Steve's Blog
Wednesday August 12, 2009

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Hi everyone

We just got back from the Edmonton Folk Music Festival - on the train! What a trip! I'll publish some photos and a review on my website in the next couple of days. Highlights included The Steeldrivers (bluesy bluegrass combo from Nashville), Hanggai (Mongolian blueish grass!) Cara Dillon (wonderful trad. Irish singer), Bela Fleck & Toumani Diabate (banjo meets kora), Oysterband (UK folk rockers in stellar form), Hot Tuna (acoustic blues and old time from former Jefferson Airplane members), Eivor (Norse goddess), Cherryholmes (US bluegrass / Celtic family band), and many more. The best surprise of the weekend turned out to be Israel's Idan Raichel Project: fabulous dance music from all around the middle east and North Africa - with some wonderful singing dancers.

Elevator Update!

The new elevator at St. James Hall is now operational! Hooray! It's a much more powerful and reliable one, too. Brand new, and we can't wait to try it out tomorrow night (very handy when the band needs us to provide a drum kit!)

Funding Update

This just in from the Alliance for Arts & Culture in Vancouver (Rogue Folk is a founding member of this advocacy umbrella organization.) "There is a great deal of uncertainty around the Direct Access grants managed by the B.C. Gaming, Policy and Enforcement branch. As was reported by the Vancouver Sun and the Georgia Straight, the provincial government has frozen those funds and is currently undergoing a review of the program. We have just spoken with Derek Sturko, the Assistant Deputy Minister and General Manager, and he informed us that the process should be finished in the next few weeks, since the budget will be tabled in early September. He could not say what the status of the review is, or whether organizations will be receiving grants now or in the future.

"Unfortunately, this puts us in a bit of a wait-and-see situation. If people want to send a letter voicing their concern, we suggest that they address it to your MLA, Minister Coleman (Minister of Housing and Social Development), and cc it to Minister Krueger (Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts), Minister Hansen (Finance Minister), and the Premier. Staff are under strict instructions not to comment on the issue, so calling the branch won't help.

"We know how much everyone depends on these grants (we depend on them too!) and are as concerned as everyone else that they may be imperiled. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and report back to you once we know more."

Rogue Folk has been fortunate in receiving an annual grant of $10,000 from Direct Access for the past few years, and we really need the money! So please feel free to give those government chaps a bit of a nudge on our behalf!

Oysterband, Thursday August 13th, 8pm St. James Hall, 3214 West 10th Avenue

Oysterband make a modern, folk-based British music, acoustic at heart, sometimes intense, sometimes rocking. Once the bad boys of folk and rock, Oysterband have grown over the past 30 years into the role of musical custodians and godfathers of folk. Collaborative tours with rising young stars under the banner of The Big Session, and numerous awards including Best Group in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, have led to the most exciting time in Oysterband's considerable history. "No other folk-rock band has the magnetism and verve of the Oysters live," Daily Telegraph. Music for the head, the heart & the trousers. And still improving in the bottle.

They have just released a CD collection of songs from their 30 year history - remade by the current line-up in their new, more acoustic format. It's called The Oxford Girl & Other Stories, and is only available from the band at concerts or from their website. Lead singer John Jones also has a brand new solo CD to support his walking tour of England and Wales. We don't think he'll be walking to this gig, though. Oysterband are in Kelowna tonight, Vancouver tomorrow, and Salmon Arm for the weekend!

If you're not familiar with Oysterband, they are John Jones (vocals, melodeon) and Dil Davies (drums) from Wales, Ian Telfer (fiddle) from Scotland, Alan Prosser (guitar, vocals), and Chopper (cello, bass, kalimba, vocals) from England. Most of their material consists of original songs on contemporary themes - played over an intense, danceable, traditional instrumental base. If you love fiddle tunes, and thought-provoking, intelligent lyrics, well sung and dexterously played - then this concert is definitely for you. You could say that they are the quintessential "rogue folk" band, and they first performed at The Rogue in 1987. They have been back several times since then - most memorably in April 2008, when they played to a sold-out, ecstatic crowd at St. James Hall.

We promise you a fabulous concert that you'll remember for years and years.

Radio Waves

Please join me for The Edge On Folk - four hours of the best in Roots, World & Folk Music from 8am to noon on Saturdays. Tune in to CiTR fm 101.9 or point your browser to and listen to the show "live" or download the podcasts and tune in any time. This week I'll have musical highlights from the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, and some tasty new releases including the latest Martin Simpson CD, True Stories, and the latest sampler from Sing Out! magazine - The Edge On Folk is proud to be a Radio Partner of Sing Out!

See you tomorrow night ...