FolkWorld Issue 43 11/2010

News & Gossip

Win Pressgang, Langer/Ramusch, Music from Home CDs

Pressgang, Outlandish Michael Langer & Sabine Ramusch, Guitar & Passion I Like It Better Here - Music from Home

Happy Birthday

"Fame and Glory"
Simon Nicol, *13.10.1950, Muswell Hill, London, England. The guitarist and singer was a founder member of British folk rock group Fairport Convention and is the only founding member still in the band. In 1966 he was asked to join a band by bass player Ashley Hutchings. They rehearsed above his father’s old surgery in Fairport house, which gave its name to the band. Fairport Convention enjoyed a huge commercial success in their early years. In 1971 Simon left the band, joined Hutchings' Albion Band for a while and also formed a duo with fiddler Dave Swarbrick. He continued to take part in the annual Fairport reunions with led to what is now the Cropredy Festival, and, when the band reformed in 1986, he shouldered a large share of the vocal duties. Simon Nicol has been involved with a wide range of musical projects. In 2009 he performed in the rock opera "Anne de Bretagne," playing the role of King Edward IV of England.

"Wo find ich meine Seele"
Mikis Theodorakis, *29.07.1925, Island of Chios, Greece. Mikis Theodorakis (Μίκης Θεοδωράκης) is probably the most popular Greek composer and song-writer. By developing compositions that mix symphonic elements with popular songs and traditional instruments, he became recognised internationally. He is particularly well known for his score of the film "Zorba the Greek" (1964), whose main theme, "Syrtaki Dance," inspired from Cretan traditional dances, since then exists as a trademark for Greece. Because of his left-wing political ideas, Theodorakis was black-listed by the cultural establishment. His songs were censored or not allowed on the radio. When a right wing junta took power in 1967, he was interned and eventually exiled. Theodorakis became the symbol of resistance against the Greek dictatorship. In 1974, he returned to Greece to continue his work and concert tours. He was elected several times to the Greek Parliament (1981–86, 1989–93) and became a minister in the government of Constantine Mitsotakis from 1990 to 1992.


WOMEX Top Label Award - Runner's Up

2 Cumbancha, 3 Lusafrica, 4 Soundway, 5 Naive, 6 Outhere, 7 Galileo MC (Dulce Pontes, Al Andaluz Project, Carmen Souza ...), 8 World Circuit, 9 Asphalt Tango (Fanfare Ciocarlia, Ersatzmusika), 10 Six Deg-rees, 11 Crammed (Balkan Beat Box), 12 Piranha (Bo-ban i Marko Markovic Or-kestar), 13 Real World, 14 Rockadillo (Wimme, Piir-pauke), 15 Nubenegra, 16 Contre-Jour, 17 Sterns, 18 Independiente, 19 Glitter-house (Tamikrest), 20 Essay (Shantel, Rotfront)
?? The WOMEX 2010 Top Label Award goes to Harmonia Mundi's World Village label for chart-topping releases from Les Triaboliques, Mayte Martín,
Lila Downs and Yasmin Levy. Created by WOMEX in partnership with World Music Charts Europe (WMCE), the selection for the Award is made using the charts of 47 radio broadcasters from 24 countries over that last 12 months.

WOMEX is also proud to announce the winner of the WOMEX 2010 Award for Professional Excellence to Ian Anderson, founder and editor-in- chief of the magazine fRoots, on behalf of the independent press. The laudation was offered by journalist Robin Denselow:
"1979 may have been a great year for British rock and pop music, but this was a terrible year for folk music or roots music. It was a year of great post-punk bands, and of course disco. But this was the year when a young folk music musician with gloriously eclectic taste and an international outlook, decided to start a fanzine, published quarterly, called The Southern Rag. In doing so helped to kick-start the new folk revival that was to come, and the success of what came to be known as 'world music'..."

For the second year, the Roskilde Festival World Music Award also was presented at the WOMEX Award Ceremony. The winner of this year's Award is the Dhow Countries Music Academy, Zanzibar. The project receives the Award for its work on maintaining and developing the musical traditions in an area where cultural development is often relegated to the background because of more basic challenges.
Peter Hvalkof, booker of world music at Roskilde Festival, says: "It's often with good intentions that cultural projects are launched in third world countries. But it's harder running the projects over a longer period so that they can make that difference that was the aim to begin with. The Dhow Countries Music Academy draws attention not only because of its purpose and level of ambition. It’s also a professionally working organisation that has proven its worth and managed to make a difference in its area."

