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The Folk Music Hour

David Calder presents the music he loves in The Folk Music Hour.

Airing time: 12pm Sunday, Replays 7:30pm Thursday

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Almost all music has a folk origin: blues, jazz, rock and even some classical. As Big Bill Broonzy famously said: all songs are folk songs - never heard a horse sing!

Arguably the first Kiwi to make a living with a mandolin, David spent some of his musical life playing bluegrass, but was performing in the folk boom as early as 1964.

He performed in Europe and the UK in the 70s, and recorded original music for NZ film and television. He dabbled in folk rock and pop in California in the 80s while teaching kids to sing. In London in the 90s he learned to help special needs children to read.

Now retired and no longer performing, he is free to pursue any of the musical paths he loves: song-writing, tuition - guitar, piano, banjo, mandolin, autoharp, dulcimer, even bass - and he works to record his original songs, such as

A long-standing enthusiast for NZ’s own folk music, David also still loves US old-time music, nurtured since Doc Watson LPs first made it to these shores, and explores the folk tradition of the British and Irish isles. He is a fan of World Music and fiercely proud of WOMAD Taranaki. A natural entertainer since his debut on radio aged six, David thinks radio is the perfect performance medium and now has an extensive archive of programmes.


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The 21st century shows no signs of tiring of new ways of playing folk.

Duration: 00:58:11 | Date: 3 December, 2023

Christy Moore

Christy Moore has a great record of performance, with original songs that highlight & extend the folk legacy of Ireland.

Duration: 00:58:21 | Date: 26 November, 2023

John Martyn

Since his passing in 2009, the music of the UK folk & experimental artist has come to be appreciated even more widely.

Duration: 00:57:36 | Date: 10 September, 2023

Mixtape 14

Another Mixtape with discoveries we simply must share.

Duration: 58:19 | Date: 19 November, 2023

Joni at 80

Joni Mitchell was born on November 7th, 1943, and we celebrate her 80th.

Duration: 00:58:12 | Date: 12 November, 2023

Songs of Peace

A programme of songs for Parihaka Day, November 5th, with an emphasis on peace and reconciliation.

Duration: 00:58:10 | Date: 5 November, 2023

Our 450th

Our 450th programme. We celebrate with a playlist of our favourite music, folk and beyond.

Duration: 00:58:40 | Date: 29 October, 2023

Emily Portman

The West Country folk singer is winning a following for her solo work as well as her collaborations with others.

Duration: 00:57:49 | Date: 22 October, 2023

The Moon

The beauty of the recent blue supermoon inspires a playlist of songs, folk and beyond.

Duration: 00:58:11 | Date: 15 October, 2023

Covers #4

Another playlist of superb interpretations of songs already recorded by some great writers.

Duration: 00:58:26 | Date: 8 October, 2023

Gráda Reunion

The Kiwi-Irish folk group, Gráda, is in NZ for a reunion tour that their fans thought might never happen.

Duration: 00:58:10 | Date: 1 October, 2023

Robbie Robertson

We salute the late Canadian songwriter and guitarist who left a legacy of folk-rock unparalleled in American music.

Duration: 00:58:13 | Date: 24 September, 2023

Mid-Year WOMAD

We go around the world with a programme of world music to keep us going until WOMAD 2024.

Duration: 00:58:12 | Date: 17 September, 2023

Instruments of Folk Part 4 - Pluck

The fourth in our series The Instruments of Folk investigates the music that comes from plucking strings.

Duration: 00:55:47 | Date: 3 September, 2023

Instruments of Folk Part 3 - Blow

We continue our occasional series about the instruments of folk with the oldest musical instruments of humankind - ones that we blow.

Duration: 00:58:19 | Date: 27 August, 2023

More Folk on Screen

Another playlist of folk & folkish that have made a film look good

Duration: 00:58:14 | Date: 20 August, 2023

Folkways Turns 75

The iconic record label, the source of so many songs still sung today, marks a milestone.

Duration: 00:57:22 | Date: 13 August, 2023

Molly Tuttle

The instrumental virtuoso Molly Tuttle has wowed audiences from an early age with her folk and bluegrass music.

Duration: 00:58:16 | Date: 6 August, 2023

Mixtape 13

Another lineup of great folk from a variety of talented artists from many different backgrounds.

Duration: 00:58:11 | Date: 30 July, 2023

Traditional Folk

The genesis of traditional songs and what became of them is a sort of musical detective story that anyone can play.

Duration: 00:58:12 | Date: 23 July, 2023

W W Guthrie

We honour the Oklahoma troubadour around the time of his July 14 birthday, playing his songs performed by his descendants and admirers

Duration: 00:58:24 | Date: 16 July, 2023

David Crosby

Known for a career in rock, the late singer’s legacy of beautiful acoustic music has a contemporary folk feel.

Duration: 00:58:12 | Date: 9 July, 2023

More Covers

A playlist of songs with that thing folk does so well - artists covering others’ songs in new ways.

Duration: 00:58:29 | Date: 2 July, 2023

Abigail Lapell

A Canadian contemporary folk artist is making waves at home, and abroad.

Duration: 00:58:14 | Date: 25 June, 2023


Our first programme observing President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.

Duration: 00:58:25 | Date: 18 June, 2023

Songs of the Sea

Songs about seafaring are some of our most loved, a rich strand woven into the folk tradition.

Duration: 00:58:14 | Date: 11 June, 2023