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Folkwales Online Magazine March 2012

Gwerincymru — o Gymru o’r byd

News and Obituaries





Tredegar House, Newport, Gwent NP10 8YW

Friday May 18 to Sunday May 20

TIM EDEY AND BRENDAN POWER, who play a concert at the Tredegar House Folk Festival, won two awards at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in Salford in February – and ended up playing a jaw-dropping Celtic Thunder to the whooping delight of the packed crowds. Tim and Brendan received the Best Duo award, and Tim won the Musician Of The Year trophy (introduced by Cathy Jordan of the Sligo-based band Dervish.)

Brendan, who comes from Nelson in New Zealand’s South Island, rose to fame when he played lead harmonica in the smash-hit Irish spectacular Riverdance. Tim, from the Kentish resort of Broadstairs, plays breathtaking button accordion and sizzling guitar. The BBC Awards were sold out within two hours.

Master musician MARTIN SIMPSON, who plays on Sunday at Tredegar House Folk Festival, was nominated for two awards: Musician Of The Year and Album Of The Year, for his acclaimed CD Purpose And Grace. He opened the Awards Show with a rollicking Lakes Of Pontchartrain, the wonderful accordionist Andy Cutting filling out the licks magnificently.

The Tredegar House event is introducing some promising performers this year. DnA are South Wales mother and daughter DELYTH AND ANGHARAD JENKINS, from Swansea; Delyth, ex-member of amazing trio Aberjaber, plays harp and has just released her CD, Llais, while Angharad plays fiddle with storming young band Calan and has just taken her post as project officer with Trac, the all-Wales folk development organisation.

Ulster songwriter ANTHONY JOHN CLARKE is the guest of Llantrisant Folk Club’s Saturday afternoon event, while on the Friday night Gloucestershire trio LOXLEY head the bill, sponsored by Newport Folk Club, with Cardiff must-see songwriters BARLOWCREE supporting them. On the concert stage, THE HUT PEOPLE (accordionist Sam Pirt and Beautiful South percussionist Gary Hammond) get ready to amaze festival-goers, and THE INFINITE CHERRIES! (14-year-old Junior Welsh Celtic Champion fiddler Dylan Cairns-Howarth, from Aberystwyth, and 15-year-old ace melodeonist and multi-instrumentalist Sam Mabbett) play the Saturday as support. In the ceilidh tent, DR PRICE’S FIRE BAND whip up the dancers, with CHRIS OATES calling.

Two Belgian dance teams - the spectacular De Kegelaar from Antwerp and a team from the north Belgian village of Zonne - will be coming to the festival, which also plays host to Czech dancers Valselka, Kemys from Cornwall, Welsh teams Isca Morrismen, Cwmni Gwerin Pontypwl, Gwerinwyr Gwent, Brandywine, Cardiff Ladies Morris, Cardiff Morris, Clocs Canton, Cobblers Awl, Jawahir and Shoostring, and English teams The Applejacks, Boojum and Belfagan Women’s Morris.


Cwlwm Celtaidd

Friday, March 2 to Sunday March 4,

Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl.

FLOOK, the incomparable foursome comprising Sarah Allen, Brian Finnegan, Ed Boyd and John Jo Kelly, will be headlining on the Saturday night. The quartet announced their retirement in 2008, and they only have appeared at special gigs since then. Flook’s gig is a boost for the Festival, which has announced a list of Celtic artists, including ELAINE MORGAN’S CIRCLE OF FIRE, BRYGYN, KEVIN DEMSEY, PAT SMITH AND NED CLAMP, TYLWYTH TEG, OLION BYW, THE ROVING CROWS, CALUM STEWART (of Jamie Smith’s Mabon) AND HEIKKI BOURGAULT, plus Welsh, Cornish and Isle Of Man dancers.


Windsor Hotel in Pontyclun, Wednesdays 8.30

Teesside master songwriter VIN GARBUTT is booked to appear at Llantrisant Folk Club on Wednesday, March 21. Vin is just celebrating 42 years of performing all over the globe as a solo guitarist and whistler with a startlingly unique voice and a belt of jaw-dropping songs. Llantrisant Folk Club is advising people to book early.

