FolkWorld Issue 35 02/2008

News & Gossip

++ Moya Brennan ++ John Wright ++ Ron Edwards ++ John Stewart ++ Floyd Westerman ++ Christie Hennessy ++ Joe Dolan ++ James Keane ++ June Tabor ++ Chava Alberstein ++ Vin Garbutt ++ Dave Pegg ++ Tom Paxton ++ Svensk Visarkiv ++ Roots Zone ++ La Musgana ++ James Kelly ++ Ronnie Drew ++ Martin Hayes ++ Charlie Dore ++ Nòs Ùr Song Contest ++ BBC Young Folk Awards ++ Danny Kyle ++ Ken Thomson ++ Amnesty International ++

Moya Brennan
Moya Brennan @ FolkWorld:
FW#6, FW#20, FW#27, FW#30, FW#35

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Ireland. Since 2002, she has promoted herself as Moya Brennan — a spelling closely resembling the phonetic pronunciation of her Irish name. Before she had been known as Máire Ní Bhraonáin, singer and harp player of the celebrated Irish music group Clannad.
Moya grew up as the eldest in a musical family in Gweedore, County Donegal, in the northwest of Ireland, a place where the Irish language and tradition still is very much alive. She sang along with her siblings — her younger sister Enya started a musical career of her own — in the family pub, Leo's Tavern. In the early 1970s Moya joined her brothers Pól and Ciarán and their mother's two twin brothers Noel and Pádraig Ó Dúgáin and formed Clannad. After a decade of being one of the world's foremost traditional Irish groups, Clannad graduated to chart success in 1982 with the album "Magical Ring". Moya's voice became synonymous with Irish music and Celtic mysticism.
She released her first solo album in 1992; the album "Whisper To The Wild Water" from 1999 was nominated in the Grammy Awards for Best New Age Album. Moya has indicated discomfort with being seen as New Age as much of her music is strongly Christian. She performed live both at the World Youth Days in Rome and Cologne in front of crowds of pilgrims and Pope John Paul II. and Benedikt XVI., respectively.
Her latest album "Signature" (2006) looks back in a series of snapshots of Moya’s life and portrays Moya's experiences -- no rose-tinted retrospective at all.

Thanks to Moya Brennan and Germany's new brand public relations & entertainment we are able to raffle off six "Signature" Tour Edition CD's, featuring the original "Signature" CD from 2006 plus a bonus CD with five live versions. Competition closed!

John Wright

Golly, what a shock.

The great singer John Wright from the Scottish Borders has just died suddenly.

Slim, super handsome, relatively young. Just married and so much ahead of him. And WHAT a wonderful singer he was. A voice like molten gold. Such a terrible loss to the UK folk scene. He was someone that even my wife Larissa came to see at our local folk club, and she has only ever been twice in our eight years here in Grimsby.

BTW, I was very taken by his version of Dougie MacLean's "Caledonia", where he sings the first and last thirds in Frisian (or Frysk as they call it in the Netherlands). It is of course the ancient language of both Friesland in the NW of the Netherlands and the Friesland Islands.

There is another concert version of the same song with the audience singing along in Frisian:

This latter one is really remarkably moving. At the end of the first verse, the audience applaud his singing in their language: I think they almost never get mainstream DUTCH performers to sing in Frysk!

Kindest, David "Dai" Woosnam

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John Wright (+2008)
Scotland. Singer John Wright from the Scottish Borders passed away on 6th February 2008. Well established on the European acoustic-roots music scene, John has been known for his ability to pick great songs which he performed with passionate sincerity. Ray Hearne, BBC Radio Ballads, said: “John is the song-writers’ singer -- as well, of course, a singer for all those with hearts and ears. He has a marvellous repertoire and a great standing amongst his peers.” John had 13 CDs to his credit and in 2005 released a DVD – ‘John Wright Life and Live’. The DVD features a two-hour concert recorded at the Vredenburg Theatre, Utrecht, and traces the compelling story of John’s transition from a high profile member of the British Army, to the solitary existence of a hill shepherd in Northumberland and the Scottish Borders and eventually onto the European stage as a professional singer in the early 1990s.

