Posts Tagged ‘mike harding’

Mike Harding to leave BBC Radio 2 show

Posted on October 20th, 2012 in News, Recent posts by .

The hugely popular Mancunian broadcaster Mike Harding, who gave Songlines his folk-driven playlist in issue #82, is to be replaced by Mark Radcliffe’s weekly folk music show on Wednesdays at 7pm.

Following a chequered early career as a dustbin man, bus conductor and member of a skiffle band, Harding has gone on to be an incredibly influencial figure in the folk music scene. His Radio 2 folk show has been a staple of the BBC airwaves for the past 15 years, and he has been the presenter for Radio 2’s annual folk awards since their inception in 2000.

Reminiscent of the axing of Mary Ann Kennedy’s Global Gathering radio show earlier this year, fans and musicians have reacted angrily to the news of his departure, once again blaming BBC controllers for their lack of audience understanding. Folk singer Emily Portman, of whom Harding has long been a vocal advocate, said she was “disappointed” with the decision.

Controller of Radio 2 and 6Music Bob Shennan spoke extremely highly of Radcliffe: “Mark is a firm favourite with Radio 2 listeners, along with his unrivalled broadcasting credentials and longstanding passion, knowledge and hands-on experience of folk music.” Of Mike Harding, Shennan thanked the veteran broadcaster for spending “15 years at the top of his game, delighting fans with his expertise and rooting out the very best folk music.”

However, the departure may not have been as amicable as Bob Shennan suggests, as Mike Harding took to Facebook after the announcement to state ‘I did not choose to go – was told I was going.

Harding’s final show will be air December 26 2012.

Tags: , , , , .

The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2012

Posted on February 10th, 2012 in Recent posts by .

As industry folk and, for the first time, members of the public took to their seats in The Lyric theatre at the Lowry, there was some speculation about which celebs would be gracing the stage to present the dozen or so awards this year. It’s the first time the event has been held outside of the capital and the Lowry is within spitting distance of the BBC’s new northern home at Media City, on the quayside of Salford. It came as not much of a surprise that the first presenters were from Manchester’s long-running ITV soap, Corrie. It also seemed fitting that The Dubliners would round off the evening with ‘Dirty Old Town’, written by Salford’s finest singer-songwriter Ewan MacColl. Ralph McTell, who presented The Dubliners with their Lifetime Achievement Award, perfectly summed up their long-lasting appeal, saying that there was “a brightness and boisterousness to their music.”

There were a handful of truly memorable live performances – some for all the right reasons, namely The Unthanks singing with The Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band from West Yorkshire, who did a wonderfully evocative rendition of a song about a Derbyshire pigeon fancier. Then there was the excruciating moment when the collective cringing of the audience listening to Don McLean’s badly out of tune guitar was almost palpable. Fortunately McLean, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award, pulled his reputation back from the brink with a second and more in tune song.

Other favourite musical highlights were Christy Moore and Declan Sinnott playing Kevin Littlewood’s nominated Best Original Song, ‘On Morecambe Bay,’ about the tragic plight of immigrant cockle pickers. And Best Duo winners Brendan Power and Tim Edey (who also won Musician of the Year), who I’m ashamed to say have so far been overlooked by Songlines.

And the other winners? Well, the night definitely belonged to June Tabor and Oysterband who collectively won Folk Singer of the Year, Best Album, Best Group and Best Traditional Track. It seemed to be a celebration of the veterans and more mature artists within the current scene, with the recently reformed The Home Service winning Best Live Act. The Songlines office verdict was that this award should have been a shoo-in for Bellowhead, what with their impressively energetic festival shows and seemingly never-ending tour schedule last year.

So it was a relief to see relative youngster Bella Hardy jointly winning the Best Original Song award with Steve Tilston. And of course, the Horizon Award which went to Derby’s Lucy Ward and the Young Folk Award going to the Irish group Ioscaid (apparently pronounced Iss-Kidge) – we look forward to checking these guys out live and also to their debut album.

So, despite the swish new location, a new co-presenter for Mike Harding, Julie Fowlis, who brought a good dose of glamour to the stage, plus some recognition for a handful of new, young names, the evening very much had a ‘tried and tested’ formula about it. Perhaps it’s time to shake up the awards event even more and have an overhaul on the voting and selection process?

You can check out all of the performances (and do your own cringing to ‘And I Love You So’) by visiting the BBC website:



Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

The new March Songlines podcast is now available through iTunes

Posted on February 3rd, 2012 in Recent posts by .

This podcast includes highlights from the March 2012 issue of  Songlines (#82) opening with music by Youssou N’Dour (Nonesuch). Songlines editor-in-chief, Simon Broughton, plays an excerpt by Bob Davenport, a bonus track chosen by Mike Harding as part of his playlist this issue. There is also music from the bonus second CD this issue – Brazil New Series. 

Features include: Nigel Williamson on Music & Social Change, Doug DeLoach on Carolina Chocolate Drops and Alex Robinson on the late Cesaria Evora. Nathaniel Handy brings you the latest news with the Official UK World Music Album Chart and more. The podcast ends with music from Area 52, the forthcoming album by Rodrigo y Gabriela & C.U.B.A. (Rubyworks).



The next Songlines podcast, featuring highlights from the April/May issue (#83), will be available from 16th March 2012.

Tags: , , , , , , .

BBC radio presenter Mike Harding playlist and the 10 best new releases in the March issue of Songlines (#82)

Posted on February 2nd, 2012 in Recent posts by .

The March 2012 issue of Songlines – on sale February 3 – features a free covermount CD packed full of the best new sounds from around the world, plus 5 tracks selected by BBC radio presenter Mike Harding.

The issue also features the second free CD Brazil: New Series.

The Top of the World CD includes tracks from the late great experimentalist Martyn Bennett ; gravel-voiced Argentinian tanguero Melingo; Quebecois big band La Bottine Souriante; Yiddish klezmer from the Other Europeans; Basque accordionist Kepa Junkera; and Iranian kamancheh player Kayhan Kalhor’s new collaborative project, among others.

Pick up your copy here on the website, at selected WHSmith’s and at all good record retailers. Feast your ears on these all-new tracks:

* La Bottine Souriante ‘Mon Père’ on Borealis Records
* Melingo ‘El Día Que Te Fuiste’ on World Village
* The Other Europeans ‘Lautar Clarinet Suite #1’ on Ethnomusic Records
* Martyn Bennett ‘Swallowtail’ on Cuillin Records
* Mauricio Maestro feat Nana Vasconcelos ‘Canto do Pajé’ on Far Out Recordings
* Kepa Junkera & Melonious Quartet ‘Bok Espok’ on Hiri Records
* Kayhan Kalhor & Ali Bahrami Fard ‘I Will Not Stand Alone’ on World Village
* Spiro ‘Yellow Noise’ on Real World Records
* Vijana Jazz Band ‘Salima Utakujajuta’ on Sterns Music
* Kartik Seshadri ‘Raga Vasant Pancham’ on Soundings Records

Plus Mike Harding’s playlist:

* Billy Bennington ‘The Flowers of Edinburgh’ on Veteran
* Emily Portman ‘Stick Stock’ on Furrow Records
* Oddfellows ‘The Seven Rejoices of Mary’ on Limefield Records
* Dolores Keane ‘May Morning Dew’ on Round Tower Music
* Dick Gaughan ‘Erin-Go-Bragh’ on Topic Records

Tags: , , , , , , , , .

« Older Entries