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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.


 NZ Radio Award Certificate

The show is The Folk Music Hour. The episode was called The Nobel Dylan

David Calder and Chris Foreman are still smiling having brought home to ART the 2017 NZ Radio Award for “Best Music Programme in Any Language”. This was the first year ART has entered into the very competitive national arena, and to gain recognition at this level is HUGE for us. Hear the award winning show here: The Nobel Dylan


Click here to explore past episodes from 2017

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Click here to explore past episodes from 2015 

Click here to explore past episodes from 2014


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

Songs For a Revolution

We listen to the fantastic folk, soul and protest singing that flourished during the Civil Rights struggle that came to a head in the 60s and did so much to raise the world's consciousness about race-based inequality.

Duration: 00:52:36 | Date: 18 November, 2018

Dying For A Song

Protesting in song is an important part of folk music, and we take our right to do so for granted. But what happens when the regime a musician is protesting against comes up with a deadly response.

Duration: 00:56:36 | Date: 11 November, 2018

Don't Sign Up For War

We begin Protest November solemnly observing the centenary of the ceasefire and Armistice. We explore the folk songs which protested against the Great War, indeed all war, and remind ourselves of the women and men who peeled away the veneer of honour and glory to reveal the extent of the tragedy.

Duration: 00:58:23 | Date: 4 November, 2018

Mali Blues

The music of Mali is endlessly fascinating, and a treasure house of the origins of American blues and folk music

Duration: 00:55:53 | Date: 28 October, 2018

Krissy Jackson

Taranaki's premier NZ folk fiddler Krissy Jackson talks us through her super CD 'Have Fiddle Will Travel' in an interview with Davey at our ART studios.

Duration: 00:58:29 | Date: 21 October, 2018

Red Herrings

Waiheke Island musicians Red Herrings with the next best thing to their entertaining live show, their folk and roots album 'Takeaways'.

Duration: 00:56:07 | Date: 14 October, 2018

Maire and Chris

Máire Ni Chathasaigh, the doyenne of Celtic harpers, and Chris Newman, a guitarist's guitarist, with their hot new release FireWire, on the eve of their third tour of Aotearoa.

Duration: 00:57:58 | Date: 7 October, 2018

Chris Thile

Chris Thile is the awesome mandolinist behind Nickel Creek, the Punch Bros and "Live From Here", on American Public Radio.

Duration: 01:00:27 | Date: 30 September, 2018

Blues Rags And Hollers

Koerner, Ray and Glover were contemporaries of a young Dylan in Minneapolis, and brought black music to white audiences with style and energy.

Duration: 00:57:47 | Date: 23 September, 2018

Te Wiki O Te Reo Maori

We play songs from the trailblazing Ocean & Forest and Toiapiapi albums, which confirm the late Hirini Melbourne NZOM as the mastermind behind the renaissance of interest in the oldest language in Aotearoa, its tikanga, and its taonga puoro.

Duration: 00:58:21 | Date: 16 September, 2018

Mixtape 2

A second mixed bag of songs too good to miss

Duration: 00:58:06 | Date: 9 September, 2018

Banjo Heaven

The five string banjos of Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck

Duration: 00:56:49 | Date: 2 September, 2018

Suzanne Vega

The hit songwriter revisits her catalogue with acoustic, folk style arrangements.

Duration: 00:58:42 | Date: 12 August, 2018

Folk Dylan

Davey Calder explores Dylan's early folk songs.

Duration: 00:57:20 | Date: 19 August, 2018

Harp and Kora

The European and African harps in the hands of the virtuosi Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita

Duration: 00:57:32 | Date: 26 August, 2018


A mixed bag of songs too good to miss

Duration: 01:00:10 | Date: 5 August, 2018

Anne Briggs

The English traditional singer's legacy becomes even more important with the passage of time

Duration: 00:58:39 | Date: 29 July, 2018

Young Tradition

In America, the future of folk music appears safe in the hands of a wealth of young traditionalists.

Duration: 00:55:03 | Date: 22 July, 2018


The folk group from the Britpop era seeded several musical careers making superb music.

Duration: 00:59:19 | Date: 15 July, 2018

Tom Paxton

The great US balladeer's songs sound as fresh today as they did in the Folk Boom.

Duration: 00:58:30 | Date: 8 July, 2018

Young Country 2

Continuing the special programme of NZ folk songs occasioned by the KiwiPacific release on CD of Song of a Young Country.

Duration: 00:58:51 | Date: 1 July, 2018

Young Country 1

The most comprehensive collection of NZ folk songs ever made has moved from LPs to CD, thanks to KiwiPacific.

Duration: 00:58:15 | Date: 24 June, 2018

Funny Folk Too

A second show of songs to make you grin, or laugh out loud.

Duration: 00:48:38 | Date: 17 June, 2018

Comic Folk

It's not all murder and mayhem in the folk tradition; there's plenty of good humour, too.

Duration: 00:58:24 | Date: 10 June, 2018


A German harpist and a Faroe Islands fiddler convey the magic of these ancient isles.

Duration: 00:55:34 | Date: 3 June, 2018

NZMM Waiata Tangata

Davey searches for the folk roots of the brilliant repertoire of Māori music in te reo and in English.

Duration: 00:57:11 | Date: 27 May, 2018


The top notch NZ duo perform English folk songs on their debut release.

Duration: 00:50:00 | Date: 20 May, 2018