Posts filtered by tags: Folk Music[x]


‘I wanted to try cocaine, but Jimi was against it’: Janis Ian on her tough, starlit life in music

Hendrix and Janis Joplin warned her off drugs, she sang for James Brown and Salvador Dalí offered to paint her. Janis Ian’s confessional folk-pop is still sensational – so why is she retiring from recording?‘I learned the truth at 17 / That love was meant for beauty queens / And high school girls with clear-eyed smiles / Who married young and then retired.” Janis Ian’s At Seventeen is an indelible portrait of life from the perspective of a socially awkward unattractive teen, inspired by a newspa...
Tags: Music, James Brown, Culture, Pop and rock, New Jersey, Folk Music, Salvador Dalí, Janis Joplin, Ian, Hendrix, Jimi, Janis Ian

Jazz, Old Norse and ‘troll tunes’: the strange, stunning music of Shetland

It’s 550 years since the islands became part of Scotland, and the archipelago is still not for the faint-hearted. But it has inspired its own diverse music, where fiddles and accordions meet the sub-bass of the seaFive hundred and fifty years ago next month, the king of Norway lost a deposit he had put down to settle a debt: more than a hundred wild, treeless islands in the sub-arctic North Sea. The Scottish king, James III, had wanted Rhenish florins, but he had to settle for Shetland instead.T...
Tags: Music, UK, Scotland, Culture, Pop and rock, Jazz, Glasgow, Norway, Folk Music, Electronic Music, Experimental music, North Sea, Shetland, Fair Isle, James III, Chris Stout

Anaïs Mitchell: ‘Hadestown was larger than life. This album is life-sized’

The singer-songwriter is back with a new album after a decade spent nurturing her award-winning musical. She reflects on white privilege, finding a musical community – and moving back to rural Vermont“Anything that you love can become a trap,” says the singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell. She’s talking about the career-defining stage musical Hadestown, an energetic Depression-era retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice which dominated her life for more than a decade.Mitchell first toured it a...
Tags: Music, Country, Culture, Broadway, Indie, Time Magazine, Folk Music, Vermont, Bon Iver, Mitchell, Rachel Chavkin, Anais Mitchell, Hadestown, Anaïs Mitchell She

‘I need to not be violent to myself’: Big Thief on pain, healing and their intense musical bond

The folk-rockers have weathered divorce and trauma to become one of the US’s best bands. Loved up with one another on tour, they explain their need for imperfection – and why recording is like sexIt is early afternoon in downtown Nashville, and the party is already going strong. Bachelorettes in pink cowboy hats are flowing, mask-free, in and out of the honky-tonks. The members of Big Thief, though – Adrianne Lenker, Buck Meek, Max Oleartchik and James Krivchenia – are sitting outside the Ryman ...
Tags: Music, US, Culture, Pop and rock, Nashville, Folk Music, Big Thief, Lenker, James Krivchenia, Adrianne Lenker Buck Meek Max Oleartchik

Fire, cider and ‘heavy metal morris dancing’: the resurgence of wassailing

A centuries-old outdoor folklore ceremony featuring singing, dancing, costumes and crop-blessings, the wassail is having a pandemic-era revival – with witchy reinventionsOn a January night in the tiny Herefordshire village of Eardisland, a crowd of hundreds is being led to an orchard down a muddy country lane. Their leaders wear tall hats, garlanded with fruit, feathers and flowers; their faces are a damp, mossy, green; their ankles jingle with bells. It is very dark: the only light comes from a...
Tags: Music, Dance, Culture, Folk Music, Herefordshire, Leominster, Eardisland, Josh Johnson, Folk dancing

Joni Mitchell: ‘I’m hobbling along but I’m doing all right’

Singer discusses health difficulties in rare public speech as she accepts Kennedy Center awardJoni Mitchell addressed her health difficulties in a rare public speech as she accepted her Kennedy Center Honor, one of the most prestigious awards in American cultural life.At a ceremony attended by Joe Biden – in a show of support for the arts after the awards were snubbed by Donald Trump – Mitchell discussed the issues she’s faced in the wake of an aneurysm in 2015 that left her temporarily unable t...
Tags: Music, Joe Biden, US news, Culture, Pop and rock, Folk Music, Kennedy Center, Donald Trump, Joni Mitchell, Mitchell, Kennedy Center awardJoni Mitchell

The greatest songs about the climate crisis – ranked!

