logo News and Comment - No 34

British Movietone News online archive

I have recently discovered that the old newsreel company British Movietone News has an online archive at www.movietone.com and various folk items can be found if you go digging.  I thought this might be a useful resource for your magazine (though I don't know what they charge for use of clips).  As an appetite whetter here is a link to their film of Bampton in 1930 with Jinky Wells playing and dancing www.movietone.com/assets/BMN0504/wmv/BMN_727_3.wmv

Best wishes,

Ian Lawther


"Through Streets Broad and Narrow"

A Tribute to Frank Harte in Whitby Folk Week

Resolution Hotel Function Room, Monday August 22nd at 6:00pm


Ken Hall and Peta Webb, Jim McFarland, Niamh Parsons, Jerry O'Reilly, Jim Mageean, George Unthank, Alan Fitzsimons, Pete Wood, Grace Toland, Brian Doyle, Patricia Flynn, Geordie McIntyre and Alison MacMoreland, The Wilsons, Eamonn O'Broithe, Roisin White, Bruce Scott, Rosie Stewart and others.


London Calypso Tent 2005

London Calypso Tent 2005 will be hosted by the Association of British Calypsonians with shows every Friday preceding Notting Hill Carnival. Live Acts: Explainer, The TnT Junior Monarch, Wen'D (reigning UK Calypso Monarch), The Mighty Tiger, Alexander D Great, Lord Cloak, Admiral Jack, Totally Talibah, Mighty Explorer, Deloris Francis, Cleopatra, Helena B, Music Man, Peace & love, H1, Clivus, GString and others.  Supported by the 8-piece ABC Brass Band and The Soca Inspirations.  MC Coco Payorl.

Venue: Yaa Asantewaa Arts & Community Centre, 1 Chippenham Mews, London, W9 2AN
Price: £7.50 adv, £8 door, concession £7   Time: doors open at 7pm, show starts at 8pm

Contact: Tel : 020 7286 1656   Email : info@londoncalypsotent.co.uk   Website : www.londoncalypsotent.com


Royal Oak Club dates:

Royal Oak, Station Street, Lewes, East Sussex - Thursdays Further info at: http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~tinvic


Field Recorders' Collective new CD releases

This American record label has just announced that their new batch of 10 CDs for 2005 are out and available, along with a new website at www.traditional-music.com

Although it will appear that you can't buy them unless you can send them US$, the FRC's organiser, Ray Alden, tells me that readers outside the States can email him at: rgamusic@bestweb.net and arrange to pay him via PayPal.  When you contact him with you order, he will tell you the postal costs, and then you can pay him in PayPal's normal 'Send Money' way.

But please let me know if you have any problems ordering from Ray in this way.  If it proves problematic, I'll discuss with him the possibility of MT Records stocking all 20 of his CDs.


Cover picture

New MT Stephen Baldwin CD

MT Records is pleased to announce its latest CD; the first production this year which is wholly our own, and only our second to feature a musician rather than a singer:

Stephen Baldwin - "Here's One You'll Like, I Think" (MTCD334)
Traditional fiddle music from the Forest of Dean

It contains all the 59 known recordings of Gloucestershire's Stephen Baldwin - village and Morris dance fiddler.  The 28-page booklet contains pretty-well all that is known about him and his family, as well as some information about his musical neighbours in the Forest.  There are also 13 photos, including three previously unpublished ones from 1948, and an examination of Baldwin's unique fiddle style.

No one interested in English fiddling can afford to be without this CD and its excellent booklet - priced £12.00 inc UK p&p, from: www.mtrecords.co.uk


Bradfield Traditional Music Weekend

12 - 14th August 2005.  Edgemount Farm, Lumb Lane, High Bradfield, Sheffield

Located in the Pennine Hills in the Peak District National Park; featuring some of the best traditional singers and musicians

Confirmed guests include:

Weekend Tickets: £10 per person, including camping.