Ron Edwards (+2008)
Australia. Pioneer Australian folklorist Ron Edwards passed away in early January in Cairns, aged 77.
Ron Edwards made major contributions to the collection, research and publication of folksong, folktale and craft traditions in Down Under. In addition to his own writings, Ron was the most significant editor and publisher of Australian folklore. His "200 Years of Australian Folk Song: Index 1788-1988," an ambitious 400-page compilation giving full bibliographic details for every known version of every known Australian folk song in English, will continue to be the major research guide in the field.

John Stewart (1939-2008)
USA. Singer-songwriter John Stewart suffered a massive stroke and died on 19 January 2008 at a San Diego hospital. In the late 1950s, John Stewart teamed up with Gil Robbins (father of actor Tim Robbins) and John Montgomery to form The Cumberland Three.

Oh I'm believing, believing
Believing, that even when I'm gone
Maybe some lonesome picker will
Find some healing in this song

John Stewart "The Day the River Sang"
After three albums, including a two LP album set of Songs from the Civil War, with each album containing a compilation of songs from the Confederacy and the Union respectively, John Stewart left The Cumberland Three to join The Kingston Trio in 1961. The trio of Nick Reynolds, Bob Shane and Stewart would record a dozen albums together, including original material and cover songs of Tom Paxton and Gordon Lightfoot. The Kingston Trio eventually disbanded in 1967. Stewart continued to write songs, including the hit "Daydream Believer" for The Monkees. Several of his songs have been recorded by Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Joan Baez. His last own album was "The Day the River Sang" in 2006.

Floyd Westerman (1936-2007)
USA. Floyd "Red Crow" Westerman was a Native American musician, activist and actor. Westerman was born on the Lake Traverse Reservation, home of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Dakota (Sioux) in South Dakota. As a youth, he attended an off-reservation elementary school where he was forced to cut is hair and forbidden to speak his native language. This was the beginning of his restless pursuit for Native American causes. Westerman's film appearances include roles in "The Doors" and "Dances with Wolves". Before his film career he had established a reputation as a country music singer. Floyd Westerman died on 13 December 2007 in Los Angeles after an extended illness and complications from leukemia.

Don't Forget Your Shovel, Foxy Devil
Ireland. Christy Moore must have been quite sad when he heard of the death of two songwriters that accompanied his own musical career.

Christie Hennessy passed away on 11 December 2007, aged 62. He was born in Tralee, County Kerry.
A renowned songwriter as well as performer, Hennessy wrote several songs that became hits for other singers, including 'All the Lies that You Told Me' by Frances Black, and 'Don't Forget your Shovel' and 'Messenger Boy' by Christy Moore. Colin Irwin once suggested 'Don't Forget your Shovel' might become Ireland's alternative national anthem. Christie Hennessy's last recorded work is due to release in late 2008.

Joe Dolan passed away on 7 January 2008. The guitarist from Galway was in the original line-up of the legendary Sweeney's Men together with Andy Irvine and Johnny Moynihan. Sweeney's Men This original line-up recorded a single, 'Old Maid in the Garret/The Derby Ram' which reached number six in the Irish charts in 1966. Dolan left shortly afterwards, with Paul Brady and afterwards Terry Woods taking his place. Joe Dolan went to the middle-east, famously arriving on the seventh day of the six-day war. Two of his most famous songs were good for Christy Moore: 'Trip to Jerusalem' and 'Foxy Devil.'