As Cop26 opens in Glasgow, we provide the soundtrack, ranging from Gojira’s metal fury to gorgeous environmental paeans by Childish Gambino, Neil Young and Joni MitchellFrom its cover shot of a submerged bedroom down, 2019’s Titanic Rising feels like an album informed by the climate crisis, but the lyrics seldom address it explicitly. Something to Believe is the perfect example: a plea not to feel overwhelmed by or nihilistic about the challenges faced, beautifully steeped in the lush sound of e...
Tags: Music, Metal, Disco, Environment, Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, Soul, Neil Young, Culture, Pop and rock, Hip-hop, Punk, Indie, Dance music, Glasgow, Folk Music

‘She went her own way’: the tragic and unusual life of folk singer Karen Dalton

In a new documentary, the underrated singer’s life of depression, addiction and poverty is told while her incredible talents are celebratedThe outlines of the life led by singer Karen Dalton tell a heartbreaking tale. It was one scarred by consistent poverty, intermittent homelessness, bouts of depression and escalating alcohol and drug addiction, culminating in her death from Aids at 55. Yet, to Robert Yapkowitz, who co-directed a new documentary with Richard Peete titled Karen Dalton: In My Ow...
Tags: Music, Film, Karen, Culture, Folk Music, Karen Dalton, Documentary films, Richard Peete, Robert Yapkowitz

‘A summer of love!’ Musicians on the awesome, tearful return of gigs

From Sleaford Mods in London to Mogwai in France, bands and performers talk about the strange and wonderful experience of returning to the stage after 16 months of deprivationThere were those few weeks of strange, haunted gigs in autumn 2020, but for most people live music disappeared at the start of March last year and didn’t return until this summer. It was a peculiar enough experience being in the crowds, but what was it like for the artists walking on stage after 18 months without the hum of...
Tags: Music, London, France, Soul, Culture, Pop and rock, Indie, Corinne Bailey Rae, Dance music, Jazz, Folk Music, Electronic Music, Mogwai, The Vaccines, Rudimental, Sleaford Mods

Bob Dylan movements ‘not inconsistent’ with alleged sex abuse, says lawyer for accuser

Dylan biographer Clinton Heylin claims musician was not in New York at time of abuse alleged in new lawsuit, which is challenged by accuserA lawyer for the woman who has accused Bob Dylan of sexually abusing her in 1965 when she was 12 years old has challenged claims by Dylan’s biographer that the singer-songwriter was not in New York at the time of the alleged abuse.Dylan, 80, is accused by an anonymised woman, JC, of establishing “an emotional connection” with her to “lower her inhibitions wit...
Tags: Music, New York, Law, US news, Culture, Pop and rock, Bob Dylan, Folk Music, Sexual Harassment, Dylan, Clinton Heylin, JC, Rape and sexual assault

Nanci Griffith obituary

American folk-country singer and songwriter best known for Love at the Five and Dime and her album Other Voices, Other RoomsGreatly admired by her fellow artists and a devoted army of fans, Nanci Griffith, who has died aged 68, exemplified a style of musical storytelling with a literary flavour, focusing on the small details of the lives of her characters. Songs such as Love at the Five and Dime and Gulf Coast Highway have become permanent fixtures in the folk-country canon (Griffith described h...
Tags: Music, Country, US news, Pop and rock, Willie Nelson, Nashville, Folk Music, HARRIS, Emmylou Harris, Griffith, Kathy Mattea, Nanci Griffith, Suzy Bogguss, Gulf Coast Highway

