The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #111033   Message #2345979
Posted By: GUEST,Tom Bliss
21-May-08 - 08:44 AM
Thread Name: Money v Folk
Subject: RE: Money v Folk
I agree with everything you say Jim, but i will quibble with one tiny word: 'is.'

You said "Folk music, in its proper sense, is, as the Topic set rightly puts it, "The Voice of The People."

I'd say 54 folk music WAS the voice of the people, and occasionally still is, but actually today pop music is the voice of the people.

I agree that it's a huge shame this has happened, and that our connection to our musical roots has been so damaged - but it has.

And I agree that it would be a great thing if we could somehow reconnect the 'people' (I hate that term, actually, who the heck isn't a person?) with that voice - for, yes, both cultural and entertainment reasons. But we're not going to do that by fretting over the influence of money in the past or in the present.

The bough has been cut. The limb severed. Yes there is life in it yet, but it lies on the ground largely detached from its roots. And yet we expect leaves and flowers - and nuts, and we're getting them.

So where is the sap coming from? It's coming from where it always has - a combination of enthusiastic amateurism and responsible professionalism.

If we want to graft this limb back into the tree we're going to have to use some artificial techniques - including promotion and marketing and professionalism and expertise and other things which may not have been a major part of the tradition, but which have always played their part, and are doing so particularly effectively at the moment - through the efforts of festival organisers, club organisers, arts funding bodies, teachers, record companies, magazine editors, AND artists - for all of whom money is important, (even if profit may not be to all).

Because most people who encounter 54 folk today do so as a direct result of some exercise in which trade plays some role. Many still do so from family or community, of course - and hopefully that percentage is growing - but I'd hazard that they are still a small minority.

If we don't take these steps, the limb could dry out and die.

If we do, and in the process stop using words like 'theft' and 'squander,' and 'exploitation,' and try instead to see money as sap, as blood, as adrenaline - then we may, with luck, in time see a healthy tree which can once again draw from its roots as it should, and did, and does in other countries.

But of course all your caveats stand too.

Tom

PS Without Kennedy's cottage industry we'd have lost the Channel Island tradition entirely. For ever.