A mouth-watering array of artists is heading for Llantrisant, starting off with ISSY AND DAVID EMENY, with KATE RIAZ on ‘cello, on Wednesday March 7. The Suffolk-born couple, now living in Somerset, have quickly established a solid reputation: “Truly astonishing musicians - you’ll rarely see better” (Tom and Barbara Brown)... "A top-class melodeon player with a rare lyrical touch and a fine sense of harmony. Issy is also an excellent composer of sophisticated instrumental pieces" (Brian Peters).

On March 28, there’s a BLYDE LASSES showcase, with Shetland and Scottish music well to the fore. Claire White is a Shetlander born and bred, and she learned fiddle from the age of seven from the famous Dr Tom Anderson of Da Forty Fiddlers. Frances Wilkins learned to play English concertina in Shetland sessions, and this is her second visit to the Club; she was musician in the Shetland trio Solan.

The exciting trio PILGRIM’S WAY are in The Windsor Hotel on April 18, with fiddler Tom Kitching, melodeonist Edwin Bessant and singer/fiddler Lucy Wright. The Irish-American traditional singer and writer SARAH MCQUAID plays the Club on April 9, and larger-than-life double-bass player AL PARISH, from the late lamented Canadian band Tanglefoot, flies in for a tour on May 23.


Friday June 8 to Sunday June10

Gower Heritage Centre, Parkmill,

Top Quebecois band LE VENT DU NORD are the Saturday night highlight in the Gower Folk Festival.  They join an exciting bill which includes THE JACKIE OATES BAND, THE DAMIEN O’KANE TRIO and LADY MAISERY (Hannah James, Hazel Askew and Rowan Rheigans. HERETIQUE play the Friday night dance, and THE OLD DANCE SCHOOL are on Sunday afternoon. BELLE RENDEZVOUS, JAMES FINDLAY, MAGGIE BOYLE with PAUL DOWNES, TYDE, LES SOURIS DANSENT, DNA, LIZZIE NUNNERY, RACHEL NEWTON & LILLIAS KINSMAN-BLAKE, HELEN VINCENT and CAROLE ETHERTON & ANDREW MACKAY complete the line-up.

South Wales band ALLAN YN Y FAN are off on a Welsh and English tour, promoting their new Steam Pie CD Pwnco, with funding support from the Arts Council of Wales. Allan Yn Y Fan, with support from Celtic harper Delyth Jenkins, who is also promoting her Steam Pie CD Llais, played the Tredegar House Folk Festival benefit concert on February 25, and the tour commences at Chapel Arts Centre, Bath (April 15), Theatr Soar, Merthyr Tydfil (April 20), Theatr Felin Fach Dyffryn Aeron (April 27), Lyric Theatre, Carmarthen (May 5), Aberystwyth Arts Centre (May 11), Blackwood Miners’ Institute (May 12), Swansea Grand Theatre Arts Wing (May 16), Richard Burton Theatre, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff (May 17), Theatr Colwyn, Colwyn Bay (May 18), Canolfan Ucheldre Holyhead (May 19), Neuadd Dwyfor Pwllheli (May 25) and The Welfare, Ystradgynlais (May 26).

CLERA, the Society for Welsh Traditional Instruments, has been awarded an Arts Council of Wales grant to run an extensive series of tutoring sessions from March 1st this year. The sessions will raise the profile of Welsh music in the lead-up to the WOMEX World Music Conference and Exhibition which will be held in Cardiff in 2013.

Meurig Williams, the Clera organiser, said: “Thanks to the Arts Council grant, participants across Wales will be able to have two hours' worth of tuition from leading Welsh traditional musicians for just £7.50. The half-day classes will run on Saturdays, either in the morning or the afternoon, and we intend to arrange a traditional session of Welsh music after each workshop.”

Meurig said that about 40 workshop sessions will be involved. He added: “Although Clera focuses on the traditional Welsh instruments such as the harp, the fiddle, the pibgorn, flute, whistle and pipes, we also intend to collaborate with Trac to include more modern instuments such as the melodeon, accordion, concertina, guitar, mandolin and banjo. We are also inviting the other traditional Welsh folk song and dance societies to add a class of their own.”

Clera are currently arranging venues across Wales, some of which will be at exciting and well-known settings, including the National Museum of Wales at St Fagans, the National Waterfront Museum at Swansea and the Tegeingl Festival at Mold. Meurig said: “Wherever possible, we would like our classes to enhance other public events which have a wide audience through live performance of our traditional Welsh music.”

