logo News and Comment No 40

Mawkin:Causley on Resonance Radio

The Traditional Music Hour presented by Simon Ritchie - Resonance 104.4 FM Thursday 12th Feb 2pm - Mawkin:Causley live.

Listen Live: http://www.resonancefm.com/ 2pm Thursday 12th Feb. Repeated Sundays 5pm.

Hopefully, they'll be performing live in the studio and I'll be playing recordings of some of their traditional influences perhaps.

If you'd like to contribute to the programme or have requests, suggestions or criticisms please contact me at this address:

Simon Ritchie - 12.2.09

Fifth Keith Summers Festival

May 8th -10th 2009 The Musical Traditions Club presents at The King & Queen, 1 Foley Street, London W1W 6DL.  Fifth Weekend Celebration in Honour of Keith Summers

Focus on the West Country with:

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 £40.  To get on our mailing list contact: petawebken@aol.com   or 0208 340 0530


Fiddlers Various 2009

On Saturday 12th September, 2009, Tommy Peoples will hold an all-day fiddle workshop at The Lewes Saturday Folk Club (formerly the Lewes Arms Folk Club), Lewes, near Brighton, Sussex, BN7 1YH, and then give a recital as part of the evening folk club.  Fiddle Workshop (20 places) £40; folk club recital (approx 50 places) £9. www.lewesarmsfolkclub.org  Tel. 01273 476757

On Sunday 13th September 2009 Tommy Peoples will hold an afternoon's celtic fiddle workshop at the Littlebourne Thatched Barn, followed by an evening concert. Fiddle Workshop : 2pm, £30; Concert: 7:30pm £15. Info & Tickets : www.kentfolk.com/FiddlersVarious/Tommy-Peoples-2009/


East Anglia Sings on CD

The almost legendary 1947 BBC Third Programme broadcast of the E J Moeran recordings from the celebrated singing pubs, Eastbridge Eel's Foot and Sutton Windmill is now available as a CD from Snatch'd From Oblivion records.  The entire 51 minutes of the late-1947 broadcast, East Anglia Sings is now available on CD SFO 005, which can be bought from Musical Traditions Records, priced just £5.00.

The three songs from Jumbo Brightwell, Fred Ginger and Jack Clark have been available from Veteran for a while now, but the nine songs by John 'Charger' Salmons, Charlie Chettleburgh, Harry Cox, Walter Gales, William Miller and Elijah Bell have rarely been heard publicly since 1947.  This 51 minute programme has been transferred to CD as a complete broadcast, but individual tracks can be selected, as normal, if required.

The CD is released as an adjunct to Chris Holderness' fascinating new article on E J Moeran, much of which is quotations from an article Moeran wrote for the October 1936 edition of Norfolk Annual, entitled Notes on Folk-Songs and Traditional Singing in East Norfolk.  This is all wonderful stuff, and reveals Moeran as a man whose thinking on the subject was at least half a century ahead of his time!

Rod Stradling - 18.1.09

Musical Traditions Club dates:

King & Queen, Foley Street, London W1 - Junction of Foley Street/Cleveland Street.  Nearest tube Goodge Street.
Monthly, Fridays, 8:00 p.m.

Membership £1 annually, payable on the door.  Admission for members £6, concessions £3.50, non-members £7, concessions £4.

For further information or to leave name & address for membership, ring 0208 340 0530 or contact petawebken@aol.com


Cellar Upstairs Club dates:

Exmouth Arms, Starcross Street, London NW1 2HR (on the corner of Cobourg Street, near Euston and Euston Square stations; parking is easy), on Saturdays at 8:15pm.  For more info: 020 7281 7700; www.cellarupstairs.org.uk (or the Pub: 020 7387 5440)

Sheila Miller - 29.12.08

What's happening in Northumberland?

An online survey of traditional music and dialect activity in Northumberland has just been launched.  It has been commissioned by the Northumberland Strategic Arts Forum.  “We know that there is lots going on in the County, from large festivals to ceilidhs, held at venues ranging from churches to theatres.  We also know that there is lots of sharing of skills at workshops, but this research will tell us exactly what is happening where,” said Philippa Raper who is managing the project on behalf of the Forum.  “The information will help us to identify any gaps in provision and help us in taking this work forward.”

