FolkWorld #77 03/2022

German News

News & Gossip

Happy Birthday

Michelle Shocked

Artist Video Michelle

Michelle Shocked (*24 February 1962, Dallas, Texas, USA). American singer-songwriter Karen Michelle Johnston adopted the stage name "Michelle Shocked," a play on the expression "shell shocked," in 1984, after being arrested for protesting and demonstrating against corporations who contribute money to both the Democratic and Republican Party campaigns. The photograph of Shocked being detained appeared on the cover of her 1988 debut album Short Sharp Shocked, the debut single "Anchorage", broke into the Billboard Hot 100.

Starting in 2002 with the release of Deep Natural, Shocked established her own label, Mighty Sound. She continues to make music as an independent artist though 2009's Soul of My Soul remains her last released recording to date.

»If anyone should have been a model for the promises of Internet innovation offering independent creators opportunities to thrive, it should have been me. [...] I launched my own label in 2002. The Internet was new and I was thriving on the promises of the technology for communicating and connecting with my fans. Between 2002 and 2009 I released 11 albums. Napster wasn’t even a speed bump. MySpace was a blip. Facebook was a minor distraction, but – I clearly remember this – YouTube was a game changer. By 2009, my independent label had unsustainable returns on inventory and I could hear a distant murmur. “The CD is dead…” “You’re a content creator now…” “You need to start giving your music away for free, and you’d better be collecting names for your mailing list…” In 2011, when my independent publishing administrator was acquired by a major, I notified them of termination of the admin agreement. I certainly hadn’t signed up to be part of a merger. But I subsequently discovered I couldn’t close a deal with another administrator. Blacklisted again. And I had insufficient knowledge of publishing administration to do it on my own. Around this time, I discovered my Wikipedia entry was hopelessly distorting basic facts of my own biography. Trying to correcting the entry, Wikipedia informed me I lacked sufficient authority over the facts of my own life. Not long after this, instinctively, I sensed dark storm clouds gathering on the horizon over this little angry bird called ‘Twitter.’ And I knew. If YouTube was a game changer, Twitter was game over. [...] Here’s my point: I’ve done the impossible. Using the dull sledgehammer we call DMCA takedown, I have enforced my intellectual property rights by deliberately withholding my work, in order to demonstrate the scale of the creative destruction. Any of my work you find on the Internet is an unlicensed bootleg. You won’t find my work on iTunes. Not on YouTube. Not on Amazon. Not on Spotify. If 80 year-old consent decrees and 110 year-old compulsory licenses didn’t protect corporate predators, my work wouldn’t be on Pandora or SiriusXM either. Thirty four years into a career with complete ownership of an amazing, critically-acclaimed, internationally-recognized catalog, and I have managed to extricate myself from the biggest bootleg operation the world has ever seen. I’ve paid a high price, certainly. I’ll continue to search for alternatives where creative control and artistic integrity might be practiced beyond our digital dystopia. The current degree of DMCA dysfunction offers little light at the end of a very long tunnel, either for new or legacy artists. The .01% of artists who receive 90% of the streaming revenue may be the names you’ll recall. But for the 99% of us dying at a rate of extinction faster than the Amazon tree frog, the songs we wrote that you never heard will be all that remains of our story.« —Michelle Shocked

Ivo Papasov 2001

Artist Video Ivo Papasov

Phil Coulter (*19 February 1942, Derry, Northern Ireland). The Irish songwriter is one of the biggest record sellers from Ireland. Phil Coulter has amassed 23 platinum discs, 39 gold discs, 52 silver discs, two Grand Prix Eurovision awards; five Ivor Novello Awards, including Songwriter of the Year, three American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers awards; a Grammy Nomination; a Meteor Award, a National Entertainment Award and a Rose d'or d'Antibes. It is said that he keeps one of the walls of his office blank, "to remind me that there's still room for a lot more."

Before launching himself as an artist in his own right, Coulter had worked with acts including Billy Connolly, Van Morrison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tom Jones, Cliff Richard and the Bay City Rollers. His most popular song, "The Town I Loved So Well", deals with the embattled city of his youth, filled with "that damned barbed wire" during the Troubles. One of his children was born with Down's Syndrome and died aged four; he wrote the song "Scorn Not His Simplicity" made famous by Luke Kelly of The Dubliners.

Gabriel Yacoub

Artist Video Gabriel Yacoub

Ivo Papazov (*16 February 1952, Kardzhali, Bulgaria). As a result of the extensive programme of forced nationalisation of ethnic minority groups during Bulgaria's socialist rule, Roma clarinetist Ivo Papazov (or Papasov; Bulgarian: Иво Папазов) changed his first name of Ibrahim to Ivo. He followed the Gypsy tradition of leaving school at a young age, in his case to focus on playing music for a living. 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. Papazov won a wide international following with his two Joe Boyd-produced albums in the early 1990s. In 2005, he won the Audience Award from the BBC's Radio 3 World Music Awards.

Gabriel Yacoub (*4 February 1952, Paris, France). Born of a Lebanese father and a French mother, Gabriel Yacoub was guitarist and singer with the Alan Stivell Group for two years, appearing on his 1972's À l'Olympia breakthrough album. He left to form his own band, intending to popularise French music the way Stivell had popularised Breton music. In 1973, Gabriel and Marie Yacoub recorded the album Pierre de Grenoble. This was originally intended to be the name of the group, but soon was renamed after a town in north-western France, Malicorne. Their albums consisted of mostly traditional French folk songs, with one or two instrumentals and songs written by Yacoub. 1978's concept album L'Extraordinaire Tour de France d'Adélard Rousseau, dit Nivernais la Clef des Cœurs, Compagnon Charpentier du Devoir is perhaps their most exciting endeavour, employing some gothic and prog rock elements. It consists almost entirely of songs by Yacoub.

Malicorne broke up several times but re-formed again. They performed their last show in 2017; a new album project was definitely abandoned. Since the mid 1980s Gabriel Yacoub recorded as a solo artist, including an album of his songs in English in 2002. He has also written a book of poetry and lyrics.

Crosby Stills Nash & Young

Artist Video Graham Nash

Graham Nash (*2 February 1942, Blackpool, Lancashire, England). British-American singer-songwriter Graham William Nash is for his songwriting contributions as a member of the English pop/rock group The Hollies and the folk-rock supergroups Crosby, Stills & Nash and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Nash had already composed songs for The Hollies in the 1960s, but it did neither register with their audience nor their producer for being 'too complex' to work as a hit single. He went on to worldwide success, penning many of CSN's and CSNY's most-commercial hit singles such as "Teach Your Children" and "Marrakesh Express".

