The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #109916   Message #2307186
Posted By: Richard Bridge
05-Apr-08 - 03:47 AM
Thread Name: Our ghastly folk tradition
Subject: RE: Our ghastly folk tradition
I think you make my point for me, Gigi(II). Is that course one in folk arts, or in craft? If it is in "craft" generally then that is the analogue of the thing for which there apears to be no term in music, namely music inspired and influenced by the tradition.

Think of "folklore" - it is not about what is invented today. THe urban myth is not folklore.

Think of "folk dance" - is is not the twist, the frug, the shag, the shake, and thier yet more modern descendants. It is Playford, Morris, and their analogues in other cultures.

Think of "folk medicine". Is it the modern belief that ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory, or the herbal remedies and poultices handed down over history?

Think of "folk tales"

etc, etc.

But if you think of the modern extensions of folk music, why then the topics dealt with, from industrial exploitation, modern shipping methods, the modern army, motorcycles, housing shortages, ethnic cleansing, computers, the internet, (oh, and of course "boy meets girl") fully encompass the modern world.

And if you don't see the lineage from the Flapper to today's club and society girls, and from the Teddy boy to today's gangs, then you are the one in blinkers. So are songs such as "The Well below the Valley" and maybe "Prince Heathen" the forbears of modern arguments about abortion, etc, etc.

It is why Jon Loomes, when asked why he sings traditional material replies that he has not yet found a topic to which it is not relevant (or words to that effect).

If the shallow "relevance to the modern world" that you seem to advocate were the criterion, then Shakespeare, Sheridan, Shaw, Dickens, Mark Twain, Dorothy Parker, the great constitutional writers like Dicey, most classical music would all be irrelevant.

Look around. Modern children's literature reaches back to folk tales of wizardry. Modern television draws on folk-tales of vampires. Terry Pratchett's pointed commentaries on today's conditions are set in a world of wizards and bucolics.

The chalk is there. It's the 1954 definition. What lies outside the chalkline is not necessarily any less worthy for that, and it is most of what is incorrectly called "folk" by the slipshod. All the hard of understanding need is a new and accurate label, so that they canunderstand that what they currently call "folk" is the analogue of "new country" (which, I understand, plenty of country purists complain is not "country" although they have no equivalent definition of "country".