FolkWorld #68 03/2019

German News

Happy Birthday

John Tams

Artist Video John Tams

John Tams (*16 February 1949, Holbrook, Derbyshire, England). John Tams was a member of the Derbyshire folk group Muckram Wakes in the 1970s, then worked with Ashley Hutchings as singer and melodeon player. He is now either fronting folk rock band Home Service (Best Live Act at the BBC Folk Awards 2012) or in a duo with Barry Coope (Duo of the Year 2008). Tams spent many years working at the National Theatre (including the successful show War Horse) and appeared in the TV series Sharpe. In 2006, he became musical director of the BBC Radio 2 2006 Radio Ballads, an updating of Ewan MacColl's Radio Ballads.

Kalman Balogh

Artist Video Kálmán Balogh

Del McCoury (*1 February 1939, York, Pennsylvania, USA). Del McCoury has had a long career in bluegrass music. Originally hired as banjo player, he sang lead vocals and played rhythm guitar for Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in the 1960s with whom he appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. As leader of the Del McCoury Band today, he plays alongside his two sons, Ronnie and Rob, who play mandolin and banjo respectively. In 2008, McCoury started DelFest, an annual bluegrass festival in Cumberland, Maryland. In 2010, he received a National Heritage Fellowship lifetime achievement award and in 2011 he was elected into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.

Kálmán Balogh (*18 January 1959, Miskolc, Hungary). Part of a lineage of Hungarian Gypsy musicians, cimbalom player Kálmán Balogh has performed and toured with many folk bands and has recorded dozens of albums with them and as a solo artist. He regularly plays with the Gipsy Cimbalom Band, performing Hungarian folk music as well as classical music and jazz. He also was musical director of André Heller's Magneten Gypsy Show and The Other Europeans project.

Tony Trischka (*16 January 1949, Syracuse, New York, USA). American five-string banjo player Tony Trischka is closely associated with newgrass, which features several innovations to traditional bluegrass music, including jazzy arrangements and frequent covers of non-bluegrass songs. His interest in banjo playing was sparked by the Kingston Trio in 1963. In 1971 he made his recording debut with the band Country Cooking. Trischka became one of the major innovators of the chromatic banjo style, which features melodic runs not strictly played out of chord positions. In 2009 he launched his ArtistWorks Online Banjo School that teaches students around the world how to play banjo. In 2012, he was awarded the United States Artists Friends Fellow in recognition of his work.

Dan Ar Braz (*15 January 1949, Quimper, Britanny, France). In 1967, harpist and singer Alan Stivell invited electric guitarist Daniel Le Bras to join his group. Bras (later Dan Ar Braz) made contributions to several of Stivell's albums, including the influential Renaissance of the Celtic Harp. In 1976, he relocated to Britain and joined Fairport Convention, though he did not record any studio albums with them. His greatest moment occurred in 1992, when the Festival de Cornouaille asked him to create a live show uniting traditional music with modern styles. L'Héritage des Celtes involved 75 musicians altogether and represented France in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1996. In 2000, the Pan-Celt ic group played their final concert at the Festival Interceltique Lorient. Dan Ar Braz returned to solo work.

Jacqui McShee

Artist Video Jacqui McShee

Mike Scott

Artist Video Mike Scott

Baaba Maal

Artist Video Baaba Maal

Dan Ar Braz

Artist Video Dan Ar Braz

Sergey Erdenko

Artist Video Sergey Erdenko (Loyko)

Davy Spillane (*6 January 1959, Dublin, Ireland). At the age of 12, Davy Spillane started playing the uilleann pipes. In 1981, he was a founder member of folk rock band Moving Hearts, along with Christy Moore and Donal Lunny. Their final album The Storm (1985) was purely instrumental and had several slower pieces written by Spillane. He recorded with musicians such as Béla Fleck, Albert Lee and Rory Gallagher, and played as special guest soloist in Bill Whelan's The Seville Suite and Riverdance in the 1990s. He reached a larger audience with film music for Rob Roy, Titanic and Gangs of New York.

Jacqui McShee (*25 December 1943, Catford, South London, England). Her musical career began as a soloist in British folk clubs in the mid 1960s. After working with guitarist John Renbourn, Jacqueline McShee co-founded Pentangle which played a mixture of folk ballads, blues and jazz. In 1994, she formed Jacqui McShee's Pentangle which, with a few personnel changes, is still performing today. In 1998 she teamed up with producer Ulrich Maske to record books designed to help German children to learn the English language.

Sergey Erdenko (*18 December 1958, East Siberia, Russia). Sergey Erdenko was born into a family of Russian Gypsy musicians. At the age of 5 he began to learn the violin. Two years later he already performed on stage together with his older brother Nicholas. In the 1980s he worked as an actor in Moscow theatres. In 1990, he moved to London and created the Loyko trio (named after the legendary 18th century violin virtuoso Loyko Zabar whom many compared with Paganini). Loyko collaborated with world-renowned musicians such as Ronnie Wood, Yehudi Menuhin and Stephane Grappelli and wrote the music for several films. In 2006, Sergey Erdenko received an award for ranking among the top five Roma musicians.

Mike Scott (*14 December 1958, Edinburgh, Scotland). The singer-songwrite-guitarist Mike Scott started playing in school bands, inspired by David Bowie, The Beatles and Bob Dylan. In 1981, he began working on his own songs that led to the creation of rock band The Waterboys. Its membership has changed a great deal throughout the years. Anthony Thistlethwaite (saxophone, bass), Karl Wallinger (keyboards) and Steve Wickham (fiddle) all made major contributions, though Mike Scott describes the band as his project. In the late 1980s, The Waterboys relocated to Ireland and recorded the Celtic inspired albums Fisherman's Blues (1988) and Room to Roam (1990) featuring accordionist Sharon Shannon. In 2010, Scott produced An Appointment with Mr. Yeats at Dublin's Abbey Theatre with the poetry of W.B. Yeats put to music by Scott.

