The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #63460   Message #1030584
Posted By: The Shambles
06-Oct-03 - 11:39 AM
Thread Name: Are there any OLD folkies out there?
Subject: Are there any OLD folkies out there?
Despite the intentionally provocative thread title this is just a mild rant and a gentle call for unity to us all.

The music has survived all of our cultural statements – from Arran jumpers and fingers in the ear, to denim caps and lighted cigarettes in the fret-board. It has seen off all of our dubious fashion statements - from tie-dyed tee shirts, to tankards attached to one's belt and has seen off duffle coats, plastic-macs, and sandals. It survives dreadlocks, purple hair, body piercing and flowery printed trousers. It will survive most of what we can throw at it – and at each other. For it has even survived flares – at least twice.

If only we – the one's who play and appreciate the music of this wide church could be as tolerant, flexible and understanding of us, as the music is.

Why do we foster divisions when the music gives us all just about the only opportunity to communicate across all language barriers and unite us?

Why do we tend to feel that in order to praise a type of music that is to our taste, that we have to slag-off a form that may not be?

Why do we tend to continue to foster division between what is and what isn't folk and just about every other division you can think of?


I think that the one that concerns me most is the totally bogus divide that appears to be developing between the music making of those that consider themselves to be young and those who are considered to be old.

Any perceived divisions here are really rather superficial and down to culture, fashion and entrenched positions – rather than any real musical differences. But I find that it is sad to read of young folkies wishing to make music exclusively with other young folkies – as if the music produced by this union is different or better than the music produced by a group of all ages. As if they felt they were excluded from other groupings – a sad state of affairs, if this were true. Is it true?

Are there people or places that discriminate against the younger folk musician (other than Licensing conditions, of course)?

The evidence appears to point the opposite way. There would appear to be a general perception amongst us that young people need encouraging to make folk music and I see young people being encouraged by older folk, just about everywhere I go. There are also many fine schemes, workshops and contests that encourage music making by the young.

However, are these moves actually causing a divide between young and old music making?

Most of these schemes unfortunately exclude older people – and sometimes the age limit is set very low indeed. An effect of this is that now you are considered to be older, (and past it) even younger, if that makes sense? Over the hill at 22?

The word new - seems now to have become interchangeable with the word - young. As if anything that is new – can only be produced by the young. Where new talent means - only young talent and a new group means a young group.

Damn it! A new group can even be comprised of a past-it and crusty collection of 25 year-olds.

I am of course not suggesting that young people should not always be encouraged. I am just looking to the future and suggesting that a more sensible attitude is taken before it is too late – one that does not encourage and foster an undesirable division between music making - one based on age - but encourages all ages to make folk music together.