Nanci Griffith (*6 July 1953, Seguin, Texas, USA).
The American singer, guitarist, and songwriter Nanci Griffith, reared in Austin, Texas, who currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee,
had a career spanning a variety of musical genres, predominantly country, folk, and what she terms "folkabilly." Griffith won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 1994 for her recording, Other Voices, Other Rooms.
Country singer Kathy Mattea had a top five hit with a 1986 cover of Griffith's "Love at the Five and Dime."
Nanci refers to her backing band ft. bandmates Pete & Maura Kennedy
as "The Blue Moon Orchestra," drawn from the title of one of her earliest albums, Once in a Very Blue Moon.
Johnny Clegg (*7 June 1953, Bacup, Lancashire, England). Johnny Clegg was born to an English father and a Rhodesian mother (of Polish-Jewish background). His parents divorced when he was an infant, and he moved with his mother to Rhodesia and then, at age 6, to South Africa. As an adolescent in Johannesburg's northern suburbs, Clegg mastered both the Zulu language and the maskandi guitar and isishameni dance styles of the city's Zulu migrant workers. Clegg's involvement with black musicians often led to arrests. He was first arrested at the age of 15 for violating apartheid-era laws in South Africa banning people of different races from congregating together after curfew hours.
Sometimes called Le Zoulou Blanc ("The White Zulu"), he is an important figure in South African popular music history, with songs that mix Zulu with English lyrics and African with various Western music styles. He has recorded and performed with his bands Juluka and Savuka, and more recently as a solo act. His song "Scatterlings of Africa" was featured on the soundtrack to the 1988 Oscar-winning film Rain Man.
Dick Gaughan (*17 May 1948, Glasgow, Scotland). Richard Peter Gaughan is regarded as one of Scotland's leading singer-songwriters, particularly of folk and social protest songs. His first album, No More Forever, was recorded in 1971, all songs except one are traditional. Before the album was released, he joined Aly Bain, Cathal McConnell and Robin Morton in their group The Boys of the Lough. He stayed with the group for about a year, during which he played and sang on their eponymous debut album. Between 1976 and 1978 he joined the Celtic rock band Five Hand Reel.
Gaughan's solo album Handful of Earth (1981) became Melody Maker's folk album of the year in 1981. The album contained a set of traditional and contemporary songs, including several which have remained part of his core repertoire, such as Robert Burns's lyrical "Now Westlin Winds" and his own reworking of the traditional "Both Sides The Tweed", which calls for Scottish independence without sacrificing friendship with the rest of the UK.
In 2009 he was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame and in 2010 he received a BBC Lifetime Achievement Award. His latest albim Gaughan Live! at the Trades Club (2008) had been recorded at one of his favourite venues, the Trades Club, Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire. In 2018 Topic Records released the 14 track compilation An Introduction to Dick Gaughan.
Phil Beer (*12 May 1953, Exminster, Devon, England). English multi-instrumentalist Phil Beer began to play fiddle, guitar, and mandolin whilst still at school in Teignmouth, Devon. This passion for acoustic music was especially stirred by the Davey Graham album Folk Blues and Beyond. He worked with Paul Downes as a duo from 1974, was a key member of Johnny Coppin's band, toured with Mike Oldfield, and joined The Albion Band fom 1984 to 1991. In 1999, Phil Beer started a project in bringing together the UK's finest folk musicians which resulted in the album The Fiddle Collection.
Phil is best known as one half of English acoustic roots duo Show of Hands,
he formed in 1986 with singer-songwriter Steve Knightley.
Known for their songs with rousing choruses that nail contemporary social issues
Show of Hands have received widespread critical acclaim over their 30 album career, and in 2006 were voted "Greatest Devonians Ever" in a poll run by Devon Country Council beating Sir Francis Drake and Agatha Christie.
Happy Traum (*9 May 1938, The Bronx, New York City, USA).
American folk musician Harry Peter Traum started playing music in the 1950s and became a stalwart of the Greenwich Village music scene of the 1960s and the Woodstock music scene of the 1970s and 1980s. For several years, he studied blues guitar with Brownie McGhee, who was a big influence on his guitar style. Happy is most famously known as one half of Happy and Artie Traum, a duo he began with his late brother.
Happy Traum has continued as a solo artist and as founder of Homespun Music Instruction.
Harvey Andrews (*7 May 1943, Stechford, Birmingham, England).
English singer-songwriter and poet Harvey John Andrews had becoming a full-time professional musician in 1966.
He has produced 16 albums singing his own songs, many of which have also been recorded by other artists.
In 2007 he published a musical memoir, "Gold star to the Ozarks". Harvey retired from full-time concert performances in 2012.
