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EFN November's Newsletter, #9

Updated: Nov 18, 2022


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: 🔸Dates for the EFN conference 2023 🔸Brief report of the latest conferences attended 🔸EFN welcomes seven new members: Your Roots Are Showing (Ireland), Jason O'Rourke (Ireland), Folk Extreme (Finland), Apex Music International (Scotland), Strada Music (England), Ana Sors (England/Venezuela/Spain), El Pony Pisador (Catalonia). 🔸News from our members: Applications to showcase at English Folk Expo are open; A request for Internship from FAMDT. 🔸Our next featured member is VI.BE 🔸Our next featured artist is the Polish singer Maria Siwiec 🔸Special content: the Latvian Dainas, by Daina Zalāne ✍️ 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


Whilst at EFEx and WOMEX EFN had the pleasure of meeting with EFEX boss Tom Besford and, with great pleasure, confirming that the 2023 EFN Conference would be hosted by EFEx in Manchester, England. Running over three days 19, 20 & 21 October 2023, the Conference’s main programme will be integrated with EFEx’s showcases and associated events. More details will come in the New Year – but right now put the dates firmly in your diary – everyone is welcome!


EFN ON TOUR By Nod Knowles

October was an incredibly busy month for everyone in the folk world – and certainly for EFN. The third annual EFN conference, generously hosted in Manresa by Fira Mediterrania, brough 60+ EFN Members together for a series of discussions and speakers covering some of the most important issues for people involved in folk music, dance and storytelling. Group discussions, chaired by EFN Board members, focussed on subjects including the ways in which a younger generation can access traditional arts and the ever-increasing number of showcase events. Significantly for EFN’s future planning, the issues facing different areas of the folk scene were discussed in smaller sub-groups according to people’s main interest – such as festivals, educators, showcases, festivals, artists and agents. The results of these discussions, and a full account of the lively, intense and undoubtedly positive conference programme will be published soon. Before there was a moment to finalise reports of the conference, members were off to Manchester for the English Folk Expo (EFEx), featuring a host of English folk artists and guest appearances for artists from the 2022 partner country Ireland. And then to Lisbon, for WOMEX – where EFN Members found time amongst the frantic round of meetings and showcases to meet each other and make contact with a long list of new and potentially new members.



No doubt as a result of meetings at the EFN conference in Manresa, then EFEx then WOMEX, EFN has received a host of new memberships. The list is long and their reasons for joining are varied – and all positive. Here’s a summary of the people and organisations that we WELCOME to EFN in November:

🔸Your Roots Are Showing

From Ireland. They describe themselves as ‘Ireland’s newest and largest folk, roots and traditional music conference’ – which will take place on 22 to 26 January 2023. They joined EFN because ‘We believe strongly in promoting and strengthening the folk community in Europe.’

For more information, check their website.

🔸Jason O’Rourke

Also from Ireland. ‘I am a traditional Irish musician. I play concertina’ – in trio and in the instrumental and vocal group Madagan. Jason joined EFN for ‘networking’ and to ‘meet other musicians and organisations for collaborations.’

For more information, check his website.

🔸Folk Extreme

From Finland. It is 'an organisation of experimental folk music based in Tampere’. Their interest in EFN, they say is because their members are ‘highly educated folk music and dance professionals.’ Folk Extreme is ‘working with the academic research field within Finnish traditional music’ and they can provide information about research and the experimental folk scene in Europe.

For more information, check their website.

🔸Apex Music International

From Scotland. They are based in Glasgow. It is 'a company that aims to ‘provide the best support for our artists and events’ and their team can bring to EFN ‘50+ years of experience’ in ‘live touring, events, recording, business, governance and finance.’

For more information, check their website.

🔸Strada Music

From England. It is a well-established booking agency – a small team booking for ‘70+ artists, mainly UK’ and they hope that ‘we will be able to assist and network with other members – can vice-versa.’

For more information, check their website.

