logo News and Comment No 39

Bradfield Traditional Music Weekend 2008

This is the latest lineup of guests for the weekend.

Singers: Jeff Wesley (Northants); John Greaves (North Yorkshire); Roger Hinchcliffe,Gordon Hoyland, Joe Atkins, George White, David Helliwell (All South Yorkshire); Members Of The Pennine Concert Party (Traditional Singers from the Holmfirth area); Finbarr Wall; Chris "Yorkie" Bartram; The Ullswater Singers (Cumberland); Ken Woolfenden; Amy O'Brien & Joan Clayton (Local Young Singing Champions); Jane Livingston; Fay Hield; William Noble & John Cocking; Bob Auty(West Yorkshire); Dick Hogan(Tipperary); Ron Kavanagh(Ireland)

Singers/Musicians: Jody Kruskal (Concertina, USA); Mike Hebbert (Concertina); Roger Digby; Dan Worrall (Concertina Historian, USA); Gavin Atkin; Andrew & Margaret Watchorn (Northumberland-small pipes & fiddle); Annie Dearman & Steve Harrison; Shay Fogarty (Concertina, Dublin); Tom Driscoll (Concertina, Clare); Alan Day (Concertina); David Levine (Flute, USA)

Craftspersons & Experts: Geoffrey Crabb & Henrik Muller(Concertina Makers); Dave Leese & Dave Prebble(Concertina Repairers); The Handsworth Sword Dancers; With: Sessions In Local Pubs, Talks on Traditional Music, Ceilidh In Village Hall with Ken Woolfenden and The Bracken Rigg Dance Band

Mark Davies - 26.7.08

Queen Maeve International Summer School

The Queen Maeve International Summer School of Irish music, Song and Set Dancing will be held this year from Monday 4th to Saturday 9th August at the Institute of Technology, Sligo Town, Ireland.  Classes are available for a wide range of instruments and abilities.

For full details visit www.carmelgunning.com

Frank Harte Festival 2008

Takes place at The Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square, Dublin.

Friday September 26th
8:00pm - Reception and Official Opening
9.00pm - Singing Session featuring Invited Guests

Saturday September 27th
11:00am - Singing Workshops
2:00pm - Illustrated Talk “Frank Harte and Ballad Sheets” By John Moulden
3:30pm - Singing Session
8:30pm - Grand Concert with invited guests: Cran, (Ronan Browne, Dublin, Desi Wilkinson, Belfast, Sean Corcoran, Drogheda); Barry Gleeson, Dublin; Eoiní Maidhcí Ó Súilleabháin, Cúil Aodha; Roisín White, Down/Armagh; Elizabeth Stewart, Scotland; Seán Garvey, Kerry; Niamh Parsons and Graham Dunne, Dublin; Alison MacMorland and Geordie McIntyre, Scotland; Sarah Anne O'Neill, Tyrone; Nell Ní Chroinín, Cúil Aodha.

Sunday September 28th
10:30pm - “The Invincibles, The Phoenix Park Incident and Pat O'Donnell and James Carey”. Field trip and presentation taking in The Phoenix Park, Kilmainham Jail and Glasnevin Cemetary By Jimmy McBride and Jerry O'Reilly
2:00pm - Refreshments etc.
3:00pm - Singing Session and Final Farewell

Contacts: Roisín Gaffney +353 872132013; Máire Ní Chroinín +353 862940652; Jerry O'Reilly +353 868161557

Bradfield Traditional Music Weekend

John Waltham and his wife Mandy have had to cancel their visit this year due to work commitments.  I thus have space for two more singing guests and also a musician.  Please let me know if you're interested.  I will make a contribution of £50 towards guests' accommodation for two nights and arrange the accommodation, otherwise no fees or expenses are paid.

Mark Davies - Edeophone@aol.com - 4.7.08

Ray Driscoll talk

On the afternoon of Sunday, 3rd August at the Sidmouth Folk Week, Gwilym and Carol Davies will be giving a talk at Sidmouth Arts Centre on the life and songs of Ray Driscoll (1922-2006), traditional singer.