Gordon Lightfoot (*17 November 1938, Orillia, Ontario, Canada). Bob Dylan called Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot one of his favorite songwriters: "I can't think of any Gordon Lightfoot song I don't like. Everytime I hear a song of his, it's like I wish it would last forever..." With international chart hits such as "Early Morning Rain", "If You Could Read My Mind" and "Sundown" he helped define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s. Gordon Lightfoot played at Canada's 150th birthday celebration on Ottawa's Parliament Hill in 2017. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned that Lightfoot had played the same stage exactly 50 years earlier during Canada's 100th birthday.

Baaba Maal (*12 November 1953, Podor, Fouta, Senegal). Singer and guitarist Baaba Maal is the foremost promoter of the traditions of the Pulaar-speaking people, who live along the Senegal River in the ancient kingdom of Futa Tooro. Baaba Maal is one of Senegal's most famous musicians and well known in Africa and abroad.

James Talley (*9 November 1943, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA). Encouraged by Pete Seeger, blues singer-songwriter James Talley began to write songs that drew upon the culture of the American Southwest. Over the years Johnny Cash, Johnny Paycheck, Gene Clark, Hazel Dickens, and most recently Moby, have recorded his songs. In 1999, he started his own label, Cimarron Records, and released Woody Guthrie and Songs of My Oklahoma Home. In 2004, the live album Journey was released, recorded during his tour of Italy.

Don Byron (*8 November 1958, New York City, USA). When he was a child, Don Byron had asthma, and a doctor recommended playing an instrument to improve his breathing. His Jewish neighbors in the South Bronx sparked an interest in klezmer music. Today Byron plays clarinet and saxophone in a variety of genres that includes both free jazz and klezmer.

Rest in Peace

Alec Finn

Artist Video Alec Finn

Roy Bailey

Artist Video Roy Bailey

Phil Stanton (1964-2019). Producer and entrepreneur Phil Stanton passed away on 26th January at the age of 54 after a long battle with illness. He was hugely influential in creating awareness of world music for over 30 years and making it available to a larger audience. Phil founded Riverboat Records in 1989 and World Music Network in 1994; the latter is best-known for the Rough Guide series of CDs which now runs to nearly 400 titles.

Roy Bailey (1935-2018). Having struggled with heart failure for over 30 years, English socialist folk singer Roy Bailey died on 20 November 2018 in St Luke's Hospice, Sheffield. He began his musical career in a skiffle band in 1958, and later joined folk supergroup the Three City Four featuring Leon Rosselson. His first solo album was released in 1971. Colin Irwin said Bailey represented "the very soul of folk's working class ideals... a triumphal homage to the grass roots folk scene as a radical alternative to the mainstream music industry." In 2000, Bailey received the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for Services to Folk Music. In 2006, he returned the MBE in protest at the British government's foreign policy with regard to Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. Recently, Bailey worked with Robb Johnson and others on the award-winning Gentle Men album.

Alec Finn (1944-2018). Alexander J. Phinn changed the spelling of his surname to Finn upon moving to Ireland from his childhood home in Rotherham, West Riding. He was best known for co-founding the traditional folk De Dannan with Frankie Gavin, Ringo MacDonagh and Charlie Piggott after a series of music sessions at Tigh Hughes, An Spidéal, Co. Galway in 1975. Alec Finn had taken up the bouzouki in the 1970s. In contrast to most other players, he used a round-backed, three-course Greek bouzouki, whose DAD tuning gave him a versatile modal rhythmic background on which to create counterpoint to the melody.

  Reggae Music Gets UNESCO Protected status

Bob Marley

Artist Video

(CNN) — Reggae music nowadays seems as ubiquitous to the beaches of Southeast Asia and dorm rooms of Boston as it does to its Jamaican homeland. Now the genre that evolved in the 1960s has been added to the list of global cultural treasures by UNESCO, the United Nation's cultural and scientific agency.

The sound, which reached international acclaim thanks to artists like Toots and the Maytals and Bob Marley, is attributed for giving voice to the oppressed in Jamaica. Its inclusion to UNESCO's collection of "intangible cultural heritage" means that it now has protected status, joining a list of more 300 other cultural traditions like the Spanish art-form flamenco, Mongolian knuckle-bone shooting, and yoga in India.

Reggae music's "functions as a vehicle of social commentary, as a cathartic experience, and means of praising God remain unchanged, and the music continues to provide a voice for all," UNESCO said. "Students are taught how to play it from an early age, and festivals and concerts are central to ensuring its viability," it added.

The announcement came at UNESCO's meeting in Mauritius, where 40 proposals were under consideration -- including Jamaica's inclusion of reggae, AFP reports.

Around the the 1960s, Reggae became popular in Britain and the United States -- countries where many Jamaican immigrants had moved to after World War II. Its bass heavy and drum sound has inspired the dancehall and dub genre; as well as influence a number of artists. Reggae artist Sister Nancy's "Bam Bam" has been heavily sampled by the likes of Lauryn Hill and Kanye West.

Reggae is also associated with the religion Rastafarianism. Reggae music often celebrates Jah, which means god, ganga (marijuana) and Ras Tafari -- the former Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie who is deified in the religion.

Five other traditions were also added to the cultural heritage list, including Chidaoba (wrestling) from Georgia and the Irish sport of hurling, the body said in a press release. Their inclusion to the largely symbolic heritage list is believed to help raise the profile of the country and practice.

  RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards


Artist Video

The inaugural RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards took place in Vicar Street in Dublin on 25th October 2018. RTÉ Radio 1 is proud to establish this event which celebrates the huge range of folk music being played in Ireland today. The event was hosted by presenters Ruth Smith and John Creedon and broadcast live on RTÉ Radio 1.

