The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #134188   Message #3050819
Posted By: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
11-Dec-10 - 05:08 AM
Thread Name: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
Subject: RE: Folklore: Glastonbury thorn destroyed
PS - Even in these days of light pollution I might find delight in the night sky. Watching the recent The Sky at Night edition on Ursa Major I was struck by the mix of science, folklore & mythology that made the programme as delightful to watch as its no-budget production values (studio garden sets that would shame Rent-a-Ghost inter cut with b/w stills of the night sky!). Astronomers tell it differently to Astrologers but the Mythologiocal dimension is just as vital as the scientific - just as human certainly, Astrology takes faith, Astronomy likewise & whilst I take both with a pinch of lo-salt (must watch my blood-pressure!) I love the human ancientness of both.

So what is the Revival in relation to the Old Songs? Myth or Science? The old songs exist regardless - much of the stuff I'm looking into right now comes from collections that pre-date Cecil Sharp by 100 years (The Colliers Rant for one, which was sung in my family). My feeling is always for the essential creativity of the idiom and for the people who made these songs - the Tommy Armstrongs and the George Bruce Thompsons, those all-too-few names we have of the makers of songs which in being designated Folk or Traditional the Revival would have us believe grew under gooseberry bushes. It seems to me supremely ironic that the right-wing orthodoxy of the first revival saw the same collective human mulch as did the second, albeit differently - the empowered proletariat rather than the obliging servile peasantry, entirely innocent of the preciousness of their fragile heritage. But, as with any musical genre, it is the creativity of the individuals that is the key to the thing - the mastery that gave us these songs & ballads which in being anonyous might appear to be the product of something entirely unique to Folk Music, but nothing, I fear, could be further from the truth.

So - old songs, new songs, borrowed songs & blue songs (!); music is music is music & Tradition defines every single vibrant genre from the songs sung by Harry Cox and the Copper family to the notes played by Miles Davis and John Coltrane. And crucially, though the knight at arms may yet be palely loitering no horse sings....