Archive for the ‘News’ Category

He was the harmonica player Mick Jagger enlisted for a lesson, and the Doors, Patti Smith and Beck all invited on stage to perform with them in Minneapolis. The Minnesota music hero honored by both Bob Dylan and the Replacements. The writer and musicologist who penned blues tomes, magazine articles and Dylan liner notes.

To the friends and family mourning Tony Glover this week, he was also just an ultracool, storied but laid-back guy they relished hanging around.

Glover died Wednesday afternoon of natural causes after being hospitalized since May 13. He was 79.

Using the bluesman pseudonym “Little Sun,” Glover made his earliest and best-known mark on music in the early-1960s acoustic blues and folk group Koerner, Ray & Glover. The trio’s three albums for Elektra Records — especially their 1963 debut “Blues, Rags & Hollers” — were cited by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Doors, Bonnie Raitt and many more as an influence on their music.

In a 2002 interview shortly before his longtime bandmate Dave “Snaker” Ray lost a battle with cancer, Glover said, “Ragged but right; that’s what we always aimed for.”

A Minneapolis native who grew up loving Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson and Leadbelly alongside Ray (his classmate at University High School in Dinkytown), Glover became emblematic of the white kids whose reverence of African-American blues musicians shaped rock music.

Read full article: Minnesota blues hero Tony Glover, an influence on Dylan and the Stones, dies at 79 –


Singer-songwriter Leon Redbone, who specialized in old-school vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley-style music, died Thursday, his family confirmed. He was 69. Though, in characteristically whimsical fashion, the official statement announcing his death gave his age as 127.

Although Redbone’s pop-defying predilection for seemingly antiquated musical styles of the ’20s and ’30s made him the unlikeliest of stars, he became one anyway, appearing several times as the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live” — including two spots in the inaugural 1975-76 season alone — and landing frequent appearances with Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show” into the 1980s. Later popular successes had him singing the themes for TV’s “Mr. Beledevere” and “Harry and the Hendersons,” along with contributing a duet of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with Zooey Deschanel to the soundtrack of “Elf,” for which he also voiced the animated character of Leon the Snowman.

Redbone had officially retired in 2015, with a representative then citing unspecified health concerns that had “been a matter of concern for some time” as the reason for his being unable to continue performing or recording.

A post on Redbone’s website confirming his death contained enough deadpan humor and obvious fiction that it was almost certainly prepared in advance by the singer himself. “It is with heavy hearts we announce that early this morning, May 30th, 2019, Leon Redbone crossed the delta for that beautiful shore at the age of 127,” it read. “He departed our world with his guitar, his trusty companion Rover, and a simple tip of his hat. He’s interested to see what Blind Blake, Emmett, and Jelly Roll have been up to in his absence, and has plans for a rousing sing along number with Sári Barabás. An eternity of pouring through texts in the Library of Ashurbanipal will be a welcome repose, perhaps followed by a shot or two of whiskey with Lee Morse, and some long overdue discussions with his favorite Uncle, Suppiluliuma I of the Hittites. To his fans, friends, and loving family who have already been missing him so in this realm he says, ‘Oh behave yourselves. Thank you…. and good evening everybody.’”

Ironically, one of Redbone’s most popular concert pieces was “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone” — a number that incorporated whistling solos that further ensured Redbone would be talked about in his absence. That song title, which dates back to 1930, was adapted as the name of a documentary about Redbone that premiered at festivals in 2018 but has not yet been widely released.


Read full article: Leon Redbone Dead: Singer Dies at 69 – Variety

Yann-Fañch Kemener, an influential Breton folk music singer died on March 16, 2019. He was involved in the revival of a Breton style called Kan ha diskan.

Yann-Fañch Kemener was born April 7, 1957 in Sainte-Tréphine (Côtes-d’Armor), in the heart of Brittany’s Fañch region (France). He grew up in a family of singers and dancers.

Breton was his mother tongue and the transmission was done naturally. At four, he participated in his first fest-noz (Breton night festival) and his first performance on stage was at 15, encouraged by Albert Boloré.

Influenced by the great voices of elders like Mrs. Bertrand, Yann-Fañch performed gwerz (Breton epic folk songs) and other styles at fest-noz events, together with artists such as Marcel Guilloux, Erik Marchand, and Ifig Troadec.

He recorded Deep Songs of Brittany Vol. 1, including the Skolvan Ballade, Gousperrou ar ranned and La Grande Passion. In 1982, the Charles-Cros academy gave him the Grand Prix Heritage for the three album series Deep Songs of Brittany.