🔸Ana Sors

Also in England. Although working across continents as a ‘bridge between Venezuela, Spain and Britain’ - Ana Sors works to ‘develop projects related to music from Latin America, Spain and Portugal’. About EFN she says ‘I can offer my views on ways of working in other countries (e.g. Spanish speaking countries)’ and she notes that she is ‘interested in broadening my understanding and knowledge of roots and traditional music.’

For more information, check her website.

🔸El Pony Pisador

It is ‘a folk band from Catalonia, Spain’ featuring ‘traditional Celtic and folk music with a big dose of humour.’ They joined EFN because of their belief that ‘Folk is more than just a local tradition – it’s an international sentiment between individuals that can help enhance our world through music.’

For more information, check her website.


News from EFN members


By EFN editors, after the communication from our member EFEx

Just received in our mailbox this morning!

"The only showcase exclusively for folk, roots and acoustic music in England. English Folk Expo invites music industry representatives from the UK and beyond to network and discover amazing artists from this broad and diverse genre. [...] All selected showcasing artists will receive a fee and a conference pass for English Folk Expo’s new conference programme (which will include sessions that are part of the European Folk Network Conference running alongside the festival and showcase)."

Dates: 19-21st October 2023

Location: Northern Quarter, Manchester, UK

Application deadline: Midnight, Sunday 15th January 2023

Find more information and application form, here.



From Lucie Laigle on advice from Alban Cogrel of FAMDT

Lucie Laigle, a student of Sciences Po Rennes in France and a musician (hurdy gurdy) is seeking an internship and contacted EFN after advice from EFN Member Alban Cogrel of FAMDT. She says:

I have long been interested in traditional music. For my second semester, I'm looking for an internship of 4 months (between February and July) in an organization which spreads, highlights, and preserves traditional music. I have to spend this semester abroad, and I only speak English, German, Greek and French.

If you are recruiting interns, I would love to get to have a chat with you and see whether it would be interesting for us to work together. I can send you my resumé and more details about me in another email. If not, can you guide me to other organizations or people in your network which could match with my interest? Thank you for your help.

Kind regards,

Lucie Laigle’.

If you have an internship or advice to offer you can make contact with Lucie via EFN – email us at and we’ll put you directly in touch with this enthusiastic young musician.


Featured Member: VI.BE

VI.BE (formerly named Poppunt) is a non-profit organisation. They support & represent the Flemish & Brussels music scene (all non-classical genres) in many ways, on a national as well as an international scale, e.g. info sessions, advice centre, international visitor programs, sectoral meetings, Excite, Soundtrack, Stoemp! Concerts, Lokale Helden, Belgian Jazz Meeting, Belgian World Music Network Meeting & Showcase, Belgian stands at Jazzahead & WOMEX, Belgium Booms, Belgian focus on festivals and many more!

When they joined, they explained that:

"As a representative of the Flemish and Brussels folk & worldwide music scene, we have an overview of the current struggles, opportunities, strengths,… of our community. We organise national sectoral meetings on a yearly basis. Since we work on an international level too, we genuinely think our organisation can support this network to enhance collaborations between countries and different organisations (on many levels: financially, productionally, networking (organising stands at multiple conferences: WOMEX, Jazzahead…) etcetera)."

For more information, visit 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: Maria Siwiec

By Araceli Tzigane

Gałki is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Rusinów, about 90 kilometres south of Warsaw. Gałki is basically a road with a little bunch of houses on its sides. More than basically, literally. Here is an aerial view of Gałki.

Why should you care about this, you might think. Because this is the village of Maria Siwiec. A few years ago I had the experience of invading this lady's house in Gałki, with four other Spaniards and three Poles, of enjoying her infinite patience and, of course, her excellent art.

We were not few in number, but even so, another musician, from a different band, arrived to stay that night and, after the rehearsal with my Spanish group, Maria rehearsed with him. She is a reference for young Polish musicians, who come to her to learn because she is an inexhaustible source of songs. Here is an example:

The Fundacja Muzyka Odnaleziona, lead by Andrzej Bieńkowski, has been doing an incredible job of documenting traditional Polish music and dance for decades. They made this recording of Maria:

Maria was born in Gałki in 1959 and has always lived there, although she has travelled around Poland and other countries to take her music. She teaches singers and instrumentalists, who learn from her, among other things, mazurka melodies.