Contact: Mark Davies 0114 2851479   Mobile:07850475067   Email:edeophone@aol.com


Hedy West dies

News has just been announced of the death of singer, Hedy West of North Georgia, USA.  No further details are available at present, but her death will come as a bitter blow to fans of Appalachian traditional singing.  Although not much heard from in recent years, she will be fondly remembered for her sterling performances of ballads and songs such as Prettty Saro and Little Matty Groves, as well as for her more politically committed material.


Frank Harte diesFrank Harte. Photo by Doc Rowe

I've just heard the sad and very unexpected news that Dublin's Frank Harte died today, Monday 27th June, 2005.  This is a real shock, since the final tracks of his latest CD project, on songs of working men and women, were only handed over to Jerry O'Reilly on Friday.

Tom Munnelley's posting on the Irtrad-l group reads:

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but that remarkable walking archive of traditional song and the most generous man who ever existed when it came to passing on songs, Frank Harte, was found by his daughter Orla in his Chapelizod home this afternoon slumped at the computer.  Apparently a heart attack.
Frank's funeral arrangements are as follows:


Elizabeth Stewart tour cancelled

We're sorry to announce that the appearances in the south-east of England by the remarkable Scots traditional singer and pianist, Elizabeth Stewart, have had to be cancelled as Elizabeth has been laid low with pleurisy.  Our best wishes for a swift recovery.

There were to have been three appearances:

Her replacements will be: at Lewes, Alan & Carole Prior and Sylvia Barnes; with Sylvia singing in a solo capacity at the Musical Traditions club; and the incomparable John Foreman at Walthamstow.

Yes - Sylvie Barnes is back - and singing even better than ever, if last weekend in Dorset was anything to go by - don't miss her!


Mel Dean mental health fundraiser

Mel Dean - well-known and liked in traditional circles and one-time member of the Old Swan Band - died ten years ago.  His daughter, Emily, is marking the tenth anniversary of Mel's untimely death by fundraising for MIND, the mental health charity.  If you're interested in supporting Emily's effort (a trek in Nepal in February 2006) and MIND, please follow the link below.

To make a donation, go to www.justgiving.com/emilydean   It's very easy to sponsor - you just click the button and give your credit or debit card details - and you can leave a message too!  If you pay UK tax, Justgiving will even collect 28% Gift Aid automatically on your donation, so it's even better for the charity.


Postage rate increases

Whilst I have been able to keep the prices of all MT CDs constant since 1999, I have no control over the charges the Post Office makes to deliver them to you.  The recent rate changes (April 2005) mean that, at the heavier end of the scales and particularly for overseas deliveries, the increases are really very substantial.

So it's been necessary to increase the 'Shipping' rates on the MT Records website by a further 5%.  Sorry about this, but there seems no real alternative.

Be aware - for purchasers living in the UK, paying by cheque and using the printable Order Form is now a substantially cheaper option.

Rod Stradling - 10.6.05

Keith Summers Festival collection

During the recent Musical Traditions Club festival for Keith Summers, a collection was held for Fair Havens, the hospice where Keith spent his last days.  Now that the various bits of the collection have been counted, it emerges that the grand sum of £502 was raised.  For such a small gathering, this is a magnificent effort.  In particular, the organisers of the collection would like to acknowledge the generosity of the Cellar Upstairs Club, and the landlord of the King and Queen, where the festival was held.  They each donated £100.

Fred McCormick - 2.6.05

Cover pictureNew Launeddas CD available from MT

Last year I gave a very positive review to a CD of Sardinian Launeddas (triple-pipe) music played by Franco Melis.  A couple of weeks ago, an MT reader tried to get hold of a copy but was unable to.  This prompted me to read the review and listen to the record again ... and to decide that, without a doubt, it needed a place in the MT Records catalogue.

So I'm pleased to tell you that it is now available here for just £12.00.  It's worth mentioning that this excellent CD is by a fairly young player (45 years of age) who, nonetheless, plays in the old 'classic' launeddas style and eschews any attempt at improvisation.  It is also about the only full CD of 21st century launeddas music to be easily available off the island of Sardinia.

