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September 3, 2010

Australian teacher drops \’gay\’ from kookaburra folk song

Australian teacher drops ‘gay’ from kookaburra folk song

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Friday, September 3, 2010

A school in Melbourne, Australia has experienced a backlash from the public for changing the last line of Marion Sinclair’s iconic Australian folk song Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree from “Laugh, kookaburra, laugh, kookaburra, gay your life must be” to “fun your life must be”.

Gary Martin, principal of Le Page Primary School in Melbourne, claims that he changed the lyrics as he thought that “the kids will roll around the floor in fits of laughter” upon hearing the original lyrics. Martin wanted to reduce classroom disruption by omitting the word “gay”, here used to mean “happy”, as it was also commonly used as a playground insult. “For example, if a boy is not particularly good at sport, they will refer to that child as gay,” he continued.

Martin told the Nine Network, “I wasn’t trying to incite or insult gay people, [..] it was just a decision at the time that I thought would minimise a disruptive atmosphere with grades one and two”.



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October 30, 2009

Canadian folk singer attacked and killed by coyotes in Nova Scotia

Canadian folk singer attacked and killed by coyotes in Nova Scotia

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Friday, October 30, 2009

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Taylor Mitchell, a Canadian folk singer, was attacked by two coyotes while hiking alone in Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia on Wednesday, officials said.

Another hiker nearby heard screams and contacted park rangers, where they found two coyotes attacking Mitchell. Rangers shot and injured one of the animals as it tried to flee.

Mitchell, aged 19, was airlifted to a Halifax hospital in critical condition. That evening, police found what they suspected to be the other coyote, and shot and killed it.

Mitchell died the following morning from bite wounds covering her entire body. The animals were described as “extremely aggressive” by park authorities. The dead coyote was tested to determine what caused the two to attack, as coyote attacks are very rare.



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July 1, 2009

Russian singer Lyudmila Zykina dies at age 80

Russian singer Lyudmila Zykina dies at age 80

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

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Lyudmila Zykina, Soviet and Russian national singer, died today, just one month after her 80th birthday. She was highly popular in Russia and named no less than “Queen of Russian folk”.

In 1947 Zykina joined the famous Pyatnitsky Choir. Her popularity increased when she started a solo career—the song Flows the river Volga remains an immense hit up to the present time.

As Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said, “Lyudmila Zykina was a personification of Russia.”

The funeral will take place on July 4 at Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.



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February 20, 2009

Sheffield pub is CAMRA\’s Pub of the Year

Sheffield pub is CAMRA’s Pub of the Year

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Friday, February 20, 2009

The Kelham Island Tavern, seen in 2005

A Yorkshire pub affected by flooding in 2007 has been named CAMRA’s National Pub of the Year for 2008.

The Kelham Island Tavern in Sheffield’s Kelham Island Quarter was in a “semi derelict” state when it was purchased in 2001. After it was re-opened in 2002 by licensee Trevor Wraith and manager Lewis Gonda, business quickly picked up and the pub has been awarded Sheffield CAMRA’s local Pub of the Year award for the past four years. The pub won the award despite six weeks of closure a year and a half ago when the pub’s cellar and floor were affected by the flooding of the River Don and the nearby Kelham goit. The pub also received Yorkshire CAMRA’s Pub of the Year award in 2004 and 2007.

Trevor Wraith, licensee They just wanted to keep on drinking, but we did have to get them out eventually and some of them did get wet. Trevor Wraith, licensee

CAMRA’s Pub of the Year award is judged in several stages, with local CAMRA branches evaluating the pubs in their area and passing on recommendations for regional championships. The list of regional champions is then whittled down to four finalists, with CAMRA judges visiting each of these anonymously before making a final decision.

The pub regularly serves ten and often up to thirteen Real Ales, and variety and quality of beers served are of particular interest to CAMRA, which was founded in 1971 in order to preserve and promote traditional British beer and pubs, which the group see as threatened.

However, other considerations beyond range and variety of beers are also important. Julian Hough, CAMRA’s Pubs Director, made particular note of the Tavern’s “attention to detail”. Mr Wraith also pointed out the pub’s “sub-tropical” beer garden, which he calls his “pride and joy”; the pub was awarded Silver Gilts in the Yorkshire In Bloom competition every year since 2003 and has received the Gold Award in the local Sheffield In Bloom competition every year since 2005. The pub also regularly hosts evenings of folk music.