Meurig said that Clera aims to provide classes which are within reach of players across the whole of Wales. He added: “We expect to use local community halls and learning centres as well as the larger locations. If you think there is a venue or suitable event near you which could host one of our workshops, or if you would like to help with the organisation or join some of the workshops, please get in touch at

Welsh “Queen of harps” CATRIN FINCH teams up with fantastic kora player TOUMANI DIABATÉ, from Mali, for a five-date tour around Wales which kicks off at Cardigan’s Theatr Mwldan on Monday, March 26.

From the producers of recent smash-hit projects - which included Catrin and CIMARRON, a highly successful collaboration which she toured with the Columbian harp-based band three times - comes another stunning music collaboration featuring two world-class virtuosi. The event will launch at Cardigan before going on tour to Theatr Brycheiniog in Brecon (March 27), the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff (March 28), the William Aston Hall, Glyndwr University, Wrexham (March 31) and Taliesin Arts Centre in Swansea (March 30) as part of a five-date tour of Wales. The RWCMD concert is co-promoted by RWCMD, Theatr Mwldan and Chapter Arts Centre, and the whole tour is supported by the Welsh Government and the Arts Council of Wales. See full details in the Folkwales Listings and read the Folkwales Catrin-Toumani feature in this issue.

North East Wales dance festival Gŵyl Cadi Ha will be held in Holywell High Street all day from 10am on 28th April. Children from many local primary achools and adult dance groups will join Welsh dance team Dawnwyr Delyn from midday until 1pm in the street. After lunch and a session at a pub in the town, adults will dance at Caerwys Square between 3pm and 5pm. A twmpath is being held in St. Mary's Church Hall, King's Street, Mold from 8pm.

New internet community radio station GBK Radio has started broadcasting from Ystrad Mynach with the main intention of serving the Caerphilly County Borough area, and David Chamberlain will be presenting Acoustic Routes every Monday night between 9 and 11pm. David said: “I would like to feature new and unsigned bands or artists on the show. If anybody feels that their music would fit in with the show, then they are more than welcome to E-Mail MP3s to me at"

The radio station has been set up in conjunction with Great British Kids, who are developing a safe social networking site specifically aimed at children.  For more information visit the Great British Kids website.

Liverpool-born songwriter ALUN PARRY, who has family connections in Wales, will release his single The Dirty Thirty on March 12, the anniversary of the official start of the year-long Miners’ Strike. The Dirty Thirty tells the heroic story of 30 Leicestershire miners and their families. These were the only miners in the whole of Leicestershire to come out on strike. Their opponents branded them The Dirty Thirty, a name they proudly took for themselves. Alun said: “It is a story of great courage. I have since met a number of those involved, most notably Malcolm Pinnegar who is mentioned in the final verse of the song.”



Dick Heckstall-Smith, seminal blues/jazz saxophonist who was brought up in Wales, has died after a battle with cancer, aged 70. Dick, who was born in Ludlow, Shropshire, was initially attracted to the saxophone by the sound of the instrument, and and his father gave the 15-year-old an alto sax. He played with other bands, including Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, The Graham Bond Organization, Jon Hiseman’s Colisseum and together with Welshman and master guitarist John James.

Len Berry, who sang with his wife Barbara in the popular folk-club duo The Portway Pedlars and recorded an album, died on Christmas Day, aged 82. Len and Barbara ran a folk club in Kirklington, Oxfordshire, but moved to Chirk, Wrexham some years ago.

Len and Barbara recorded the songs of Oxfordshire as collected by Alfred Williams – In Greenwood Shades - on Joe Stead’s Greenwich Village label. Barbara had written the music to the words of the poem I Wandered By A Brookside, and the song was later recorded by both Fairport Convention and the late Eva Cassidy among others and brought a well-deserved accolade to the Berrys, albeit late in life. They were still active on the local folk scene until about five years ago. Len’s son, Bob, is the organiser of Chippenham Folk Festival.

Tony Goldsmith, the pianist who played in several South Wales venues (including Pontardawe and Llantrisant Festivals) with the blues/goodtime/Americana duo Pigfoot, died on January 19 after a long battle with cancer, aged 65. Gravel-voiced singer Dave Illingworth writes:


“Born in Dorset, then living in London and Wiltshire, Tony was an annual visitor to South Wales folk clubs with Pigfoot. He started playing in the 1960s, and Pigfoot was formed in 1984 in the Fuddling Folk Club in Hampton Wick, West London, near where he was living at the time. Performing initially as a duo (with me on vocals) the line-up was often augmented by various talented musicians, including Dick (Patrick) Ellis on harmonica, mandolin and guitar, who is still living and playing music in Swansea.


