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No 22

English Folk Song Bibliography now online:

Readers might like to know that David Atkinson's English Folk Song Bibliography, published by the EFDSS in 1999, is now freely available on the EFDSS website:   Hard copies of the bibliography are still available at £4.50p per plus 50p p&p.

Grace Toland at King & Queen

Grace Toland, a fine young singer from the Inishowen peninsula in north Donegal who specialises in continuing the rich repertoire of her local area, makes her first appearance in London at The Musical Traditions Club at The King & Queen, Foley Street ,W1 on Friday 29th June (contact Peta Webb, 0208-340-0530,

Grace is also appearing at The Tiger, Nottingham on Sun 1st July (0115 9736 718) and Herga Club, The Royal Oak, Peel Road, Wealdstone on Mon 2nd July (01923 672590).

Grace Toland was born and reared in Inishowen, Co Donegal and now lives in Kilpedder, Co Wicklow.  Her first introduction to singing was in her father Colm's pub in Clonmany, where many local people would gather to sing.  Despite leaving the area, Grace maintains strong connections with local singers and has benefited from the many recordings of older singers made by, amongst others, Jimmy Mc Bride.

Two dates of interest:

The second Traditional Singing Weekend at Cullerlie, Aberdeenshire, 6-8 July 2001, which is going ahead despite Foot and Mouth, and The North Atlantic Fiddle Convention 'Crossing Boundaries', 25-29 July 2001.  This features great fiddlers from Norway, Ireland, Sweden, Cape Breton, Shetland, NE Scotland, and elsewhere.  There are concerts, ceilidhs, workshops, busking events, and a parallel conference.

Details from the Elphinstone Institute's Website at:

Carolan: The Life, Times & Music of an Irish Harper

Donal O'Sullivan's definitive standard reference work on the 18th-century Irish harper Turlough O'Carolan is now available again, after long being out of print.  It has been reissued (both volumes under one cover) with an added appendix by Bonnie Shaljean, including newly discovered material, some of which has never been published.  As well as covering the bard's life and giving a historical perspective of the times, the book contains all his compositions plus some newly-found ones, and extensive notes on his patrons.

Available in hardback or paperback from: Ossian Publications, PO Box 84, Cork City, Ireland.  E-mail

The Lancashire Pace-Egg Play - subscription request:

FLS Books, the imprint of The Folklore Society, has accepted The Lancashire Pace-Egg Play, by Eddie Cass for publication.  this book combines a full historical and folkloric account with detailed information on contemporary performance and the revival tradition.  The cultural context of Easter in Lancashire, the impact of school based performance in perpetuating the tradition, and the venerable Rochdale Play are among the topics discussed.  His examination of the importance and influence of chapbooks in the dissemination of the tradition sheds new light on the subject.  In addition, he includes a gazetteer of locations of Pace Egg plays and some sample texts.

Pace-egg plays are known in Lancashire, parts of Cheshire, West Yorkshire, and what is now Cumbria.  The play is currently performed in parts of these counties but with little recognition from bystanders of what it is.  The Lancashire Pace-Egg Play will be the most important work in its field to have been published in the last 20 years.  The spread of information about the play would give the performers more encouragement to continue investing their time.  Furthermore, there is a resurgence of interest in folk-drama, especially in the USA.  All these are good reasons for making Dr Cass’ research available not only to the world of scholarship but to the general public as soon as possible.

We estimate production costs for a perfect-bound, good quality paperback with full colour jacket to be £5000.  As this is a substantial sum, we are looking for financial assistance in the form of subscriptions.  In return, subscribers will be listed in the List of Subscribers, and, in the case of performing groups, have their contact details listed in the back of the book along with our own.  Upon publication, subscribers would also receive one free copy and groups would be entitled to a (small) discount for group purchases.  The government's gift aid scheme means that for every pound contributed, as a registered charity, we may claim an additional 28%!

Anyone interested in subscribing should please contact:
Elaine Bradtke, FLS Books Subscription Co-ordinator, The Folklore Society, University of London, Warburg Institute, Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AB.  E-mail

P J Hayes dies:

I'm sorry to have to announce the death of one of Ireland's greatest fiddlers, P J Hayes.  A founding member of the Tulla Céilí Band, he died peacefully at his home in County Clare on Sunday, May 6, at the age of 80.