Read full article: Traditional Breton Singer Yann-Fañch Kemener Dies at 61 | World Music

Les Poules à Colin, a group of 20-somethings who are the offspring of traditional musicians, are putting their own spin on centuries-old sounds. (Luna Calmette-Ratelle/Radio-Canada)

There’s a traditional Québécois song that’s devoted entirely to leg afflictions.

Sung without instruments, Le pied fait su’l’cant plaintively describes a misshapen foot, a crooked ankle, a fat thigh.

For Françoise Malo, who grew up in Saint-Marc-sur-Richelieu, it’s one of many simple call-and-response songs she’d belt out with her family — a Québécois tradition that stretches back generations.

It wasn’t until she sang it for Mélisande, a contemporary singer and jaw harp player, that the song began its second life.

Mélisande, who performs with her partner, Alexandre de Grosbois-Garand, decided to re-record the song, adding in echoing synths and hard-driving beats for a sound they call “électrotrad.”

“Then I added some lyrics,” said Mélisande “I am not perfect. But I am sexy like this.”

The story of Le pied fait su’l’cant‘s transformation from call-and-response folk song to empowering electronic hit is, in many ways, the story of Québécois traditional music.

As each new generation of musicians looks to the past, they update the music with the sounds and spirit of their times.

“It’s amazing to dig into this tradition that is so old and so rich,” said de Grosbois-Garand, who serves as musical director and plays flute and bass.

“On stage … we have synths and drums and a lot of technology. We really make a 21st-century version of that tradition,” he said.

Read full article and listen to audio: With an eye on the past, Quebec traditional music is reinventing itself — again | CBC Radio

Salif Keita, Mali’s most famous musical son, is going home. “I’m returning to the land,” he says. “I was a farmer’s son. I am a farmer’s son. Now, I will go back to the country and cultivate.” Cultivate what? I ask, not for the first time. Keita does not answer, not for the first time. He closes his eyes and falls silent. When he does speak, it is bursts of a few words and short, stilted answers.

I am in a modest hotel suite in the north of Paris with one of the greatest musical talents the African continent has ever produced. Keita, known as the “golden voice of Africa”, has enjoyed a career spanning more than half a century. Now nearly 70 years old, he is known not just for his extraordinarily powerful and passionate voice, but for the genetic condition he has called albinism that has made him, he says, “white of skin and black of blood”. He has sung for Nelson Mandela, and in aid of Ethiopia. He continues to sing to highlight the desperate plight of those with albinism across Africa, giving his time and talent to raise funds.

Keita is eating breakfast, a plate of fried chicken and onions, chunks of crispy baguette and milky tea. His answers are brief and so softly-spoken it’s a struggle to catch the occasional word in between the food and the clatter of cutlery. More than once, he stops eating, looks pained, and rubs both his hands vigorously over his face.

He is in Paris to promote his 14th album Un Autre Blanc (Another White), the title a reference to his struggles as a singer-songwriter with albinism. Keita says it is definitely his last. “I will do some concerts and perhaps some tours. Nothing major and not another album.” He shakes his head. “Too much work. I am going to rest.”

Read full article: Salif Keita: ‘Democracy is not a good thing for Africa’ | Music | The Guardian

The sun has set for one of the brightest stars in Kenyan music history, Ayub Ogada. The legend, who put nyatiti on the map, was discovered dead at his residence in Nyahenya, Kisumu County, on Friday evening. He was 63.

Born Job Seda in 1956, Ogada is arguably one of Kenya’s greatest musicians. His memory lives on not only in the music, but in the hearts and hands of countless musicians that he has inspired the world over.

Musicians Suzanna Owiyo, Makadem, Rapasa Nyatrapasa Rapwapwa, Daniel Okiror, Papillon and Daniel Onyango, are just but some who attribute their love for music and nyatiti, to the legend.

“It is Ayub who inspired my generation to pick up the nyatiti and continue telling our stories. His music will forever be with us,” writes nyatiti player, Daniel Onyango, in a eulogy.

He also played other traditional musical instruments such as kalimba, orutu and traditional flutes, as well as contemporary instruments like the guitar and piano.

His death comes just weeks after the passing on of Kenyan bass player Bruce Odhiambo, Zimbabwean musical legend Oliver Mtukudzi, and a year after the death of renowned South African trumpet maestro, Hugh Masekela.

