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EFN Newsletter February 2023 #12

Updated: Mar 5, 2023


Welcome to the new edition of this communication and outreach initiative of the EFN. Feel free to forward it to your friends and colleagues. Receiving this newsletter is open to anyone for free, here. Read to the end to find out how to submit content for future editions.

This is what you'll find below: 🔸More about the European Folk Day, with the new date: September 23rd and how you can sign up for it 🔸EFN welcomes three new members - Maria Chelnokova Platel from Spain, Stephen Kearney from Ireland and Eric Cooper from Belgium 🔸News from our members: A petition to stop the BBC cutting back the bagpiping provision on BBC Radio Scotland; Now open: call for proposals for WOMEX 23 🔸Our next featured member is Linkwadraat vzw 🔸Our next featured artist is the Swedish singer, composer and multi-instrumentalists Lena Willemark 🔸Special contents: A call about the devastation in Turkey and Syria. And we cannot forget: one year of the invasion of Ukraine. ✍️ Do you want to participate? At the end of the newsletter you will find how you can contribute to future editions, whether you are an EFN member or not. And of course EFN is always looking for new members and at the end of this newsletter there is a note about how and why to join, with links to the membership pages of the website and the application form. Thanks for your attention, have a fruitful reading.

News from EFN

European Folk Day* By the editors Dear Reader - in our last newsletter and yesterday's newsflash we already announced that 2023 will be the year that will host the first major celebration of the traditional arts of Europe's citizens: the European Folk Day. And we promised to announce the new date - which we did yesterday. So here you are again: September 23rd. It is a Saturday and it is the Autumnal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. And as we also said yesterday, the first European Folk Day has been funded as a pilot project by MusicAIRE, a programme funded by the European Union. EFN's Folk Day project team will be working as fast as possible in the coming weeks to encourage and facilitate the participation of any person or organisation, whether a member of the EFN or not, in a live presentation or in an online format. We will soon be able to issue a participation kit and instructions about how to be part of this pan-European folk event - in any way you like! In the monthly newsletter and in some other specific emails we will be giving news for all subscribers. But, if you think you would like to participate in the European Folk Day, please sign up to the news for participants, where we will send concrete and timely information about all aspects of participation. SIGN UP HERE.

* Co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union and therefore the European Union cannot be held responsible for them.



Three more members have joined us recently. We are delighted to welcome:

🔸Maria Chelnokova Platel, from Spain

She told us this about what she does: “Organising tours in the EU for different world-music bands, providing their participation to international festivals, tour-management services, promotional services, until 2022 also was making a lot of tours and festivals in Russia of European and Asian artists, since 2001. Have my little roster of artists, but not limited with it – there are also networking projects with other agencies and artists.”

She wanted to join EFN because: "I think I’m very good at networking, by seeing and using all the possible opportunities of collaborations, making international cultural bridges, connecting people, doing favors and so on.”

I also hope", Maria also says, “it will be possible again one day, in the peaceful times, to come back to organising tours of foreign artists in Russia, but meanwhile I’m working on European and Latin American connections.”

Learn more on her website.

🔸Stephen Kearney, from Ireland

He says that says “I am a musician, storyteller and Radio Presenter. I work in Ireland, UK and Italy making music. I am a Womexican and run a programme by the same name.”

About joining EFN, Stephen quite simply and directly says ”I can make radio programmes about the members and their work and I can promote the network.”

For more information, check his Soundcloud.

🔸Eric Cooper, from Belgium

He is another broadcaster. About his programme he says “La Croisiere Folk is a radio programme whose aim is to make people discover all the facets of folk music. Or rather "folk" music because there is no such thing as folk (with a capital F)! These musics are transmitted thanks to the oral tradition and thus evolve and mix without taking into account borders. If you want to help us build this new musical adventure, contact us at The show is available free of charge for radio stations. The show is broadcast on Blues and Roots Radio, CK Bleu, RLM Bastia, Radio Trad Grand'Est , Radio Courcelles, Radio Marseillette and Witches Radio."

Eric, like Stephen Kearney, has joined EFN to help. “As a member… I could, thanks to my show, broadcast folk artists and thus help to make them better known, but as a journalist and creative person I would also like to play a role in [the network] and why not help the members to play on radios which do not broadcast (yet) folk music."

Learn more on his website.


News from EFN members


By Simon McKerrell

Thousands of pipers, drummers and their supporters have added their names to a petition to stop the BBC cutting back the bagpiping provision on BBC Radio Scotland!

The petition has gathered more than 9000 signatures and is being proposed by EFN member Simon McKerrell: “Pipeline, Classics Unwrapped and Jazz Nights are not just vital to young Scottish musicians and their families; to me, they are the manifestation of public service broadcasting in music--they deliver very high quality programmes that showcase our local talent, and reflect our identities back through music to Scotland, and the diaspora.

The good news is, that following interventions from MP Pete Wishart (formerly of Runrig), MP Alison Thewliss and MSP Angus Roberston--amongst others--there is now going to be a Scottish Parliament Debate on February the 23rd at which the BBC will have to provide answers as to why they want to cut back on our musical traditions.” (Simon McKerrell, EFN member)

The Scottish parliament will be debating the cuts on 23rd February, and all support for the petition would be hugely appreciated!

➡️ Learn more and sign the petition here.


By Gauran Narula, from WOMEX

The WOMEX team invites you to shape the programme for the 29th edition of the event taking place in A Coruña, Galicia, Spain (25 - 29 October 2023), by offering your artist showcase proposals, creative ideas, films, session topics, and more.