How Joni Mitchell broke up with David Crosby by singing him a song

In this clip from The Howard Stern Show, David Crosby tells the story of how Joni Mitchell broke up with him. She sang her new song, "That Song About the Midway," to him (and the entire band) at a party at Peter Tork's (The Monkees) house. — Read the rest
Tags: Post, Video, News, Cheating, Monkees, Folk Music, Howard Stern, Joni Mitchell, Peter Tork, David Crosby, Howard Stern Show David Crosby

Joni Mitchell’s Blue: my favourite song – by James Taylor, Carole King, Graham Nash, David Crosby and more

As the legendary album turns 50, the musicians it inspired – and those who inspired it – tell us which track means the most to them and why Continue reading...
Tags: Music, Culture, Pop and rock, Folk Music, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor Carole King Graham Nash David Crosby

‘I don’t want to remember these things’: dark pop poet John Murry on surviving rape, heroin and family strife

The singer-songwriter talks about his relative William Faulkner, his violent childhood and drugs – and saves a surprise until the endIf you’re after cheery crowdpleasers, John Murry is not your man. Murry is 41, barely known, and has never come close to denting the charts. Yet he has been compared to the great existential pop poets Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and Scott Walker. And with good reason – he has a rich baritone, writes gorgeous ballads and is half in love with death. The titles of his fi...
Tags: Books, Music, Drugs, Society, Culture, Scott Walker, Folk Music, Oscar Wilde, Leonard Cohen, PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, William Faulkner, Murry, John Murry, Nick Cave Leonard Cohen, William Faulkner Like Faulkner

The best albums of 2021 so far

From drill’s high watermark to Tuareg rock, Colombian pop and London jazz, here are our music editors’ picks of the best LPs from the first half of the year Continue reading...
Tags: Music, Metal, London, Rap, Culture, Pop and rock, Psychedelia, Indie, Jazz, Folk Music, Electronic Music, St Vincent, Experimental music, Nick Cave, Wolf Alice, Dry Cleaning

Honouring the song 5: who wrote or arranged the song?

I’ve written before that even if it’s a folk song, somebody wrote it.  The identity of that individual may have been lost over time, but to honour the song, you still have the responsibility to try to find out who it was. This post is part of a series that began with How to honour the source of a song (and why it’s important) where I identified five areas that need to be investigated when honouring a song. The first post looked at Where the song comes from. The second considered What the s...
Tags: Facebook, Music, UK, Disney, US, Pete Seeger, Senegal, Copyright, Guinea, World Music, West Africa, Mali, Folk Music, Songs, Song Writing, Teaching Songs

Folk singer Mustafa: ‘I’m trying to preserve the memories of young Black Muslims’

The poet, a songwriter for artists including the Weeknd, explains how music helped him explore the loss of friends to inner-city violence: ‘Sorrow is meant to be experienced and felt’Appearing on a Zoom call from his Los Angeles apartment, sporting the white, perforated kufi skullcap worn in mosques, 24-year-old Canadian musician Mustafa is a long way from Regent Park, the predominantly Black, working-class neighbourhood in downtown Toronto where he grew up. Regent Park is a place with a dual id...
Tags: Music, Toronto, Los Angeles, Culture, Indie, Folk Music, Drake, The Weeknd, Mustafa, James Blake, Camila Cabello, Sampha, Regent Park, Ano Santana Ali, Jahvante

Honouring the song 3: can you teach or perform the song accurately?

