Deaths and Obituaries|
Since this page is now getting very large, I have decided to move the longer obits
onto their own individual pages, linked to this one.
Pete Heywood and Pete Shepheard - 16.12.19
I've only just got this sad news. I met him two or three times at various events and found him to be a lovely man, a good singer with a wide and interesting repertoire, and an absolutely cracking storyteller. I also owe him for the inspiration to construct my own version of The Green Wedding.
Musical Traditions Records has a 15-track CD of Joe: The Broom Blooms Bonny (MTCD313). It was recorded by Mike Yates, in Joe's house in 2001. Lovely stuff, including three of his stories.
Rod Stradling - 17.12.19
The funeral will be a private family affair on Friday June 14th, but there will be a music session at Briardene, Whitley Bay, starting at 2 pm.
Peter Wood - 10.6.19
There is now a full obituary, by Johnny Handle, here.
Jim Bainbridge has this to say:
Coming across him a few years ago in Roscommon on the launch of the excellent CD he did with brother John & family, I was delighted when he said he loved his trips to Tyneside best of all. A huge loss to Irish music, our condolences to Anna."
Funeral arrangements at: https://www.rip.ie/death-notice/tim-tadhg-lyons-athenry-galway/375475
Vic Smith - 11.1.19
Tim was a dear personal friend of ours from the mid-sixties onwards, when he lived in England and we had the pleasure of hearing his glorious singing on so many occasions. When he went back home to live, we saw him less frequently - and I had developed the notion, based entirely on their 'Irish schoolboy history' ideas, that I would never set foot in Ireland as an Englishman, unless I was invited by an Irishman, living in Ireland. So it was with great joy that we encountered him again at one of Roly Brown's The Downs Singing Weekends ... and one of the first things he said was "Ah, but you must came and stay."
We did - and returned to Roscam several times. Jim has mentioned his box playing, which reminds me of an evening spent with Tim and Éamonn Ó Bróithe, where the two of them played together for hours. Obviously the pipe drones and the box basses sound a little different, but it was almost impossible to tell if the melody was being played by one of them alone, or by both together, so similar was their sound, and so perfect their unison. An experience I shall remember for ever. They both sang quite nicely, too!
On top of all the rest, that first invitation ... I owe him for countless subsequent days of delight in Ireland, North and South, which I shall never forget.
Rod Stradling - 11.1.19
You may know already, but Brian Watson, 'one of the greatest singers of Tyneside/Northumbrian songs' died recently at his daughter's home in County Durham. He will be much missed by all who knew him for his unassuming friendliness, for his singing and his wonderful knowledge of North East song and all things related, as well as his knowledge and expertise particularly on wildlife and the countryside.
His funeral will take place at Durham Crematorium (DH1 3TQ) at 1030 on Thursday 29th November.
Vic Gammon - 25.11 18
While he wasn't the first musician to introduce the bouzouki to Irish music, his approach to playing a rhythmic counter melody, rather than the strumming style favoured by Donal Lunny and others, was revolutionary. He gave the De Dannan records their distinctive sound. On many recordings by solo musicians and singers he provided more lightness and freedom in the backing than conventional accompaniment could ever provide. His playing with Frankie Gavin on the Shanachie LP back in 1977 was simply perfect and a recent new CD by those two musicians, launched in October 2018 will have extra meaning for his friends and admirers.
A recent TG4 edition of Se Mo Laoch showcased his life and career. This prgramme is currently still available on the TG4 website https://www.tg4.ie/en/player/home/?pid=5858348933001&teideal=Alec%20Finn&series=S%C3%A9%20Mo%20Laoch%20&dlft=31
Our sympathies go to his wife and children.
Ken Ricketts & Marya Parker - 17.11.18
He was the central figure in the Cheltenham Folk Club(s) down the decades, ran the Randick Wap and countless other events, rarely missed a Bampton Day of Dance ... He was ubiquitous! In more recent times, when a problem with his foot eventually led to a partial amputation, he still got about more than almost anyone else in the area. Virtually every public folk event in this part of the world was brightened by Keith's presence - and if he hadn't managed to get there, most people were asking "Seen Keith about today?".
Totally unassuming, he was a friend to everyone. Enormously likeable, friendly and helpful, he never had a bad word for anyone ... and nor did anyone for him. He will be hugely missed!
>Keith's funeral will be at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Stroud GL5 4AA, on November 8th at 1:45, followed by drinks and sandwiches at The Prince Albert, Stroud GL5 3SS.
Rod Stradling - 20.10.18
I am sorry to tell you that one of our longest serving members, Bob Patten, passed away at the weekend. His wife, Jackie, tells me that:
Bob was unfailingly helpful to other folk enthusiasts, and always good company. Our thoughts go to Jackie and to their family and friends. He will be greatly missed.
Martin Graebe - 10.10.18
Rod Stradling - 10.10.18
Rod Stradling - 20.8.18
Sue was classically trained at the London Guildhall, was a highly accomplished pianist and formal singer with the gift of perfect pitch. She encouraged all her family to play music and this lead to the formation of The Fairlands Family Band where Sue, playing piano accordion, was joined by her husband Piers and their four children of whom at least two were still at primary school. The eldest son Andrew became a highly accomplished Anglo player whose life was cut short at the age of 18 in a road traffic accident whilst doing Voluntary Service in Kenya.
The family lived in a large rambling farm house in Cheddar with large grounds and many outbuildings. When the Folk Tradition club mooted the idea of a social and musical weekend, Sue was quick to offer Fairlands Farm as the venue and so began a series of annual 'Fairlands Ales'. My band, Flowers and Frolics, then in its infancy, was invited to lead the music in the first few years. Gradually the farm and the band developed a social role in the village also, hosting Mayday celebrations and other music and dance events, all made possible by Sue's easy-going and efficient hospitality.
Soon after Andrew's death, Sue married David Beer and they moved to South Wales into a castle where the extensive grounds and rambling building closely resembled Fairlands. In 2014 this was the scene for a recreation of Fairlands Ale, bringing together many old friends and prompting the reformation of Flowers and Frolics for the weekend. Sue's hospitality was, as always, outstanding. Her place in the community was exemplified by her vigorous commitment to her role as organist in the village church, though she no longer played the accordion.
She will be remembered for her warmth, generosity and musical enthusiasm.
Roger Digby - 4.9.18
More sad news. The death has been announced today August 4th, of fiddle player and composer Tommy Peoples at his home in Co Donegal. His funeral will take place in Ennis Co Clare next Tuesday 7th August.
Tommy was for many Irish music fans the finest fiddle player of his generation, his unique blend of Donegal and Clare influences combined with an incredibly creative mind made his music a constant delight. Twice recognised by TG4s Gradam Cheoil as both player and composer, he had been ill for a few years and was honoured only a couple of weeks ago with a special tribute at the Willie Clancy Summer School.
For a number of years when he lived in Clare we met him and played music with him and he will always be remembered as an inspirational and generous musician.
Ken Ricketts and Marya Parker - 5.8.18
A full Appreciation by Ken and Marya appears here.
Sincere thanks to all those friends who have sent good wishes and kept Steve in their thoughts over the past 8 years of his illness.
Funeral arrangements are yet to be made.
Although expected, this is dreadfully sad news. Steve was the nicest, kindest and most generous man you could ever wish to meet.
Also a teriffic mouthorgan player and greatly valued member of the Phoenix Dance Band - for all kinds of reasons. He will be hugely missed - and the band will not continue without him.
Rod Stradling - 29.7.18
We are sad to report that our former chairman, the indefatigable Steve Harrison, died on Friday July 27th of the cancer that he had suffered for some time. During his illness he continued guesting at folk clubs accompanying the wonderful singing of his wife Annie Dearman, and he played for dances with his Black Box Band and with The Phoenix Dance Band. He was a valued resident at our Ryburn Folk Club and a regular at our weekly tune session at The Old Bridge Inn in Ripponden. His voice also mysteriously came from the character of The Doctor in the Long Company Mummers Play each New Year.
The definition of 'indefatigable' is 'persisting tirelessly' and that describes Steve perfectly. He performed his duties as Chair with humour and professionalism. His last gig was to lead the Black Box Big Band for our annual New Years Eve dance at Waring Green.
We will miss him, his music, erudition, humour and most of all his friendship, very much indeed.
Ryburn 3 Step - 30.7.18
We now have details regarding Steve's funeral. It will take place on Thurs 16th August 12:30pm at Huddersfield Crematorium, Fixby Road, Fixby, Huddersfield, HD2 2JF.
No flowers by request. Any donations will be shared between Kirkwood Hospice, The Welcome Centre and Amnesty International for which a plate will be available at the service, or through Pearson Funeral Service, Marsden, tel: 01484 844289, (firstname.lastname@example.org).
There is only going to be a small gathering for the family afterwards. There is a possibility that a musical commemoration may be organised in the autumn with all welcome.
