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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


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Peter Seeger 1919-2014

Our annual tribute to the doyen of folk entertainers is a live concert from his golden age, not unlike his Auckland Town Hall performance in the mid-60s.

Duration: 00:58:52 | Date: 26 January, 2020

Mixtape 6

We launch into 2020 with a mixture of great singing and playing, including stuff Davey heard in the holidays.

Duration: 00:56:48 | Date: 19 January, 2020

Summer Folk

There's heaps of great folk music up and down the country this summer. Here's a taste of some of these talented visitors.

Duration: 00:54:53 | Date: 12 January, 2020

Our Native Daughters

Four important women of colour reclaim the banjo for the African American folk tradition, and turn in a powerful set. This episode played earlier in 2019 and is repeated now in observation of Martin Luther King Day.

Duration: 00:58:26 | Date: 5 January, 2020

Sandy Denny

Around the time of her birthday, we honour Sandy every year. For 2020, we have a close listen to her masterpiece Who Knows Where The Time Goes

Duration: 00:58:37 | Date: 29 December, 2019

Happy Christmas

Season's Greetings
Another Old Year soon gives way to the New Year, and we we wish you a happy summer with a programme of songs for the festive season.

Duration: 00:52:22 | Date: 15 December, 2019

Old Roots, New Boots

Traditional songs can walk out in new stylings, and the Kronos Quartet have collaborated with four singers, arranging striking string settings for the voices. The result makes for a beautiful programme of folk music.

Duration: 00:58:14 | Date: 8 December, 2019

Woverview 2020 - Pt 1

A first look at some of the artists who will be performing at WOMAD 2020

Duration: 00:56:37 | Date: 1 December, 2019

Kiwi Women Songwriters

Celebrating NZ women who write and sing contemporary folk but with hints of jazz and lashings of country

Duration: 00:56:55 | Date: 24 November, 2019

The Singing Word 4

A set of really good songs and instrumentals we've come across and haven’t been able to fit into a programme until now. And we remember Mike Seeger (1933-2009)

Duration: 00:57:19 | Date: 17 November, 2019

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