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Buffy Sainte-Marie – Medicine Songs

Photo by Lyle Aspinall

Since her groundbreaking debut, 1964’s It’s My Way!, Buffy Sainte-Marie has been a trailblazer and a tireless advocate. For more than a half-century, Sainte-Marie has been a disruptor of the status quo. In 1969, she made one of the world’s first electronic vocal albums; in 1982 she became the first Indigenous person to win an Oscar; When she was blacklisted and silenced from American radio airwaves she joined the cast of Sesame Street and became the first woman to breastfeed on national television. She’s written pop standards sung and recorded by the likes of Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley, Donovan, Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes in addition to writing ‘Universal Soldier’, the definitive anti-war anthem of the 20th century.

Coming off her critically acclaimed, Polaris prize winning 2015 album Power in the Blood, and after winning the 2016 spirit of Americana Award, Buffy Sainte-Marie has delivered her new album Medicine Songs – and has made it her mission to educate and inform the world using her strongest tool – her music, by – in her own words – “putting the songs to work”.

The album starts with ‘You Got To Run (Spirit of the Wind)’, the new unreleased collaboration with fellow Polaris prize winning indigenous artist Tanya Tagaq, followed by the politically charged ‘The War Racket’. There are also new recordings of some of the most powerful songs Buffy’s ever written, including ‘Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee’, ‘Starwalker’, timeless protest classics like ‘Universal Soldier’, ‘Now That the Buffalo’s Gone’, and ‘Little Wheel Spin and Spin’, as well as forgotten gems that were simply ahead of their time when first released, like the shimmery, eye-opening ‘Priests of the Golden Bull’” and the chillingly prescient ‘Disinformation’.

Medicine Songs has been a lifetime in the making and is perhaps, Sainte-Marie’s most powerful gift. In a statement, Sainte-Marie describes the album:

“This is a collection of front line songs about unity and resistance – some brand new and some classics – and I want to put them to work. These are songs I’ve been writing for over fifty years, and what troubles people today are still the same damn issues from 30-40-50 years ago: war, oppression, inequity, violence, rankism of all kinds, the pecking order, bullying, racketeering and systemic greed. Some of these songs come from the other side of that: positivity, common sense, romance, equity and enthusiasm for life.

I’ve found that a song can be more effective than a 400-page textbook. It’s immediate and replicable, portable and efficient, easy to understand – and sometimes you can dance to it. Effective songs are shared, person-to-person, by artists and friends, as opposed to news stories that are marketed by the fellas who may own the town, the media, the company store and the mine. I hope you use these songs, share them, and that they inspire change and your own voice.

It might seem strange that along with the new ones, I re-recorded and updated some of these songs from the past using current technologies and new instrumentations – giving a new life to them from today’s perspective. The thing is, some of these songs were too controversial for radio play when they first came out, so nobody ever heard them, and now is my chance to offer them to new generations of like-minded people dealing with these same concerns. It’s like the play is the same but the actors are new.

I really want this collection of songs to be like medicine, to be of some help or encouragement, to maybe do some good. Songs can motivate you and advance your own ideas, encourage and support collaborations and be part of making change globally and at home. They do that for me and I hope this album can be positive and provide ideas and remedies that rock your world and inspire new ideas of your own.”

Format CD, LP & DL
Label True North Records
Cat. No. TND681
Release Date January 26 2018

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website.

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE – MEDICINE SONGS – TRACK BY TRACK

You Got to Run (Spirit of the Wind)
Learning to overcome the odds is what makes a champion, to be your own best friend beyond the money, the greed and the prize.

The War Racket
Billionaire bullies on both sides collude in wars that suck money out of the heart of both domestic economies and into the big pockets at the top. It’s a racket and it’s obscene.

Starwalker
Portraits of indigenous healers, activists, wisdom keepers, health sustainers, intellectuals. Some of the names mentioned are real people.

My Country ‘Tis of Thy People You’re Dying
Indian 101 for people who’ve been denied the real history of how Indigenous people in North America got to be in the tragic states of affairs most suffer today: poor health, domestic insecurity and poverty. I wrote it in the 1960s before people used the word genocide or acknowledged the indigenous holocaust of the Americas, or the horror of residential schools.

America the Beautiful
I wrote two new sections to the classic song by Katherine Lee Bates and Samuel Ward.

Carry It On
This is my favorite song. It reboots me and sets me straight, whatever’s going on.

Little Wheel Spin and Spin
The little hatreds we host in our hearts add up to be the big things we hate about the world. The gear-like interaction of private and public actions, what goes around comes around.

