The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #121472 Message #2659858
Posted By: Jim Carroll
18-Jun-09 - 07:41 PM
Thread Name: Folk Against Fascism
Subject: RE: Folk Against Fascism
"I think art can transcend partisan politics"
This says it all really. Whatever our individual political beliefs may be, we usually manage to come together and enjoy our music. This does not mean we put our beliefs on hold, we simply don't let them get in the way.
As a couple of Brits, Pat and I visited this part of Ireland at least once a year, often twice, for over thirty years - this included throughout the troubles. I found it incredibly moving to walk down the street in Miltown Malbay where many of the houses were bedecked with black flags mourning the deaths of the hunger strikers in the North, and go into a bar session made up of Catholics, Protestants, atheists like ourselves.... whatever, and be greeted as friends. We never attempted to hide who we were or what we believed; we didn't have to - music was a wonderful coming together.
As I said, politics, general or specific are a vital part of our tradition and the repertoire would be very much impoverished if it became a no-go area.
Where do you stop with not 'offending' people?
We've already lost chunks of our repertoire because of some people being (IMO) oversensitive about (percieved) sexist songs.
No more whaling songs, the hunting repertoire, Irish nationalist songs, the wonderful erotic songs, the jingoist pieces praising 'Brave Nelson' - it's a slippery slope to anodynism (is that a word?) folks.
There are, I believe, lines over which you don't step, but personally I have seldom seen singers come anywhere near it in the 40-odd years I've been involved. Let's leave it to the singers before we start reaching for the blue-pencil.
Incidentally, it is largely down to the left that we have access to most of our music - Lloyd, MacColl, Lomax (even Bobby D was considered a 'pinko' once upon a time). MacColl's best songs, some of the best the revival produced, IMO again, came directly from his political beliefs. Topic Records was started by the left wing (largely Communist) Workers Music Association.