If you have been involved in any kind of traditional music or dialect activity over the last two years, please go to:
or contact Philippa for further information on 01670 503436, email: philippa.raper@btinternet.com

The prime aims of the Forum are to maximise opportunities for the arts in Northumberland and be a strategic discussion about the arts which is impact focused.  It has developed work in Dance, Small Scale touring and Film and Media over the last 2 years and is now going to embark on some new partnerships and initiatives to develop Traditional Music and Dialect work in the County.

It was formed as a delegated sub-group from the Culture Sector Board of the Northumberland Strategic Partnership (NSP).  Members that sit on the forum include local authority strategic arts officers and agencies working in the arts such as ISIS, Creative Partnerships and the Arts Council England, North East.

Philippa Raper - 1.12.08

New Ponte Caffaro CD now available in UK

Cover picture Those of you who've seen my review of La m'va benone by Gruppo Sonadùr di Ponte Caffaro will know that I promised to have it available here in the UK before too long ... and now it is!

La m'va benone is a great selection of the non-ritual dance tunes played alongside the Ponte Caffaro carnevale.  The band heard on this CD may be seen as the nucleus of the group which has played for the ritual dancing for many years, and is basically the same group which came to Sidmouth a few years ago, and to Shropshire in 2006.  The 12 tracks represent a little over half of the non-ritual repertoire which has been recovered.  Today, it is these tunes which are played in the bars in the evening after the day's dancing is over, in preference to the ritual dance tunes they have been playing all day.

Like the previous CD of the ritual music, it's wonderfully played, hugely energetic, and loads of fun.  If you enjoyed the other Ponte Caffaro CD, Pas en amùr, you'll certainly want this, too.  Available from MT Records website, price just £10, at:


Rod Stradling - 27.11.08

Sheffield Carols

We will start singing carols tonight at The Sportsman, Lodge Moor, Sheffield, and will sing every Monday up to the 22nd December.  We start at 8:30pm and carol sheets are available at a cost of £1, with the money going towards local charities.

There will also be carol singing at The Plough, Low Bradfield, every Tuesday evening during December starting at 8:30pm.

The Pennine Foxhounds will be holding a Carol & Traditional Singing afternoon, together with an auction and raffle at The Royal Oak, Upperthong, Holmfirth, on Sunday 14th December starting at 4:00pm.  This event will feature many of the fine traditional singers from the Holmfirth area who are not generally heard outside their own circle.  Everyone is welcome whether you want to perform or just listen.  There will be free food.

If you want directions to any of these public houses feel free to email me.

Mark Davies - 24.11.08

Royal Oak Club dates:

Royal Oak, Station Street, Lewes, East Sussex - Thursdays.  Some dates of interest:

Further info at: http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~tinvic


Celebrating East Anglian folksong

Walberswick Village Hall, Walberswick, Suffolk, Sunday 8th February 2009, 10:30 - 5:30.  A day of illustrated talks and an afternoon concert telling the story of composer Ralph Vaughan Williams’ trips to the eastern counties a hundred years ago to collect folk-songs from fishermen and farmworkers.

Talks include:

The concert features a selection of the folk songs collected by Vaughan Williams in the eastern counties, brought back to life by singers Chris Coe, Mary Humphreys and Anahata, Adrian May, Sue Cubbin and Elaine Barker.  There will also be a unique chance to see several exhibitions linked to the talks.

Further details and tickets from: www.eatmt.org.uk

Katie Howson - 14.11.08

Hamish Henderson radio programme

A programme about Hamish Henderson, called "Hamish Henderson - a 'Various Man'" is going to be broadcast on Radio 4 on Tuesday, 14 October at 11:30am.  It'll also be available on the 'listen again' facility on the web.  If anyone misses it altogether, but wants to hear it, let me know, and I will be able to get hold of a copy on CD.

Cathy Howieson, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Educational Sociology, University of Edinburgh, St John’s Land, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AQ.  Web: www.ces.ed.ac.uk

Saturday's Guardian Guide says of this programme:

Hamish Henderson was a soldier, poet, early anti-apartheid campaigner, champion of the rights of the Scottish Travellers and folklorist who did more for the culture of the Scottish people than anyone since Robert Burns.  Yet he remains mostly unknown outside of his own country.  Hamish Henderson - A Various Man (11:30am, R4) is the folk music hero Pete Seeger's tribute to the person that Nelson Mandela specifically sought out after his release from jail, and who introduced the world to the talents of the great Scottish traveller singers Jeannie Robertson and Belle Stewart.