Ray took his repertoire from many sources - from his Irish father, from traditional singers in Shropshire and London and from his time in the Royal Navy.  He led a varied and interesting life but was little known to the folk scene until his later years.  The presentation will focus on Ray’s life and songs and will explore how a traditional singer acquires a repertoire and style and finds outlets for performance. The talk will also feature a new CD of Ray, entitled Wild, Wild Berry.


Concertinas at Sea

My newest article, Concertinas at Sea: A History of a Nautical Icon, is now available online at my new personal website: www.angloconcertina.org   Also available there are downloadable pdf versions of older articles and books of mine, including the Irish concertina article, as well as (by agreement with the EFDSS) most of my 2005 book, The Anglo Concertina Music of William Kimber.  All is free.

The Concertinas at Sea piece was written to counter a mistaken, revisionist notion in the folk world these days that the public image of 'concertina-playing sailors' is only an urban myth, born of Disney.  Hardly!  There are scores of first hand 19th century and early 20th century accounts included in the article, plus lots of photos and such.  I hope you like it.

Kind regards,

Dan Worrall - 4.4.08

'60s Supergroup?

Pete Wood is seeking anybody who remembers seeing a group of the mid '60s which apparently did one short UK tour.  The group was Jack Elliott, John Doonan, and Billy Pigg.  If you have any information, please contact Pete at: peter@pwood49.fsnet.co.uk


FifeSing2008: The Fife Traditional Singing Weekend

Friday 16 May, Saturday 17 May and Sunday 18 May at the Fife Animal Park, Birnie, Collessie, Fife

We welcome again Elizabeth Stewart from Mintlaw many of whose songs came to her from her family the Fetterangus Stewarts.  For a first visit to our event we are pleased to welcome Brian Watson from Prudhoe in Northumberland - renowned for his rich repertoire of Geordie, Tyneside and Northumbrian song.  The fine young singer Shona Donaldson from Huntly will join us for the day on Saturday.  For a first time as guests we welcome Ellen Mitchell from Glasgow and Jimmy Hutchison from Newburgh.  We will also be joined as usual by Ron Bissett the well known local bothy ballad singer from Falkland.  Alex Clarke from Dundee, whose songs were received with great acclaim last year, joins us for the first time as a guest.  We are also very pleased that the great North-east singer Jock Duncan from Pitlochry will join us for the day on Saturday.

Further info at: www.springthyme.co.uk/fifesing


Fourth Weekend Celebration in Honour of Keith Summers

May 9th - 11th 2008 at The King and Queen The Musical Traditions Club presents the Fourth Keith Summers Festival

In previous years we have concentrated on guests relevant to Keith's collecting in Fermanagh and Suffolk and his enjoyment of the Sheffield Carols.  Last year we had a strong Scots contingent.  This year we focus on another of his loves - American music - plus the usual mix of Irish and English guests.

Guests invited:

Bayou Seco, USA (Jeanie McLerie and Ken Keppeler); Slieve Gullion Traditional Singers from Mullaghbawn (Patricia Flynn, Mick Quinn, Miceal Quinn, Len Graham, Gerry O'Hanlon); Jerry O'Reilly and Luke Cheevers (Dublin); Gail Williams & Jim Younger; Ken Langsbury; Jim Bainbridge; plus music from Phoenix (Rod Stradling, Martin Brinsford, Kevin Bown, Mike Pinder, Fran Wade) and our resident bands The Rakes and The Pigeon English Band.
Also we hope that many of our previous guests will join us again, along with Musical Traditions residents who give the club its special quality.  Keith co-founded the club with us in 1990.

Pre-booked ticket holders only - space is limited.  No admission unless pre-booked.  Weekend ticket £30 or £7.50 per session.

For further information, contact: Peta Webb at petawebken@aol.com   or 0208 340 0530


Temple Bar Trad festival

The third Temple Bar Trad festival takes place at the end of the month.  From January 23 to January 27, Dublin's cultural quarter celebrates the continuing beauty of our traditional music.  All the information is at www.templebartrad.com   At this time of year, there is plenty of accommodation in the area, so consider paying us a visit!