No No Keshagesh
Keshagesh means greedy guts in Cree. It was the name of a puppy who would eat his own dinner, and then want everybody else’s too. The song is about counterbalancing environmental greed.

Soldier Blue
This song is more ma-triotic than patriotic. Think crickets, not guns. A contrast between the nation-state America and natural North America, from toe to crown.

The Priests of the Golden Bull
Uranium is a presence in Indian Country, and so are predatory energy companies. The Windego is a greed monster like the European idea of a vampire.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
The theft of uranium lands from the Pine Ridge reservation during the Nixon administration led to incidents involving Annie Mae Aquash, Joe Stuntz and Leonard Peltier.

Universal Soldier
A song I wrote in 1961 about individual responsibility for the world we’re living in. I wish it didn’t still make sense.

Power in the Blood
Contemporary issues: You can kill me but you can’t provoke me into becoming a killer. I modified A3’s original violent lyrics and turned it into a peace song, with A3’s blessing.

The following songs are available on the DIGITAL release of Medicine Songs:

Disinformation
This song takes place in the world of mercenaries & spies, James Bond types who compete for excellence in the deadly acts of a corrupt system.

Fallen Angels
When a hero hired to protect corrupt bosses decides to tell the truth with no immunity, no good deed goes unpunished: but Hallelujah anyway.

Now That the Buffalo’s Gone
This is the first song about Indigenous people most radio listeners ever heard. Although it’s about a specific incident (the breaking of a treaty and eviction of the Senecas to build Kinzua Dam for which there were other alternative sites), the song was used to spotlight many similar issues in the 1960s and 1970s.

Generation
Life goes on in spite of bank fraud, bozo politicians and bad parenting.

The Big Ones Get Away
Loving a company guy. Some men will do anything to be the hero. Corruption, cover-ups, taking the blame for crooked politicians. Your own chances to do miracles get away from you while you help the big bosses get away with murder.

Working for the Government
A little tongue in cheek powwow rocker about some of our favorite assassins like James Bond and G.I. Joe.

Artist Web links:

www.buffysainte-marie.com
www.facebook.com/BuffySainteMarie
www.twitter.com/@BuffySteMarie

ALICE DIMICELE – One With The Tide (Alice Otter Music AO114)

One With The TideBorn in New Jersey, but a long time resident of South Oregon, DiMicele has fourteen albums to her name, all released via her own independent label, and plays what she terms an Organic Acoustic Groove. Roughly translated, that takes Folk-Americana and wraps it in a heady cocktail of jazz and R&B influences, her sound prompting comparisons with the likes of Laura Nyro, Bonnie Raitt, Chi Coltrane, Valerie Carter and Nicolette Larson.

The simple acoustic cover of Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, while pleasant enough, feels rather redundant, bringing nothing particularly new to the party and at odds with the soul and gospel vibe that largely informs her own eight songs. These open with the mid-tempo seductive groove of the bluesy Hammond driven title cut, the mood carrying over into ‘Desire’ that finds her soaring across her vocal range with a hint of Billie Holiday in there too.

Featuring cello, ‘The Other Side’ is a more acoustic track, but no less steeped in soulfulness in its optimistic approach to the recovering from the end of a relationship, while, by contrast, the accordion backed ‘Lonely Alone’ sees her steering into a more Patsy Cline tinged country vein, though again the keys and brass keep the R&B influences burning.

‘Waiting’ rings the stylistic changes again with a breezy calypso feel, including steel drums and some puttering bass, a little light perhaps but pleasant enough before ‘Nature Reigns’ introduces shades of a bluesier Karen Carpenter and, backed by cello, ‘Seeds’ offers a gentle sway through a song about trying to find your way out of a garden of self-destructive weeds and planting the seeds that will nourish your spirit.

The last of the self-penned tracks, the Hammond-led environmental-themed ‘Voice of the Water’ returns to her R&B and gospel infused sound, at times reminding me of Buffy Sainte-Marie and underscoring the power of both her voice and delivery. I have to confess, this was the first time I’d encountered her and, I suspect the same will hold true for many others, but if you happen to like the late 60s/early 70s sound of those comparisons above, then you should track her down.

Mike Davies

Artist’s website: https://www.alicedimicele.com

‘Seeds’ – official video:

Knight & Spiers UK Tour March 2018

Knight & Spiers

In the summer of 2016, the organisers of FolkEast Festival had the grand idea of pairing Peter Knight (ex-Steeleye Span) and John Spiers (ex-Bellowhead) for a special ‘one off’ concert at that year’s festival.