Nash became politically active after moving to California, as reflected in his anti-Vietnam War songs. In 1979, he co-founded Musicians United for Safe Energy against the expansion of nuclear power. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1997, and as a member of the Hollies in 2010. The same year he was also appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to music and to charity.

Valya Balkanska

Artist Video Valya Balkanska

Valya Balkanska (*8 January 1942, Arda, Smolyan Province, Bulgaria). Born as Feyme Kestebekova (Bulgarian: Фейме Кестебекова) in a Pomak family (Muslim minority) in the Smolyan Province of southern Bulgaria, Valya Mladenova Balkanska (Валя Младенова Балканска) has been singing folk songs from the Rhodope Mountains since her early childhood. She is known locally for her wide repertoire of Balkan folk songs, and has been working with the Rodopa State Ensemble for Folk Songs and Dances from Smolyan, of which she is a soloist, since 1960.

However, in the West she is famous for singing the song "Izlel ye Delyo Haydutin", which she recorded in 1968 accompanied by the gaida players Lazar Kanevski and Stephan Zahmanov, chosen for the 90-minute musical Golden Record selection aboard the two spacecrafts from the NASA Voyager program launched in 1977. In 2012, Voyager 1 became the first object of human origin to leave the Heliosphere and to enter Interstellar medium. Valya Balkanska was awarded the Stara Planina medal (the highest Bulgarian decoration) in 2002, and honoured with her own star plate on the Bulgarian Walk of Fame in Sofia in 2005.

John McLaughlin (*4 January 1942, Doncaster, West Riding of Yorkshire, England). The English guitarist is a pioneer of jazz fusion, his music combines elements of jazz with rock, world music, Indian classical music, Western classical music, flamenco and blues. In the late 1960s, John McLaughlin moved to the U.S., where he played with Miles Davis on his electric jazz fusion albums. McLaughlin's own band, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, performed a technically virtuosic and complex style of music that fused electric jazz and rock with Eastern and Indian influences. His guitar playing was distinguished by aggressive speed and non-western musical scales. His solo on "Miles Beyond" from his album Live at Ronnie Scott's won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Improvised Jazz Solo. McLaughlin has been awarded multiple "Guitarist of the Year" and "Best Jazz Guitarist" awards; he was ranked 49th in Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".

Christine Lavin

Artist Video Christine Lavin

Christine Lavin (*2 January 1952, New York City, USA). Christine Lavin had worked at Caffe Lena (the oldest folk-oriented coffee house in the US), when Dave Van Ronk convinced her to move to New York City and make a career as a singer-songwriter. She followed his advice and also accepted his offer of guitar lessons. Many of her songs alternate between comedy and emotional reflections on romance; she is a lifelong astrophysics hobbyist and has included those themes in her music. Lavin has also recorded since 1990 with a group of female singer-songwriters under the name Four Bitchin' Babes (a rotating membership including at a time Patty Larkin, Sally Fingerett, Janis Ian, amongst others) performing mainly humorous, satirical, or light-hearted songs in the contemporary folk genre.

Billy McComiskey (*21 November 1951, Brooklyn, New York, USA). The highly regarded button accordion player was taught by the great Sean McGlynn, a master and proponent of the East Galway style of Irish traditional music. During the 1970s and 1980s, Billy McComiskey won gold and silver in the All-Ireland musical competitions in both solo accordion and in duets with the renowned fiddler Brendan Mulvihill. He played an integral role in building the now thriving Baltimore-DC Irish traditional music scene and played with two legendary trios: Washington DC's renowned Irish Tradition (ft. Mulvihill and guitarist Andy O'Brien) and the internationally acclaimed Trian (ft. fiddler Liz Carroll and guitarist Dáithí Sproule). Billy McComiskey has composed numerous tunes, such as the popular "Controversial Reel", several have been published in Josephine Keegan's tune collection A Drop in the Ocean.

Art Garfunkel (*5 November 1941, Queens, New York City, USA). Arthur Ira Garfunkel (of Romanian-Jewish descent) met his future singing partner Paul Simon in the sixth grade. Between 1956 and 1962, the two performed together as "Tom & Jerry", their idols being The Everly Brothers, whom they imitated in their use of close two-part vocal harmony. In 1963, they reformed their duo under their own names as "Simon & Garfunkel". The song "The Sound of Silence" went to number one on the Billboard pop charts. The duo recorded some influential albums but split following the release of their most critically acclaimed album, Bridge over Troubled Water, in 1970. They occasionally reunited, e.g. in 1981 for the critically acclaimed Concert in Central Park, or 2003's Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the following "Old Friends" concert series.

Garfunkel's solo albums were received with mixed reviews (Simon once was claiming they were lacking "bite"). However, through his solo and collaborative work, Art Garfunkel has earned eight Grammys, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and was ranked 86th in Rolling Stone magazine's 2008 list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. His son Art Jr. lives in Berlin, loves German schlagermusik and has just released an album with German-language versions of Simon & Garfunkel hits as a birthday present.

Rest in Peace

Norma Waterson

R.I.P. Norma Waterson

Norma Waterson (1939-2022). The English folk singer died on 30 January 2022 at the age of 82, suffering from pneumonia. Norma Waterson is best known as one of the original members of The Watersons with brother Mike and sister Lal founded in the early 1960s, and Waterson:Carthy with her husband Martin Carthy since the mid 1970s. She was known as the "matriarch of the royal family of British folk music" and was awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 2003 for her services to folk music and received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2016. She continued to sing well in her 70s and released her latest album in 2018, Anchor, her second recording with daughter Eliza Carthy.

Artist Audio

Pandit Birju Maharaj (1937-2022). »I note that the great Indian classical dancer Pandit Birju Maharaj has died at 83 from a heart attack. It must be 10 years since I first saw this footage and feature it in a Daigressing. It shows the great man conducting a masterclass in Kathak dance, and fascinatingly shows where Spanish flamenco dance owes its origins.« —David "Dai" Woosnam

Bill Staines

Artist Video acoustic

J.D. Crowe (1937-2021). James Dee Crowe was a banjo player from Lexington, Kentucky. He first became known during his four-year stint with Jimmy Martin's (known as the "King of Bluegrass") backup group Sunny Mountain Boys (or Sunnysiders) in the 1950s. In 1961, he formed the Kentucky Mountain Boys, later changing the band's name to The New South, and led the bluegrass group until his death in 2021. In the mid 1970s the New South began to add jazz and rock influences to its bluegrass repertoire, as well as country and folk elements drawn from the work of Gram Parsons and Gordon Lightfoot, respectively. In 2011, he received the Bluegrass Star Award, bestowed upon bluegrass artists who do an exemplary job of advancing traditional bluegrass music and bringing it to new audiences while preserving its character and heritage. J.D. died from pneumonia on December 24, 2021, in Nicholasville, Kentucky, at the age of 84.