Billy Connolly "Folk Music on the Silver Screen"
Folk singer, comedian and film actor Billy Connolly has received the Freedom of the City at a ceremony in August in recognition of the distinction he has brought to Glasgow through his "outstanding contributions in comedy and drama; on consideration of his many charitable works and in recognition of his pride in being a Glaswegian".
Bob Winter, the Lord Provost, said: "Billy Connolly is arguably the world’s best known Glaswegian. Above all Billy Connolly has presented himself as a proud citizen of the City of Glasgow. In doing so he has shown the world the unique humour, generosity and resilience of Glaswegians."
The Freedom of the City of Glasgow is an honour Glasgow City Council is statutorily entitled to award to "persons of distinction or persons who have rendered eminent service to the city". Those who currently hold the Freedom of the City include Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Rest In Peace

Graham Cooper (1942-2010). I just learned that English folk singer/songwriter Graham Cooper had sadly died after a long illness, a week short of his 68th birthday. Seldom, with someone’s death, can a song have the added degree of poignancy that this clip now provides. GC is asking us to tell people we love them, whiel we still can. Somehow now, this song from his own pen, has become a most wonderful epitaph: youtube.

Dave Fisher (1941-2010). Oh, I am nearly forgetting an obituary again. I have had a piece of paper next to my VDU this past two months reminding me to say something about Dave Fisher the leader of The Highwaymen, who died in early May, aged 69. I was never really a fan of the group, although they were one of the first folk groups I ever heard. I guess now in Britain, they are most famous for having had the father of actor Tim Robbins as one of their number. This is the one single I bought of theirs, when I was about 13: youtube. I reckon it stands the test of time, rather well.

Alison Stephens (1970-2010). The 2001 film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, was to the film critics, all-too-forgettable. Almost risibly bad, according to some. But one thing, everyone agreed on. The quality of the mandolin music, which was magnificent. And the person responsible for that music, Alison Stephens, has just died of cervical cancer at just 40 years of age. A quite shocking loss. She was along with Simon Mayor, the UK’s foremost mandolin player. Here she is playing in her characteristically bravura style, with Nicholas Cage miming quite realistically (so it seems to non-mandolin player me!) to a piece that she also composed: youtube. [David "Dai" Woosnam]

José Antonio Labordeta (1935–2010). After General Franco died in 1976, Spain’s political system evolved from a dictatorship into today’s democracy. In the years before and after that key event, a number of singer-songwriters became the call of Spain’s people in the quest for freedom andpolitical changes.
José Antonio Labordeta
Quite often they also claimed for the recognition of the cultural identity of the regions where they were born. In the north-west land of Aragon, just in the south side of the middle part of the Pyrenees mountain range, José Antonio Labordeta (who died last September 19th) was probably the most relevant folk singer. He studied law and philosophy in Aragon’s capital city, Zaragoza, and he also became a school teacher. But his ideas soon brought him into politics, literature and singing, during decades (the 60s and 70s) of high expectations about the potential changes for the future of the world. Labordeta wrote around 25 books (ten of them poetry) from 1959 until 2010, and he also released up to 20 folk music records from 1968 until 2009. Being candidate for Aragon’s nationalist party, “El Abuelo” (The Grandfather) was also elected as member of Spain’s parliament from 2000 until 2008. The loyalty to his left-wing ideas got him into several bitter verbal confrontations with a couple of the most conservative congressmen. In the most recent years, Labordeta’s charismatic figure was also often seen in a number of television documentaries showing some of the most attractive rural landscapes in all parts of Spain. His contribution to the national traditions, arts and culture was also officially recognized a number of times by the Spanish government. [Pio Fernández]

Francisco Ribeiro (1966–2010). One of the founders of the Portuguese group Madredeus, Francisco Ribeiro, died on September 14, 2010 due to cancer. He had only released his first solo album in November 2009, "Desiderata: A Junção do Bem," with newly written music for chamber orchestras with roots in traditional Portuguese, gipsy and fado music.

In 1986, while studying the cello at the Lisbon Conservatory, Ribeiro had been invited to join Madredeus who was combining traditional Portuguese music with influences of modern folk music. The group named themselves after Lisbon's tram service, which ran directly above their rehearsal space, and the line's nearby terminus, Madre de Deus (Mother of God). The band gained world-wide recognition when collaborating with director Wim Wenders for his film "Lisbon Story". In 1997, Francisco Ribeiro had left the band .

Irwin Silber (1925–2010). American journalist, editor, publisher and political activist Irwin Silber passed away on September 8, 2010. Silber attended Brooklyn College, New York, where he was instrumental in establishing the American Folksay Group. Through his involvement with folk music, he made the acquaintance of Pete Seeger, Alan Lomax, and others.

He became the co-founder and long-time editor of Sing Out! magazine from 1951 to 1967. In the November 1965 edition, he wrote an article called "Open Letter To Bob Dylan": "I saw at Newport how you had somehow lost contact with people ... some of the paraphernalia of fame were getting in your way". Dylan replied by refusing his songs to be published in the magazine any longer. Silber's Oak Publications was responsible for a large portion of folk music material available in print, his recording company Paredon produced nearly 50 LPs with the music of the 1970's liberation movements (distributed by Smithsonian Folkways today).