Mr Gonda credited the pub’s success to the “excellent brewers we deal with, our faithful and supportive pub regulars, and our invaluable staff members.” It was this community support which helped the pub recover so quickly after the 2007 flooding, with Mr Wraith describing the day the waters entered the pub. “The funny thing was that it was difficult to get the customers to evacuate. They just wanted to keep on drinking, but we did have to get them out eventually and some of them did get wet.” Flood defences were erected after the customers left, but to no avail; Mr Wraith stayed in the pub overnight, despite the flooding and the lack of electricity.

The pub will be presented with the award in a ceremony later today at 1pm GMT.



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June 18, 2008

Wikinews interviews Finnish \’Rock \’N\’ Troll\’ band Kivimetsän Druidi

Wikinews interviews Finnish ‘Rock ‘N’ Troll’ band Kivimetsän Druidi

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Kivimetsän Druidi‏ from a 2008 promo photoshoot

Kivimetsän Druidi‏ is a Finnish female-fronted band formed in 2002 whose music is a fusion of symphonic, fantasy and folk metal, which the band’s website dubs ‘Rock ‘N’ Troll’.

Brothers Joni and Antti Koskinen formed the band in Kouvola with Joni playing guitar and growling while Antti played keyboard and sings backing vocals. They joined up with a female lead vocalist, lead and bass guitarists and a drummer. The brothers write the songs between them, with Antti doing the main body and Joni writing the lyrics.

Together the band recorded and released three demos and an EP, all released independently, across 2002-6. Across October and November 2007 they gained international attention by supporting well-known Finnish folk metal band Korpiklaani across a large European tour.

On June 6 this year Kivimetsän Druidi‏ was announced to have been signed to Century Media Records in a global deal. The band have now entered Noice Camp studio in Turku to record their debut, with a planned release date in October. This summer the only performances will be at a handful of festivals while the band works on their new album, but after that is released a major tour will follow to support it. The band say they are “extremely pleased” with the deal.

Wikinews was able to discuss these events and what the future holds for the band with the Koskinen brothers and female vocalist Leeni-Maria Hovila, who also writes the vocal melodies in an exclusive interview, which is published below for the first time.

Interview

Antti and Joni Koskinen

  • What drove you to form up the band?
  • Joni: We had been playing music something like one year before we came up with the idea to start doing fantasy metal. Moonsorrow’s second album “Voimasta ja Kunniasta” (“Of Strength and Honour”) was the one we were heavily listening that time and we wanted to play something similar to them. At first it was just a two-man-project of ours, but soon we got opportunity to take part in to local band contest and we decided to form a real band.
  • Antti: We were jamming with my brother Joni in our parents garage and played some folkish stuff after getting inspired on Moonsorrows album “Voimasta ja Kunniasta“. Then we accidentally composed main idea of our first song “Viimeinen Peikkokuningas” (The Last Trollking).
We made more songs and after a few months there came an opportunity take part of local garagebandcontest. We wanted to join in, but didn’t have enough memebers, so we called to some of our friends and that’s when it all started.
  • The name, Kivimetsän Druidi, how did you decide upon that?
  • Joni: Heh, you could say that it’s quite unusual name for a metal band. Back then when we made our first song and downloaded it to the Finnish mp3-site we needed a name for our project. I was in sort of a hurry and Antti asked me what he should put there. I was writing a fantasy novel at that time and this, even a bit silly name just popped out in my head. We decided to change it afterwards, but… eh… here we are. ☺ In English “Kivimetsän Druidi” would mean “Druid of the Stoneforest.”
  • Antti: After composing and recording the first song we decided to upload it to mikseri.net (Finnish site where people can upload their own songs) and we, of course, needed name for the project. Joni just shouted “Kivimetsän Druidi” (The Druid of The Stoneforest) as a joke. I laughed and added it. We were supposed to change it later, but here we are.
  • What sort of things do you sing about?
  • Joni: The lyrics of our first songs are stories from the imaginary fantasy world I created for the novel back then, but as our music has “evolved” so has our lyrics. The most recent songs are about battles, honour and one’s final faith. I’ve still tried to keep the fantasy aspect in those lyrics, though.
  • With music sung mainly in Finnish, do you worry that some international fans may be put off?
  • Joni: I think it doesn’t really matter at all that we sing mainly in Finnish. Nowadays there’s more and more bands that choose to sing with their native language instead of English and it seems that many of those bands are getting more and more popular. Finnish is quite mystical and fascinating language, so I guess some foreign people like it even more that we sing in Finnish. We are proud that we are granted this opportunity to make our language more known outside Finland.
  • Antti: No, not at all. We have noticed that international fans, especially in Central Europe really enjoy Finnish language. They have said that it sounds really atmospheric and reminds them of Tolkiens elf-language. So it’s not any problem at all, I think!

