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Ken Hunt

Ken Hunt

Ken Hunt is a freelance music critic, obituarist (The Guardian, The Independent, The Scotsman, Sydney Morning Herald and The Times) and "occasional lyricist". He is also contributor to numerous music reference works ranging from The Rough Guide to World Music (Europe, Asia & Pacific) (2009) to The Album – A Guide to Pop Music's Most Provocative, Influential, and Important Creations (2012). Increasingly since the world music boom in the late 1980s, he has believed – on account of only having one brain – in specialising.

He writes and broadcasts about certain North American and certain European folk music traditions and revivals, contemporary western and non-western classical music, and tradition-based and improvised music including jazz and rock. And of course the folk, popular, art and devotional musics of the South Asian subcontinent. Eight of his nine chapters in The Rough Guide to World Music are about Bangladesh and India. Ravi Shankar called his intuition about the subcontinent's music “unique” in his experience.

The son of a swing jazz and dance band saxophonist and clarinettist, he chose to write about music rather than play it. The Czech violin-voice virtuoso Iva Bittová paid him one of the ultimate musician compliments telling him he didn't think like a music journalist but like a musician.

His first published writings appeared in 1967-68. Riled and inspired by the standards of music journalism in Britain and Germany, having returned to Britain after working in the print for magazine giant Gruner & Jahr, he resumed writing in 1975 for the second wave of post-Zigzag music publications including Dark Star, Old Time Music and Omaha Rainbow. Between 1979 and 1989 he was the editor-publisher of Swing 51, hailed for its in-depth articles and interviews on subjects ranging from the Folk Revival to the Grateful Dead and beyond.

He is an essayist and consultant for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography's Millennium edition and Supplements (2000-2015). www.oxforddnb.com

He was instrumental in suggesting, bringing the parties together and, with David Harrington, cherry-picking compositions from Bollywood and Bengali film composer R.D. Burman's extensive oeuvre for Asha Bhosle and the Kronos Quartet's Grammy-nominated You've Stolen My Heart (2006).

As a lyricist, his main writing partner is one of our age's foremost total musicians, Iva Bittová, for whom he supplies words in English (and sometimes Czech). www.bittova.com

Specialise and don't put your eggs in one currency basket is his maxim for freelance longevity.

List of articles in the library by artist

Terry Allen: Lubbock (On Everything) (Special Delivery SPT 1007/8)

Review by Ken Hunt, Folk Roots, April 1988

OVER THE LAST month or so, each time you turned on the TV, opened the paper or virtually any magazine that runs to book reviews, ...

Béla Fleck: Natural Bridge (Rounder 0146)

Review by Ken Hunt, Folk International, September 1982

'Punchdrunk'/'Flexibility' / 'Dawg's Due' / 'Daybreak' / 'Bitter Gap' / 'October Winds' / 'Crossfire' / 'Apple-butter' / 'Old Hickory Waltz' / 'Rocky Road' / 'The ...

Grateful Dead, Jefferson Starship, Robert Hunter: "Sometimes The Cards Ain't Worth A Dime... If You Don't Lay 'Em Down": The Robert Hunter Interview #2

Interview by Ken Hunt, Dark Star, August 1980

Dark Star: David Grisman and Vassar Clements were beefing on once about the fact that they never got any money from Old And In The ...

Grateful Dead, Robert Hunter: "Sometimes The Cards Ain't Worth A Dime... If You Don't Lay 'Em Down": The Robert Hunter Interview

Interview by Ken Hunt, Dark Star, April 1980

IN NOVEMBER, 1979, someone dear to the hearts of Dark Star's staff and readers crossed the briny deep to play a couple of largely under-publicised ...

Grateful Dead, Robert Hunter, Jefferson Starship: "Sometimes The Cards Ain't Worth A Dime... If You Don't Lay 'Em Down": The Robert Hunter Interview #3

Interview by Ken Hunt, Dark Star, December 1980

HOW DID you come to get involved with Roadhog? As far as I can tell, they were an existing band. ...

Happy Traum: An Interview With Happy Traum

Interview by Ken Hunt, Folk Scene, May 1981

LIKE MANY of his contemporaries, Happy Traum came out of the folk revival on the East Coast in the '60s and although his activities have ...

Zakir Hussain: Thunder On The Mountain

Profile and Interview by Ken Hunt, Folk Roots, February 1987

ZAKIR HUSSAIN is a musician who straddles the East-West divide. Like his father, Ustad Alla Rakha Khan, his instrument is the tabla and like his ...

John Hiatt

Interview by Ken Hunt, Omaha Rainbow, Spring 1988

What's your date and place of birth? August 20th 1952, Indianapolis, Indiana. I'm a Hoosier. ...

Nanci Griffith: The Acoustic Room, The Mean Fiddler, Harlesden

Live Review by Ken Hunt, Folk Roots, April 1988

THE WORD 'CHANTEUSE' seems to be undergoing one of its periodic journalistic revivals. It's a slightly unusual word, it's French and it was always far ...

Paul Brady: Making Tracks For A Rock Station

Interview by Ken Hunt, Folk Scene, November 1982

(ED. NOTE: The interview upon which some of the following article was based is an edited version of one conducted for, but as yet unpublished ...

Happy Traum: A Homespun Tale

Interview by Ken Hunt, Dark Star, April 1980

HAPPY TRAUM was briefly in England in November '79 and, by luck, an interview was arranged. ...

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