“Thanks to Cas Smith of the Valley Folk Club, Pontardawe, their very first full folk club booking was at the Ivy Bush in 1986. Over the next seven years made regular visits to that venue, plus gigs at Llantrisant Folk Club, Gorseinon, Newport, Llanrhidian, and Llandeilo. They also played festivals at Llantrisant, Swansea (Fringe) and Pontardawe (1986 and 1987). At the latter the duo formed part of the very first “live” version of Les Barker’s Mrs. Ackroyd Band.


“Tony moved to Devizes, Wiltshire in 1989, which meant far fewer Pigfoot gigs but no halt to his musical activities. Firstly he was reunited with an old friend , the late Alan Briars (then organiser of Trowbridge Village Pump Festival) in two bands, The Jelly Roll Boys and Tinker’s Cuss. After Alan’s death, Tony was involved in several bands, the most folky being The Blue Lizard Kings, playing a mixture of Irish tunes and old jazz standards. Pigfoot reunited for visits to folk clubs in Llantrisant and Newport (2000) and Pontardawe (2008) and recorded 18 tracks (as yet unissued) in Wiltshire in 2010. The last Pigfoot gig was in October 2009 at the Severn Sailing Club, Bredon’s Norton, Gloucestershire. Tony’s last performance was with Blue Lizard Kings in July 2011 at Marlborough Jazz Festival.


“He was a very gifted pianist, although extremely self-effacing and self-critical. He was at his best on a slow blues or lively boogie, but equally at home on Irish jigs and airs. His love of old-time jazz “stride” piano meant he was probably the only person playing that style in folk clubs. He was also an enthusiastic music organiser, heavily involved in the Devizes Fringe Festival and the weekly music in the Cellar Bar of the Bear Hotel, Devizes. There was a large attendance at his funeral, where several of his musical associates played and sang some of his favourite pieces. A memorial gig will be held in Devizes in March, in aid of Cancer Research.”

Cheshire Mudcatter, traditional singer, musician and Bollin Morris member Helen Jocys died on Christmas Day, aged 80. Helen played melodeon and accordion and was the founder of The Marmalade Band, a group of ladies who would gather at her house on Saturday mornings to sing, play and eat breakfast of toast and marmalade. Her son, John, said: “Mum was always looking for fun and any chance to sing or play in a session. A couple of years ago at Shrewsbury Folk Festival she woke me up beyond midnight after a particularly heavy day of sessioning. Mum had heard a music session kicking off and wanted us to join in. It was well past 4am when we eventually gave up.”

Cesária Évora, the “barefoot diva” who sang the beautiful, sad, syncopated Mornas tradition of her native Cape Verde Islands, has died, aged 70. Mornas, which blended Portuguese fado, Brazilian modinhas, the laments of Angola and the shanties of British seafarers, were about love, emigration, and homesickness.


Cesária was born in the red-light district of Mindelo, and her first love was called Eduardo, a sailor who taught her the Mornas he knew; however, he sailed away for Europe and never returned. She sang barefoot to sailors and tourists on cruise ships, her pay a handful of escudos, or a cigarette and a sip of cognac.


When she was 47, tape recordings of her work reached Lisbon. Three years later, a grandmother now, she was the toast of Paris, la diva aux pieds nus; a year after, in 1992, she produced the album, Miss Perfumado, that earned her five gold records. A Grammy came in 2003 for her album Voz d’Amor, and the Légion d’Honneur in 2009. Cesária recorded eight albums in her life.

Larry Butler, the only person in Nashville history to win an all-Genre producer of the year Grammy, died of natural causes at his home in Pensacola, Florida. He was 69.

Janey Buchan, who has died at the age of 85, was a cultural and political activist in the fiercest tradition of Glasgow's working class. Though she came to be on first-name terms with artists such as Pete Seeger, Ewan MacColl and Billy Connolly, and politicians of the stature of Willy Brandt and Nelson Mandela, she never compromised her egalitarian beliefs or her lifetime's commitment to encouraging the young and disadvantaged.