In the event, it ended up being a genuine festival highlight, with no space to be found in the Marquee and people standing five deep in pouring rain. For a few minutes at the close of their performance, with a standing ovation and roars for more, it didn’t seem as though the audience was going to let them go….it was a genuinely spine tingling occasion. As the MC commented, it was one of those occasions when people could say “I was there”.

It came as no real surprise that the one-off special led to a more permanent arrangement, and with a studio album in the pipeline, Knight and Spiers undertake their first UK tour in March 2018.

February

26 Warwick Arts Centre
Special Double Bill with The Gigspanner Big Band (featuring Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin)
https://www.warwickartscentre.co.uk/whats-on/2018/peter-knights-gigspanner-big-band/

March

01 London: Cecil Sharp House
https://www.cecilsharphouse.org/

02 Alfriston: The Old Chapel
http://spyboy.co.uk/

03 Ashford: Revelation St Mary’s
http://revelationashford.co.uk/

04 Hitchin: Folk Club @ The Sun Hotel
http://www.hitchinfolkclub.idnet.net/

05 Colchester: Arts Centre
https://www.colchesterartscentre.com/

06 Cambridge: The Junction
https://www.junction.co.uk/

08 Worcester: Huntingdon Hall
http://www.worcesterlive.co.uk/

09 Leicester: Guildhall
http://www.greenbirdpromotions.net/

10 Halesworth: The Cut, In Conjunction With FolkEast Festival
http://newcut.org/

11 Lincoln: Performing Arts Centre
https://lpac.co.uk/

12 Sheffield: Greystones
http://www.mygreystones.co.uk/

14 Hexham: The Queen’s Hall
http://www.queenshall.co.uk/

15 Leyland/Preston: Fox Lane Sports and Social Club
http://www.mrkite.org/benefits.htm

16 Settle: Victoria Hall
http://www.settlevictoriahall.org.uk/

17 Liverpool: The Music Room, Liverpool Philharmonic
http://www.liverpoolphil.com/music-room

18 Bishop’s Castle: The Town Hall
http://bishopscastletownhall.co.uk/

19 Nettlebed Folk Club
http://www.nettlebedfolkclub.co.uk/index.html

21 Fareham: Ashcroft Arts Centre
https://hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk/ashcroft-arts-centre

22 Basingstoke: The Forge at the Anvil
http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/whats-on/knight-spiers

23 Corsham: The Pound Arts Centre
http://www.poundarts.org.uk/pound/default.aspx

24 Calstock: Arts Centre
http://calstockarts.org/

25 Topsham: Matthews Hall
http://www.topshamfolkclub.org/

27 Bridgwater: Arts Centre
http://bridgwaterartscentre.co.uk/

Live at FolkEast:

 

BENYARO – One Step Ahead Of Your Past (own label)

One Step AheadBenyaro is the musical vehicle of multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Ben Musser from the mountain resort town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He is partnered by Leif Routman on double bass and Brian Geltner on drums and percussion – ostensibly an acoustic trio but sounding much bigger. One Step Ahead Of Your Past is Musser’s third album and strongly autobiographical, describing “a period in which I became a husband and a father”.

Benyaro have been described as punk Americana but they must have some very polite punks in Jackson Hole. There is, however, a bitterness, a cynicism in the opening four tracks which run together with only a count-in to separate ‘Nice ‘N’ Easy’ from its predecessors. In particular, ‘Breadwinner’ takes a particularly jaundiced view of the role of a man in contemporary society. ‘Pimp Wife’, featuring Jacob Rodriguez’s sax, takes a similarly sour look at marriage – “Like a Time Square hooker/She tries to sell her man” – I wonder that Ben is still married!

The album powers along relentlessly and, on first listening, I was half-way through before I realised. Then comes a change. First there’s a short acoustic guitar solo, ‘Temporary Lapse Of Sense Of Humour’, followed by the rap and beatboxing of ‘Home Cookin’’ and with ‘New Moon’, Ben is taking a long hard look at himself and on ‘I Do’ the darkness is back. It is clear by the end of the record that a profound change has taken place in the writer and you realise that he’s content, if not idealistically happy.

Musically, Benyaro, often sounds like a stripped down rock band with Musser’s guitar sounding like an electric even when the notes tell you that he’s playing a nylon-string acoustic. The biggest sounds come from his piano and Geltner’s drums but the songs carry the day. One Step Ahead Of Your Past is an insightful, fascinating album.

Dai Jeffries

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website.


Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artists’ website: https://benyaro.com/

‘Pimp Wife’ – official video:

Wilde Roses – eponymous debut album and Tintagel date

Wilde Roses

Wilde Roses is a musical collaboration between singers, multi-instrumentalists, composers, dancers and performers Anna Tam and Emily Alice Ovenden.

