American folk / activist legends in concert

Si Kahn & Anne Feeney

Two American folk musicians, union and environmental activists, both legends in their own right, to appear at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival, Cork on Thursday, 31st July 2014.

The concert takes place at the Firkin Crane Theatre, Shandon on the historic northside of Cork city starts at 8.30pm.  Booking is €15 from tickets.ie, the Maldron Hotel and from Plugd Records @ Triskel Arts Centre.

 

 

 

Si Kahn, whose songs have inspired many

Si Kahn, singer, songwriter, writer, community organiser, union activist and environmental campaigner will play in a joint festival fundraising concert with Anne Feeney at the Firkin Crane Centre on Thursday 31st July at 8.30.

Si Kahn

Si Kahn

 

Tickets for the concert are available through www.tickets.ie or from Plugd Records at the Triskel Arts Centre, the Maldron Hotel or phone 086 1651356.

 

Si will hold a songwriting workshop at the Maldron Hotel on Monday 28th July at 8pm. All singers/songwriters or those interested in songwriting are very welcome to come along and meet Si, where he will hold a practical session.

 

We can confirm that Si will also speak about his life and his current campaign to protect Bristol Bay in Alaska on Friday afternoon 1st August at 2pm.

 

Si’s songs of family, community, love, work and freedom have been recorded and performed by hundreds of artists, including Planxty, Patrick Street, Eleanor Shanley, Dolores Keane, the Fureys, the Dublin City Ramblers, Dick Gaughan, June Tabor and the Oyster Band, Alec Campbell, Brian McNeill, Eddi Reader, Peggy Seeger, Renaud, Kathy Mattea, John McCutcheon, the original Red Clay Ramblers, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, Blue Rose, Robin and Linda Williams, Hazel Dickens, Laurie Lewis and to Rozum, the Dry Branch Fire Squad, Charles Sawtelle, and Rosalie Sorrels.

 

 

Anne Feeney for Cork Mother Jones Festival

AnneFeeney

Anne Feeney

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is proud to announce that renowned labour and union activist, folk musician and singer is also on her way to the 2014 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival. Each year Anne organises a tour of Ireland and this year for the first time she will include the festival in Cork as part of her itinery.

Anne was born in Charleroi, Pennsylvania in 1951; she was deeply influenced by the Civil Rights movement and the anti Vietnam War movement. Her grandfather, William Patrick Feeney, was a mineworkers’ organizer who played his violin at labour and union rallies, and was also a key role model.

Her first public concert was at an anti-war rally in November 1969. Anne graduated from the Pittsburgh School of Law in 1978, and worked as a trial attorney for 12 years. She served as president of the Pittsburgh Musicians Union in 1997 and 1998.

She is a member of the IWW (Mother Jones was among the founders) and the American Federation of Musicians.

Since 1991, Anne has toured North America and many other countries to participate in labour rallies.

Her solo albums:

Look to the Left (1992)

Heartland (1994)

Have you been to jail for justice? (2001)

Union Maid (2003)

If I can’t dance (2006)

Dump the Bosses off your back (2008)

Enchanted Way (2010)

The track Union Maid on the 2003 Union Maid CD which was written by Woody Guthrie and sung by Anne was recorded at the grave of Mother Jones at Mount Olive, Illinois on October 9th 1994. She has recorded songs written by Ewan McColl, Peggy Seeger, Si Kahn, Tom Paxton as well as many of her own compositions.

Many consider that her rendering of the famous union song written by Florence Reese, Which Side Are You On? to be the definitive version!

Anne was once described by Utah Philips as “the best labour Singer in North America”. while her music has been recorded by many artists including Peter, Paul & Mary.

“Few women have taken Woody Guthrie’s path……but Anne Feeney has made a career of it.” Labour History Foundation.

Her business card proclaims her hell-raising activities and lists her business as folksinger and agitator.

Anne paid a visit to the Mother Jones plaque in Cork last year.

Anne paid a visit to the Mother Jones plaque in Cork last year.

Anne was diagnosed in August 2010 with small cell lung cancer, yet Anne has continued to tour and travel. She visited Cork briefly in 2013 to see the Mother Jones plaque and will now return for the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival from 29th July till 1st August.

Anne will play a joint concert with Si Kahn at 8.30 at the Firkin Crane Centre in Shandon on Thursday evening 31st July.

She is leading a Labour History Tour to Ireland which will take in the Spirit of Mother Jones festival in Cork.

For details of how to join the tour contact Innisfree Tours or anne@annefeeney.com or visit Anne’s website on http://www.annefeeney.com.

 

Pete Seeger, legend, dies at 94

It would be remiss of us not to mention the passing of Pete Seeger, legendary singer / songwriter and activist on so many causes.  Pete passed away in hospital in his native New York on Monday morning aged 94 years.

Born in 1919 while Mother Jones was busy fighting to unionise steel workers in Pennsylvania,   one can easily see the influence she and others such as Joe Hill had on Pete Seeger.  His radical but deeply religious parents were also seminal influences on Seeger.   From an early age his life was steeped in music and activism.

