Paul Simon (*23 Oct 1941, Newark, New Jersey, USA). The American singer-songwriter and guitarist is best known for his success, beginning in 1965, as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel (Art Garfunkel celebrates his 70th birthday on Nov 5th). Their idols were the Everly Brothers, whom they imitated in their use of close two-part harmony. Simon also developed an interest in jazz, folk and blues, especially in musical legends Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly. He wrote most of the duo's songs, including three that reached number one on the US singles charts: "The Sound of Silence", "Mrs. Robinson", and "Bridge Over Troubled Water". In 1970, at the height of their popularity, the duo split, and Simon began a successful solo career. Occasionally, he and Garfunkel did reunite, e.g. for the famous concert in New York's Central Park in 1981. In 1986, he released the celebrated "Graceland," an album inspired by South African township music that helped fuel the anti-apartheid movement. The sessions featured many South African musicians and groups, particularly Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Cesária Évora (*27 August 1941, Mindelo, Cape Verde). The barefoot diva is perhaps the best internationally known practitioner of the morna. Her bright voice was noticed early on, but her hope of a singing career remained unsatisfied. In 1988, she was invited to Paris to make a record, and at 47, she had nothing to lose. Her first album "La Diva Aux Pieds Nus" (The Barefoot Diva) became a hit within the Cape Verdean community. In the following years her performance stunned European audiences. The press compared Évora to Billie Holliday and provided many details that fuel her legend: her hard life on Cape Verde’s desolate islands, her taste for cognac and tobacco... She began to tour the world, and in 2004 "Voz d'Amor" was awarded by both a Grammy Awards and a Victoires de la Musique. Since 2008 her public appearances became less frequent due to failing health. Eventually, she gave up performing entirely in 2011.
David Crosby (*14 August 1941, Los Angeles, USA). Originally a drama student, David Van Cortlandt Crosby dropped out of college to pursue a career in music. He moved toward the same Greenwich Village scene Bob Dylan participated in. Crosby joined The Byrds who recorded a cover version of "Mr. Tambourine Man," which turned into a massive hit. In 1967 he was dismissed from the band due to internal tensions.
Eric Bibb (*16 August 1951, New York, USA). His father Leon had been a singer in musical theatre who made a himself name as part of the 1960s New York folk scene. His uncle was the jazz pianist and composer John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Surrounded by musical talent - singer/activist Paul Robeson had been Bibb's godfather - Eric was given his first guitar aged seven. At 16 years old, his father invited him to play in the house band for his TV talent show "Someone New". Aged 19, Bibb left for Europe and immersed himself in acoustic blues and the emerging world music scene. "Diamond Days" from 2006 has become Eric's biggest selling album of a lengthy career, receiving universal critical acclaim.
Ramblin' Jack Elliott (*1 August 1931, Brooklyn, New York, USA).
The American singer (born as Elliot Charles Adnopoz) is
one of the last remaining folk music legends of the 20th century.
At the age of 15 Elliott ran away to join a rodeo show and was exposed to his first singing cowboy.
He subsequently taught himself guitar and started busking.
In 1950, he met Woody Guthrie and travelled with him.
With banjo player Derroll Adams he toured Europe, inspiring both
traddies and rockers with his American folk and blues repertoire.
When he returned to the US, he met the young Bob Dylan and mentored him.
Elliott used to introduce Dylan's songs with the words: Here's a song from my son, Bob Dylan.
He continued the life of the travelling troubadour, influencing countless artists,
and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1998.
His nickname however comes not from his travelling habits, but rather from the stories he
relates before answering any question. Folk singer Odetta claimed that it was her
mother who gave him the name, remarking, Oh Jack Elliott, yeah, he can sure ramble on!