On the night nine awards were presented and artists such as Emma Langford, Declan O’Rourke and Andy Irvine were celebrated among others. There were live performances from Saint Sister, Lankum, Andy Irvine, Landless, The Whileaways, Christy Moore, Iarla O'Lionard, Daoiri Farrell, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Eleanor Shanley, The Lost Brothers, Steo Wall and Slow Moving Clouds.


    Best Original Folk Track:		Along the Western Seaboard - Declan O'Rourke
    Best Traditional Folk Track:	Bean Dubh A’ Ghleanna - Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh
    Best Folk Singer:			Radie Peat
    Best Emerging Folk Artist:	Emma Langford
    Best Folk Instrumentalist:	Martin Hayes
    Best Folk Group:			Lankum
    Best Folk Album:			Haven - We Banjo 3
    Lifetime Achievement Award:	Andy Irvine
    Hall of Fame:				Tom Munnelly and John Reilly

Hall of Fame: Tom Munnelly and John Reilly

John Reilly

Tom Munnelly (1944–2007) was an Irish folk-song collector. At a scout camp he became interested in folk songs. To enlarge his own repertoire he acquired a tape recorder. In 1965 Munnelly met an Irish Traveller John Reilly and recorded "The Maid and the Palmer". He called it "The Well Below The Valley". It was the first time this song had been collected from oral tradition in 150 years. Christy Moore in the magazine "Swing 51" (1989) recalled that "British folklorists ... wouldn't accept that it was genuine. They reckoned it was a put-up and they couldn't accept that this song had appeared in the West of Ireland because it had never appeared there before." In 1972, Munnelly played the tape to Christy Moore who subsequently performed it on Planxty's album "The Well Below The Valley". Planxty also sang "The Raggle Taggle Gypsy". Again the source was Munnelly's recordings of Reilly.

John "Jacko" Reilly, (1926-1969) was a traditional Irish singer. He was a settled Irish Traveller who lived in Boyle, County Roscommon, but hailed originally from Carrick-on-Shannon in County Leitrim. He was a profound influence on many popular folk and traditional singers, based largely on recordings of his singing by the Irish song collector Tom Munnelly which were however not released until after his early death in 1969 at the age of 44. A set of 18 Reilly tracks recorded by Munnelly was released (without Munnelly's permission) on cassette on the "Folktrax" label in 1975, followed in 1978 by 14 Munnelly recordings officially released as "The Bonny Green Tree: Songs of an Irish Traveller" by Topic Records in 1978.

Christy Moore had in fact already encountered Reilly during visits to Grehan's pub in the mid 1960s. Moore's friend and travelling companion Davoc Rynne wrote of them hearing Reilly for the first time:

The woman of the house called for "Silence for the singer" and this little man cleared his throat nervously and began to sing. Stillness descended upon the room as he sang "There were Three Old Gypsies Came to our Hall Door" and on he went. We were a bunch of crazy youngsters out for fun but we all knew we were hearing something special. He looked like a man in his 60s but he was, in fact, only in his early 40s. He had lived a very hard life and neither his living conditions nor his diet would have been adequate. I guess he was 5 foot 7 inches or so and was of slight build. He loved a few pints of porter and also loved to smoke tobacco. He was very friendly and shy and he loved to sing. He was in awe of the fact that people simply loved listening to him. For most of his life he would not have received much attention. Apart from his wonderful songs what I remember most is that he was a simple and beautiful man and he had the "smell of the fire" about him. He wore an old army longcoat and a well worn cap.

A plaque commemorating Reilly, largely financed by Christy Moore, was unveiled outside the Grehans' old pub in 2014.


Daoiri Farrell

Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh


  The LiveIreland Music Awards 2019

LiveIreland has announced the 2019 Livies Awards of the seven best for 2019 in the field of Irish Traditional Music. LiveIreland's whole motivation is to help publicize their magic on a worldwide basis. The massive, instantaneous international exposure of these Awards is specifically designed to help these artists expand their worldwide following.

Newcomer of the Year – Eimear Arkins

This incredibly gifted young woman is at the very beginning of what will be a stunning career. Immensely talented, she is a triple threat. Eimear is a wonderful vocalist, fiddle player, and step dancer. All of these are performed at a world-class level, and have most recently been showcased as a special guest star in the Paul Brock Band. This band, under different titles and personnel, has been THE major greenhouse for famous Irish Traditional musicians. So many of the “greats” have gone through here, including Kevin Crawford, Enda Scahill, Fergal Scahill, Niamh Ni Charra, (and others!) to become formative artists in the music. Eimear will join their ranks. All of this is demonstrated in her album “What’s Next?” We can tell you what’s next, a massive career for a major new talent on the scene. From her native Clare to her current residence in St.Louis, she is a wonder. Did we mention she also plays some harp? Take a look at her picture; this is what talent looks like!

Concert of the Year – Maire Ni Chathasaigh & Chris Newman

It was 92*f last summer in Chicago when Maire Ni Chathasaighand Chris Newman appeared at Chief O’Neill’s in Chicago. They had been in to teach a week-long series of tutorials in the tradition to a large number of local music students. The week was completed with a concert at Chief O’Neill’s. The concert was upstairs, where it was approximately 148 degrees. The air conditioner had to be turned off because it was too loud and interfered with this miraculous music. In spite of shirt-soaking humidity and jungle heat, the two were–as usual–brilliant. Flawless. This was not just a memorable concert from two masters of their instruments (harp and acoustic guitar), it was a lesson in total professionalism to the students who were there. It turned into an unforgettable night. We will long remember the heat and humidity. Longer still, we will remember their performance. Absolutely stunning.

