Roy Bailey (*20 October 1935, London, UK). The English socialist folk singer began his singing career in a skiffle group in 1958. Colin Irwin once said that Roy Bailey represents "the very soul of folk's working class ideals, a triumphal homage to the grass roots folk scene as a radical alternative to the mainstream music industry." In 2005, Bailey received the UK's government MBE for services to folk music (which he returned since in protest at the government's foreign policy with regard to Lebanon and the Palestinian territories). He is the patron of the Towersey Village Festival and the Shepley Spring Festival, and also the father in law of singer Martin Simpson.
Simon Nicol (*13 October 1950, Muswell Hill, North London, UK). English guitarist and singer Simon John Breckenridge Nicol is a founding member of British folk rock group Fairport Convention in 1967, taking the name from Simon's house 'Fairport' where the band rehearsed. Fairport Convention became hugely successful after vocalist Sandy Denny joined the band. After Sandy left, Simon found himself taking a prominent role on stage. During the 1970s, Simon took a four-year break, collaborating with Dave Swarbrick and The Albion Band among others. Since 1975 he has been the band's main guitarist and lead singer and is the only founding member still in the band.
Like Richard Thompson, Nicol uses a hybrid picking technique that uses a pick between thumb and forefinger and remaining fingers to pluck the higher strings. Nicol described his technique as 'percussive'. He is considered one of the most reliable and versatile rhythm players available.
Don McLean (*2 October 1945, New Rochelle, New York, USA). The American singer-songwriter Don McLean is best known for the 1971 album "American Pie". The album spawned two No. 1 hits in the title song and "Vincent". McLean's magnum opus, "American Pie", is a impressionistic ballad inspired partly by the deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J. P. Richardson in a plane crash on February 3, 1959. The song popularized the expression "The Day the Music Died" in reference to this event. With a total running time of 8:36 encompassing both sides of the single, it is also the longest song to reach No. 1.
As a teenager, McLean had become interested in folk music, particularly the Weavers. Childhood asthma meant that McLean missed long periods of school, He learned the art of performing from his friend and mentor Pete Seeger. McLean accompanied Seeger on his Clearwater boat trip up the Hudson River in 1969 to raise awareness about environmental pollution in the river. In February 2012 McLean won the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Life Time Achievement award.
Allan Taylor (*30 September 1945, Brighton, UK). “The songs of Woody Guthrie, the guitar playing of Davey Graham and Jack Kerouac’s book On the Road fired my imagination and I knew I had to get out on the road and make my own journey.” Allan Taylor is one of the last travelling troubadours who came through the 1960s revolution and carved out a career as a solo singer-songwriter. At the age of twenty, he left Brighton and became first part of the vibrant folk music scene of London, and then to Greenwich Village, New York. For more than forty-five years Allan Taylor has travelled the world performing at festivals and clubs. He is considered to be one of the foremost singer-songwriters and guitarists in his genre, with more than one hundred recorded versions of his songs by artists in ten different languages. One song in particular, “It’s good to see you” was a hit in many countries.
David Bromberg (*19 September 1945, Philadelphia, USA). An eclectic artist, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist David Bromberg equally plays bluegrass, blues, folk, jazz, country and western, and rock and roll. He is known for his quirky, humorous lyrics, and the ability to play rhythm and lead guitar at the same time. In the 1960s, Bromberg was studying guitar with Reverend Gary Davis. Proficient on fiddle, acoustic and electric guitar, pedal steel and dobro, Bromberg began releasing albums of his own in the early 1970s on Columbia Records. His album "Try Me One More Time" was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Traditional Folk Album in 2008.
William Jackson (*14 September 1955, Cambuslang, Glasgow, Scotland). The Scottish harpist and composer became a founding member of Ossian in 1976, which disbanded in the late 1980s. From 1989, William Jackson released a series of albums, sometimes using ancient texts. In 1999 he wrote the song "Land of Light" and won the Song for Scotland competition. It was performed at Edinburgh Castle to mark the 100th birthday of the Queen Mother. Jackson trained as a music therapist at the Guildhall School of Music in 1992/93, and currently heads the Music Therapy department at Mission Children's Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina.
