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News & Press: E-News

May 2019 Newlsetter

Thursday, May 9, 2019  
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Board Updates, Nordic Folk Alliance and more!
Board Updates, Nordic Folk Alliance and more!
E-News: May 2019
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Thank you to our Retiring Directors

The Board and Staff of FAI would like to say "thank you" to our retiring board members whose terms ended at this year's conference. Michelle Conceison, Sam Lee, Greg Torrington, and Mary Sue Twohy have been valuable members whose expertise on issues important to FAI have helped to move the organization forward.

Michelle Conceison

Michelle is the founder of Nashville-based music marketing and management company, Market Monkeys and is tenure track faculty in the Recording Industry program at Middle Tennessee State University.
Michelle served three terms on the FAI Board, from 2011 to 2019. During that time she chaired the Research Sub-committee and continues to remain on the sub-committee, was the lead author for FAI's whitepaper regarding Copyright Royalties, and held the role of Board Vice President, followed by a term as Board President.

Sam Lee

Sam is a touring musician from London, England and is the founding member of The Nest Collective helping to inspire a new generation of performers to draw on living source singers, rather than just books and records. He was a Spirit of Folk recipient at the 2016 International Folk Music Awards (IFMA).
Sam served an appointed term from 2017 - 2019, marking the first time FAI has had a Director from outside of North American. During his term, he served on the Governance and Advocacy Committees.

Greg Torrington

Greg Torrington has worked in the music business for decades and for the past 9 years has worked as Stingray Music’s Roots and Country music curator. He is a regular panelist at industry events across North America.
Greg held an appointed term on FAI's Board from 2017 - 2019 as the Montréal host city representative. During his tenure, he served on the Montréal Advisory Committee and remains on the Radio Charts Task Force.

Mary Sue Twohy

Mary Sue is currently a Program Director for multiple channels on SiriusXM including The Village, The Folk Channel, and Krishna Das Yoga. Prior to her work interviewing and programming she was a touring singer-songwriter.
Mary Sue served from 2012-2019. Her roles included Member at Large on the Executive Committee and subsequently as Vice President of the Board for one term. She served on the Board Development Committee, was Chair for both the Advocacy and Regions Committees, and still leads the Radio Charts Task Force.

Nordic Folk Alliance Conference 2019
Vilda - Photo by Emilie Dill
More than 200 music professionals and 27 music acts were part of the inaugural Nordic Folk Alliance conference which took place on April 10th -12th in Gothenburg, Sweden, at the Waterfront Hotel. While the showcase event was focused on the Nordic countries of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland, delegates from Estonia, Canada, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States also took part.
The first conference picked up where FAI's ExChange event left off last year and marks FAI's first formal international expansion. The Nordic Folk Alliance was overseen by representatives from Export Music Sweden, Music Norway, Music Finland, and Tempi (Denmark's Roots Music office). The event was managed by FAI's Nordic Representative, Åke Lundström, and was produced by Live at Heart with support from Bilda, Göteborg&Co, Bose, and the Kultur i Väst fund.
Åke Lundström stated, "It was really a great event, and I think that we succeeded in having the folk music community from the Nordic countries, in a professional level, talk with each other and work together."
FAI looks forward to seeing this conference develop and grow each year.
Johanna Juhola
Hoven Droven
All photos by Emilie Dill

Staff Updates

Outreach Coordinator

Treasa Levasseur has worn many hats in the arts over the years, now her role at FAI will shift from Canadian Representative to Outreach Coordinator.
In this new position, Treasa will be involved in identifying individuals to participate as mentors, selecting experts to provide advice and community content, and inviting new venues and presenter organizations to attend. She will also coordinate the artist mentorships, industry B2B meetings, first-timer's orientation, and emcees. To contact Treasa, you can email her at