Even less well-known are the tunes Walter played at home on his melodeon, but here again we have Roger Dixon to thank as he recorded Walter in July 1975. At Roger's Service of Thanksgiving on June 29th at Brandeston, Suffolk where he was Rector for many years, I was pleased to be able to play several of Walter's melodeon tunes to the congregation after the ceremony by way of expressing the gratitude of those who value the melody, the history and the people involved.
Alan Helsdon - 30.6.18
Ron Coe - 23.4.18
Paul was an old friend of mine, and without his willing help in the first few years of MT Records' existance, it's entirely possible that none of our CD productions would have ever materialised. Some years later he spent countless hours helping me get the three Keith Summers productions, The Hardy Sons of Dan, A Story to Tell and I Pray you Pay Attention ready for publication.
Apparently he was suffering with a pain in his leg, was admitted to hospital - and died the next day! More details when we have them.
Rod Stradling - 23.4.18
I first met Paul when I moved to Hampshire in 1975, and we very quickly became firm friends and comrades. I was particularly interested in Mumming Plays at the time, and as his uncle Tom had been in the Otterbourne gang, we started a project to collect all we could find about the custom in the county. Paul instigated the revival of the play, and performances still take place every year.
We met Mervyn Plunkett, at that time a 'retired' collector (although there was nothing 'retiring' about him) and a few years in his company provided a baptism of fire in all things traditional for both of us. Paul got on well with everyone, and older traditional musicians in particular recognised him as a kindred spirit. He was a fine singer, melodeon, mouthorgan and bones player.
Paul soon realised that his particular area of interest and expertise was sound recordings. Not only did he make recordings of numerous sessions when the rest of us were too busy making a noise, but he made strenuous efforts to gather other collections that were in danger of being lost or forgotten. He was acutely aware of the fact that traditional song and music exists in the moment, and if not recorded in some way is lost forever.
For me, most of his tangible legacy is therefore in the soundscape of our field, although so often working in the background that his contribution is easy to miss. He revived the local record label Forest Tracks, did digitisation work for Musical Traditions and Topic, carried out most of the work for the Topic tribute to Harry Cox, The Bonny Labouring Boy, which involved extensive research into Harry's life. And many people trusted him to look after their old tapes and their memories.
The last thing we worked on together was digitising and cataloguing Ken Stubbs' collection for VWML Online, and Brian Matthews' tapes for Sussex Traditions, and we had great plans to make safe allthe private sound collections from southern England and make them available.
These are just the things I was involved in, but there were countless other projects with other people, and his digitisation skills were in constant demand - too constant, perhaps, as he never felt he was achieving enough. But he has let me down at last. We often joked about what he would say (and what embarrassing recordings he would play) at my funeral, and I was relying on him to remember those great times we had. We will miss him on many levels.
Steve Roud - 24.4.18
One of the best known and well loved pipers, he was a key member of Planxty and pioneered the use of the pipes in an orchestral setting with Sean Davey.
He was born into a musical family and took early lessons from Leo Rowsome. He visited Willie Clancy regularly and later shared a flat with Seamus Ennis, who encouraged him to widen the appeal of the pipes by playing and arranging songs with Planxty. His command of the pipes and the tone he was able to produce were instantly recongisable and he was an inspriation to many would-be pipers in the '70s and '80s.
He leaves a legacy of recorded music and many happy memories of a man always willing to share his passion for traditional music.
Ken Ricketts - 14.3.18
He leaves an important and lasting legacy, through his music, but also through his generous, uplifting and committed approach to the role of music in Ireland's cultural heritage, contributing to composition and performance with orchestras and in film.
As one of the sources of inspiration behind the founding, in 1968, of Na Píobairí Uilleann, Liam Ó Flynn can be credited with having contributed to the revival of the uilleann pipers, and it must to him have been a source of great pride and satisfaction that Unesco, the United Nations' Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, recently added the uilleann pipes to its register of important and unique cultural heritage symbols.
Liam Ó Flynn will be remembered for his performances and recordings - many of them on the Claddagh Records label founded by his lifelong friend Garech de Brún - with groups and artists such as Planxty, Seán Ó Ríada, the Chieftains, Shaun Davy, Seamus Heaney and countless others who shared his love for music, in all its wonderful forms.
As President of Ireland I pay tribute to his work and legacy and offer my deepest sympathies with members of his family, his friends, colleagues and all those who enjoy and support Irish music.
President Michael D Higgins - 14.3.18
One of my best days was with him and my late da having a pint and banter in the Palace Bar, Dublin. They were delighted with each other and talked about how the world was, and how it could be.
Finbar, when he worked with Claddagh Records, was behind that recording we made some years ago, The Tap Room Trio.
He knew the music and the song and he loved and respected the people it came from. A friend to young and old everywhere, besides lining up many recordings of music and organising epic music nights back in the day.
He had nothing to lose but his chains, and dared to dream of a Republic for all.
Resist in peace,
Harry Bradley - 10.3.18
Such very sad news today. We've known Ted and Ivy for nearly 40 years, and had great fun times with them with the Old Hat Concert Party. Not only a wonderful singer in a quiet understated way - Lakes of Coolfin never bettered in my opinion - but a mover and shaker in traditional music and a principled and knowledgeable man who it was always a pleasure to spend time with. - Katie Howson
Swindon Folksingers Club has been Ted and Ivy's baby, from when they set it up in January 1960. Ted will leave a huge hole in our lives. Ivy's niece rang me to let me know, and said that Ivy and the family want as many people involved with the funeral as possible from the club and from the folk world. She will be letting me know more details as they are arranged which we will publish on here. - Swindon Folksingers Club
So sorry to hear this news; Ted and Ivy - two of the most warm hearted kind and genuine people you could wish to meet. - Carole Prior
Really sorry to hear the very sad news that Ted Poole has died he will be massively missed by all of us in Bampton. - Craig Godwin
We're very sad to report the passing at 92 of Ted Poole, who with his wife Ivy co-founded one of England's oldest folk clubs, Swindon Folksingers Club in 1960 and ran it for many years. RIP Ted. - fROOTS Magazine
I also just got the news of Ted Poole's death. No better Christian in Communist guise (wonderful, loony stories too). - Roly Brown
I first met Ted and Ivy during my first visit to Sidmouth in 1964, and we've kept in touch ever since - particularly since we moved to Wiltshire in 1973. Ted was tireless in running the club, welcoming all comers, supporting socialism, and being an all-round good guy. His singing has improved year-on year, to the point that his songs were often the highlight of an evening at Swindon - whoever the guest might be! His support and enthusiasm will never be forgotten at Bampton ... or, indeed, by anyone who knew him.
Rod Stradling - 7.3.18
Ted's Funeral will be on 18th April, 1:30, at Kingsdown Crematorium. Please advise Bob West (http://facebook.com/BobWest69) if you intend to come, and how many will be in your party.
There is now a very full obituary, by Andrew Bathe, here.
Rod Stradling - 26.3.18
Funeral arrangements: The family and friends will say goodbye to Rollo at the Crematorium in Weymouth on Friday Feb 9th at 9-15 am. There will then be a Thanksgiving service: at 12 noon on Feb 9th at the United Reform church Swanage BH19 2LZ (top of High St opposite Arkwrights) followed by refreshments at Purbeck House Hotel 91 High St BH19 2 LZ
You can park at the Purbeck House Hotel before the church service, it is a 5 mins walk UPHILL to the church. The hotel will arrange disabled access if required. The car park is on a one way system. Enter from the High St and exit onto Manor Way and go left down hill to the town.
Family flowers only. Donations to Swanage Lifeboat Crew Fund or Christian Aid via James Smith Funeral directors or online www.Funeraldirectors.co.uk/Rollo-Woods
On April 7th there will be a celebration of Rollo's life, at Swanage School. Details here.
Colin Ablitt - 12.3.18
Last year his friend and recording partner Ronan Browne produced a CD of Peader's playing on fiddle flute and pipes from the 1950s onwards. Peader was one of the last of his generation for whom music was a natural part of their lives and he shared his love of music with hundreds of students at the annual Willie Clancy Summer School over the years.
He leaves a wonderful legacy of recordings but will be greatly missed by those who knew him, met him or just listened to him play. His funeral will be on Thursday 26 October.
This picture courtesy of Clare Library was among pictures taken in Peader's home for the recent CD A Musical Life.
Ken Ricketts and Marya Parker - 25.10.17
This is more about practical arrangements, useful to keep in touch by email.
He died in a care home in Brighton, son Ben was in touch with us: email@example.com Ben is now gigging in China, so his wife Sam has been in touch about funeral arrangements: firstname.lastname@example.org, expected to be at Islington crematorium in 2-3 weeks.
