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Folk singer Martin Carthy examines the rise and fall of Ewan MacColl's Critics Group.

Martin Carthy listens to long-lost recordings that reveal the rise and fall of Ewan MacColl's Critics Group, a controversial driving force of the 1960s folk revival.

Immediately after the success of the BBC Radio Ballads, Ewan MacColl set about the Herculean task of trying to drag British folk music into mainstream culture. Frustrated by the dreary amateurishness of folk song performance, he decided to establish his own centre of excellence to professionalise the art. He called it "The Critics Group".

MacColl tutored select artists "to sing folk songs the way they should be sung" and to think about the origins of what they were singing. He introduced Stanislavski technique and Laban theory into folk performance and explored style, content and delivery.

BBC producer Charles Parker recorded these sessions to aid group analysis. 40 years on, the tapes have come to light. For the first time, a clear sound picture can be constructed of this influential group in action. Former group members Peggy Seeger, Sandra Kerr, Frankie Armstrong, Richard Snell, Brian Pearson and Phil Colclough recount six frantic years of rehearsing, performing and criticising each other. They recall the powerful hold that Ewan MacColl exerted which was eventually to lead to the collapse of the group in acrimony and blame.

Presenter Martin Carthy MBE, now an elder statesman of the British folk music scene, shared many of McColl's ambitions but didn't join the group himself. He listens to the recordings and assesses the legacy of MacColl's controversial experiment.

Producers: Genevieve Tudor and Chris Eldon Lee

A Culture Wise Production for BBC Radio 4.

Archive on 4

The Debate of Our Times

Giles Dilnot searches the programme archives to see if political debate has changed.

4 Extra Debut. Has political debate changed? Giles Dilnot plunders the TV and radio archives. With Kenneth Clarke and Tony Benn. From September 2012.

Giles Dilnot delves into the archives of Radio 4's Any Questions and other television and radio discussion programmes to find out if political debate has changed in this country. Walking the corridors of Westminster and Whitehall, he meets Kenneth Clarke, Shirley Williams, Diane Abbott, and Tony Benn, among others, and asks if they think debate has dumbed down? Tony Benn recalls key moments like the dropping of the little known 14 day rule, or the first broadcast of Parliament in 1975, "When the transmitter was switched on, my voice was the first that was heard and I thought about it very carefully, what I would say", but did it impact on political debate outside the House of Commons? Conservative former Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke thinks the quality of debate is more to do with who is talking, "Every generation has people who are superb at debating and every generation has people who can bore the hind leg off a donkey", but Labour's Diane Abbott believes debate is less than it once was because "professional politicians have been managed to death" which leads to the "killing off of political discussion and public engagement". So Giles asks long standing presenter Jonathan Dimbleby and also the Independent's chief political columnist Steve Richards to compare different decades. And Giles is astonished, when he listens back over five decades of debate about the topics the public really care about such as education or health, to discover that the substance of what is being discussed has not really changed. So, is it possible to say whether debate has declined, or not?

Producer: Kirsten Lass.

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Archive on 4

Archive on 4

Presenting the Past - How the Media Changes History

Juliet Gardiner on how directors, writers and producers achieve authenticity in their work

4 Extra Debut. Juliet Gardiner discovers how TV, radio, books and films strive for authenticity in presenting history to audiences. From Nov 2013.

Change has swept through the way history is presented to the public. Programmes, films and books dealing with the past used to emphasise authority and accuracy as their great strengths. While those elements are still valued, argues historian and broadcaster Juliet Gardiner, the over-riding aim now has become to present an authentic view of the past. But how is that achieved? And what happens when the desire for authenticity conflicts with the facts?

Drawing on her role as an historical adviser on television programmes, feature films and to writers of historical fiction over the years, Juliet Gardiner shows how directors, writers and producers achieve authenticity in their work and how this affects the history we see, read and hear. She also lifts the veil on behind-the-scenes tensions and disagreements over how far the facts should be bent to achieve the precious authentic "feel".

Taking her examples from documentaries, recent movies, dramas and books as well as children's programmes, Juliet Gardiner presents a lively and revealing personal essay on how the ways of presenting history have evolved - and how they have in turn shaped the way we, the public, see and think about the past.

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Archive on 4

Trad Ar Fad!

Series 3 Episode 1

Celebration of young folk and traditional music talent from Ulster and beyond.

Déanann Trad Ar Fad! ceiliúradh ar ghlúin úrnua do cheoltóirí traidisiúnta atá ag teacht chun cinn le blianta beaga anuas i gCúige Uladh agus níos faide i gcéin. Is í Emma Ní Fhíoruisce atá mar láithreoir ar an chlár spleodrach, lán-cheoil a ndéarnadh taifeadadh air i Muileann Mhic Con Midhe i mBéal Feirste. Beidh ceoltóirí den scoth ar an ardán lena n-áirítear Ross Ainslie agus an Sanctuary Band, Hoodman Blind agus beidh ár láitheoir ildánach féin, Emma Ní Fhíoruisce i mbun amhránaíochta fosta. Buailfidh muid le cuid de na ceoltóirí óga atá ag déanamh staidéar ar an cheol in Ollscoil na Banríona i mBéal Feirste.

Trad Ar Fad! is a celebration of young folk and traditional music talent from Ulster and beyond. This exciting performance-filled programme, presented by Emma Ní Fhíoruisce, has been filmed at the Conway Mill in Belfast and features performances from top artists such as Scotland's Ross Ainslie and The Sanctuary Band, Hoodman Blind from Limerick, and our very own presenter Emma Ní Fhíoruisce. We'll also hear from some young musicians who are studying music at Queen's University in Belfast.

Genre

Trad Ar Fad!

Series 3 Episode 2

Emma Ní Fhíoruisce introduces traditional Irish music performance.

Déanann Trad Ar Fad! ceiliúradh ar ghlúin úrnua do cheoltóirí traidisiúnta atá ag teacht chun cinn le blianta beaga anuas i gCúige Uladh agus níos faide i gcéin. Is í Emma Ní Fhíoruisce atá mar láithreoir ar an chlár spleodrach, lán-cheoil a ndéarnadh taifeadadh air i Muileann Mhic Con Midhe i mBéal Feirste. Beidh ceoltóirí den scoth ar an ardán lena n-áirítear Barry agus Laura Kerr, Gráinne Holland, agus na deirfiúracha Melanie agus Paula Houton. Cluinfear fosta ón fhéile bhliantúil Soma i gCaisleán Uidhilín, Co. An Dúin, áit ar chruinnigh amhránaithe agus ceoltóirí le chéile don ócáid speisialta ‘From Donegal to Down’.

Trad Ar Fad! is a celebration of the young folk and traditional music talent that has come to the fore over the last number of years from Ulster and beyond. This exciting performance-filled programme, presented by Emma Ní Fhíoruisce has been filmed in the Conway Mill in Belfast and features performances from Barry and Laura Kerr, Gráinne Holland and sisters Melanie and Paula Houton. Also featuring will be the Soma Festival in Castlewellan, County Down with a gathering of great singers that came together to celebrate music in an event called From Donegal to Down.

Genre

Trad Ar Fad!

Series 3 Episode 4

Emma Ní Fhíoruisce introduces traditional Irish music performance.

With performances from the Benedict Morris and Cormac Crummey Band, Niamh McElduff, and the winner of the BBC Young Musicians Platform Award in 2018, Martha Guiney

Emma Ní Fhíoruisce presents Trad ar Fad! from the Conway Mill in Belfast. With performances from the Benedict Morris and Cormac Crummey Band, Niamh McElduff, and the winner of the BBC Young Musicians Platform Award in 2018, Martha Guiney with accompaniment from Aishling Lyons. We’ll also hear from the young musicians in An Crann Óg in Gaoth Dobhair, Co. Donegal.

