The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #111033   Message #2344336
Posted By: glueman
19-May-08 - 09:51 AM
Thread Name: Money v Folk
Subject: RE: Money v Folk
If you take the idea of a 'meme', a unit of cultural information that spreads through practice, habit, song, dance, etc., as the 'virus' by which folk is spread, you are forced to confront the idea that this unit will also mutate and transform, the better to carry information appropriate for the time.
The idea of folk is quite flexible IMO, while still being irreducibly folkish, though individuals find some forms more resonant than others. I can find significance that's personally moving in say, sea shanties, blues and old timey, much less in bluegrass, modern idioms like Dylanesque and highly mannered English interpretations of folk (contemporary sensibilities either have the knack of emoting historical issues successfully or they don't and no amount of foldirolling can transport the listener).

Money may be the root of all evil but if folk is a rarified commodity, which purists seem to suggest it is, it becomes a valuable one. Quality isn't suggested by craftsmanship and virtuosity alone - the most obvious of popular temptations - but by verissimilitude and cultishness. I'm prepared to believe folk music lost something when it took the dollar/pound but there's no way of getting back to Eden, wish as we might. The greenback virus is part of the dna of music now, original sin if you will but whether harking back to a pre-avoirdupois state can tell us anything about music or ourselves is open to question.