They want to have a celebration afterwards, Robin Denselow is involved, hoping to book Cecil Sharp House (where Tom was a weekly fixture at Sharp's for many years - as well as at many London clubs, including Musical Traditions).
We are going to suggest a further celebration some time ahead so that fellow folk luminaries can be involved, including some from America, not just those who happen to be in London just now. Robin Denselow will be writing an obituary.
All the best,
Peta Webb and Ken Hall - 2.10.17
I first met him when I was 19, at Yale College and we bonded quickly. We played together for decades. Six to be exact. Now he has died at age 89. These things are to be expected but of course when they happen we are taken by surprise.
I will miss his rock-steady guitar and banjo playing. I'll miss his true-heart voice harmonising in Perfect Paley Pitch. I'll miss his wry, laconic humour. I'll miss the sight of him walking with that big camera box always slung from his shoulder. He never would tell me what was in it.
I won't miss his endless tuning - but it was always worth it when he got there!
Peggy Seeger - 4.10.17
For Tom Paley's friends and admirers, from Ben Paley:
"My dad's funeral will be at Golders Green Crematorium at three o'clock in the afternoon on the 24th of October. Afterwards there will be a celebration of his life at Cecil Sharp House, from five to eight o'clock. These will be public events, with no dress code: come as casual or as dressy as you feel appropriate. Please tell others who you think would like to come - I know there are many people who would like to attend whose email addresses I don't have. There will be a session at Cecil Sharp House, so do bring instruments if you fancy playing."
Ian Anderson - 10.10.17
Unfortunately I have to report that my uncle Peter Wheeler passed away today. He was 82. He suffered a severe stroke a couple of months back whilst on holiday in Ireland.
Whilst he is not a name that many people will be familiar with, apart from regular visitors to Bampton, he was the last surviving member of the 1951 'Festival of Britain' side. With the sad death of Colin Knight a few months back our living links with the Jingy Wells/Bertie Clark era become ever fewer.
Jamie Wheeler - 26.9.17
His repertoire of traditional Irish songs have delighted many, and have been recorded on CD, as 'The Songs of a Limerick Man.'
A Tribute to Jim Coughlan can be read here.
I expect you have heard that, sadly, Don Shepherd died on 19th September 2016. He released just two albums that I know of - The Sun and the Moon in 1975 and Adnams Ales in 1978. I had the pleasure of being one of the musicians on the latter album recorded at his then home in Fressingfield, Suffolk. He had polio and in those days used a wheelchair. He had one of the biggest voices on the folk club scene and a wonderful way of putting people at ease. His advice to people wanting to sing harmonies was "Sing any note then move it up and down until people stop staring at you."
He and Deidre celebrated 40 years of marriage in April 2013 and can boast 3 children and 7 grandchildren. For medical reasons, he was no longer able to sing or play the guitar but still maintained an interest in all performing arts. In that they were very lucky, as Bungay, a small Suffolk market town where we lived, had the thriving independent Fisher Theatre which hosts a wide range of the performing arts. Our thoughts go out to his family.
Marya Parker [nee Rauscher] - 7.10.16
No obit yet, but Paul Keating wrote a tribute to him a few years back.
Patrick Hutchinson - 6.10.16
A short obituary and notice of a memorial celebration is available here.
Condolences to his wife Elaine and son Neil.
Peta Webb and Ken Hall - 18.2.16
Roy Harris's funeral will take place on Tuesday 1st March at 11am at Thornhill Crematorium (Wenallt Chapel), Thornhill Rd, Cardiff CF14 9UA. There will be a celebration of his life afterwards from 12 at The West End Social Club, 348 Cowbridge Rd West, Cardiff CF5 5BY. Phone:029 2059 4004
Donations in lieu of flowers to the NSPCC please. There will be a box for donations on the day.
There is no dress code so come casual, come formal, come as you are comfortable, but please come. Weâve booked the concert hall in the club which we can have until 6pm but we can use the lounge bar after that if we want to. The family want to create a folk club atmosphere so please bring a song, an instrument, a memory. However, to organise refreshments it would be helpful (though not compulsory) if you could let us know if you are planning to attend. On a practical note, there is a small car park behind the club, also there is a small Tesco opposite with a little car park and a block away there is a Lidl/Homebargains with a huge car park. There is also some street parking nearby.
Neil Harris - 18.2.16
It would be unreasonable for me to suggest the 'best' examples of his always informed and often passionate writing, but I found a phrase in his review of a couple of Irish sean nĂłs CDs which was so typical of the man - 'Don't be put off by the language barrier. Music is its own form of empathy and it transcends all the difficulties of human communication.' I would also recommend Fred's contribution to the Ten Records that Changed My Life article, which tells you a lot about the man, and the whole of his Introduction section to the Joe Heaney Interview is a fine example of his academic writings.
To me, he was a constant paradigm for how to write well about traditional music. I will miss him enormously.
Peta Webb has written a proper obituary for Fred, which is available here.
Rod Stradling - 17.11.15
Fred McCormick Celebration of Life
Fred died in hospital on Sunday 15th November 2015. He had been suffering from a lung/heart condition.
The celebration of Fredâs life will be held at Landican Cemetery and Crematorium, Arrowe Park Road, Woodchurch, Wirral, CH49 5LW, on Monday 7th December at 2:30pm. The Wirral Council website page shows a small Google map.
Fred's niece Gill Barrie writes : 'Can I suggest people might like to wear something red (ties, scarves) because of his socialist views. After the cremation we will be going to Misty Blues in Liscard, Wallasey CH44 1BY . I hope people will bring their instruments etc., I know our Fred loved a good wake and we want to send him off in style'. Cards etc. may be sent to Gill Barrie at 23 Frobisher Road, Leasowe, Wirral CH46 2RB
Peta Webb - 21.11.15
Percy was born into a large travelling family in 1944 and learned to dance at an early age. In 1956 Peter Kennedy recorded the O'Connor family at Friday Bridge near Wisbech: Percy's father Frank singing, diddling and step dancing and various of Frank's children step dancing, including twelve year old Percy.
More recently Percy and his wife Doreen - another great step dancer - settled down in Palgrave, near Diss, with their son Matthew. Percy and Doreen were regulars at a great many gatherings of traditional music making across Norfolk and Suffolk, with Percy also winning several prizes for his dancing. He was always the life and soul of any event, with his exuberant personality and flashy, highly percussive dancing. Always encouraging and positive, he was aptly described by fellow step dancer Lenny Whiting as "one of nature's gentlemen."
Percy was given a fitting funeral in a packed St Mary's Church, Diss, on Thursday, with an appropriate wake afterwards packed with music and dancing. He will be sorely missed and long remembered, both for his warm personality and his wonderful step dancing.
Chris Holderness - 8.8.15
He died on Saturday May 31st, aged 89, I gather, and had been very ill for some time. I don't know the precise details, beyond the fact that he had throat cancer and he was very unhappy that this prevented him from singing.
His funeral was massive, quite possibly the biggest that Mullaghbawn had ever seen and of course we gave him a great send off at the GAA club afterwards.
I'm afraid I don't know much about his family details, except that he leaves a lot of grieving relatives, and a lot of grieving friends.
For myself, I can only say that, as well as enjoying his singing and storytelling, he was one of the loveliest blokes I ever had the pleasure of knowing - and one of the funniest. He leaves a great big hole in the Mullaghbawn community, and in the traditional song scene. He will be greatly missed and for the life of me I still can't believe that he is gone.
Fred McCormick - 4.6.15
A wonderful human being - hugely missed here, too. I never thought of him as a 'storyteller' - more a sharer of yarns. They were never the same in different tellings, and he often strung two or three together to keep them fresh. I can't think of anyone else who did the job so well - and everyone's eyes lit up when he walked into a room.
Rod Stradling - 4.6.15
After graduating she got a job as a social worker at the Henry Street Settlement, where she taught music to children. There she befriended Alan Lomax, who recorded her extensively for the Library of Congress. She also met her future husband, George Pickow, there at a square dance in 1948, and they married in 1950. Together they went on a Fulbright Scholarship to collect folksongs in Britain and Ireland.
Ritchie preferred to sing without instrumental accompaniment, but occasionally she also accompanied herself on autoharp, guitar and mountain dulcimer, an instrument her father had played, and which she may be credited with introducing to the folk scene. Over a 50-year long career she recorded some 33 albums of songs.
For many years, Ritchie lived in Port Washington, New York. In 2009, after a stoke, she moved back to Kentucky, to the town of Berea, where she died on 1st June 2015.
Mike Yates writes: I spent a lot of time with Packie when he was living in England and found him a wonderful man. I have said before that his Topic album Songs of a Donegal Man was the best album that I ever worked on ... and I still think that this is true. He was a marvellous singer and whistle player ... and he had a great sense of humour. Packie enriched all our lives and we are all the better for having known him.
