Issue 30 2/2005

FolkWorld News

CD Give Away to celebrate FolkWorld's 30th issue
This is FolkWorld's 30th issue, which we are rather proud of. In the last 30 issues, FolkWorld has presented probably more than 2,000 CD reviews, hundreds of articles, and has remained overall on the pulse of time of the European folk music world. Through FROG, it has established itself as one of the biggest data bases of European folk music on the internet.

To celebrate the occasion, we give away three copies of the brilliant CD of the Irish singer Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin. Bríd has been introduced in an interview in the last issue of FolkWorld - click here for the interview. Thanks to Bríd for providing the competition CDs!

To enter the CD competition, answer the following question: When did the first ever issue of FolkWorld come out? We will draw the winner in April 2005.


Photo: Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin

Martyn Bennett 1971 - 2005
Scotland. We are sad to hear of the loss of one of the most coulourful and innovative musicians of the Scottish roots music scene. Master musician and composer Martyn Bennett has died following a long struggle with cancer. He passed away peacefully in his sleep on Sunday the 30th of January 2005.
Martyn went beyond the boundaries of Scottish roots music with his very modern rendition of traditional songs and tunes, and he has been and will be an inspiration to many musicians. Scotland has lost one of its great innovators.
There has been a beautiful obituary written by Jim Gilchrist in the Scotsman: Messages of condolence can be sent to which will be passed on to the family. If you want to find out about Martyn's music, check out his website:

Difficult times for "La Musgaña"
Spain. It was just in the end of 2003 that here in Spain, the folk music fans were all cheerful about the come-back of the band La Musgaña ( However, right in the middle of the 2004 summer, we heard that the central member, Enrique "Quique" Almendros had suffered a brain stroke while preparing a concert. The sad news is that since that episode, he has got into a very deep coma. Chances of recovery: unknown, if not very remote. It is truly sad to know about the situation of such a young talented musician, but more than that, a really friendly, humorous and generous person. He has not just contributed with his great skill (mainly playing traditional wind instruments) to the recovery and spreading of the medieval and traditional Spanish music. He has also become a teacher especially for his beloved "gaita charra y tamboril" (pipe & tabor), in dedicated courses as well as in folk music schools. Our best hopes and wishes for Quique's family, friends, and his two colleagues from La Musgaña: Jaime Muñoz and Carlos Beceiro.

St Valentine's Folk Festival
Britain. St. Valentine's Folk Festival in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, is one of the earliest in 2005, on the weekend of February 11th - 13th. Dave Emery explains: "It is a charity event in aid of the National Children's Home. The festival is homespun. We have kept costs to a minute but have a superb line-up of over 50 acts. As well as folk concerts across all three days, the festival includes blues, skiffle, Celtic music, dance, ragtime, jazz, stories, poetry, world music, singarounds, ceilidh, a folk walk and open stage."

Flook, photo by The Mollis10 years Flook
England. One of the most stunning Celtic bands of the last decade is celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2005. Flook have been celebrated a number of times in FolkWorld; their last CD was voted No. 1 by FolkWorld's editors, and they even played at the wedding of one of FolkWorld's editors!
To celebrate Flook's Tenth Anniversary year, the band plans to have "a big birthday bash in November, in fact 10 of them! They'll be happening in major cities around England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales." The band is also heading into the studio in February to start work on their new album.
More info at Flook's website,

Photo: Flook, photo by The Mollis
Scotland. Alan Kennedy of Uist Media informs us: "We wanted to make you aware of, the world’s first digital download store dedicated to Celtic, traditional and roots music. It was just launched by Scottish company Uist Media Group, based in Glasgow. In additional to thousands of legal downloads from the Celtic music world’s big names, the site features a weekly hosted radio show, Radio TradTunes, with interviews, performances, and new release information."

