Five people who have made key contributions to the folk arts are the latest recipients of Gold Badge awards from the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS). Pete and Sue Coe, the musician and dancer who were founders of Ryburn Three Step, Maggie Fletcher, a leading musician on the English country dance scene, and long term EFDSS and folk dance volunteers and advocates Mike Wilson-Jones and Mary Wilson-Jones have all been chosen to receive the awards.
Following a successful first year Tasgadh Traditional Arts Fund will continue to offer grants of up of £1,000 to organisations and individuals involved in Scottish Traditional Arts. The fund is managed by Fèisean nan Gàidheal and supported by Creative Scotland through Targeted Funding. It is available to provide support for traditional artists and organisations to create, perform, tour and showcase work. Professional development applications can also be supported though the fund.
Hands Up for Trad have announced the first Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame inductees of 2016 and included among them is our very own Pete Heywood, previous editor of The Living Tradition. The Services to Community Award recognises individuals that work tirelessly to help their community and enrich the lives of others through selfless service or charitable work. This category honours individuals who may not be in the limelight, but who teach music, organise classes, run clubs and festivals, publish music or magazines and generally make life better for people learning traditional music, and those awarded are nominated by organisations or members of the public.
Joe Stead is about to publish a book based on his 'Ramblings of an Old Codger' newsletters which he has been publishing since 2000.
On January 10, a ceremony was held in The Gambia to mark the opening of Maggie's Well. When Maggie Boyle died in November 2014, it was decided to donate part of the fund raised in her memory to The Gambian Schools Trust, a charity which she had supported since its foundation in 2001. The charity decided to spend the money to construct a well in a village on the underdeveloped north bank of the River Gambia, thereby bringing a safe, fresh water supply to an area which previously did not have one. This gift of health and life seemed singularly appropriate for Maggie, whose kindness and generosity is remembered by all who knew her.
They say, “You can’t take it with you”. And while that remains true in its original context, the Celtic Colours International Festival has found a way for music fans from around the world to do just that. For the third year in a row, the Cape Breton festival has sent its team of recording engineer, Jamie Foulds, and producer, Declan O’Doherty, all over the Island to capture the magic of this unique music and cultural event.
Alan Bell and his wife, Christine, celebrated their Golden Wedding in January 2016. Alan was the founder and director of the Fylde Folk Festival, with Christine as the administrator. For 42 years they produced and directed the festival staged in their hometown of Fleetwood. Since closing the festival in 2014, they now concentrate all their time and effort in presenting folk music through Folkus, The Folk Arts Network of the North West, of which Alan is the chairman.
On 24 September, colleagues and friends gathered in the Irish Traditional Music Archive offices to mark the recent retirement of Nicholas Carolan, founding Director of ITMA. It was an occasion full of warmth and respect for a man who has done much to further the very important work of the Archive.
When Scottish folklorist Hamish Henderson died in 2002, members of Edinburgh Folk Club commissioned a paper maché bust of the great man. The bust naturally found a comfortable home in the Edinburgh folk music pub, Sandy Bell's. Henderson's real office was Edinburgh University's School of Scottish Studies, which he'd helped to create in the 1950s, but he would often be found in his ‘unofficial office’, Sandy Bell's, a mere stone's throw away.
FiddleOn magazine, a specialist magazine devoted to the fiddle, is joining forces with The Living Tradition, the premier magazine for folk and traditional music with a primary focus on the UK and Ireland. This development, which brings further editorial expertise, additional subscribers and a wider reach to The Living Tradition and is good news all round.