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Folkwales Online Magazine December 2012

Gwerincymru — o Gymru o’r byd

Newsdesk: What’s been happening in Wales


Welsh musicians battle for fairer royalties

Over 330 Welsh composers and publishing companies have transferred their royalty rights to the new Welsh agency, EOS, following a campaign by Dafydd Roberts, triple-harper of the folk group Ar Log and chief executive of the Sain recording company. The Welsh Music Publishers and Composers Alliance has been fighting for fairer royalty payments to composers in Wales since the Performing Rights Society changed their distribution policy, in 2007 for public performance, and in 2008 for broadcast. Composers and publishers in Wales have seen a reduction of up to 85 per cent in their royalty income as a result of these policy changes, and this has had a devastating effect on the folk scene and the music industry in Wales.


By the deadline of midnight on Sunday, September 30, composers and publishers had presented letters to the PRS to request the re-assignation of the broadcast rights in their compositions.  They will then re-assign these rights to the newly-formed Welsh Agency that will licence the broadcasting rights to broadcasters in the UK on their behalf.


WMPCA’s original intention was to form a full independent licensing and collection society, but this compromise means that membership of PRS is retained, and only broadcast rights are withdrawn and assigned to EOS, the Agency formed by the WMPCA.  EOS will also represent a further 2,000 or so composers who were not members of PRS, but were represented through the publishing companies, and hopes also to represent hundreds of other composers and authors in Wales who have never received any representation in the past.  From January 1, 2013, (following the three months’ notice needed by PRS), the broadcasters’ annual ‘blanket’ payments to PRS for the right to broadcast music, will not cover the 30,000 or so works of these composers in Wales, which will then be licensed by EOS.


This is the first time that such action has been taken in the UK - although certain categories of rights have been withdrawn in Germany, and as a result these categories of rights are now commonly known as the GEMA categories, after PRS’s German counterpart GEMA – the German licensing and collection society.


Dafydd, chairman of EOS, said: ”From January 1, no UK broadcaster will be able to use these works without a licence. The Alliance of Publishers and Composers of Wales intends forming an Agency that will licence these works on behalf of the composers and the publishing companies, with the intention of negotiating much better terms for the composers of Wales.


“This is a very important step in our campaign to ensure better royalties for composers from Wales, following on from the change in the PRS distribution policy back in 2007. The music industry in Wales cannot continue under the present conditions, and broadcasters will soon notice a reduction in the number of new songs and music available to them unless we act now. Only the broadcasting rights will be withdrawn, since we will continue to be full members of PRS, and will receive the other royalties that are paid for public, on-line and overseas performances through PRS, as at present.


“It is important to bear in mind that the change in policy has affected all genres of music, and a number of composers and arrangers from the choral, folk, cerdd dant and classical world intend similarly transferring their broadcasting rights from the PRS to the Agency. This is a compromise, since a number of the composers would like to see a completely independent body - but in our discussions with PRS they have offered to share an office in Wales with the Agency, and are considering processing the data on the Agency’s behalf. This is very similar to the way IMRO began in Ireland; having a body that can directly represent Wales internationally, rather than via London, is something that we should aim for and that will, in the long term, be of benefit to the industry nationally.”

Trac on the lookout for 10 in a bus

Trac, Wales’s folk development organisation, is looking for 10 musicians from different musical backgrounds to take part in an exciting new project called 10 In A Bus, which aims to reinterpret and demystify traditional Welsh folk music. The project will give professional or semi-professional musicians working in differing genres the opportunity of coming together to research their musical roots and to reinterpret Welsh traditional music in a way that is relevant to them and to audiences of today.


The project will be divided into three phases. The research phase will see the 10 musicians travel around Wales, visiting the sound archives in the national Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagan’s, the National Library’s music collections, as well as meeting some of Wales’s ‘tradition bearers’ and ethnomusicologists. After a break, the musicians will reassemble for a week-long writing retreat in the second phase. The will work together to re-interpret the traditional material, as well as composing new work based on their experiences during the research phase. The third phase is recording an album and holding a concert as part of a tour that will take the new work around Wales, and hopefully further afield in 2014.