Bill Staines (1947-2021). The American folk musician and singer-songwriter William Russell Staines from New Hampshire, called "the Woody Guthrie of my generation" by singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith, wrote and performed songs with a wide array of subjects, including children's songs. Staines began his professional career in the 1960s. In 1975, he won the National Yodeling Championship at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas. His songs include "The Roseville Fair" and "A Place in the Choir", many of which have been recorded by artists such as Peter Paul and Mary, Makem and Clancy, and The Highwaymen. Bill Staines died from prostate cancer on December 5, 2021, at the age of 74.

Artist Audio

Barry Coope (1954-2021). »The folksinger Barry Coope has died after a short illness on 6 November 2021, years before his time at just 67. I used to love his high harmony singing in the peerless a cappella group, Coope, Boyes and Simpson (known to the folk cognoscenti as CBS). Here they are in a church in Belgium, performing one of their signature songs…«

Fading away like the stars of the morning,
Losing their light in the glorious sun--
Thus would we pass from the earth and its toiling,
Only remembered by what we have done.

Djivan Gasparyan

Artist Video Djivan Gasparyan

Artist Audio
»But not only was Barrie's high tenor voice so very special, he was a very accomplished musician too. Here he is, playing keyboards with his lifelong buddy John Tams, on John's re-working of just about my favourite Ewan MacColl song… The Manchester Rambler…« —David "Dai" Woosnam

Artist Audio

Robin Morton (1939-2021). Robin Morton was a folk musician, song collector, broadcaster, record producer, band manager, and founder of the Temple Records label and the Kinmor publishing company. He was born in Portadown County Armagh, Northern Ireland and was drawn to music from an early age through his father's interest in jazz, which motivated him to teach himself to play the cornet. In 1962, he enrolled at Queens University in Belfast to study social work and formed the Ulster Folk Music Society and the Belfast Folk Song Club. Morton collected songs and published collections such as ‘Folksongs Sung in Ulster’. In 1967, he founded the folk band Boys of the Lough along with Cathal McConnell and Tommy Gunn (later replaced by Aly Bain and Mike Whellans). He left the band in 1979 after relocating to Scotland, marrying harper Alison Kinnaird and setting up Temple Records. In 1980, he became manager of the Battlefield Band and continued to manage and release material by the band ever since. In 2006, the Living Tradition magazine covered Morton's life and career in an 11-page special. Robin Morton died on 1st October 2021.

Kieran Halpin

Artist Video Kieran Halpin

Sonny Osborne (1937-2021). American banjo player Sonny Osborne was one half of the Osborne Brothers musical duo, with his brother Bobby. He began playing the banjo at the age of eleven in Hyden, Kentucky. His brother worked with the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers and Sonny had a chance to join in with them during jam sessions. When Bobby enlisted in the Marine Corps, Sonny went on to work with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys for a couple of months in 1952. The brothers formed Osborne Brothers duo in 1953, and their bluegrass band played for 52 years. They were inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and were granted membership of the Grand Ole Opry. Sonny Osborne died from a stroke on October 24, 2021, at the age of 83.

Djivan Gasparyan (1928-2021). The Master of the Duduk died on July 6, 2021. Djivan Gasparyan (Armenian: Ջիվան Գասպարյան) started to play duduk when he was six; an ancient Armenian double reed woodwind instrument made of apricot wood and related to the orchestral oboe. He toured the world with his own folk ensemble and collaborated with artists such as Sting, Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno, Andreas Vollenweider, the Kronos Quartet, and Hans Zimmer. His music had been chosen for the soundtrack of several international films. A professor at the Yerevan State Musical Conservatory, he instructed and nurtured many performers to professional levels of performance in duduk.

Kieran Halpin (1955-2020). If the measure of a songwriter is the number of artists singing his songs – then Kieran Halpin must be considered one of the greatest. Artists like Ilse De Lange, Vin Garbutt, Dolores Keane, The Battlefield Band, John Wright, Niamh Parsons, Chris Jones and countless more have recorded his songs. Often the cover songs are better known than the originals and its writer! Drogheda-born Kieran Halpin released around two dozen albums since the late 1970s; his latest, "Doll,"[64] in 2017. He died on October 5, 2020 at his home in Truchtlaching in Upper Bavaria, being one of the hardest touring folk musicians to the end.

  Andrea Parodi World Music Award

Andrea Parodi Award

Andrea Parodi Award

Matteo Leone (coming from Calasetta, Sardegna) is the winner of the 14a edition of Premio Andrea Parodi, one of the most important European World Music contest. He also won the mentions for best lyrucs, best music and best arrangement. Critics Award was won by Sorah Rionda (coming from Cuba / Veneto Italy), who also won the “Premio Bianca d’Aponte International”.

Elliott Morris (UK) won the mentions for the best interpretation and the one of young people. The mention for better interpretation of Andrea Parodi’s song was won by Francesco Forni (Campania), and the International Jury mention went to both Siké (Sicily) and Terrasonora (Campania). Yarákä (Puglia) won the finalists mention. In the contest there was also the group Ayom (Tuscany / Brasil / Angola / Portugal).

The finals took place on 12-13 November in Si' e Boi Theatre in Selargius (Cagliari), the presenters were Gianmaurizio Foderaro and Ottavio Nieddu. The main media partner of the event was the prestigious Rai Radio1.

Premio Andrea Parodi was created in honour of the distinguished Sardinian artist Andrea Parodi, who passed 15 years ago; he had a highly valued career and was an international reference of World Music. Is’been organized by the homonymous Foundation, and the Artistic Director was Elena Ledda.

Matteo Leone

The event has been broadcasted in live streaming on Facebook pages @FondazioneAndreaParodi @EjaTv @SardegnaEventi24 @RaiRadio1 and @RaiRadioTuttaItaliana, media-partner of the festival.

The winner gets several prizes, among which some concerts and participation in some of the most important Italian music festivals, partners of Premio Andrea Parodi, in their 2022 editions. Among them we have the "European Jazz Expo" in Sardinia, the “Folkest” in Friuli, not forgetting the very same Premio Andrea Parodi, further to other events to be announced. In addition to the aforementioned, the winners will be the recipients of a € 2.500,00 scholarship.

The winner of the Critics' Awards will receive the production of a professional videoclip of their competition song, offered by the Andrea Parodi Foundation. One of the finalists will be invited to the Mare e Miniere Festival.