Clár deireanach na sraithe: Déanann Trad Ar Fad! ceiliúradh ar ghlúin úrnua do cheoltóirí traidisiúnta atá ag teacht chun cinn le blianta beaga anuas i gCúige Uladh agus níos faide i gcéin. Is í Emma Ní Fhíoruisce atá mar láithreoir ar an chlár spleodrach, lán-cheoil a ndéarnadh taifeadadh air i Muileann Mhic Con Midhe i mBéal Feirste. Beidh ceoltóirí den scoth ar an ardán lena n-áirítear grúpa ceoil Benedict Morris agus Cormac Crummey, Niamh McElduff, agus ceoltóir ar bronnadh gradam BBC Young Musicians Platform uirthi sa bhliain 2018, Martha Guiney, á tionlacan ag Aishling Lyons. Cluinfidh muid fosta ó cheoltóirí óga insan ghrúpa An Crann Óg as Gaoth Dobhair, Co. Dhún na nGall.

Méabh O'Hare, Léiritheoir Feidhmiúcháin

Karen Kirby, Feidhmeannach Coimisiúnaithe

Credits

Executive Producer
Meabh O'Hare
Commissioning Editor
Karen Kirby

Genre

Morag Dhòmhnallach a' feitheamh ribh le taghadh de dh'òrain Ghàidhlig. 08000 96 7050

Tha i beachdail, tha i beòthail agus tha i feitheamh ribh le taghadh ciùil. Morag is presenting her great choice of traditional Gaelic music.

Genre

Take the Floor

The Gordon Pattullo Ceilidh Band

For the very best in traditional music and song, join Gary Innes for Take the Floor.

Gary Innes presents a programme of traditional music and song. Our session from the archive this week comes from The Gordon Pattullo Ceilidh Band. It was Gordon's debut as a bandleader on Take the Floor recorded at The Reid Hall in Forfar back in 2007. Gordon also joins Gary to chat about his memories of the evening. In the second hour it’s accordionist and entertainer William Marshall that is Gary’s special guest . Added to that we treat you some dedications and new records made during lockdown.

Genre

Tiompan

Ceòl Ceilteach agus clàran ùra, le Mairead NicIllinnein

Tha ceòl air Tiompan bho Elephant Sessions, Kris Drever, Deacon Blue agus gu leòr eile.

Ceòl Ceilteach, clàran ùra agus fios mu cò tha cluich càite le Mairead NicIllinnein. Celtic music, new releases and gig guide presented by Mairead MacLennan.

Mairead NicIllinnein le ceòl Ceilteach, clàran ùra agus fios mu cò tha cluich càite. Tha ceòl air Tiompan bho Elephant Sessions, Kris Drever, Deacon Blue agus gu leòr eile.

Genre

Brand

Tiompan

Morag Dhòmhnallach a' feitheamh ribh le taghadh de dh'òrain Ghàidhlig. 08000 96 7050

Tha i beachdail, tha i beòthail agus tha i feitheamh ribh le taghadh ciùil. Morag is presenting her great choice of traditional Gaelic music.

Genre

Sounding Out

B.B. King

B.B. King is filmed in Piccadilly recording his 'B.B. King in London' album. (1972)

First transmitted in 1972, B.B. King is filmed at a recording session in London where he talks about himself and the guitarists who have inspired him.

First transmitted in 1972, B.B. King is filmed at a recording session at Command Studios, Piccadilly, London during the sessions that led to the 'B.B. King in London' album. The blues legend talks about himself and the guitarists who have inspired him, including Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian and T-Bone Walker.

Credits

Director
Charlie Gillett
Producer
Tony Cash
Performer
B.B. King
Participant
Paul Butler
Participant
Errol Dixon
Participant
Pete Wingfield
Participant
John Best
Participant
Barry Ford

Series

Sounding Out

Capturing the variety and scope of Ulster-Scots music. Filmed in Brownlow House, Lurgan.