Angharad Jenkins, trac’s project officer, said: “The musicians will compose new, innovative work and take that work to audiences and communities that otherwise might not have come across it. It’s an excellent opportunity to take advantage of recent developments in the folk scene in Wales, and an opportunity to raise awareness of Wales’s music traditions in a new and creative way. It’s incredibly timely as well, with the world music trade fair WOMEX coming to Cardiff next year – 10 In A Bus will help to put music in Wales in the international spotlight.”


The application deadline is January 4, 2013. The research phase takes place from Febuary 11 to 16 and the writing phase is from March 3 to 9. They will be recording in April, and then performing occasionally over the summer. To apply, contact Angharad at prosiect@trac-cymru.org, or visit trac’s website.

Anti-Cap Roadshow at Level Three

Roots Unearthed, the regular series of events which Dave Haslam has been putting on in the Level Three Bar at Cardiff’s St David’s Hall, greets the New Year with a impressive programme. The Anti-Capitalist Roadshow is on January 15, with Cardiff’s Frankie Armstrong, Leon Rosselson, Roy Bailey, Jim Woodland, Janet Russell, Peggy Seeger and more (see the Folkwales OM interview with Frankie). Dates for the diary are The Emily Portman Trio (Febuary 12); Juan Martin (March 5); The Home Service (April 30); Bella Hardy (May 14); and Spiers and Boden (May 20); a couple of unconfirmed dates during the summer; Martin Simpson (September 19); Eliza Carthy and Tim Eriksen (October 30). The November date is still to be pencilled in, with Jamie Smith’s Mabon a possibility.

Gower Folk Festival is coming home

The Gower Folk Festival is moving back to the place where it all started, The Greyhound Inn in Oldwalls, Llanrhidian. The festival’s website says: “The Gower Heritage Centre, our home for the last 14 years, is not able to accommodate the Gower Folk Festival in 2013. The good news is that for our 20th festival, on June 14, 15 and 16, 2013, we are planning to return to The Greyhound Inn, set in beautiful Llanrhidian, North Gower, now a fabulous award-winning micro-brewery and home to our regular folk club.


“Our main programme will run as usual, this time in a large marquee set in the pub gardens.  We hope to be running workshops just down the road.  With the pub's large function room available for food and drink (and a tune or two), we know we will be well looked after. Camping will be close by, with toilets, showers and electrical hook-up available for caravans. Further details will be available when bookings open in January.”

Folk Club raises funds for runner Rhys

Newport folk club raised the magnificent sum of £433 when they staged a charity concert in support of Rhys Thomas, son of Geri Thomas of The Chartists, who will be taking part in the London Marathon next year raising funds for St Anne's Hospice.


The concert featured Rapsquillion, the Shropshire-based seven-piece harmony group, and Cardiff-based BarlowCree, who have been chosen to perform at London’s Cecil Sharp House in February 2013. Organiser Terry Parsons, who comperes the club’s weekly Thursday nights at the Fugitives Sports Club in High Cross Road, Rogerstone, said: “Several club members provided entertaining support to complete the evening. Due to the effort and generosity of people giving their time and talent free of charge, we managed to raise £433 in aid of this worthy cause.”

Club on the move

Barry Folk Club has moved to the Glenbrook Inn in Dobbins Road, Barry, following the Castle Inn’s closure and the decision of Brain’s Brewery to convert the pub into flats. The club will moving forward a day to Tuesday, and will meet on the second Tuesday of the month. Club organiser Davy Cartwright says that the Wyndham Conservative Club offered space, but wanted to charge £35! Needless to say, Barry Folk Club declined.

Jamie’s Mabon booked for Welsh Festivals

Jamie Smith’s Mabon have been booked for Tredegar House Folk Festival, which runs on the weekend of May 10 to 12, 2013; they have also been booked for Cwlwm Celtaidd, the Porthcawl Interceltic Festival, which is happening on Friday March 1, Saint David’s Day, and all weekend – the gesture was made by organiser Derek Smith, father of stupendous accordionist and prolific composer Jamie, whose departure from the band caused a father-son rift which has now, hopefully, been mended.


