Issue 27 2/2004

FolkWorld News


Johnny Cunningham, photo courtesy of Johnny's websiteJOHNNY CUNNINGHAM August 27, 1957 - December 15, 2003
USA/Scotland. With great sadness FolkWorld has learnt of the passing of Scottish fiddler Johnny Cunningham, who died on December 15, 2003, in New York City, of a heart attack. He was 46 years old.
Johnny was beloved on both sides of the Atlantic for his exquisite musicianship as well as for his renowned warmth and wit. He was called 'Scotland's finest fiddler' by the Boston Globe. He leaves behind a great wealth of work and a huge legacy in Scottish and Celtic music of the late 20th century. He was a founding member of many seminal Celtic groups including Silly Wizard, Relativity, Nightnoise and The Celtic Fiddle Festival. Johnny was the brother of Scottish accodionist Phil Cunningham.

Remembrances may be sent through his website at

Anselm Noffke, www.liederjan.comAnselm Noffke (1946-2003)
Germany. On 18 December 2003, Germany's folk scene lost one of its big personalities, when Anselm Noffke died. Anselm was founding member of one of the best known and most popular German folk bands, Liederjan, a band that combins German folk songs with a great sense of humour and that has been in the business since more than 25 years.
Anselm's wish was that Liederjan was to continue after his death. The other two Liederjan's have therefore asked Hanne Balzer to join the band, and announce that the "oldest German boy group" now has a lady on board.
More info in the German news and at

Erich Stockmann (1926-2003)
Germany. Erich Stockmann died on 16.11.2003, at the age of 77, after long and serious illness. Prof. Dr. Erich Stockmann has been one of the most famous, internationally acclaimed and globally co-operating music ethnologists of our time. His most respected works base around the theories and methods of European folk music instruments, and he gave inspiration to many young scientists. He acted as culture political representative for many national and international commissions in the musical field. Apart from that, he was a charismatic person, who tried to bring people together instead of dividing them.
A comprehensive obituary in German language can be found in this FolkWorld issue.

FolkWorld. Year 2003 has passed, so FolkWorld is publishing, once again, its Best CD listings, intended to pick out some memorable releases as an inspiration for our readers. As usual, it features both a CD Top 10 of FolkWorld's editors, as well as a Top 5 from most of FolkWorld's regular contributors.

Click here to see the listings.

FolkWorld. Urban Trad is the Belgian folk band that nearly managed to win the Eurovisian Song Contest of 2003. FolkWorld features this issue directly two articles about this exciting band, one from Eelco Schilder, the other from Sean Laffey. Urban Trad were also friendly enough to provide FolkWorld with a few copies of their latest album for a readers' competition. Click here to read the articles and win a CD!

New Gaelic song resource
Scotland. The Mairi Mhor Gaelic Song Fellowship, through the Highland Council, has announced the launch of a new Gaelic Song teaching resource, part funded by the Scottish Arts Council . Entitled "Seinn o ho ro Seinn" , the venture is designed to encourage more people , particularly young people, to sing Gaelic Songs.
The Mairi Mhor Fellow, Fiona Mackenzie of Dingwall said "We wanted to find a way of enabling as many people as possible to participate in Gaelic singing , regardless of their geographical location or lack of tutorial opportunities. Many children, young people and adults, like to participate in Mods and Feisean but are unable to find tutors, either for Gaelic or music. I looked at the various resources available and wondered if it was possible to produce a good quality CD, comprising many of the most popular Gaelic songs we hear today, particularly at Mods, together with any accompanying words and translations. After discussion with An Comunn Gaidhealach , Feisean nan Gaidheal and An Drochaid Traditional Music Organisation, as well as many teachers in Highland Schools, we decided that it was a project of huge potential".
"Seinn o ho ro Seinn" consists of a 2 CD set presented in a DVD style box, together with a comprehensive book of words and translations. "I selected 40 of the most popular songs prescribed at National Mods, particularly for junior competitors, although many are suitable for adults too as they include sea songs, lullabies and laments too. I then recorded the An Comunn version of all the songs, without accompaniment so that the melody is quite clear. I asked Arthur Cormack of Feisean nan Gaidheal if he would record the spoken versions of the songs which he was very happy to do. Each sung song is therefore followed by the spoken version so it is very easy to hear the correct pronunciation."
Particularly useful to the young Gaelic singers of the future is the fact that the CDs include all the songs prescribed for Mod 2004, in Perth. " We hope that this will encourage many more young people to participate in next years and all succeeding Mods Murdo Morrison, Mod Promotions Manager said "An Comunn Gaidhealach and the Royal National Mod welcome this new CD and we hope that it will be enjoyed by everybody".
The CD was launched officially at this years Anniversary Mod in Oban . The Fellowship has distributed complimentary copies to all schools and libraries in Highland Council area and will also be available commercially, priced £13, in the shops and through Fiona herself at The Education Offices, Castle St, Dingwall,- contact 01349 863441. or e mail or from