  • Will there be more music with lyrics in English or another language in light of your new worldwide deal, or are you sticking to your native language?
  • Joni: I think we’ll keep Finnish as our main language, but there will be more songs in English in the future. I’d say maybe seven out of ten songs will have lyrics in Finnish and the rest would be in English then. It really depends pretty much of my mood. If I feel like writing in English I write in English and vice versa. Sometimes there’s periods when the poetrical river for Finnish is all dry and I’m forced to write the lyrics in English, hah hah. I think that was the main reason I wrote the first English lyrics. ☺
  • Antti: In the future we will make songs both in English and Finnish.
  • Folk metal has exploded in popularity over the last decade, with Turisas, Finntroll and Korpiklaani among others rising to prominence. What do you have to offer that other bands don’t?
  • Joni: The most visible difference compared to these bands you mentioned is that we have a female singer. Then what makes us different compared to all these female fronted metal bands which are quite many as well these days? Well, we are heavy and will be even more heavier in the future. We are not in to this pop-metal thing and we like to keep our music as heavy as possible. Back in to your original question, we play fantasy metal, in which we combine different styles of metal into a mix that’s never heard before. Sure, some of our songs may sound like something that’s made already, but you can find such songs from every band. We combine black and thrash metal with folk and Celtic melodies and spice it all up with epic and symphonic atmosphere. Then we add beautiful female vocals, destructive growls and mystical Finnish language. There you have a genre called Kivimetsän Druidi.
  • Antti: Well these bands have each quite straight own style and line what they do, but we like to include many different things in our music, but still keep the folk thing in it. For example mixing blackmetal riffs, blastbeat and banjo is not a problem for us.. 🙂 That’s why we call our music fantasymetal. We also have a classically trained female singer in the band.
  • Speaking of Korpiklaani, you did a major tour with them recently. What was that like as an experience?
  • Joni: It was an amazing experience and we can’t thank Klaani guys enough for granting that opportunity for us. It was indispensable possibility to see what’s it like out there on the “big fields.” I can honestly say that it made us grow up as a band and we saw that people really like what we are doing. There was not one gig where people didn’t welcome us warmly.
  • Antti: It was totally awesome. It was really a dream come true! 100% best moments of my life! We all got really much experience and progressed as musicians.
  • Will there be international re-releases of your previous independent stuff? Would you like to see that?
  • Joni: Haven’t thought about that really yet, but now that I think of it I’m not so sure if that’s a good idea. Sure, some fans would love to get their hands on our earlier stuff, but… I think I’d like those recordings to remain as our past and there’s no need to re-release them.
  • Antti: In my opinion they will stay as they are. Demos and eps! The future collectors’ treasures!
  • Will the new album be all new material, or will there be some of your previous stuff there as well?
  • Joni: As you might have noticed we went into studio in the beginning of June. That is the main reason why there will be quite many of our previous songs on the album, but also some new material. Personally I prefer it that way because writing seven new songs in one month wouldn’t give out the picture what we really are at the moment.
  • Antti: There will be new material, of course and also some old songs!
  • What can we expect from the new album?
  • Joni: As mentioned before you can expect some new stuff and some old stuff. All of them are – of course – rerecorded and sang by our new vocalist, Leeni-Maria. Some songs are a bit modified too, but if you’re an old fan you can expect the album sound the Kivimetsän Druidi you know. For new fans and listeners then: Well, I think I described our music earlier already, but mention something here, there will be crushing riffs, beautiful and melodic paths, something darker than night and of course lots of fun.
  • Antti: Three words: Symphonic, brutal and folkish.
  • A common complaint is about illegal downloading “killing” the industry. What’s your opinion on that?
  • Joni: I don’t think that way at all. Those people who download a lot, would they buy a CD if they couldn’t download it? I think they wouldn’t. It’s one way of making the band popular and known to more people. We trust that true fans, who really like the music, will buy the CD even if they’ve first downloaded it.
  • Antti: It’s two sided thing. Many people download perhaps one album from the band illegally first. Listens it trough and gets exited. Then they buy the original album and tell their friends about it and they may do the same thing. Then there are people who download all their music and never buy albums from the stores. So I wouldn’t immediately say that it kills industry because there are millions of people who want their music with original cd and booklets.
  • What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into the music industry?
  • Joni: Always remember to believe in yourself and what you’re doing. If you don’t have faith in yourself, no one will notice you. Keep going after set backs and stay true to your chosen style as long as it feels good for yourself. Use all the possible opportunities you’re given and seek out the ways to make the band known to many. Oh, and always remember to have fun. ☺
  • Antti: Just do the thing you do and believe in and do not rush with it! Patience will be rewarded. Listen to advices, but don’t be blind!
  • Who are your influences as an artist?
  • Joni: As for the many others of my age Metallica was the kick that I needed to start playing guitar. Since then I’ve adored Hetfield and I guess you could say he’s my idol. For my music writing then, I guess the music of the bands like Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Ensiferum, Moonsorrow, Turisas and Finntroll have huge affect on it.
  • Antti: Music of Moonsorrow, Ensiferum and Finntroll. That’s my top 3. But I also listen to, for example, instrumental Celtic music.
  • Is there anything else you’d like to say to any fans reading this now?
  • Joni: Visit our website and our MySpace. We hope to see you all at gigs soon and always remember to Rock ’n’ Troll!! Cheers!
  • Antti: When you’ll hear our debut album your ears will drop!! We love ya!!

