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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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Nordic Folk

We’re biased towards Anglo-American folk, but our archive has a lot of music in languages other than English. This programme has some superb music from Scandinavia.

Duration: 00:56:34 | Date: 1 August, 2021

Young Old Timey

Old-timey music is attracting young players globally - we feature two fiddlers, a Canadian and a Kiwi, who play it brilliantly.

Duration: 00:59:30 | Date: 25 July, 2021

Mississippi John Hurt

We play the songs of this significant blues artist whose recordings have recently been remastered.

Duration: 00:59:15 | Date: 18 July, 2021

Mississippi John Hurt

We play the songs of this significant blues artist whose recordings have recently been remastered.

Duration: 00:59:15 | Date: 18 July, 2021


The phenomenon of Wellerman inspires us to choose folk songs about the seafaring life.

Duration: 00:52:31 | Date: 11 July, 2021

Fay Hield

A great performer, and a senior lecturer at Sheffield University, Fay has a super repertoire and some excellent musicians, live, and in the studio.

Duration: 00:58:04 | Date: 4 July, 2021

The Roots of Modern Folk

Davey looks at the moments where folk evolved into the singer-songwriters who brought us into the present day.

Duration: 00:56:39 | Date: 27 June, 2021

Sam Lee

A specialist in traditional song works some magic with his astonishing arrangements.

Duration: 00:53:26 | Date: 20 June, 2021

Hard Times

Life is tough for many in NZ these days, but the folk tradition reveals that hard times have always been with us.

Duration: 00:57:07 | Date: 13 June, 2021

NZ Mixed Tape 2

We wrap up our NZMM series for 2021 with tracks from those who have kindly shared their music with the Folk Music Hou

Duration: 00:57:07 | Date: 6 June, 2021

Jacquie Walters

In our third NZMM program with a Christchurch focus, Jacquie Walters sings her original songs.

Duration: 00:58:52 | Date: 30 May, 2021


The Christchurch folk band performed exciting live shows, and is remembered in this special feature.

Duration: 00:54:18 | Date: 23 May, 2021

Emeralds and Greenstone

Our NZ Music Month has a Christchurch focus this year; first up is a bicultural folk group blending Celtic and Maori sounds.

Duration: 00:45:33 | Date: 16 May, 2021

Women Folk

We continue NZ Music Month with an all-Kiwi programme of women folk artists.

Duration: 00:52:43 | Date: 9 May, 2021

NZ Music Mixtape

We get NZ Music Month underway, playing a variety of NZ artists.

Duration: 00:56:10 | Date: 2 May, 2021


A programme of songs of war and peace with a particular NZ resonance.

Duration: 00:58:41 | Date: 25 April, 2021

Country Folk

Davey takes us into the world of country folk music.

Duration: 00:53:39 | Date: 18 April, 2021

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