Christy Moore wrote in his blog:

For 40 years there was always confusion about the 2 Joe Dolans. It lasted right to the end when they passed away within a fortnight of each other. Mullingar Joe Dolan was a household name and the country mourned him. "Our" Joe Dolan was an entirely different kettle of conundrums. He played in the original Sweeney's Men with Johnny Moynihan and Andy Irvine. I never got to hear this line up for Joe had departed before the first album was recorded. I got to know him later on. We sang and drank and roared and laughed. I once recorded two of his songs, The Foxy Devil and The Trip to Jerusalem. He painted too and I once opened an exhibition of his paintings in Longford town and there was long night after. We had lost contact this past 20 years but I'll not forget "our"Joe. He was a quare one fol de dee get outa dat. (If anyone knows of any original Sweeney's recordings I'd love to hear them.)

Happy Birthday

James Keane
James Keane, * 07.02.1948, Drimnagh, Dublin, Ireland. James Keane took up the button accordion at the age of six. He soon became a fixture on the late 1950's Dublin traditional scene where he honed his stills under the guidance of traditional Irish musicians such as Seamus Ennis, Leo Rowsome, Sonny Brogan and Tommy Reck. While still in his early teens, James, his brother, fiddler Seán Keane, and flute player Mick O'Connor founded one of Ireland's most heralded music ensembles, the Castle Ceili Band. At a given time it featured the likes of Joe Ryan, John Dwyer, Liam Rowsome, Michael Tubridy and Bridie Lafferty. In 1968, James Keane emigrated to New York and became a mainstay of the Irish-American scene. He played with singer-guitarist Robbie O'Connell, fiddle master Seamus Connolly and as a part of Mick Moloney's All-Star touring ensemble, The Green Fields Of America. Concert appearances followed at such venues as the world renowned Carnegie Hall.

June Tabor
FW#1, #17, #20,
#31, #34
June Tabor, * 31.12.1947, Warwick, England. English folk singer June Tabor was inspired to sing by hearing Anne Briggs in 1965. One of June's earliest recordings was in 1972 on an anthology called "Stagfolk Live". Her breakthrough occurred in 1976 when she recorded the album "Silly Sisters" with Maddy Prior. In the same year June recorded her solo debut album "Airs and Graces". Guitar player Martin Simpson joined her for three recordings, afterwards she started working closely with pianist Huw Warren. June Tabor has worked in various genres including jazz and art song, but generally with a sparse and sombre tone to it. Her recent albums "An Echo of Hooves" (2003), which brought her the Singer of the Year award at the 2004 BBC Folk Awards, and "Apples" (2007) marked a return to the traditional ballad. 2005 saw June's career-overview and four-CD boxed set "Always". The BBC thinks: "As a paragon of the virtues that folk music holds in its cultural armoury, June Tabor must surely rate as number one. Her repertoire has never been blinkered by a quest for authenticity: she has covered all territories from Weimar ballads via jazz to the most trad of trad English folk. And yet, the sense of scholarship that she brings to her work never lets you forget that you are listening to, perhaps, the greatest interpreter and curator of indigenous British music."

Chava Alberstein
Chava Alberstein, * 08.12.1947, Szczecin, Poland. Chava Alberstein is one of the most important Israeli singers, lyricists and composers with a career spanning more than 40 years. Chava Alberstein came to Israel at age four. She was drafted into the Israel Defense Force in 1965 and became one of the many Israeli artists to use entertaining the troops as a pathway to stardom. Since then she has released over 50 albums, recording in Yiddish as well as Hebrew and Arabic.

Vin Garbutt
Vin Garbutt, * 20.11.1947, South Bank, Middlesbrough, England. Vin Garbutt is a singer and songwriter of socially conscious and environmentally aware songs. Throughout the 1970's Vin's reputation grew rapidly until he became one of the most sought after performer on the English folk Scene. Vin was the winner of "The Best Live Act" BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2001. In 2002 he was further honoured by Teesside University when he received the Honorary Degree of Master of Arts. Vin was congratulated as "Teesside’s roving ambassador of folk music" for performing and writing songs for over 30 years, gaining inspiration from the people and culture of Teesside in the North East of England.

