Hiram Salsano: Bringing new life to the old songs from Campania.

[Petr Dorůžka, Praha] How would collectors like Béla Bartók or Leoš Janáček work if they lived today? Endangered traditions that they managed to capture have definitely disappeared in some regions, but they still live elsewhere. Hiram Salsano was born in Agropoli, a seaside resort 120 km south of Naples. Since 2005, she has been visiting rural farms in the interior and recording the songs of the oldest living witnesses.

15. 2. 2024 |

Mehmet Polat’s  ud serving as a bridge between East and West

[Petr Dorůžka, Praha] The ud, one of the most common instruments in the Middle East, is considered to be the forerunner of a whole host of stringed instruments, including the European guitar. Unlike the guitar, it does not have frets and therefore is not limited by European scales. Besides Arab countries, a number of excellent players live in Turkey, Israel or Armenia and, thanks to the migration in recent decades, also in Europe. The instrument has gained respect in jazz thanks to musicians as Anouar Brahem from Tunisia, who records for ECM, or Rabih Abou-Khalil from Lebanon.

1. 2. 2024 |

David Crosby – On inspiration, patterns of writing songs and influences

[by Ken Hunt, London] David Crosby is a musician whose influence is paramount to the way my musical tastes developed. Directly or indirectly. This interview snippet is drawn from a far longer one conducted in September 2012 for an article in R2 that appeared at the time of the release of the 2012 DVD set. Here we discuss, among other subjects, a range of possibilities to do with writing songs and the influence of the Nubian oud player Hamza El Din.

25. 1. 2018 |

Kronos Quartet – Folk Songs I

by Ken Hunt, London] This interview with David Harrington of the Kronos Quartet took place on 11 July 2014 – long before Folk Songs (released by Nonesuch Records in June 2017) was even conceived. It is published for the historian-minded. This sliver ends with talking about Ukrainian composer-musician Mariana Sadovska.

19. 6. 2017 |

Alan Garner – the Swing 51 interview

[by Ken Hunt, London] 2010 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Alan Garner’s novel, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and HarperCollins has duly published a 50th anniversary edition. Hence the excuse to re-publish part of the first part of this interview. Any changes are so that the text conforms to our style guide and to contextualise and clarify matters. There has been no attempt to impose updates on this interview.

18. 10. 2010 |

Ralph McTell – On songs, recording, Nanna’s Song and Streets of London

[by Ken Hunt, London] Ralph McTell is one of Britain’s foremost commentators on the national condition using demotic idioms – folk, blues, ragtime. Rather like Wolf Biermann, Franz-Josef Degenhardt and Christof Stählin in Germany (and then add your own regional or national candidates), he has depicted his homeland through music, through songs, that meanings of which seem immediately apparent but which may well prove to be more eely or oblique.

2. 4. 2010 |

Peggy Seeger – On creativity

[by Ken Hunt, London] Peggy Seeger was one of people like Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Big Bill Broonzy and Cisco Houston whose records introduced Britain to an authentic lexicon of Americana. That word didn’t exist in the 1950s but if it had those musicians would have pretty much defined it.

1. 2. 2010 |

Rez Abbasi and Kiran Ahluwalia

[by Petr Dorůžka, Prague] The Karachi born, New York City based jazz guitarist Rez Abbasi comes to Europe for a ten day tour which includes two gigs in Czech Republic – 23 April he plays in the Prague Reduta club, and on 27 April at Jazzfest in Brno. He is joined by his Indian wife Kiran Ahluwalia, who is a well known singer on her own right.

21. 4. 2009 |

A talk with Lev ‘Ljova’ Zhurbin

[by Petr Dorůžka, Prague] New York is a cosmopolitan city with very rich musical landscape. Do you think there is something special the Russian, East European, or Slavic musicians living in New York can offer that musicians from elsewhere lack?

Absolutely. In the folk scene, New York arguably has amongst its citizens the best Slavic/Balkan/Russian musicians that I’ve ever met. Not only are they strong as performers, they are incredibly open as musicians, adapting the Western musical styles in much more genuine and honest ways than happens in the East.

31. 12. 2008 |

Swing 51, Robin Williamson and the Incredible String Band – A Casket of Wonders

[by Ken Hunt, London] At the time of doing this interview – 13 August 1979 – the Scots musician Robin Williamson was based in California and working with the Merry Band. Their latest album at that point was A Glint At The Kindling (1979). This interview is an excerpt of a far longer interview. It concentrates on Williamson’s time with the Incredible String Band and before the band’s formation. The Incredible String Band had overturned people’s appreciation of what contemporary folk bands could do. No lesser mortal than Dylan had name-checked the Incredibles’ October Song in his interview with John Cohen and Happy Traum in the October/November 1968 issue of Sing Out! and that was big medicine.

12. 11. 2007 |

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