Vic Smith - 12.10.08

BBC Radio Gloucestershire Gypsy programme

BBC Radio Gloucestershire will be broadcasting a programme they've made about Gypsy history, lifestyle, step dancing, singing etc, which uses material from the MT Records Brazils' CDs, the Wiggy Smith CD and more.

The programme which will be broadcast on BBC Radio Gloucestershire on Sunday 2nd November from 2:00 'til 3:00 (104.7, 95 & 95.8 FM & 1413 Medium Wave) + listen live or listen again for 7 days at: www.bbc.co.uk/gloucestershire

Pete Wilson - 10.10.08
BBC Radio Gloucestershire

Street literature discussion group

A bunch of interested individuals has recently set up a Yahoo group discussion list for those interested in street literature (broadsides, chapbooks, songsters, cheap prints, and so on) and we would be pleased if others interested in the topic would join us.  The group is not solely concerned with song, but with all aspects of the trade.  The list is called Pedlars_Pack: Broadside & Chapbook Research.  To join, go to:


and click on the JOIN THIS GROUP button.  That page also gives further details of our aims.

Steve Roud - 7.10.08

Echoes of Erin database biographies

Draft biographies of the performers from the Echoes of Erin database are now available from Barry Taylor (email: barryriley@eircom.net), who also mentions that he still has some copies of the Patrick Kelly CD available at €20 inc. p&p.

Barry Taylor - 1.10.08

Clare Festival of Traditional Singing

Feile Amhraniochta an Chlair (The Clare Festival of Traditional Singing) will take place at the Bellbridge Hotel, Spanish Point, Co Clare over the weekend of the 7/8/9 November.

Guests include: Roisín White, Mairéad Ni Dhomhnaill, Alannah Henderson, Antaine Ó'Faracháin, Dainí Maídhcí Ó'Suilleabháin, Vincent Boyle, Michael Falsey, Johnny Mháirtín Learaí MacDonnchadha, Bob Blair, Roisín Elsafty, Alison McMorland & Geordie McIntyre.

Contact: Jerry O'Reilly - aandjoreilly@gmail.com



A day of events celebrating the folk music legacy of Ralph Vaughan Williams.  Saturday 4 October 2008.  Cecil Sharp House


Bushes and Briars is a soundscape journey through RVW’s folk song collecting, with songs from some of England’s finest young singers and musicians, with narrative readings by Shirley Collins and Tim van Eyken.  Vaughan Williams and Friends is an afternoon concert of music collected by RVW and his contemporaries.

All proceeds to benefit the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.  Day ticket £20.00 (£15.00 concessions).  Evening concert tickets £15.00 (£13.00 concessions)

Book now to avoid disappointment!  Tickets from www.theplace.org.uk   020 7121 1100

Hope to see you there - should be a great day.

Derek Schofield - 26.9.08

The traditional music hour on Resonance Radio

LIve in session on Resonance Radio 104.4FM.  Thursday 9th October 2pm.  The traditional music hour LIVE!!!

Possibly the most interesting and satisfying traditional English style band there has ever been!

Presented by Simon Ritchie


The Elliotts of Birtley book

Pete Wood’s new book The Elliotts of Birtley was launched recently at Whitby and Birtley to great acclaim.  It is a study of the family's history, their singing character, and the way the songs came to them.  It analyses the Elliotts' status in their local community, their importance in the folk revival of the 1960s, and how their strong socialist beliefs, their atheism and their humour helped strengthen their resolve in times of hardship and political struggle.

An extensive chapter relates their songs to folk song nationally and the North East.  It also has the 'dots' for the main family songs, and a piece from Doreen Henderson which tells how the sounds "have gone from the streets".

Published by Herron Publishing at £15.99.  Available from Pete direct www.petewood.co.uk or davidherron98@yahoo.com or good bookshops.


ITMA Saturday opening from September 2008

The Irish Traditional Music Archive, at 73 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, is expanding its public access services by opening for one Saturday per month for the remainder of 2008.  This is being done on an experimental basis, to gauge public demand and the resources required to meet it.  If possible, it is hoped to increase this access in 2009.

The Archive will accordingly be open to the general public on the third Saturday of each month – 20 September, 18 October, 15 November, and 20 December.

During these days, the Archive will be open from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm, and will remain open during lunch-hour.  The usual full access will be given to the Archive’s collections and information sources, free of charge.  The daily phone query service will also be available during these days.

No appointment is necessary.  It is advisable to ring ahead only if you have special requirements.