Male Musician of the Year – Chris Newman

What we want to do here is simply direct your attention to the previous comments about Concert of the Year. As Chris and Maire have performed thousands of shows together, one stunning fact has emerged; they have both simply become better and better. Maire is unquestionably the greatest harpist in Irish music, and we don’t think you would get much argument about that. We also can tell you that Chris Newman is the best acoustic guitar player in Ireland. His performance is an absolute tour-de-force. He is a marvel. We could go on and on but we would be repeating ourselves. Chris Newman is a gift.

Female Musician of the Year – Ailie Robertson

Several cd’s with the group Outside Track, three solo albums and multiple published books mark this brilliant harpist as someone special. The brand new album, “Rise Up” by Outside Track simply solidifies what is well known within the music. This lovely lady’s music constantly reaffirms what it means to be simultaneously, deeply gifted in several creative areas. But, the harp is Ailie’s wheelhouse. She composes, arranges, teaches and inspires daily. In demand as a session artist as well, she herself constantly “rises up”. It is no accident that the very first notes you hear on Rise Up are Ailie’s harp laying down the rhythmic route for the entire project. It is hard to give these Awards and not repeat the same words a few times. For now, let’s repeat “beautiful” and “stunning”. Her music is both. And, so is she.

Male Vocalist of the Year – Daoiri Farrell

Daoiri Farrell is wonderful. With two albums already under his belt, his appearance at Irish Fest in Milwaukee cemented his position as the music’s next Luke Kelly. Hyperbole? Nope. Like Kelly, Daoiri is a Dubliner with an absolutely pure and distinct voice. Once you hear it, it is a part of you. He has also played in a group called Fourwinds, but by far, his solo work is the secret to his success and his future. Standing alone on a major stage at Irish Fest at Milwaukee, he treated several large audiences to the magic that is propelling his award-winning career. He spent 10years as an electrician in Dublin before following his dream. It has worked. It was not until the day that we were preparing this information on Daoiri that we found out that back in the early days of LiveIreland, he was a regular presenter!! There is even a video of him on YouTube in our studio! But, we are not playing any hometown favorites. Daoiri Farrell is unique. No one else sounds like him, and no one has a way with a traditional tune like he does. Luke’s legacy is in very capable hands, and will be for a long time.

Female Singer of the Year – Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh

No debate. No talk. She is the best female singer in Irish Traditional Music. This was amply demonstrated again in her 2018 album, “Foxglove & Fuschia.” Formerly the lead singer for Danu, Muireann is also a lovely flute player — an aspect of her talent that is easily overlooked because of her singing. This is the third time that she has won Female Vocalist of the Year on LiveIreland. We play her constantly on the Bill&ImeldaShow. She left Danu a few years ago and continues to produce brilliant music with that voice. Oh, that voice! Sensational music. Beyond her unmatched vocal and arrangement skills is her impeccable musical taste. In her early years, Muireann lived on a succession of Ireland’s islands off the west coast and absorbed her haunting and pure voice from those mystical places. Front to back, she is the deal. There is simply no one better.

Album of the Year – The Next Chapter

Connla wins again with their 2018 outing, “The Next Chapter”. This uber-talented quintet from Northern Ireland has successfully launched themselves into the upper strata of the tradition. Most of their tunes are originals. Their vocals fit their music perfectly. Connla’s star turn at Irish Fest in Milwaukee last summer shot them into major prominence, earning them an immediate invite to return for the 2019 Festival. As with so many of these artists that we discover for you and present for the first time on a worldwide stage here on LiveIreland, they seem to be following the same trajectory as We Banjo 3. That group went from “Who is We Banjo 3?” to “We have to have We Banjo 3 for our festival!!” In the “I wish we had thought of that” department, one reviewer referred to Connla as being Lunasa2.0. That is perfect, and we don’t think it puts them in a niche. It is simply an apt description for something that is brand new, yet totally traditional at the same time. This is no easy trick, which is why so few succeed at it. Check them out at their website and you’ll hear what we are talking about–the highest of enjoyable musical artistry.

  TG4’s Gradam Ceoil Award 2019

Catherine McEvoy

Artist Video Catherine McEvoy

Musician of the Year Award : Catherine McEvoy born in 1956 is a leading performer in Irish Traditional Music on the Concert flute. Ground breaking as a female musician, her standing in the tradition is testified to by her distinguished career in terms of recordings on CD and for radio, TV appearances, teaching and performing.

Catherine McEvoy stands out as one of the finest exponents of the North Connacht tradition of flute playing and this reflects her strong family links with the area – her parents were from the Strokestown area of County Roscommon. Catherine’s approach to flute-playing, through her performances in sessions and on the stage, has inspired and influenced other musicians and listeners, most particularly through her visionary work as an educator and a teacher. Her early years in Birmingham, England, introduced her to the wealth of Roscommon music that was in the city at that time and Catherine has followed a musical path that reaches back to the older generations of players, whilst putting her own distinct and authoritative stamp on the flute. At a time when traditional flute-playing has rarely been stronger, Catherine McEvoy is admired as an exceptional and influential musician, teacher and advocate for traditional music.