If you've never heard the launeddas before, this is an excellent place to start.  Anyone who enjoys European bagpipe music will just love this ... and I see no good reason why anyone else wouldn't.

Rod Stradling - 25.5.05

Keith Summers celebration on radio

Following last week's festival for Keith Summers, Radio Merseyside's Folkscene programme will be covering the event with a celebration of Keith's life and work.  This feature will include an interview between Geoff Speed, who presents Folkscene, and Peta Webb and Ken Hall.  The programme is still being edited, but the feature will probably take up the first half.

Once that's done, MT surfers may want to stick around for the second half.  This will consist of a discussion between Geoff Speed and Fred McCormick, about Goodbye, Babylon, the remarkable anthology of religious music of the American South, which Fred reviewed for Musical Traditions last year.

Folkscene goes out on Sundays and the edition in question will be broadcast June 5th from 19:05 to 20:05.  Radio Merseyside is on 95.8FM VHF and on digital.  It can also be heard over the Internet on http://www.bbc.co.uk/england/radiomerseyside/

There is no Listen Again facility unfortunately, so it can only be caught during live transmission.


Lecturer in Folk & Traditional Music post

The University of Newcastle upon Tyne requires applications for the post of Lecturer in Folk & Traditional Music £23,643 to­ £35,883 p.a.  Job reference: B486A.

Based in the School of Arts and Cultures, the successful applicant will play a lead role in delivering the only Folk Music degree in England, developing postgraduate programmes and enhancing the research profile of this specialist area.  The School's website can be viewed at School of Arts and Cultures.

For full details of the post, go to: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/vacancies/vacancy.phtml?ref=B486A

Informal enquiries about this post, may be made to either the Head of Music, Dr David Clarke (0191 222 6736), the current leader of the Folk Degree programme, Alistair Anderson (0191 443 4579), or the future leader of the Folk Degree programme, Vic Gammon (07905 032012 ).  Closing date: 17/06/05.


Rounder Archive Series

Rounder Records announces the launch of their Archive Series and of the official Rounder Archive website on May 31.  With this series, Rounder offers an new way to discover and purchase many long unavailable titles from its 4000-title catalog, a roots music treasure trove, as well as select new releases.  The first installment includes 2 new releases from the North American Traditions Series, (albums by Cape Breton fiddlers John MacDonald and Theresa Morrison), as well as Minnesota All Stars: Great Accordion and Concertina Music from the North Star State, a collection of virtuoso instrumental performances.

With the Rounder Archive Series, out-of-print catalog items and new releases will be available in two forms: as downloadable digital files from one of the label's download partners and as limited edition CDs which may be purchased directly from Rounder (www.rounderarchive.com), or from one of the label's online retail partners.  Complete liner notes, photos and original album art (which comprise dozens of pages on some releases) will be available as Adobe PDF files, which may be downloaded at no charge at www.rounderarchive.com , and which are also included on each disc.

Kicking off with the first installment on May 31, the Rounder Archive plans to offer 10-15 releases per quarter.  Currently forthcoming releases are listed below:

There's no indication of the prices of these CDs (or are they CD-Rs?) or downloads as yet - but for more information contact Lauren Calista at: lcalista@rounder.com


Unique Celebration for Scottish Travellers

Six of the country's finest tradition-bearers, all from Scottish Traveller families, gather at the Perrins Centre, Alness, Easter Ross, on Saturday 28th May.

This event - entitled When Yellow's on the Broom - is unique.  Never before, anywhere, have these performers all come together in one place, to celebrate the old-style Traveller culture in which they were brought up.  It will be a great a day of story, ballad, music and general good crack.  Spring was the time to head for the open road and a summer of hawking, pearl-fishing, berry-picking and tinsmithing.  Stanley Robertson hosts one session about these various crafts and skills, while another recalls The Summer Walkers, the life of Travellers in the far north, in the company of Essie Stewart and Alec Williamson.  The celebration will welcome anyone who has memories to contribute, of Travellers coming to their community.

