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fRoots June issue - the 300th

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 10:51 pm
by Ian A.
Image

fRoots 300, the June 2008 issue, is finally at the printers and will head off to subscribers in the middle of next week. Street date is 22nd May. Yes, it's our 300th and thanks to the buoyancy of the current scene it's our biggest ever single issue (excluding special doubles and the annual festival issue - which this year was also our biggest in a decade). There's something happening here but we don't know what it is . . . !

Our cover feature sorts out the Middle East in an exclusive double-headed Arab/Israeli interview with Yasmin Levy & Natacha Atlas. Then we’ve got a big Triple Platinum round-table discussion with some noted pundits about how things have progressed through the fRoots years, a remarkable piece of research on 1920s Greek legend Marika Papagika, a look at the Garifuna women’s Umalali project, interviews with Neill MacColl, Argentina’s Melingo, Turkey’s Baba Zula, England’s Sam Lee, Scotland’s Mary Ann Kennedy, the cross cultural Strings Tradition group, Germany’s Shantel, the USA’s Boiled In Lead, yours truly in a 300th issue Rocket Launcher, a brief return of Borfolk, plus our usual unrivalled news and reviews coverage and much more.

And in this issue's upfront fRoots Playlist, Eliza Carthy Dreams Of Breathing Underwater (Topic), Rupa & The April Fishes Extraordinary Rendition (Cumbancha), Spiers & Boden Vagabond (Navigator), Balla Et Ses Balladins The Syliphone Years (Stern's), Bako Dagnon Titati (Syllart/ Discograph), Various Artists Victrola Favourites (Dust To Digital), Amparanoia Seguire Caminando (Via Lactea), Gabi Lunca Sounds From A Bygone Age Vol 5 (Asphalt Tango), Stelios Petrakis Orion (Sistron) and Seckou Keita SKQ The Silimbo Passage (World Artventures). Tracks from all those plus more from this issue's featured and reviewed artists (including a Marika Pagagika-related special) will be heard on the June fRoots Radio which will hit the e-waves and podcast-sphere from around 14th May. You can still hear the current and archived editions at www.frootsmag.com/radio and get the current podcast from http://froots.podOmatic.com/ or iTunes.

And thanks to June Clowns of this parish for the logo mutation idea.

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 4:27 am
by Tom McPhillips
and fThough I fMight be fAmong the fLast to fCongratulate you on your fird fCentury, fMany fHappy fReturns and fMay fThere be at fLeast fAnovver f300 of fThem!

I fRaise my fGlass, fFilled wif the fRoots of the fVine, to fYou and fYour fFolk!

fCheers!

fHic!
fHand fGoodnight!

fDrive fHome fSafely fNow....

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 12:36 pm
by Charlie
Ian, every now and then your trailers include a line about never having missed a publication date, but I recall at least two disasters, one when the post office lost the bags with your issues in them (or was it artwork?), and the other when a printer did such a botch job that several pages were unreadable and had to be redone - didn't either of these cause delays? Or have I misremembered, to paraphrase Mrs Clinton?

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 12:56 pm
by Ian A.
Charlie wrote:Ian, every now and then your trailers include a line about never having missed a publication date, but I recall at least two disasters, one when the post office lost the bags with your issues in them (or was it artwork?), and the other when a printer did such a botch job that several pages were unreadable and had to be redone - didn't either of these cause delays? Or have I misremembered, to paraphrase Mrs Clinton?


We aim to get them from the printers 10 days before the penultimate Thursday in the month, which is the official news trade publication date. Usually works like clockwork . . . (famous last words). So far this has built in sufficient slack when disaster has occasionally struck. The odd nightmares we've had like the above (and indeed happened on the March issue this year when the printer had a massive press breakdown and actually lost some issues of weeklies completely) have run it very close to missing the street date but so far, Inshala, we've never gone past it. And it has always left here for the printers on time.

The worst ever was indeed the time the PO lost the artwork on the way to the printers in South Wales, in the days when artwork really was physical artwork rather than PDFs which can be regenerated and FTPd to the printers in a matter of hours these days. Somehow (with the help of a lot of fried advertisers) we got it all reconstituted in about 3 days, we got the magazines in just in the nick of time, and I caught the flight to Banjul to get the f.o.o.h. for Xmas in a state of collapse (this was late '80s). It was a direct result of that experience that we moved from Farnham into London so bike couriers with artwork had less distance to travel to our office!

