Monday, 9 August 2010

Songs From The Howling Sea

Some songwriters like a challenge. I've mentioned here before about how Jon Boden is releasing a folk song every day for 12 months. Here's a similar - but different - project.

Musician Ruairidh Anderson has set himself the challenge to release a song every week for 52 weeks. The twist is that all the songs are based on characters and events from London’s Old East End and all songs will be preceeded by a video created by Ruairidh,  providing some background on just what he's going on about.

The project is evocatively, if mysteriously, called Songs From The Howling Sea. Here's how it works: watch a video and be told a tale, then listen to the song about that tale. It's brilliantly done, and an interesting twist on our own feature The Story Behind The Song ... a sort of Story And The Song. Watch out, Babba. Ruairidh's after your job!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Beryl Marriott RIP

Musician, singer and mentor to scores of folk musicians, Beryl Marriott has died after a long illness. 

Beryl was, with her husband Roger, at the heart of the original 1950s "folk revival".

She was leader and founder of the Ceilidh Band (aka Beryl Marriott's Ceilidh Band), whose members included Kate Graham and Dave Swarbrick, who was originally a guitarist in the group, having joined after Beryl heard him in a skiffle group. It was Beryl who encouraged him to take up the fiddle again, an instrument he had played as a child but which had long been consigned to the attic.

It was from this band, and Beryl's work with the English Folk Dance & Song Society, that the first successful post-War folk festivals in England were held. And out of those mid-50s events grew the work and careers of Swarbrick, Ian Campbell, Martin Carthy and other musicians whose influence helped create the folk music scene as we know it in the UK today. 

Beryl was a major influence on the folk-rock movement and was associated with Fairport Convention and on the solo recordings of various members, including Simon Nicol and Chris Leslie, and of course Dave Swarbrick. As one of the finest exponents of folk keyboards, she played piano, piano accordion and clavicord.

In 2001, she recorded Hands Across the Pond as part of a duo with American bluegrass fiddle player Richard Greene, after being introduced by Hilary James and Simon Mayor

Beryl was also part of Dave Swarbrick's early 21st century band, Orchard

Dave Swarbrick has posted the following message on his website:

It's with great sadness that I pass on the news that Beryl died on the night of Friday 30th July. She had been unwell for some time, but she died peacefully at home. If you wish to send messages of condolence please write to:
Roger Marriott
Katie Marriott
Bill Marriott
Gate Lodge,
Nr. Burcott