Finbar Boyle - 9.11.07

Loughborough Traditions

Loughborough Folk Festival presents Loughborough Traditions - a programme of events in the spirit of the National Folk Festival - 7th to 9th March. Special reduced-price ticket offer!  The Festival Dance and Song ticket gives admission to everything in the festival apart from Mainstage concerts.  There are plenty of concerts on our second stage, plus all of the traditional events, singarounds, sessions, ceilidhs, talks and workshops.  Great value! Tickets: £7 Friday night, £15 Saturday or Sunday, £30 weekend.  (Full festival prices: weekend, £58; Friday night: £23; Saturday or Sunday: £28.)

Box Office: 01509 231914   www.loughboroughtownhall.co.uk/folkfestival


Re: FolkTrax in USA

Camsco Music has been providing US customers with properly packaged and labeled editions of about 60 FolkTrax titles for about five years now.  This was based on a licensing agreement with Mr Kennedy.  I've spoken to Tony Engel, and we've ageed that I will continue with these at least until Topic releases whatever they intend to release.  Unfortunately, my agreement with Mr Kenedy precluded my doing any editing of the CDs themselves, so I've been presenting them warts and all.  They're certainly not perfect, but at selliing price of $18(US), or less than £9.00, they're not a bad deal.

Dick Greenhaus 29.12.07
Camsco Music

Kyloe Records to Cease Trading

I regret to say that Kyloe Records will cease trading on 1 April, 2008.  The last two years have been extremely stressful and I have been ill for much of the time.  Folk Music only takes up a part of my time and, as I reach retirement age, I wish to devote more time to my other interests.  It may be that Kyloe will be taken over by another owner, but this is by no means certain, and I would suggest that anyone thinking of buying any Kyloe CDs should do so sooner, rather than later.

Mike Yates 28.12.07

(Anyone wishing to buy any of Mike's 10 excellent CDs can do so at: www.kyloerecords.co.uk  - Ed.)

Kent Gathering of Traditional Music

The Kent Gathering of Traditional Music will take place at Frittenden on the 29th March 2008.  A small committee including George Frampton, Paul Cowdell and Gavin Atkin among others are working hard to put together a show that will represent the singing and music of Kent's traditional communities.  We expect to add more guests and events as the weeks go by, so please check: www.kentgathering.com for details.

Also please contact me at: gmakin@gmail.com if you'd like to register interest, get involved, or ask a question.

Gavin Atkin - 7.12.07

History of concertina playing in Ireland, 1834-1930

Dan M Worrall, whose book on William Kimber was favourably reviewed in these pages, has just written a new and extensive history of concertina playing in Ireland, covering the little known period from the instrument's arrival in the middle of the nineteenth century to the end of its first heyday, circa 1930.  It may be found at the online Concertina Library at the following link: www.concertina.com/worrall/beginnings-concertina-in-ireland

He says he prepared the new Irish article because he had been unable to find much written on how the concertina became so strongly associated with County Clare; it has often been said but never documented that mariners may originally have brought them up the Shannon estuary.  What Dan found is that the Anglo-German concertina was enormously popular in all the counties of Ireland from the 1860s through the 1920s, and was played in those years not only by those who were involved in traditional Irish music, but by other social groups in Ireland as well.  He has some thoughts on why the concertina was dropped nearly everywhere in Ireland by 1930, and why the only remaining active players, prior to the traditional music revival of the 1970s and later, were nearly all in County Clare.

I found this an extremely interesting piece, and am sure that you will, too.  On that same site is a related article of Dan's that was published earlier this year, on the forgotten history of anglo concertina playing in the United States: www.concertina.com/worrall/anglo-in-united-states


Songs of The West

For some time I have been promising a major re-working of the Sabine Baring-Gould website.  I am pleased to be able to tell you that I have now completed the first phase of this re-launch of what is now: www.sbgsongs.org

Nearly all of the material from the old site has been transferred to the new one and there is a lot of new material, as well as plans to add yet more new features.  I thought that readers of Musical Traditions readers might be interested to know about the relaunch.

Martin Graebe - 7.11.07

Forgotten Voices

The EFDSS wax cylinder collection - recordings of English, Scottish, and Welsh traditional singers from the early 20th century.  Wednesday 12th December 2007 - 18:15-19:45 at the British Library Centre for Conservation, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB.