When using songs from cultures different to ours, we have the responsibility to teach or perform them as accurately as we can.  We honour the song by being as authentic as possible when pronouncing the words, and reproducing the melody and harmonies. This post is part of a series that began with How to honour the source of a song (and why it’s important) where I identified five areas that need to be investigated when honouring a song. The first post looked at Where the song comes from. The...
Tags: Facebook, Asia, Music, London, Culture, Middle East, Macedonia, World Music, Tanzania, Folk Music, Lyrics, Songs, South Bank, Learning Songs, Teaching Songs, Traditional Songs

Enya’s greatest songs – ranked!

This month, the Irish singer turned 60 – but her popularity belies how radical her Celtic futurism really isWith the plinking, clipped synths and infernally moreish chorus, Orinoco Flow is the Enya song that everyone knows, yet it is arguably the least interesting moment on her breakthrough album, Watermark. Indeed, for years it seemed that its ubiquity obscured the stranger treasures in her discography. Continue reading...
Tags: Music, Culture, Pop and rock, Folk Music, Choral music, Enya, Orinoco Flow

My favourite Dylan song – by Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull, Tom Jones, Judy Collins and more

Bob Dylan is 80 today. But what’s his greatest song? Stars pick their favourite – and recall their own encounters, from Marianne Faithfull turning him down to Judy Collins whacking a policeman to get backstageDesolation Row (1965) Continue reading...
Tags: Music, Culture, Pop and rock, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Folk Music, Billy Bragg, Tom Jones, Gillian Welch, Dylan, Suzanne Vega, Judy Collins, Marianne Faithfull

kd lang: ‘Every other day, I dislike my hair. It’s a love-hate relationship’

The singer-songwriter on her Buddhist faith, her mother, and not missing sex Born in Canada, kd lang, 59, won her first Grammy in 1988 for her duet with Roy Orbison on the song Crying. The following year she won a second for her album Absolute Torch And Twang. Her 1992 album, Ingénue, went multiplatinum and includes the Grammy-winning hit Constant Craving. On 28 May, she releases makeover, a collection of remixes. She lives in Calgary.What is your greatest fear?Being scared in the process of dea...
Tags: Music, Country, Life and style, Culture, Canada, Pop and rock, Folk Music, Calgary, Roy Orbison

‘No to fascists and homophobes!’: Damir Imamović, singing the soul of Sarajevo

Named best European artist at last week’s Songlines awards, the Bosnian singer has weathered war and personal tragedy while bringing sevdah music to prominenceDamir Imamović is pining for a curry. “We don’t have any Indian restaurants in Bosnia,” he explains, “and I’ve always wanted to try Indian food. Last year I was booked to play St Luke’s at the Barbican, the Brighton festival, Manchester’s Band on the Wall – it was going to be my first ever time in the UK and I’d been promised a trip to Bri...
Tags: Europe, Music, UK, Culture, Pop and rock, Manchester, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brighton, Blues, Folk Music, Brick Lane, Bosnia, Sarajevo, St Luke, Damir Imamović, Imamović

Honouring the song 1: where does the song come from?

When honouring the origins of any song, you need to be as precise as you can about where the song came from.  It might be hard to find out, but there is no excuse for being lazy and saying something like “This song is from Africa.” Here are some things to consider when tracing a song’s origins. Last week I wrote an introduction to honouring the origins of songs: How to honour the source of a song (and why it’s important). I outlined five areas that need to be considered when trying to accura...
Tags: Facebook, Music, Australia, Africa, Culture, Cameroon, World Music, New Zealand, West Africa, Finland, Denmark, Folk Music, William, Song, Torres Strait Islands, Teaching Songs

How one electronic music producer wants to decolonize music software

I've spent a lot of my time over this past pandemic year improving my skills with Digital Audio Workshop software. I also feel like I tend to have a pretty keen eye for identifying issues around colonialism. Yet somehow, I never considered the relationship between the two until I read this Pitchfork article about Khyam Allami, a musician and musicologist of Iraqi descent who was born in Syria but raised in London. — Read the rest
Tags: Post, Music, London, News, Music Industry, Syria, World Music, Colonialism, Folk Music, Electronic Music, Musical instruments, Midi, Decolonization, Music Theory, Digital Audio Workstation, Music Technology