Catherine McEvoy born in 1956 is a leading performer in Irish Traditional Music on the Concert flute. Ground breaking as a female musician, her standing in the tradition is testified to by her distinguished career in terms of recordings on CD and for radio, TV appearances, teaching and performing. Born in Birmingham of Roscommon parents, while still in her teens Catherine toured and played with the Birmingham Ceili Band. Honing her skill as a traditional musician, McEvoy was influenced by many of the leading musicians of the 60’s and 70’s. Catherine infuses plenty of soul into the music she plays. Her fluid, rhythmic, roll ornamented, beautifully phrased and paced playing is rooted in the Sligo Roscommon style having studied such players as Peggy McGrath, Patsy Hanley and Matt Molloy from Roscommon, Josie McDermott the blind flute player who lived on the border of Sligo and Roscommon, and Seamus Tansey and Roger Sherlock, both from Sligo. Catherine came to live and work in Ireland in 1977 and as a young musician; she soon became an integral part of the Dublin Music community playing regularly with legends such as John Kelly snr. John and James Kelly and Paddy O’Brien from Offaly, frequenting the popular music house “The Four Seasons” and performing at the legendary Traditional club in Slattery’s both in Capel St. She was a member of the first All-female Traditional group Macalla – a collection of 23 women living in Dublin who came together for International Women’s Day in 1984. The group recorded two albums in the 80’s. They also performed on BBC and The Late, Late Show and Mountain Lark on RTE all between 1984 and 1987

Catherine released her first solo album on the Clo Iar Connachta label in 1996 “Music in the Sligo Roscommon Style” with the legendary piano player from New York Felix Dolan. She later recorded “The Kilmore Fancy” with her brother John McEvoy, a highly respected fiddle player. Catherine’s last solo cd released in 2008 “The Home Ruler” features many of the top accompanists of today including Geraldine Cotter (piano), Steve Cooney (guitar), Paddy McEvoy (Piano) and Joe Kennedy (bodhrán). In 2010 after a very successful Music Network tour with Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh (fiddle) and Micheal O’Raghallaigh (concertina), a trio album was released called “Comb your Hair and Curl It”. All these albums have been voted in the top 4 releases in their respective years by Earle Hitchner, Irish Voice, and New York. McEvoy was also a member of the three times All Ireland Tain Ceili Band founded by the flute player Peggy McGrath mentioned earlier. Recognition of Catherine’s status within the tradition has led her to being invited to many festivals worldwide both to teach and perform. She is a senior tutor at the Willie Clancy Summer School in Milltown Malbay, Co. Clare. She has also taught at the Catskills Irish Arts Week in New York and other festivals in the USA including Boston, Seattle and Texas. Catherine has also taught in many countries worldwide including France, Germany and Sweden and Canada. She is a visiting tutor at the University of Limerick where she teaches on the MA and BA courses.

Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill

Artist Video Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill

Musical Collaboration / Composition Award: As a singer, musician, composer and collaborator in some the most influential groups in Irish traditional music, Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill is without question one of the most important and central figures in the development of the genre since the late sixties.

As a singer, musician, composer and collaborator in some the most influential groups in Irish traditional music, Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill is without question one of the most important and central figures in the development of the genre since the late sixties. Her gentle nature is in contrast with the powerful, musical, force of nature that is apparent in her magnificent contributions to such bands as Skara Brae and the Bothy Band. Though raised in Kells, County Meath, Tríona’s roots very much remain within the singing tradition of her parents’ birthplace, Rann Na Feirste, in North West Donegal. We are indebted to this wonderful person, for the joy she has given us with countless iconic recordings and performances. To recognise this, we feel it only right and proper to name Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill as this year’s recipient of Gradam Cumadóir agus Comharcheoil TG4 2019.

Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill is most often spoken of as a key member of some of the most influential bands in the evolution of Irish traditional music since the 1970s; groups like SKARA BRAE, The BOTHY BAND, RELATIVITY and NIGHTNOISE. Her singing and multi-instrumental playing form a cornerstone of the distinctive sound of all those groups. What’s not so fully appreciated is her role as a composer in both contemporary and traditional styles. From her early teens, Tríona was writing songs and tunes. In 1970, Danny Doyle sang her composition, “Words” in the National Song Contest to represent Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest. With lyrics by poet Michael Davitt and music by Tríona the song “Faoileán” was released by Gael Linn in 1975 as an early warning on environmental issues. Last year saw the release of the complete edition of The Trio Collection featuring Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. Tríona’s song “In a deep sleep” recorded by Linda Ronstadt in 1988 is track 19. Japanese recording star Mimori Yusa has recorded Tríona’s songs, “The Road to Nowhere” and “Island of Hope and Tears”. Many of her compositions featured prominently in the recordings of Nightnoise. “Snow on High Ground” is a regular play on John Creedon’s nightly RTÉ Radio One show. Her 2010 album The Key’s Within consists solely of her own compositions and she plays all the instruments on the recording.

Tríona first made her mark in Irish music in the early 1970s as a schoolgirl member of the seminal band SKARA BRAE along with her younger sister Maighread, brother Mícheál and the Derry-born guitarist and singer, Dáithí Sproule. Their only recording on the Gael Linn label is widely regarded as one of the most influential and important Irish recordings of its time and it draws heavily from the rich Donegal song tradition. Triona’s aunt Neilí Ní Dhomhnaill from Ranafast in County Donegal, had a rich store of song in both English and Irish and was one of her earliest and biggest inspirations and influences. A keen sense of place and an intuitive understanding of the inherent beauty and worth of the song and music tradition have always been central to Tríona’s musical approach. On the disbandment of SKARA BRAE, Tríona and with her brother Mícheál were instrumental in forming the legendary Bothy Band, a grouping of Irish musicians who were to revolutionise the playing of traditional music. Joining Tríona and Mícheál in The Bothy Band were the Matt Molloy, Paddy Keenan, the late Tommy Peoples (later replaced by Kevin Burke) and Donal Lunny. Tríona’s keyboards playing underpinned the fiery rhythmic attack that was their hallmark and Tríona and Mícheál provided the ‘Bothies’ vocal identity through their contribution of songs sourced from the Donegal song tradition. The band’s five albums are classics in the traditional ensemble genre and still inspire young musicians today.

