Issue 8 2/99
Just coming back from Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, having had an enjoyable time up there with loads of great music and fun, and bringing with us a bunch of live reviews and news from the scene. Scotland has, by the way, at the moment quite a fascinating atmosphere of positive change - everybody is excited about the new parliament; it's a very healthy interest for politics, a process back to more democracy by the people...
Talking of music, at Celtic Connections we have made once again the experience that most of the new stars of the Celtic folk music scene can be found in other regions than the 'traditional' countries Ireland, Scotland, England. Seeing all these brilliant musicans from Northern Spain and Nova Scotia, you start wondering why they have a much wider appeal than most of their collegues from the British Isles.
In a way, they have a much stronger stage performance; they know how to deal with the audience. They have all a very fresh and young appeal - not just the young bands, but also the long established artists (like John Allan Cameron). Most of them are that kind of bands to introduce to your not-folk-fan friends to convince them that folk music is cool, trendy and great fun. At the same time, their music draws upon different influences than the once the Celtic music lover is used to - the melodies have often a very intriguing element in them.
The musicians also bring along their very own approach to the music - while the Northern Spanish bands bring the Spanish temper and passion (and of course also the Northern Spanish traditions) into Celtic music, the Nova Scotian/Cape Breton people try to create their kitchen parties, trying to involve the audience into the very own Cape Breton party experience.
The Irish, Scottish etc. established musicians have to be careful that their Celtic cousins do not steal them their show on a longer term. At the same time, this is of course also a positve chance for them, as these bands might create a new, maybe bigger interest in Celtic music in general.
While this should not mean that there is nothing happening on the Scottish music scene. We have brought back from Celtic Connetcion reports of the new face of two of the more successful Scottish bands Anam and Old Blind Dogs, both having now a new, very strong line-up with a great appeal. The Peatbog Fairies, featured in this issue, have had with their modern Scottish Roots Music quite a success in the World music scene.
Meanwhile, one of the greatest folk rock bands of this decade, Wolfstone, have made their biggest mistake of the band history with the leaving of their lead singer and guitarist...
But it's not all about Celtic music. From Belgium we hear that three Flemish bands on a new folk music label, Wildboar Music, are hugely successful, which is a new development for folk music in Belgium. With their high quality music, combined with the professionalism in design and marketing of their label, these bands have proved that there is a market for folk music - you just need to sell it the right way.
Successful Native music can be found also in Denmark - there are quite a few young bands playing Danish music with a comfortable success. One of them, Sorten Muld, mixing medieval with very modern music styles, was nominated for 8 Danish Grammy's last year!
This all shows that there is also a movement in the European folk music scene back to the own roots, reestablishing the music of the native regions. This is a very positive development.
We are focussing in this issue on the new evolving scenes. We have live reviews of Cape Breton/Canadian Folk Music, of master on the Basque accordeon and Galician gaitas with their bands; an interview with the Belgian Band Ambrozijn and much more.
We give you in this editorial also a possibility to win 2 different CDs representing the re-emergence of Native folk music in Denmark and Belgium - good luck!
Your FolkWorld Editors
Photo Credit: Xose Manuel Budino (by The Mollis), Slainte Mhath (by The Mollis), Ambrozijn (press photo)
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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 2/99
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