Leeni-Maria Hovila

  • You recently came to the band from Exsecratus in March. What was it like, entering a new, established band?
  • Leeni-Maria: This band works quite smoothly so there were not much practical matters but I was terrified they might not accept me.
  • You’ve also sung for Swallow the Sun on the album “Hope“. What was it like working with such a major band?
  • Leeni-Maria: I was thrilled of the chance, since I already was a fan when they contacted me. Other than that, it was like any other studio session, making up harmonies as we go, cursing Aleksi’s little surprises in the keyboard tracks.
  • Why did you want to join Kivimetsän Druidi‏?
  • Leeni-Maria: I am easy to arouse. 😀 To tell you the truth, since first song ever that I heard was “Blacksmith” from the Myspace- site, I was slightly put off by the intro. My reaction might have been something along the line “oh dear, not this shit”. But I was turned around as soon as the first verse. Also the guys impressed me much as devoted and sharp players who know their stuff well.
  • Is it difficult being the only woman in a men’s band?
  • Leeni-Maria: Nope. Being in a band is quite the same heaven and hell be there other women or not – thus have I seen with Exsecratus. It is all up to whether the people involved are mature individuals or not.
Although sometimes it feels as if some guys were a little shy of me- hope he doesn’t mind me telling this, but our manager of affairs of Europe (didn’t that sound cool!) almost swallowed his tongue when he happened to walk to the backstage in Leipzig while I was changing – I don’t expect to get privacy and I don’t need it, au contraire, I do need someone with keen fingers to do the lacing (though I wish the guys could make knots that can be opened as well).
So, no, it’s not difficult for me. It seems difficult for other people.
  • Female fronted metal bands have become very popular, but it’s still a fairly new thing with folk metal. Do you think that’s set to change?
  • Leeni-Maria: I think it is inevitable that it will.
  • What would you say to convince someone unfamiliar with the band to buy your music?
  • Leeni-Maria: If you enjoy the genre, this is definitely a catch.
  • Who are your influences as an artist?
  • Leeni-Maria: My teachers of singing, acting and dancing. Singer Dawn Upshaw, also Sarah Brightman – though I may have grown out of her work a little. :-\ Considering metal music, I admire greatly Floor Jansen’s work in Invisible Circles. And since this is not just about the vocals, I must also mention the tribal and dark fusion-style dancer Ariellah – she has the greatest educational DVDs. 😀
  • Is there anything else you’d like to say to any fans reading this now?
  • Leeni-Maria: Modest on the booze and high on the sweet lovin’.
Rock’n Troll!



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November 11, 2007

Antje Duvekot on life as a folk singer, her family and her music

Antje Duvekot on life as a folk singer, her family and her music

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Antje Duvekot: “My parents were ardent atheists and they drove this rationality into me, and I’m trying to stray away from that. It’s a challenge. Any dogma that’s driven into you as a kid can be hard to overcome.”
All photos: David Shankbone

Boston-based singer-songwriter Antje Duvekot has made a name for herself in the folk music world with powerful ballads of heartbreak and longing for a deeper spirituality, but coming up empty-handed. Below is David Shankbone’s interview with the folk chanteuse.