Program Manager

We are pleased to welcome Michelle Conceison as the new Conference Program Manager for Folk Alliance International (FAI).
As part of the FAI team, Michelle is responsible for all daytime programming, review of panel suggestions, determining all panelists and moderators, and ensuring FAI's goal of 50/50 gender balance and diversity across full programming. Michelle will also be coordinating future webinars as part of FAI's year-round professional development offerings. You can contact Michelle at Proposals for 2020 programming must be submitted here by May 31.
We would also like to extend sincere thanks to Amie Therrien who was the Program Coordinator for our 2019 conference. We appreciate Amie for her insight, skill, and care in stewarding conference programming last year and wish her well in her new role at Music Managers Forum Canada.
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Touring Fund
Western Arts Alliance (WAA) announces the launch of the Advancing Indigenous Performance (AIP) Touring Fund, a new grant opportunity for presenters of Native performing artists.
The AIP Touring Fund provides matching fee support to presenting organizations, which engage eligible performing artists through the touring programs of the six Regional Arts Organizations. Arts organizations outside of New England should contact their RAO about the matching support. Arts organizations in New England receiving funding through NEFA’s New England States Touring (NEST) or Expeditions program for a project featuring Indigenous artists can receive an additional dollar-for-dollar match – up to 50% of the artist fee – from the AIP Touring Fund.

Folk Charts

Folk DJ Chart

The Folk DJ Chart was started in 1998 by Richard Gillmann and is now managed by Folk Alliance International. The chart presents the top albums, artists, and songs each month, has nearly 150 contributing DJs, and reaches thousands of listeners each month.

NACC Chart Member Discount

In 2018, FAI negotiated a member discount of $50 a month for industry and $25 for artists to access the North American College and Community (NACC) Folk Chart. Find more details and sign up here.

Conference Update

Applications for Official Showcase Artists, panel submissions, juror call, first time folk, volunteers and more opened on May 1st. To find out more visit our conference blog.
Net Neutrality Letter
As part of ongoing advocacy work, FAI recently joined a national coalition of 90 media, business, civil, and cultural sector organizations calling on Congress to pass the Save the Internet Act (H.R. 1644), restoring the strong protections for broadband access guaranteed by the 2015 Open Internet Order, and net neutrality, an issue which continues to receive overwhelming bipartisan support.
FAI urges support of this important Act and invites you to view the signed letter, join the online petition, and share information using the hastag #SaveTheNetAct
Social Media Shoutout
Shoutout to Mary Gauthier whose latest recording, Rifles and Rosary Beads, won Album of the Year at the 2018 International Folk Music Awards (IFMA). Recently she was in good company with Congress members and performers advocating for the rights of music performers at GRAMMYs On The Hill.
Attention Members! Do you have great news to share with us? Follow @FolkAlliance and tag us on social media and let us know about the notable moments in your career!
Don't forget to follow Folk Alliance International on social media and tag us in your photos! #FolkAlliance

Joan Baez Receives Her 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award

FAI's Executive Director recently had the opportunity to present Joan Baez with her 2011 Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Award after a recent performance as part of her Whistle Down The Wind farewell tour.

"No award can possibly address the profound social and creative impact of her six decades of music and advocacy work, but as the voice of an era, a nation, and a genre, she is unparalleled. Our recognition (one of countless she has received) comes from the heart of the folk community, on behalf of us all, saying thank you for giving so much to so many." - Aengus Finnan, Executive Director.
Lifetime Achievement Award Videos
Each year, FAI presents its Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards (LAA's) to honor the cultural impact of legendary Living, Legacy, and Organizational/Academic folk music figures. In 2012, an LAA was presented to the Highlander Research and Education Center.

On March 29, 2019, this Tennessee social justice center's main office building was destroyed by arson and a white power symbol was painted outside of the Center. FAI is saddened by this event but is heartened to know that the Center is continuing its mission and moving forward. If you would like to learn more about the Highlander Research and Education Center or how to donate visit their webpage. For continuing updates, visit their Facebook page.
Highlander Research and Education Center - 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award (LAA)
Visit our Awards page to access the full video archive of past honorees.
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Operational Support Provided By:
Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation
J.B. Reynolds Foundation
Martin Guitar Charitable Foundation
The Bauman Foundation

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