Dave Hunt writes: When we were over in Ardara for his 95th birthday, he was in fine form ... and it concluded with him saying "Well now ... there'll be another party in five years time". Sadly he didn't quite make it. I've known him since 1965 and always enjoyed the company of a wonderful singer and whistle player, who bought such joy to so many along the way. A real gentleman, and a sad loss to us all.
Funeral on Friday 15th May at Church of The Holy Family, Ardara, 11am Requiem Mass with burial afterwards in the family plot at Bruckless Cemetery. Family flowers only please, donations, if desired, to Killybegs Community Hospital, c/o Seamus Shovlin and Sons or any family member.
As well as owning a few of his countless books on songs and traditions, I was privileged to have worked with him on the George Dunn and Cecilia Costello double-CD projects. He was always utterly helpful and vastly knowledgeable. As may others have said: a complete gentleman.
In the English Folk Music Collection at the British Library we find: Number of items in collection: 1,549. Approximately 140 hours of field recordings ... from the 1960s to the present day. As well as that, I can find more than 30 books of his on the Net. Not bad for one man's contribution!
And I can think of few people who remained so completely enthusiastic about songs and singers for so long - his energy never belied his age. He will be much missed.
Rod Stradling - 28.2.15
May I add personal tribute to Roy Palmer ... As you point out, he was ever the gentleman and over some thirty odd years has been, for me, a very present help in research, generous with his time, providing material and, in addition, being so very kind as to send me books not only about songs and singing and broadside matters but others on subjects in which he knew I was interested - some pretty weighty tomes on Napoleon, for instance.
He and his wife, Pat, even took the trouble to visit me here in France during one of their holidays. Roy was also one of the first visitors to the Downs festival of Traditional Singing way back in the early 1980s and thereby gave us great encouragement.
Like you and many, many others, I shall miss his scholarship and his care and attention, even at a distance; and my sympathies go out to Pat and to the family.
Sheilaâs son Hamish Macgregor and his wife Bonnie and other family will welcome all friends from the folk and traditional music scene to the funeral which will take place on Tuesday 16th December at 10:00 am in the Town Hall, Blairgowrie.
The Commital and Interment will follow at 11.00 am in the Blairgowrie Cemetery.
Hamish plans that a Celebration of Sheilaâs Life will then take place in the Town Hall from around 12:00 midday along with refreshments. The celebration will continue as a Ceilidh to which all musicians are invited to bring their instruments, songs and reminiscences along so that personal tributes to her folk singing can be enjoyed by all.
Where would the ballad singing tradition in Scotland be today without the unbroken continuity of the tradition passed on to us by Sheila and other members of her extended family? I well remember how she won the traditional singing cup at the very first TMSA competitions held in Blairgowrie (in August 1967 if I remember correctly) and so set the standard for other singers to follow â with her magnificent family version of the ancient ballad The Twa Brothers.
An era passes. Condolences to all the family.
Peter Shepheard - 11.12.14
The article fails to mention her total commitment to the Scots traditional singers. She came from a different background - an academic one - but was totally at ease with them.
Her recordings of the complete Burns songs to accompaniments by the Russian/American Serge Hovey were also quite inspired.
Vic Smith - 22.8.14
A longer obituary can be found here.
In the 1980s, he formed part of another important Glasgow-based group, 'Stramash' where his own songs played an important part. He was always willing to pass on songs, whether traditional or his own, and he is a great loss to traditional music in Scotland. As his longterm partner 'Biff' Carmichael said to me 'It's like end of an auld sang'.
Jim Bainbridge - 22.5.14
Katie Howson - 6.4.14
Reg was well-known as a hammer dulcimer player in Suffolk, and examples of his playing can be found on A Story to Tell (MTCD339-0), several of the Veteran and Old Hat Concert Party recordings, and in Chapter 8 of Sing, Say or Pay! amongst these pages. Many readers will, I'm sure, remember his attending numerous English Country Music Weekends over the years.
Rod Stradling - 6.4.14
Reg's funeral is on Wednesday 16th April at 1pm in Yoxford Church (just off the A12 near Saxmundham) followed by tea & music (please bring instruments) in the Village Hall. No flowers but donations to British Heart Foundation or Cancer Research are appreciated.
Katie Howson - 8.4.14
A fuller obituary by Katie & John Howson can be found here.
Simon, through his work with the late Charlie Jacobs interviewed some of the old mummers, bringing to life the 'Seven Champions' plays of the Darent Valley between Westerham and Dartford in Kent, on behalf of the Hartley Morris Men of whom he was a member. He was also active in recording many of Kent's travellers, notably that of Ambrose Cooper. The fruits of this research and his involvement with BBC Radio Kent, led him to broadcast many of his findings in Radio Four documentaries. Others were collaborations with Chris Wood overdubbing his fiddle to Simon's recordings on Champions' plays and one on the River Medway. In 2004, his work was published by the University of Hertfordshire under the title 'Stopping Places'.
His 'folk' programme also nurtured many a raw and eclectic talent in both folk and acoustic music. He also acted as producer for the Millen Family in recording their CD.
His front room at his cottage in West Peckham doubled as his library, and he would often disappear upstairs to return with some recording of interest. On a personal note, I well recall the long conversations, usually in the pub car park after Seven Champions practices whilst he was returning from Chatham after his Radio Kent duties - these would often go well into the small hours!
His published output as a producer seemed minimal, and it is hoped that some of his many recordings can be broadcast to a wider audience.
George Frampton - 22.1.14
I am so glad he had the chance to become so well known in his latter years - and that we were able to record him when he was a guest at the FifeSing Festivals. Thanks to Steve Byrne for putting up the link to his majestic performance of the Barnyards of Delgaty.
Pete Shepheard - 11.1.14
Anyone who attended Bampton's Day of Dance from the 1960s through to the turn of this century will certainly remember Bill - clearly the most stylish dancer in the side, and many would say the best. Moreover, he always managed to make time for anyone interested in the dance, and was a fund of local information ... his family having been in the village since the 16th century!
He was a wonderful dancer, a delightful man, and a true friend to Danny and me over the 47 years we knew him. He will not be forgotten.
Bill's funeral will be at St Mary's Church, Bampton, on Friday 20th December at 2:30pm.
Rod Stradling - 13.12.13
I will communicate funeral arrangements in the next few days and thank you all for your kind thoughts and wishes.
Richard Smith - 22.11.13
Brian Dawsonâs nephew
Like most of us, I suspect, Brian Dawson was a smallish part of my life for more years than I care to remember. Scarcely an event in the English musical calendar would pass without him being present - quiet and unobtrusive, but always willing to give us a song ... and one which rarely disappointed. In recent years, it was often as a guest performer, and it was most pleasing to find that his understated skills were at last beginning to be recognised.
I last saw him this September, at the most recent Stroud Sing & Stroll event, where he'd been a regular for many years and, coming from another rural county, he fitted in perfectly ... and obviously felt himself to be amongst friends. I'll never forget the time he first treated us to one of his Tennyson dialect story-poems, and made us realise that Geordie is not the hardest dialect for a southern ear to negotiate!
This quiet, gentle man, with his store of hugely interesting songs and stories will be sorely missed. I only wish I'd got to know him better ... sooner.
Rod Stradling - 25.11.13
Funeral details are as follows - anyone who knew Brian is welcome to attend.
Tuesday 10th December, 1.50 pm - Lincoln Crematorium, Washingborough Rd, Lincoln, LN4 1EF. 2.30 pm - Celebratory Service at St John's Church, High St, Washingborough, LN4 1EJ
Afterwards - Refreshments at the Jubilee Hall, High St, Heighington, LN4 1JS (next village to Washingborough) Songs will be sung!
A longer obituary, by John Conolly, can be found here.
He was deeply involved in The Tradition Club in Slatterys in Capel Street during the halcyon days of the club in the '70s and '80s and was responsible for giving a platform to lots of traditional musicians and singers who would never have come to national notice otherwise.
He is survived by his wife Mag, daughters Lucy and Katie and son Aengus.
A longer obituary, by Roly Brown, can be found here.
Jerry O'Reilly - 9.9.13
We well remember John and Catherine performing at The National Folk Music Festival and at our Musical Traditions Club. He will be greatly missed. No news of the funeral yet but we will pass on news as we hear it.
Peta Webb & Ken Hall - 4.9.13
Jane Turriff, certainly one of the greatest of the Traveller singers of the last generation, died a couple of weeks ago, in her 90s. Her funeral has already taken place, but we now have an obituary by Vic Smith here.
Roy Shergold, one of the last members of Bampton's great 1950s side, died at 2am today, 23rd August - he would have been 87 next month. He was in hospital for Whitsun this year and, although he did come home for a while and was active for a very brief period, the prognosis was never great and he finally had to go back into hospital about 6 or 7 weeks ago.
I've just been told that the funeral will be on Thursday 5th September, at 14.30 at Bampton Church. Continuing at The Talbot afterwards.
