The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #77728   Message #1389580
Posted By: Joe Offer
26-Jan-05 - 06:21 PM
Thread Name: What is wrong with being a purist?
Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
When I came here to Mudcat in early 1997, I knew most of the songs of Peter, Paul, and Mary; of Simon & Garfunkel; the Kingston Trio, and some of those other folkies and pseudo-folkies of the 1960's. I also knew hundreds of the songs in the Rise Up Singing Songbook. As time has gone on, I've learned a lot about real traditional music, and it has become my preference. I'm still in the learning stage when it comes to performing traditional songs, and I don't sing them with the confidence and ability that I have with the songs I've known for years.

I was really nervous about this when I first ventured to gatherings of the San Francisco Folk Music Club and the Folklore Society of Greater Washington in 1999, but most people were very gracious about accepting and encouraging me. There are a few elitist snobs who don't have patience with us beginners, who leave the room when we sing or try to sing over us when we don't sing correctly. I think people like this betray the whole idea that folk music is the music of the people. They certainly don't do much to encourage people to enter the fold.

I wonder how the elitists would treat many of the traditional singers the collectors have recorded. I suppose it's not really pleasant to listen to the voice of Harry Cox or Fred Jordan or maybe Malvina Reynolds, but these people could really tell a story with their singing. The elitists probably wouldn't accept their selection of songs, either.

-Joe Offer-