When The Bothy Band went their separate ways in 1979 Tríona moved to North Carolina and joined the band Touchstone. Other musical projects that Tríona has been central to have been Relativity with Scottish musician brothers Johnny and Phil Cunningham and her own brother Mícheál and the successful jazz-tinged Nightnoise who were to become one of the Windham Hill label’s best sellers. Since her days in SKARA BRAE the musical bond between Tríona and her sister Maighread has been remarkably strong and their 1999 release Idir an Dá Sholas/ Between Two Lights marks a particular career milestone. Once again her novel approach to accompaniment shines through on this recording. The two sisters in recent times got together with two other beacons of Donegal music, Moya Brennan (Clannad) and Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh (Altan) to form T with the Maggies and they love the fun of celebrating their shared Gaelatcht heritage.

  Tellico's Anya Hinkle Takes Honors in Hazel Dickens Song Contest

Anya Hinkle

Artist Video Tellico

Organic Records recording artist Anya Hinkle took home 3rd place honors in the 2019 Hazel Dickens Song Contest with her song, “Ballad of Zona Abston.” Hinkle is the lead singer in the Asheville-based “Appalachicana” band, Tellico. “Ballad of Zona Abston” is one of nine tracks on Tellico’s recent 2018 release, Woven Waters, produced by Irish guitar legend, John Doyle.

Hinkle was humbled by the award saying, “I’ve always loved [Hazel Dickens’] music. When I was getting into singing—the Hazel & Alice recordings, you know—are just so critical for any woman in bluegrass music.” It is especially poignant, too, because Hinkle connects with her Japanese audiences through Dickens’ songs. “When I’ve toured in Japan, my music buddies there remember when Hazel came to Japan in 1985. They know the words to all her songs.”

“Ballad of Zona Abston” recounts the hardships of growing up in a coal mining family, and touches on familiar themes that continue to cast a long shadow across the greater Appalachian region. Growth and progress is slow-moving, and families survive by depending on each other and doing whatever it takes to put food on the table.

Hinkle’s longtime friend, Jack Stoddart — otherwise known as “Hippie Jack” — invited her to his farm, located on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, to lend a hand in lifting up the community through song. “It’s kind of turned into a songwriting project to help get their voices heard,” says Hinkle. “Hippie wanted me to meet Zona who is 76. She lives on Social Security and she’s got this incredible story — which she told me over her kitchen table. So, I simply put it to music. That’s it.”

The mining’s all done but we’re still on this mountain
Guess our roots were stronger than our wings
And flyin’ ain’t as easy when it’s pennies that you’re counting
While the company men are off living like kings

The Hazel Dickens songwriting competition is hosted by the DC Bluegrass Union which promotes bluegrass music through performance and education in the greater Washington, DC area.

Hazel Dickens

Hazel Dickens«

     Congratulations to the Winners of the 2019 Hazel Dickens Song Contest!

     1st Place: Elakala by Lee Leanders – Auburn, AL

     2nd Place: Gonna Love Anyways by Louisa Branscomb and Jennifer Zapolnik – White, GA
     3rd Place: Ballad of Zona Abston by Anya Hinkle – Asheville, NC

     Honorable Mentions:
          Hand That Holds the Stone by Michelle Canning, David Morris, and Dawn Kenney – Nashville, TN
          Let Me Be the Dove by David Morris and Mary Eichler – Gaithersburg, MD
          Goodbye Blues by John Bolten – Catonsville, MD

  Andrea Parodi Awards 2018



La Maschera - by Gianfilippo Masserano

Artist Video

The Neapolitan, La Maschera won the 11th Andrea Parodi Awards, the only Italian contest of World Music. The Critics' Awards goes abroad, to Cypriot Monsieur Doumani.

Giuseppe Di Bella was nominated for the Special Mention for Best Lyrics in "Ncucciarisi" (sung in Sicilian). Special Mentions for Best Music and Best Interpretation went to La Maschera (who performed the song "Te vengo a cerca '", (sung in Neapolitan and Wolof), whilst Monsieur Doumani (with "Gongs") was furthermore nominated for the Special Mentions for the Best Reinterpretation of a song by Andrea Parodi, the Best Arrangement and was chosen as best Artists by the young people present in the theatre.

Monsieur Doumani

Artist Video Monsieur Doumani @ FROG

During the contest, held from 8th to 10th November in Cagliari at the Teatro Auditorium Comunale, the International Critics Award went to the well-deserved KOR vocal ensemble with "Albore" (in Logudorese). Finally, the Special Mention of the competitors themselves, was a draw between Feral Cor with "La Sajetana" (in Genoese) and Giuseppe Di Bella.

Aniello Misto also competed for the victory with "Aumm aumm" (sung in Neapolitan); Ararat Ensemble Orchestra with "Nietaan" (in Wolof); Dindùn with "L'amur" (in Piedmontese) and Terrasonora with "Padre vostro" (in Neapolitan and Swahili).

Before the winners were announced, there was a breathtaking jam session featuring the artistic director Elena Ledda, some of the artists in the jury and the Special Guests of the Awards, who had just performed, namely the Peruvian Jorge Pardo, accompanied by the guitarist Francisco Rey Soto, Macedonian Stracho Temelkovski and, from Veneto, the D'Altrocanto Duo.

During the evening Daniele Cossellu, historical founder of the Tenores di Bitti "Remunnu 'e Locu", received the 2018 Hall of Fame Award. The award given each year to a prominent figure in the Italian cultural and artistic world.

The festival was created in honour of the distinguished Sardinian artist Andrea Parodi, who went from singer-songwriter with Tazenda to a highly valued solo career, of ethnic themes. Over the three-day events, all contestants and special guests performed one song from his repertoire.


  Russian World Music Awards

The Russian World Music Awards is the first professional award in Russia in the field of ethnic music. This year, 90 musical groups from 27 cities were presented to the jury. Voting was held with 12 judges, consisting experts in the field of ethnic music from 9 countries.

