The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #13068   Message #113289
Posted By: Art Thieme
10-Sep-99 - 10:19 PM
Thread Name: Threads on the meaning of Folk
Subject: RE: Threads on the meaning of Folk
Frank Hamilton hasn't been around Mudcat long enough to get burned out on this topic yet. I'm just about at that point. It's enough for me to know that Frank is correct. My intention was to stay out of this--yet another "what is folk" discussion. But Jeff Davis wrote a great "TRADITIONAL" column in the recent Folk Alliance Newsletter. Among other pretty brilliant observations was this to end his column:

"What we need is artists who, like the iconographers of the Eastern Church, labored on works that were themselves sacred.The job was to keep things for the next generations. The art and the icons (the songs) were greater than the artists. It was art done with great passionate care; art done with a God watching over their shoulders. In our culture (whatever that is) recovering the word icon for a greater meaning might not be a bad idea. With iconographers we might treat the old texts and singers with the respect they deserve. (my italics) In these times of disregard, plastic, trash, over-packaging, asphalt, junk mail, junk food and junk music perhaps we will find, beneath the rubble and wrappers, that the spirit of the old singers and songs has not died but has simply been buried alive."

I called Jeff Davis today to see if he'd mind if I post his entire column. He wasn't there. But I suspect he's out doing what he ought to bring his songs to the fore. And he does that the same way I always hoped I was doing it---by putting the songs and where they came from way before the guy who was singin' 'em.

Uniquely, whether it was intentional or not, nowhere in that entire column did Mr. Davis need to use the word "folk".

Art Thieme