David Shankbone: Tell me about your new album.

Antje Duvekot: It’s called Big Dream Boulevard and it’s the first studio album I made. It’s not so new; I made it in May of 2006. It’s produced by Séamus Egan, who is the leader of a fairly renowned band named Solas.

DS: You mentioned you used to explore more dark themes in your work, but that lately you are exploring lighter fare. What themes are you exploring on this album?

AD: In the future I am hoping for more light themes. I feel like I have worked through a lot of the darkness, and personally I feel like I’m ready to write a batch of lighter songs, but that’s just how I’m feeling right now. My last record, Big Dream Boulevard, was a pretty heavy record and that was not intentional. I write what is on my mind.

DS: What were you going through that made it so dark?

AD: The record is drawn from my whole writing career, so it’s old and new songs as well. I wasn’t going through anything in particular because it was spanning a wide time period. I think it’s fair to say that over all I turn to music in times of trouble and need as a therapeutic tool to get me through sadness. That’s why I tend to turn to music. So my songs tend to be a little darker, because that’s where I tend to go for solace. So themes like personal struggle with relationships and existential issues.

DS: What personal relationships do you struggle with?

AD: A lot of my songs are about dating and relationship troubles. That’s one category. But a lot of my songs are about existential questions because I struggle with what to believe in.

DS: Do you believe in a higher power?

AD: I’m sort of an atheist who wishes I could believe something.

DS: What do you believe?

AD: It’s undefined. I think I’m spiritual in music, which is my outlet, but I just can’t get on board with an organized religion. Not even Unitarianism. I do miss something like that in my life, though.

DS: Why do you miss having religion in your life?

AD: I think every human being craves a feeling that there is a higher purpose. It’s a need for me. A lot of my songs express that struggle.

DS: Does the idea that our lives on Earth may be all that there is unsettle you?

AD: Yes, sure. I think there’s more. I’m always seeking things of beauty, and my art reflects the search for that.

DS: You had said in an interview that your family wasn’t particularly supportive of your career path, but you are also saying they were atheists who weren’t curious about the things you are curious about. It sounds like you were a hothouse flower.

AD: Yes. I think what went with my parents’ atheism was a distrust of the arts as frivolous and extraneous. They were very pragmatic.

DS: They almost sound Soviet Communist.

AD: Yeah, a little bit [Laughs]. They had an austere way of living, and my wanting to pursue music as a career was the last straw.

DS: What’s your relationship with them now?

AD: I don’t actually speak to my mother and stepfather.

DS: Why?

AD: A lot of reasons, but when I was about 21 I was fairly certain I wanted to go the music path and they said, “Fine, then go!”

DS: That’s the reason you don’t speak with them?

AD: That’s the main. “Go ahead, do what you want, and have a nice life.” So the music thing cost the relationship with my parents, although I think there may have been some other things that have done it.

DS: That must be a difficult thing to contend with, that a career would be the basis for a relationship.

AD:Yes, it’s strange, but my love of music is perhaps stronger for it because of the sacrifices I have made for it early on. I had to fight.

DS: Would you say in your previous work some of your conflict of dating would have been birthed from how your relationship with your family? How do you see the arc of your work?

AD: My songs are sort of therapy for me, so you can trace my personal progress through them [Laughs]. I think there is some improvement. I wrote my first love song the other day, so I think I’m getting the hang of what relationships are all about. I’m ever grateful for music for being there for me when things weren’t going so well.

DS: Has the Iraq War affected you as an artist?

AD: Not directly, but I do have a few songs that are political. One about George Bush and the hypocrisy, but it’s very indirect; you wouldn’t know it was about George Bush.

DS: How has it affected you personally?

AD: I feel sad about it. People say my music is sad, but it’s a therapeutic thing so the war affects me.

DS: The struggle to be original in art is innate. When you are coming up with an idea for a song and then you all of a sudden stumble across it having been done somewhere else, how do you not allow that to squelch your creative impulse and drive to continue on.

“I was just thinking about the whole dream of becoming a musician. I want to maybe do a research project about people’s dreams and how they feel about them after they come true. It’s really interesting. They change a lot. When I was 17 I saw Ani Difranco on stage and I wanted to do that, and now I’m doing it. Now I think about Ani very differently.”

