Let me begin with a couple of remarks I picked up recently. Americana trio Lula Wiles wonders, »People still buy CDs, right? They're great for the car. Or for higher-quality audio, if you're into that kinda thing.« Yes, I agree with all my heart. The group's Mali Obomsawin of Native American descent hopes »that it becomes equally unacceptable to write and sing anti-Native lyrics as it now is to write and sing anti-Black lyrics.«
Ok, both quotes seemingly have nothing in common. So why do I start this editorial like this, you might ask? Fair question. Simply because there is a great deal of Americana in FolkWorld's 69th issue.
You probably have noticed that FolkWorld is just infrequently looking across the Western Ocean. We do a lot of CD reviews of American artists, but our festival listings does not include non-European activities, for example. This is not because we are eurocentric, but lack of manpower forces us to restrict ourselves on the music and culture between the North Cape and the Mediterranean, the Celtic fringe and the Ural Mountains.
The exception proves the rule. This time FolkWorld features probably more Americana than ever before. Thus we have a look at Celtic Colours on Cape Breton Island, Pickathon in Oregon and Kauai Folk Festival on the Hawaiian Islands. We take a heavy dose of blues from the Nola Blue label and introduce the Songs of Our Native Daughters project in our continuing series of 70 Years of Folkways Recordings. We pay a visit to Si Kahn's musical about labor organizer Mother Jones and sing Some American Songs. Last but not least, we take a listen to singer-songwriters such as Joni Mitchell, Livingston Taylor and the late Doug Sahm, Guy Clark and Pete Seeger.
Don't worry, we will not neglect our European roots. We like to introduce you to some European summer festivals and cover another batch of English and Scottish Popular Ballads. With Faustus' musical treatment of the 1861-65 Lancashire Cotton Famine we come full circle and make up the European-American connection.
Let me finish here and now with an observation by US singer-songwriter David Rovics about the Brexit campaign to leave the European Union and the induced political chaos in Britain:
»The main reason the whole question of Brexit is so incredibly fraught is that the question of whether or not to leave the European Union isn't really the question most people were seeking to answer ... Their impression that the lobbyists in Brussels don't have their best interests in mind is correct. They also know most of the politicians in London don't have their best interests in mind either. Which is why the choice is so fraught -- it's the wrong choice.«
Don't let this bring you down. Maybe it is more important to skip school every Friday to protest against our governments' failure to address the climate crisis, and afterwards go out over the weekend and enliven yourself with some refreshing music. You will find it on almost every corner, just go and get it!
Keep on folking, T:-)M
Photo Credits: (1) Lula Wiles, (2) David Rovics (unknown/website).