Every year in February, I attend the annual conference of the Folk Alliance International and come back with great music to share. This year, Folk Alliance brought me in contact with a whole world of musicians.
I've written about current bands performing their own arrangements of songs originally recorded by folklorists on field recordings in 1930s Louisiana. It reminded me that I hadn't mentioned a similar project involving field recordings of a Scottish Gaelic singer from Duluth, Minnesota.
The Gothard Sisters, three sisters who are "multi-instrumentalist Celtic-influenced folk musicians, songwriters, and performers from the Pacific Northwest, USA," have a new CD out this week, Mountain Rose.
A couple of weeks ago, I returned from the Folk Alliance International conference with an earful of tunes and a bagful of CDs. At the conference I noted a particular orientation to traditional folk music that I've come to think of as "traditude."
Lomax, who lived in Europe for most of the 1950s because he had been blacklisted at home, loved Galician music, and shared Carlos's belief that Galicia was essentially Celtic, which greatly colored his fieldwork.
"As everyone says, I'm deeply honored to be honored. When one goes about their life and what they do, it's not to have a whole bunch of awards and feel that that's the basis of why you do things, but on the other hand it's always gratifying to be recognized by your community for what you do."
Welsh music is either the poor stepchild of the Celtic world, or its best-kept secret. So I was glad to see a whole contingent of Welsh musicians showcasing and schmoozing at the Folk Alliance International in Kansas City.
It's worth noting that, enthusiastic as the proceedings were, they also carried a peculiar gravity. Perhaps this had to do with nostalgia's more serious side, the wish to honor what's gone before and the realization that all things cannot stay the same forever.
This month sees the appearance of a new constellation of neo-traditional stars in the Irish music firmament: the Teetotallers -- flute player Kevin Crawford of Lunasa; guitarist John Phillips, formerly of Solas; and fiddler Martin Hayes of the duo Hayes and Cahill.
Revisiting the stack of CDs I brought back from Folk Alliance 2013 reveals that there are more interesting Canadian acts I haven't shared with readers yet -- which is fitting, since the meeting was in Toronto.
My taste runs towards traditional and roots music, but many at Folk Alliance favor singer-songwriters. My second rundown of folk recordings I picked up at this year's Folk Alliance meeting focuses on musicians from Britain, who were there in force this year.
Her lively, fleet-fingered playing has made her an icon in Irish music, though she has not played in the U.S. in recent years. However, as part of what has become a de facto "St. Patrick's Month," she is doing an American tour in March, as are several of the top names in Irish traditional music.
I wasn't going to cover Tsuumi Sound System. Just the phrase "Sound System" conjures up deejays and a front rapper, and -- although as Jerry Seinfeld would say "not that there's anything wrong with that!" -- it just isn't what I go out of my way to shoot.
Every year in February, Folk Alliance International brings together folk musicians, promoters, labels, organizers, agents, managers, DJs, journalists, and other folk lovers, for a giant trade show and music showcase.
Martin Hayes is a traditional Irish fiddler and the son of a traditional Irish fiddler, so he is well aware that traditional music is a constantly evolving form. Hayes is a masterful fiddler who is known for his soulful playing as well as his ability to fly through a brisk improvisational melody.