On 12 November the special guests were Fanfara Station, winners of 2019 edition; they are a cosmopolitan trio composed by Marzouk Mejri, Tunisian singer-songwriter and polystrumentist, Charles Ferris, US trumpeter, and Marco Dalmasso aka Ghiaccioli e Branzini, dj e producer coming from Turin.

On 13 November the performing guests were Still Life (winners of 2020 edition); the duo lives in Barcelona, it is composed by the singer Margherita Abita and the violinist João Silva.

The very special guest of 13 November was Anna Tifu, one of the most appreciated classic violinists in the world, coming from Cagliari and with Romanian origins. She was offered the “Albo d’Oro” Prize, who is assigned to worthy people who promote Sardinia in the world with their own art. She performed with the great classic pianist Romeo Scaccia. The duo also performed "No Potho Reposare" as a homage to Andrea Parodi.

  RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards

The winners of the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards were announced in Vicar Street live on RTÉ Radio 1 in a memorable celebration of the very best in folk music in Ireland from the past twelve months. Big winners on the night included John Francis Flynn, winner of the Best Folk Singer and Best Emerging Artist awards, and Ye Vagabonds, who bagged the Best Folk Group and Traditional Folk Track prizes - the latter for their take on much-loved folk standard I'm a Rover.

The incomparable Christy Moore was a popular winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented on the night by Damien Dempsey, while legendary Armagh singer Sarah Makem was posthumously inducted into the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards Hall of Fame. "When you watch Christy deep into a song," said poet Paula Meehan in her tribute to Moore, "it is hard to know if he's singing the song or if the song is singing him." Both Christy Moore and Sarah Makem's great granddaughter Stephanie treated a lively Vicar Street crowd to memorable live performances.

Elsewhere, the Best Best Folk Album award went to Solas an Lae by Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin and Ultan O'Brien, while Caoimhin O'Fearghaill was named Best Folk Instrumentalist and Mick Flannery and Susan O'Neill won the Best Original Folk Track prize for the second year running, for Chain Reaction. Hosted by John Creedon and Ruth Smith in front of a live audience that included President Michael D. Higgins, the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards showcased memorable live performances from the cream of the Irish folk community, with appearances from KÍLA, John Francis Flynn, Allanah Thornburgh, John Spillane, Mick Flannery and Susan O'Neill, among others.

RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards 2021:

Best Emerging Artist: John Francis Flynn

Best Folk Instrumentalist: Caoimhin O'Fearghaill

Best Original Folk Track: Chain Reaction – Mick Flannery and Susan O’Neill

Best Traditional Folk Track: I’m a Rover – Ye Vagabonds

Best Folk Group: Ye Vagabonds

Best Folk Singer: John Francis Flynn

Best Folk Album: Solas an Lae – Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin and Ultan O’Brien

Hall of Fame: Sarah Makem

Lifetime Achievement Award: Christy Moore

Iona Fyfe

»Know anyone who would be cheered up by a musical message or song? Many musicians including myself are taking part in the Ministry of Folk Serenadagram's project. If you'd like to commission a message, tune, dittie, song and send to a loved one for $30, you can do so via this link here. There's lots of musicians who are taking part and loads to choose from. Check it out here.« — Iona Fyfe

  MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards

Bruce MacGregor Kim Carnie

»I'm overwhelmed and delighted to have been announced as the first singer and youngest recipient of the MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR award at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards, which were held at the Engine Works in Glasgow on 4th December and broadcast on BBC ALBA. A huge thanks to all you lovely people who have supported me and given me your votes and been brilliant. But given the last 20 months, I think every single musician in that room was a winner.« — Iona Fyfe

MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards announced 2021’s diverse Award Winners after a record 180,000 public votes, as it returned to Glasgow on BBC ALBA and in front of a live studio audience. With live music and event restrictions in place since lockdown began, Hands Up for Trad has been working hard since March 2020 to support artists and provide alternative platforms for musicians to reach their audiences, fundraise and sell tickets online.

Featuring exclusive performances from Ímar, Dàimh, Hannah Rarity, The Canny Band, The Strathspey Band, Kim Carnie and Ellen MacDonald, Gary Sutherland Scottish Dance Band, the highly regarded annual Awards give recognition to excellence within Scotland’s thriving traditional musical culture. Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland said: “This year’s Trad Awards have provided a welcome opportunity to celebrate the individuals and organisations who, online and in person, have kept the flames of our traditional music burning in the darkest of times. Congratulations to each and every one of the winners, from our most respected tradition bearers to the artists whose names are now beginning to create a buzz. The range of work done across so many award categories is extraordinary and inspiring. It’s this bigger picture – the momentum that has taken us through lockdown and out the other side – that makes the Trads of 2021 so special and so very important.”

Kris Drever

The winners of the twelve MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2021 are:

Original Work of the Year sponsored by PRS for Music: Calum MacPhail – 7 Years Old

Community Project of the Year sponsored by Greentrax Recordings: Riddell Fiddles’ Two Towns Housing Estate Youth Musical Outreach Programme

Event of the Year sponsored by VisitScotland: Celtic Connections

Gaelic Singer of the Year sponsored by The Highland Society of London: Kim Carnie

Musician of the Year sponsored by The University of the Highlands and Islands: Iona Fyfe

Online Performance of 2021 sponsored by Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust: Norrie “Tago” MacIver Live Streams

Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year sponsored by Traditional Music and Song Association: Ellie Beaton

Trad Video of the Year sponsored by Threads of Sound: Doddies Dream – Bruce MacGregor

Trad Music in the Media sponsored by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig: Ceòl is Cràdh (Mental health in musicians’ documentary) (BBC ALBA)

Up and Coming Artist of the Year sponsored by Royal Conservatoire of Scotland: The Canny Band

Music Tutor of the Year Award sponsored by Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative: Craig Muirhead, Director of Piping and Drumming at Strathallan School

Album of the Year sponsored by Birnam CD: Where the World Is Thin by Kris Drever

  Official Folk Albums Chart FEBRUARY 2022

The Longest Johns

Artist Video The Longest Johns @ FROG

On Tuesday 1 March the Official Charts Company in partnership with English Folk Expo reveal the Top 40 best-selling and most streamed folk albums released in the FEBRUARY reporting period. The chart is first announced to the public at 7pm GMT as part of the Official Folk Albums Chart Show presented by Folk on Foot via their YouTube channel.

Three new releases have entered the Top 40 chart this month.

Sailing straight into the No.1 slot is Smoke & Oakum (Decca) from the Longest Johns, the trailblazing band at the forefront of the recent sea shanties phenomenon. Featuring a combination of legendary folk songs and thrilling originals, the four friends from Bristol pay homage to protest singers and folk luminaries through the years shining a new light on songs that hold a torch up to the truth. From powerful a capella arrangements to traditional accompanying instrumentation (banjo, whistle, harmonium), the collection of songs combines rousing sing-alongs to melancholic numbers demonstrating their authenticity and unfailing allure.