Winners of RWMA 2018

  Transglobal World Music Chart Festival Awards

Transglobal World Music Chart

In 2018, Transglobal World Music Chart launched its Festival Awards, part of their goal to increase the appreciation of the music from the cultures of the world, as a tool for the development of people in many areas of life, as well as for joy and pleasure.

The first edition's results are:

Aside from highlighting the value of the winners in the four categories, congratulating the two festivals tied in the 1st position for their excellence, Transglobal World Music Chart want to praise several festivals beyond the concerts program:

Urkult, as a superb inspiring example in many of the criteria (Festival-goer experience, Logistics, Environmental responsibility and Social responsibility); Ethnoport Poznan’s program beyond the concerts, with "Listen to the world", workshops, cinema, activities for children, active support for activist humanitarian organizations… merit the attention by itself; World Music Festival Bratislava that is carefully shaping the image of the music landscape of their country for the rest of the world; Cordas World Music Festival, an authentic challenge by reason of its location, that provides thrilling experiences added to the music relish; Fira Mediterrània de Manresa, boosting the local scene as well as providing unique experiences for the public; Rainforest World Music Festival’s huge vision for gathering the strengths to create such an immersive event; Førdefestivalen’s understanding of diversity in all of its meanings; and Lowell Folk’s explorer approach and highlighting traditions from across the US and around the world trusting in many unknown artists.

  Folk Radio - Radio Kielce

Polskie Radio Kielce uruchomiło pierwszy w Polsce internetowy kanał z muzyką ludową - FOLK RADIO. Można je znaleźć pod adresem, albo wejść poprzez stronę Radia Kielce Przez 24 godziny nadawane są pieśni, piosenki i utwory instrumentalne z regionu świętokrzyskiego, ale także z innych rejonów naszego kraju i świata. Polish Radio Kielce has launched the first Internet channel in Poland with folk music - FOLK RADIO. You can find them at, or visit the website of Radio Kielce at For 24 hours songs and instrumental works from the Świętokrzyskie region are broadcast, but also from other parts of our country and the world.

Memory Lane

  The Bookshop Band's US Debut Tour

Artist Video

Renowned Scottish-based band, The Bookshop Band has been touring some of the finest bookstores and libraries across the USA with its repertoire of songs inspired by literature. Folk duo Ben Please and Beth Porter perform across the UK and Europe – and have frequently appeared on stage with the famous writers whose work they sing about.

The three-week US tour came after literary critic Dwight Garner issued a challenge in the The New York Times where he wrote: “The Bookshop Band is not just good but achingly good … If America’s independent booksellers can’t figure a way to get these two … to tour America, they’re doing something wrong.”

The American Booksellers’ Association (ABA) responded in style by inviting the band to perform for its members at its Winter Institute in Albuquerque. They also played at 15 independent bookshops and two public libraries in New York, New Jersey, New Mexico and Colorado.

Based in Wigtown, Scotland’s National Book Town, Porter and Please have collaborated with celebrated authors such as Ben Fountain (Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk – which became a major feature film), Armistead Maupin (Tales of the City). Some even feature as musicians on the band’s 13 albums, like Man Booker winners Yann Martel (Life of Pi) and Ben Okri (The Famished Road), and best-selling authors Joanne Harris (Chocolat) and Louis de Bernières (Captain Corelli’s Mandolin).

The award-winning folk singers have highly distinctive voices and appear with a variety of their favourite books and a variety of instruments from cello and harmonium to glockenspiel, guitars and ukuleles. Please said: “We love performing intimate gigs in unexpected locations, like bookshops and libraries. It creates such a great atmosphere to be singing about books, surrounded by them on the shelves.”

Audiences can expect to hear songs about everything from The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and Shakespeare’s Richard II to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up The Bodies. There’s also a good chance that they will perform one of the songs they were commissioned to write for the launch of Philip Pullman’s work The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage.

The band’s origins go back to 2010 when they were based near the English city of Bath and their local indie bookshop Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights asked them to perform at book evenings. Since then The Bookshop Band have entertained in over 200 bookshops around the UK, Ireland and France, writing songs inspired by over 100 books curated by Mr B’s.

The Bookshop Band has received commissions from the BBC, The V&A Museum and the Pompidou Centre in Paris. They are regularly featured on 6Music by Tom Robinson, and have been championed by Bob Harris on BBC Radio 2, describing their “fabulous new music”.

They are also mainstays of the annual Wigtown Book Festival – which attracts visitors from all round the world to the 10-day event in Scotland’s National Book Town, situated in the rural region of Dumfries and Galloway.

Coming Soon

  International Women’s Day Concert @ Irish Cultural Centre, Hammersmith

Artist Video Karen Ryan @ FROG

Irish Music and Dance in London (IMDL, and the Irish Cultural Centre, Hammersmith (ICC, are collaborating to present an exciting weekend of events to celebrate International Women’s Day in style.

International Women's Day

On the evening of Friday 8th March, a concert will take place at the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith. We will open with a 40-strong group of the finest female traditional Irish musicians and singers based in London, performing as Fair Plé Ladies of London. The Fair Plé movement was started in Ireland in 2018, by internationally renowned singer/songwriter Karan Casey (The London Lasses), to raise awareness about and promote gender equality in traditional and folk music.

The group will perform a number of selections from the repertoire of The London Lasses, followed by a selection of new sets arranged specifically for the evening, featuring traditional Irish dance tunes composed by prominent female musicians/composers within the genre. The Fair Plé set will also feature traditional Irish (sean nós) songs, airs and Irish ballads.

