Filed under folk music

The New Gypsy Kings

This is a documentary by Liviu Tipurita investigating the rise of a new form of Roma music in Romania called manele. Romania is home to a large population of Roma, which he claims have an 80% unemployment rate. They are denied access to banks, so have to rely on loan sharks when they need extra … Continue reading

Cameron and The Smiths

Some time ago,  former members of The Smiths, Morrissey and Johnny Marr “banned” the Prime Minister David Cameron from liking the band. Marr said: “Stop saying that you like the Smiths. No you don’t. I forbid you to like it.” I can understand their anger at the Prime Minister,but we live in a free country, … Continue reading

Widdecombe Fair

I recently made a wonderful purchase from an antiques store – this fine pottery mug, of indeterminate age, which came from a dealer in Burton on the Water, Gloucestershire. But the fair it refers to is on wildest Dartmoor, about half way between Buckfastleigh and Moretonhampstead, and now found in atlases as Widecombe in the … Continue reading

Are You Going to Whittingham Fair?

Yet another excerpt from the fascinating ‘Highways & Byways in Northumbria’ which probably sounds familiar: Whittingham Fair was a great event along ago, when the countryside was more populated and fairs were the times of replenishing the household and all sorts of merchandise was on sale. To read of the games and merry-making at Whittiingham … Continue reading

Songs In Memory

The past few months have seen a truly horrific rollcall of deaths in the performing arts, and today Umberto Eco joined the list. Last night BBC6music again showed why they are the top digital radio station when Tom Robinson’s show asked listeners to suggest songs to remember those we have lost. The show began with … Continue reading

The Origin of Rock and Roll

The Origin of Rock and Roll

Recent research suggests that a lot of the early popular songs originated in Scotland. They were the result of poor Scots being thrown off their land by the Highland and Island clearances, so were about longing for home and of going to a promised land, common themes in gospel and early American folk music. But … Continue reading

The Wexford Carols

This is a collection of songs put together by Caitriona O’Leary and includes the voices of Tom Jones, Roseanne Cash and Rhiannon Giddens , three of my favourite singers and very different sounds and styles. I have been interested in it for some time and have finally treated myself to a copy, and it is … Continue reading

Blackface in Lancashire

Blackface entertainers get a lot of stick these days for being a long standing form of offence by white entertainers, but historically, there is often more to the story. Many years ago I saw a special programme by the Unthanks on traditional dances in England, some of which are pretty weird, none less so than … Continue reading

Songs Celebrating British Democracy

This is from yesterday’s i newspaper: “A group of folk musicians is celebrating 800 years of British democracy with songs inspired by an unusual source: legislation including the 1601 Poor Lw; the 1829 Catholic Emancipation Act and the Sexual Offences Act of 1967. Musicians include BBC Folk Singer of the Yea Nancy Kerr have worked … Continue reading

Antique Music

After my post on Linda Rondstadt and Different Drum,  I started trawling youtube and found this clip of Neil Young’s After the Goldrush, sung by Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and Linda. This is a gorgeous version of a great song, but what I want to draw your attention to is an instrument being played behind … Continue reading