Keith Chandler deeply regrets causing distress to some members of Roy Shergold's family in his published obituary, which has now been removed from this site.
Both Jane and Roy had good, long, eventful lives - and many of us will be able to remember them very fondly. But while these two deaths can hardly be called unexpected, to lose Bobby Ritchie in the prime of her life is a cruel shock. She was present at almost all the 'events' of the traditional music year, and meeting her was always a gladdening experience. She was unfailingly happy, funny, enthusiastic ... unforgettable. Our deepest sympathies go to Simon and their children.
For those who didn't know already, Bobby had been suffering from leukemia for the past three months and had been in intensive care for most of this time. Simon had been up to the hospital every day for all of this period and had been told that there were signs of improvement. Tragically this proved not to be the case and she died on Wednesday 21st August.
The funeral will be held at Thaxted Village Church on Friday 6th September from 11am. This will be followed by a gathering in the home at 25 Town Street opposite the Guild Hall. An obituary can be found here.
Rod Stradling - 28.8.13
Many readers will, I think, have been aware of Lou's health problems over a number of years, but these got far worse in 2011 when she was diagnosed with lung cancer, and things have been very up and down since that point. Very recently it became apparent that she might not live for too much longer, and she was in the process of writing something to send to all her friends. This was being edited prior to publication when she died - her ex-wife Margaret, who has been at her side throughout all her recent troubles, was able to complete the editing, and put the following on Louisa Jo's Facebook page yesterday.
However, now I am not certain I will make it through the current problems. It's not that I expect to die tomorrow, but I do believe that end point is on the horizon. I have had a good life and I don't regret any part of it. I have had wonderful experiences and relationships and many of you have been very important in my life. Thank you for that - it wouldn't have been the same without you! I think of you all at different times and in different ways, and I always give thanks for my friends. The energy of my friendships sustains me in so many ways.
I tell you this because I would like to hear from you and I will do my best to keep in touch. And if you have any other healing powers please send them my way. I will try to keep you updated, and if I can't, Margaret will. She is here with me to help and support me.
Love to you all,
Rod and Danny Stradling - 13.8.13
For many years, photos taken at Scottish festivals like Kinross had Alex in them - if not all of him, then an elbow, back of the head, a knee ... concrete evidence that he was always at the centre of the crack - Brian Miller
Sorry to hear about dear old Alex - Christy Moore
I've only to hear the word 'Dingle' and I'm off with his voice in my head "As I went down to the Fair at Dingle" - Rab Noakes
I was just talking about him with Cathy Watt and Mary Stewart... with a smile on our faces, of course - Alison Farrow
He had the best version of the Galway Shawl I've ever heard ... if there is a hereafter, the rave-up gets better all the time - Jimmy Hutchison
Roly Brown - 26.11.12
Oradour sur Vayres, France.
Anyone who has known Bobby - and there are many - have had the privilege of acquaintance with one of the finest human beings on the planet. âThey donât make them like that any moreâ has been most aptly said of him. Apart from being a superb exponent of folk song, Bobby was an outright gentle family man whose glass was always half full amid the adversities of life; a genuine friend and wise counsellor to all; one who always saw the best side of people, never rushing to judgement; one who provided father figure encouragement to many aspiring folk musicians young and old.
Pat Lappin - 24.10.12
The funeral arrangements are as follows. Removal from his home on Thursday to the Community Centre Mullaghbawn to arrive at 12.30pm to celebrate his life with a humanist ceremony. Burial after in the local cemetery.
John Moulden and Fred McCormick - 6.10.12
There is now an excellent obitury to Gerry in the Irish Times.
Paul Marsh 10.6.2012
Biog here. There's and interview from 2010 here.
And John McGann, Boston mandolin player too: Obit here.
Patrick Hutchinson - 9.4.12
Andy Turner - 2.4.12
I'm now able to give you some details regarding Dave's funeral: It will be held at noon on April 16th in St James the Great church in West Hanney. Here is a web link which has a map http://www.achurchnearyou.com/west-hanney-st-james-the-great/ There will be a service followed by the burial and then a big party in the church to celebrate Dave's wonderful, varied but too-short life. I really want this to be joyful event, respectful but reflecting his many interests, so those of you that play instruments, please bring them along prepared to play at the party! Despite this being in the church there will be food and drink of various types including alcohol and if you want to continue afterwards, the pub over the road (The Plough) is opening specially for the event and will also allow us to use their other facilities.
Gill - 4.4.12
Adam McNaughtan - 20.1.12
Nigel Holt - 16.1.12
Squire Kirtlington Morris Men
The funeral is next Tuesday, 8th November, at Dunfermline Crematorium at 11.30 am.
I think all our lives would have been a lot duller if we hadn't met this great character and I know that you will be like me and be thankful for some fantastic memories.
Jimmy Hutchison - 31.10.11
As noted above, he was also a very talented wood sculptor, whose house was almost as intricately carved as the hundreds of pieces of wooden sculpture it contained!
He will be warmly remembered, and very much missed.
You can read two articles on the Ponte Caffaro carnevale tradition, and Gaetano's part in it, here:
Ponte Caffaro Carnevale
Ponte Caffaro revisited
Rod Stradling - 18.9.11
You may have read this already, but Mike Rafferty passed away on Monday. A great flute player from Ballinakill, lately of Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, USA.
Biog can be found here.
Ar dheis DĂ© go raibh a anam, as they say.
All the best,
Patrick Hutchinson - 15.9.11
(We left home for a birthday visit to our daughter just after hearing of Ray's death, after a long battle with cancer.
Because of this, were unable to upload anything until today - my apologies - Ed
The following is from Sheila Miller:)
I received the bad news on Wednesday afternoon (31st August) that Ray Fisher had died at 11am that day. Ray's death is not unexpected, but it's still very sad news. An obituary can be found here.
Sheila Miller - 3.10.11
Andrew Bathe - 5.8.11
Doc Rowe - 22.6.11
My mind is filled with so many images and memories of Michael: from the glorious days of the early sixties and the decade just past, interspersed with the rare visits from abroad. I donât think it ever occurred to either of us that the periods of separation between interfered with our friendship. We just took up where weâd left off. Now that separation is permanent. No more hearing the ideas, the snippets of songs in the making, the jokes, the gossip - all of which seemed to pour out of him - especially on long car journeys. I did occasionally get a word in, but I found his passion for people, songs, boats, politics, and just plain life so entertaining I was happy to listen.
I feel honoured to have been his friend, honoured to have been one of his singing partners, honoured to have shared a bit of his life. That Iâll miss him, there is no doubt. That Iâll forget him - never!
Louisa Killen - 7.7.11
When discussing her brother's death, Norma said to me "Sad days." Well, Michael's funeral was the very best sad day I have ever experienced. Doc Rowe did an astounding 'service' at the crematorium, informative, funny and very moving, saying everything that we hadn't even realised needed saying, and sending Michael off in the finest style. The most wonderful moment was when the family led the congregation in Sleep on Beloved - and after a little reticence, the voice of Norma, not heard since she went into hospital, soared above the rest and sent her brother away as he would have wanted. Sad days indeed, but welcome back Norma Waterson, and a fond farewell Michael. We will meet and we will miss you.
Danny Stradling - 10.7.11
From 1948 onwards Benton played regularly on WPAQ, often with the legendary fiddler Esker Hutchins, who passed on many local tunes to Benton. He also led the well-known Smokey Valley Boys and many of his best recordings can be heard on the Rounder CD old time, new times (Rounder CD 0326).
There are also a few tracks on the Musical Traditions double CD Far in the Mountains, volumes 3 & 4 (MTCD503-4)
Mike Yates - 29.6.11
Paul Marsh - 15.4.11
Paul Burgess - 21.2.11
The funeral will be on Thursday afternoon at Newlandâs Cross Crematorium, where there will be a celebration of Anne's life at 2pm. Family flowers only, please. Donations, if desired, to Post Polio Support Group or Irish Hospice Foundation.
John Moulden - 30.11.10
Readers of Musical Traditions might know them from their appearances at Sidmouth and South Zeal and from the CD they made for Veteran in 2001. The funeral is 11.00, Friday 6 August at St Edwards RC Church, Keymer, Sussex [near Lewes]. Bridie is expecting music in the pub afterwards.
Reg Hall - 22.7.10
I am so sad to report that one of the three kings... Wilfred Peters... who is Belize's icon of the traditional Brukdown Music (which forms part of the 'Creole' culture of Belize), passed away this week from a heart attack. For many years he had what was named the Boom and Chime Band, which played jawbones (from cattle), the accordion, Turtle Shells, and other rudimentary instruments.
He performed at the Toledo Cacao Fest, and that was his very last live performance. Marta.