The British Library is hosting early evening talks exploring the English Folk Dance and Song Society's collection of cylinder recordings, currently on loan to the British Library.  The session will be chaired by Malcolm Taylor of EFDSS.  Andrew King will speak about the provenance and content of the cylinder recordings and Will Prentice will outline some of the problems encountered in retrieving sound from these old and fragile carriers.

This evening is one of a short series of events marking the opening of the British Library's new Centre for Conservation.  Please note that places are limited.  To reserve a place send an email to alison.faraday@bl.uk


The Peter Kennedy Collection

Peter Kennedy died on 10 June 2006 and his wife, Beryl, earlier this year.  A small group has been working with David Kennedy to ensure that Peter's collection of sound recordings, books, papers and other artefacts remains available in the UK for future researchers.  This group was formed at Peter's instigation a few months before his death and is known as Customs and Traditions or CAT.

It had become clear, in recent years, that maintaining the collection as a single entity was not going to be easy and so it proved.  Peter's own efforts to secure a future for the collection were not, unfortunately, completely successful.  There was some confusion in the months following his death but a set of agreements is now in place that has, we believe, resolved the situation as well as could be hoped in the circumstances.

The outcome of these agreements is that Peter's collection has been placed as follows:

  1. The library of about 3,000 books has been given to the Halsway Manor Society as well as his collection of journals.  These will, once catalogued and prepared, be added to the existing library and the whole will be known as the Kennedy Grant Memorial Library.  The gift to Halsway Manor Society also includes Peter's collection of commercial recordings of folk music comprising c.3,000 78rpm records, 3,000 LPs, 500 CDs/DVDs, 50 HMV test pressings, and other items.  HMS has also received a full set of the folktrax recordings issued by Peter Kennedy.

  2. CAT, with David Kennedy, has worked with Tony Engle, head of Topic Records, and Dr Janet Topp-Fargion, curator of the World and Traditional Music Section of the British Library Sound Archive, to secure an agreement in respect of the archive of sound recordings.  As a result of these discussions Topic Records has acquired the rights to the recordings and will be working towards releases of as much of the material as is commercially viable.  This will obviously take some time but they hope that these releases will happen early in 2009 - Topic's 70th year.  The British Library Sound Archive will house and protect the tapes and, in due course, they will be available for listening via the British Library procedures.  As well as the recordings themselves, Peter's files and records form part of this archive and will provide valuable background information for the recordings that are issued and for future researchers.

  3. A small collection of papers and photographs that came from Maud Karpeles' estate have been given by David Kennedy to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library where the bulk of her papers are housed.  Some other family artefacts and papers have also been presented to the VWML.
Peter's sales outlet, Folktrax, ceased trading on 30 September 2007 and the associated website was closed.  Following requests from a number of people it is planned that, with the support of the Traditional Song Forum, a revised version of the website will be opened shortly as a source of information about Peter's work and as a permanent memorial to Peter and Beryl Kennedy.  CAT will be wound up in the next few weeks.

Obviously, it will be some time before the new holders of the material will be able to make access to it available or to deal with more than very basic enquiries.  In years to come, though, there will be a large quantity of new and interesting material from and about Peter Kennedy's collection that will enable future researchers to form their own views of this complex man and his work.

Martin Graebe (for Customs and Traditions) - October 2007

Echoes of Erin database

The first draft of Barry Taylor's Echoes of Erin database is now available online via the Oidhreacht an Chlair website (www.oac.ie).  This covers 78rpm records of Irish dance music recorded in Britain and Ireland.  As well as details of the original recordings, it also - and very usefully - shows the modern LP and CD re-release details.

Following extensive commercial recording of Irish-born or descended musicians in the USA from around 1915, British record companies began to re-issue these recordings in Britain and Ireland during the 1920s.  Although sales figures are presently undocumented, the volume of sales was sufficient to persuade British recording companies to engage in extensive new recording programmes of Irish-based musicians, in both Dublin and London.  It is estimated that UK/Irish recordings may number up to one thousand individual items or ‘sides’, most of which contain at least two tunes.  These recordings represent a unique treasury of traditional material and provide an unparalleled insight into the output of musicians who were largely unaffected by the electronic media.  Unlike US recordings, the material includes musicians from most Irish counties and is often unaccompanied.  The recordings demonstrate examples of ensemble playing and include the first recordings of céilí bands.