The life and career of Pete Seeger has been chronicled elsewhere.  His death made worldwide news with praise heaped on him from all quarters, including those of whom he was deeply critical.

From the Almanac Singers to the Weavers and a lengthy career, Seeger went through almost every genre of music but folk was his mainstay.  He was never afraid to take on the powerful, whether it was facing up to police dogs in Alabama in the struggle for civil rights or the cynical witch-hunts of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s “Unamerican Activities Commission”.    Still active until a short time before his death, Seeger’s name and legacy will go on.

For more on Pete’s long life and career read this tribute from Rolling Stone magazine: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/pete-seeger-folk-legend-dead-at-94-20140128

Si Kahn to play at Cork Festival

Si Kahn

Si Kahn

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is delighted to announce that Si Kahn, singer, songwriter, writer, community organiser, union activist and environmental campaigner is coming to Cork for the 2014 Spirit of Mother Festival.

Si has been an active supporter of the Spirit of Mother Jones festival in Cork since it began in 2012 and will perform his sole Irish concert at this year’s event.

The concert will take place at the Firkin Crane centre on Thursday 31st July at 8.30.

Background.

Si was born in 1944 and was greatly influenced by the Civil Rights movement. He began his organising career in 1965 in Arkansas with the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the student wing of the Civil Rights movement.

During the 1970’s, he worked with the United Mineworkers of America in the Brookside Strike in Harlan County, Kentucky, and was an area director of the J.P. Stevens campaign for the ACTWU in Roanoke Rapids in North Carolina. These historic labour struggles are portrayed in the movies Harlan County USA and Norma Rae.

 

Aragon Mill 

 

In the early 70’s he spent a few days in Aragon, Georgia where a textile mill had closed down putting about 700 people out of work. He wrote the folk classic Aragon Mill which is a haunting song of quiet despair after the closure of the local mill.

“And the only tune I hear

Is the sound of the wind

As it blows through the town,

Weave and spin, weave and spin”

“There’s no children at all

In the narrow empty streets

Now the looms have all gone

It’s so quiet I can’t sleep”

Aragon Mill was included in “New Wood”, Si’s first album. It has been recorded by Planxty, Hazel Dickens, Hans Theessink and many others. The Furey Brothers recorded it as Belfast Mill and there is a version called Douglas Mill.

Si’s songs have been recorded by many of artists including Dolores Keane, Eleanor Shanley, Dick Gaughan, June Tabor, Peggy Seeger, the Dublin City Ramblers and Kathy Mattea.

Si has toured all over Europe, Canada and North America. He has released 14 albums of original songs, a CD of original songs for children, “Good Times and Bedtimes”: a collection of traditional labour, civil rights and women’s songs recorded with Pete Seeger and Jane Sapp.

In 1980, Si founded Grassroots Leadership, a Southern-based national progressive organisation, and he served as its Executive Director for 30 years, retiring on May Day 2010. For the past 13 years, Grassroots Leadership has worked to oppose privatisation and to defend the public sector.

He is currently very involved with a campaign to stop what would be the world’s largest open pit mine in Alaska and by doing so to save Bristol Bay, one of the greatest remaining wild fisheries in the world. He released an album in 2013 entitled “Bristol Bay” and is active with Musicians United to Protect Bristol Bay. He is also campaigning against mountaintop removal in West Virginia.

Si is also an accomplished author. In 2010 he wrote “Creative Community Organising: A guide for Rabble-Rousers, Activists and Quiet Lovers of Justice (Berrett-Koehler 2010).

An earlier book in 2006 “The Fox in the Henhouse: How Privatisation Threatens Democracy” was co-authored with feminist philosopher Elizabeth Minnich, his long term partner and spouse. Two earlier widely used organizing handbooks, “How People Get Power” and “Organising: A Guide for Grassroots Leaders”, have sold over 80,000 copies.

“Si Kahn is one of the best….a solid thinker who is able to humanize the political……I hope he lives to be 120” is longstanding friend and fellow songwriter’s Pete Seeger’s view of Si.

Rosanne Cash stated “I put Si in the same category as Woody Guthrie, as Pete Seeger and in a strange way my Dad, who shared his righteous sense of humanity and his love of the meek who he truly believed would inherit the earth.”

Si has recently completed a musical about Mother Jones, “Mother Jones in Heaven” and hopes to perform it some day in Cork. With his permission some of the songs from this musical were originally performed at the inaugural Mother Jones Festival in 2012 by Jim Williamson. The dream of the Cork Mother Jones Committee is to see the full musical, “Mother Jones in Heaven” performed in Cork, the birthplace of Mary Harris.

We are indeed very honoured to welcome Si Kahn and Elizabeth Minnich to Cork for the 2014 festival. 

Jimmy Crowley to play at Mother Jones festival

Jimmy Crowley

 

We are delighted to announce that Cork’s favourite troubadour, Jimmy Crowley, will give an afternoon performance at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival on Wednesday, July 31st.

Jimmy was born in Douglas in Cork and took up singing in the late 60s and he formed a group known as Stokers Lodge called after a landmark in Douglas where local huntsmen met for a day’s sport. He started writing songs in 1971.