Two of Scotland’s foremost traditional musicians and composers, fiddler Lauren MacColl and harpist-singer, Rachel Newton come together to release their self-titled album, Heal & Harrow (Shadowside) straight in at No.4. The album is a captivating original work that pays tribute to the many Scottish women who were executed as witches in the 16th and 17th centuries. Each piece is inspired by real women who were caught up in the persecutions, or characters from folklore that fired the imaginations of Newton and MacColl. Stark, spectral and stripped back yet exquisitely tender, the album melds haunting harp and sensitive fiddle melodies with the engaging, sometimes eerie voice of Newton, singing in both English and Gaelic. The hypnotic music, readings and songs act as a restorative salve to the heart-breaking ‘hate crime’ stories of women burnt at the stake for being ‘different’. It’s an emotive, beautifully crafted release and a work of dignity and emotional healing.

Scottish modern folk group, Talisk jump into the Top 10 landing at No.9 with their third release, Dawn (Talisk). Renowned for their high energy, foot stompin’ live shows, Talisk are one of the quintessential bands of the genre, breaking down boundaries and bringing folk right into the mainstream. With stunning musicianship, the trio, Mohsen Amini, a demon, quickfire concertina player, Graeme Armstrong on guitars and Benedict Morris on fiddle, produce their instantly enthralling signature sound. Tracks are multi-layered and artfully woven with songs combining intricate, gentle melodies and an epic, exhilarating sound.

This month’s Official Folk Albums Chart Show from Folk on Foot features an interview with the singer and harpist Rachel Newton about Heal and Harrow - her collaboration with the fiddle player Lauren MacColl. There’s also music from the Longest Johns, Talisk, Peggy Seeger, Saint Sister, Josienne Clarke and Manran. The show launches on the Folk on Foot YouTube Channel and podcast at 1900 GMT on Tuesday 1 March:

English Folk Expo have announced the five young people who will take part in their new Trainee Promoter Programme, an initiative to support the next generation of music industry professionals into sustainable careers through learning meaningful skills and building professional networks. Aged between 18-25, the participants - Barney Whittaker, Edi Milner, Jasmine Rowland, Kate Gambhir and Safa Majid -will work with the EFEx team to deliver a range of live music events throughout the year including Rochdale Folk Festival, Campfire Clubs and Manchester Folk Festival.

The Official Folk Albums Chart is a Top 40 chart, released monthly. It is open to artists where at least one band member is a UK or Irish musician. Charts are based on physical sales, digital downloads and streams. Charts will be sent out by email on request on the first Monday of every month and will be available to view at and Tracks from the full Top 40 folk albums can be heard at the Official Folk Albums Chart Spotify Playlist

  Foskett Hits the Canvas

Foskett @ FROG


Rediscovering his passion for living life! Rediscovering his passion for creating Art!

After being accepted into London's Royal Academy of Art 31 years ago, Foskett never picked up a brush to canvas again - the art world's doors had truly been opened wide to him but he was just too busy devoting his lifetime to a career in the music business.

Today he's not just a reborn folk singer recording a duets album with many household names, but has also rediscovered his passion for creating Art!

The full story on pages 38/39/40/41 of Resolution Magazine :




5 - 14 August 2022

Lorient @ FROG


Coming Soon

  51st Lorient Interceltic Festival

Year of Asturias

THE PEAKS OF CELTITUDE! Immerse yourself in the valleys and mountains landscapes of Asturias. A southerly wind is blowing towards Brittany, spreading the warmth of the south to the interceltic capital !

FOCUS ON RELIEF! In an effect of perspective, we find the different types of relief that characterize Asturias: valleys, plains, and of course mountains with the famous "Picos de Europa" range that straddles the region of Asturias. These can be seen in the centre of the poster and seem to hold up the logo of the Interceltic Festival.

SOUTHERN COLOURS! A palette of bright colours evokes the warmth of the southernmost Celtic nation. There are also splashes of blue, echoing the Asturian flag. The play of colours and textures recalls the setting sun. The colour gradients, with a very dark blue in the foreground, fade to lighter hues, bringing a sense of depth to the perspective and highlighting the mountain peaks mentioned above.

BANDA DE GAÏTAS! In the foreground, standing on the ridge, we can see the silhouettes of a typical gaïta band and dancers. Can you hear th ebeat of the drums and the playful tunes of the gaïtas? Admire the dancers' colourful dresses as they wave their arms in the air. Clap your hands in time with the Southern Celtic music as the banda makes its way towards Lorient. Most importantly, let's be there to welcome them!


25 - 28 August 2022

Tønder Festival @ FROG

Henry Girls

After the first names announced in past december including Gaëtan Roussel, Miossec, L-R, Elephant Sessions, Noon, Cécile Corbel, Karan Casey, Fiandola... the LIF unveils a new part of its program : Alffa (Wales) - Arvest (Brittany) - Caamaño & Ameixeiras (Galicia) - Capercaillie et l'Orchestre du Festival (Scotland/Brittany) - Carré Manchot (Brittany) Dansomp ar Vro (Brittany) - David Pasquet Tribu (Brittany) - Dervish (Ireland) -Descofar (Brittany) - Dominique Dupuis (Acadia) - Ensemble choral de Bretagne, Kanomp Breizh (Brittany) - Forj Sextet (Brittany) - Karigosse (Brittany) - Kreiz Breizh Akademi 8 (Brittany) - L'HaPpY nOiR.e (Brittany) - Le Vent du Nord (Quebec) - Lúnasa (Ireland/USA) - Madelyn Ann (Brittany) - Marching Band Roazhon Project (Brittany/USA) - Modkozmik (Brittany) - Ny Manninee (Isle of Man) - Kanour noz (Brittany) - La Jolie au FIL du temps, Lorient (Brittany) - Les Ramoneurs de Menhirs (Brittany) - Konoz (Brittany) - Muga (Asturias/Brittany) - Rodrigo Cuevas (Asturias) - Skolvan (Brittany) - Spoum (Brittany) - Talec-Noguet Quartet (Brittany) - Youl (Brittany) - War-sav (Brittany)

  Tønder Festival

Additional music names on the programme for Tønder Festival 2022. Among them are The Ballroom Thieves, Cedric Burnside and Katie Pruitt from USA, Scotland’s Red Hot Chilli Pipers and The Henry Girls and Saint Sister from Ireland. Many of these musicians should have been at Tønder Festival in 2020 or this year. Fortunately, they are prepared to travel to Tønder this next summer for a real Tønder Festival. Music-lovers have lots to look forward to in the coming programme, which includes ascendant names from USA, Canada, Scotland, Ireland and Danmark.

