Thursday, December 10, 2009

John Storm Roberts - gone now, but his impact carries on

The pithy, witty and acerbic John Storm Roberts has passed on. He died on November 29, but I just read about it in the NY Times today.

His 1972 book, Black Music of Two Worlds, was essential reading for anyone into the connections between Africa and the Americas, in jazz, blues, folk and what is now the ubiquitous 'world music'. His retail company and record label, Original Music (which folded many years ago) was a sacred place for me, and I made the pilgrimage a number of times, as well as writing many checks to his mail order address. His choices were impeccable and his taste was wide-ranging and often surprising.

I had many a long and winding conversation with him, usually on the phone, and usually with my finally fading from exhaustion as I tried to keep up with his knowledge, his crankiness and his sense of humor. I miss those the most.

cliff furnald

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Fin Alfred Larsen: A Life In Danish Music

"These are the songs folk use for fun, to have a laugh at their own problems. There are horrifying stories like "That's Capitalism For You" or the song about Bombardine who has a child out of wedlock. We know they are real tales of misery but they are told in a humourous way, so we can laugh at ourselves. That's OK, but you have to show solidarity with the people you are singing with, you mustn't sing anything you can't sing from the heart. You mustn't sing down, so to speak, because that's when it becomes hollow. To say 'Now I'll sing you one of the kind of songs you like hear…' - that's no good. Then you're cheating people. But you have to take the temperature"

Morten Alfred Høirup brings us another Danish adventure, but this one is a little closer to home and a lot more personal. Morten talks with his father, Danish folk singer and musician Fin Alfred Larsen

Read more

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The 24th Annual fRoots Critics Poll

The 24th Annual fRoots Critics Poll

New Albums Of 2009 winners
1. Staff Benda Bilili - Très Très Fort (Crammed)
2. Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba - I Speak Fula (OutHere)
3. Oumou Sangare - Seya (World Circuit)
4. Martin Simpson - True Stories (Topic)
5. The Unthanks - Here’s The Tender Coming (EMI/Rabble Rouser)
6. Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara - Tell No Lies (Real World)
7. Tinariwen - Imidiwan (Independiente)
8. Jackie Oates - Hyperboreans (Unearthed/One Little Indian)
9. Khaled - Liberté (Wrasse)
10. Spiro - Lightbox (Real World)

1. Various - Three Score & Ten: A Voice To The People (Stern’s)
2. Franco & Le TPOK Jazz - Francophonic Vol. 2 (Stern’s)
3. Various - Panama! 2 (Soundway)
4. Various - Legends Of Benin (Analog Africa)
5. Chris Wood - Albion (RUF)
6. Woody Guthrie - My Dusty Road (Rounder)

Read more about the poll and get to know fRoots better!

You can fiud many of these recordings at cdRoots and

Friday, December 04, 2009

Irish folk star Liam Clancy dies

The Irish singer and cultural icon Liam Clancy has died. He was 74.

Liam was the youngest of the four Clancy brothers. He was born in Co Tipperary and emigrated to the US in 1956, where he joined his brothers in singing in the clubs of Greenwich Village. With Tommy Macken, they got on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1961 when they filled in for a guest who failed to show up. From there, it was records with Columbia and hundreds of live performances and created a massive "Irish folk music revolution" in the US.