Malinky with new line-up
Karine Polwart, photo by The MollisScotland. One of the rising stars of the Scottish folk scene, Malinky, are heading for a major line-up change. The award-winning Scots folksong band will play their final performances with singer/songwriter/guitarist Karine Polwart and Leo McCann (button box/whistle) in a tour in Scotland and England in Mid February.
After six years, founder member of the group Karine Polwart is moving on to pursue a new opportunity as a songwriter, with support from an independent publishing company, underlining her five nominations in the 2005 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. At the same time, Leo McCann leaves Malinky following the birth of wee Eoin McCann in November 2004. Leo will continue performing music on a freelance basis and also pursue his long-postponed career in social work.
The band recently premiered the new lineup at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival. The new lineup features existing members Steve Byrne (vocals, guitar, bouzouki), Mark Dunlop (vocals, bodhrán and whistles) and Jon Bews (fiddle, vocals), alongside Fiona Hunter (vocals, cello) and Ewan MacPherson (mandolin, mandola, guitar, vocals).
The final Scottish concerts with Polwart and McCann will be/have been Edinburgh on 11 February 2005 (Pleasance Cabaret Bar) and Aberdeen on 12 February 2005 (The Lemon Tree). Some of the proceeds from the Edinburgh gig will go to Marie Curie Cancer Care in memory of the late Martyn Bennett and the producer of Malinky’s first album, Davy Steele, both of whom were cared for by the charity. A short English tour will also take place the following week in recognition of the band’s fan base down south.
Malinky said, “We felt it important to give fans in various corners of the country the chance to make it along and bid farewell to Karine and Leo, who’ve contributed so much to the success of the band through the years. The final Edinburgh concert at the Pleasance Cabaret Bar is particularly apt for us since it was there the band had its first ever performances in floor spots at Edinburgh Folk Club. We’re also thrilled at the positive reception the new lineup has had from fans, promoters and our record company alike – we’re looking forward to a great year ahead.”

Photo: Karine Polwart, photo by The Mollis

Moothie Madness in Kingussie
Scotland. The humble mouth organ proved a popular attraction at the 'Strath Spé Away' dance festival held in Kingussie in the Scottish Highlands, 12-14th November. World-renowned piper, Allan MacDonald of Glenuig, better known for his in-depth research on Ceòl Mòr, the classical music of the Highlands, shifted musical and social scales by playing and teaching the harmonica with groups of eager students.
Allan said: "I came to teach two of the most disparaged and possibly least understood instruments in our tradition. The moothie and the bagpipe may be very different instruments but people's reactions to them can be pretty much the same. They either love them or hate them!"
Many pipers have been known to carry a moothie around for fun but the wee instrument, sometimes called 'a band in a box', has had its serious uses too. Births and marriages have been celebrated to the sound of the harmonica when the fiddle or the pipes weren't available and it's music has even been used at funerals and wakes. The harmonica has also been very much used as a dance instrument and so it's inclusion in a dance festival is very appropriate.
Piper and dancer Elspeth Buxton explained: "Nowadays the mouth organ doesn't have the respect it deserves. People have forgotten about it and have moved on to other things. Myself and Sandra Robertson, who organises the annual 'Strath Spé Away' dance festival, decided we had to make a space for the moothie and we were delighted when Allan MacDonald agreed to lead two moothie workshops over the weekend. We had a great response with over a dozen players turning out and it's something we'd like to see being developed again locally."
The 'Srath Spé Away' weekend was hosted by the popular dance group 'Dannsa' and events included concerts and ceilidhs as well as classes covering a range of traditional and modern dance styles from Hip Hop to Highland. Over 200 participants attended, some from as far away as Indonesia, Thailand and Norway.

Photo: (left to right) 'Allan MacDonald discusses the finer points of moothie playing with Elspeth Buxton, Richard Robertson and Judith Bullivant, Iona Gallery, Kingussie, 14th November.'

John McCusker and Kate Rusby on the telly
UK. John McCusker and his wife Kate Rusby could recently be heard regularly on British television. The new series of the Scottish comedian Billy Connolly, "Billy Connolly’s World tour of New Zealand" featured music composed, produced and performed by John McCusker, and has been televised over the last few weeks. . The series is available on DVD and there is also a CD of the music, “Billy Connolly’s Musical tour of new Zealand”.
Kate Rusby was heard on British TV on Christmas Day. Kate was asked to write two songs for a new, 30 minute, animation called 'Jack Frost' , from a book of the same name by David Melling, telling the story of a boy lost in an enchanted forest.

Farewell to performing Tom Paxton
USA. One of the important persons of the folk scene of the last century will be doing a UK Farewell Tour this year, celebrating a career that spans forty years.His first visit to the UK was in 1965. On Part 1 of his Farewell Tour, Tom will also appear at the BBC Folk Awards where he will be honoured with a “Lifetime Achievement in Songwriting.”

