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Wednesday July 8, 2009

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Music from Northern Europe - in four exhilarating parts - at The Rogue!

Interspersed between - and celebrating our collaborations with - those wonderful folk festivals in Courtenay, Vancouver, Harrison Hot Springs and Mission, we present four concerts from Northern Europe that will thrill you, entertain you, and help you revel in the power and sheer cathartic joy of real, live music - with strong roots in tradition and community.

Nordik Tree (Finland / Sweden), Thursday July 9th, 8pm at St. James Hall, 3214 W.10th Ave

In the early eighties, a group of young fiddlers from the tiny Finnish village of Järvelä began making some noise in local folk music circles. Järvelän Pikkupelimannit ("Little Folk Musicians of Järvelä") - aka JPP - descended from a line of folk musicians going back to the late 1800s. Performing folk tunes from those villages, they attracted attention with their arrangements (most folk tunes at that time were played straight with no embellishments), their harmonies, new compositions, influences from Swedish folk music and their youth (ages 17-25). Also significant was the fact that they started to play folk tunes from all over Finland, not just from their own locale, which was the standard practice. The first big break for the group came when they landed first prize at the Finnish Championship Competition for Folk Music Groups in Mäntsälä, Finland in 1982. At this time the band consisted of: Arto Järvelä (fiddle, octave mandolin), his Brother Jouni Järvelä - acoustic bass, brothers Jarmo and Juha Varila - fiddles, and Timo Alakotila - harmonium. Success at the Mäntsälä competition led to instant national fame with gigs all over Finland and soon they were playing in Sweden.

Hans Kennemark (fiddle, viola) first met Arto & Timo at the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival in Finland, 1984. Hans' band at the time was Forsmark III and their concerts and jams made a big impression on all concerned. Since then, sporadic meetings and jams, all fun and fruitful, inspired them to do something together as a real live band. This vision eventually took shape in the fall of 2003 when the trio had their first rehearsals in Finland. After the second meeting in January 2004, at Hans' home in Gothenburg, they were ready to make their debut concert. The first show was an instant success with audience members rushing to inquire where they could get hold of the album. Arto and Hans adapted traditional tunes from Sweden and Finland and composed new tunes for the trio. All brainstormed together under the Nordik Tree. After recording and mixing and two years of requests from eager fans, finally an album was ready.

This concert will be their Canadian debut, before they head over to Island Music Fest in Courtenay for the weekend. It's a must for anyone with Scandinavian roots, an interest in traditional fiddle music, and / or a healthy appetite for new music, innovation and virtuosity. Concert details

Dick Gaughan (Scotland), Tuesday July 14th, 8pm at St. James Hall

"DICK GAUGHAN has never been easy. The songs he delivers ask questions that some listeners may have thought never existed - so they may not, instantly at least, know the answers. When the answers duly come, delivered in a voice that throbs with a unique kind of controlled, vibrating passion, he can shake the most complacent mindset out of its skull." — Alistair Clark, The Scotsman.

Dick Gaughan is a Scot, from Leith on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. He was brought up immersed in the musical traditions and culture of the Gaels, both Scots and Irish. His mother, Frances MacDonald, was a singer in both Gaelic and English, his father, Dick, was a fiddle player, and his grandmother played button accordion and sang. He has been playing guitar since the age of 7 and made his first solo album in 1971. He has had stints with Boys of the Lough, Five Hand Reel and Clan Alba but has mostly been one of the folk world's favourite solo performers. Through it all he has remained fiercely political: troubadour of the hapless and downtrodden, full of hope, passion, and love as well as anger and scorn for the folly and cruelty of the capitalist system. He has one of the finest voices on the planet, capable of capturing the heart with the most tender of traditional ballads in one moment and stirring the fire of the spirit with his uncompromising commentary on social injustice in the next. He is an unforgettable artist, able to change the way that you think and feel through the power of music., concert details

Bellowhead (England), Monday July 20th, 8pm at St. James Hall

"With the exception of the Who, Bellowhead are surely the best live act in the country." — The Independent

The rousing, sharp-suited Bellowhead were first unleashed onto an unsuspecting audience at the Oxford festival in April 2004, brought together by the award-winning duo Spiers and Boden. Their plan was to gather a talented collective of disparate musicians into a group capable of playing many styles, idioms and textures from around the world - big band to soul; jazz-funk to classical strings - yet retaining, at it's heart, an exquisite sensitivity to the essence of English traditional music. The band was an instant, riotous success and within a few months had already been voted Best Live Group in the 2005 BBC Folk Awards (they've since won twice again in 2007 and 2008). The response to 'E.P.onymous', their 5-track demo initially produced only to send to promoters was so great that public demand forced them to release it and it promptly received a 5 star review in MOJO.