Paddy O'Brien (*13 September 1945, Castlebarnagh, Offaly, Ireland). Irish accordion player Paddy O'Brien was born in Castlebarnagh, Co. Offaly, in the Midlands of Ireland. In 1978, he moved to the United States and currently lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his wife, crime novelist Erin Hart. O'Brien tours nationally and internationally as a solo musician and with his trio Chulrua.
In a musical career that spans more than sixty years, he has collected more than 3,000 compositions, including many rare and unusual tunes. In 1994, O'Brien published Volume One of The Paddy OBrien Tune Collection: A Personal Treasury of Irish Traditional Music, featuring 500 tunes, including jigs, reels, hornpipes, airs, marches and polkas. Volume Two and three were released in 2011 and 2013, respectively.
Rosie Flores (*10 September 1950, San Antonio, Texas, USA). Rockabilly and country music artist Rosie Flores blends rockabilly, honky tonk, jazz, and Western swing along with traditional influences from her Tex-Mex heritage in her music. She currently resides in Austin, Texas, where August 31 was declared Rosie Flores Day by the Austin City Council in 2006.
Itzhak Perlman (*31 August 1945, Tel Aviv, Israel). The Israeli-American violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman (Hebrew: יצחק פרלמן) first became interested in the violin after hearing a classical music performance on the radio. He contracted polio at age four, but made a good recovery, learning to walk with crutches. He plays the violin while seated. As well as playing and recording classical music as a solo artist, for which he is best known, Perlman has also played jazz and klezmer. Perlman was the violin soloist of the "Schindler's List" soundtrack (which won an Academy Award for Best Original Score) and "Memoirs of a Geisha" along with cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin (*23 August 1950, County Louth, Ireland). Singer Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin was born into an Irish-speaking household Her father published older songs from the Oriel area in local publications, and encouraged Pádraigín and her siblings to sing. They would take part in national Oireachtas competitions, with Pádraigín winning multiple awards for her sean-nós singing. In 1994, Pádraigín recorded her first album, "A Stór is a Stóirín" released on the Gael Linn label, with 36 songs especially suitable for primary school children.
Her book "A Hidden Ulster" (2003) was featuring 540 pages of rare songs, their histories, biographies of authors, collectors and scribes and documentation of folk traditions in Oriel from the 17th century onwards. In 2011, Pádraigín released "Songs of the Scribe", featuring new compositions for poems from ancient Irish manuscripts. Pádraigín is married to folk singer Len Graham, is a sister of the late Eithne Ní Uallacháin and aunt to Eithne's son Dónal O'Connor, member of traditional group At First Light.
Kevin Welch (*17 August 1955, Long Beach, California, USA). American country music artist Kevin Welch moved to Nashville in 1978 to work as a songwriter. Singers like Ricky Skaggs, Waylon Jennings, Patty Loveless and Garth Brooks were using his material. In 2004, Welch teamed up with fellow artists Kieran Kane and Fats Kaplin to critical acclaim.
Jez Lowe (*14 July 1955, Easington, Co. Durham, UK). English folk singer-songwriter John Gerard Lowe was born and raised in County Durham in a family with Irish roots. He grew up witnessing the decline of the coal-mining industry and is known primarily for his compositions dealing with daily life in North-East England. He performs both as a solo artist and with his backing band, The Bad Pennies. In 2006 Lowe contributed to the BBC Radio 2 'Radio Ballads' documentary series as a homage to the original series pioneered by Ewan MacColl in the 1950/60s. He was commissioned to write 22 new songs, which featured guest vocals from the likes of Barry Coope, Bob Fox and many more.
Jimmy LaFave (*12 July 1955, Wills Point, Texas, USA).
After moving to Oklahoma, singer-songwriter and folk musician Jimmy LaFave
and a and loose collection of fellow songwriters
crafted a musical mix of rockabilly, blues, jazz, folk and country
called Red Dirt Music. Later LaFave became a disciple of the
state's most famous folk musician: Woody Guthrie. LaFave is a board member and regular performer at the annual
Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, held in Guthrie's hometown of Okemah.
