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Archives for July 2009

Hello From Cambridge Folk Festival!

Mike Harding | 16:04 UK time, Friday, 31 July 2009

Hello from Cambridge - the hailstones have stopped falling, the sun is out and the mud and gloop are starting to dry up so that the place looks less like the Somme and more like a big field in Cambridge.

I've just watched Genticorum and The Shee going down much better than yesterday's storm. They were both terrific: Genticorum rocking along with a solid set of French-Canadian music and making an amazingly full sound considering there is only three of them. I was dead chuffed to see them using the Jews Harp on a couple of pieces - a much underrated instrument that can really rock when played well.

The Shee, an all girl band mostly from Scotland (and Stockport) were brilliant; their version of Tom Paine's Bones is one of my favourite songs of the last 12 months and it was great to hear them singing it live.

They also have a fine step dancer who hoofed it royal on the main stage with a fine display of what Max Wall used to call Terpsichorean expertise.

As I sit here tapping this, the Watersons are having their picture taken for the cover of fRoots and Edward II are going down several storms on the main stage. I managed to get a snap of Mick Waterson as the family prepared to go onstage.


mike_waterson.jpgI'm going to be interviewing Buffy Sainte-Marie later - one of my all time heroines from the 60s, a great singer-songwriter and activist for the rights of the Native American peoples.

All that and it's only mid-afternoon. What larks Pip!!!

If you're not at the Cambridge Folk Festival, but you want a little bit of it on your Facebook or MySpace page - why don't you embed our little widgetty thing?:

Jackie Oates On Tour In Italy

Mike Harding | 13:12 UK time, Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Jackie Oates writes:

It's now the second week of free-ish time, and I'm in Northern Italy, where I've travelled to dep for one of Ashley Hutchings' Rainbow Chasers.

I've never been to Italy before, and have never played with the band before, so the last day or so has been a weird mix of excitement and fear.

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Jackie Oates On Violins & Vermin

Mike Harding | 14:20 UK time, Monday, 27 July 2009

A few weeks back on my blog, I was talking about a forthcoming album by singer and musician Jackie Oates.

Her previous CD 'The Violet Hour' helped her to win two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards back in February. Well, I loved that album and I have to say, I love her new one 'Hyperboreans' even more. You can hear a track from it on my programme this coming Wednesday and I'm delighted to say Jackie is my guest blogger this week.

Jackie Oates writes:

The school summer holidays have finally arrived and I'm revelling in the novelty of spare time. Term time for me consists of 37 weekly violin pupils, 3 choirs, 2 Kodaly based music classes, and the odd singaround and session, combined with album recording, gigs as a soloist, accompanist and Navvy's Wife.

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Looking forward to Cambridge Folk Festival...

Mike Harding | 14:16 UK time, Friday, 24 July 2009

I'm looking forward greatly to the end of the month and the Cambridge Folk Festival. I've got a 4 hour train journey to get there but it will be worth it in the end, because there's just so much good stuff going on there.

I love the atmosphere at the festival: friendly and family-orientated it includes all ages from grey haired old timers like me to four year olds with face paint jigging it big in the middle of the field. 

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Fairies At The Bottom Of My Garden...

Mike Harding | 15:32 UK time, Monday, 20 July 2009

I have two small boys in my care at the moment, Tobias and Felix (six years and almost five years respectively).

Before we went to Ireland for a weeks holiday, I told them a lot of stories about leprechauns and fairies. ­

I had to really, since there is a tree at the bottom of my garden in Connemara where leprechauns have been seen dancing on a summer's night, and the house itself borders on a townland called Sheeauns which translates as the hill or slope of the fairies.

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Banjos, Bodhrans and Session Protocol

Mike Harding | 12:06 UK time, Wednesday, 15 July 2009

By the time you read this, I will be on the west coast of Connemara for a week of sunshine and the craic ­ - well that's the theory at least.

July in Ireland can be dismal, though, in the West they say 'if you don't like the weather just wait half an hour.'

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I always knew that I was fallible...

Mike Harding | 18:05 UK time, Tuesday, 7 July 2009

but how fallible has been hammered home recently by two immense blunders I waded into with both wellies on and a daft hat on my head.

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