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The Folk Music Hour

David Calder presents the music he loves in The Folk Music Hour, with the aim of rekindling listeners' interest in acoustic music in the Anglo-American tradition, including NZ folk song, and world folk music such as that heard at WOMAD in New Plymouth's beautiful Brookland's Park.

Airing time: 12pm Sunday, Replays 7:30pm Thursday

Almost all music has a folk origin: blues, jazz, rock and even so-called classical. As Big Bill Broonzy famously said - "all songs are folk songs; ain't never heard a horse sing!"

Arguably the first Kiwi to make a living with a mandolin, David spent some of his musical life playing bluegrass, but was performing in the folk boom as early as 1964.

He was playing in Europe and the UK in the 70s, dabbling in folk rock and pop in California in the 80s, and creating a country garden in the 90s and teaching children to read.

These days, kind of retired, he is free to pursue any of the musical paths he loves: song-writing, tuition, and performance with guitar, piano, banjo, mandolin, autoharp, dulcimer, even bass; playing jazz, folk, blues and originals. Or to just kick back and listen to Bach or Grappelli ...

A long-standing performer of NZ folk, Davey also maintains a love affair with US old-time music nurtured since Doc Watson's LPs first made it to these shores. A natural entertainer since his debut on radio aged six, David thinks radio is the perfect performance medium.

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NZ Radio Award Certificate


To download an episode: Click on the kiwifruit to go to The Folk Music Hour page on the AIR website:   download this show here

Click on the title of an episode to listen

Singing Word 3

More verse set to music, poems becoming immortal songs, including arguably the world's most famous folk song.

Duration: 00:53:36 | Date: 10 November, 2019

The Singing Word 2

We continue our series investigating great songs which started life as poems.

Duration: 00:56:35 | Date: 2 November, 2019

The Singing Word 1

We begin a series investigating what happens when poetry is set to music, becoming folk song. Subtitled Poems:Sung, we take our title from Barry Mitcalfe's seminal work on Māori poetry.

Duration: 00:56:04 | Date: 27 October, 2019

Mix Tape 5

Featuring inspirational folk that Davey is loving at the moment

Duration: 00:59:28 | Date: 20 October, 2019


Some fab artists are coming to NZ now and soon. We take a look and have a listen.

Duration: 00:58:53 | Date: 13 October, 2019

John Cohen

We celebrate the life and work of the founding member of the New Lost City Ramblers whose contribution to the revival of American vernacular music has been so important. The NY musician, photographer, filmmaker, collector and ethnomusicologist died recently, aged 87.

Duration: 00:54:27 | Date: 6 October, 2019

Our Native Daughters

Four important women of colour reclaim the banjo for the African American folk tradition, and turn in a powerful set

Duration: 00:58:26 | Date: 22 September, 2019

Tom Rush

Tom Rush's impact on the American music scene has been profound. He helped shape the folk revival in the '60s and the renaissance of the '80s and '90s

Duration: 00:57:54 | Date: 15 September, 2019

Te Wiki O Te Reo Maori

Duration: 00:57:21 | Date: 8 September, 2019

15 Beautiful Folk Songs

We put together a personal collection of the most beautiful folk melodies - traditional and contemporary. Send us a list of your own favourites, for a second show in the future.

Duration: 00:58:19 | Date: 1 September, 2019

Blues With A Difference

The world's most versatile musical form lends itself to songs both sad and funny, and sometimes quite blue.

Duration: 00:52:37 | Date: 25 August, 2019

Boucher And McNeill

Gillian Boucher, fiddler, and Bob McNeill, singer and guitarist, have formed a folk duo well worth listening to, and are touring in anticipation of the release of a new album.

Duration: 00:59:14 | Date: 18 August, 2019