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Access Folk Podcast

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posted on 2024-01-17, 10:04 authored by Joanie Bones, Oliver Cross, Esbjorn WettermarkEsbjorn Wettermark

Folk singers and musicians Joanie Bones and Oliver Cross discuss some of the themes that emerged from the Access Folk research project about participation and inclusion in folk singing in England. Drawing on findings from the research report Accessing Folk Singing in England they interview singers, musicians and educators as well as drawing on their own lived experience to discuss issues around disability, gender, ethnicity and much more.

The Access Folk Podcast is a co-production between Joanie Bones, Oliver Cross and Access Folk, a research project run by Fay Hield and based at the University of Sheffield. The podcast takes its starting point in the research report Accessing Folk Singing in England (2022) which can be freely downloaded from the project website. The podcast was produced in 2023 by Esbjorn Wettermark and Rowan Piggott.

This submission includes audio files and transcripts of the podcast series.

Episode 1 - Rachel Elliott: The English Folk Dance and Song Society and youth involvement in the folk scene. Date: 29 June 2023

In this episode Oliver interviews the education director of the English Folk Dance and Song Society about youth engagement, funding and folk singing. Joanie and Oliver discuss the contemporary funding landscape for folk music, how young people first meet folk singing and reflect on their own experiences of first getting involved with folk singing.

In the podcast Rachel talks about The English Folk Dance and Song Society’s youth programmes and their award winning Resource Bank. Joanie mentioned her visits to the Morris Folk Club. You can learn more about the work of the English Folk Dance and Song Society by following them on social media. @TheEfdss 

Music in the episode: Old Abigail's Delight / Granny's performed by the National Youth Folk Ensemble (2018, EFDSS);  and,  “Old Adam (Reprise)” from Fay Hield’s album Old Adam (2016, Soundpost Records).

Episode 2 - John Kelly: Music, disability and access as creativity Date: 6 July 2023

In this episode Oliver interviews musician and disability activist John Kelly about his music, growing up with singing in a London-Irish family, getting involved with the folk scene and access. Drawing on the interview and their own lived experience Joanie and Oliver discuss how disability and neurodiversity is experienced within the folk scene in England. 

John and Oliver both talked about the Social Model of Disability. You can learn more about John’s work and music on his website and through social media @JK_Musician. 

Music in the episode:  “Nobody Sings about My Heroes” from John Kelly’s album Better Late Than Never (2022); and,  “Old Adam (Reprise)” from Fay Hield’s album Old Adam (2016, Soundpost Records).

Episode 3 - Marie Bashiru: Race and belonging in folk music Date: 13 July 2023

In this episode Joanie interviews musician and ethnomusicologist Marie Bashiru about her music, research, and race and ethnicity in the folk scene. Drawing on the interview and their own lived experience Joanie and Oliver discuss race, ethnicity, belonging and feeling connected to a place. 

Marie and Joanie talked about Marie’s podcast British Folk Music: Where Are All The Black People?. They also mentioned the music organisation The Nest Collective. You can learn more about Marie’s work and music on her website and through social media @mariebashiru.

Music in the episode:  “Reciprocity” by Marie Bashiru (2023); and,  “Old Adam (Reprise)” from Fay Hield’s album Old Adam (2016, Soundpost Records).

Episode 4 - Mikey Kenney: Class and folk music education in Liverpool Date: 20 July 2023

In this episode Oliver interviews fiddler and singer Mikey Kenney about socio-economic barriers to getting involved in folk music, differences for a young person in Ireland and England to learn folk music, and his approach to engage young people in Lancashire Youth Folk Ensemble. Drawing on the interview Joanie and Oliver discuss class, difference, English folk “academia” and their experience of folk music in Ireland and England. 

Mikey and Oliver mention the Irish music organisation Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (pronounced “Coaltas” for short) and Mikey’s work with the Lancashire Youth Folk Ensemble. You can learn more about Mikey’s work and music on his website and through social media @Mikeykenney

Music in the episode:  The Path I Walk Upon” from Mikey Kenney’s album The Reverie Road (2018); and,  “Old Adam (Reprise)” from Fay Hield’s album Old Adam (2016, Soundpost Records).

Episode 5 - Lunatraktors: Finding a voice in Broken Folk Date: 27 July 2023

In this episode Joanie interviews Clair Le Couteur and Carli Jefferson who together make up the duo Lunatraktors. They talk about their personal journeys to reimagining folk music, thoughts about difference, gender and embracing the carnivalesque and fun in folk. Drawing on the interview Joanie and Oliver discuss how we get to a point of feeling comfortable to participate in the folk scene and how the work of Lunatrakors and others can help people to feel connected through song.  

Clair and Carli mention the folk costume exhibition Making Mischief and at the end of the episode Joanie talks about the work of Madge Bray on women's voices. You can learn more about Lunatraktors and their music on their website and through social media @lunatraktors

Music in the episode: “Now the Time” by Lunatraktors (2021); and,  “Old Adam (Reprise)” from Fay Hield’s album Old Adam (2016, Soundpost Records).

Episode 6 - Access Folk: Increasing participation and inclusion in folk singing Date: 3 August 2023

For our last episode of this series Joanie and Oliver talks to the founder of the Access Folk research project Fay Hield and her colleague Esbjorn Wettermark. They discuss their methodology, how they have defined folk singing for the purpose of the project, and how they balanced intersectionality and collective experiences and barriers. Fay reflects on where new generations of singers might come from, where they might sing and the differences of getting young people involved in singing versus instrumental music. Wrapping up the series Joanie and Oliver reflect on the ecosystem that makes up the English folk scene and where we might go from here.

Music in the episode: “Green Gravel” and “Old Adam (Reprise)” from Fay Hield’s album Old Adam (2016, Soundpost Records).

All music used with permission from the artists and copyright holders.

Funding

Defining ethnomusicological Action Research through the regeneration of English folk clubs

UK Research and Innovation

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UoS Public Engagement Development Fund

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