Sam Sherry dies:

Sam Sherry - singer, former music hall entertainer (the Famous Five Sherry Brothers) and clogger extraordinaire - died this afternoon.  Sam had undergone an operation for cancer and had been very unwell for a fortnight, and unconscious since Saturday.

The funeral will be at Lancaster Crematorium on Thursday at 11:30 - no flowers, donations to EFDSS.

An appreciation, by Derek Schofield, is now available on this site.


Roots Knotty Roots - Discography of Jamaican Music

Described as being 'The Most Comprehensive Discography of Jamaican Records Ever Published' and covering Calypso, Mento, Blues, Gospel, Pop, Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae, Volume One: The Singles - 78 & 45rpm, compiled and edited by Michael Turner & Robert Schoenfeld, is now available.

Sorted alphabetically by Artist - from the Abyssinians to Tapper Zukie.  Covering the years from the mid 1950s through the mid to late 1980s.  Includes data on the earliest releases on 78rpm from the pre-Ska era.  400 pages and over 29,000 records indexed (385 pages of data) plus Introduction / Timeline of Critical Events / Gallery of 78 Label Art.  Data included: Artist & Title, Jamaican Record Label & Matrix Number plus UK Label and Number, Producer and Release Date.  Covers all periods, all styles and all artists on both 7" and 12" releases.  Clearly printed in a spreadsheet format and securely bound for easy reference.  ISBN 0-9709663-0-X

The book can be obtained by post from: Nighthawk Records, PO Box 1432, Maryland Heights, MO. 63043, priced $56 Post Paid in USA, $59 Canada, $68 Europe, $70 Japan & Australia.

Tom McCarthy Concert:

On Friday May 25th, a concert to celebrate the music of Tom McCarthy (1929-2000), master piper, concertina and whistle player, will take place at The Armada Hotel, Spanish Point, Miltown Malbay at 8-30pm.

Originally from Kilmihill, Co Clare, Tom was a much loved and respected musician who returned to Ireland to live in Miltown Malbay after spending forty years in London.  He played all over Ireland, the U.K., Europe, Australia and the U.S. as well as accompanying films, theatre and ballet.  A fine, knowledgeable musician, he was always most generous with his time and expertise and is very much missed on the Irish Music scene.

Among the artists performing at the concert, are: The McCarthy family (Bernadette, Marion, Jacqueline, Tommy), Alec Finn, Michael Tubridy, Meatí Jó Sheamuis Ó Fátharta, Máire Áine Ní Iarnáin, Pádraig Mac Mathúna, Brid Donoghue, Annie Ruth Benagh, Angela & Ita Crehan, P.J.Crotty, Jackie Daly, John Carty, Conor Keane, Eamon Cotter, Tim Dennehy, Sean Talty, Peadar O'Loughlin, Gerald Haugh, Tom Carey, Tommy McMahon, Henry Benagh, Tommy Keane, Michael Hynes, Noel O'Grady, The Cooraclare Set Dancers.  It will be introduced by Ciáran Mac Mathúna.

Tickets, priced £7, can be obtained from Hurleys of Miltown Malbay, Gleesons of Coore, Custy's and The Knotted Chord, Ennis and at the door.

All proceeds will go to the Clare 250 Cancer Centre.

John Brun (Brune) dies:

John Brun died a few days ago in south London.  I don't know enough about him to write an obituary, but I don't think his death should go un-noted in MT.  He came to England as a teenage refugee from Austria just before the war, and discovered English traditional song for himself when he was was working on the land.  He later became acqainted with Minty, Levy and Jasper Smith and recorded an interview with Jasper.  He was on close personal terms with Davy Stewart and his family when they were living in south London, and it was he who introduced the Stewarts of Blairgowrie to Ewan MacColl.

He had recently published a volume of his memoirs for private circulation, containing accounts of his political work on behalf of the Traveller community, with various song texts and references to people like Joe Heaney.  He deserves an obituary by someone more qualified than me.