Tredegar House Folk Festival, based in the beautiful and imposing grounds of the historic Tredegar House, just half a mile of thev M4’s junction 28 on the west side of the city of Newport, is booking Welsh-Estonian duo Sild (guitarist Martin Leamon and wonderful singer, fiddler and hiu-kannel player Sille Ilves), French chanteuse Flossie Malavialle, Durham singer and guitarist Bob Fox and The Young ‘Uns (Teesside-based Sean Cooney, David Eagle and Michael Hughes, who with bags of talent and an enthusiasm for traditional song, are making a big impact on the traditional folk scene today. Check out the Tredegar House website and the Porthcawl Interceltic Festival

Learning about the War

TASC, the Powys folk music arts charity, was working with Llandinam Village Hall, the Llandinam Village School and Powysland Museum on a tea party where the children were learning from the older generation about their experiences of the War years in the 1940s. The project helped the children to have a better understanding of at least some of the aspects of Remembrance Day, and it also formed part of local history work which TASC started with the hall's centenary and the facelift it is currently undergoing.

Morris side welcomes women

Isca Morris, formerly The Isca Morrismen, have decided to become a mixed side which welcomes women dancers. The decision was taken following a depletion of numbers among men, which threatened the dance team’s future. It’s another blow for The Morris Ring, which only admits male morris dance sides; Isca Morris will be moving out of the Ring’s membership and will join The Morris Federation, which welcomes mixed sides.


Les Chittleburgh, the bagman, said: “We decided that we had no future as a side unless we changed the composition of our dancers. We have now decided that we will in future be known as Isca Morris and will be a mixed side, open to all genders - our website is currently migrating to www.Isca-Morris.com. We are now back practising at St Gabriels Church Hall in Old Cwmbran, and all are welcome to come along from 8pm every Wednesday. Provided we can attract new recruits, then we would intend to run a full summer dancing programme as usual; but a decision will be taken on this in the new year once we have assessed numbers.”

Babs is back from South African tour

Llantrisant Folk Club member and singer Babs Protheroe is back from the trip of a lifetime to Cape Town, where she played a key part in the joint Wales-South Africa Torchbearers project and intensively rehearsed with the Valleys Kids Choir – and she thanked the Folk Club and the Pontypridd community for raising enough money to allow her to go on the journey. The valued community member, who lives in Rhydyfelin in Taff Vale and who is blind, diabetic and confined to a wheelchair, needed to raise £1,500 so that her 26-year-old daughter Amy, who is her carer, could accompany Babs to South Africa.

Folk Camps heads for the Welsh borders

Tonyrefail-based caller Mic Spenceley and musicians Val Will and Chris Jewell lead the Folk Camps Winter Warmer, which runs from Friday January 25 to Sunday January 27, 2013 in The Paddocks Hotel in Symonds Yat, near Monmouth. The hotel boats a big ballroom, and workshops will include music, song, social dance, ritual dance. The daily programme begins with a music workshop suitable for all abilities, dance or song workshops, opportunities to see the area and an evening ceilidh with an opportunity to call a dance, play in the band or entertain with a song – and lots of sessions. The price, including full board, is £185 for an adult; full information, and to book the weekend, from the Folkcamps website .

Aid for Ade

Folkwales Online Magazine has come to the aid of actor, comedian and musician Adrian Edmondson in his quest to play a Strohviol, one of the most unusual old instruments in the world. Adrian - who played Viv the orange-haired punk rocker in the BBC-One smash hit The Young Ones, tours arts centres as Ade Edmondson And The Bad Shepherds and was on tour last Autumn at Cardiff Coal Exchange with Phill Jupitus, Neil Innes and Rowland Rivron in his creation, The Idiot Bastard Band – acquired a battered old Strohviol, an ingenious one-string violin with a metal horn which was patented in 1899 by its German inventor, Augustus Stroh. The Strohviol does not have a wooden body; but it has a diaphragm, which transmits the sound directly though its enormous horn. In the early days of recording, entire orchestras played Strohviols and other horned stringed instruments – including the ‘cello and the double bass – to ensure a sound that could be heard. Strohviols were manufactured for 20 years, until advances in recording technology made them obsolete.