Ian Anderson - 15.6.10
A highly respected member of his local community, he hailed from a long line of fishermen and lifeboatmen in the town, becoming coxswain of the lifeboat in 1976, a position he held until his retirement in 1999. This distinguished service included the winning of a bronze medal in 1993 and being chosen to carry the RNLI standard at the annual Festival of Remembrance in London.
Together with many other members of his family he kept up the local tradition of step dancing in the Davies' unique style, one that family memory recalls was passed on from a coastguard from Lancashire. An energetic and entertaining performer, Richard Davies could also be relied upon to provide the audience with his own unique versions of songs such as The Foggy Dew and The Worst Old Ship.
Despite his illness, he kept very positive and cheerful. His last performance was in Cromer on 6 March, showing none of the effects of being seriously ill, at a memorable night of music, song and step dancing.
Richard Davies leaves a wife, Julie, son John, daughter Fiona, and four grandchildren. The funeral is to take place in Cromer parish church on Wednesday 19 May, at 2.00pm.
Chris Holderness - 10.5.10
I see from the site you havenât anything yet on the death of CiarĂĄn MacMathĂșna - he died on Friday 11th December. I well remember listening to his programmes on my transistor radio in the '70s early '80s - it was one of the few places you could here real traditional Irish music as well as lots of other 'non-real' but very interesting, and often very stimulating material.
Thereâs an article about him from the Irish Independent: www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/kevin-myers/kevin-myers-the-rebirth-of-irish-music-is-ciaran-mac-mathunas-legacy-1975179.html
Paul Burgess - 5.1.10
Paul Marsh - 27.09.09
An Honorary Founder of the Scottish Storytelling Forum, he was the Keyworker for the Heritage Lottery funded âOral and Cultural Traditions of Scottish Travellersâ project from April 2002 until April 2005, promoting and expounding Traveller life, lore and singing. His many books, such as Exodus to Alford (1988), as well as his plays such as Scruffie Uggie (1998), dealt both with that way of life and his many trades, especially as a fish filleter in the Aberdeen fish hooses.
Ian Olson - 3.8.09
Dick Greenhaus - 3.8.09
It was at Jim's suggestion that some of the musicians from the regular sessions at Arbroath's Foundry Bar got together, entered and won the 1971 Ceilidh Band competition at the Kinross Festival - and so was born the hugely influential and very enjoyable Foundry Bar Band who played at festivals, ceilidhs and dances for almost another 30 years.
Funeral service will be held in Letham Parish Church, Letham, Angus on Monday 13th July at 12 noon, thereafter to Dunnichen Cemetery to which all family and friends are respectfully invited. Family flowers only but donations may be made at the church in aid of Alzheimer Scotland.
Some of Jim Reid's songs may be listened to or freely downloaded from the following link, where donations may also be made direct to Alzheimer Scotland: www.springthyme.co.uk/album15/15go.html
Peter Shepheard - 9.7.09
Rita Keane and her elder sister Sarah, who survives her, are seen as two of the most significant collectors and performers of songs in Irish and English from East Galway. They began their careers in the 1930s, playing and singing with the Keane's CeilĂÂ Band, a family concern.
In the 1960s Sarah and Rita recorded a highly acclaimed LP collection entitled Once I Loved, in which they sang together - this is unusual in the Irish tradition. They released a second CD, At the Setting of the Sun, in 1985.
The sisters had a major impact on several generations of traditional singers and, in 2006, they received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Irish language TV Channel, TG4, in recognition of their outstanding contribution to traditional music and song.
Rita Keane was an aunt of the singers Dolores and Sean Keane.
John Moulden - 3.7.09
His wife Avril is not able to contact all his folk friends but asks me to put the word out. He was much respected as a singer and kept singing till the very end.
A service of thanksgiving will be held on Wed July 8th at 2pm at Horton church near Ilminster. No further info at this time.
David Sutcliffe - 1.7.09
Neillidh Mulligan and Liam O'Connor - 30.6.09
Born in 1924, he saw service throughout the Second World War with the Chindits in India and Burma. Upon leaving the forces in 1946, he continued to live in his native Wells and was a regular participant in the nights of music in the many pubs of the area. Jack Jordan learned to step dance from his father William and is well remembered for his agile dancing. A common party trick was to leap up onto the bar of a pub in mid step dance, in particular onto the long bar of Wells Railway Hotel. He was also an accomplished bones player.
Both Jack and his wife Edna were keen dancers in various styles and travelled widely throughout the county to various events in village halls and other venues, often several times a week. Both talk about the local dances in Musical Traditions article MT196.
A true local character, Jack Jordan's athletic prowess as a step dancer is still widely remembered by a great many people in and around Wells-next-the-Sea. He is greatly missed by family, friends and all those who recall the nights of traditional music making in the pubs across this area of Norfolk.
Chris Holderness - 20.3.09
A robust singer and lively stepdancer, he was the last link with the 'good old days' of Blaxhall Ship. We went to his 90th birthday party, and although rather unsteady on his feet by then, he still couldn't resist 'giving a step', albeit holding onto the back of a chair for support! A short article about him is to be found on the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust website at www.eatmt.org.uk/new_page_4.htm and Keith Summers article Sing, Say or Pay on the Musical Traditions website provides further information.
The funeral is to be held at 2pm at Blaxhall Church on Tuesday 24th February.
Katie Howson - 20.2 .09
His funeral is on the 26th, Ray Fisher told me. If anyone wants to write a letter of condolence to Jane, the address is 99 Mallett's Close, Stony Stratford, Bucks MK11 1DG.
Sheila Miller - 20.2.09
The funeral is at 2pm this Wednesday at the Yardley Crematorium in Birmingham.
Excuse the brevity: I'm at work, and very busy.
Sheila Miller - 12.1.09
His Bampton dancing was from the old team days of the Tanners before the team split up in the late 1920s. He was fascinating to talk to about those days. After the Second World War the two teams came together for a short period, but then in the 1950s Sonny helped Arnold Woodley rebuild the old traditional team and he was the Clown for Arnold's team for many years. He remained close friends with him until Arnold's death. He kept up his dancing until well into his eighties.
The funeral will be on Monday 5th January at 12:30pm in Bampton Parish Church. The family are happy for kit to be worn by Morris men if they wish to do so. Son was the Clown for the Traditional Bampton Morris Dancers, and they will be in their whites.
Barry Care - 30.12 08
Keith Chandler - 28.11.08
James's only solo recording was The Road To Glenlough - James Byrne, with Dermot McLoughlin, Dermot Byrne, Peter Carr & Sean Byrne - Claddagh 4CC52 / CC52 / CC52CD. From the notes of which:
James Byrne is one of the greatest fiddlers living in Ireland today. He learned his music from his father and his neighbours in Glencolmcille, southwest Donegal. His record includes much rare music from a tradition little known outside his home county. Highlands and barndances, now common only in Donegal, take their place beside the more popular jigs and reels. A legendary figure in fiddle circles, his only other appearance on record is on The Brass Fiddle.
Someone has set up a memorial website for him at: www.qmcorp.net/joe_madden/
Paul Burgess - 24.11.08
Ken was a collector active in West Kent and the Ashdown Forest, as well as other places. He compiled The Life of a Man in 1970 for EFDS Publications from the singing of local people, raising the profile of George Spicer, Pop Maynard and many more.
Always one to share, many are in his debt for making available to them, both live and recorded, the music he loved. It is such a pity that he will not see the release of material from his collection, which is in the process of being digitised for that purpose.
A very nice man, who will be missed.
David Nuttall & Vic Smith - 14.11.08
David Hammond, born in Belfast, was a distinguished radio and television producer with BBC Northern Ireland, an independent film-maker from 1986 with his company Flying Fox, a writer, and a director of the Field Day theatre company. He was a pioneer of an informal style of broadcasting with a new interest in the everyday life of working people and the arts. In 2003 he was the recipient of an honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy from Dublin City University.
From the 1950s Davy was also a recognised collector and singer of traditional songs, especially the street songs of his native city. He had a long broadcasting career as a singer to his own guitar accompaniment on radio and television, and made several long-playing records, including I am the Wee Falorie Man (New York, 1959, 1997, 1998, 2007), David Hammond Sings Belfast Street Songs (New York, 1967), David Hammond Sings Songs of Ireland (New York, c. 1968), and The Singer's House (Dublin, 1978; Chicago 1980). Traditional song was also the focus of many of his radio and television productions. They included his award-winning films Dusty Bluebells (1973) on children's street games and songs, and Ulster in Focus: Sarah Makem (1977) on the Armagh traditional singer. In 1974 he produced for the Arts Council of Northern Ireland an anthology of children's street songs from Belfast, Green Peas and Barley O.
ITMA - 27.8.08
Hugh Shields was the most incisive commentator on Irish song of the last century. He combined a love of songs and singers with great intuitive understanding of the workings of tradition and its contributors. His capacity for analysis was unsurpassed and his work is beautifully and concisely descriptive; every sentence deserves repeated reading.