Capturing the variety and scope of the music that is Ulster-Scots. Filmed in Brownlow House, Lurgan.

Credits

Producer
Bob O'Brien
Director
Bob O'Brien
Assistant Producer
Mark Wilson
Executive Producer
Deirdre Devlin

Genre

Featuring performances from Paul Brady and Rhiannon Giddens.

Phil Cunningham explores the musical connections between Scotland, Ulster and America. This first episode includes performances from Paul Brady and Rhiannon Giddens.

Music and history combine as renowned Scottish performer Phil Cunningham explores age-old musical connections between Scotland, Ulster and America. Featuring a wealth of music, sacred and secular, this episode includes performances from Paul Brady and Rhiannon Giddens.

Credits

Presenter
Phil Cunningham

Phil Cunningham ends his journey at the Grand Ol' Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Phil Cunningham explores the musical connections between Scotland, Ulster and America. In the final programme his journey takes him to the Grand Ol' Opry.

Music and history combine as renowned Scottish performer Phil Cunningham explores age-old musical connections between Scotland, Ulster and America. Featuring a wealth of music, sacred and secular, in this final programme in the series are country and bluegrass legends Rosanne Cash and Ricky Skaggs, as Phil's journey takes him to the Grand Ol' Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee.

Credits

Presenter
Phil Cunningham
Producer
Fiona Keane
Executive Producer
Deirdre Devlin
Executive Producer
Ewan Angus

In Tune Highlights

'I think we should be more concerned about the next generation of audiences' - Thomas Hampson

Sean's guests this week include composer Hans Zimmer and baritone Thomas Hampson.

Picks from the week on In Tune with Sean Rafferty: Hans Zimmer, Thomas Hampson, Ailie Robertson, Oliver Mears and Robert Hollingworth.

Picks from the week on In Tune with Sean Rafferty: film composer Hans Zimmer, baritone Thomas Hampson, harpist Ailie Robertson, opera director Oliver Mears and choral director Robert Hollingworth.

Credits

Interviewed Guest
Thomas Hamspon
Interviewed Guest
Oliver Mears
Interviewed Guest
Hans Zimmer
Interviewed Guest
Ailie Robertson
Interviewed Guest
Robert Hollingworth
Interviewer
Sean Rafferty

In Tune Highlights

'Everybody owns Shakespeare now...' - Joan Armatrading

Picks from across the week on In Tune including Joan Armatrading and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet

Picks from the week on In Tune with Suzy Klein and Clemency Burton-Hill: Joan Armatrading, John Butt, John Spiers, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, and Lucy Parham with Henry Goodman.

Credits

Interviewed Guest
Joan Armatrading
Interviewed Guest
John Butt
Interviewed Guest
John Spiers
Interviewed Guest
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet
Interviewed Guest
Lucy Parham
Interviewed Guest
Henry Goodman
Interviewer
Klein, Suzy
Interviewer
Clemency Burton-Hill

Amanda Kauranne takes us on a road trip to Finland.

In Tune Highlights

‘The world’s biggest complex of arts organisations under one roof’ - Alexander Sitkovetsky on the Lincoln Center in New York

Picks from across the week, including Kate Rusby and Sir Antonio Pappano.

Picks from across the week with Sean Rafferty, including Kate Rusby, Sir Antonio Pappano and Matthew Whitaker. Plus musicians from the Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center.

Credits

Interviewed Guest
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Interviewed Guest
Kate Rusby
Interviewed Guest
Damien O’Kane
Interviewed Guest
Sir Antonio Pappano
Interviewed Guest
Matthew Whitaker
Interviewed Guest
Sean Rafferty

Singer and multi-instrumentalist Inge Thomson takes us on a Road Trip to Shetland

Music journalist Betto Arcos takes us on a trip to Veracruz in Mexico.

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