Tributes were paid to Joyce Cann, president of the Dartmoor Folk Festival and wife of the event founder, the late Bob Cann, at her funeral service held at St Andrew's Church in South Tawton.
The third of four sons to John and Betty Knight, Andrew was born and raised in Banstead, Surrey. He was introduced to Irish folksong when elder brothers Simon and Chris, together with friends, started a weekly singing session in The Black Horse in Reigate and other pubs in the region. Soon his younger brother Patrick, with whom Andrew was to play traditional dance music for the rest of his life, joined the throng. This was the mid-sixties and the material embraced songs from the hugely popular Dubliners as well as The Clancy Brothers, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and others. Every Saturday night, rebel songs and street ballads were belted out in unison to guitar and banjo accompaniment.
With great sadness, I find myself writing about the passing of Iain Baird on 14 November 2015, aged 65.
Fred’s death in November robbed us of a very knowledgeable, well read, likeable man who was admired by those who knew him. The twin passions of his life were socialism and traditional music and it is the latter that we are concerned with here.
Marian passed away unexpectedly on November 3rd at the age of 74. She had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about three years ago, but had been in comparatively good health and had enjoyed the Memorial Concert for her late husband, Pete, a few weeks earlier.
Keith was a familiar figure at folk venues throughout South Wales and sometimes beyond as he sought to sell copies of the magazine, Taplas, that he founded in 1982.
Flora MacNeil was one of the giants of Scotland’s folk revival. Just as the singers who sing in Scots acknowledge the influence of Jeannie Robertson, all of the current generation of Gaelic singers acknowledge their debt to Flora MacNeil.
The last sounds he heard in this world were the same as the first sounds that greeted him on entering it 88 years before, the sound of singing, of traditional song. That which welcomed him then, came to welcome him again. The evening before he died in Daisy Hill hospital on the 30 May 2015, the family of Michael “Mick” Quinn, of Conway Park, Mullaghbawn, one of South Armagh’s greatest cultural personalities, gathered around his bed and at his request sang song after favourite song.
Packie Byrne was born in Corkermore, Co. Donegal, on 18th February 1917, the youngest of four children. His parents, Con and Maria, were great lovers of traditional songs and had a vast store of them. And so the family cottage often rang with music, as friends and neighbours gathered for an evening of shared tunes, songs, dances and stories. In this enriching soil, Packie flourished.
Roy Palmer, who died on 26 February 2015, was a dedicated collector and disseminator of traditional songs, folklore, and of the ephemeral detail that fills the spaces in the history of ordinary people. Though his name is familiar to the thousands of people who read his books and the articles that he wrote for magazines and journals, he was a private person who, while he appreciated the recognition that he received, was content to plough his own furrow in his own way.