His books together with the recordings of traditional singers he was instrumental in issuing will be his memorial. No student of song should neglect his Narrative Singing in Ireland.
John Moulden - 16.7.08
He had known all of the great west Clare musicians of the twentieth century and danced to most of them, but he had a deep interest in music from outside his own environs and could discuss music from all over Ireland. And he exulted in discussion - it's from talking to such people that younger folks learn, and such discussion can form the habits and attitudes of a lifetime. In conversation he had an eloquence and fluidity of speech that was common among his generation - this can be witnessed in a well -known piece of film footage that is often replayed on TV; the Dublin HQ of Comhaltas had decided to ban 'battering' in competitions of set-dancing, and Marty, who was comfortable and confident in his enjoyment of the tradition, came to its defence on Irish television. It's an impassioned and heated defence, but beautiful in its integrity.
When younger Marty travelled all over Ireland to fleadhanna, and he had thousands of friends. The establishment of The Willie Clancy Summer School widened further his circle of friends by bringing tens of thousands of new people into his own milieu, and his passing will be regretted in almost every part of the world.
Finbar Boyle - 5.7.08
Peter Laban - 17.5.08
Many of you will remember Bernardâs wonderful description of his childhood and how he became a Mummer at the Here we come: traditional and contemporary folk performances in Britain conference here in Aberystwyth in 2006. He was already seriously ill at that time but was eager to contribute his particular experiences of traditional practice.
It was a real pleasure to see him performing King William with such gusto last Boxing Day. And it was his suggestion that King William should take on all-comers in the final performance, resulting in a series of energetic, improvised combats that left a pile of colourful, paper-decked figures in the street. I think perhaps he knew that this would be his lastâŠ
Bernard will be greatly missed â by his family, by his friends, by his community. But he will linger in the performances of the Mummers. Older members say that it takes many years for them to stop imagining their departed colleague still there in a role. And every time Tenpenny Nit strikes himself on the head - to show his âlittle witâ - Bernard will be present: this action was his invention when for many years he played that character. And when at 11 oâclock in the square we hear these words, itâs Bernardâs voice weâll remember:
Mike Pearson - 22.5.08
Professor of Performance Studies
Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, Aberystwyth University
John Messenger - 24.4.08
At age 11, he took up the fiddle in Inagh, a crossroads village between Ennis and Ennistymon where one could shorten the road towards the West Clare village of Miltown Malbay. He took up carpentry as a trade, working first in Ennis, then Dublin, London and back again in Dublin where as a foreman he trained many a trainee joiner.
The fiddle and Irish music and Clare were always important parts of his life wherever he traveled, as he shared tunes with Bobby Casey in London, John Kelly in Dublin at OâDonoghues on Merrion Row and the Four Seasons and Slatterys on Capel Street and with Junior Crehan in Miltown Malbay. He was a regular tutor at the Willie Clancy Summer School and was even listed for Miltown this July.
Ryan was part of that seminal scene of musicians who literally recreated the Banner County in Dublin at the Mrs. Crottyâs Club on Church Street in the early 1960s. Out of that milieu came one of the most exciting ceili bands in Irish music, the Castle Ceili Band that featured Ryan, Kelly, Liam Rowesome, Sean Keane, John Dwyer on fiddles, Mick OâConnor and Michael Tubridy on flutes, James Keane on accordion, Bridie Laverty on piano and Bennie Carey on drums. They won the senior All-Ireland in 1965, and Ryan could still be seen proudly wearing his blue blazer from those halcyon days at special occasions many years later.
His music was recorded and documented in a variety of settings like the Castle Ceili Band; Crossroads, a Green Linnet cassette that he made with harmonica player Eddie Clarke from Cavan; Ceol An Chlar: Traditional Fiddle Music from West Clare, a CCE recording featuring Ryan, Bobby Casey, Junior Crehan, John Kelly and Patrick Kelly from Cree, and his own solo album, An Buachaill Dreoite.
Paul Keating - 26.3.08
Excerpted from his obit in The Irish Voice
His funeral will take place in Strathmiglo Church, Kirk Wynd, Strathmiglo, Fife on Tuesday 13 November at 2:00pm.
Duncan's contribution to the storytelling revival has been immense and he had an important repertoire of traditional Scots ballads and folksongs. Numerous books of traditional tales compiled by Duncan and his second wife Linda have been published worldwide. He has travelled widely since the 1970s taking his storytelling and ballad singing throughout Europe and to the USA.
A obituary has appeared in The Herald: www.theherald.co.uk/features/obituaries/
Fourteen books of folktales by Duncan Williamson are listed by Amazon: www.amazon.co.uk/
Duncan has lived in Ladybank in Fife for the last few years and has been a guest at the annual Fife Traditional Singing Weekend in nearby Collessie every year since 2004 with songs on several CDs: www.springthyme.co.uk/fifesing
Scottish Storytelling Centre: www.scottishstorytellingcentre.co.uk/
Peter Shepheard - 11.11.07
Irish Traditional Music Archive - 30.8.07
If you would like to attend the funeral, please phone Don Rowse on 01993 850297 to assist with the catering.
The funeral is on Thursday 14th at 1:30pm, at St Petroc's Church, Bodmin. Family flowers only, but any donations in lieu to Athelstan House Care Home, Bodmin.
Lyn Murfin - 8.6.07
(Back at the begining of 1989, Vic interviewed Sophie about her life and family, which made a nice little article for MT, including a couple of sound clips. As it was so long ago there are doubtless many of you who've not seen it - click here to do so now. Ed.)
Born in Yell, before moving to Lerwick, 'Peerie' Willie was our very own home-grown guitar genius, equally at home trading tunes, chords and licks in his 'local' with anyone who cared (or dared) to join in, or modestly, even reluctantly, sharing the stage with some great musical names, occasionally in front of massive TV or radio audiences.
An illustration of his modesty can be left to Willie himself. When world-renowned guitarist Martin Taylor invited Willie to the front of the stage to offer his own personal debt of gratitude during a concert in Lerwick, Willie was seen to whisper something in Martin's ear by way of a reply. "That was a great moment, what did he say to you", I asked Martin after the concert. Martin laughed and shook his head. He told me "Never mind a yon nonsense boy, is du going to da Lounge for a tune when dis is all ower?" That was Willie for you in a nutshell.
(Excerpted from Davie Gardner's obituary in The Shetland News at: www.shetland-news.co.uk/opinion/Peerie%20Willie%20-%20a%20musical%20giant.htm )
Davie Gardner - 25.5.07
Mark Wilson - 9.5.07
Reg Hall - 25.4.07
Frank was due to be awarded the EFDSS Gold Badge at the Beyond Marrow Bones event on Sunday 13th May, to coincide with the launch of the new edition of his book Marrow Bones. This event has now been CANCELLED.
Peta Webb - 26.4.07
We are conscious that so very many people loved Barry but are aware that the chapel only holds 120 people. We would ask you to to consider whether you wish to attend the ceremony or could go directly to Thundercliffe. We'd like you to dress in the way Barry would expect you to, something that would be fitting for a very colourful man! Rather than flowers, we'd be grateful if you would make a donation in Barry's name to the English Folk Dance and Song Society. For those of you who are musicians, please bring along your instruments to Thundercliffe.
Addresses for both the crematorium and Thundercliffe are as follows: Grenoside Crematorium, Sheffield S35 8RZ; Thundercliffe Grange, Grange Lane, Rotherham. Grange Lane is the B6086 which passes under the M1 near J35
Johnny Adams - 22.4.07
To all who knew him, Sheffield musician, collector and film maker Barry Callaghan was pivotal in the Sheffield music scene, endlessly enthusiastic and deeply knowledgable.
Prior to his trip to Majorca, he and Johnny Adams were engaged in finalising the details of his book and CD of English tunes compiled with the help of many of the musicians and bands on the scene. He was very pleased with the selection of tunes and also with the selection of tracks on the companion CD that is to be released at the same time. His pleasure was increased by the fact that it was a collaborative effort by us all.
The EFDSS book and CD, Hardcore English will make a fitting memorial to a man whose infectious enthusiasm for traditional music in general, and English traditional music in particular, was a tonic for everyone who was exposed to it.
A lovely man and a great ambassador for traditional music, dance and song. Do get in touch if I can be of any further help.
Malcolm Woods - 17.4.07
Among other things, Tony was a previous editor of English Dance and Song, a collector of song and stories (mainly from Sussex and Surrey), and the author of numerous books relating to the customs and traditions of Sussex.
Tony's funeral is this Friday, 23 March at 10.00, St John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, Springfield Road. Horsham RH12 2PJ. The church is between the Green Dragon and The Malt Shovel, about half a mile from the railway station.
There is an expectation from the family that there will some music and singing after the service in the Parish Hall.