Her reputation in 60 years of public life, as a Strathclyde councillor (1974-79), member of the European parliament for Glasgow (1979-94) and wife of a Labour MP and minister, Norman Buchan (who published a book on Scottish traditional music), also rested on great acts of kindness and generosity to friends and those in need of help, in organising, fundraising or finding a bed for the night. Aid was often provided amid music, much laughter and drink, though she never drank or smoked herself.

She was an active anti-apartheid campaigner whom Mandela embraced when she welcomed him to Strasbourg, and she was a supporter of CND and opposed social injustice in all forms. She was an early supporter of gay rights and effective HIV/Aids treatment in an unsympathetic city. Yet for many in Glasgow, Janey, Norman and her brother, Enoch Kent (a member of legendary Scottish trio The Exiles) were primarily champions of folk music and the revival of traditional Scottish music.

When Seeger finally got his US passport back in 1961, after being blacklisted during the McCarthy era, Janey booked the 4,000-seat St Andrew's Hall for his sell-out concert. Family legend has it that she declined to do the same for an unknown called Bob Dylan whose music and behaviour she disliked. She said Dylan had made an unauthorised adaptation of Dominic Behan's tune of The Patriot Game to write God On Our Side.

The Buchans kept an open house for visiting musicians, and the vast 9,000-book library helped to educate young Scottish singers such as Archie and Ray Fisher, and Connolly. MacColl, Martin Carthy, Jeannie Robertson, Jimmy McBeath, Karl Dallas and Woody Guthrie's sidekick Cisco Houston were among the guests. When Janey became an MEP, she spread EU cultural funds around among theatres and other worthy artistic causes. A pillar of the Scottish Arts Council, she was credited with giving the film director Bill Forsyth an early break.

Janey met her husband, a Glasgow University student four years her elder, in the Young Communist League in 1940 and they married when he was demobilised after the second world war in 1946. Norman helped inspire the People's Festival, the earliest fringe events at the new Edinburgh festival, from 1949 to 1953. In the process, Joan Littlewood and the stage designer John Bury became family friends, with the entire Theatre Workshop company sleeping in the Buchans' tiny flat after their van broke down touring the Fife coalfields.

Veteran guitarist and singer Johnny Silvo died in December after a short illness, aged 75. Last November, he cancelled his tour after he was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney and lung.

Johnny performed in British folk clubs for more than 45 years. His wide-ranging repertoire, which spanned traditional and contemporary British and American folk songs, blues, jazz and country, enjoyed great popularity in the 1960s and 1970s. Although his style of playing had been out of fashion for some years, Johnny nevertheless had a loyal fan base, and he continued to be booked by a regular circuit of folk clubs and venues where audiences adored his fine, warm singing, accomplished guitar accompaniment and entertaining and humorous shows.

Born John Woods in Wimbledon, south-west London, Johnny was the son of an African-American soldier who was serving in Ireland, and his unmarried County Mayo girlfriend, who fled to London to have her son. She was killed in wartime bombings, and young Johnny was placed in a Barnardo's home in Kingston Upon Thames. He moved to another Barnardo's home, the William Baker memorial technical school for boys, known as Goldings, in Hertford, where he was school captain.

In National Service days, Johnny signed on as a regular soldier so that he could become a physical training instructor. He bought a guitar while in the army, and he sang jazz, skiffle and folk in the evenings. He joined the Mike Peters Jazzmen, also guesting with bands led by Monty Sunshine, Dick Charlesworth and Bruce Turner, and he changed his name to Silvo – a variation of the Latin word for wood or forest.

Johnny appeared solo in nightclubs and restaurants, singing pop standards as well as jazz and folk. His repertoire and style were ideally suited to the entertainment end of the emerging folk scene, and soon he was singing in folk clubs across the country. He formed the Johnny Silvo Folk Group, one of whose members was the bass player Dave Moses. Johnny and Dave formed a duo which toured Europe, North and South America and Africa, and made several recordings.

Although the duo with Dave continued off and on for many years, Johnny established his solo career from the mid-70s onwards, with several albums. In 1999 he recorded Blues in the Backyard, a joint album of classic blues songs with Diz Disley, for the Fellside label, plus many TV and radio dates.

Johnny was touring in Norway when he met Berit, whom he married in the mid-1980s. He moved to Stavanger, Norway, returning regularly to tour British folk clubs and festivals. His most recent album, I'll Fly Away (2006), was released on the Folksound label and included the popular Midnight Special.




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

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