Musically and visually inspired by the medieval and renaissance world, they draw their repertoire from illuminated manuscripts, courtly song books, Elizabethan broadside ballads and the folk tradition. Fascinated by the stories in these songs – medieval religious imagery so beautifully infused with nature; renaissance tales of piracy, jilted lovers and general folly alongside some of the most sincere and tender love songs to reach to the heart of life and human relationships – they are moved by a desire to explore and recreate the sound world of this historical repertoire and to share these exquisite songs with present day audiences.

Emily and Anna come from different musical backgrounds and met whilst they were both part of the Mediaeval Baebes, soon realising how much they inspire each other and enjoy working together.

Anna (musical director, singer, nyckelharpa, viola da gamba, hurdy gurdy player) enjoys an eclectic career both in the folk and classical genres. She trained as a classical singer and instrumentalist at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has a special interest in early music, which has enabled her to record and tour worldwide with such groups as the Mediaeval Baebes and recently give the premiere on BBC1’s Britain’s Hidden Heritage of a previously undiscovered aria by Vivaldi. During her early studies, she performed at the Wigmore Hall and on BBC Radio 3 and has been touring internationally since she was 15. Her debut classical album With Love… was released in 2014 and her first album of folk songs is planned for 2018. Anna lives on her beautiful boat just outside London taking inspiration from the woods and river.

Emily (movement director, singer, recorders) grew up in a castle in Cornwall and trained at The Arts Educational Schools where she received a scholarship from Andrew Lloyd Webber to continue her studies in

London. As a longstanding member of Mediaeval Baebes she has made several studio albums, live DVDs and recorded themes for BBC TV shows Victoria and Elizabeth with Ivor Novello winner Martin Phipps. Emily made three acclaimed albums with her symphonic Metal band PYTHIA and has recorded vocals for multi-platinum selling band Dragonforce on their last three albums. She continues to write music for her Classical Celtic Project with composer Chris Payne, Celtic Legend, her solo projects and is a published novelist. Emily owns music based pub, Chandos Arms in North London, is married to music producer Are Kolltveit, and she is the proud mum of Saxon.

Live Date

May 5, 2018 The Arthurian Faery Ball in Tintagel 2018

Returning to Tintagel, Karen Kay’s Faery Events is to host an Arthurian themed Faery Ball at Beltane (Saturday 5th May 2018) at the King Arthurs Great Halls in Tintagel, Cornwall. Musical guests include Wilde Roses, and more to be announced.

King Arthur’s Great Halls in Tintagel, Cornwall Tickets £25

Artist’s website: www.wilderoses.com

‘Man Mai Longe Lives Weene’ – official video:

NO THEE NO ESS – California (Folkwit Records)

CaliforniaNo Thee No Ess are a unique Cardiff duo comprising Andy Fung and Paul Battenbough who just so happened to have released their most recent Long Player at the tail-end of last year. California draws from a range of influences from the American West Coast; including the folk-rock/ singer songwriter approach, the Bakersfield (country) sound, NorCal indie rock and the SF psych scene; where the album most noticeably appears to set its roots.

Opener, the almost ‘surfy’ ‘Mind Flow Bender’ sets the tone for the album’s meandering psychedelic vibes, creating a certain ambiance which remains constant throughout the record. Gently it flows from one song to the next, bringing a similar feeling to the likes of the mellow and distant title track and the more experimental ‘1960 Alpha’. Before long, shades of Laurel Canyon and Bakersfield subtly grace the likes of ‘Evening Breeze’, ‘Electric Hand’ and the slow moving ‘City of Dreams’ as it repeats the mantra: “Open up your mind to the possibilities of your life”. Like much of the record, these vocals ‘sit’ above the music and don’t feel forced or too intrusive, although because of this, there are also times in which they become almost too ambient, putting the song’s narrative in danger of getting lost among the sound collage of Fung and Battenbough’s imagined California.

While the album’s ‘atmosphere’ is constant, it is occasionally strayed from; in the latter part of ‘Wear Your Love/ Sylvia Plath’, in which new twists, turns and sounds are introduced, in ‘Plainsong’ and in the curiously titled ‘Moonbathing’; a track which feels less like something born out of an intrigue of the Golden State and something more reminiscent of the sounds of fellow countrymen, the Super Furry Animals.

Christopher James Sheridan

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website.

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artists’ website: http://folkwit.com/artists/no-thee-no-ess

‘Mind Flow Bender’ – official video: