This set of Beehive Field Recordings was captured in February during the 2019 Folk Alliance International Conference in Montréal, Quebec. The theme for the set was ‘Crossing Borders’ with a goal to include artists from as many different cultural identities and places as possible. Here we present a unique mixture of folk and roots music through the lens of Canadian, Abenaki, Australian, Sephardi Jew, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Irish, Tuvan, and American experience all captured live in a hotel room in Montréal. We hope you enjoy viewing them as much as we did making them!
Lily Henley – “Arvoles Lloran Por Lluvia” (Trees Cry for Rain)
With Duncan Wickel – tenor guitar & Andrew Ryan – bass
Lily Henley is a singer, songwriter and fiddler who has brought her unique and melodically rich songwriting style and driving fiddling to audiences across the US and abroad. She is currently based in Brooklyn, NY where she is recording her sophomore album, a collection of original songs written on layered plucked fiddle and tenor guitar. This summer will bring her to Paris, France, where she will record a long awaited album of new songs in Sephardic Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) in collaboration with the French Ladino organizations Aki Estamos and Lior Records.
“Arvoles Lloran Por Lluvia” (Trees Cry For Rain), is a first-person narrative of unrequited love, immigration, and abandonment. Though the lyrics come from a centuries old Sephardi song, the theme and perspective are particularly resonant today. The melody is an original of Lily’s, which she wrote to better interpret the emotion in the songs’ lyrics for herself. Ladino is the language of Sephardi (Mediterranean and North African) Jews, comprised mainly of 15th century Spanish, but including vocabulary and idiom from Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish and Greek. The song tradition, once rich lyrics traveling from one country to another, changing melody and being adapted to new singers, is at risk of dying out. Lily sees her inspiration for adding to the folk repertoire as a necessary and poignant way of expanding this living tradition.
Annabelle Chvostek – “D’être Humain” (To be Human)
with Mali Obomsawin on bass
Annabelle Chvostek is a Juno nominated singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based out of Toronto and Montréal.
Mali Obomsawin is a bass player and one third of the songstress trio Lula Wiles.
The song “D’être Humain,” sung in French, is about the existential conundrum of being human. It is a work in progress that Annabelle started in Montréal, developed in Montevideo with guitarist and co-writer Fernando Rosa and is currently refining now in Toronto with the help of Francophone friends. The final version of the song will appear on her upcoming album, a Canada/Uruguay co-creation supported by the Canada Council For the Arts.
iTunes: Annabelle Chvostek
Fru Skagerrak – “Dagnys Vals” (Dagny’s Waltz)
Fru Skagerrak or “Lady Skagerrak” — are three master musicians — one from each Scandinavian country: Anna Lindblad from Sweden, Kjær Jacobsen from Denmark, Elise Wessel Hildrum from Norway.
The song “Dagny’s Waltz” was discovered and learned by the band from a 1941 recording in the Wisconsin Folksong Collection archives.The recording was of Norwegian woman, Dagny Quisling (b. 1869) who settled with her family near Madison, WI. She would have been around 72 at the time of the recording. Quisling played the Hardanger fiddle and appears on and off as the only female contestant at the various Hardanger fiddle competitions (called Kappleik) held in USA from 1918 to 1952 — she passed away in 1952 at age 83.
The hardanger fiddle is a Norwegian folk instrument, similar to a traditional fiddle but with 8 or 9 strings and very elaborately decorated with inlay and engraved wood.
iTunes: Fru Skagerrak
Alash Ensemble – “Ediski deg Boostaamny” (My Throat, the Cuckoo)
Ayan-ool Sam – vocals
Ayan Shirizhik – vocals
Bady-Dorzhu Ondar – vocals, doshpuulur
Alash Ensemble perform in a style called “throat singing” which is a remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. Sometimes called “overtone singing” throat-singing is most identified with parts of Central Asia (Tuva, Mongolia), but it is also practiced in northern Canada (Inuit) and South Africa (Xhosa) where the technique takes on different styles and meanings. It is one of the oldest forms of music.
Alash are known internationally for their mastery of both Tuvan throat singing and traditional Tuvan instruments like the doshpuulur seen here.
“Ediski deg Boostaamny” (My Throat, the Cuckoo) is an traditional Tuvan tune re-worked by the ensemble, comparing the singer’s voice to that of a bird’s.
iTunes: Alash Ensemble
Mikhail Laxton – “Maybe It’s a Good Thing”
Singer/songwriter Mikhail Laxton originally hails from the wild rainforests in the Far North of Australia. After appearing on The Voice Australia and winning over his homeland, Mikhail landed in Canada to carve out a new sound. He has a new record coming out on the Canadian label Acronym Records.
“I wrote this song after the experience of having to leave a place that I loved and some events that involved some serious betrayal. This hurt me deeply at the time. I lost good friends and I had no other option but to leave that town and those people. That was back in Australia my homeland — now I’m living on the other side of the planet with a wife and a son. I thought that town was where I was meant to be, but it turns out that all those crazy events happened to get me here to Canada, with the woman I have now living the life I do.” —M.L.
Folk Alliance International’s mission is to serve, strengthen, and engage the global folk music community through preservation, presentation, and promotion.
The FAI folk umbrella represents the broadest international iteration of the genre, encompassing a diverse array of music including Appalachian, Americana, Blues, Bluegrass, Celtic, Cajun, Francophone, Global Roots, Indigenous, Latin, Old-Time, Traditional, Singer-Songwriter, Spoken Word and every imaginable fusion.
The 2020 FAI Conference will be held in New Orleans, LA — January 22 – 26.
For more information visit FOLK.ORG