Read full article: Curtain falls on legendary musician Ayub Ogada : The Standard

Bill Caddick, who has died aged 74, was already well known on the British folk scene as a master craftsman of songwriting when he was recruited to join the Albion Band at the National Theatre in performances of Lark Rise (1978), Keith Dewhurst’s adaptation of Flora Thompson’s memoir of late-19th century rural England.

The innovative production, directed by Bill Bryden, was performed as a promenade: no seats but with the audience, actors and musicians intermingled. The band, led by Ashley Hutchings and also featuring John Tams, added traditional folk songs to the production, played in a folk-rock style. Caddick was in his element, playing guitar and percussion as well as providing vocals, and he relished the theatrical experience and the closeness of the audience. Dewhurst’s Candleford followed, and Caddick performed on the Albion Band’s 1980 album Lark Rise to Candleford.

Caddick continued to perform and sometimes write songs for National Theatre shows, including Don Quixote (1982), A Country Calendar (1979) and, most notably, the trilogy of plays, The Passion, The Nativity and Doomsday, which made up The Mysteries, Bryden’s landmark promenade production of medieval mystery plays, which transferred to the Lyceum theatre in 1985.

Read full article: Bill Caddick obituary | Music | The Guardian

Roy Bailey obituary | Music | The Guardian

Posted: November 20, 2018 in News

Singer whose political brand of folk music brought him fame in Europe and America

Although Roy Bailey, who has died aged 83, played a significant role in the development of sociology in Britain, he was most widely known as a folk singer. He started in the folk clubs around Southampton and Portsmouth in the early 60s, with a repertoire of the US-based folk and skiffle popular at the time, but quickly found his voice in folk music as a popular expression of political and social dissent. Influenced by singers as diverse as Ewan MacColl and Bob Dylan, he became convinced that folk music could become a powerful vehicle for contemporary social criticism.

As folk gained in popularity, Roy became a star attraction. His rich baritone voice, his charm and skill as a performer, together with his evocation of traditional folk themes, gave him an appeal to a much wider audience than either a purely cultural interest in folk or an unadorned political radicalism would have.

Sign up for the Sleeve Notes email: music news, bold reviews and unexpected In the early years, he often sang with his wife, Val (nee Turbard), whom he met in 1960 and married in 1963, but he also formed a number of other working partnerships, including one that took a historical perspective, with the politician Tony Benn. In 1964, he teamed up with Leon Rosselson, a prolific writer of songs of incisive social comment. They collaborated for many years. He later formed the Band of Hope, a group of traditional English folk musicians that also included Martin Carthy, John Kirkpatrick, Dave Swarbrick and Steafan Hannigan, and together they recorded the CD Rhythm and Reds (1994).

By the 70s, his reputation had spread to mainland Europe, and he sang in Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands. During the 80s, he became more widely known in North America, particularly on the west coast of the US and as a regularly featured performer at the Vancouver folk festival, where he met and performed with both Pete Seeger and Billy Bragg. He also performed in Australia in folk festivals and clubs from Sydney to Perth.

Rather than write his own songs, Roy took up material provided by the many performers and writers he met on his travels, each drawing on the traditions of protest of their own country. With songs from Si Kahn, Robb Johnson, Ray Hearne, Geoff Pearson and Rosselson among others, he wove the threads of his own distinctive themes and causes: denunciation of war, political repression, injustice and the impoverishment of working people and minorities.

Read full article: Roy Bailey obituary | Music | The Guardian

Cyril Pahinui — slack key master, Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning recording artist, teacher, mentor and role model — died Saturday at Queen’s Medical Center. He had been in declining health for several years and was hospitalized in 2016. He was 68.

Waimanalo born and raised, Cyril Pahinui learned to play by watching his father, slack key master Charles Philip “Gabby” Pahinui, play music in the backyard with a circle of friends that included slack key guitarists Leland “Atta” Issacs and Sonny Chillingworth, and acoustic bassist Manuel “Joe Gang” Kupahu. His first instrument was the ‘ukulele. He started playing slack key at seven and was allowed to start sitting in with the adults at the age of 12.

Read full article: Slack key master Cyril Pahinui dies at 68 – Honolulu Star Advertiser

The death has been announced of musician Alec Finn, co-founder of Galway-based folk group De Dannan.

Finn, along with Frankie Gavin, Ringo McDonagh and Charlie Piggot founded De Dannan in 1974. Driven by the unique musical partnership between bouzouki player and guitarist Finn and co-founder Gavin, the band won considerable acclaim and brought Irish music to the world stage during the 70’s and 80’s with a series of seminal albums like Anthem and Ballroom.

Read full article: De Danann co-founder Alec Finn dies aged 74