Americana, Blues and New Country Tønder Festival 2022 will once more prove a first mover, presenting a series of young American musicians on their way up, nationally and internationally. This is true of Tønder newbies The Ballroom Thieves from Massachusetts and Nashville darling Katie Pruitt. It’s also true of songwriter Ian Noe, who was here in 2019. On the blues side, we have acclaimed and award-winning singer and guitarist Cedric Burnside. One of Canada’s finest new folk songwriters is in Tønder for the first time: Dave Gunning.

From Ireland and Scotland The last time Scotland’s Red Hot Chilli Pipers were here, they unleashed an unforgettable party, and they will doubtless repeat their success in 2022, pipes a-blazing. From Ireland come the duo Saint Sister, praised to the skies for their unfettered mix of folk music traditions and electronic sounds, and the trio The Henry Girls, who blend Irish traditional music with americana.

Danish Songwriters to the Fore Danish music will be well represented. Signe Svendsen has carved out a niche for herself as an original songwriter and returns to Tønder Festival with her band. Songwriter Rikke Thomsen has been singing in south Jutland dialect since her debut in 2019 and has met with success throughout the land.

Lisbon, 19 - 23 Oct 20221

Womex @ FROG

Galandum Galundaina

Tønder Festival 2022 – so far: Keb’ Mo’ (USA), Cara Dillon (IRL), Eilen Jewell (USA), Cedric Burnside (USA), Red Hot Chilli Pipers (SCO), Katie Pruitt (USA), The Ballroom Thieves (USA), Ian Noe (USA), Blue Rose Code (SCO), Blazin’ Fiddles (SCO), Bjørn Eidsvåg (NO), Dave Gunning (CAN), Saint Sister (IRL), The Henry Girls (IRL), The Once (CAN), Christopher Paul Stelling (USA), Sarah Hagen (CAN), Signe Svendsen (DK), Rikke Thomsen (DK). See you at Tønder Festival 2022!

  WOMEX 2022

WOMEX organisers Piranha Arts and AMG Music, this year's local partner, have opened the annual Call for Proposals for the 28th edition of WOMEX that will take place in Lisbon, Portugal, 19 – 23 October 2022.

The WOMEX call for proposals addresses all musicians, filmmakers and music professionals from across the globe. The official programme is selected from all the received submissions by an independent, international and annually changing jury, also known as the Seven Samurai (2022 jury to be announced soon).

Proposals can be made in four categories -
Showcase | Club Summit | Conference | Film
and can be submitted from the dedicated website:

The deadline for proposals for WOMEX 22 is Friday, 18 March 2022

WOMEX explicitly welcomes proposals from all backgrounds and encourages submissions, especially those that increase the international music scene's diversity - be it of culture, region, gender, styles, performance tradition, and more.

WOMEX is the most important meeting in the global music scene and the most diverse music meeting worldwide. Its musical spectrum is unparalleled in the international showcase performance market, ranging from the most traditional to the new global local underground, embracing folk, roots, jazz, local and diaspora cultures as much as urban and electronic sounds from all over the globe.

WOMEX 21 | Impressions from Porto

Last but not least

I wasn't planning on dropping this track just yet, but it seemed timely to do so now. I wrote this song in late 2021 and filmed the video in January, well before any inkling of a Russian invasion of Ukraine had even crossed my radar. This song and performance will be part of my upcoming digital-only album "Clarinetflix & Chill," scheduled to be released on all major platforms on Friday, March 18.

Gaisin is the small Ukrainian village where my grandfather was born and spent his early boyhood. As I was writing this tune, which is a kind of klezmer/jazz hybrid, I was imagining him as a boy, idly sauntering around the village. No child is idly sauntering around any village in Ukraine today.

SO...from now until the release of the rest of the digital album on March 18, I'll donate ALL of my proceeds from the sale of this track to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to aid families displaced by this horrific war. Click here to purchase and download "The Gaisin Shuffle."

In addition to myself, the song (and the rest of the album) features Ellington Carthan on keys, Christie Macdonald on guitar, Eliot Seppa on double bass, and Joey Antico on drums. It was recorded, filmed, and engineered by Jeff Gruber at Blue House Productions on January 24, 2022 in Kensington, Maryland.

— Seth Kibel

Dear Friends. This month has unleashed a desperate and horrific state of affairs for our European sisters and brothers in the Ukraine🇺🇦 All our prayers go to every family and loved one in and out of the warzone and we pray for everyone's safety🇺🇦

In reaction to this month's events we have a special ✥Youtube PREMIERE 1ST MARCH 7PM ✥ featuring Katy Carr and Rupert Gillett performing the very beautiful Polish Ukrainian folk song Hej, Sokoły, Ukrainian: Гей, соколи, proper title Żal za Ukrainą (Longing for Ukraine).

We recorded the song for my 6th album Providence and I'm sharing it with you tomorrow 1st March at 7pm GMT - so 1pm Central time and 20:00 Polish / Ukrainian time. The lyrics are so beautiful. you are all invited.

— Katy Carr

  Russians are a warm and cultured race…

Friends, Before I tell you what I know of the Russian people, and what courage it takes for them to protest against a monstrous act by their thug of a President and the gang of 'yes men' who surround him, let me first help set the scene by giving you a link to the latest from my pen, which went online yesterday, courtesy of Tom Keller, my outstanding German editor, at FolkWorld. In a way, although the events depicted in my piece date from nearly 200 years ago, the courage called for, from six humble men from the little village of Tolpuddle in the South of England, is directly analogous to what it takes for dissenters to protest today on the streets of Moscow, St Petersburg and other Russian cities… like Tver on the Volga River, where my wife Larissa hails from, and where we still have a property. Please, after clicking on this link and reading my heartfelt words, kindly turn your volume up high for Mick Ryan & Paul Downes… for this stirring song is decidedly not a song for a sotto voce treatment…!! 