Reg Hall - 18.4.01

ECMW 2001 - Good news!

Despite what everyone assumed, despite what the organisers thought, it seems that unless there's a serious increase of Foot and Mouth in the Stowmarket area, the 2001 ECMW will go ahead at the Museum of East Anglian Life, Stowmarket, Suffolk on 22nd - 24th June.

There are animals on the site, but they've been moved to a remote location and the museum opened to the public last weekend.  We're all keeping our fingers tightly crossed - and any further news will be posted here as soon as it comes in.

The Irish Music Manuscripts of Edward Bunting

Taisce Cheol Dúchais Éireann / Irish Traditional Music Archive has just published the Edward Bunting Manuscripts - obviously a major event and one which I feel we ought to mention in the news section.

The Irish Music Manuscripts of Edward Bunting (1773-1843) : An Introduction and Catalogue, edited by Colette Moloney, is a guide to some 1,000 traditional instrumental melodies (including many harp tunes) and 500 song texts (mainly in Irish) from 18th- and 19th-century Ulster and Connacht preserved in the music manuscripts of the musician and collector Edward Bunting.  It includes an extensive introduction, a catalogue listing titles, music incipits, first lines of verse, names of persons and places, annotations etc., and numerous indexes, on 735 A4 pages.  This catalogue is the first to give direction to Irish traditional music in manuscript and the first of its kind in Irish studies.

Edward Bunting of Armagh was a professional musician in Belfast who was engaged in 1792 to note down the music of the last of the oral-tradition Irish harpers.  Entranced by this music of medieval origins, he made the collection, arrangement and publication of traditional music his lifework, and published three volumes of airs in 1796, 1809 and 1840 which have made his name famous.

However, in his published arrangements Bunting altered the original melodies to suit the tastes of his public.  He published only about a quarter of the music and music information he collected or was given, and seemingly for political reasons he published none of the traditional song texts, most of them in Irish.  The manuscripts were lost sight of after Bunting's death, but were accidentally rediscovered in 1907 through a chance encounter in London.  This introduction to and catalogue of Edward Bunting's Irish music manuscripts by Dr Colette Moloney opens up for the first time the riches they contain, and sets Bunting's work in the context of his time and place.

The book (hardback only) is priced at £60, plus post and packaging, is available from the Archive at 63 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, Ireland. Tel: 00353-1-661 9699, e-mail:, web site:

National cancelled - and reinstated at C# House

Since the National Festival proper has been cancelled due to Foot and Mouth problems at Sutton Bonnington ... there is to be a mini-National held at Cecil Sharp House instead, on Saturday 7th April, featuring many of the performers such as Louis Killen, Danny Meehan & Dermot Kearney with Reg Hal, Jimmy Hutchison, Peta Webb, Ken Hall, Judy Cook, David Jones, Gina LeFaux, Doc Rowe, The Rakes, Moira Craig, Carol & Alan Prior, etc, etc ... Martin Nail has a page at http// where you may be able to find more up-to-date information than I have here.

The admission price will be £12, with a reduced entrance price of £10 for those showing 'evidence of having booked for the National' and for EFDSS members.  All proceeds (after expenses) towards defraying costs involved in organising and publicising the cancelled Festival.

No Parking at Cecil Sharp House
Nearest tube Camden Town - 5 mins walk up Park Way, & turn right into Regents Park Road

The day is being organised by Ken Lees and further infomation can be had from him at: or 020 8527 8419.

Letting Ken know you're intending to come will make his planning of events / venues far easier.

Royal Oak Club dates:

Royal Oak, Station Street, Lewes, East Sussex - Thursdays Further info at:

Traditional Music of England - unlocking our musical heritage

The NSA's new project on English traditional music and song, flagged here some while ago, now has funding and is due to commence shortly.  In pusuance of this, they are advertising for two new staff members to help with the work.  Full details can be found in their advertisement elsewhere on this site.


Rod Stradling - e-mail:    Tel: 01453 759475
snail-mail: 1 Castle Street, Stroud, Glos GL5 2HP, UK

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