Our call for proposals addresses all musicians, filmmakers and music professionals from across the globe. From the received proposals, the official programme will be selected by an independent, international and annually changing jury. Proposals can be made in four categories - Showcase | Club Summit | Film | Conference - and can be submitted from our dedicated website. We look forward to hearing from you! Apply here.


Featured Member: Linkwadraat vzw

According to the information he provided when hebecame a member, "Linkwadraat is a leading folk and worldmusic agency mainly working in Benelux but also around. Founded in 1992 and still active ☺."

About the question of what his organisation can give to the European Folk Network as a member and what you think will be the benefits of membership, the leader, Dirk Seymus, answered: "A network of people build up in 27 years."

Learn more on their website.Remember: the Featured Artist section is open to the contributions of the members of the EFN. If you want to talk about someone contact


Featured Artist: Lena Willemark

By Araceli Tzigane

Lena Willemark is a singer, violinist, Härjedal flute (this) player and composer, born in 1960 in Evertsberg, in the municipality of Älvdalen (350 kilometers northwest of Stockholm). At the age of 9 she sings on the radio for the first time and creates her first artistic duo. At the age of 13 she takes the cows to the stables by herself for the first time. I say this out of more than mere curiosity and later you will understand why.

According to the Naxos website, "She appears with some of Sweden’s most successful folk-music groups such as Frifot with Per Gudmundson and Ale Möller, and ethno-jazz group Enteli with Jonas Knutsson, Bengt Berger and others".

At the age of 14, Lena starts playing the violin, at 18 she starts studying at the Stockholm Academy of Music and forms a band that plays her own pieces. At the age of 20 she joined various ensembles as a singer. Later he would specifically study singing. In 1987 he formed the group Frifot with Ale Möller and Per Gudmundson.

Since the late 80s, largely in collaboration with Elise Einarsdotter, she began to perform regularly in Sweden and other European countries. This duo would release their first album in 1989 (Secrets of Living), the same year that would see Lena's solo debut: "When the grass sways". From this point on, Lena's career would continue with multiple collaborations and tours, in both folk and classical contexts. Her collaboration with Ale Möller in 1994, the album Nordan, would go platinum.

Let's stop for a moment to listen to Lena singing in 1994 Mannelig, a piece that was included in the aforementioned album Nordan:

Many more details of each year's tours and collaborations are available on her website. In 2006 the album "Älvdalens Elektriska", focusing on music from their homeland, would receive a Grammis (the Swedish music awards). Frifot have continued to be active at least until 2011.

Until today, Lena has continued to work in the fields of classical music and jazz. But with Lena Willemark we can also learn a bit of a curious vocal pastoral tradition. In Sweden there are several ways of calling cattle. According to, "the kulning or herding calls is a special high-pitched vocal technique, a vocal means of expression, mainly used by women in the grazing pastures in Scandinavia. It has been used at least since the Middle Ages and functions primarily as a means of communication between the shepherdess and the animal and can be heard many miles away". And according to Aleksey Nikolsky in "The Pastoral Origin of Semiotically Functional Tonal Organization of Music" (available here) the fårlock is a sheep-calling.

Listen to Lena Willemark singing a kulning and a fårlock included in her album Älvdalens elektriska of 2006:

The portrait at the top of the profile is by Johan Månsson - CC BY 3.0, Link


Special content By EFN editors

Traditional arts are not aseptic. They are imbued with the history and worldview of the peoples. We cannot remain in the realm of beauty and the bucolic. We in the EFN cannot remain aloof from the pain of a devastating tragedy such as the one that Turkey and Syria are suffering these days and from the huge suffering of the Ukrainians that still continues.

🔸Call about the devastation in Turkey and Syria

From our new member Eric Cooper we know that Caritas International is collecting money for the damaged people in the bank account BE88 0000 0000 4141. If you want to send money, make a transfer to that account with the subject «4860 TURQUIE SYRIE». For more details, here is their press release about it. This is only one option we are aware of right now but EFN suggests that you contribute in any way that you already may have located.

🔸We cannot forget: one year of Ukraine's invasion

It seems incredible that this month will mark one year since the invasion of Ukraine began. Hopefully it will not come, hopefully before the 24th we will be able to celebrate that the violence has stopped.



Are you already a member? Then, remember that you can submit contents for this monthly newsletter. Email your content to, for these sections: · News from EFN Members. Brief announcements – of around 100 words and a link. · Featured artist. A profile with around 200 words, an embedded video and one link. Members are invited to submit profiles, considering solo and ensemble living or not living artists who have achieved lifelong artistic and technical quality or historical significance in the field of folk art from or developed in or settled in Europe. If you have any artists in mind that you'd like to feature, please ask in advance, just to be sure there is no other member already doing it. And whether you are a member or not, you can participate in this section: · Special sections. For instance, an interview with someone from an institution that is not a member or a thematic article by a guest writer or anything that can appear and be considered as interesting. This section can also host guest writers that are not members. If you'd like to share any content, contact us in advance to schedule it by emailing Of course, self promotional articles lacking interest won't be accepted. In case of doubt, the EFN board will be consulted and will decide. BECOMING A MEMBER? EFN membership is growing rapidly – why not join the network of traditional arts organisers and artists that stretches across Europe from the Irish Sea to the Baltic, the Mediterranean to the Black Sea? Find out more about membership and download an application form from DO YOU WANT TO SUPPORT THE EFN MORE? The EFN welcomes donations. We do a lot with little money. Imagine what we can do with a little more :) Let us know how much do you want to donate and we'll issue an invoice for your organization.

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