In 2014, LaFave produced the 2-disc tribute album "Looking Into You: A Tribute to Jackson Browne".
Bill Keith (1939-2015). Banjo innovator Bill Keith, just elected to the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, died October 23 at his home in Bearsville, New York, at the age of 75 following a battle with cancer. Keith had succeeded in developing a flexible, melodic style that enabled him to play fiddle tunes note for note. When Bill Monroe heard Keith playing in 1963, he offered him a job in his band. For eight months he played with the Blue Grass Boys. Earl Scruggs invited Keith to assist in writing the tablature for Scruggs’ instruction book, "Earl Scruggs and the 5-String Banjo". In addition, Keith was pivotal in developing the pitch-changing device that became known as the “Scruggs tuner.” At the time of his death, he was the owner and operator of the Beacon Banjo Company.
Al O'Donnell (1943-2015). The folk singer, guitarist and banjo player from Dublin (his father was a Geordie with Donegal roots and his mother from Scotland) died of pneumonia on 3 September 2015. O'Donnell began performing in the mid-1960s and was a short-lived member of the band Sweeney's Men alongside Terry Woods and Johnny Moynihan in 1968. He went on to record two solo LPs in the 1970s and worked as a graphic designer for RTÉ until his retirement in 2003. "Ramble Away," a double CD of his music was issued in 2008. In 2010 he joined The Dubliners for a short tour of Germany.
Mariem Hassan (1958-2015). Sahrawi singer and lyricist Mariem Hassan (Arabic: مريم حسن) died of breast cancer in a Sahrawi refugee camp in Tindouf, Algeria on 22 August 2015. She was the third of ten siblings in a nomadic family. Music and poetry were important in the family and various relatives were singers, poets or dancers. In 1975, following the Madrid Accords which ceded the territory of Western Sahara to Morocco and Mauritania, she went with her family to the refugee camps in Algeria. In 1976, Hassan joined the musical group Shahid El Hafed Buyema (Shahid El Uali), which travelled to many countries, playing at cultural events and headlining a number of world music festivals. In 1998, Shadid El Uali disbanded, and Hassan started a solo career, recording three albums with her personal interpretation of the traditional Haul music with western influences. She usually sang in Hassaniyya, an Arabic dialect spoken mostly in Western Sahara and Mauritania, and occasionally in Spanish.
Theodore Bikel (1924-2015). The Jewish actor, folk singer and activist was born into a Jewish family in Vienna, Austria. Following the German union with Austria in 1938, Bikel's family fled to Mandatory Palestine. He made his stage debut in "Tevye the Milkman" in Tel Aviv, when he was in his teens. He later studied acting at Britain's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and made his London stage debut in 1948 and in New York in 1955. He played a German officer in John Huston's film "The African Queen" (1951).
In 1955 Bikel began recording songs, including several albums of Jewish folk songs and songs from Russia and other countries, making over 20 contemporary and folk music albums during his career. He was able to sing in 21 different languages. In 1959 he co-founded the Newport Folk Festival and created the role of Captain von Trapp opposite Mary Martin as Maria in the original Broadway production of "The Sound of Music". In 1969 Bikel began acting and singing on stage as Tevye in the musical "Fiddler on the Roof". The production won nine Tony Awards and was one of the longest-running musicals in Broadway history.
Mike Brosnan (†2015). Despite extensive international touring, ex-patriate New Zealander Mike Brosnan remained relatively unknown in the wider world. Studying classical piano from an early age, he taught himself to play acoustic guitar, seduced by the folk music boom of the early 1970's. But instead of playing in the rather simple manner common at that time, Mike Brosnan imported piano technique into his guitar playing, mimicking piano voicing and the rolling left hand most often associated with ragtime piano players. These techniques combined with his extraordinary ability as a slide guitar player resulted in a truly unique guitar style. Mike Brosnan passed away on 3rd June 2015 because of cancer.
Roger Sherlock (1932-2015).
