The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #118525   Message #2570858
Posted By: The Borchester Echo
19-Feb-09 - 10:00 AM
Thread Name: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
Somebody asked if I was being ageist when I described The Claque as "four old blokes". Not at all. It's what they are.

There's nothing at all wrong with what The Claque do.
They look and sound like a dozen other a capella bloke harmony combos, largely because, individually, they've been a part of one or the other over the years.
They do what they do competently. No surprises. No excitement in the sense that it's predictable. It's what many people like. Allegedly.

It always makes me feel more than slightly nauseous when expressions like "well connected", "the folk circuit / scene" and "networking / backscratching" arise along with a strong whiff of sour grapes. This is not a "scene" I've ever had, or wanted to have, anything to do with. It seems to involve never actually attending any event but hanging out in adjacent pubs or beer tens that don't charge entrance, making a GEFF-like noise and slagging off any artist who works hard on musicianship, arrangement and presentation, who tours indefatigably and produces a recorded output.

If you recognise yourself as one of the first category, carry on. There's no-one exhorting you to try and emulate the second. But if you want to BE among the second and even become eligible for one of those awards, you'll need to work at it. Hard.

It's what Jackie Oates (to single out just one artists, I hope not inappropriately or unfairly) has long been doing. Someone seems to think she has sprung from nowhere. Absolutely not true. She's been at Sidmouth I think every year since birth but I came across her perhaps 6 or 7 years ago (many have known her work longer). I can also recall a very small Eliza Carthy squabbling with an equally miniature Benji Kirkpatrick and a pre-duo Chris Wood and Andy Cutting just hanging out and looking for people to play with on the promenade.

Those who have been winning Awards over the past decade do so because of the tremendous amount of work they have put in. You may not like the system. I don't. Other "awards" are available. But the fact remains that they are the only industry benchmarks that exist currently.