FolkWorld Issue 32 12/2006
Iain Mackintosh (1932-2006)
Glasgow, Scotland. Folk singer Iain MacKintosh passed away peacefully in the early hours of Monday 28th August. Known as the quiet man of Scottish folkmusic, Glasgow born MacKintosh was one of Scotland's most prominent folksingers. His instrument of choice was the five-string banjo, after he heard Pete Seeger in concert. He performed as a solo artist and with singers Hamish Imlach and Brian McNeill as well as recording and playing on countless albums spanning a 40 year career. From 1973, he was increasingly touring Europe and the US, often nine months out of twelve. For some Scottish musicians, Iain has become a father figure.
His music drew mostly from the Scottish and American folk traditions. I don't like to put a label on it, Iain said. I'm not traditional. I'm not completely contemporary either. I sing a real mixture, songs I can believe in. He had always been political, though the songs he liked best were story songs and the ones with a subtle message. I got that quiet man image because I don't push too hard. I find it's more effective if I don't beat them over the head with social commentary. I make a quiet point and hope they listen to it tonight and think about it tomorrow. I'll make them think a bit for sure. I'll make them sing a bit, I'll make them smile a bit.
Read article in FolkWorld #15.
Proinsias Ó Maonaigh (1922-2006)
Gaoth Dobhair, Ireland. Proinsias Ó Maonaigh (Francis Mooney) died on 28th March in his home in Cois Cladaigh, Gaoth Dobhair. Proinsias had been a master fiddle player and champion of traditional Irish music in in North West Donegal. He transmitted his love and knowledge of Donegal music to his Daughter Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, fiddler and singer of the successful band Altan. His grandson Ciarán Ó Maonaigh had been the TG4 Young Musician of the Year in 2003.
Frankie Kennedy Winter School
Gaoth Dobhair, Ireland. Frankie Kennedy, born in Belfast in 1955, became one of Ireland’s best known traditional flute players through his work with the band Altan which he founded with his partner Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh. The Frankie Kennedy Winter School was established following Frankie’s untimely death from cancer in September 1994. The school’s vision is to continue his huge contribution to Irish traditional music, especially the music and song of Donegal.
This year’s Frankie Kennedy Winter School will take place from Wednesday, 27th December 2006 until Tuesday 2nd January 2007. All the events will take place in Gaoth Dobhair, Co Donegal. Classes will be provided in the following: flute, fiddle, uilleann pipes, tin whistle, bodhran, button accordion, sean nos singing, house dancing and accompaniment (guitar/bouzouki). Classes are not suitable for beginners.
Mícheál Ó'Domhnaill passed away
Dublin, Ireland. It is with great sadness to announce the passing of Mícheál Ó'Domhnaill. Mícheál was a founding member of the legendary Bothy Band and was a major influence on the development of traditional Irish music. Mícheál Ó'Domhnaill was born and raised in Kells, County Meath, Ireland and grew up in a musical family. He will be remembered for the impact his innovative guitar style had on the world of traditional Irish music. Mícheál’s first band was Skara Brae, a singing group he founded with his sisters Tríona and Maighrea and Derryman Dáithí Sproule. Following Skara Brae, Mícheál began a collaboration with Mick Hanly and landed a spot as support for the now-famous Planxty Irish tour of 1973. But in 1975 he helped shape traditional music forever when he founded The Bothy Band - considered by critics and musicians alike to be the most influential traditional Irish band ever. In the four years The Bothy Band was together, they toured extensively and recorded several highly acclaimed albums. Following the break up of The Bothy Band, Micheál moved to America where he played with many musicians including fiddle player Kevin Burke. Later with his sister Tríona and flute player Brian Dunning he formed Nightnoise which gained widespread recognition and acclaim worldwide. Mícheál passed away in his Dublin home on July 9, 2006 at the age of 54.
Read interview in FolkWorld #25.
Greentrax 20th Anniversary
Glasgow, Scotland. Greentrax Recordings celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2006. The Anniversary is marked with the publication of a full colour catalogue, listing over 300 albums; the release of a 3 CD compilation, tracing the company's releases over twenty years (see also review in this issue). 2006 also marked the 'Golden Wedding Anniversary' of Greentrax directors Jane and Ian Green, so there had been double cause for celebration. Greentrax Recordings is regarded by many as Scotland's leading traditional music record company and, after twenty years, continues to lead the way with their wide-ranging releases, from the very traditional song and music to the most contemporary of the 'fusion' bands. Congratulations from the FolkWorld team!
