The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #119597   Message #2665092
Posted By: Jack Blandiver
26-Jun-09 - 05:39 AM
Thread Name: What is 'feral folk music'?
Subject: RE: What is 'feral folk music'?
close enough?

Only if the two things existed in opposition to each other, which they don't - rather they are complementary approaches wherein the one thing informs the other with respect of parameters both musical and aesthetical. By adopting a more improvised approach to musical performance and recording the Feral Folk Musician aligns his/herself with Free Improvisation & other more Experimental musics, none of which would exclude Folk in quite the same way that Folk would exclude them. For example, in my performances of Free Improvisation I invariably sing a Traditional Ballad or two, but I would never Freely Improvise in a Folk Club because experience has taught me that the punters wouldn't get it.

Feral Folk might act as a bridge as far as the performer is concerned - certainly as far as this performer is concerned - seeking music in the wild / ancient / sacred places of the world with a few little flutes, bells, Black Sea Fiddle, a Zoom H4, an open ear and a fistful of Jew's Harps. The same day, however, they might fetch up in a folk club and turn in a couple of respectably conventional renderings of traditional songs - much as happened the day I recorded the feral Black Sea Fiddle improvisation linked to above; that very evening we paid a visit to The Joiners Arms in Bideford, where I played the self-same fiddle to accompany The Sheep Stealer and Butter and Cheese and All in the singaround, and jolly good fun was had by all.

Feral Folk is musical & personal liberation whereby the musician might slip away from the world a while, alone or with a few like minded souls, to commune with another level of possibility. It seldom works in terms of conventional performance of course, but that's not what it's about. It's about Experience Ritual, by which I might imply a non-proscriptive spirituality which occurs when one improvises on Medieval Plainsong Modes whilst absorbing the atmosphere of a beautiful medieval church - much as I do in the Launcells piece linked to above, the recording of which becomes somehow infused with both a dynamic impossible to reproduce in a studio and the genius loci which is, ultimately, what Feral Folk is about.

Feral would never say Fuck You; rather it says one day I was born, and some day I will die, and this is the day in which I am alive, and in this moment I am both here and now. It says take time out to get back to the fundamentals of what might make this music Folk in the first place; it says we love you, but you don't have to love us.