Shirley Collins, Madeleine Peyroux at the FAI main conference
Folk Alliance International (FAI), the world’s leading non-profit organization for folk music, has announced jazz and blues artist Madeleine Peyroux and Crown-honored English folk music icon Shirley Collins as keynote speakers of its thirty-fourth annual conference, which will be held May 18-22 in a hybrid format, live in Kansas City, MO, and online from anywhere.
Madeleine Peyroux is a world-renowned jazz, blues and folk artist whose breakthrough 2004 album Careless Love went platinum internationally. Born in Athens, Georgia, Peyroux made her teenage debut on the streets of Paris’ Latin Quarter. Offering compelling original material and insightful interpretations of classics and modern melodies by Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams and Leonard Cohen, she has recorded with Allen Toussaint, Walter Becker (of Steely Dan), Marc Ribot, Meshell Ndegeocello and Bill Wyman (of the Rolling Stones) and sang on stage with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. His atmospheric version of Serge Gainsborough’s La Javanaise was used in the Oscar-winning soundtrack to The Shape of Water, and his countless accolades include the coveted honor of BBC International Artist of the Year. Thirty years after her first days on the streets, Peyroux is the proud curator of nine seductive albums and an acclaimed performer with sold-out world tours.
Peyroux’s presentation and performance will take place in person and will also be streamed online on May 20 at 12:30 p.m. Central Time.
Shirley Collins is an English folk singer, song collector and perhaps the greatest living embodiment of the musical threads that connect the country to its history. As a prominent presence during the Second English Folk Revival, she helped launch the ‘golden age’ of British folk-rock. After a period of silence, Collins released her acclaimed record Lodestar in 2016 – a collection of English, American and Cajun songs dating from the 16th century to the 1950s. This was followed by her latest feature, Heart’s Ease, in 2020. January 2022, a revised and updated edition of his singular memoir America Over the Water has been published, chronicling his journey through the southern states of America with Alan Lomax documenting music and culture. Collins is a Member of the Order of the British Empire, received a Gold Badge from the English Folk Dance and Song Society, is a recipient of a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award and is currently Patron of the South East Folk Arts Network and Folk South West. A documentary film about her life, The Ballad of Shirley Collins, was released in October 2017. NPR’s Bob Boilen called her “timeless”, continuing, “a legend – a humble, but undoubtedly a transformative voice” . Meanwhile, former FAI keynote speaker Billy Bragg said: “Shirley Collins is, without a doubt, one of England’s greatest cultural treasures.”
Collin’s online interview will be streamed for conference delegates and streamed online May 21 at 12:30 p.m. Central. Presented in partnership with Horizons UK, the interview will be conducted by Will Hodgkinson, Chief Rock & Pop Critic for The Times newspaper (UK). Will is an author, has written for Mojo magazine, The Guardian, The Independent and Vogue, and presents the TV show Sky Arts Songbook (UK).
“When we talk about the preservation, migration, evolution and authenticity of music, Shirley and Madeleine represent two different eras of deeply invested song collectors and performers who embody elements of our Living Traditions theme on both sides. of an ocean,” said FAI executive director Aengus. finnan.
Past FAI keynote speakers have included Vice President Al Gore, literary titan Margaret Atwood and acclaimed entertainers Rhiannon Giddens, Billy Bragg, Judy Collins, Graham Nash, Mavis Staples and Ani DiFranco.
The 2022 conference will feature various forms of regional, national and international traditional folk music in the form of performances and presentations. Additionally, programming includes a folklorist summit, an online disability centering summit, a full-day safety training session on the art of mass gathering, an elder wisdom session, and the annual International Folk Music Awards.
Registration and additional information about the hybrid conference is available online at: folk.org/programs/conference