The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #109916   Message #2305496
Posted By: GUEST,Tom Bliss
03-Apr-08 - 11:11 AM
Thread Name: Our ghastly folk tradition
Subject: RE: Our ghastly folk tradition
Bryan writes:

"Tom Bliss: But the process by which collected or other obscure works (along with newly written works) become known to the wider public usually involves some kind of business activity - by publishers, booksellers, record companies, distributors, transcribers, artists, arrangers, producers, studio engineers, and so on. TheSnail: That isn't the folk scene I know."

Then you are not lifting your eyes unto the hills and seeing the full picture - because that IS how it works, and how it always has done - in fashions appropriate to the times, through the centuries. You perform one of my songs, Bryan - how did you learn it? From the CD that Valmai bought.

That process is endemic in the folk scene, and many of source singers learned songs from written works (printed by professional publishers), from travelling (professional) musicians, and from shows presented by professional artists and producers. This idea that the entire tradition was only aurally and orally transmitted was debunked long long ago. Have you heard Paul Sartin on the subject, for example? (And he should know)! The aural/oral/amateur element is there, and IS key, but only as key as the next bit. If we ONLY had that, and there had never been any of these other professional people I mention, the whole scene would be drastically the poorer.

"Tom Bliss: Take one out and the machine will not turn. The Snail: Nonsense, of course it will. It might not turn at the same speed or roll in the same direction but it will keep running on."

You are right - I was letting myself roll away on that analogy. But this much is true: we simply don't know exactly how the folk industry of today operates as an exact business model (though we hope to commission some research to find out soon), but until then I'll stick with my metaphor - and I'll challenge Daine when she fails to see the importance of what she unkindly calls GEFFs just as I'll challenge you when you seek to elevate that same group of people above the skilled and hardworking experts who provide so much of what you occasionally appear (when you're perhaps not thinking) to take for granted.