Edinburgh Folk Club – Carry on Streamin

On 10 June, Edinburgh Folk Club launched Carry on Streamin, its response to the gap in live performance left by the COVID-19 measures, and a fund-raiser to help performers of traditional music in Scotland who have lost their incomes. Carry on Streamin will offer a 20-30 minute YouTube performance, including numbers by featured folk acts and some footage from the archives. Linked to the performance will be a downloadable newsletter with articles, reviews, guitar tablature and news from the folk world around the country and abroad.

The goal of this endeavour is to raise £10 000 for the Paddy Bort Fund. The fund is a legacy of the late Eberhard “Paddy” Bort, former Chair of Edinburgh Folk Club, who died suddenly and prematurely on 17 February 2017. A larger than life character, Paddy, who arrived from Germany in 1995, was passionately dedicated to the traditional music of Scotland and Ireland. A lecturer in politics at the University of Edinburgh, he was academic co-ordinator of the Parliamentary Interns programme at the university’s Academy of Government. He campaigned through his writing and through initiatives such as the Scottish Rural Parliament and Nordic Horizons for the improvement in local democracy. For Paddy, this professional activity ran seamlessly into his equally committed campaigning to keep alive the folk tradition, on which he was equally learned. After his death, his colleagues in the Edinburgh Folk Club discovered he had quietly put his hand in his own pocket to promote his passion, so it is apt that the legacy fund should bear his name.

The Paddy Bort Fund is, therefore, an appropriate tribute to a man who left the world of Scottish folk richer than he found it. Since it was set up, the fund has disbursed small sums to help performers who find themselves in unforeseen crisis of the “an elephant sat on my guitar” type. Things have just become a whole lot more serious, however, and the world of folk music is now in crisis, with touring performers losing their always modest incomes, and some of the small and remote venues, which are the life-blood of the traditional music tour, in danger of closing permanently.

Edinburgh Folk Club is a venerable institution, with, until now, an unbroken nearly fifty-year history in the capital. With the enforced interruption to its weekly meetings, lately moved to the Ukrainian Community Centre in Royal Terrace, the Club is moving on-line with the dual purpose of bringing the music and the news to all who are interested, while raising money through a PayPal link to ensure the continuing health of this key element of national heritage. The title, Carry on Streamin, is a play on “The Carrying Stream” the annual November festival instigated by Paddy Bort in memory of that other legend of the Scottish folk scene, Hamish Henderson.

Go on line to watch and read the first linked edition. Featured on YouTube will be Bob Fox, Nuala Kennedy, Jim and Susie Malcolm, Steve Tilston, The Squirrel Hillbillies (USA) and the Wendy Weatherby Band. In the first newsletter you can read about a range of topics around the country. For budding guitarists with time on their hands, there will also be a regular feature on both video and in print of a simple arrangement by Andy Smith, Chair of Kelso Folk and Live Music Club for all the aspiring bedroom guitarists out there.

For further information please contact Dr John Barrow, Chair of Edinburgh Folk Club either by email or phone +44(0)7968 131 737.

Jim Welsh

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