Dai Woosnam's DAI-SSECTING THE SONG: Road To Dorchester - by Graham Moore & Mick Ryan 

Russian World Music Chart 2021

Making Russian World Music Visible to the World

I hope you enjoyed that piece… it should vicariously inject you with a belief in the backbone of Joe Public, and the hope that Ukrainians will eventually triumph over evil. Now, here (below) is my promised 'take' on the Russian people, given that several folk have asked me in the past 48 hours just how ambivalent my feelings are about events in Ukraine. The answer to that of course is 'not ambivalent at all'. I am as outraged as the next man at the sheer evil that emanates from Putin and his cohorts. Keen readers of my Daigressings down the years, will have noted Larissa and my total contempt for him. I think the best way I can summarise my view, is to let you see this copy of a letter I sent to a wonderful Russian guy - a former fellow doctor colleague of Larissa - who has been our guest at our home in Grimsby… here goes… (incidentally some of you will have already received an abridged version of this letter… but here it is in full)…

Artist Video Thanks Georgy for your sweet note… Larissa has just sent £250 to the Red Cross to aid their Ukraine Appeal… this money to be spent on helping the many thousands injured and hungry as a result of this appalling Russian invasion. I fully expect Putin to kill Zelensky and his ministers and the brave Klitschko brothers. Truly, these words of Zelensky to the psychopath Putin (at 1.15 in the link below), put tears in my eyes… What a speech this is…!! He is channelling Winston Churchill's words to the British Commonwealth, at the time of the Battle of Britain, when no one stood behind us but our shadows on the wall, and we were up against an armed-to-the-teeth German nation: a land of good, cultured people, in the grip of Nazi thugs… But even a great wordsmith like Sir Winston would have said 'chapeau!' to this line of Zelensky's… '… When you attack us, you will see our faces. Not our backs, but our faces… …' What a line that is…!!

Zelensky has refused Biden's offer of a safe passage out of Ukraine. He is not like that presidential bastard in Kabul who fled with the equivalent of the Afghan crown jewels… Were I a young man, I would feel it was '1936 and Spain', all over again. I would feel it my duty as a citizen of the world to go fight for freedom against an overwhelmingly more powerful army who are getting their phenomenally dangerous weapons from money supplied by EU taxpayers whose governments are busy stupidly following Angela Merkel and closing down nuclear power stations and buying Russian gas.

I love Russia, and I have yet to meet a Russian that I did not like… and I have met quite a number. They are a great and cultured people… none more so than yourself, with your additional medical expertise and your fame in opera as a Russian tenor of note. It is not your fault that you have no free press and broadcast media, and have been fed a diet of lies about a Nazi holocaust in the Donbas (did you know that the city of Donetsk was founded by John Hughes and his 100 fellow Welshmen from Merthyr Tydfil (the town in which Larissa and I got married)? Until the Revolution it was called Hughesovka i.e. 'the town of Hughes' but in 1924 it changed name to Stalino, and in 1961 to Donetsk…) … by what, in archaic English, is a "parcel of rogues"… the selfsame people who shot down a Malaysian Boeing 777 jetliner with 298 souls on board. They used a missile supplied by Putin… and they got away with it. That event broke the hearts of many families throughout the world, as nationals from a host of countries formed a list of the total deceased. Lots were children… it was pitiful to see their toys strewn for miles in the fertile fields of Ukraine. As I say, many countries lost people that day in July 2014 to Putin's missile… and especially the Netherlands, where nearly 200 of the passengers hailed from.

When it comes to free media, things aren't perfect in Britain and America. Neither country will report on the torturing of the brave - if flawed - Julian Assange ( gosh to think our MPs regard themselves as Christians but say nothing… with a couple of noble exceptions like Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott), and in America, when Oprah Winfrey conducted her disgraceful interview with the Duke and Duchess of Netflix, it was truly shocking to see all the American channels automatically swallow their barefaced lies about racism. I almost vomited when I saw such TV heavyweights as news anchors Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo, show how 'politically correct' they were, by parroting the drivel from the Montecito Millionaires… it made me immediately start to doubt the two anchors' judgment on a whole host of other things. And this of course proved prescient of me… for Cuomo is now sacked in disgrace by CNN… But whatever our limitations in The West, we do have alternatives. So Larissa and I watch Al Jazeera for all our world news… the BBC are far too parochial and being state run, are parti pri, and echo the views of the British establishment.

You have no such option. Putin has an iron grip over your country. Yet it amazes me that a few brave Russians are, this very day, now protesting and being arrested by police. These cops often seem to enjoy beating the protestors, before throwing them into the paddy wagon. What a contrast to Britain. Here a million of us took to the streets to protest against invading Iraq. It did no good, in that the war criminal and chief poodle of Uncle Sam, viz… Tony Blair, was allowed to sanction the mass slaughter of an innocent populace… but at least no Brit ended up in prison for the simple act of protesting.

Alas, it ain't that easy for the ordinary Russian. For if they - even mildly - resist arrest, they are then charged with assaulting a policeman, and a lengthy prison sentence ensues in tough prisons… a million miles from the holiday camps that often pass for prisons in the UK (and before anyone says, "Dai, you ought to visit a prison in the UK before you say such a thing", let me point out that since moving to Grimsby I have visited an inmate in two British prisons, and trust me, when I shared a chalet working at Butlin's holiday camp Clacton in 1966, conditions there were far, far worse… and indeed even slightly worse when I stayed at Pontins holiday camp in Southport as a paying customer, as recently as 2015). And, as for those who cause no trouble when arrested… yes indeed, they are quickly released… but with a 'police caution' which goes on their record, and stops many of them getting jobs in various professions.

So Georgy, I don't suggest you go out and be arrested. Yes, in an ideal world we would all like the courage of the astoundingly brave young Sophie Scholl and her brother, (tragically eventually guillotined for their protests, by the Nazis). But we are not all made of such stuff. So what would I do in the circumstances, were I a Russian…? I regret to say that I would probably keep my head down. I am not made of the right stuff, alas. But I would pray for a Russian equivalent of a 'July 20, 1944 plot'. If only a brave Russian national can shoot the madman Putin (imagine the multitude of horrors that the world would have been spared, had someone shot Adolf Hitler dead on Jan 29th, 1933?), and that toe-rag acolyte of his in Minsk… and get civilised Russian people to run a wonderful country… Larissa and I have been saying for years that Putin is truly evil.