AD: That’s a good question. I started writing in a vacuum just for myself and I didn’t have a lot of feedback, and I thought that what I’m saying has been said so many times before. Then my songs got out there and people told me, ‘You say it so originally’ and I thought ‘Really?!’ The way I say it, to me, sounds completely trite because it’s the way I would say it and it doesn’t sound special at all. Once my record came out I got some amount of positive reviews that made me think I have something original, which in turn made me have writer’s block to keep that thing that I didn’t even know I had. So now I’m struggling with that, trying to maintain my voice. Right now I feel a little dried-out creatively.

DS: When I interviewed Augusten Burroughs he told me that when he was in advertising he completely shut himself off from the yearly ad books that would come out of the best ads that year, because he wanted to be fresh and not poisoned by other ideas; whereas a band called The Raveonettes said they don’t try to be original they just do what they like and are upfront about their influences. Where do you fall in that spectrum?

AD: Probably more towards Augusten Burroughs because when I first started writing it was more in a vacuum, but I think everyone has their own way. You can’t not be influenced by your experience in life.

DS: Who would you say are some of your biggest influences in the last year. Who have you discovered that has influenced you the most?

AD: Influence is kind of a strong word because I don’t think I’m taking after these people. I’ve been moved by this girl named Anais Mitchell. She’s a singer-songwriter from Vermont who is really unique. She’s just got signed to Righteous Babe Records. Patty Griffin just moves me deeply.

DS: You moved out of New York because you had some difficulty with the music scene here?

AD: I feel it is a little tougher to make it here than in Boston if you are truly acoustic folk lyric driven. I find that audiences in New York like a certain amount of bling and glamor to their performances. A little more edge, a little cooler. I felt for me Boston was the most conducive environment.

DS: Do you feel home up in Boston?

AD:I do, and part of that is the great folk community.

DS: Why do you think Boston has such a well-developed folk scene?

AD: It’s always historically been a folk hub. There’s a lot of awesome folk stations like WUMB and WERS. Legendary folk clubs, like Club Passim. Those have stayed in tact since the sixties.

DS: Is there anything culturally about Boston that makes it more conducive to folk?

AD: Once you have a buzz, the buzz creates more buzz. Some people hear there’s a folk scene in Boston, and then other people move there, so the scene feeds itself and becomes a successful scene. It’s on-going.

DS: Do you have a favorite curse word?

AD: [Giggles] Cunt. [Giggles]

DS: Really?! You are the first woman I have met who likes that word!

AD: Oh, really? I’ll use it in a traffic situation. Road rage. [Laughs]

DS: Do you find yourself more inspired by man-made creations, including people and ideas, or nature-made creations?

AD: I love nature, but it is limited. It is what it is, and doesn’t include the human imagination that can go so much further than nature.

DS: What are some man made things that inspire you?

AD: New York City as a whole is just an amazing city. People are so creative and it is the hub of personal creativity, just in the way people express themselves on a daily basis.

DS: Do you think you will return?

In theory I will return one day if I have money, but in theory you need money to enjoy yourself.

DS: What trait do you deplore in yourself?

AD: Like anyone, I think laziness. I’m a bit a hard on myself, but there’s always more I can do. As a touring singer-songwriter I work hard, but sometimes I forget because I get to sleep in and my job is not conventional, and sometimes I think ‘Oh, I don’t even have a job, how lazy I am!’ [Laughs] Then, of course, there are times I’m touring my ass off and I work hard as well. It comes in shifts. There are times there is so much free time I have to structure my own days, and that’s a challenge.

DS: When is the last time you achieved a goal and were disappointed by it and thought, “Is that all there is?” Something you wanted to obtain, you obtained it, and it wasn’t nearly as fulfilling as you thought it would be.

AD: I was just thinking about the whole dream of becoming a musician. I want to maybe do a research project about people’s dreams and how they feel about them after they come true. It’s really interesting. They change a lot. When I was 17 I saw Ani Difranco on stage and I wanted to do that, and now I’m doing it. Now I think about Ani very differently. I wonder how long it took her to drive here, she must be tired; I’m thinking of all the pragmatic things that go on behind the scenes. The backside of a dream you never consider when you’re dreaming it. To some extent, having my dream fulfilled hasn’t been a let-down, but it’s changed. It’s more realistic.

DS: What is a new goal?