IMDL and ICC are delighted to welcome The Mulcahy Family, from West Limerick, to headline the evening’s concert. Musical families are often the backbone of multi-generational continuity within that global community, and no musical family today is more impressive in upholding the best principles of the tradition than the Mulcahys of Abbeyfeale. Father and daughters, Mick, Louise and Michelle Mulcahy play a dazzling array of instruments between them. Their most recent album, ‘The Reel Note’ has received worldwide acclaim and was named Album of the Year by Tradconnect in 2017.

  Gender Equality in the Folk and Scottish Traditional Music Scene

More men than women are performing at the highest professional level in the folk scene in Scotland. This can be seen in festival lineups, where more men than women are booked as headline acts. This is not due to a lack of female performers, as almost equal numbers of men and women claimed to have performed in public. Catriona Hawksworth's article summarises the findings of her university research on gender equality in folk and traditional music. It covers the current state of gender equality in the creative sector; the areas of inequality; case studies of successful initiatives; and steps for improvement for folk and traditional music in Scotland.


  Tønder Festival Leads on Gender Balance

About 40% of the musicians performing at Tønder Festival in 2018 were women. This is significantly more than at other festivals and music venues. Tønder Festival has reason to be proud of the gender balance in our music programme.

Tønder Festival is now taking part in the international campaign Keychange, with the objective of increasing the percentage of female musicians at festivals. Joining Keychange entails Tønder Festival committing to achieving a 50-50 gender balance in booked artists by 2022. Around 150 international festivals are partaking in Keychange.

“It seemed natural for Tønder Festival to support the aims of Keychange. We already have many women on the Tønder Festival stages, and of course we intend to continue with that,” says Maria Theessink, artistic director at Tønder Festival.

Billy Bragg: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Artist Video Billy Bragg

Keychange ( is a pioneering European initiative focussing on women’s potential influence on the future of the music industry. They urge festivals to commit to a 50-50 gender balance. Keychange is led by the PRS Foundation, supported by EU’s Creative Europe programme and Musikcentrum Öst, Reeperbahn Festival, Island Airwaves, BIME, Tallinn Music Week, Liverpool Sound City, Way Out West and Mutek.

  One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Billy Bragg has confirmed a 2019 UK & Ireland tour entitled "One Step Forward. Two Steps Back." In each town Bragg will perform three unique shows on consecutive nights. The first night’s performance will feature Bragg’s current set, which ranges across his 35 year career. The second will see Bragg perform songs from his first three albums: his punk rock debut Life’s a Riot with Spy Vs Spy (1983), its similarly raw follow-up Brewing Up with Billy Bragg (1984) and Talking with the Taxman about Poetry (1986). The third performance will see Bragg perform songs from his second three albums: the positively jangled Workers Playtime (1988), the pop classic Don't Try This at Home (1991) and the back-to-basics William Bloke (1996).

“After more than three decades of travelling around the world in a van, or spending all day flying vast distances to play a gig, I’m looking forward to having some time to explore cities that I usually only get to see between the soundcheck and the show. And this three night stand format is a way of keeping things interesting, both for me and the audience. I tried it out in Auckland recently and had a lot of fun revisiting my back pages.” (Billy Bragg)

Julie Fowlis

Tønder Festival

22. - 25. August 2019

Artist Video Julie Fowlis

Maija Kauhanen

Artist Video Maija Kauhanen

26 - 28 April 2019 Il Fanciullo e il Folklore (The Child and Folklore), Leverano (Puglia), Italy

26 April - 5 May 2019 Feest van de Folk, Sint-Niklaas, Belgium

18 - 26 May 2019 folkBALTICA, Flensburg & Sønderjylland-Schleswig, Germany/Denmark
ft. Kraja, Nordic, Fiolministeriet, Mads Hansens Kapel, Gudrun Walther & Jürgen Treyz, ...

31 May - 2 June 2019 The Acoustic Festival of Britain, Uttoxeter Racecourse (Staffordshire), UK
ft. Big Country, 3 Daft Monkeys, The Willows, Jo Carley And The Old Dry Skulls, ...

Jun 21-23/2019 The Rotterdam Bluegrass Festival
ft. Hackensaw Boys, The Po' Ramblin Boys, ...

4 - 7 July 2019 Rudolstadt Festival, Germany
ft. Focus: Iran; 40th Euroradio Folk Festival;
Gankino Circus, Symbio, Toko Telo, Fémina, ...

5 - 7 July 2019 Festival de Musique des Pays Alpins, Plaine Joux les Brasses, Alpages de Bogève et Onnion, France

25 - 28 July 2019 Warwick Folk Festival, UK

27 Jul - 3 Aug 2019 Belfast Tradfest, Northern Ireland

2 - 4 August 2019 Festival du Bout du Monde, Camaret, France

2 - 11 August 2019 Festival Interceltique de Lorient, France
The Year of Galicia

8 - 10 August 2019 Fairport's Cropredy Convention, Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK

16 - 18 August 2019 Folk East, Glemham Hall, Suffolk, UK

22 - 25 August 2019 Tønder Festival, Denmark
ft. Finbar Furey, John Prine, Skipinnish, Dreamers' Circus, Mandolin Orange,
Kate Rusby, Julie Fowlis, Maija Kauhanen, Old Man Luedecke, James Keelaghan, ...

23 - 26 August 2019 Shrewsbury Folk Festival, UK

10 - 12 October 2019 Andrea Parodi Awards, Cagliari

Last but not least

David Rovics

Artist Video David Rovics

  Cafe Hellebæk

For the first 12 days of April and from late June through late August 2019, David Rovics and his family will be running Cafe Hellebæk, a little no-profit café located in the village of Frederiksborg north of Helsingør, directly on the salt water straits that separate Denmark from Sweden.

David will be updating with more specifics, but here are some of the things you can expect to find at Cafe Hellebæk throughout the summer of 2019:

If you’re a musician who might like to do a feature set in one of the song swaps or perhaps another sort of gig, David would love to hear from you.

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