Other highlights include Sheila Stewart remembering her 70 years of travel, in song and sparky anecdote; the dazzling piano-playing of Elizabeth Stewart, whose first CD of ballads and tunes is now out; and Jess Smith, author of two best-selling books, looking at childhood through Traveller eyes.

The 28th May also brings another first for the Highlands, the launch of a double CD: Tales of a Travelling Man/Sgeulachdan bho Mhac-cèaird - a sample from the superb range of traditional stories of Edderton's Alec Williamson, in both Gaelic and English.

Sessions run from 12 noon, and the evening concert begins at 7.30pm.  Pick up a full programme at the Perrins Centre or local libraries, or contact Bob Pegg on telephone 01997-421186. When Yellow's on the Broom is part of The Merry Dancers Storytelling Project, a 3-year initiative by The Highland Council in Ross and Cromarty, supported by RACE and made possible by a generous award from the Scottish Arts Council Lottery Fund.

For further information contact: Bob Pegg or Mairi MacArthur: strath@ndo.co.uk or tel/fax: 01997-421186



The third Fife Traditional Singing Weekend takes place on 13 - 15 May at the Fife Animal Park, Collessie, Fife.

Major traditional performers on the guest list include the renowned bothy ballad singer Jock Duncan from Pitlochry, Elizabeth Stewart from Mintlaw and Sheila Stewart from Blairgowrie.  New to this year's event are Joe Aitken from Kirriemuir and Louis Killen from Newcastle.  Further participants are the organisers of the event, Ron Bissett from Falkland and Peter Shepheard, Arthur Watson and Tom SpiersNorman Kennedy and Anne Murstad (from Norway) will aslo be attending.

Numerous concerts, workshops and talks are in the programme, which can be seen in further detail at: www.springthyme.co.uk/events/fifesing2005.html


Alan Lomax Archive On-line

The Alan Lomax Archive is pleased to announce the culmination of its seven-year effort to preserve and disseminate the work of one of the 20th century's foremost folklorists and musicologists, Alan Lomax.

Alan Lomax believed it was imperative to return traditions to their home sources and artists, a strategy he called cultural feedback." In that spirit, on April 22, 2005 The Alan Lomax Database will go on-line; also, over the next ten months, the Association for Cultural Equity, which administers the Alan Lomax Archive, will send digital copies of audio and video recordings and photographs by Alan Lomax to a number of libraries and archives in the US, the Caribbean, and Europe so that they will be available locally to people in or from the regions in which they were originally made.

The Alan Lomax Database - www.lomaxarchive.com - is a free service.  This multimedia catalog of the audio and video recordings and photographs made by Alan Lomax from 1946 - 1994 is designed to be an inclusive record of Lomax's recordings of music and the spoken word; it thus documents all recordings, including interrupted tracks and false starts.  It can be searched by performer, song title, geography, culture, genre, subject, instrument, collection, session, and recording date.  Users can print out single-page reports of their search results.  Photographs taken by Lomax during the field trips are linked to the appropriate sessions and also available in a separate searchable catalog.  Every audio recording in the catalog can be heard in samples of forty seconds (music, spoken word) to two minutes (radio shows, discussions, lectures).

The first six collections to go on line are: Texas Gladden & Hobart Smith 1946; Calypso Concert 1946; Mississippi Prison Recordings 1947 and 1948; Big Bill Broonzy 1952; Southern Journey US 1959 and 1960; and Central Park Concert 1965.  These will be followed by the remainder of Lomax's field trips, each to go on-line as they are completed.  It will also ultimately include some of the older collections of audio recordings made by Lomax on behalf of the Library of Congress in the 1930s and 1940s.

The Alan Lomax Archive is also in the process of donating digital copies of selected collections to some 20 libraries and archives in the US and abroad, largely in the regions in which the recordings were made.  Donation agreements have been signed with fifteen of these institutions.  By the end of 2005, a total of 4,500 hours of audio recordings and 2,014 hours of video recordings will have been disseminated.



Rod Stradling - e-mail: rod@mustrad.org.uk    Tel: 01453 759475
snail-mail: 1 Castle Street, Stroud, Glos GL5 2HP, UK

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