Martin Simpson (*5 May 1953, Scunthorpe, England). English folk singer, guitarist and songwriter Martin Simpson is regarded by many as one of the most skilled folk guitarists currently playing on the British and American folk scene.
Martin Simpson took an early interest in music, learning to play the guitar and banjo and performing at local folk clubs. In 1976 he recorded his first solo album Golden Vanity. He performed with Ashley Hutchings' Albion Band in 1979. He also toured and performed with folk singer June Tabor and recorded three albums together. Simpson won the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2004 in the category of Best Musician. In 2007 he released Prodigal Son, voted as best album by the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
In 2018, Topic Records released An Introduction to Martin Simpson, a 17 track compilation compiled by Martin himself as part of Topic's An introduction to series.
Willie Nelson (*29 April 1953, Abbott, Texas, USA). American singer-songwriter-actor-activist Willie Hugh Nelson uses a variety of music styles to create his own distinctive blend of country music, a hybrid of jazz, pop, blues, rock and folk. The critical and commercial success of his albums Shotgun Willie (1973), Red Headed Stranger (1975) and Stardust (1978) made Nelson one of the most recognized artists in country music. He was one of the main figures of outlaw country, a subgenre of country music that developed in the late 1960s as a reaction to the conservative restrictions of the Nashville sound.
Willie Nelson has acted in over 30 films, co-authored several books, and has been involved in activism for the use of biofuels and the legalization of marijuana. In 2017 he released God's Problem Child, consisting mostly of Nelson originals co-written with Buddy Cannon.
Noel Hill (*12 April 1958, Caherea, Co. Clare, Ireland). Irish concertina player Noel Hill from Caherea in West Clare has had great influence developing the modern playing style of the Irish concertina. He had teamed up with Tony Linnane, Tony Callanan and Kieran Hanrahan to form the group Inchiquin. They recorded one album before Hanrahan and Callanan left to form Stockton's Wing. Noel's most celebrated album is "Noel Hill and Tony Linnane" (1979) with Tony Linnane (fiddle), Matt Molloy (flute), Alec Finn (bouzouki) and Micheal O'Domhnaill (harmonium).
In 2008, Tony Hill's career suffered a setback when he sustained major injuries during an assault in a pub bathroom. He stated that his ability to perform the concertina had been permanently impaired, requiring that he only play for short periods of time and use medication and acupuncture therapy in order to perform.
Dave Mattacks (*13 March 1948, Edgware, Middlesex, England). English rock and folk drummer David James Mattacks played with several jazz bands before joining the British folk rock band Fairport Convention in 1969, with whom he worked on and off until 1997. He also played with The Albion Country Band, the Morris On project, Nick Drake's Bryter Layter, Steeleye Span and Richard Thompson.
In 1998, he moved to Marblehead, Massachusetts, United States, where he is a sought-after studio musician, record producer, and member of the band Super Genius, while still touring regularly with various acts.
James Taylor (*12 March 1948, Boston, Massachusetts, USA).
A five-time Grammy Award winner, American singer-songwriter and guitarist James Vernon Taylor
was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.
He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 100 million records worldwide.
James Taylor achieved his breakthrough in 1970 with the No. 3 single "Fire and Rain" and had his first No. 1 hit the following year with "You've Got a Friend", a recording of Carole King's classic song.
Rim Banna (1966-2018). Palestinian singer, composer, arranger and activist Rim Banna died in her hometown of Nazareth on 24 March 2018 following a nine-year struggle with breast cancer.
»Voice of resistance, the final album of Palestinian Rim Banna, is also an act of resistance. With incredible determination and defiance, and despite her illness and the paralysis in her vocal cords, Rim worked relentlessly on her new album and managed to complete all the recordings in January 2018. Rim said that she wanted this album to be powerful and defiant, neither sad nor melancholic…A creative act of resistance in the face of injustice and occupation in all their forms. This is Rim’s powerful statement celebrating her and her people’s struggle against all foes and woes…always with a sign of victory and a smile of hope. Read more @ www.kkv.no!«
Rim Banna: »My voice. You will never silence my voice. With its one vocal cord which is fighting like a clothesline that the wind can’t reach. My voice is sprinkling from my pores. And if my pores are shut my voice comes from my wrist. And if my hand is cut my voice is the song of my heart. And if its pulse is silenced my voice is the mirror of my soul. And if my soul is taken my songs will be sung in the public squares. Like the blazing sun that never fades away. The songs will go on.«
Christine Primrose MBE
The great Gaelic singer Christine Primrose has been awarded a MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for 'Services to Gaelic Music to Culture and to Education in Scotland and Internationally'.