Planxty reformed
Planxty, www.taramusic.comIreland. The legendary traditional Irish group Planxty has done a series of Irish concerts for January and February 2004, featuring the original 1970's line-up. Christy Moore (vocals, guitar -> FW#2, FW#3), Donal Lunny (bouzouki), Liam O'Flynn (uilleann pipes -> FW#5) and Andy Irvine (vocals, mandolin -> FW#23) have not performed together in public since 1983. Liam O'Flynn has said that all the pleasure and excitement of the early years is still there and that all the band are looking forward to the forthcoming concerts. It is planned to film the concerts with a view to a possible DVD release later in 2004.
Planxty first got together in 1972, after recording of Christy Moore's second album "Prosperous". Their 1973 debut album "Planxty," or the black album, laid down a new standard in Irish song and dance music to this day. The group was unique for mixing dance tunes with traditional ballads and contemporary songs. In 1981 Planxty performed Bill Whelan's "Timedance" during the interval in the Eurovision Song Contest which later evolved into the successful "Riverdance" show. [wt]

New Roots - a competition for young musicians
England. The 2004 'New roots' competition organised by St Albans Folk Music is for musicians and singers under the age of 25 involved in traditionally based music. It is open to performers of all styles of traditional or contemporary folk, roots or world music, including people who perform traditional material and those who write their own. The closing date is February 29 2004 and the finals will be on Sunday April 18 2004 at 2pm at a new venue, the Trestle Arts Base, Highfield Park, St Albans. The names of three of the judges have now been announced.
Yorkshire-based Damien Barber and Fay Hield, both leading lights in the new wave of young professional performers, will go on to head the bill in a concert at 7pm. This concert Swill also be a second opportunity to hear more of some of the young performers. Strictly, New roots is not a competition as there is no overall 'winner'. Instead, the judges, will give helpful criticism and share out the prizes among the finalists. The prizes include performance opportunities in Hertfordshire and surrounding counties, including at Towersey, Leigh and St Albans festivals, and at Hitchin, Redbourn, Chesham and Bishops Stortford folk clubs. Laurel Swift, organiser of youth music activities 'shooting roots', who took part in the 2000 and 2002 competitions commented, 'It's a great day, a chance to get your music heard and loads of good prizes are awarded.'
To enter, send a cassette, minidisc or CD with up to 15 minutes of your music to Alison Macfarlane, 40 Warwick Road, St Albans, Herts AL1 4DL.
For further information, ring 01727 852111, email or see

Gabriel Ycoub; photo by The MollisGabriel Yacoub - Cape Breton project
France/Canada. Gabriel Yacoub, folk singer and composer from France famous from Malicorne, has crossed recently the Atlantic for a project about French traditional music from both sides of the pond. In the setting of the village of Cheticamp, Nova Scotia, North West of Cape-Breton Island, Gabriel supervised a series of recordings of traditional songs collected in the region. The album will gather artists from Acadie, Québec, Louisiana, France, etc. It will be a celebration of the 400th anniversary of the French debarking in Acadie.

Photo: Gabriel Yacoub, by The Mollis

Issues Instead of Territories: Berlin's House of World Cultures in 2004
Germany. A focus upon issues rather than upon territories - in 2004 the House of World Cultures will direct its programming toward an exploration of more topical rather than the geographic areas which strongly defined many past programs.
Starting with Far Near Distance, an interdisciplinary program featuring artists living in Iran as well as those of the Iranian Diaspora, the House of World Cultures takes its first steps in this direction this coming spring. Black Atlantic, which is scheduled for the fall of next year, is also part of this transition; it showcases artistic forms of expressions used by the black cultures which developed in regions along the Atlantic Ocean and explores the meaning of the African Diaspora for Germany, Europe and the Americas.
According to Director Hans-Georg Knopp, the House of World Cultures intends to strengthen its international ties and intensify its relationships to other cultural organizations in Berlin. In this context, new partnerships with the Millenium Museum in Beijing as well as Red Cat in Los Angeles together with the history of co-operation with the transmediale and the Talent Campus are worth particular mention.
Further development of, an international artists' database launched in July 2003 with great success, is also of high priority in the coming year. Further infos at