Adrian, who is married to Absolutely Fabulous star and stage writer Jennifer Saunders, got in touch with Mick Tems, Llantrisant Folk Club’s life president and editor of Folkwales Online Magazine, over a problem of a mystery missing part. He sent some detailed photos of the Strohviol. Mick in turn referred Adrian to Gerhard Kress, who, like Stroh, was born in born in Frankfurt-Am-Main, now lives in Pontypridd and has two Strohviols. In fact, Llantrisant Folk Club musicians now have three Strohviols – the other one belongs to Olly Price, music director of Gwerinwyr Gwent Welsh dance team, who brought it as a morris musician years ago. Adrian was very grateful for Gerhard’s advice, and has sent Mick Stroh’s patent application letter, dated 1899, and a photo of Stroh’s collection of horned instruments, exhibited in the Museum Of Instruments in London’s Royal College Of Music.

Cwpwrdd Nansi kicks off

Angharad Jenkins has been instrumental in setting up Cwpwrdd Nansi, a new Wednesday monthly folk night at Cardiff’s Gwdihŵ Café bar in Guidford Cresent, just off Churchill Way, with the best of contemporary folk music from Wales and beyond. Named after the autobiography featuring the triple harpist Nansi Richards, Angharad says that these will be very special evenings of music and song. Last month’s line-up included Alaw (accordionist Jamie Smith, ace fiddler Oli Wilson-Dickson and guitarist Dylan Fowler), Gildas and Carwyn Tywyn.

Allan Yn Y Fan at the Glanfa Stage

Allan Yn Y Fan will be concluding their live dates in 2012 with two performances on the Glanfa Stage of the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff on Sunday December 23 at 1.15pm and 6.15pm – and they’re both free to attend.


Band member Geoff Cripps said: “It has been a brilliant year for the band. We released our fourth album, Pwnco, in April to universally positive reviews, undertook a 12-date theatre tour of England and Wales, enjoyed great reactions to our concerts in the Czech Republic and Germany as well as our two English Folk Festival main stage appearances. So, in what has become something of a tradition for the band, thanks to WMC, we’re delighted to conclude the year with these two gigs on the Glanfa Stage. We’ll be kicking up a storm, and hope the crowds will be up for leaping about a bit, too.”


The band will take time off around Christmas before preparing for their return to the world’s biggest mid-winter Scottish festival, Celtic Connections, when they will be sharing the stage of the Tron Theatre, Glasgow, with the legendary Robin and Bina Williamson on Wednesday January 30, 2013 (click here for more details). Other 2013 dates are Frome Folk Festival, February 17; Pontio Neuadd Powis, Bangor, with Mosihe’s Bagel, February 22; Wyeside Arts Centre, Builth Wells, Saturday March 9; Theatr Hafren, Newtown, Powys, April 26; Fishguard Folk Festival’s Theatr Gwaun, Saturday May 25; Beverley Folk Festival, June 22 and 23.

Heidi, June, Oysterband coming

Two mouthwatering gigs from Rhondda Cynon Tâf CBC in the coming year: Irish singer Heidi Talbot makes a welcome return to The Muni Arts Centre, Pontypridd, on Wednesday, Febuary 20 at 8pm to showcase work from her new album, Angels Without Wings, she will be joined by world-renowned John McCusker on fiddle and Ian Carr on guitar. The past two years have seen Heidi nominated for two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards - she recorded and toured with Idlewild, Eddi Reader, Michael McGoldrick and Kris Drever, and she played sell-out concerts all over the UK and Ireland, launching her album The Last Star to rave reviews.