Dave Pegg
FW#2, #23, #23, #24, #34
Dave Pegg, * 02.11.1947, Acocks Green, Birmingham, England. Dave Pegg has been the bassist of the British folk rock band Fairport Convention since 1970, when he took over the job from the group's founder Ashley Hutchings. When Fairport first disbanded in 1979, Pegg joined the rock band Jethro Tull. Fairport reformed as a full-time band in 1985. Since 1979, Fairport has staged the Cropredy Festival, a three-day music event in Oxfordshire. Until recently it was organised by Pegg and his former wife Christine. Since their divorce, the band as a whole organises the festival. Dave Pegg has released two solo albums. In 2007 he recorded "Galileo's Apology" as a duo with guitarist PJ Wright, and "A Box of Pegg's" was released.
Tom Paxton
FW#20, #24, #28
The 4 CD's contain a career summary of his work with Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson, Mike Heron, Steve Ashley, Jethro Tull, The Ian Campbell Folk Group and others.

Tom Paxton, * 31.10.1937, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Tom Paxton has been writing, performing and recording music for over forty years. Paxton's songs have experienced enduring appeal, including "The Last Thing on My Mind", "Bottle of Wine", "Ramblin' Boy", and "What Did You Learn in School Today?". His songs have been recorded by Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Peter, Paul and Mary, The Kingston Trio, and many others. Of the songwriters on the Greenwich Village scene of the 1960s, Dave Van Ronk said: "Dylan is usually cited as the founder of the new song movement, and he certainly became its most visible standard-bearer, but the person who started the whole thing was Tom Paxton. He tested his songs in the crucible of live performance, he found that his own stuff was getting more attention than when he was singing traditional songs or stuff by other people. Prior to that, the folk community was very much tied to traditional songs, so much so that songwriters would sometimes palm their own stuff off as traditional."
Svensk visarkiv
Sweden. A treasure trove: The Svensk visarkiv had recently finished an enourmous task. 45,000 broadsheets of Swedish dance music had been allocated in the internet. Arranged according to the spelman's name, date or dance form respectively.
Roots Zone
Denmark. Another folk and world music magazine abandoned the nasty F-Word. The Danish folkrootsmusic print magazine formerly known as "Folk & Music" is named "Roots Zone" since November 2007.

Twenty Years of La Musgaña
La Musgana
Spain. The brilliant folk band from central Spain keeps roaring. After the chronic condition suffered by its central member Quique Almendros since 2004, La Musgaña and their friends have supported Quique’s family with several musical events. There was even a CD “Música para Quique”, published in 2006 by the record label from the band (Lubican Records; distributed by Karonte). It is a compilation of songs from several of the musicians that La Musgaña has met, and sometimes played with along their career, like: Roy Bailey, Flook, Blowzabella, Dave Swarbrick & Kevin Dempsey, Moebius, Martin Simpson, Jean-Michel Veillon, Cormac Breatnach and Chaskinakuy (music from the Andes).
After twenty years of existence, La Musgaña is now ready to release their latest CD: ‘20’. La Musgaña’s central position on stage is now taken by the accordion, flute and clarinet player Jaime Muñoz, with the kind of instruments Quique used to play: pipe (three holed flute) & tabor or bagpipes. The accordion is now played by a new young member, Jorge Arribas (also playing with the folk-rock band Celtas Cortos and the singer Maria Salgado, both from Castile). The string instruments are still played by Carlos Beceiro. The violin remains in the hands of Diego Galaz.

James Kelly Offers Fiddle Lessons
James Kelly @ FolkWorld:
FW#30, FW#31
Ireland/USA. A note from Irish fiddler James Kelly, based in Florida:

I am now offering Irish music students the opportunity to take lessons from me via the Internet. These are real time lessons that allow us to exchange musical information and ideas via the web. The beauty of these lessons is the fact that we can see and hear each other, in person, and the feedback is instantaneous. The technical set up is straight forward, and the audio and video feed via the Internet is very good. I am offering these lessons primarily to fiddlers; however, on occasion, non fiddlers have requested some general musical feedback on their playing, and I've always been happy to accommodate their requests for lessons. If you would like more information please write to me and I will send you an online lessons overview, plus all the details pertaining to taking online Web Cam lessons with me via the Internet.

