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The Folk and I

April 2008

Emotional charge

One of the unexpected joys of public life is invitations to all the colourful events that take place in the City of Newport. One of the brightest is the annual May Folk Festival at Tredegar House.

It’s a three-day riot of music, dance and international socialising starting on the 9th May. The dedicated organisers allow me to make a short speech of welcome. This year it comes at price. I have been forced to come clean on my own woeful musical abilities for the festival programme.


Folk music and dance is a spectator activity for me rather than a participatory one. There is a gulf between my inner ear (where my singing sounds wonderful) and the perception of others who have compared it the sound made by an elephant cow in labour. The grace and charm of dance is a joy to watch especially for those of us who are incurably graceless.



Among my folk heroes are Phil Tanner from the Gower of pre-war years, Gateshead’s Alex Glasgow, Woody Guthrie, the political punch of Dafydd Iwan, and the unforgettable 60’s sensation Joan Baez.  I enjoy the simplicity and historic emotional charge of all folk songs from the Welsh Plygain to the songs of the American Civil War. A favourite is 'Joe Hill' with its message of hope emerging from struggle.

Make a gap in your diary for the weekend of may 9th to 11th. You will have a great time. There’s CAMRA beer as an added diversion.

For tickets and further information, contact: Sue Oates.
135 Beaufort Road St Julians, Newport, Gwent NP19 7PB
Tel: 01633 246241 E-Mail:susieoates@bushell100.fsnet.co.uk