Photo: Tom Paxton 1997, photo by The Mollis

How did they celebrate the battle of Trafalgar?
England. This question will be explored in a conference on Tuesday 15th March 2005 at Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Road, Camden, London NW1 7AY. During this workshop/training day, teachers, folk animateurs, musicians and event organisers will be able to acquire historically correct resources to use with all ages, particularly children, in celebrating the Battle of Trafalgar.
The Battle of Trafalgar (21st October 1805) was a tremendous event in the life of the Nation and 200 years on it will be celebrated once more. Dancing, music and song were integral parts of local activities with news and stories of the dramatic events. There would have been grand balls, patriotic concerts, village dances, songs, music and broadsheets everywhere. To help those who want to find out more, the organisation Tradamis have been working with top experts in this period of history to produce a series of pamphlets on different activities. These pamphlets have been produced to back up to the teaching that Tradamis offers and will be useable by those with a little prior knowledge of the area of work.
The one-day conference, held with the support of HMS Victory and the English Folk Dance & Song Society, is aimed at all those who are interested in working in this field, whether teachers, musicians or those who have other skills to offer and, of course, anyone who is thinking of running their own events. Costs will be £25 per person, and a full set of leaflets plus discount on many other resources will be available to all participants.
Further information through

Anam, photo by The MollisAnam are back
Scotland. The internationally acclaimed, Highland based, Irish & Scottish band ANAM have reformed, and played their first gig after a longish time of silence at Glasgow's Celtic Connections Festival 2005. Since its formation in 1993, Anam has been delighting audiences throughout the world with their eclectic mixture of traditional and original songs and tunes, which are drawn not only from the Scottish & Irish idiom, but also from other musical influences including jazz, country, singer/songwriter, Eastern European and other world music.
Anam's new line up has some of the most acclaimed and skilled musicians and singers (Gaelic & English) to come out of Scotland and Ireland in recent years. The members, each of whom are well known in there own right, are: Brian Ó hEadhra: vocals, guitar, bodhrán Fiona Mackenzie: vocals, bodhrán Gordon Gunn: fiddle, mandolin Nuala Kennedy: vocals, wooden flute and whistles.

Photo: Anam, photo by The Mollis

Malbrook nominated
Germany. Wolfgang Meyering & Malbrook have been nominated for German Folk & Worldmusic Award RUTH 2005. After having been voted last year by FolkWorld as the best album of 2003, the northern German project Malbrook of Wolfgang Meyering has now been nominated in the categorie "Newcomer" (new Projects) for the German Folk & Worldmusic Award "RUTH". The Award will be given out by Profolk e.V. and the Tanz & FolkFestival Rudolstadt (the biggest Festival of this kind in Germany, 25 000 visitors each year). The Awards in the categories German Roots, Global Roots, Newcomer and the Honour Award will be given to the Aritsts at the next edition of the TFF Rudolstadt 1-3 Juli 2005.

Flower of the West Concert
Scotland. An Lòchran, Glasgow’s Gaelic Arts Organisation, has drawn inspiration from the book Flower of the West, written & collated by Skyemen Calum & Rory MacDonald of Runrig, for two flagship Gaelic cultural events. Some of Scotland’s foremost artists and musicians will come together to celebrate the work of Calum and Rory MacDonald through song, film, poetry and visual art. The concert will have a strong Gaelic content and will be performed by Phil Cunningham, Mary Ann Kennedy, Karen Matheson, Donald Shaw, Catherine- Ann MacPhee, Mairi MacInnes and Cliar amongst others well known musicians. The concert will take place at the Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow on 6th May 2005. Contact for tickets is 0141 353 8000.

Five-lingual album
Germany/Denmark. A region where five different languages are spoken - who would have thought of the Danish-German border region? Apart from the "official" Danish and German languages, there are also three distinctive local dialects being used. To showcase this fascinating subject further, two bands from the Danish-German border region have recorded an album featuring songs in all five languages. Drones & Bellows, more known for teh Celtic music, and the Dragseth Duo present on "Hiimstoun" a mixture of newly composed and traditional songs, celebrating the distinctive linguistic culture of this region, and celebrating the fact that, even though five languages are spoken, still people live peacefully together and understand each other. A fantastic project!
The CD is reviewed in German in this issue - with the CD review you will also find the contact information for the album.

Photo: Drones & Bellows with Brian McNeill, photo by The Mollis

In the German news you can find as additional news:

To the content of FolkWorld No. 30

© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 02/2005

All material published in FolkWorld is © The Author via FolkWorld. Storage for private use is allowed and welcome. Reviews and extracts of up to 200 words may be freely quoted and reproduced, if source and author are acknowledged. For any other reproduction please ask the Editors for permission. Although any external links from FolkWorld are chosen with greatest care, FolkWorld and its editors do not take any responsibility for the content of the linked external websites.


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