Thank you. James Kelly

The Ballad of Ronnie Drew
Ireland. A host of Ireland's finest singers and musicians have produced a tribute to Ronnie Drew, one of the great voices of modern Irish music.
Ronnie Drew @ FolkWorld:
FW#19, FW#23

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"The Ballad of Ronnie Drew" is by U2, Kíla, The Dubliners and The Chieftains and "A Band of Bowsies." The "Bowsies" include Christy Moore, Shane MacGowan, Damien Dempsey, Bob Geldof, Sinead O'Connor, Gavin Friday, Paul Brady, Eleanor Shanley, Mary Black, Mary Coughlan, and Moya Brennan.
The song was written by Robert Hunter (Grateful Dead) with Bono and The Edge (U2) and Simon Carmody to originally include Ronnie himself but was changed to be a tribute to him as his health is declining. It was performed live on The Late Late Show on 22nd February with Ronnie Drew in attendance as an audience member.
The single will be availabe for digital download from 22 February, and as a CD in shops from the 29 February 2008. All proceeds from sale are to go to The Irish Cancer Society at the request of Ronnie Drew himself.

Martin Hayes: TG4 Traditional Musician of the Year
Ireland. Irish fiddler Martin Hayes is the recipient of TG4's 2008 Gradam Ceoil Award for Traditional Musician of the Year. "The Oscar of the traditional music world" (The Irish Times), the Gradam Ceoil is the highest accolade a traditional Irish musician can receive. Co. Clare born and now New England resident Hayes was delighted with the news, "To me, it's recognition from inside the world of the music itself, which I haven't had in awhile."
Other recipients of TG4's Traditional Music Awards, presented on the 21st of March (Good Friday), include accordionist Martin Tourish, singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, dancers Joe and Siobhán O'Donovan, composer Peadar Ó Riada, and producer Harry Bradshaw.

Charlie Dore Wins Acoustic Music Awards
Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA. English singer-songwriter Charlie Dore won the top prize at the 4th annual International Acoustic Music Awards (IAMA). She also won first prize in the folk category. Artists are judged based on music performance, music production, artistry and songwriting. Over 4,000 entries were received for the event. Charlie Dore hit the top of the charts in the late 70's/early 80's with her song "Pilot of the Airwaves", she since reinvented herself as a folk singer-songwriter and also written hit songs for big name artists such as Tina Turner, Celine Dion and George Harrison.

Nòs Ùr Song Contest
Inverness, Scotland. There are only two weeks left for minority language singers and song-writers to enter to Nòs Ùr. Meaning 'New Style' in Gaelic, the Nòs Ùr competition is seeking songs entered from languages such as Scottish Gaelic, Scots, Ulster Scots, Irish, Manx, Welsh, Cornish and Breton. The winners of the West European competition will be entered into the final of the pan-European Liet Lavlut competition which takes place in Lulea, Sweden in October. The contest is the only song competition of its kind in Europe and follows a similar format as the Eurovision Song Contest with singers and bands representing a particular country, except in this case it is a minority language.
Nòs Ùr takes place on 21th June at Eden Court in Inverness, Scotland. The competition has already gathered interest from Wales, Ireland and Scotland. However, organisers are keen for more entries of newly composed music and lyrics from the other Celtic minority languages in western Europe. The deadline for song applications is 14th March.

BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards 2008
Jeana Leslie and Siobhan Miller, BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards 2008
London, UK. Jeana Leslie and Siobhan Miller, from Orkney and Penicuik respectively, have taken home this year's BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award trophy. The duo's performance won over the judges at the Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. The Scottish ballad 'The Burning of Auchindoon' and the traditional English song 'Mad Tom of Bedlam' provided the framework for their highly original arrangements and beautiful vocal harmonies.
The unenviable task of opening the night was no problem to Welsh band One String Loose. Playing guitar, banjo, fiddle, whistle and bass with a freewheeling, contemporary approach to Celtic music, their two tune sets included their own compositions alongside others. Emily Hoile proved to be another 15 year old with breathtaking skills. The Irish slow air 'Paddy’s Rambles' played on her clarsach (harp) held the audience spellbound. Taking the tempo up, three beautifully-matched tunes from Scotland and Cape Breton performed with nimble fluidity and expression demonstrated Emily's absolute mastery of her instrument. Emotionally-charged, intelligent lyrics, a deftly melodic guitar style and empathic fiddle accompaniment characterised Jack McNeill & Charlie Heys’ set. Two self-composed songs, 'The Train' and 'Here For The Winter', showcased their innovative approach.
Danny Kyle; drawing by Anke Dammann
Danny Kyle Memorial
Paisley, 30 June - 5 July 2008
Dogan Mehmet's Cypriot roots clearly inform his music. Following a dramatic, staccato fiddle rendition of the English traditional song 'Raggle Taggle Gypsies' - complete with foot percussion - he delivered a stirring song in Turkish, book-ended with tunes from the same country. The third soloist of the evening caused another pin-drop silence with a slow air which evoked great beauty and sadness. Ryan Young exhibited a fiddle style that was anything but run-of-the-mill, his finishing set of three tunes demonstrating fantastic bowing technique, wonderful tone, a great ear for complex and cheeky tune variations.

Ken Thomson (+2007)
Edinburgh, Scotland.

I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of my long-time 'buddy' - Ken Thomson. Ken, along with John Barrow, Sid Kiman and myself, founded the Edinburgh Folk Club in 1973; Ken, John and myself also co-edited Sandy Bell's Broadsheet in that period of time and a strong and lasting friendship developed between us. We were affectionately known then in the folk scene as "Fizz", "Fuzz" and "Fatz"! Ken was a professional journalist by occupation, latterly with the Daily Record in Glasgow. Ken suffered ill-health in recent years, became less mobile and was only occasionally seen at events in Edinburgh. In the early hours of Monday morning [10 Dec], after collapsing at home, Kenny died in hospital with his wife Maxine at his bedside.

Catherine Mack (Greentrax)

Danny Banner; photo by The Mollis

Amnesty International: Flutist Reprieved from the Gallows

Sina Paymard's father described the emotional day of his son's planned execution:

"We asked the officials to allow us to see Sina once more. Nobody listened to us. Then the prison officer said Sina had asked for his instrument. Sina plays the flute. I gave it to him. That was Sina's last wish at the gallows. He started playing and all the families started crying. One of the women, who was apparently one of the [representatives of the murder victim], went to the other party and [agreed to accept blood money]. She then went to the other [members of the victim’s family] and they listened to her."
Iran. Sina Paymard had been convicted of murder after a dispute with a man over cannabis in a park in Tehran in 2004. He allegedly stabbed the drug dealer to death during a fight. According to his lawyer, the sentencing court did not properly consider evidence that Sina Paymard, who was 16-year-old at the time of the crime, suffered from a mental disorder and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, for which he was treated between 2001 and 2002.
Sina Paymard was scheduled to be hanged on 20 September 2006, two weeks after his 18th birthday. When he was taken to the execution site, where the noose was placed around his neck, he was asked if he had a last request. Sina asked if he could play his flute. According to reports, the family members of the victim who were present to witness the execution were very moved by his playing, and agreed to forgive him and accept the payment of diyeh (blood money). In Iran, family members are asked just before the execution is carried out if they wish to forgo their right to retribution and forgive the condemned.
The family of the victim has received 150 million tuman (US$ 160,000), which Sina’s family and private donors managed to collect. On 24 December 2007, Sina Paymard was released after spending 3 1/2 years in prison.

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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 02/2008

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