Christine's most recent release 'Gràdh is Gonadh – Guth ag aithris', has proved yet an important milestone in the career of an increasingly important artist and singer; a solo recording of poignancy and depth from a remarkable and mature voice.
Kronos Quartet to Receive WOMEX 18 Artist Award
WOMEX - the World Music Expo, the leading meeting of the global music scene, has confirmed further showcase and conference programming for their 24th edition, taking place in the Canary Islands 24–28 October. A special highlight lies with the Awards this year: the world-famous Kronos Quartet are to receive the 2018 WOMEX Artist Award and will conclude WOMEX 18 with a live concert in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
"Kronos is honored and proud to receive the WOMEX Artist Award. WOMEX is an energizing and galvanizing force for the world of music. That Kronos is now included in the amazing roster of awardees is both humbling and a huge challenge as we chart our future musical routes and adventures. We celebrate our membership in the global community of musicians every day as we attempt, with every note we play, to offer paths forward reflecting the inspiring possibilities shown us by our incredible composers and collaborators. The fabric of future music needs all the strength, vitality and broad vision we can muster. The WOMEX Artist Award propels us into the future, and we are very grateful." (David Harrington, Artistic Director, Founder, Violinist, Kronos Quartet)
Together with the winners of the Label Award and the Professional Excellence Award, Kronos Quartet will receive the WOMEX Artist Award at the event in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain on Sunday, 28 October 2018 after which the quartet will perform a dedicated programme to the WOMEX 18 delegates.
In 2018, WOMEX will take place in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain, 24 – 28 October. WOMEX is "The most important international professional market of world music of every kind. This international fair brings together professionals from the worlds of folk, roots, ethnic and traditional music and also includes concerts, conferences and documentary films. It contributes to networking as an effective means of promoting music and culture of all kinds across frontiers." (UNESCO Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity)
Showcase Artists Announced:
Ariwo (Cuba/Iran/UK) Bakolo Music International (DR Congo) Edina Szirtes Mókus Looper Project (Hungary) Etenesh Wassie Trio (Ethiopia/France) Evritiki Zygia (Greece) The Garifuna Collective (Belize) Gulaza (Israel) Gulmira Abliz (China) Invisible World (Czech Republic/Turkey/Serbia) Kel Assouf (Niger/Tunisia/Belgium) Liniker e os Caramelows (Brazil) Lucibela (Cabo Verde/Portugal) Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco (Cuba) Norayr Kartashyan & Menua (Armenia) Odpoczno (Poland) San Salvador (France) Ta Dhom Project – Viveick Rajagopalan (India)
Peter Ostroushko - GoFundMe Campaign
Longtime Red House artist and Minnesota music icon Peter Ostroushko, one of the finest mandolin and fiddle players in acoustic music, is facing major challenges and needs our help. Peter suffered a major heart attack that necessitated quadruple bypass surgery. Recovery seemed to be going well until three weeks later, when Peter had a devastating stroke while in his doctor’s office. The stroke trauma team worked quickly, but Peter is still facing a long road to recovery.
Peter's wife Marge has created a GoFundMe Page to help defray their medical costs; they're tremendously grateful for all the support they've received so far:
Up and Coming
Fairport's Cropredy Convention music festival has announced that Brian Wilson will perform the legendary Beach Boys album Pet Sounds at Cropredy on Thursday 9 August 2018. Acclaimed for its ambition and sophistication, Pet Sounds is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential albums of all time. Released in 1966, Wilson's masterpiece is number 2 in the Rolling Stone '500 Greatest Albums of All Time' list, only beaten to the top spot by The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper.
Thursday opens with host band Fairport Convention who will play a short welcome set. Fairport are followed by Smith & Brewer, a talented Americana guitar duo featuring close harmony vocals. Police Dog Hogan deliver their own brand of exhilarating Country-tinged rock. Ever-popular folkrockers Oysterband will make their first appearance at Cropredy since 2004 and they will be followed by Thursday’s headliner, Brian Wilson.
On Friday, Cropredy will open with a set by the BBC Young Folk Award winner followed by newcomers Midnight Skyracer who describe their music as ‘Anglo-Irish girl-power Bluegrass’. Favourites of the Cropredy crowd The Travelling Band make a welcome return with their blend of Mancunian Americana and indie folkrock. Cregan & Co features Jim Cregan, best known for his associations with Family, Cockney Rebel and Rod Stewart. Le Vent du Nord will perform traditional Québécois music with infectious enthusiasm before former frontman of Marillion, Fish makes his second appearance at Cropredy. Mercury-nominee Kate Rusby (Folk Singer of the Year and Best Live Act winner at the BBC Folk Awards) makes her Cropredy debut before Friday’s headline act Levellers celebrate their thirtieth anniversary with a welcome return to Cropredy.
