Who the heck do we think we are?
fRoots (abbreviated from Folk Roots in 1999) has been the world’s leading magazine covering modern and traditional music with roots from around the globe.
Founded in 1979 as a quarterly fanzine titled The Southern Rag, we grew an international subscription base within our first year. We went monthly and onto the news stands as Folk Roots in 1984, abbreviating to fRoots in 1999. We have been at the sharp end of the folk/roots/world music scene for 40 years, dealing with an incredible diversity of music. We were presented with the Womex Award for Professional Excellence in 2010 and are receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from Folk Alliance International in 2019. In 2018 we changed again into a much bigger, better quality quarterly.
fRoots has garnered its exceptional status because it has dealt with this unique mix, from Anglo-trad to Zanzibar pop, from the latest fusions to the very ethnic. Every hugely comprehensive issue has been packed with more than twice the feature content, more reviews and more original photography than its nearest competitor. fRoots has been the first place you’ll read about new names who later go on to establish strong reputations, and often the first to highlight previously under-exposed local musics. Indeed, our readers have constantly praised us for changing their musical lives!
Our pages have featured artists from Ali Farka Toure to Robert Plant, from Ry Cooder to Show Of Hands, from Eliza Carthy to Youssou N’Dour, from the Mekons to the Copper Family, from Bellowhead to Afro Celt Sound System, from younger UK folk names like The Unthanks, Emily Portman, Lucy Farrell, Rachel Newton, Jim Moray, Kathryn Tickell, Jackie Oates, Olivia Chaney, Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker and Sam Lee to international veterans like Cuba’s Eliades Ochoa, Senegal’s Orchestra Baobab, Ireland’s Andy Irvine, Peru’s Cumbia All Stars and England’s Shirley Collins, Nic Jones and the Old Swan Band, from Europe’s 21st Century ethno-adventurers like Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, Lynched, Kristi Stassinopoulou, Trio Dhoore, Lula Pena and Kries, American ones like the Rhiannon Giddens, Sam Amidon, Anais Mitchell and Leyla McCalla to roots artists from the Indian and Pacific Oceans and beyond.
Every issue has been packed with features, news, reviews and information on the UK and international scene, and all come with very sought-after compilation albums. In Britain, we’ve been news stand distributed; we’ve also been sold by major music chains and independent specialist shops, live music venues and by subscription worldwide (40% go overseas). We’ve been read by everybody of importance in the roots music business and beyond.
fRoots has also been keenly activist, campaigning on numerous issues over the years and involved in live music promotion and music production. We were among the small group of mover/shakers who dreamed up the whole World Music concept in 1987, instigated the BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music, were involved in the groundbreaking Europe In Union concert series, 2005’s massive Ceilidh Aid, Roots At The Roundhouse and the South Bank’s Bridges, regularly sponsor and promote large and small folk events in the UK and get hands-on involved in tour sponsorship, record releases, artist development, and much more.