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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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Woverview 2023 Part 1

WOMAD is back, and we’re playing some of the music, hoping you’ll come to sunny New Plymouth in March.

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

Pete Seeger 2023

Our annual Pete Seeger special looks at the songs he sang promoting freedom & civil rights.

Duration: 00:58:14 | Date: 29 January, 2023

Burns Night

Every January 25th, the world celebrates the birthday of the Scottish poet and songwriter Robert Burns, born in 1759.

Duration: 00:58:16 | Date: 22 January, 2023

Folk and Racism

Society honours its living conformists and its dead trouble-makers. A special programme of African American folk for Martin Luther King Day.

Duration: 00:58:16 | Date: 15 January, 2023

Harps Down Under

A double bill of Australian Harpers introduces a Harp Festival in Auckland on Waitangi Weekend.

Duration: 00:57:37 | Date: 8 January, 2023

Sandy Denny

Our year always begins with Sandy, whose birthdate is January 6th. This year, some of the many covers of her songs by other artists.

Duration: 00:58:14 | Date: 1 January, 2023

The Festive Season 2022

You can listen on 104.4FM, stream, or podcast our Christmas/New Year programme throughout the season. Thank you for following the Folk Music Hour. Happy Holidays!

Duration: 00:58:11 | Date: 18 December, 2022


A terrific folk festival in South australia is a colourful and laid back glimpse into the broad range of Aussie folk talent.

Duration: 00:58:22 | Date: 11 December, 2022

Mixtape 12

Sometimes Folk Music Hour stumbles on new songs or a new take on an old song to share with you.

Duration: 00:58:18 | Date: 4 December, 2022

Bonny Light Horseman

A Trio recording new folk has its roots planted in traditional soil.

Duration: 00:57:30 | Date: 27 November, 2022

Fingerpickin' Good

A playlist of songs accompanied by a folk guitar style way more delectable than fried chicken.

Duration: 00:56:11 | Date: 20 November, 2022


Three-part harmony sounds good, so the trio has a long history in groups, folk and beyond.

Duration: 00:58:37 | Date: 13 November, 2022

Joni at 79

We cannot let Joni’s birthday pass without her music, our admiration and some welcome news.

Duration: 00:59:01 | Date: 6 November, 2022


A collection from among David’s favourite songs with folk roots, chosen from a lifetime of loving music, and marking a Folk Music Hour milestone.

Duration: 00:59:10 | Date: 30 October, 2022

Labour Day

We explore the folk music that arises out of the struggle for workers’ rights, as May Day and our own Labour Day mark workers’ contributions to our lives.

Duration: 00:57:18 | Date: 23 October, 2022

Mixtape 11

A programme of songs and tunes too good to not share.

Duration: 00:58:16 | Date: 16 October, 2022

Drums and Percussion

In our 2nd in the series, The Instruments of Folk, we put the case that wanting percussion led to the first human instrument-making.

Duration: 00:58:09 | Date: 9 October, 2022

All Music is Folk

Folk is a broad church and restricting who is and who isn’t performing it can tie us in knots.

Duration: 00:56:54 | Date: 2 October, 2022

Sarah Jarosz

The Texas-raised singer and multi-instrumentalist has strong folk and old-timey roots but can sound right up-to-date, too.

Duration: 00:58:39 | Date: 25 September, 2022

The Instruments of Folk Pt. 1 - The Voice

We launch an occasional series of programmes exploring the musical instruments of Folk, starting with the human voice.

Duration: 00:55:32 | Date: 18 September, 2022

Funny Folks

We relax and have a laugh with some folk humour from around the world.

Duration: 00:57:57 | Date: 11 September, 2022

Luck O' the Irish

The songs of the Emerald Isle have influenced folk music the world over.

Duration: 00:57:10 | Date: 4 September, 2022

Virtuosi of Folk

We’re accustomed to virtuosos playing in classical music, but folk instrumentalists show some stunning skills, too.

Duration: 00:57:27 | Date: 28 August, 2022

Natalie Merchant

The former lyricist and singer for a Jamestown NY rock band has solo albums with powerful settings of some folk classics

Duration: 00:58:19 | Date: 21 August, 2022

Stan Rogers

In just a few years, the Canadian songwriter and folk artist made a collection of original folk music still enjoyed all over the world.

Duration: 00:58:07 | Date: 14 August, 2022