Actually the other worst time was when the printer glued all the covermount CDs on a double issue they'd missed a 16 page section out of. Had to take a snap decision that it was easier to re-press 12000 CDs than try to remove them without damage, and to our amazement Sonopress turned the re-press around in a couple of days and we still hit the news stands on time. Yes, the printer paid for the fuckup but not my receding hairline . . .

The nice-if-irritating thing is that subscribers seem to set their watches by it, so if - nearly always the fault of the postal "service" - it doesn't turn up within a day or two of when they expect it (roughly a week before news stand publication date) they're on the email complaining it has gone missing!

It is of course tempting fate to mention any of the above, or an off-track cyclone to hit Merthyr Tydfil in the next 5 days . . . but I always think that as we survived Thatcher (we started the same month she took office) we can cope with almost anything the universe can chuck at us!

PS Not talking of H Clinton, I was just turning in at 2am this morning and caught an utterly inspiring 20 minute Obama victory speech from North Carolina live on BBC News 24. I suppose after 8 years of Bush they do deserve somebody that good: but what have we done to deserve Boris?

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 4:09 pm
by Ian A.
I just wrote:The worst ever was indeed the time the PO lost the artwork on the way to the printers in South Wales, in the days when artwork really was physical artwork


Actually the full enormity of that incident just came back to me. The PO van with it in got stolen and, having rifled through all the sacks for valuables, the thieves dumped the remaining contents, including our artwork, into the Regents Canal . . .

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 11:15 pm
by Gordon Moore
Ian A. wrote:but what have we done to deserve Boris?


What, has he done something wrong already? (hehe)

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 11:02 am
by Ian A.
The main www.frootsmag.com web site is now updated for this issue and the podcast version of the June fRoots Radio is now available - the streaming version should go live tomorrow. Posting out to subscribers should begin later today. On time. Phew!

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 1:16 pm
by Nigel w
Issue has arrived and looks excellent. Let me be one of the first to say congratulations on 300. Only had time to read two pieces so far - Culshaw on Umalali and the Natacha Atlas/Yasmin Levy summit. Both thoroughly excellent articles, although I can't help thinking that both our two world music magazines having Nat on the cover in the same month is a shame. I know the rivalry between the two publications is intense (to put it politely), but a little co-operation on not doubling up on cover artists would surely be a good thing!

Started reading the roundtable discussion piece and got distracted by Elizabeth's text saying Colin Irwin was wearing a 'crisp white shirt', whereas the pictures clearly show him in a striped job. I found myself thinking 'did he spill his coffee and have to do a quick change? Did the gentlemanly Mark Ellen dash upstairs and lend him that striped number out of his own wardrobe?' - and I completely lost the thread of the piece. Old men's minds wander easily, I'm afraid!

Two questions. What's this new Eliza Carthy album like on your playlist? Is it a trad folk album or a singer-songwriter album?

And what does this Soha album sound like, whose full page ad graces the back cover of your 300th landmark? I know the record has been out in France for a year but other than that I know nothing about her and have no idea what she sounds like. Obviously they're spending money on promoting her. But what sort of music is it and does she get the f-Roots seal of approval?

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 4:59 pm
by Ian A.
nigel w wrote:a little co-operation on not doubling up on cover artists would surely be a good thing!

I agree entirely. We have tried several times to open a dialogue about this, for the good of the scene in general, but with no success so far. In the very rare cases when a fRoots cover coincides with a new album release we've been reluctantly reduced to telling labels that one condition of a cover is short term exclusivity (which I personally hate asking for as it makes us behave like the music business).

In the case of this one, let's just say that this record label unscrupulously manipulated the situation with both magazines, knowing full well our house rule. We would have changed our plans on discovering it, but felt it would have let Yasmin Levy down on this high profile issue when it wasn't her fault. Let's just say that this label won't be getting any more covers in the foreseeable future . . .

nigel w wrote:Two questions. What's this new Eliza Carthy album like on your playlist? Is it a trad folk album or a singer-songwriter album?

Er . . . read the caption on the Playlist on page 5 . . .

nigel w wrote:And what does this Soha album sound like . . . what sort of music is it and does she get the f-Roots seal of approval?

Sorry, can't help . . . not a clue. Not seen or heard it . . . I believe Charlie might have done though, unless I'm misremembering a conversation the other day.

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 5:38 pm
by Nigel w
Two questions. What's this new Eliza Carthy album like on your playlist? Is it a trad folk album or a singer-songwriter album?

Er . . . read the caption on the Playlist on page 5 . . .


Yes but what's it like? If they are her own songs are they any good? Does the record sound anything like her own previous ill-starred attempted crossover on that Anglicana album that came out on Warners - or more like Kate Rusby's faux-trad compositions?