Nicholas Carolan - 5.9.08

Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann 2008

The Irish Times, Monday, 25 August 2008, p.7: INTERMITENT RAINFALL failed to dampen spirits at the 2008 Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in Tullamore over the weekend as even Taoiseach Brian Cowen was persuaded to sing in Offaly once again.  Cowen was greeted with raptuous applause on Saturday when he sang Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore on the Fleadh's main stage.  On Friday, the Taoiseach had used a bodhrán to begin the world's largest traditional session when 2,852 registered musicians played for 56 minutes at O'Connor Square in the town .............

contributed by Reg Hall - 26.8.08

Folk Songs of the Upper Thames online

The launch of this new local history web resource is being celebrated on Saturday, September 6, at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre in Chippenham.  The extensive collection of more than 1,000 song lyrics has been painstakingly transcribed by local enthusiast and MT contributor, Chris Wildridge.  He has used historical records held at the history centre and the EFDSS to help identify the singers and the villages in which they worked.  He also transcribed songs collected by other notable collectors including the Hammond Brothers, G B Gardiner and Ralph Vaughan Williams from the collections held in the VWML library.

The majority of the songs in the collection were originally collected by Wiltshire-born Alfred Williams - a somewhat neglected figure in the world of literature.  He was born in South Marston in 1877, was a reasonable poet, an expert on the north Wiltshire countryside and the people who lived there and, for 22 years, a hammerman in the stamping shop of the Great Western Railway Works at Swindon.  Leaving school at the age of 11 he taught himself several languages, including Sanskrit, whilst working at the factory machinery.

Apart from volumes of poetry and books on the Wiltshire countryside he published the well respected Life in a Railway Factory (1915), and Folk Songs of the Upper Thames (1923).  The latter were collected between 1914, when he left the GWR through ill health, and 1916, when he volunteered for the army.  He performed valuable work in collecting songs in an area that had been neglected by earlier folk song collectors.

As he wrote in the preface to his book, 'I had no time to obtain the tunes, my chief concern being to save the words before they had completely disappeared by reason of the death of the singers - chiefly the most aged of the villagers, male and female.'  Williams lived most of his life in penury; an intellectual born into the wrong situation and at the wrong time.  Although local friends raised money for him and his wife at various times he only received a Civil List pension shortly before his death.  He and his wife Mary died with seven weeks of one another in 1930.

The song lyrics can be viewed online from September 6 at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/folk_search.php  Chris Wildridge said: "The songs Alfred Williams collected are the first to be published online in their entirety.  This is an important contribution to the traditional songs of England and I am pleased to have been instrumental in bringing it about.  These songs are everybody's songs and they deserve to be in the public domain."


From Puck to Appleby on the radio

On Saturday 23 August at 3.30 pm the Lyric Feature on RTÉ Lyric FM sees the start of a new 3-part series - Come All You Loyal Travellers.  It features recordings of Irish Traveller Singers and Storytellers in London in the 1970s (some of which are to be found on the MT Records double-CD From Puck to Appleby, MTCD325-6) - made by Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie.

Singers and song collectors during the folk music revival in Britain in the 1960s, they set themselves the task of collecting songs from Irish Travellers camped around London.  It was a job that would take them 30 years, and bring them into contact with a way of life they had never known existed.  In that time they have amassed one of the most important collections of Irish Traveller singers in existence.  And, in their work with Mikeen McCarthy in particular, they have documented a way of life now largely disappeared from Irish culture.  McCarthy, a Kerry Traveller who left for England in the 1950s, was a singer, storyteller, tinsmith and wordsmith.  His captivating voice in Episode 2 paints a picture of Traveller lives in a time when relations between Travellers and settled people seemed altogether easier than today.

This 3-part series (Saturdays 3.30 pm, 23 August to 6 Sept 2008) explores the Carroll / Mackenzie collection and also the lives of some of the singers who gave their songs and stories to the collectors.  Come All You Loyal Travellers is a Rag and Bone Production for RTÉ Lyric FM, made with the support of the BCI's Sound and Vision Scheme.  The series is produced by Paula Carroll and edited by Gráinne O' Malley and Tracy Moloney.

It will be streamed live and available for listen-back on the Lyric FM website. www.rte.ie/lyricfm/index.html

Paula Carroll - 23.8.08

Top Home Page MT Records Articles Reviews Editorial Map

Site designed and maintained by Musical Traditions Web Services   Updated: 12.2.09