Bert Jansch (1943-2011). One of Britain’s greatest folk guitarists, ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as #94 on its list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of all Time, died on 5 October 2011 after a long battle with cancer. Herbert "Bert" Jansch was born in Glasgow as the descendant of a family originally from Hamburg, Germany who settled in Britain during the Victorian era. As a teenager, he acquired a guitar and started visiting local Edinburgh folk clubs, where he met Archie Fisher and Jill Doyle (Davey Graham's half-sister), who introduced him to the music of Big Bill Broonzy, Pete Seeger, Brownie McGhee and Woody Guthrie. He also shared a flat with Robin Williamson.
Initially he almost exclusively played blues covers, but gradually he began to write his own music and develop a distinct fingerpicking style. John Renbourn and Jansch frequently played together, developing their own intricate interplay between the two guitars, often referred to as Folk baroque. In 1968, he joined the band Pentangle, their fusion of traditional folk songs with jazz, blues and pop proved an instant hit. He was touring and recording with them until their break-up in 1972. He then gave up music entirely to retreat to farming in Wales, returning in the late 1970s. Until his death, Jansch continued to work as a solo artist and joined a reformed Pentangle.
Ray Fisher (1940-2011). Born in Glasgow, Ray Fisher is one of three out of a family of seven children (Archie, Cilla) whose musical talents have made the name Fisher synonymous with Scottish folk music. Ray initially played skiffle and traditional American songs. When she met the celebrated travelling singer Jeannie Robertson, she was invited to stay with her, learning much of her repertoire. Performing at a folk club in Newcastle upon Tyne, Ray met fiddler and Northumbrian piper Colin Ross of Northumbrian group The High Level Ranters, whom she married in 1962. The move to Tyneside turned her towards the muckle sangs, the big traditional Scots ballads. She loved finding different versions and reconstructing the stories.
Ray made only a couple albums: "I don't feel the need to put things on tape. I don't feel the urge to record
anything. I'm not interested in what posterity has to say about what contribution I've made to folk music."
Her joy in folk music lay in passing on the songs she loved and providing a link to an old tradition.
A fervent anti-nuclear campaigner, Ray Fisher died on 31st August 2011.
Radio Skala - Around the World in 24 Hours
This summer FolkWorld's Karsten Rube started a new project, Radio Skala, with broadcasting his own radio shows at the internet. Twenty-four-seven you can listen to folk, world and jazz music, to some extent taken from the numerous CDs reviewed at FolkWorld and eventually brought to good use.
Programs on Air: Celtic Storm Folkforum Go West Heimatklang Piazza Tarantella ...
Margaret Bennett: Prix du Québec 2011
Congratulations to Scottish singer and folklorist Margaret Bennett on her recent award of the Prix du Québec London Office 2011, the most prestigious award attributed by the Government of Québec in all fields of culture and science, for contribution to Quebec cultural studies.
Margaret Bennett was brought up in a family of tradition bearers — Gaelic (from the Isle of Skye) on
her mother’s side and Lowland Scots on her father’s. Folklorist, ethnologist and prize-winning author,
she is also well known as a singer and broadcaster. She is widely regarded as Scotland’s foremost folklorist,
has recorded several CDs, and lectures and sings on both sides of the Atlantic.
Mikołajki Folkowe 2011
The first folk music festival in Poland, organized every year since 1991, and one of the biggest and most famous in the country. The festival takes place on the second weekend of December (and lasts for 3-4 days) in the Academic Culture Centre of Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin. The festival consists of concerts on three stages, film presentations, workshops, theatre performances, visual arts exhibitions, and a craft fair. Every year about 2,500 people and 150 performers take part in the event.
8 - 13 November 2011 Etnosoi!, Helsinki, Finland www.globalmusic.fi 17 - 20 November 2011 William Kennedy Piping Festival, Armagh, N.Ireland, UK www.wkpf.org 19 Jan - 5 Feb 2012 Celtic Connections Festival, Glasgow, Scotland, UK www.celticconnections.com 09 - 13 May 2012 folkBALTICA, Flensburg & Sønderjylland-Schleswig, Germany/Denmark www.folkbaltica.de