Artist Video Now to another anti-democrat. A chap who channels Benito Mussolini much more than he channels St Francis of Assisi… but he is a fellow who, if he were still in power, would have ensured that his 'friend' Putin would never have attempted this kind of land grab… it is no coincidence that Putin stole the Crimea during the second term of the essentially weak POTUS 44… Putin would have been too scared that the unpredictable Trump would nuke Moscow should Putin launch any kind of attack. This next link is from over 3 years ago. How prescient was POTUS 45, eh…? And to think there are folk who think he had no grasp on world events… OMG why do folk let their 'Democratic Party loyalty' animus toward Trump, run full throttle? Methinks his grasp of world events was better than that of POTUS 46… At 0.46 this (clip below) comes alive… Donald Trump for all his gross manners, also put his finger on lots of truths. Alas POTUS 46 was asleep at the wheel… and Putin has smelt blood. The fact is, that Biden gave his okay to Nord Stream 2… oblivious to the fact our German friends are now in reality paying for Russia to arm herself to the teeth…

Artist Video And now, let me present you with this great speech from our Prime Minister to the British nation, on the day the invasion was launched. Larissa and I disagree over Boris. She voted for him, and would vote for him again. Not me though. But I must admit that it was an excellent speech today to the UK nation…!! Worthy of a Churchill…

All last week both Boris and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called out Putin for exactly what he is… while the appalling Emmanuel Macron was attempting to appease a psychopath (like Chamberlain with Hitler)… and the new German Chancellor refused us air space to fly arms to the Ukrainian army… the UK was the first European nation to send military weapons to the Ukrainians… We are up against a madman… but not so mad that Putin did not recognise weakness in a senile POTUS 46… I have been saying for years that you only have to look at Putin with those small beady eyes of his, exuding malice, to know this man is a psychopath. But if you needed proof, look how murderous a man he is, as he assassinates all sorts of enemies like Boris Nemtsov, a bitter critic of Putin and his regime, and journalist Anna Politkovskaya whose questioning got too close. And don't get me started on his excesses here in Britain, like killing Alexander Litvinenko in London by poisoning with polonium-210, or trying to kill the Skripals with Novichok down in Salisbury… but ending up killing a British national instead. To Larissa's credit, she has always agreed with me on Putin, but she goes easy on her Russian friends who are mainly all pro Putin, because as she always says to me… "they have no free press and free TV in their country, so cannot help the fact that they are in the dark about this man's wild excesses."

Artist Video And finally… As for the link below that I have written about twice down the years in my Daigressings… Don't let him get away with singing Fats Domino… !! This is no cuddly teddybear. Try asking the incredibly brave - if flawed - Alexei Navalny. What a man he is…!! Oh for me to have a tenth of that man's courage… !! Here is Putin, vocally hiding behind another singer, in front of a celebrity audience…

Music of Ukraine

Music of Ukraine

Friends, Zelensky is most certainly a man you don't meet every day… 'chapeau!' to Dan Wootton for this piece (link below) I fear for Zelensky's survival. No doubt Putin has put a bounty on his head, and some Russian sniper will be rewarded with a vast sum of money if he can stop Zelensky's giant of a heart from beating… Meanwhile, get ready for a bombing campaign straight out of Putin's Syrian playbook. For several years, the world have 'looked the other way' (It is the misfortune of Syria to not be in Europe. And therefore, the blood of slain innocent Syrian women and children is (shamefully) not seen to run as red as European blood.) as Putin has deliberately bombed apartment block after apartment block in Syria… killing whole families of women and children. The good Russian people alas were fed a diet of lies about these war crimes… they were told it was propaganda from the white helmets. They don't know what we know… viz… that Putin is a cold-hearted psychopath with absolutely no moral core…

Artist Video But before you read the article, let me give you this link to Zelensky winning Ukraine's version of America's Dancing With The Stars (which in turn is an offshoot of Britain's Strictly Come Dancing… this was the original concept, which is now licensed to over 60 countries…) … it came to me via my sister Valerie's son, the sinologist Austin Williams (I recently read his new book on China... It is quite an eye opener… I commend it to you…), with these words… '... By the way - apologies if you've already seen this - but it's pretty amazing. ...'

Amazing, indeed. But then, as Zelensky shows every minute of the day, 'Amazing' ought to be his middle name. And now the link to this fine article…

TTFN, David "Dai" Woosnam (

Artist Video
Artist Video
Artist Video

P.S.: Blueberry Hill… I just sent you Putin's extraordinary December 2010 delivery of the song to a star-studded charity audience. Alas, I have in record time had a dozen readers write to say that the clip whose link I had successfully used in my previous mailings, was now deemed on YouTube to be 'not available in your country'. Oh dear… Put it down to Europe's stupidity in playing Russia's censorship game. Taking down RT television, is counter-productive. It makes us no better than them. There are claims that Blueberry Hill started life as a Russian folk song…. but as far as I can see, it is a myth. It was written in the USA in 1940 and recorded by several performers that year… including the Glenn Miller Orchestra. The vocal version registered as a minor US hit for Louis Armstrong in 1949, and a major international hit for Fats Domino in 1956. Quite why Putin loved this song so much, is a bit of a mystery… His performance is saved here, by his hiding behind the other fellow's stronger voice… At least one of these links to him singing, should work in your country… Goldie Hawn, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Costner, Gerard Depardieu, Sharon Stone, Kurt Russell… etc… I bet they are not smiling now… … but hopefully blushing maybe.

  International Songwriters Day Song Contest & Womens Freedom Song Contest

International Songwriters Day Song Contest

The "International Songwriters Day Song Contest" is kicking off for its fourth year running and is looking for "songs, lyrics and music videos of an inspirational nature," to help celebrate International Songwriters Day, April 9. Contest opens Dec. 19, 2021 and runs until April 2, 2022. The contest is open to writers all around the world, from all levels of experience. This year's theme is "Inspiration." They are looking for songs that inspire, think (new beginnings, second chances, starting over), etc. They can be ballads but they should have an element of hope or redemption in the storyline, to fit the theme. Production and performance in the song category is not the major consideration. It's originality, melody and lyrics –the meat and bones- that the judges are looking for. This year there is an "Indie Music Video" category (open to any artist/band who is not signed to a major label) and a Lyric/Poem category. Theme again is "Inspiration." Winners will be announced on April 9, International Songwriters Day!

You can submit your songs and videos on the contest platform at:

Womens Freedom Song Contest

The fourth year of the Womens Freedom Song Contest is accepting entries starting Dec. 19 to March 1, 2022! They are looking for the next "Female Anthem." Do you have an inspiring song about women to share? The contest is open to everyone who writes songs, (all genders too!). If the song celebrates the power of a woman in one (or all) aspects of her glory, send it in. They are not looking for production and performance. Originality, melody and lyrics are the main judging criteria. There is also a Music Video category and Lyric/Poem category. You are welcome to submit an "indie" music video with a "female theme," (if you are not signed to a major label). Foreign music videos are accepted with English subtitles. Lyrics and poems again should deal with some type of female empowerment theme. Winners will be announced on International Womens Day, March 8, 2022.

You can enter the contest at:

Make Music - Not War is one way to cope with the aggression against Ukraine and show solidarity with the Earth & Humanity. Please check the new video clip of Luca Bassanese - RESET!

— Eric E. van Monckhoven

A RESET is needed! Generally because the world is wonderful when viewed from the moon, a planet rich and full of beauty. But the closer you get to it, you discover that a part of humanity wears out and destroys, cultivating the logic of prevarication, unsustainable exploitation of the planet, thoughts and actions of war.

— Luca Bassanese

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