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Archives for October 2008

Tiny Little Instruments

Mike Harding | 13:30 UK time, Friday, 31 October 2008

Let's hear it for little things, for Snow White's friends, for dormice and for tin whistles, mouthorgans and Jew's harps. For spoons and piccolos...

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BBC Electric Proms - Part 3

Mike Harding | 14:32 UK time, Wednesday, 29 October 2008

The 2008 BBC Electric Proms Maddy Prior & Friends concert came from Cecil Sharp House in Camden Town, the headquarters of the English Folk Dance and Song Society.

Before the show, I was talking to Malcolm Taylor, librarian of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library there and Malcolm reckons there's an upsurge in interest amongst young people, more and more of them, he thinks, are coming to the library spurred on by people like Seth Lakeman, Bellowhead and Jackie Oates...

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BBC Electric Proms - Part 2

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Mike Harding | 16:27 UK time, Monday, 27 October 2008

As a follow up to my last blog, here's a bit more about the 2008 BBC Electric Proms - Maddy Prior & Friends, Cecil Sharp House, London.

In addition to her duets with Tim Hart, Maddy paired up with June Tabor for some Silly Sisters classics like Grey Funnel Line and What Will We Do, and to hear their voices twining and spooling in such delicious harmonies was a pure joy.

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BBC Electric Proms - Part 1

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Mike Harding | 12:43 UK time, Friday, 24 October 2008

2008 BBC Electric Proms - Maddy Prior & Friends, Cecil Sharp House, London.

Maddy Prior and Tim Hart were at the forefront of the folk revival in this country in the latter end of the 1960s. As well as being fine singers, they had the knack of unearthing terrific songs and breathing such life into them that they soon became part of the folk canon.

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Ralph McTell - A National Treasure

Mike Harding | 14:18 UK time, Wednesday, 22 October 2008

I've always believed that people like Bert Lloyd, Ewan MacColl, Jake Thackray, June Tabor, Maddy Prior and Ralph McTell (I could go on - there are many more names I can think of) are national treasures. In a fairer world, they would be seen for what they are: the carriers and definers of our culture.

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Karine Polwart at Celtic Colours Festival - Part 2

Mike Harding | 10:58 UK time, Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Karine Polwart writes about the Celtic Colours Festival.

Earlier this month, I spent a week in a former convent in the pretty wee harbour town of Baddeck, Cape Breton, writing songs with fellow Scot, singer-fiddler Lori Watson and four Canadian songwriters: multiple Juno Award winning David Francey, who spent his childhood in Scotland and sings in a beautifully soft Scots-Canadian burr; the cerebral James Keelaghan, a seemingly bottomless well of quirky tales and trivia; Nova Scotia's Dave Gunning, possibly the nicest man in the world; and the honey voiced (why isn't she famous?) Prince Edward Islander Rose Cousins.

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Karine Polwart at Celtic Colours Festival - Part 1

Mike Harding | 11:49 UK time, Thursday, 16 October 2008

Karine Polwart writes from the Celtic Colours Festival

If you overlook a few details like 'beware of the moose' road signs and pumpkin pie - Cape Breton Island, off Canada's Atlantic coast, is a lot like Scotland in many ways.

One of the few Scottish Gaelic-speaking diasporas survives here, through families that can trace themselves back to west coast islands such as Eigg and Barra. Indeed, I remember on a previous visit, the lovely South Uist singer Mairi MacInnes saying she could tell which families and communities on her own home island that Cape Breton folks had come from by their looks alone.

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Mike in the USA - Part 3

Mike Harding | 17:38 UK time, Monday, 13 October 2008

Well, it's been a strange old trip, what with all the Presidential stuff going on and the world economy going down the pan. I logged on to The Guardian online every day just to check what's happening back home since the news there is aimed at people with the attention span of a wasp.

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Mike in the USA - Part 2

Mike Harding | 13:33 UK time, Friday, 10 October 2008

I spent last weekend in Waterford, Virginia at a country fair. Waterford is a completely unspoilt small town with houses dating from the early 1800s...

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Mike in the USA - Part 1

Mike Harding | 16:52 UK time, Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Greetings from the USA where I am ensconced at the moment, travelling round looking for music and working on various programme ideas.

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Julie Fowlis on social networking

Mike Harding | 11:55 UK time, Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Julie Fowlis writes:

The power of the internet in the modern music industry is incredible. The last ten years has seen a phenomenal growth in the social networking sites like myspace, bebo, facebook and twitter. It's a powerful tool for any musician...

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Julie Fowlis in the USA

Mike Harding | 17:22 UK time, Friday, 3 October 2008

Julie Fowlis writes:

It has been an interesting few weeks for us, touring here is the US. For me - every city and show is an adventure as it is all shiny and new (this is my first ever proper Stateside tour). An interesting time too to be touring the US with the forthcoming election looming.

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Julie Fowlis on Lon-dubh / Blackbird

Mike Harding | 15:49 UK time, Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Julie Fowlis comes from North Uist in the Western Isles and for those of you that don't know her work, she is a stunning singer and a world class musician, and sings almost entirely in Gaelic.

Earlier this year at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards she was presented the Folk Singer of the Year Award by KT Tunstall and has just made it on to the Radio 2 playlist with her stunning translation of the Lennon/McCartney song 'Blackbird'. Here she is to tell us a bit more about it... 

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