June Tabor and Oysterband play the last show of their highly-successful Ragged Kingdom tour at the Park And Dare Theatre in Treorci on Saturday February 23 (8pm), and this is the final gig before Ray Cooper (aka Chopper) leaves the band to pursue a career as a solo singer-songwriter. Ray said: “After many years of constant touring and recording, it is not easy to leave the friends, the fans and the life I have known. We have shared a lot of ups and downs and have grown together to be more like a family than a band. However, since the release of my solo album, Tales Of Love War And Death By Hanging, a couple of years ago, I knew that a door had been opened for me and another more challenging path lay waiting. I have to sing.


“The experience of being a part of Oysterband has been a wonderful one, as has been the warmth and energy of the fans we have played to along the way. This has been by far the best group I have ever played with and probably will remain so. Oysterband have plenty of albums to make and tours to play yet, I wish them well and thank them for being who they are.”


It was Elvis Costello who made the famous quote: "If you can't appreciate June Tabor, you should just stop listening to music." Twenty-one years ago, June and Oysterband made a landmark album of dark folk together called Freedom and Rain - a union Rolling Stone called: “a marriage made in heaven”. Their potent energy and top-flight musicianship made for something out of the ordinary, and they toured the UK and America with great success. This time, they were back in the studio, with a new album of gorgeous tunes and brooding intensity called Ragged Kingdom. At this year's BBC Folk Awards, Oysterband swept the board receiving four awards including Best Group, Best Album and Folk Singer of the Year. Advanced booking is strongly advised - £17 in advance, £20 on the door.

Anne promotes Folk21 day

Abergavenny singer-songwriter Anne Lister is liaising with trac (the all-Wales folk development organisation) to set up a South Wales Day, one of a number of Regional Days which will focus on and highlight folk clubs in Britain – and she is enrolling committee members to help get the Day off the ground.


Anne is on the focus group-cum-steering committee of Folk21, the campaigning organisation which aims to raise the profile of folk, and she contacted trac director Danny Kilbride and administrator Blanche Rowen. She said: “Folk21 is attempting to work with smaller venues which book performers to achieve better audience numbers, younger members of the audience and all-round improvements in their sustainability and future. Each region in the UK is setting up a Regional Day, with sessions for club and venue organisers for discussions, networking and practical issues.


“In the evening there is a showcase of performers, generally with a headline act. These have already happened in Yorkshire and the East Midlands, and a splendid venture is planned for London in February 2013.”  Now Anne is involved in discussions with Rhondda Cynon Tâf arts director Geoff Cripps to arrange a venue for a regional day.

Kate moves to Ceridigion

Kate Riaz, the cello player and accompanying musician to Issy and David Emeney, has emigrated to Ceridigion and has brought a house in Llangrannog. She contacted Folkwales Online Magazine, wanting to know the names of musicians which whom she could collaborate – and Folkwales OM was happy to oblige. Croeso i Gymru!

Bretons for Llantrisant

Superb Breton duo Brigitte Kloareg and Yann-Fanch Perroches play for Llantrisant Folk Club in The Windsor Hotel, Pontyclun on Wednesday, May 24 next year. Brigitte lived in Aberystwyth and sang with her ex-partner, Jonathan Shorland; she then worked at Cardiff University, before returning to her Breton homeland. Accordèon diatonique expert Yann-Fanch has collaborated with many artists and bands, including the mighty Skolvan and the brilliant fest-noz group La Godinette, composed of the fabulous fiddle player Pierrick Lemou and the bombarde-biniou duo Jean Barron and Christian Anneix.


The Club has published an exciting Wednesday-night programme for Christmas and the coming year. Bristol shanty singers The Harry Browns are at the Club’s Christmas party on December 19, followed by BBC Radio 2 Horizon Award winner Ewan McLennan on January 16; Ewan’s debut album Rags And Robes, has been receiving critical acclaim. Reg Meuross, hailed by Time Out as “One of Britain’s finest singer songwriters”, makes his debut on January 30; master fiddler Tom McConville and political songwriter/guitarist David Newey instill North-South excitement on March 6; and the Club showcases Shropshire seven-strong harmony group Rapsquillion on March 27. American shanty singers Joy Bennett and Chris Loldewey appear on April 3, and mesmerising, superb singer/songwriters O’Hooley and Tidow are on May 29.