Glad we agree about the covers issue, Ian. I think you are quite right to ask for a limited kind of exclusivity. Obviously, you can't say 'we're not doing it if you're on the cover of Observer Music Monthly' - but then you're not in competition with them. But when we've only got two world music magazines, it is more than reasonable and in the interests of all parties, I would have thought.

As for Soha, if EMI think it's a record of sufficient interest to f-Roots readers that they buy the back page to advertise it, you'd think they might send you the record to listen to as well in the hope that you might write about it . But we're not talking sane, rational organisations here - we're talking record companies. It makes you think that perhaps Guy Hands has a point!

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 7:04 pm
by Ian A.
nigel w wrote:Yes but what's it like? If they are her own songs are they any good? Does the record sound anything like her own previous ill-starred attempted crossover on that Anglicana album that came out on Warners

Not sure which one you mean - Anglicana was traditional songs and on Topic - and justifiably got a Mercury nomination i.i.r.c. Probably my favourite album of hers so far. There was a Warners album but I don't remember it being any kind of musical crossover, just an interesting if odd singer songwriter record.

The new one sounds like . . . Eliza Carthy, nobody else (except maybe a smidgin of Lal Waterson). As I say on current fRoots Radio (where you can hear a track), it smells like an album of the year in some genre or none. And her dad's very proud of it too! It's almost impossible to say if you'd like it (which presumably also defines whether you think the songs are "any good") because it really doesn't sound like anybody else so I can't flag up any comparisons. But going on the usual reliable rule-of-thumb around these parts, since it's very English and I love it and have been playing it to death, then there's a very high chance Charlie will become violently ill, Howard will want to make up some rules to ban it, and everybody else will make up their own minds! [Damn, need ironicons again!]

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 7:06 pm
by Gordon Moore
Soha - http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fu ... =200663626

The tracks are cut, Cafe Bleu seemed promising

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 7:33 pm
by Dominic
If I understand it correctly, Discovery were going to distribute the Soha CD as an import as EMI UK had shown no interest in it. Then it got some good press and EMI UK decided to do something with it after all.
Last Friday I phoned EMI customer services to ask when it was coming out & they hadn't got a clue.

How they managed to get that back page ad organised but not the release date is anybody's guess.

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 9:17 pm
by Nigel w
Yes, sorry, got titles confused. I just dug out the Eliza album on Warners from the back of the cupboard and it's called Angels & Cigarettes . And it's definitely not that English . It's got a bunch of American musicians on it like Van Dyke Parks and Leland Skar and it certainly is an attempt at a pop crossover. She was signed to Warners by Andy Wickham, the man who signed Joni Mitchell in 1967. I remember interviewing him for an Eliza article in Billboard and he said she was the best female singer-songwriter he had heard since Joni. The result, of course, was that the record sold zilch (I'm listening to it now and it's not very good) and Warners dropped 'the best female singer-songwriter since Joni Mitchell' after a single album.

I like Eliza hugely as a person and as a singer - one of the best. But she's inconsistent in the studio (perhaps because she's never afraid to try something a little bit different). That double album Red Rice was all over the shop. And the Warners album is a bit of a trainwreck , to be honest. But Anglicana,you are right, was great. Its opening track, Worcester City, is a wonder : I put it on a folk compilation I did for Nascente and I seem to remember voting for it as track of the year or some such in the Radio 2 Folk Awards.

I guess I'll hear the forthcoming album soon enought when the lovely Harriet gets around to sending me a copy , but what I was getting at was where does it fit in her canon - if they're all her own contemporary songs, is it a pop record (like Angels & Cigarettes undeniably was) or is it a folk record? Not that it matters that much. Just curious, y'know...

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 1:19 am
by Ian A.
nigel w wrote: it certainly is an attempt at a pop crossover.

Crossing pop with what though? I don't have it any more, but I don't remember it being a (say) folk/rock record, unless the act of singing in your own Yorkshire accent is considered to be 'Folk" by some rulemakers.

nigel w wrote:if they're all her own contemporary songs, is it a pop record (like Angels & Cigarettes undeniably was) or is it a folk record?

Like I said, it's an Eliza Carthy record. It sounds exactly like Eliza Carthy which is certainly not a pop record by any stretch of the imagination, but it's her own (very) original songs and not with her usual Ratcatchers band, so definitely not a folk record either though of course it'll get reviewed/ racked/ abused as such, especially as it's on Topic.

Other than pressure from the marketing dept, do people always have to be categorisable? After all, I'd have difficulty putting a genre tag on (say) Tom Waits, which never did him any harm.