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Folk Music News & Blog Posts

Rod Kennedyphoto by Jim Dirden

Kerrville Folk Fest Founder Rod Kennedy Dies

We received word earlier today that Rod Kennedy, music lover, impresario and founder of the Kerrville Folk Festivals, passed away this morning in Kerrville, Texas, at 84. As anyone who ever visited his Quiet Valley Ranch, amidst the dust and blazing ...

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Jeremiah Birnbaum and friends at NERFA One-Day in NJ
Photo by Brian McCloskey

A Day in New Jersey with NERFA

When musicologists first began collecting folk songs, they found themselves studying the communities and the kinship the songs had with the common people in the localities they were examining. In the early 20th century the study of folk songs took ...

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Jesse Winchester Passes

Jesse Winchester Passes

We're sad to report that songwriter, singer and guitarist Jesse Winchester died on Friday, April 11th, 2014, after a long battle with cancer. Jesse first appeared with a debut album produced by Robbie Robertson of The Band. It had a ...

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Unfinished Business

Unfinished Business

The weekend prior to Pete Seeger’s passing at the age of 94, an ironic, and in retrospect, provocative call came from Oscar Brand. This before I had any knowledge of Pete’s illness. “Hello Roger, this is Oscar. I’m calling to ...

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Honoring the Past and Carrying Traditions Forward

Honoring the Past and Carrying Traditions Forward

Back in 1971, the late Harry Chapin created a notable song called “Circle.” Originally written for his brother Tom’s TV show “Make a Wish,” the song has entered our folk canon partially due to the powerful lyrics describing a life ...

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Ron Olesko

Welcome to the New Folk Music Notebook

“We propose to devote ourselves to the creation, growth and distribution of something new, yet not so new, since its beginnings have been visible, or rather – audible, for some years now. We call it ‘Peoples Music’ “ Those words were ...

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Video of the Week

The great champion of equal rights and peace Nelson Mandela is gone ... and we offer this performance of the African national anthem “Nkosi Sikelel'i I Africa” by the great Ladysmith Black Mombazo in tribute to this incredible, giving, thoughtful and brave Man. “Nkosi Sikelel'i I Africa” was composed by Enoch Sontonga, a teacher and missionary, in 1897. The African National Congress adopted it as their anthem through their struggle against Apartheid. We published the song in Sing Out! to accompany an article on South African Freedom Singing in vol.31#4 (1985). While most of the lyric is the typical blessing for the beauty of Africa, some key changes evolved as it took it’s role as the ANC’s anthem. In the original B-part, the lyric originally went: “Yihla Moya, Yihla Moya” meaning “Descend O Spirit, Descend O Spirit” ... but the newly adopted lyric went: “Woza Moya, Woza Moya” or “Rise Up, Spirit, Rise Up!!” ... and so we say, changing the meaning and lyric just a bit again: “Woza, Madiba, Woza! ... We love you!”