Armagh Pipers Club 40th Anniversary
Armagh, Northern Ireland. The Armagh Pipers Club celebrates its 40th anniversary. In 1966 Fintan, Dara and Brian Vallely founded the club when many ceili musicians and their music vanished into oblivion. The Armagh Pipers' Club is promoting traditional Irish music, especially the playing of the uilleann pipes; it is organising classes, concerts, publishing tune books and tutors. Today, with 160 pupils and 20 tutors teaching a huge range of instruments, classes are held in the St Patrick's Trian visitors complex in Armagh City. For the last 12 years, the club organised the William Kennedy Festival of World Piping. Many past pupils did become professional performers: Brian Finnegan of Flook, Cillian Vallely of Lunasa, Niall & Caoimhin Vallely of Buille, Leo McGann of Malinky, Tiarnan O'Duinnchinn and Stephanie Makem of Dorsa. Teachers had been brothers Paul Meehan (Lunasa, Karan Casey Band) and Martin Meehan, the late Mark Donnelly of Craobh Rua, and harpist Patricia Daly.
JARO 25th anniversary
Bremen, Germany. At the end of October 2006, JARO Medien GmbH was celebrating its 25th anniversary. Since founding in 1981, 180 CD productions have been released on the record label, likewise called JARO. JARO has always been distinguished by its broadmindedness with regard to style. Among them are a number of albums which have been distinguished with music awards. The women's choir Bulgarian Voices Angelite, for instance, was nominated for the Grammy in 1993, in 1995 Nusrath Fateh Ali Khan won the international music prize of the UNESCO, and the Warsaw Village Band was honoured with the BBC World Music Award in 2004. JARO likes to conclude by going back to the beginning: Piirpauke. In celebration of its 25th anniversary, JARO has decided to reissue its very first album "Live in der Balver Höhle".
Rock'n'Reel is back
Britain. Rock'n'Reel - a music magazine covering the very best in roots, rock, blues and beyond - started life as a fanzine with modest ambitions and grew into a fully fledged magazine; this development will now continue with the relaunch in December 2006. A fan and subscriber to the original Rock'n'Reel first published in 1998, new publisher Richard Ellin is committed to the magazine's long term future as a serious music journal. The first issue of the relaunched Rock'n'Reel includes interviews with Shane MacGowan, Donovan, Paul Rodgers, Flogging Molly, Christy Moore, Jacqui McShee, Arlo Guthrie, Andy Roberts, Dick Gaughan, Legendary Shack Shakers, James Yorkston, Spiers & Boden, Joe Brown, and features on Bob Dylan, Marc Bolan, Nick Drake, Arthur Lee and Syd Barrett, plus CD, live, DVD, book reviews and news. The new version of Rock'n'Reel will appear nationally as a one hundred and forty page glossy bi monthly with its own distinctive cover mount CD entitled 'UN-HERD'. Un-Herd Volume 1 includes music by Canned Heat, Ani DiFranco, Steve Hackett, Eleanor McEvoy, Paul Lamb and The King Snakes, Colin Scot, Heartless Bastards, Die Hunns, Luke Doucet, Denison Witmer and more. There will be a further free CD in the Un-herd series affixed to the cover of each subsequent issue of Rock'n'Reel.
Dervish to Represent Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest
Sligo, Ireland. County Sligo based traditional Irish band Dervish are proud to announce that they will represent Ireland at the 52nd Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Helsinki in 2007. RTÉ Television said: “Dervish are one of the most prominent ambassadors of traditional Irish music and have performed to audiences around the globe. Although deeply devoted to traditional Irish music in its purest form, Dervish have always pushed the boundaries and are widely respected for their innovative approach to the arrangement of traditional Irish songs in both English and Irish. Possessing one of the tightest and most inventive rhythm sections on the circuit today, the Sligo-based sextet are famous for their high energy performance style, at times wild and swirling, at times deep and spiritual. Ireland’s last Eurovision winner in 1998, 'The Voice', was a traditionally inspired composition, and the recent history of the competition has seen ethnic song styles figure prominently. With the Eurovision now an increasingly complex and competitive competition, RTÉ feels that Dervish’s proven experience of delivering exciting performances to mass live audiences around the world makes them an exciting proposition for the Eurovision stage. We look forward to finding the best song for Dervish to take to Finland in 2007.”
RTÉ’s Eurosong 2007 will offer prospective songwriters a unique opportunity to write in a wide range of genre, utilising both the extraordinary tightness of the lead instrumentalists alongside Cathy Jordan's warm, strong and versatile voice. RTÉ are inviting songwriters to submit compositions. Submissions must be in by noon on Monday 8 January, 2007. Further information for songwriters available on www.rte.ie/eurosong.
