FolkWorld Issue 38 03/2009

Letters to the Editors

Peter Cox: Set Into Song Peter Cox, Set Into Song - Ewan MacColl, Charles Parker, Peggy Seeger and the Radio Ballad

Thanks. Nice review - hope you enjoyed the book, and it encourages a few more European readers to add to the five in Italy, two in Germany, and one in the Netherlands ...

Ben Harker's book came out when I'd almost finished the manuscript of Set Into Song. It was a great checking tool, because his research is rigorous (though, not surprisingly, he didn't spot the reason for the delay in the first broadcast of The Ballad of John Axon - a small point in an otherwise excellent summary of them). I think it's extremely well written and comprehensive. My only slight doubt is the tone. His depiction of MacColl 'warts and all' tends to over-emphasise the warts - the arrogance, the frequent rewriting of history - at the expense of his abundant generosity and humour. Peggy feels this quite strongly, though of course if you write a biography that the widow of the subject loves, you've probably pulled some punches somewhere ...

Anyway, a book long overdue. By the way, Manchester University Press is getting Ewan's autobiography Journeyman re-edited (by Ted Power), and it'll probably come out late in 2009.

Peter Cox (

Brian Conway: Consider the Source

Hi, did this person who wrote this actually listen to the CD? I appreciate the mention but it seems like it was taken from the liner notes. Brian Conway

Craig Herbertson: A Health to the Ladies

Thanks, wish I could read German... Seems I drip with pathos and lay people on a carpet. All the best, Craig Herbertson

Thomas Walsh
Thomas Walsh

I recently ran across your article from May 2007 about the tune and the island of Inisheer. Great article, thanks (this is so late you probably forgot about it). I am trying to find contact information for Thomas Walsh as my humble local band wants to record one of his tunes. Would you be able to forward me his address and/or email?

I would greatly appreciate it. Teresa Emery, Wisconsin, USA

Try his label site

Seán Dempsey

'Uilleann piper Sean Dempsey performed at the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936; legend has it that there was no chair available and Dempsey played while seated on the back of an SS officer.' I found this piece of information on your site. Is there any way in which you could give me any more information on this man. When I was a child (circa 1950 -1952) a neighbor of mine died. He must have been a very young man at that time - a father of two young children.

Sincerely, Derek J Brittain

The Companion to Irish Traditional Music (edited by Fintan Vallely, Cork University Press 1999) has the following entry:

Dempsey, Seán. (b. 1910). Uilleann pipes. Born in Co. Kildare, he lived at Firhouse, Tallaght, Co. Dublin. He played 'The Rakes of Kildare' with Leo Rowsome in Irish Hearts, the first Irish sound movie in 1934. Taught by Rowsome, he broadcast regularly throughout the 1940s, and often played abroad at festivals. He was passionately interested in flying and was the first Irish person to be Station Engineer at Shannon Airport (1941). He played at the World Folk Dance and Music festival at Berlin's Sports Palace in 1936 during the controversial Olympics of that year. Rory O'Connor danced for him; a chair could not be found so he played while sitting on the back of one of Hitler's storm-troopers. 'Sent for' afterwards, his pipes were reputedly studied and admired by Hitler, Goering and Goebbels.

Scotia Bar Spot Danny Kyle, Gerry Rafferty, ...

Dear Folk World. Spot Danny Kyle, Gerry Rafferty, Paul Pilnick, The Whistle Binkies, Brian Wilson, Alex Campbell and other well known Scotia Bar regulars standing ootside at shutting time (2.30pm). Can you help me name the rest?

Regards, Gerry

Answers to FolkWorld please!

German Letters

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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 03/2009

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