Saturday sees BAFTA nominee Richard Digance getting the day off to a flying start. Sets from Eric Sedge and The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican precede singer-songwriter Will Varley who makes his first appearance at Cropredy with his band. Folk Award winner Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys are newcomers to the festival and so are Afro Celt Sound System who fuse traditional Irish and West African music in a thrilling mix. They will be followed by a solo set from Scottish singer-songwriter Al Stewart before Fairport Convention and guests take the stage for their traditional two-hour-plus Saturday headline show.
The festival will be held over three days (Thursday 9, Friday 10 and Saturday 11 August 2018) at Cropredy near Banbury, Oxfordshire.
22 June - 26 July 2018 FESTIM - Festival Intermunicipal de Musicas do Mundo, Portugal www.festim.pt 5 - 8 July 2018 Rudolstadt Festival, Germany ft. Focus: Estonia (Maarja Nuut, Mari Kalkun, Puuluup, Arsis, ...) www.rudolstadt-festival.de 23 - 27 July 2018 Meitheal Residential Summer School, Limerick, Ireland www.tradweek.com 3 - 12 August 2018 Festival Interceltique de Lorient, France www.festival-interceltique.com 9 - 11 August 2018 Fairport's Cropredy Convention, Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK ft. Fairport Convention, Brian Wilson, Afro Celt Sound System, Le Vent du Nord, Al Stewart, Kate Rusby, Sam Kelly, Midnight Skyracer, Police Dog Hogan, ... www.fairportconvention.com 12 - 19 August 2018 Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann, Drogheda (Co. Louth), Ireland www.fleadhcheoil.ie 17 - 19 August 2018 Folk East, Glemham Hall, Suffolk, UK ft. Oysterband, Show of Hands, Tim Edey, McGoldrick McCusker & Doyle, ... www.folkeast.co.uk 17 - 26 August 2018 Ferrara Buskers Festival, Italy www.ferrarabuskers.com 23 - 26 August 2018 Tønder Festival, Denmark ft. BB King Tribute ft. Mike Andersen, Shaka & James Loveless, Otis Grand, Thorbjørn Risager, Henrik Freischlader; Basco & DR Big Band, Oysterband, Cóig, Ìmar, Sharon Shannon, Vishtén, The Secret Sisters, The Dead South, The Chair, Skerryvore, 3HatTrio, McGoldrick McCusker Doyle, Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys, ... www.tf.dk 24 - 28 August 2018 Shrewsbury Folk Festival, UK ft. Richard Thompson, Steeleye Span, Show of Hands, Gretchen Peters, Usher's Island, Skerryvore, O'Hooley & Tidow, Megson, Blowzabella, ... www.shrewsburyfolkfestival.co.uk 7 - 9 September 2018 Quiet Lights, Cork City, Ireland ft. Slow Moving Clouds, Cormac Begley, Claudia Schwab, ... www.quietlights.net 4 - 7 October 2018 Fira Mediterrània Folk Market, Manresa, Spain ft. Kepa Junkera, Carles Dénia, Eva Yerbabuena, ... www.firamediterrania.cat 24 - 28 October 2018 WOMEX World Music Expo, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria www.womex.com
Last but not least
The Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble celebrated their new album “We Are Together” at Tavastia in Helsinki on April 11, 2018!
Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble takes the sounds of Benin, the homeland of Voodoo, and combines them with soulful songwriting, jazzy improvisations and funky beats.
The music is written by the band's lead vocalist/percussionist Noël Saïzonou and guitarist Janne Halonen. The name of the band refers to their hometowns, which are over 6,000 kilometres apart.
Iconic American singer, songwriter and performer Don McLean (“American Pie,” “Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)”) has recently wrapped up a successful tour of the United Kingdom, Scotland, Ireland, and Israel. Playing to numerous sold out venues - from the Palladium in London, to six nights at Vicar St. in Dublin - McLean performed his timeless American classics, along with new music from his latest album “Botanical Gardens,” to raves from enthusiastic audiences. McLean is already scheduled for the second leg of his European tour this fall, with the Hall of Fame songwriter scheduled for Essen, Germany on October 1, and then visiting Holland, Switzerland and all of Scandinavia through the end of the month.
“American Pie” has brought great happiness and hope to millions of people through the years and continues to be honored for its success. In 2000, the song was named one of the Top 5 Songs of the 20th Century by the RIAA and in 2002 was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. 2017 brought a huge honor when the iconic song was inducted into the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry, joining less than 500 works.