As well as writing his own songs he also encouraged and promoted older working class ballads and long lost songs from all over Cork. He ran the legendary folk club at Douglas GAA club for many years. Jimmy likes to be among the real people of Cork City and to sing songs of hunters, sportsmen, deeds of valour, great and little events, the topics of conversation of the ordinary people.

His first album “The Boys of Fairhill” released in 1997, contained such classics as the Pool Song, Johnny Jump Up, Salonika, The Armoured Car and of course The Boys of Fairhill. This was followed by a second album “Camphouse Ballads” and “Some Things Never Change”. Later still “Uncorked” appeared in 1998, while “The Coast of Malabar” appeared in 2000.

Jimmy’s song about the sailing ship, the Asgard II, “My Love is a Tall Ship” is well known among the sailing fraternity. Jimmy has played all over Ireland, Europe and America and is a familiar face in Cork. Jimmy is known as the Bard of Cork and with good reason as his unique style of singing and his love of his native City, and especially the Shandon area is central to his musical vision.

Jimmy is also well known for his wonderful charity work over the years. This was seen in 2010 when the cream of Cork talent -Roy Buckley, Cha & Miah, Billa, Bill (minor)O’ Connell, Seán Óg O hAilpín, Seán Ó Sé and John Spillane led by Jimmy Crowley came together and recorded a song titled: Barracka – Buttera Song especially composed by Richard T. Cooke (Mother Jones Festival Committee) to raise funds to purchase musical instruments in Cork schools – for a very worthy cause.

The Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2013 will present a unique workshop by Cork’s famous son, Jimmy Crowley: “Songs of the Beautiful City: Jimmy Crowley’s Ethnographical Journey”

Jimmy appears at the Maldron Hotel on Wednesday July 31st from 4.30 to 5.30pm.

Admission is free. Not to be missed!

 

Andy Irvine returns to Shandon

 

Venue: Firkin Crane, Shandon, Cork

Tickets: €15 from tickets.ie or

from the Maldron Hotel, Shandon or phone Jim on 0861651356

Andy Irvine - a unique performance at Shandon

Andy Irvine

 

Andy Irvine is a truly legendary figure in Irish folk music. Born in London in 1942, he recently celebrated his 71st birthday. Andy has been ‘on the road” for almost 50 years.

He was one of the original folkies associated with O’Donoghue’s Pub in Dublin and an early devotee of the music and songs of Woody Guthrie, the centenary of whose birth falls on the 14th July.

In 1966, he and his friends Joe Dolan and Johnny Moynihan came together to form Sweeney’s Men and a unique sound involving the interplay of bouzouki and mandolin worked itself into Irish folk music consciousness. “Waxie’s Dargle, Old Man in the Garret and Sullivan John” came from that wild period.

Always traveling, always meeting other musicians, always learning, Andy explored the folk traditions of Eastern Europe, Romania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, all behind the iron curtain through the 60s and 70s. His trips to County Clare inspired him further! He has traveled extensively in the USA and Australia picking up songs and tunes as he goes.

The recording of the Christy Moore album Prosperous in 1971 brought together Christy Moore, Andy, Donal Lunny and Liam O’Flynn, who afterwards formed Planxty in 1972.

Their first album, known as the Black Album remains another milestone recording in Irish Folk music. Classics such as “Sweet Thames flow softly”, “The West Coast of Clare” by Andy himself and “Only our Rivers run Free” remain as landmarks in Irish folk tradition.

Albums such as “The Well Below the Valley” and “Cold Blow and Rainy Night” soon followed in a later period by “After the Break” and “The Woman I loved so Well” are remembered with affection by Irish folk music lovers.

Andy has toured extensively with many Irish folk musicians over the years such as Paul Brady, Mick Hanly, Donal and Kevin Burke, Arty McGlynn, Jackie Daly. Later still in the 80s Andy played with a group Mosaic along with Hans Theesink and others. Later still he was a member of Patrick Street. This was followed by Mozack with Donal Lunny and with Bruce Molsky adding Appalachian tunes.

His solo 2010 album Abocurragh, produced by Donal Lunny, contains the track “The Spirit of Mother Jones” inspired by his visit to the grave of Mother Jones in the union Miners Cemetery near Mount Olive in Illinois.

Andy remains active in trade union matters and is current President of the Musicians Union of Ireland

His visit to Cork to play a fundraising concert during the Mother Jones Festival in the famous Shandon Bells Church (St. Anne’s Shandon) on the evening of Wednesday August 1st 2012 was a major highlight of the Mother Jones Festival. Also his practical support for the event from its inception was much appreciated by all the committee.

We are really delighted to welcome Andy back again for the 2013 event. This time the venue is the Firkin Crane stage and a fantastic concert is planned for Thursday evening of Mother Jones Day, August 1st.

This festival fundraising concert begins at 8pm and tickets are 15 euro each. Capacity is limited to just over 200, tickets can be obtained from http://www.tickets.ie or phone Jim on 0861651356. They are also available at the Maldron Hotel and will be on sale at the festival until they are sold out.

Note, entry to all other events, lectures, films and music sessions is free on a first come, first served basis.