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Folkwales Online Magazine September 2012

Gwerincymru — o Gymru o’r byd



Kitty Wells, the Queen Of Country Music, died in July from complications after a stroke. She was 92. Born Ellen Muriel Deason, Kitty was country music's first female superstar and became the first female singer to reach Number One in the country music charts with her 1952 song It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels. She spent the next two decades as one of the most well-known names in country.


In 1976, Kitty was the second female singer inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, following only Patsy Cline. Her other accolades include the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Governor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Recording Industry and induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Dolly Parton were among the many artists heavily influenced by Kitty's mark in the industry.

Ralph Lines, Gwerinwyr Gwent’s former photographer and husband to Nerys Lines, the dance team’s ex-chairman, passed away on Monday, July 16, aged 59. He suffered from cancer, and his death was a huge shock to all the team. The couple lived in Magor in the ancient county of Gwent, where the funeral at St Mary’s church was overflowing with Ralph’s friends, relatives, musicians and dancers. The pews were packed, and it was standing room only at the crowded back of the church. The cremation took place at the Forest Of Dean crematorium, near Cinderford.

Neil Johnston, journalist on the Belfast Telegraph, died of cancer on August 5, aged 68, at the Marie Cure Hospice in Belfast. He was a champion of Irish music, in his columns in the Belfast Telegraph, broadcasts for BBC Radio Ulster and in his active involvement with the Ballyshannon folk festival in Donegal. His deep knowledge and extraordinary enthusiasm brought him massive respect and led him to present a BBC Radio Ulster series, The Wrong Note. It dealt with the often overlooked contributions made by Irish and Northern Irish musicians and singers from the Protestant community from which he also came. He made another contribution to music; Neil was the proud recipient of royalty payments from such unlikely locations as Iceland in honour of the lyrics he wrote for the Belfast band Four Men And A Dog's album Wrap It Up.


Neil grew up in Omagh, before moving to Belfast. His friend, fellow journalist Colin Randall, says: “Whenever his name cropped up in conversation with key figures from the Irish music scene, you could be sure there'd be swapped anecdotes and evidence of real fondness. Again from the BelTel, this is Dark Shadows Linger, a poem he wrote after the awful bombing in his home town:


I lay my wreath where my heart lies

On Drumragh's gentle waters

And floated down through Omagh town

Past the scene of slaughter.

I'll walk its winding banks again

And pledge a vow on leaving

As long as I have breath and soul

So long will I be grieving.”

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Kenny Caird, for years the organiser, promoter, sound engineer, MC and guiding light of the Star and New Dawn Folk Clubs in Glasgow, passed away after his fight with cancer on Wednesday, July 11. A friend says: “He was a stirrer-upper. He upset the apple cart. He took pride in turning up to traditional music sessions with an amplifier, electric guitar (with synthesiser attached) and using it to play the digital oompah), but he also played traditional tunes on the concertina with sensitivity and skill. He loved the blues, hated injustice and hypocrisy, was a passionate advocate of rational thought and debunking of mysticism.


“A few short weeks ago, with characteristic directness, Kenny told us that he was losing his battle with cancer. The melanoma that took his eye (and led him to create a Youtube persona called "WanEyedFolky") had returned agressively and viciously, causing him to lose the use of his legs. Kenny was once described to me as being like Ronseal – ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’. That pretty much sums him up. He was a man with strong convictions and strong principles and was fiercely loyal to his loved ones and his friends.”

Pembrokeshire folk fans were shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden death of Jane Bell, co-owner of the Druidstone Hotel. In the year that she and Rod were celebrating 40 years in business, Jane had been making big plans to bring all her favourite people together to celebrate.


Jules Rutter and Paul Hayes, of the Pembrokeshire Traditional Music eNetwork, paid this tribute: “Under her inspiration, the Druidstone became a unique venue, known throughout the UK and beyond, certainly the coolest and most hospitable hotel and arts venue in Pembrokeshire, a haven for the best food and music. Jane was a generous host, a passionate supporter of environmental causes and of the world's poor and oppressed, and knew how to throw a great party. So many people the world over will think of Pembrokeshire, the ‘Dru’ and Jane.”




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