David Fanshawe (1942–2010). David Fanshawe passed away on 5 July 2010, following a stroke. He was a composer, photographer, ethnic recordist and collaborator with the UK label ARC Music.

David travelled the world, recording and documenting the lives and music of the indigenous peoples of many countries and cultures. His legacy is cemented in the Fanshawe Collections, some 3,000 tapes and 60,000 images taken on his travels in Arabia, Africa, South East Asia and the Pacific between 1967 and 1994. A memorial website has been set up to honour David and his extraordinary life and career.

Virginia Keane (+2010). The wife and manager of Irish singer Sean Keane passed away on 3 July after a long illness at their home in Co. Galway in the West of Ireland.

Our deepest condolences ...

Alan Reid Leaves Battlefield Band
Alan Reid "Zama Zama"
"The Rise and
Fall o’ Charlie"

Alan Reid, keyboard player, singer and one of the founder members of the Battlefield Band, announced his leaving the group at the end of 2010. Alan says: "I'm now going to be concentrating on my musical duo with Rob van Sante. I've had a great time with the band over the years, toured the world, met many new friends and played with some fantastic musicians. The group have a fine replacement for me in the shape of Ewen Henderson from that well known talented musical family."

The latest addition to the Battlefield Band family, Ewen Henderson (fiddle, bagpipes, whistles, piano, vocals) hails from the Scottish West Highland town of Fort William, and has been naturally steeped in the traditional music, Gaelic language and culture of the area. Now in his early twenties, he started learning the fiddle at the age of five, and has since mastered an impressive array of other instruments, having had the privilege of being taught by many of the masters of West Highland traditional music, from Aonghas Grant Snr on fiddle to Angus MacColl on bagpipes.

Both Alan and Ewen will be featured in the band concerts for the rest of the year, so the group will be performing as a five piece group.


Bryan Duggan, an Irish flute player and a lecturer in computer science at the Dublin Institute of Technology, has devised an iPhone application that tells you the name of any piece of live traditional Irish music. To identify a tune, one simply needs to use the phone to record a part of a tune. The app then searches the Tunepal website for a likely match, based on its 13,000-tune archive of Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Breton, Old-Time American and Canadian music. Tunepal sends back the name of the tune, along with a discography and other background information.

Tunepal boasts of a 93% accuracy in identifying a tune. The tune can be played on any instrument or by any number of players. Tunepal compensates for pub noise and the expressiveness of a musician, and can identify it regardless of the speed or if played a few semitones up or down. See an introduction to Tunepal @

German Folk Rock, Dirty Linen Magazine
Dirty Linen Ceased Publication

Another folk and world music magazine taken from the market, US-American Dirty Linen magazine had cancelled their 2010 issues. The official web site has been deleted. See former editor Paul Hartman's blog "What Happened to Dirty Linen?" @

Dirty Linen had been a bi-monthly magazine of folk and world music based in Baltimore, Maryland. Dirty Linen originated in 1983 as a publication titled Fairport Fanatics, a fan magazine for the British band Fairport Convention created by T.J. McGrath of Fairfield, Connecticut. In 1987 Paul Hartman took over as editor and publisher, renamed the magazine Dirty Linen and expanded its scope to cover genres of rooted music from many countries and cultures. - Music for Social Change

"Slash and Burn"

Iraqi-American singer/songwriter Stephan Said (a.k.a. Stephan Smith) has founded the "global broadcasting platform for music for social change,", bringing together artists, activists and organizations to "advance local initiatives around the world on a constant basis through music and video releases."

"We Have A Dream", say Said, "by creating a global platform for music and culture for social change, difrent: promotes young, upcoming voices that are taking a stand and creating music and using culture to change our world. When the world’s majority of young voices singing and working for peace and equality are heard more loudly than the few extremists who fill our tv’s and headlines, we will win!"

Irish Artists Pledge Cultural Boycott of Israel

Tommy Sands
Refused to be

Some 150 Irish artists have pledged a cultural boycott until Israel ended its policies in the West Bank. The Irish boycott follows on the heels of a growing number of international artists who have canceled scheduled performances in Israel in what appeared to be a response to Israel’s raid on the Turkish Gaza bound flotilla in May.

Among the artists supporting the boycott were musicians Damien Dempsey, Donal Lunny and Kila’s uilleann piper Eoin Dillon. They were announcing that they intend not to perform in Israel, or to accept any funding from institutions linked to the Israeli government. An Israeli embassy spokesman said the boycott "was regrettable and ill-advised" and that "vilifying and ostracising Israel and promoting a lose-lose programme of boycotts is not the way to secure legitimate Palestinian rights".

Up and Coming ... Griff

10-14 Nov 2010 - Etnosoi!: Helsinki, Finland

11-14 Nov 2010 - William Kennedy Piping Festival: Armagh, Northern Ireland

13-30 Jan 2011 - Celtic Connections Festival: Glasgow, Scotland

FROG Festival Listing

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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 11/2010

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