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The Folk Music Hour

David Calder presents the music he loves in The Folk Music Hour.

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

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Almost all music has a folk origin: blues, jazz, rock and even some classical. As Big Bill Broonzy famously said: all songs are folk songs - 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 performed in Europe and the UK in the 70s, and recorded original music for NZ film and television. He dabbled in folk rock and pop in California in the 80s while teaching kids to sing. In London in the 90s he learned to help special needs children to read.

Now retired and no longer performing, he is free to pursue any of the musical paths he loves: song-writing, tuition - guitar, piano, banjo, mandolin, autoharp, dulcimer, even bass - and he works to record his original songs, such as

A long-standing enthusiast for NZ’s own folk music, David also still loves US old-time music, nurtured since Doc Watson LPs first made it to these shores, and explores the folk tradition of the British and Irish isles. He is a fan of World Music and fiercely proud of WOMAD Taranaki. A natural entertainer since his debut on radio aged six, David thinks radio is the perfect performance medium and now has an extensive archive of programmes.


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Martin Carthy

The veteran performer of English folk song turns 80 this year, and at the Folk Music Hour we raise our glasses and toast his good health.

Duration: 00:57:48 | Date: 11 April, 2021

Pop Grass

What happens when bluegrass bands let their hair down and play pop songs? Some pickin’ and a-grinnin’ and a lot of fun.

Duration: 00:56:08 | Date: 4 April, 2021

Kitty Macfarlane

The young Somerset folk artist is making waves with some original songs and striking arrangements of traditional ones

Duration: 00:57:24 | Date: 28 March, 2021

Luckily Stranded

NZ is not a bad place to be marooned these days. We feature English new-folk duo Good Habits.

Duration: 00:54:48 | Date: 21 March, 2021

Irish Folk

St Patrick’s Day on March 17 became the Irish National Day in 1903. An all-Irish programme to play on the day - sláinte!

Duration: 00:5816 | Date: 14 March, 2021

Phil Ochs

An investigation of, and tribute to, the contemporary folk writer and singer who was the conscience of America in the 60s and 70s, and played in NZ, too.

Duration: 00:58:00 | Date: 7 March, 2021

Virtual WOMAD

In the absence of Womad 21, a feast of acoustic music from Africa gives us a stay-at-home Womad for these anxious times

Duration: 00:56:00 | Date: 28 February, 2021


A new biography reveals a good deal about how Canada’s troubadour got his start.

Duration: 00:56:03 | Date: 21 February, 2021

Mixtape 7

Davey’s holiday listening makes for an exciting collection

Duration: 00:58:04 | Date: 14 February, 2021

Double Bill: Reid and Ruins

We look forward to a national tour featuring NZ songwriters Nadia Reid and Tiny Ruins

Duration: 00:57:24 | Date: 7 February, 2021

Colleen Trenwith

Colleen Trenwith 1946-2021
A NZ folk and bluegrass legend has died peacefully, surrounded by her family.

Duration: 00:40:36 | Date: 31 January, 2021

Pete Seeger

Our year always gets underway with a salute to the singer who kickstarted the post-war folk revival

Duration: 00:58:45 | Date: 24 January, 2021


Each year we observe the US national holiday by playing some great African American folk songs

Duration: 57:13 | Date: 10 January, 2021

Sandy Denny

Alexandra Elene MacLean Denny was an English singer-songwriter who was lead singer of the British folk rock band Fairport Convention. She has been described as "the pre-eminent British folk rock singer".

Duration: 57:33 | Date: 3 January, 2021

Shona Laing

Our greatest female pop rock hitmaker has a strong voice, good fingerpicking and some genuine folk roots

Duration: 00:58:23 | Date: 20 December, 2020

Seasons Greetings

Our end-of-year show features Yuletide, Christmas and New Year’s Eve music, traditional and contemporary. We wish our listeners the happiest of holidays.

Duration: 00:50:34 | Date: 13 December, 2020

Aoife O'Donovan

The Irish-American songwriter and folk artist has an impressive catalogue, with lots of collaborations.

Duration: 00:57:54 | Date: 6 December, 2020

Sam Amidon

A folk artist with NuFolk arrangements, Sam hails from Vermont, and he’s breathing new life into the old songs.

Duration: 00:55:50 | Date: 29 November, 2020

Gillian Welch

With her partner David Rawlings, Gillian has built a repertoire that sits perfectly at the place where folk song meets country music.

Duration: 00:58:31 | Date: 22 November, 2020

Blind Folk

We listen to some influential musicians who have amazed us with their playing and singing despite their visual impairment.

Duration: 00:57:18 | Date: 15 November, 2020