The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #152354   Message #3570468
Posted By: Jack Blandiver
27-Oct-13 - 09:16 AM
Thread Name: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
Hmmmm - it's working okay from here...

My position on this is that we are all of us individual music makers in a great tradition of human music making that began at least 50,000 years ago & will only end when there are no human being left on the planet to do it. Within that Great Tradition, there are billions of smaller traditions - indeed, each single one of us is a tradition is their own right. We each learn, pay our dues and adapt accordingly : From each according to their ability, to each according to their need. The process is, essentially, a creative one, even with people who have dedicated their craft to playing other folk's music - be it baroque oboe players or Pink Floyd tribute acts. Things change because that's the nature of the Tao.   

The Tradition of English Speaking Folk song is a finite & definable tradition - though NOT by the fecking 1954 Definition which just so much horse chocolate to be fantasised over by bozos like my friend Bridge. We understand it by rational musicology / ethnomusicology that acknowledges the individual / idiosyncratic & very ordinary geniuses who were part of it, same with ANY musical tradition.

All musical idioms are born from & function via tradition - it's what music is. Folky Fantasists persist that there's is the only one - that this Tradition somehow makes their music unique. On the contrary, it's the Tradition that makes it just the same as any other music. What makes it unique are the musicological & ethnomusicological factors that make every music unique - and, ultimately, make every musician unique. Be it Sun Ra, John Coltrane, Miles Davies, Tony (TS) McPhee, John Lee Hooker, Martin Carthy, Nic Jones, Davie Stewart, Harry Cox, John Lennon, Dick Miles and even Richard Bridge. Just like real people, musicians are complete one offs operating to enrich their tradition. Their finger prints are very different.

The Tradition of English Speaking Folk Song operated in a very different era from our own & died out long ago. It does not survive in The Revival because the Revival is a very different thing - a very different tradition entirely. Just as the tradition Big Al's talking about is very different too. All I have ever said here comes down to simply respecting those differences and reverencing the source in whatever you do, same as you would anything else : give credit where credit's due. I would hope anyone who wants to sing (say) The Wagoner Lad having heard Joan Baez sing it, would be curious & respectful enough to seek out Buell Kazee's singing of it. If not they are missing the point entirely.

Let The Source be the inspiration and we maybe have a Revival Music worthy of the Tradition it claims to represent, not just a load of sloppy Carthy copyists & Shirley Collins soundalikes for whom listening to source recordings is anathema, as oppose to the deep spiritual joy it is for a lot of us & ought to be for everyone who dares call themselves a Folky.