AD: Balance. Trying to grow my career enough to make sure it doesn’t consume me. It’s hard to balance a touring career because there is no structure to your life. I’m trying to take this dream and make it work as a job.

DS: How challenging is it to obtain that in the folk world?

AD: There’s not a lot of money in the folk world. In generally right now I think people’s numbers are down and only a few people can make a living at it. It’s pretty competitive. I’m doing okay, but there’s no huge riches in it so I’m trying to think of my future and maintain a balance in it.

DS: Do you think of doing something less folk-oriented to give your career a push?

Not really, I’ve done that a little bit by trying to approach the major labels, but that was when the major labels were dying so I came in at a bad time for that. I found that when it comes to do it yourself, the folk world is the best place to make money because as soon as you go major you are paying a band.

DS: More money more problems.

AD: More money, more investing. It’s a hard question.

DS: What things did you encounter doing a studio album that you had not foreseen?

AD: Giving up control is hard when you have a producer. His vision, sometimes, is something you can’t understand and have to trust sometimes. See how it comes out. That was hard for me, because up until now I have been such a do it yourself, writing my own songs, recording them myself.

DS: What is your most treasured possession?

AD: I’d like to say my guitar, but I’m still looking for a good one. I have this little latex glove. [Laughs] It’s a long story—

DS: Please! Do tell!

AD: When I was in college I had a romantic friend named David, he was kind of my first love. We were young and found this latex glove in a parking lot. We though, “Oh, this is a nice glove, we’ll name him Duncan.”

DS: You found a latex glove in a parking lot and you decided to take it?

AD: Yeah [Laughs]. He became the symbol of our friendship. He’s disgusting at this point, he’s falling apart. But David and I are still friends and we’ll pass him back and forth to each other every three years or so when we’ve forgotten his existence. David surprised me at a show in Philly. He gave Duncan to the sound man who brought it back stage, and now I have Duncan. So he’s kind of special to me.

DS: If you could choose how you die, how would you choose?

AD: Not freezing to death, and not in an airplane, because I’m afraid of flying. Painlessly, like most people. In my sleep when I’m so old and senile I don’t know what hit me. I’d like to get real old.

DS: Would you be an older woman with long hair or short hair?

AD: I guess short hair, because long hair looks a little witchy on old people.

DS: Who are you supporting for President?

AD: I’m torn between Obama and Hillary. Someone who is going to win, so I guess Hillary.

DS: You don’t think Obama would have a chance of winning?

AD: I don’t know. If he did, I would support Barack. I don’t really care; either of those would make me happy.

DS: What trait do you value most in your friends?

AD: Kindness.

DS: What trait do you deplore in other people?

AD: Arrogance. Showiness.

DS: Where else are you going on tour?

AD: Alaska in a few days. Fairbanks, Anchorage and all over the place. I’m a little nervous because I will be driving by myself and I have this vision that if I get hit by a moose then I could freeze to death.

DS: And you have to fly up there!

AD: Yeah, and I hate flying as well—so I’m really scared! [Laughs]

DS: Is there a big folk scene in Alaska?

AD: No, but I hear people are grateful if anyone makes it up there, especially in the winter. I think they are hungry for any kind of entertainment, no matter the quality. [Laughs] Someone came to us! I actually played there in June in this town called Seldovia, that has 300 people, and all 300 people came to my gig, so the next day I was so famous! Everyone knew me, the gas station attendant, everyone. It was surreal.

DS: So you had that sense of what Ani DiFranco must feel.

AD: Yeah! I was Paul McCartney. I thought this was what it must be like to be Bruce Springsteen, like I can’t even buy a stick of gum without being recognized.

DS: Did you like that?

AD: I think it would be awful to be that famous because you have moments when you just don’t feel like engaging.

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September 22, 2007

Turisas release cover of Boney M. hit song \’Rasputin\’ as single

Turisas release cover of Boney M. hit song ‘Rasputin’ as single

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Finnish folk metal/viking metal band Turisas have released their first music video and second single, a cover version of the Boney M. 70s disco hit Rasputin.

The Turisas version of the song was released as a single, on September 21 in Germany, to be followed by France, the United Kingdom and various other territories on September 24, Spain on September 25 and finally the band’s native Finland on September 26.

At each release, it will be available as a CD, which will feature the band’s song Battle Metal, from the album of the same name as a B-side, and as a limited edition picture 7” vinyl record featuring In the Court of Jarisleif from the album The Varangian Way as a B-side.