2006 saw the release of their extraordinary, groundbreaking album, 'Burlesque', to universal critical acclaim, garnering awards and plaudits everywhere. 'Burlesque' was widely heralded as one of the most important folk recordings ever made and "its flowing stream of humour, intelligence, meticulous research, and free-ranging imagination" had fans and reviewers searching for ever-greater superlatives. At the end of 2006, Bellowhead further impressed when performing on BBC TV's 'Later with Jools Holland' wowing the audience and winning a host of new fans, including The Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

The band started 2007 in characteristic style winning 'Best Group' and 'Best Live Band' again at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. After livening up proceedings with their show-stealing performances at the re-opening of London's Royal Festival Hall, the band spent the year honing the ever-increasing theatricality of their euphoric live shows touring the UK and at a series of major festival spots throughout Europe including The Big Chill, Glastonbury, Larmer Tree, Roskilde & Womad.

Voted 'Best Live Band' for an incredible 3rd time at the 2008 BBC Folk Awards, the year had already begun well for Bellowhead when they were further honoured by being asked to follow in the footsteps of Saint Etienne, becoming Band in Residence at London's Southbank Centre. 2008 also saw the release of 'Matachin', the eagerly-awaited new studio album on the Navigator Label.

This promises to be one of the most incredible nights of music in the illustrious history not only of the Rogue Folk Club but of Vancouver itself. Not to be missed!!, concert details

Stimmhorn (Switzerland), Tuesday July 21st, 7:30pm at St. James Hall

Christian Zehnder and Balthasar Streiff from the city of Basle, Switzerland, combine a theatrical sensibility and a musically adventurous spirit that takes Swiss musical traditions on a wild and unpredictable ride. Their instrumentation, in addition to their yodeling vocalizations, include alpenhorn, double alpenhorn, whip, accordion, bandoneon, goat horn and a range of other eclectic and rare sounds. Stimmhorn is an acoustic voyage full of sonic wonder and technical brilliance.

The duo has been described as "the best thing that has climbed across the Alps and ont o our stages: ... intelligent and ironic, as richly effectual as an opera, as sad as Piazzolla's tango, and as full of secrets as a Swiss cheese..."

The Guardian writes, "Utterly sincere, technically brilliant and completely bonkers... You really have to experience them live! If what they do is closer to art than music, then think of them as site-specific living sculpture...."

The Mission Folk Music Festival is proud to present this amazing duo at 22nd Annual Mission Folk Music Festival, July 24-26 Fraser River Heritage Park event in Mission, BC. They with the Consulate of Switzerland want to share and celebrate some of this special occasion with you. Come and join us for an evening of music unlike any you have ever known. Afterwards, share a glass of wine, some cheese, and mingle with the artists and guests as we welcome one of Switzerland's greatest musical secrets to Vancouver.

To add even more exotic spice to the occasion, they will perform "unplugged", using the natural resonance of the vaulted ceiling of St. James Hall as a sort of scaled-down Alpine mountain sound cave!

We have a limited number of tickets available. They are only $10 each ($5 members). Book now!!

Come and join us on the cheapest - and most musically compelling - transatlantic journey you've ever had!

Tickets for all these shows are on sale online or by calling the Rogue Hotline on 604-736-3022.

Radio Waves

Don't forget to tune in to The Edge On Folk on Saturday from 8m to noon on CiTR fm 101.9 with yours truly presenting music by these and a wide range of other Roots music performers from across Canada and around the world. Rumour has it that I might also be hosting Queer Fm on Sunday from 6pm to 8pm on CiTR, featuring folk music by lesbian and gay artists. You might say "there's nowt so queer as folk!" Tune in and find out ....

Radio Rogue continues to broadcast a stream of little-heard music on the internet. Visit our website and follow the instructions to tune in and hear music by loads of Rogues and plenty more besides.


As you can imagine, we have plenty of opportunities for volunteers to help us present these shows (and also to staff our booth at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, July 17 - 19.) In addition I'm working on the Summer edition of the Rogue Folk Review and we hope to have it ready in time for the festival, so there will be a mailing party later next week. Probably on the 16th! To volunteer for a concert or two - or the festival booth, please contact Brian Jones To help out at the mailing party, contact Wilma Devito on wilma-d(at)

Mission Folk Festival Tickets

Finally. don't forget the deadline for Early Bird tickets to the Mission Folk Music Festival is Friday July 17th, so get your orders in by calling 604-732-1305 or 604-736-3022. Tickets will be held for you at the festival gate.

Have a great weekend, everyone! May all your days and nights be full of magic and music.