Happy Birthday Living Tradition
Scotland/Kilmarnock. The Scottish folk scene magazine Living Tradition has recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. Editor Pete Heywood founded the magazine a decade ago to provide a forum for British folk music, with the focus on Scottish, English, Irish and Welsh music traditions. With his enthusiasm, Pete has won for the Living Tradition the respect of the folk scene, and tirelessly works to keep the project going and let it extend. Part of the Living Tradition organisation is today also a CD mail order "The Listening Post", a CD series "The Tradition Bearers, theorganisation of the festivals "Common Ground" and "Scottish National Folk Festival".
Congratulations to our collegue Pete and his team - FolkWorld knows very well how much time, effort and enthusiasm it takes to keep a magazine going!
Contact: The Living Tradition, P.O. Box 1026, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire KA2 0LG, Scotland, tel 01563 - 571 220, fax 544 855, eMail Full infos at

Ambrozijn, press picAmbrozijn won Klara Publieksprijs 2003
Belgium. Ambrozijn has been one of the stars of the New Belgian Folk scene, being responsible for a revival of the Belgain folk scene. Last year, they received the prestigious Klara Publieksprijs, at a high profile event in Brussels, with Belgians Minister for Culture in the audience. The band would like all their fans for the support they gave. Well done, Ambrozijn!

Photo: Ambrozijn, press pic

Tam White song inspired a new movie
Scotland. A new feature length movie, Man Dancin', starring Alex Ferns (that bad dude from EastEnders), Jenny Foulds (from Edinburgh) and James Cosmo will soon be out and about. Man Dancin', directed by BAFTA and Emmy winner Norman Stone, was inspired by Tam White's eponymous song. Tam has a role in the film too, as well as performing three songs on the sound track.
The film has been receiving very good notices and was not only screened recently in London at Europe's biggest independent film festival, The Raindance Film Festival ... it was also shortlisted (one of only four) for the festival's award for 'Best UK Feature'. The story Man Dancin' tells is of Jimmy Kerrigan (Ferns), a Glaswegian ex-boxer, hard man and criminal returning to his old hunting ground after a long stint inside.
Tam White will also be seen on the small screen in the EastEnders Christmas special shot in the Highlands in late summer.

Glasgow folk musicians played at the UN
Scotland/USA. Glasgow traditional music duo, Celine Donoghue & Keith Easdale travelled to New York in January to play for the inaugural 'Robert Burns Memorial Lecture' at The United Nations. The theme of the lecture, which was delivered by The United Nations secretary General Kofi Annan, has been "State of the World and Brotherhood of Man". Celine, who was the recent recipient of the 'Auleen Theriault Award' in Ontario, Canada, & producer and session musician Keith, are no strangers to playing for VIPs (between them they have also performed in front of Jean Chrétien, the Prime minister of Canada, Princess Anne, The Lord Lyon and The British Ambassador to Moscow, Sir Roderic Lyne).
Profits from the Memorial lecture, to be attended by specially invited guests, will enable more Scottish volunteers to undertake 'British Executive Service Overseas' assignments in the developing world, "Something that Robert Burns would have endorsed", says Iain McConnell, Director of BESO Scotland, and a former broadcaster and producer. "His vision of the brotherhood of man is more appropriate today than ever and this new lecture will enable us to focus on the progress we have made since Burns's time" he concluded.
Celine's website, Keith's website

New label for the some of the most prestigius of Belgian folk music
Belgium. Wim Clays, of the famous band Ambrozijn, has announced the founding of a new folk music label, Kloef Music. Kloef Music hopes to bring out this year albums of, among others, AMBROZIJN, AEDO, GOZE and the compilation BOOMBAL VOL.1. The label will be run by Frederik & Wim Claeys, and the albums will be distributed by LC Music. Apart from the label, Kloef Music run also the agency "Kloef Boekingen & Management" . Kloef Music launched in December the new single of Ambrozijn.
More infos from the label's website

Classic Cross-over Success for No Masters' carols album
England. Broadcast of tracks from Fire and Sleet and Candlelight (No Masters NMCD21) on Natalie Wheen's Classic FM radio programme brought in floods of calls to the station switchboard and bumper sales for this first album by the new acappella six-piece of Coope Boyes and Simpson, Fi Fraser, Jo Freya and Georgina Boyes. What Natalie Wheen described on air as 'an indecent number' of enquiries and hugely positive response from listeners made the album an immediate best-seller and produced a sell-out at every venue on the promotional tour. Obviously, Fire and Sleet and Candlelight genuinely appealed across musical boundaries.
The album Coope Boyes & Simpson, Fi Fraser, Jo Freya, Georgina Boyes "Fire and Sleet and Candlelight: Regional and Historical Carols has been released on No Masters (NMCD21) in November 2003.

In the German news you can find as additional news:

To the content of FolkWorld No. 27

© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 2/2004

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