Band frontman Mathias “Warlord” Nygård explained the concept behind the video: “This video is pretty far from what you’d expect from a Turisas video – or any metal video for that matter! The idea to the video is just as wild as the cover song itself: a battle metal band covering a 70’s disco hit. Just as the song, it is a crossover of the 70’s kitsch attached to the Boney M. track, but performed by us as we do it. Director Vesa-Matti Vainio and the whole crew did a great job on this one and to me, this is a good pick for our first video ever. I assure you, there are plenty of ideas on epic spectacles to be looked into later.”

He goes on to explain how the unusual cover came to be in the first place: “We’ve been begged to record Rasputin pretty much since we first played it live a couple of years back. It’s amazing how popular this cover version of ours have become at our gigs during the last year and it really makes us feel like we must have done something right here looking at big crowds going totally mental over a 70’s disco hit! I remember getting the idea for this cover years back – in 2001 I think. I was on a ferry trip between Finland and Sweden and there was this cover band performing 70’s disco hits. The minute they blasted ‘Rasputin’ I knew, that at some point, we would need to do it in some form or another. It was just obvious that it would work amazingly well given a slightly more modern and heavier touch-up. Personally I’ve always preferred these old 70’s disco bands”.



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September 16, 2006

Folk musician Tracy Grammer corrects record on Dave Carter

Folk musician Tracy Grammer corrects record on Dave Carter

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

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Folk musician Tracy Grammer, formerly of the duo Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer, has posted to Wikipedia to correct misrepresentations and misconceptions about her time with Dave Carter, who died of a heart attack in July of 2002. Grammer addressed the persistent rumors about whether she and Carter were involved in a romantic relationship, confirming that they entered into one in 1997, a year after they met, and had lived together from 1999 to 2002, although their relationship had been “in transition” at the time of Carter’s death as he began pursuing a gender change in 2002. Prior to her comments on Wikipedia, the only public comment on the matter had been the repeated assertion that Carter and Grammer were “partners in all things” due to their desire to “keep the focus on their music.”

Grammer also explained why she did not own the rights to Carter’s songwriting catalogue, stating that the rights passed to Carter’s ex-wife due to a will dating from before Carter and Grammer began their partnership. Grammer’s offer to purchase the catalogue was rejected, and after “considerable acrimony,” the catalogue was purchased by Carter’s sister, Elise Fischer, who made arrangements with Grammer to administer the catalogue.

An album, Seven is the Number, containing Dave Carter’s final recordings with Tracy Grammer will be released in October.

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August 24, 2005

Mixed success for Brampton Day at Ontario Place

Mixed success for Brampton Day at Ontario Place

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Punjabi Virsa Art & Culture Academy with Miss Brampton.
Children drawing with crayons on coloured cardstock, for the Snail Mail World Postcard Art Show.
Rock band Frayed in their second set.

Held Sunday, the first annual Brampton Day at Ontario Place let hundreds of Brampton residents have fun in Toronto, while experiencing some of their own community.

Entertainment on the stage included local rock band Frayed, Cuban singing by Alexis Martinez, blues and folk from Gayle Ackroyd, Carmen Spada’s smooth jazz, bhangra dancing by the Koonja and the Punjabi Virsa Art & Culture Academy, and a Brampton Theatre performance of Man of La Mancha.

Many groups and community organizations were at the event, from the Farmers’ Market to the Brampton Stallions football team. Visual Arts Brampton offered kids the chance to create artwork for their Snail Mail World Postcard Art Show, while the Brampton Arts Council gave away pink sand buckets with Region of Peel water bottles. Young visitors were noticeably enthralled by Sassy the Squirrel, the City’s mascot.

People who bought passes to the Brampton Day event through the City were encouraged to wear blue wrist bands around the park, for a chance to get spotted and win a prize. A draw was held for prizes including green fees for four at the Peel Village Golf Course, Heritage Theatre tickets, and restaurant gift certificates.

Festival Square’s proximity to Lake Ontario caused its share of trouble, particularly for the arts groups displaying in the south. Tents were blown on their sides, becoming veritable wind sails. Luckily no guests or volunteers were injured by the mishaps. One painting infused with a sculpture, at the Beaux-Arts Brampton tent, was destroyed early in the day after catching a gust of wind.

Average windspeed for the Toronto Island Airport area is 12 km/h.

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