Mary Cliff has been named as one of Folk Alliance International’s newest Folk DJ Hall of Fame inductees for 2018. Honoring broadcasters who have demonstrated a passion for continuing the promotion and preservation of folk music, Ms. Cliff has risen to the challenge.
After a brief stint as a singer for the Hootnannies in the early 60s, Ms. Cliff turned to radio in 1966, eventually working with radio host Dick Cerri. She would take to the airwaves in 1968 on WAVA then WHFS and in 1970 on WETA. She’s done it all, producing and presenting music, news, interviews and hosting the show Bluegrass Country until 2015.
Folk Alliance International’s Folk DJ Hall of Fame honors those radio disc jockeys around the globe who preserve, promote and present folk music. One of this year’s inductees is Scotland’s Fiona Ritchie, who’s radio show The Thistle & Shamrock has proved to be a favored standard for National Public Radio (NPR) listeners.
Ms. Ritchie started out at the NPR station WFAE in Charlotte, North Carolina working in fundraising and promotion before finding herself hosting a music show showcasing everything from classical to Big Band music, as well as producing and presenting live concerts. With this in, Ms. Ritchie broached the idea of a weekly hour of Celtic music and in 1981 The Thistle & Shamrock was launched. Becoming one of the most popular NPR music shows and cementing her audience base, Ms. Ritchie would return to Scotland to recreate the show from her Scottish home. She has been a presenter on BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio 2, launched the series Celtic Connections on Radio Scotland and launched the web-based music channel ThistleRadio, as well as produced music compilations and authored the Celtic Music section of the NPR Curious Listener’s Guide Book.
Recordings, playlists, newsletters and materials from The Thistle & Shamrock are now part of the archive at the Scottish Heritage Center at St. Andrews University in North Carolina. Ms. Ritchie also was honored by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and earned the Hamish Henderson Award for Services to Traditional Music.
Following up on 2017’s Folk DJ Hall of Fame inductees Oscar Brand, Mike Regenstreif and Howard and Roz Larman, Folk Alliance International has added New England’s Dick Pleasants, who helped start the first full-time commercial folk music station, to this years hall of fame.
Steeped in the sounds of famed coffeehouses Unicorn and Club 47, Mr. Pleasants cut his folk music chops at such radio stations like WCIB-FM / Falmouth, WCAS-AM/Cambridge and WVOI-FM/Martha’s Vineyard. He furthered the folk music cause by way of his show Folk Heritage, hooking listeners with interviews and live performances with everyone from Pete Seeger to Odetta to The Battlefield Band to Beausoleil and included live broadcasts from the Lowell Folk Festival and inside listens into the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Mr. Pleasants would go on to wow listeners at WUMB Radio on his Guest Mix show with interviews with Rory Block, Judy Collins, Bill Stains, Richie Havens, Bill Morrissey and Michelle Shocked among others. He also had a hand in launching Summer Acoustic Music Week, helped out the Boston Folk Festival and WUMB concerts for the likes of Emmy Lou Harris, Natalie MacMaster, Suzanne Vega and Sweet Honey In the Rock. In addition, he’s one of the found members of the South Shore Music Club and Woods Hole Folk Music Club and has been a member and supporter of the Nature Connection Inc.
“Zone Franche, a network of 200 world music professionals from all sectors has issued a press release in support of influential world music showcase Babel Med Music 2018:
Zone Franche strongly opposes the iniquitous and brutal decision of the Regional Council of PACA forcing the Latinissimo association to cancel Babel Med Music 2018, the only French trade show of international stature devoted to World Music, which has been on the agenda of all professionals worldwide for thirteen years.
We ask that the grant allowing the staging of this show be reinstated as soon as possible so that Babel Med Music, an essential link in bringing together labels, festivals, producers, artists, programmers, can continue to find in Marseilles and the PACA Region a professional market recognized worldwide. By canceling Babel Med Music a few weeks before its start (15 to 17 March 2018), the Regional Council is showing political lightness and economic blindness as to the consequences of its action, besides the fact that the disappearance of Babel Med Music would allow supporters of cultural uniformity and the multinationals’ hold on music in France, to applaud this unprecedented reduction in cultural diversity in our country, to the detriment of our territories, our cultures and our populations.
Zone Franche invites all the artists and professionals of the sector to a massive mobilization, at the BIS of Nantes on January 17th and 18th. A petition to support cultural diversity and Babel Med Music is online. Thank you for signing and relaying it to as many people as possible. We will not let World Music die in silence.”
We announce the list of best world music albums of 2017. The selection was made by a panel of editors and contributors from World Music Central and its affiliate Spanish-language world music magazine Músicas del Mundo.
The list includes 11 albums because 5 recordings were tied for 7th place.
Top World Music Albums in 2017
1. Trio da Kali & Kronos Quartet – Ladilikan (World Circuit Records) – USA/Mali
2. Raúl Rodriguez – La Raíz (Boa Musica Editorial) – Spain
“Our list reflects the diversity of the world music scene and our panelists. Our writers are based in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia,” says World Music Central’s Managing Director Angel Romero.
World Music Central is an international online publication with readers worldwide that includes news, reviews, artist biographies, glossaries and other resources. Genres featured include traditional and contemporary folk music, world fusion, global electronica, flamenco, tango, bluegrass, salsa, reggae and any other genre rooted in traditional music.