Radio Britfolk 1st Anniversary
Otley, England. The musician-made 'Radio Britfolk' launched a new look web-site with a bumper selection of programmes. Radio Britfolk has just been awarded a £4968 grant from the Awards for All lottery funding, aimed at encouraging greater community use of the site from listeners and encouraging new programme makers. Radio Britfolk co-ordinator Kate Bramley says, 'The launch of Radio Britfolk was only possible thanks to the support of many professional musicians across Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England, and the grant from Awards For All means we can share this great music with a worldwide audience'. As well as the programmes there are workshops and the ever popular Radio Britfolk Billboard, where artists from all over Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England feature their best selections. Over 2000 listeners worldwide every month for the Billboard alone proves that folk, old and new, is popular once again. Listen on demand, whenever you like, for free! Or join the revival for member’s perks and access to the programme archives at www.radiobritfolk.co.uk.
New Artistic Director for Celtic Connections Festival
Glasgow, Scotland. Donald Shaw (of Capercaillie) has been made the new Artistic Director of Celtic Connections Festival. He takes over from Colin Hynd who over 13 years has taken the festival from nothing to 100,000 people attending. We wish lots of luck to Donald in his new job!
Compass Records distributes Green Linnet
Nashville, USA. The 30-year old Connecticut based Celtic record label Green Linnet has been sold to Digital Music Group Inc. According to DGMI, they intend to release portions of the 2,400 track Green Linnet catalog as ringtones and downloadable media, but they have no interest in CDs. Subsequently, a licensing distribution deal to physical distribution rights had been made with Nashville based Compass Records. Garry West of Compass Records explains: I want to reinforce the idea that the folks who love this music should support it. I hate to think of music as a commodity but once you put a price tag on it, it is. There is a continuing need to make these titles available in physical form. We know the value of the product to the artist, we know that they need it to tour, and we know that the audience needs it and wants it. Everything that's out of print but still under rights to the Green Linnet name will be brought back into print.
So alongside Compass Records artists such as Solas, Liz Carroll & John Doyle, Lunasa, Pauline Scanlon, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh and Mick Moloney [see CD reviews in this issue], titles from the Bothy Band, Cuig, Deanta, Ffynnon, Kornog, Old Blind Dogs, Niamh Parsons, Patrick Street and the Tannahill Weavers will still be available. The Green Linnet website will remain active.
FolkCast Folk Music Podcast
Preston, England. FolkCast - the UK's first folk music Podcast - is on the Internet. This new, free audio service features the best in folk, folk-rock, singer-songwriter and roots-based music from Britain and beyond, plus interviews with the people making that music today. Produced in Preston by journalist Phil 'Widds' Widdows and renowned musician Ken Nicol, FolkCast will be showcasing both established artists and new talents, and in months to come there are plans to go backstage at gigs and festivals to bring a flavour of the live arena to the Internet.
What's a Podcast? Think of it as a radio show for the Internet, but "on air" whenever the listener wants to tune in by going to our website. It can be easily downloaded in MP3 format for transfer to iPod or burning to CD to listen on the move! You can even take out a free subscription to the show, using free software, and have the latest editions automatically delivered to your computer as soon as they are available.
First-Ever Gaelic DualDisc
Portree, Scotland. Macmeanmna Ltd. from the Isle of Skye proudly presents a DualDisc called "Bho dhòrn gu dòrn", recently produced by the Gaelic waulking song group Bannal. It's a first for Gaelic culture, being the only DualDisc of Gaelic song ever produced. A DualDisc is a CD on one side, and a DVD on the other. The CD side of the Bannal release features newly-recorded traditional waulking songs, dating as far back as the 16th century. But since the art of waulking (cloth shrinking accompanied by singing) is also a very visual one a 30-minute DVD is included on the flip side. The latter features a documentary, originally made for the BBC.
Folkwit Free Sampler
Nottingham, England. Folkwit Records from Nottingham have released a sampler album featuring 12 original songs by 12 new UK folk roots artists. The sampler is free to download. By sending a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org. FolkWorld readers will be automatically sent the details of how to access the free download area (by doing so, they also submit their email address to Folkwit Records mailing list). Alternatively, the CD version can be bought at a bargain price of £2.50 + £1 P&P from www.folkwit.biz.
Kate Rusby-Ronan Keating Duet
Sheffield, England. Kate was asked by Ronan Keating to record a duet for his latest album. The single is called "All Over Again". The song makes uninspiring cheesy pop music, and has unfortunately been played very regularly on BBC Radio 2. If you venture into the pop world, why didn’t you do it at least with a good song, Kate? (mm)
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