According to Muzyka Tradycyjna, together with her husband Wacław, she also teaches dance. She deals with handicrafts: embroidery, crocheting, making Easter palms, tissue paper flowers, harvest wreaths and spiders. She learned it from her older sisters, but she learned some of the patterns recently.

Since 2012, Maria Siwiec has been leading the Gołcunecki singing group composed of several ladies from her region. The group's repertoire is very wide - ancient ritual and devotional songs, lyrical songs, songs for fun, songs for children.

Maria has an album released under her name: Śpiewaczka z Gałek Rusinowskich. Here is the page about it on Discogs. My favourite song of the album is W cimnym lesie ptosek siodo. It is not on Youtube, not of Spotify either, but I want to share it with you so I put it in my Dropbox. Please, please, listen to it by clicking the cover:

The portrait of Maria Siwiec on the top is by Piotr Gronek.


Special Contents


Written by: Daina Zalāne

Member of the Board of EFN

Culture Management Centre “Lauska”, Latvia

Latvian folksongs are a unique example of European traditional heritage. Just like any other folk tradition, it has been passed down orally through the generations until at the end of the 19th century during the time of Romanticism and Nation-building in Europe some educated men started collecting, writing down, systematising and archiving these songs and melodies. In some cases quite ancient world-views and customs can be perceived through these songs.

The main collector of the dainas is the folklorist Krišjānis Barons (1835-1923), also referred to as the “father of the dainas”, as he collected more than 200 000 of these folksongs and created a classification system to organise them according to their themes. He also prepared the first publication of the Latvju Dainas in six volumes between 1894 and 1915. Very famous is his “cabinet of dainas” – a custom-built cabinet with small drawers in which all the collected dainas (268 815 verses) are stored in handwriting on cigarette-paper. The original of this cabinet is on display at the National Library of Latvia. The content of the cabinet has been scanned and digitised and can be researched online in

A particularity is the very strict structure of the dainas – it mostly consists of four lines that manifest a particular thought or poetic picture. Each line has four feet of eight syllables mostly in the trochaic metre. There are also dactyl rhythms, then each line has two feet and each foot has three syllables, the first beeing stressed, the other two unstressed. This particularity enables each daina to be sung almost to any other Latvian traditional folk-melody, as they all adjust to this pattern. It is, however, very difficult to translate these songs, as they have a particular way of poetic expression not easily transferable into other languages.

More the hardships, more the troubles, Ever brightly keep I singing. Sing to make the time pass faster, Sing to soothe my aching heart. (transl. Ieva Auziņa Szentivanyi, Dainas – Wit and Wisdom of Ancient Latvian Poetry)

Auļi & Rodenpoys - Pieguļā

Thematically the dainas were created in the peasant community thus the farmer’s life, work, their world-view, beliefs and customs are reflected. It is said that there is a daina for every life situation, as the themes range from everyday working songs, family and social life, joys and grievances, seasonal festivities, weddings and funerals, to mythological pre-Christian deities, where the main goddess – the Sun is perceived as the universal mother. Main other female deities are the Goddess of fate Māra and Laima – literally translatable as “good luck”. The male deities are Dieviņš – the dear God who walks the fields and visits the homesteads, and Pērkons – the Thundergod who steals the daughter of the Sun to be wed by one of his sons.

A huge part of the dainas are about Jāņi – the Midsummer festivity, when most of the beliefs and rituals all about wealth and fertility are being sung about. Jānis is also perceived as one of God s sons who rides a horse and arrives once a year on the Jāņi eve.

Deargod, Thine is this old wisdom, Laima, this my fate from Thee: Maiden was I, then a wife, From a wife a mother dear. (transl. Ieva Auziņa Szentivanyi, Dainas – Wit and Wisdom of Ancient Latvian Poetry)

Jānīšam zelta josta - Auļi feat. Banga

The complete collection of Latvian folksongs is held by the Archive of Latvian Folklore – which is gradually being digitised and added on, where more than 500 000 Latvian folksongs can be found and researched.


HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS NEWSLETTER 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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