Born in Cloonfeightrin on the Sligo/Mayo border, Ireland, flute player Roger Sherlock
emigrated to London in 1953 and became one of the leading figures in London Irish music.
He played regularly in the city’s many Irish pub sessions.
During the mid-1950s he shared a flat with Clare piper
Willie Clancy. He led bands in the Irish dance halls and played with the Thatch Céilí Band when they won the
All-Ireland title in 1986 and 1987.
He transformed Irish flute playing, moving it away from the Irish flute style of the 1930/40s.
Roger Sherlock returned to Ireland in 1994 and received the prestigious TG4 Hall of Fame Award in 2009.
WOMEX Honours Change through Music
WOMEX organisers, Piranha Arts, have reaffirmed a commitment to building bridges through music, honouring a man who brought music from Iran to the world and vice versa, discussing how to change the world through music and urging people to join in the dialogue about promoting cultural diversity. Music's role in facilitating social change and cultural understanding have come into focus this year at WOMEX 15, having taken place from 21-25 October in Budapest, Hungary. In light of WOMEX being in Budapest this year, the recent debate on how to welcome refugees coming to Europe has also spread to WOMEX delegates and reporting media. Organisers and many delegates aim to strengthen the role of culture in this debate but also see their work in an even broader context.
WOMEX director, Alexander Walter, stated: "We clearly stand up against all forms of xenophobia, but this is only the least we can do. More importantly, it is our aim to set positive examples and stimulate mutual cross-cultural understanding though concrete, targeted and grassroots action. WOMEX impacts the city and region where the event takes place as well as a global community through our international conference and public concerts to be held in Budapest and reported on all over the world. This year's artists, who come from 50 countries, demonstrate how essential diversity is: it is a building block of harmony. We feel signals like this are needed more than ever before."
WOMEX 15 Artist Award
Beloved in Senegal, adored by world music fans and admired by musicians around the world, there is no doubt that Cheikh Lô is one of the giants of West African music. Lô’s five international releases present a music that is rooted in Senegalese mbalax but with important and exciting sonic detours through Latin America, the Caribbean, the USA, Nigeria, DR Congo…his influences reach across the world. Lô is a tireless musical innovator, pushing boundaries in both his own music and as a collaborator with many and varied artists. His stature and music have also brought much greater exposure and international recognition to the Baye Fall – the Sufi order to which he proudly belongs.
WOMEX 15 Professional Excellence Award
The work and efforts of Hermes Records founder Ramin Sadighi (Iran) within the Iranian music scene have ushered in numerous important milestones, helping to create one of the first legal ways for Iranians to purchase music from the West and, through Hermes, promoting Iranian music on a global scale. The label's releases have been recognised with many awards including a Grammy nomination for ‘Best World Music Album’ in 2006 for the collaboration between Djivan Gasparyan and Hossein Alizadeh, Endless Vision. In recognition of the growing and empowering nature of the international music scene in Iran, the WOMEX 15 Professional Award is presented to Ramin Sadighi.
WOMEX 15 Label Award
They've done it again! Glitterbeat, who last year received the WOMEX 14 Label Award, will receive the award for the second time! World Music Charts Europe has tracked the monthly charts of 45 radio broadcasters from 25 countries, and Glitterbeat is the label that has the most popular releases in this network this year – their success coming off the back of albums by Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba, Samba Touré and Fofoulah.
FiddleOn Magazine Merges with The Living Tradition
FiddleOn magazine, a specialist magazine devoted to the fiddle, is joining forces with The Living Tradition, the premier magazine for folk and traditional music with a primary focus on the UK and Ireland. The fiddle is one of the dominant instruments in traditional folk music and is already well represented within the pages of The Living Tradition. Jed Mugford, who has created and edited FiddleOn over the last 15 years, is delighted with the move. “The Living Tradition offers scope for enhanced fiddle related articles within its full colour A4 format and all subscriptions to FiddleOn will be honoured by The Living Tradition.”