World Music Central’s 2017 panel includes Daryana Antipova, Tom Orr, Rafael Mieses, Madanmohan Rao, Dorothy Johnson-Laird and Angel Romero Ruiz.
The Association Latinissimo announced that it can no longer stage the 14th Babel Med Music Festival that would have taken place March 15 – 17, 2018, at Dock des Suds in Marseille. The producers disclosed that the decision was made following the 79% reduction of the subsidy from its main partner: the Provence-Alps-Côte d’Azur Region.
The unexpected withdrawal of this partner’s support just three months before the event was due to take place put the event in jeopardy, after 13 years that brought together 180,000 spectators and 26,000 professionals from the music industry.
The organizing committee was informed just a week before the plenary meeting that took place last Friday, December 15th of the change to the Region’s commitment to Babel Med Music, a decision that therefore forced to cancel the event.
The cancellation is expected to generate economic losses for the region, including layoffs, hotel and restaurant revenue, and touring contracts made during the conference. Babel Med Music has announced the immediate loss of 204 jobs within the organization.
Renowned world music presenter Robert Browning has announced the artists that are scheduled to perform in New York City during the winter/spring 2018 season.
The 2018 winter/spring program includes guitarist and vocalist extraordinaire Paolo Angeli, who mixes jazz and other genres with the music of his native Sardinia (Jan 26); masterful flamenco with guitar virtuoso José Antonio Rodríguez, who will be making his first New York appearance since 2010 (Mar 3); the fiery Gypsy flamenco vocalist Antonio Montoya presenting Versos olvidados (Forgotten Verses), a tribute to the women poets of the Generation of 1927 (Mar 16).
Also scheduled: ‘ud (lute) and violin virtuoso Simon Shaheen, Qantara, and the Qantara Berklee Ensemble performing a remarkable program of Arab film music (Mar 17); two celebrated artists, Cuban pianist Omar Sosa and Senegalese kora (harp-lute) player Seckou Keita, combining jazz, Latin and African influences (Mar 22).
The great multi-instrumentalist Omar Faruk Tekbilek, a brilliant interpreter of Sufi, folk and contemporary music of the Middle East (Apr 14); and the Fourth Annual A World in Trance Festival featuring the music of Afghanistan with Homayoun Sakhi, the outstanding Afghan rubab (lute) player of his generation (Apr 27); the music of India with Ustad Shahid Parvez, one of the world’s leading sitarists (Apr 28); and spiritual and mystical Persian classical music with virtuoso Hossein Omoumi, one of the leading Persian ney (flute) players (Apr 29).
Fri Jan 26, 8:30pm, Zankel Hall – Sardinia’s Paolo Angeli, vocals & guitar***
Sat Mar 3, 8:00pm, Roulette – Flamenco Festival: José Antonio Rodríguez, Flamenco Guitar Maestro**
Fri Mar 16, 8:00pm, Roulette – Flamenco Festival – Flamenco Eñe: Angelita Montoya, Versos Olvidados (Forgotten Verses): A Tribute to Women Poets**
Sat Mar 17, 8:00pm, Roulette – Musical Gems of the Arab Cinema: Simon Shaheen & Qantara with guest group Qantara Berklee Ensemble *
Sat Apr 14, 8:30pm, Zankel Hall- Sufi, Folk & Contemporary Music of Turkey & the Middle East: Omar Faruk Tekbilek***
Fri Apr 27-Sun Apr 29 Roulette – 4th Annual A World in Trance Festival
Fri Apr 27, 8:00pm, Roulette – A World in Trance – Afghanistan: Homayoun Sakhi*
Sat Apr 28, 8:00pm, Roulette – A World in Trance – India: Ustad Shahid Parvez*
Sun Apr 29, 7:00pm, Roulette – A World in Trance – Persia: Hossein Omoumi*
*Presented by Robert Browning Associates with Lotus Music & Dance
**Presented by Robert Browning Associates in partnership with Flamenco Festival
***Presented by Carnegie Hall in partnership with Robert Browning Associates
UNESCO announced today that Cuban punto is inscribed in 2017 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Punto is the poetry and music of Cuban farmworkers, consisting of a tune or melody over which a person sings an improvised or learned stanza of ten octameter verse lines, with a rhyming scheme.
There are two principal variations of Punto: punto libre, a tune of free meter; and punto fijo, which can be in key or crossed. Throughout history, punto has habitually been practiced in the countryside, although variants now exist throughout the rest of the population.
A teaching program is organized in Houses of Culture across Cuba, involving workshops instructed by bearers and practitioners of punto.
Seminars, workshops, contests, festivals and events aimed at safeguarding and revitalizing punto are organized throughout Cuba and an occupational category has now been assigned to the work of the practitioners and bearers, turning this into a way of living for many.
In a December 16, 2017 press release UNESCO announced that Zauli (Zaouli in French) music and dance is inscribed in 2017 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Zauli is a traditional music and dance practiced by the Guro communities of the Buafle and Zuenula departments of Ivory Coast. A tribute to feminine splendor, Zauli is inspired by two masks: the Blou and the Djela. In a single event, the participants bring together sculpture (the mask), weaving (the costume), music (the band and song) and dance.
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