Lightning DOES strike twice…

Dana and Susan Robinson, who are releasing their new CD American Hornpipe, have been in the wars not once, but twice. The Ashville, North Carolina musicians’ promotional CD tour had to be cancelled; they were just about to set off when Dana fell off a ladder, broke his wrist and could not play his instruments. Then a few weeks later, the Bristol-based Different Strings Agency heard that a snake had bitten Susan. Agent Lorraine Carpenter said: “Luckily, it was the rather beautiful-looking copperhead snake whose bite is seldom fatal, though it is still pretty nasty; Susan was hobbling around on crutches for a while.” But following a couple of months recuperating, Dana and Susan were back on the road and looking forward to returning to the UK, twice next year (late May-early July and November, hopefully playing in Wales.) American Hornpipe has been getting an overall thumbs-up from the media and fans alike, too.

Pwnco competition winner

Folkwales Online Magazine’s Pwnco CD competition was won by Catherine Jones, of Cardiff, who correctly identified Dic Penderyn’s real name as… Richard Lewis. She wins the latest Allan Yn Y Fan Pwnco platter.   

Sorry, Heather!

Doh: It’s red-faced apology time yet again. The latest victim was Heather Bristow, whom Folkwales CD Reviews succeeded in marrying her off to the wrong person entirely. Heather says that she’s happily married to Daniel Bristow, and just to show that there’s no ill-will, she donated a copy of Hope On The Vine, her 2009 debut CD release – it’s exquisitely excellent!

North Wales Club news

Conwy Folk Club have singers’ nights at The British Legion, Rosehill Street, but one of their occasional guest nights happens on Monday February 25 with Miranda Sykes and Rex Preston. Rhyl Folk Club are drawing up a programme for 2013 and the first guests of the year will be Keith Kendrick and Sylvia Needham on Friday, February 15, followed by fiddler Tom McConville (April 26.) The Ruthin All Styles Music Club meet on Thursdays at The Cross Keys, Mwrog Street, Llanfwrog; ex-ELO musician Phil Bates is the guest on February 28. Sessions at the White Lion, Llanelian, Colwyn Bay happens every Wednesday (8.30pm). Organisers John and Gill Les also run the North Wales Bluegrass Festival, which takes place on the first weekend in July (www.northwalesbluegrass.co.uk). The Mucky Duck Folk Club, featuring The Celtic Notes, meets weekly on Tuesdays at St Mary’s Club, Flint (8pm.) 


On the Wirral, the Hungry Horse Folk Club at Whitby Sports and Social Club, Chester Road, Ellesmere Port, meet every Thursday. The 2013 programme includes Steve Knightley (February 22), Archie Fisher (March 21) and Jez Lowe (April 11). The Chester Folk Day is on Saturday, February 23 at the Hoole Community Centre, Westminster Road, Chester; Dave Burland heads the guestlist. The popular Maritime Festival, based at the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port, takes place over the Easter weekend (March 30 and 31) is fast becoming one of the most important maritime festivals in the world.

Topic wins CD poll

I’m A Romany Rai, the Topic CD which Folkwales Online Magazine was hailing in the reviews page, has won the Compilation/Reissue of the Year in the fRoots critics’ poll. The set was also placed fourth in the same poll's Award for Best Packaged Album. The others CDs in the Voice Of The People Folkwales OM review also did well; You Never Heard So Sweet was placed a close-run second, and Sarah Makem’s The Heart Is True was seventh.

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Contact: Mick Tems, Editor - Folkwales Magazine, 88 Manor Chase, Y Beddau, Pontypridd, CYMRU / WALES CF38 2JE Phone: 01443 206689

E-mail: micktems@folkwales.org.uk Website: www.folkwales.org.uk