Both The Living Tradition and FiddleOn have been fully committed to a physical printed magazine for a number of reasons, and that commitment is strengthened by this latest move. Over the last couple of years The Living Tradition magazine has been handed on to another generation, with Fiona Heywood and Jim Byrne taking over the reins from Pete Heywood. Both Pete Heywood and FiddleOn’s Jed Mugford will continue to have an interest in the future of the magazine, but both are now in a position to devote more time to other projects.
Since celebrating reaching its 100th issue back in February 2014, The Living Tradition magazine is going from strength to strength and, with this latest development, it is well placed to continue to deliver the best news, reviews and information from the traditional folk scene. If you are interested in this kind of music – The Living Tradition is the magazine for you!
If you would like to see a copy of this glossy, full colour, 68 page, A4 magazine, send the Living Tradition team your address and they will be happy to send you a sample copy (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Subscription information and publication details are available from The Living Tradition website (www.livingtradition.co.uk).
The FiddleOn website will remain live and various back issues are available (www.fiddleon.co.uk).
Launching of the Transglobal World Music Chart (TWMC)
Transglobal World Music Chart is a network of world music critics and journalists, who are working on a regular basis, spreading world, roots, traditional music… in any kind of media. It has a real global approach, including representatives from most regions, with a very inclusive point of view. TWMC produces a monthly chart and also a "best of the year" chart, selected according to quality. The panel is envisioned to include any good quality production, recorded in any country, including self-productions and small label releases.
The goal is to spread the best world music productions selected by renowned world music specialists from all over the Globe. The aim of the Chart is also to facilitate artists to be included, regardless of geographical barriers, based on merit and talent rather than popularity, big productions or record sales. The panel of critics holds two monthly ballots:
The members of the panel might receive the music in CD or digital format. Monetary reasons (like the cost of shipping physical albums to all the members of the panel) should not be a handicap for any artist or label to be included in the Chart. The albums can be considered in two ways:
»As the UK marks a year rich in constitutional anniversaries, including 800 years since the sealing of Magna Carta and 750 years since the Simon de Montfort parliament, four folk songwriters were invited to celebrate our pursuit of democracy. BBC Folk Singer of the Year Nancy Kerr, Martyn Joseph, Sam Carter, and Maz O’Connor did compose new music in response to the rights and liberties that people have fought to achieve and protect over the past eight centuries. The four songwriters will be joined by musicians Patsy Reid and Nick Cooke for the culmination of the project – a UK tour in November 2015.«
12 - 15 November 2015 William Kennedy Piping Festival, Armagh, Northern Ireland ft. Lúnasa, Connla, Buille, Michelle & Louise Mulcahy, ... www.wkpf.org 20 November 2015 Karl Seglem 30 Years Anniversary & Record Release, Victoria Club, Oslo ft. Karl Seglem, Sigrid Moldestad, ... www.karlseglem.no 24-29 November 2015 Sweet Liberties, UK ft. Nancy Kerr, Martyn Joseph, Sam Carter, Maz O’Connor www.efdss.org, www.folkbytheoak.com 14 - 31 January 2016 Celtic Connections Festival, Glasgow, Scotland, UK ft. The Shee's Continuum Project (Andy Cutting, Brian Finnegan, Karine Polwart, Martin Simpson, Kathryn Tickell, Chris Wood), Cara, The Chieftains, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, ... www.celticconnections.com 28 January - 1 February 2016 Temple Bar Trad, Dublin, Ireland ft. Oysterband, Dougie MacLean, Julie Fowlis, Martin Hayes, ... www.templebartrad.com 23 Apr - 1 May 2016 folkBALTICA, Flensburg & Sønderjylland-Schleswig, Germany/Denmark www.folkbaltica.de 7 - 10 July 2016 TFF Rudolstadt, Germany ft. Focus: Colombia, Cumbia www.tff-rudolstadt.de 11 - 17 July 2016 Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, Finland www.kaustinen.net 5 - 14 August 2016 Festival Interceltique de Lorient, France www.festival-interceltique.com 25 - 28 August 2016 Tønder Festival, Denmark ft. Eliza Carthy, The Chair, Mick Flannery, Del Barber, Steel Wheels, ... www.tf.dk