FOLK ALLIANCE INTERNATIONAL ANNOUNCES 2016 RECIPIENTS FOR THE ELAINE WEISSMAN LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
RAMBLIN’ JACK ELLIOTT, SONNY TERRY AND BROWNIE MCGHEE AND THE ENGLISH FOLK DANCE AND SONG SOCIETY TO BE HONORED AT AWARDS GALA FEBRUARY 17, 2016
28TH ANNUAL FOLK ALLIANCE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE TO BE HELD FEBRUARY 17-21, 2016 IN KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
Folk Alliance International is pleased to announce the 2016 recipients of The Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards are Ramblin’ Jack Elliott (Living) Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee (Legacy) and The English Folk Dance and Song Society (Organization/Academic).
The awards will be presented at the annual Awards Gala being held at Westin Crown Center Hotel on Wednesday, February 17, 2016, the opening evening of the 28th annual Folk Alliance International conference. The awards show will also include musical performances, the presentation of the Spirit of Folk Awards, and membership-voted “Best of 2015” awards.
Named for one of the founders of the organization, and determined by a select international panel, the awards are presented each year to a living recipient, a memorial recipient and an active organization.
Past recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Awards include Pete Seeger, The Weavers, Harry Belafonte, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mavis Staples, The Carter Family, Bill Monroe, Woody Guthrie, Phil Ochs, Robert Johnson, Bessie Jones, Alan Lomax, The Newport Folk Festival, Old Town School of Folk Music, National Council for Traditional Arts, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, among others.
Living: Ramblin’ Jack Elliott
With over 40 albums under his belt, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott is one of the last true links to the great folk traditions and is considered one of the country’s legendary foundations of folk music. In the tradition of roving troubadours, Jack has carried timeless songs from one place to another, from one generation to the next and around the globe.
Running away from his Brooklyn home at fourteen to join the rodeo, Jack learned to play his guitar from cowboys, a life he’s lived ever since. Ranches and sailboats are in his DNA. Upon meeting Woody Guthrie, he moved in with the Guthrie family and traveled with Woody, adopting his signature style and sound.
During the folk scene in New York, he met a young Bob Dylan and taught him how to play harmonica. His influence is global and includes everyone from Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Johnny Cash, John Prine, Guy Clark, and Tom Waits, and so many others. A two-time Grammy winner and multiple Grammy nominee, he received the National Medal For the Arts for his contribution to American folk traditions from President Clinton.
Legacy: Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee
A popular folk-blues duo, and one of the most fondly remembered of American roots music, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee recorded and toured together for nearly 40 years. Breaking onto the folk scene alongside Lead Belly, Josh White, and Woody Guthrie, they faced familiar individual hardships prior to their partnership during the folk revival of the ‘50s-60s.
Recording dozens of acoustic folk-blues albums, and spending 11 months of the year touring, the duo performed for enthusiastic folk audiences across the country. Terry and McGhee also fronted a jump blues combo with honking saxophone and rolling piano, calling themselves “Brownie McGhee and his Jook House Rockers” or “Sonny Terry and his Buckshot Five.” During the blues revival of the 1960s, Terry and McGhee were very popular on the concert and music festival circuits, occasionally adding new material but usually remaining faithful to their roots and their audience.
Organization/Academic: The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS)
The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) is the UK development organization for the English folk arts. It was formed in 1932 from the merger of the Folk Song Society (founded 1898) and the English Folk Dance Society (founded 1911), and operates from its purpose built arts venue, Cecil Sharp House in London, England.
EFDSS, and its parent organizations, have been responsible for preserving much of the English folk songs, tunes and dances performed today through field collectors in the early 20th century and now digitization of those collections for an online catalogue. Over the decades it has set up major festivals including Sidmouth Folkweek and Whitby Folk Festival; hosted a Who’s Who of folk singers at Cecil Sharp House from Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger to Eliza Carthy and Mart Simpson, and enjoyed royal patronage – HRH Princess Margaret was EFDSS President from 1960 to 2002.
years and EFDSS continues to carry out its objectives of preserving, promoting and developing the English folk arts through its internationally renowned library, the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, and feted performance, artists’ development and education programs, delivered throughout England and increasingly internationally.
Folk Alliance International is a unique and one-of-a-kind annual conference that features the world’s largest gathering of the folk music industry and community. Boasting a yearly attendance of over 2500 registrants, the conference features official showcases, exhibitors, educational panels and professional development workshops held under one roof, bringing together musicians, educators and music industry professionals from throughout the world to share ideas, network, and promote folk music.
With 190 artist showcases, this year’s conference will feature artists from 11 countries, including the United States, Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Estonia, India, and Japan.
About Folk Alliance International
Folk Alliance International (FAI) is a registered 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization based in Kansas City, Missouri. With five regional affiliates throughout the United States that provide conferences and services in their respective markets, the mission of FAI is to nurture, engage and empower the international folk music community—traditional and contemporary, amateur and professional – through education, advocacy and performance.
Since 1989, and with over 3,000 members worldwide, Folk Alliance International has served as an organization promoting, advocating and supporting folk music with an annual conference that is one of the five largest music conferences in North America. Folk Alliance continues to grow while providing an unique range of member services to the community, which includes artists, record companies, publishers, presenters, agents, managers, music support services, manufacturers and anyone that works in the folk world. (www.folk.org)