David Lynch directs new Donovan video

Donovan (yes, that Donovan) has a new video out for "The Shaman." The video was directed by David Lynch (yes, that David Lynch). What connects these two artists? They are both avid practitioners (and champions) of Transcendental Meditation. The song was first recorded in 2010 at David Lynch's Asymmetrical Studio in L.A. — Read the rest
Tags: Post, Video, News, Folk Music, David Lynch, Donovan, Avant Pop Music

How to honour the source of a song (and why it’s important)

Many songs get handed down by ear and labelled ‘traditional’ without any clear understanding of where they come from. It’s important to honour the source of all songs and the cultures they originate from. Here’s a guide to the things that you need to consider. There are choirs which source all their music through written scores bought from official sheet music retailers. This series of posts is not really aimed at them (although some ‘official’ song information given out with scores is not a...
Tags: Facebook, Music, UK, Africa, Copyright, World Music, Folk Music, Lyrics, Eastern Europe, Meaning, Choir, Traditional Songs, Melody, Arrangements, Song Arrangements, Community Choir

Judy Collins: ‘When I found folk music, I also found drinking’

The 82-year-old US folk singer talks through her teenage years, from mental health struggles to wondrous romance in the Rocky mountainsI’d been playing the piano since I was five, and by the time I was 15 I was memorising Rachmaninov concertos. But Barbara Allen, recorded by Jo Stafford, turned me towards the music that was becoming the rebirth of folk music in the US. I knew Stafford’s voice very well – her My Funny Valentine was one of our favourites. She was such a magnificent singer, and her...
Tags: Music, US, Culture, Folk Music, Danny Boy, Valentine, Stafford, Judy Collins, Jo Stafford, Rachmaninov, Barbara Allen

‘My energy comes from optimism’: the hopeful music of spring 2021

In part two of our series on the musicians foregrounding hope in their songs, Esperanza Spalding, Rostam and more discuss the importance of positivityI started writing songs after my father died when I was 13. I used music to release the sadness that was flooding my heart and held on to my guitar like it was a float in an ocean. As an artist, I’ve always wanted to provoke chills, because to me that means I’ve connected with the spirit that’s giving me the music. Continue reading...
Tags: Music, Environment, Country, Culture, Pop and rock, Wildfires, Sexuality, Indie, Dance music, Jazz, Folk Music, Clubbing, Vampire Weekend, Coronavirus, Esperanza Spalding Rostam

‘If not hope, then what?’: the musicians finding optimism in dark times

Against a backdrop of Covid, a striking number of musicians, from hard rock to jazz, made music rich with positivity. In the first of a two-part series, they tell their storiesI had really given up on music after my mom passed away [in 2014], and then of course the record that I saw as my death rattle [2017’s Soft Sounds from Another Planet] got picked up in a big way. It was a very bittersweet moment where all these great things were happening in the wake of loss. I didn’t allow myself to feel ...
Tags: Music, Metal, Race, Mental Health, Culture, Pop and rock, Wildfires, Christianity, Indie, Dance music, Jazz, Peru, Folk Music, Americana, Bereavement, Coronavirus

Henry Glassie: Field Work review – hypnotic glimpses of folk art in the making

This documentary about the celebrated folklorist also takes a leisurely look at the working methods of the artists he reveresThere’s an unmistakable slow-cinema vibe to this scrupulously observational documentary, which seems somehow to go on for weeks despite its 100-minute running time. The ostensible subject matter is American anthropologist Henry Glassie, who is college professor emeritus in folklore and ethnomusicology at Indiana University; but it isn’t really “about” him in any convention...
Tags: Art, Music, Science, Biology, Film, Americas, UK News, World news, Turkey, US news, Culture, Art and design, Sculpture, Anthropology, Northern Ireland, Brazil