Go to the OaC home page - www.oac.ie - and click on the Echoes of Erin Project Details link in the left hand nav bar.  You will need Microsoft Excel to use the database - but a free Excel Reader is available to download from the page.


Keith Summers Festival 2008

The Musical Traditions Club at the King & Queen, London presents: the Fourth Weekend Celebration in Honour of Keith Summers, 9-11th May 2008.  Friday 9th May (evening), Saturday 10th May (day and evening), Sunday 11th May (until 6pm).

Guests invited so far include: Bayou Seco, USA (Jeanie McLerie and Ken Keppeler); Slieve Gullion Traditional Singers (Patricia Flynn, Mick Quinn, Miceal Quinn, Len Graham (tbc), Gerry O'Hanlon); Gail Williams & Jim Younger; Ken Langsbury; plus music from Phoenix (Rod Stradling, Martin Brinsford, Kevin Bown, Mike Pinder, Fran Wade) and our resident bands The Rakes and The Pigeon English Band.

Further info from Peta Webb & Ken Hall: petawebken@aol.com


Button Boxes and Moothies weekend

The University of Aberdeen's Elphinstone Institute will host Button Boxes and Moothies (26-28 October 2007), a unique celebration of small free-reed instruments, including mouth organs, concertinas, melodeons, diatonic button accordions, and Jews harps.  This free reed convention will be just the place to enjoy the music of these instruments by some of the very best talents around, both local to Scotland and from further afield.  It will be a great opportunity to find out more about the instruments and their music.

The weekend event will allow visitors to try a taster session, join an elementary workshop, or, if suitably experienced, learn about style and repertoire at a players workshop.  There will also be several opportunities for informal sessions in local music-friendly pubs.

The very impressive guest list runs: George Current, Jackie Daly, Fred Davidson, Stuart Eydmann, Vic Gammon, Robert Harbron, Katie Howson, Conor Keane, Régis Lechatellier, Spider MacKenzie, Mary MacNamara, Kate MacNamara, Doddie Murray, Simon Thoumire, Pip Murphy, Tom Roche, Frances Wilkins, Michael Wright.

And the whole weekend costs just £25 - amazing what funding will do for you!

Full programme details are available at www.abdn.ac.uk/elphinstone/events/buttonboxes/ or telephone 01224 272996


EFDSS wins Heritage Lottery Grant

Hundreds of folk songs and tunes, representing a huge swathe of English traditional music heritage, are on their way back to the communities that gave birth to them.  The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a grant of £154,500 to the EFDSS for an exciting new project entitled Take 6.  The grant will enable the EFDSS to archive and conserve six unique folk song manuscript collections and make them more widely accessible to the public, including some of the communities where they were first collected.  The six collections are:
  1. The Janet Blunt Collection: 800 items – songs, country dances and morris dance tunes -- collected in West Adderbury, Oxfordshire, in 1907-1919.
  2. The George Butterworth Collection: 460 items – songs, dances and dance tunes – collected all over southern England and Yorkshire between 1906 to 1913.
  3. The Francis Collinson Collection: 360 songs collected in the southern counties of England as a result of his involvement in the BBC’s Country Magazine radio programme in the 1940s and early 50s.
  4. The George Gardiner Collection: over 1600 folk songs collected mainly in Hampshire in the period 1905 to 1909.
  5. The Anne G Gilchrist Collection: 214 folk songs plus children’s singing games Lancashire morris tunes, songs from customs, sea shanties, carols and street cries, all collected from the 1890s to the 1920s, mainly in Lancashire.
  6. The Hammond Collection: over 900 folk songs collected mainly in Dorset in the years 1905 to 1907 by two brothers, Henry and Robert Hammond.
The award will enable the EFDSS, over the next two years, to archive and conserve over 4,400 paper items, digitise them and make them widely accessible through the web.  Two of the manuscript collections will be used in primary schools and communities in two English regions where the songs were originally noted - Lancashire and Hampshire.


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