom as a percussion instrument? Petr Pavlinec, from (Musica Folklorica), has managed to answer this question. He created an instrument - the marimbalom - combining the advantages of a cimbalom and marimba (similar to a xylophone). It is a melodic percussion instrument. Unlike a cimbalom, the tone of a marimbalom is not created by the trembling strings but by the resonation of the wooden rectangular plates amplified by tuned metal cylinders. You can have a listen to the marimbolom in the following sample.
Folk of Europe
folk of europe is about sharing traditional music from across the continent. folk of europe find original and interesting artists from all over Europe, and ask them to film themselves playing music at home. Each artist submits two videos: a folk song from their country, and a song of their own.
folk of europe aim to let the world explore folk music from across Europe, and the interplay between the traditional and the new.
If you want to get involved, drop them a line!
Celebrate Zeltik’s 20th anniversary!
In 1998, the City of Dudelange organized a big concert with the participation of groups from Ireland (Hair of the Dog, Andy White) and Scotland (Old Blind Dogs, Canterach). The event was well attended, and there was a real festival atmosphere. The rest is history...
March 31 - April 2 2017 Ballydehob Irish Traditional Music Festival, West Cork, Ireland ft. Frankie Gavin & De Dannan, ... www.ballydehobtradfestival.com 13 - 21 May 2017 folkBALTICA, Flensburg & Sønderjylland-Schleswig, Germany/Denmark ft. Timo Alakotila, Kimberley Fraser, Fru Skagerrak, Henrik Jansberg, Lamb & Bugge & Jensen, Ingfrid Breie Nyhus, Martin Simpson, Svøbsk,... www.folkbaltica.de 19 - 21 May 2017 Feile Chnoc na Gaoithe, Tulla, Co. Clare, Ireland www.cnocnagaoithe.com
24 May 2017 Homerecords Festival, Cité Miroir, Liège, Belgium ft. Clastrier & Kamperman, Tondo, Auster Loo, Lara Leliane, ... www.homerecordsfestival.be 2 - 4 June 2017 Festival Joutes Musicales, Correns, France www.le-chantier.com 15 - 18 June 2017 Jim Dowling Uilleann Pipe & Trad Festival, Glengarriff, West Cork, Ireland www.jimdowlingfestival.eu 30 Jun - 2 Jul 2017 Cleckheaton Folk Festival, West Yorkshire, England ft. Oysterband, The Willows, Colum Sands, John Tams, Tim Edey, Jimmy Aldridge & Sid Goldsmith, Flossie Malavialle, THe Phoenix Ceilidh Band, ... www.cleckheatonfolkfestival.org 6 - 9 July 2017 Rudolstadt Festival, Germany ft. Focus: Scotland www.rudolstadt-festival.de 8 - 9 July 2017 Brosella Folk & Jazz Open Air, Theatre de Verdure/Groentheater, Brussels, Belgium www.brosella.be 9 - 15 July 2017 South Sligo Summer School, Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo, Ireland www.sssschool.org 10 - 16 July 2017 Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, Finland www.kaustinen.net 21 - 23 July 2017 Etnosur, Jaen, Spain www.etnosur.com
23 - 30 July 2017 Fiddler's Green Folk Festival, Rostrevor, Co. Down, Northern Ireland www.fiddlersgreenfestival.com 24 - 28 July 2017 Meitheal - Residential Summer School, Limerick, Ireland www.tradweek.com 27 - 30 July 2017 Cambridge Folk Festival, Cambridge, UK ft. Oysterband, LAU, Hayseed Dixie, Jon Boden, ... www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk 3 - 6 August 2017 Ballyshannon Folk and Traditional Music Festival, Co. Donegal, Ireland www.ballyshannonfolkfestival.com 4 - 13 August 2017 Festival Interceltique de Lorient, France Focus: The Year of Scotland www.festival-interceltique.com 9 - 14 August 2017 Feakle Traditional Music Festival, Feakle, Co. Clare, Ireland www.feaklefestival.ie 10 - 12 August 2017 Fairport's Cropredy Convention, Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK ft. Petula Clark, Richard Thompson, Marillion, Feast of Fiddles, Show of Hands, Dougie MacLean, ... www.fairportconvention.com 18 - 20 August 2017 Folk East, Glemham Hall, Suffolk, UK www.folkeast.co.uk 23 - 27 August 2017 The Masters of Tradition Festival, Bantry House, Co. Cork, Ireland www.westcorkmusic.ie
24 - 27 August 2017 Tønder Festival, Denmark ft. Lucinda Williams, Loudon Wainwright III, Altan, Afenginn, Réalta, Dallahan, Romengo, Talisk, Kaia Kater, Foy Vance, ... www.tf.dk 25 - 28 August 2017 Towersey Festival, Oxfordshire, UK ft. Eliza Carthy, The Demon Barbers XL, Jon Boden, Rob Heron, Coope Boyes & Simpson, Hardy & Drinkwater, Blackbeard's Tea Party, Lindisfarne, Roberts & Lakeman, Gilmore & Roberts, Megson, ... www.towerseyfestival.com 13 - 17 September 2017 Mercat de Musica Viva de Vic, Spain www.mmvv.net 5 - 8 October 2017 Fira Mediterrània Folk Market, Manresa, Spain www.firamediterrania.cat 25 - 29 October 2017 WOMEX World Music Expo, Katowice, Poland www.womex.com