The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2011: A Reaction

The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2011: A Reaction

This year’s Folk Awards were on last night and I, like a total idiot, missed them – what can I say, thank God for iplayer! Though I guess Julie Fowlis’s tweet from Sunday should’ve given me a clue (oops).

I’m a relatively new lover of folk music; the draw for me is the depth of musical skill that every artist on the scene seems to possess (approximately 50x the average Brit award winner?). I have a tendency too to find and stick to the artists I like the sound of (Bob Fox, anyone?) and so the Folk Awards are a great way to find new artists to listen to.

But first of all – first of all – I just want to say YESSS!!!!! Nancy Kerr and James Fagan took the award for best duo! I’m more than a little biased, admittedly, since Nancy is a fellow north-easterner and the cover for their latest album Twice Reflected Sun was designed by my awesomely talented friend Lizzy.

Read on…


The Year Monster

The Year Monster

Chinese New Year is more commonly known as Chūn Jié [春节] or ‘Spring Festival’ in China. As in other cultures, the festival celebrates the declining of winter and the coming of Spring’s warmer weather. In China’s more remote places and especially in ancient times, the winter weather was very harsh and villages could be cut off for weeks from the rest of the country.

There was once a village in ancient China which was ravaged by a great beast, called the Nian. On the first day of every new year it would come to the village, destroying houses and devouring livestock, crops and even people; especially children.

Read on…


The Banquet of the Jade Emperor

The Banquet of the Jade Emperor

A very happy Chinese New Year to everyone celebrating! February 3rd marks the start of the biggest festival in the Chinese calendar, which ends with the Lantern Festival on 17th February. As I’ve been writing about Asian folklore a lot recently I thought I’d continue this with some of the stories surrounding the start of the lunar new year.

The Chinese lunar calendar is a twelve year cycle, with each year given the name of an animal. This year is the year of the Rabbit. If you were born in the year 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987 or 1999, you are most likely* a Rabbit!

Read on…


The New Year’s Resolution

The New Year's Resolution

So the new year rolls around once more. Up and down the country, millions of resolutions are being made. I have a bit of a bone to pick.

It always struck me that giving yourself a goal to achieve at New Year’s is counterproductive. It’s cold outside, and the nights are still early and dark (the days too, in my case). Christmas is more or less over. If you’re a pretty average Brit then you’ve probably spent the festive season indulging, eating more than you would have, exercising less… and then, there’s the huge expense (sales anyone?).

Read on…