Sean Goddard - 15.3.07
Rod Stradling - 24.2.07
Funeral service will take place at St Wilfred's church, South Stainley, Monday Dec 11th at 2 p.m. followed by internment in the churchyard. No flowers please. Donations in memory of Nigel will be received at the service for The English Folk Dance and Song Society. Enquiries to W Bowers, Harrogate 01423 770258.
Steve Gardham - 8.12.06
Moving into Jenny's mother's house and farm, they quickly established themselves as respected stalwarts of the local community - particularly its cultural aspects. MT readers will recall, from the booklet notes to The Hardy Sons of Dan double CDs, Keith Summers' statement: 'I have to stress now - without Michael and Jenny's input and assistance for my project, none of these recordings would ever have been made'.
It was typical of the man that, when I was discussing the Hardy Sons project with Mike - and the need for haste in getting it finished while Keith was still with us - he made no mention of the fact that he was, like Keith, also struggling with cancer. Sadly, that struggle is now over.
I understand that hundreds came to his funeral, and only wish that Danny and I had known about it - we would certainly have wished to pay our last respects. The task of compiling and releasing the companion volume to The Hardy Sons of Dan, and certainly its booklet, will be all the harder now that two of the main protagonists are no longer with us.
Rod Stradling - 23.11.06
A lovely man who Iâll miss greatly. My own heartfelt sympathy goes to the family as does, Iâm sure, kind thoughts from many of your readers and friends of the Horn Dancers.
Just heard last night funeral arrangements as follows: Tues 28th Nov at Abbots Bromley Church 1.15. 2.30 at Stafford Crematorium for those who wish to join the family, then after at "The Crown" in Abbots Bromley. The family are keen that as many people as possible get to hear about it.
Doc Rowe - 25.11.06
Ray Templeton - 10.10.06
Ray Templeton - 10.10.06
The funeral will take place tomorrow in Mullaghbawn. Removal from the house at 11.45am to arrive at the church at 12.00 noon. Burial immediately after in the adjoining cemetery.
Jerry O'Reilly - 3.10.06
The funeral is being held tomorrow in Belfast.
Peter Ingram - 5.9.06
Geoff Wallis - 16.8.06
I understand that Cullerlie Festival, due to be held in late July, has been cancelled.
Derek Schofield - 13.7.06
Anne Reid of Cullerlie Farm Park, Echt, Aberdeenshire, died on 25 June 2006. She was a fine traditional singer and widow of the late 'Tam' Reid, 'the Bothy Ballad King' (d. 2003).
Her legacy is great. Some highlights are:
Ian Russell - 18.7.06
Ken Ricketts - 10.7.06
Given the small size of the Cemetery facilities, the Kennedy family has requested that funeral attendance is restricted to family members and a few close friends, so unless you're specifically invited you won't be expected to turn up. There will be some sort of event in due course to commemorate his life's work.
Gwilym Davies -13.6.06
He formed a band of his own, called CeoltĂłirĂ Altan (named after the lough which sits beneath Errigal Mountain) and the name would be passed on to his daughter MairĂ©ad's own hugely successful band. Apart from music, Francie was a notable footballer and actor (in his seventies he regularly appeared as the local postman in a TG4 soap opera), but the focal points of his life were always his family and music. He and his wife Kitty were always extremely proud of the achievements of their children (in addition to MairĂ©ad, GearĂłid is a notable guitarist and Anna a superb singer who was once a member of Macalla) and overjoyed by CiarĂĄn's achievement in being named TG4's Young Musician of the Year in 2003 - the whole family made a notable on-stage appearance at the awards ceremony concert. He was also a mine of information about local musical traditions and ever helpful in passing on his knowledge and experiences gleaned from playing with the likes of John Doherty and Danny O'Donnell.
For many visitors to Gweedore, however, it was the Monday night session at Hugh Gallagher's pub in Bunbeg which will forever be associated with Francie. His chair was always set on the righthand edge of the tables reserved for musicians, as viewed from the bar, and GearĂłid would be sat down opposite him. As the session leader, he usually set the agenda for the first few tunes, but was then always willing to allow others to take the lead on others. However, if he didn't appreciate someone's rendition or selection, then once the 'interloper's' choice had ended, there'd be a nod to the right and across to GearĂłid and a sudden dash into a set of highly elaborate and very rapid tunes - highlands and strathspeys, impossibly complex reels. Such was never done from malice, but more to emphasize that this was a Donegal pub where Donegal tunes took precedence and Francie was always happy to talk to the newcomer afterwards.
Kitty and her children buried Francie at Magheragallon Cemetery yesterday.
Geoff Wallis - 31.3.06
The Folk scene has lost the best trumpeter and brass arranger it has ever had. The music world has lost a great friend, musician, negotiator (his MU day job) and all round good bloke. Our deepest sympathy to his family.
Officials at the Musicians Union will publicise details of funeral and/or memorial if that is what Howard's family wishes.
Steve Heap - 18.3.06
The funeral arrangements are as follows:
Friday 24 March, 1pm at West London Crematorium, Kensal Green, Harrow Rd, W10 4RA. The crematorium is to the west of the âcircleâ in the middle of the cemetery. Afterwards in the WIV pub (formerly known as the William IV) on the Harrow Road within walking distance for âa drink on Nibsâ.
Nearest station: Kensal Green Station - on the Bakerloo Line and the Euston/Watford Line. Car Parking within the Crematorium Grounds. No flowers by request. It is suggested that morris kit should not be worn.
Donations to âThe Vaughan Williams Memorial Libraryâ (c/o Malcolm Taylor, EFDSS, 2 Regents Park Rd London NW1 7AY)
Derek Schofield - 11.3.06
Another old style Cape Breton fiddler, the under-recorded John Neil MacLean, passed away in January.
Mark Wilson - 23.2.06
Charles was a gentle giant, a prolific scholar and beloved colleague whose presence in the English Department and in the University gave new and unique meaning to the term 'professor'. Certainly with his prolific productivity, including nineteen scholarly books (with others still in the offing) and hundreds of articles on music, folklore, and popular culture, Charles could have gone to any institution in the land, but his feet were deep in the Tennessee soil. He was Missouri born and bred - and Blue Raider to the core, having joined MTSU in 1970, where he remained until his retirement just this past year.
Though nationally and internationally known for his accomplishments, Charles never ventured far from heart and home, from family and friends. Unpretentious, dedicated, mentor to countless students and friend to all who knew him, Charles has left an indelible imprint. He will be missed by those who did not know him personally, and even so much more by those who did.
John McDaniel - 9.2.06
Dean, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro TN.
In late 2005 Tony became extremely ill and was in hospital for a long spell, but before Christmas he had appeared to be making a good recovery, and had been out and about just the day before he died. His death came as all the more of a shock because of this.
The funeral is to be held in Tannington on Tuesday 31st January, and it is to be expected that many more will turn up than will be able to fit in the church.
Katie Howson - 28.1.06
East Anglian Traditional Music Trust
Obituary to be published in The Independent written by Ken Hunt. I don't know about funeral arrangements.
Hans Fried - 19.1.06
The funeral is to be at Sunderland Crematorium, on Tuesday (17th), at 2:30, afterwards at The Buffs, Birtley.
I am particularly sorry to have to announce the death, earlier this morning (30.3.04), of my friend and co-editor, Keith Summers. Many of you will have known that Keith has been ill for several years; fewer, I think, will know that he was diagnosed with cancer some 18 months ago.
Keith will be remembered for the wonderful work he did collecting songs in East Anglia and Fermanagh, and as the founding editor of the Musical Traditions Magazine. Southend United Football Club have also lost their number one fan.
Those readers who have bought, or seen the booklet notes to The Hardy Sons of Dan, may have noted the unusually large number of names in the Credits section; this was because there was an all-out effort to get the CDs published while Keith was alive to see them. My thanks to all concerned that the job was accomplished with a couple of weeks to spare - and Keith was absolutely delighted with the result.
The cremation will be on Thursday 8th April at 11.40 a.m at Sutton Road Crematorium, Southend - after which you are invited to adjourn to The Spreadeagle, Victoria Avenue, Southend (near the football ground) (this venue tbc).
Keith never mentioned a religious service but one involving music. We would like friends to pay tribute in the form of short speeches or musical contributions, or by suggesting relevant CD tracks to be played. John Bath has already suggested Abide with Me from the football fraternity. Please send suggestions to Peta and Ken (Petawebken@aol.com) so that we can get them into some sort of order.
Keith expressed a wish for his football friends and music friends "to get together for a good piss-up". No doubt we can all manage that!
Peta Webb, Ken Hall and Rod Stradling - 2.4.04
There is now a Keith Summers Memorial page, with a link on the Home Page, for memories, stories, appreciations and comments from people who knew the man who started Musical Traditions. Please feel free to e-mail me your own contribution. Photos welcome - Ed.
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