Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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

WTMD is thrilled to host an evening of acoustic music by Fink, Marxer & Gleaves, featuring the legendary folk performers Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer teaming up with Appalachian singer-songwriter Sam Gleaves.

This summer, the trio released their debut album, “Shout and Shine,” and they’ll perform songs from it live in WTMD’s intimate, acoustically engineered performance studio.

The record draws on the trio’s diverse influences, featuring original songs by two-time Grammy award winners Fink and Gleaves, as well as old time country songs and songs written by celebrated songwriters Alice Gerrard, Tom Paxton and Jim Beloff. “Shout and Shine” honors folk music matriarchs Elizabeth Cotten, Jean Ritchie and Maybelle Carter with new interpretations of songs from their repertoires.

Fink, Marxer & Gleaves first came together at Common Ground on the Hill, a traditional arts festival in Westminster, Maryland, where Sam Gleaves met folk legends Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer. After bonding over a love of traditional music and social justice, the three began to play together and formed a quick friendship.

When it came time to record Sam’s first album, “Ain’t We Brothers,” in 2015, Cathy and Marcy joined him in the studio, both playing on the record and Cathy producing the project. They began touring, showcasing together at Folk Alliance International and playing music any chance they could get. “Shout and Shine” spotlights the incredible and unconventional friendship between the three — Cathy being 64, Marcy being 62, and Sam being 25 — brought together by the culture, power, love and community of roots music.

Friday, October 12 at 7:30pm to 9:30pm at WTMD in Towson.

Maartin Allcock (photo: Dirty Linen)

Tributes have poured in from around the world to Maartin Allcock, former Fairport and Jethro Tull multi-instrumentalist, who died on Sunday aged 61.

Maart – as everyone knew him fondly – had been suffering from liver cancer.

A former resident of Barford, he had lived in Harlech for a number of years and returned to Cropredy for this year’s Fairport’s Cropredy Convention to play to a massive and adoring crowd of fans for one last time.

His website said: “It is with overwhelming sadness that we have to announce the death of our wonderful husband, friend, father and genius musician, Maart.”

Born in Manchester in 1957, Maart played in folk clubs and dance bands before running away to join the Celtic folk group Bully Wee Band.

This led to an 11-year stint with folk-rock legends Fairport Convention, four years with rock band Jethro Tull and a session career which has included over 300 albums.

Read full article: Fans mourn death of Fairporter Maartin Allcock – Banbury Guardian

Maartin Allcock at Fairport’s annual festival, August 2017.


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