The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #148899   Message #3808633
Posted By: Richard Mellish
06-Sep-16 - 09:55 AM
Thread Name: London ballad chat
Subject: RE: London ballad chat
We have wonderful discussions about folk songs here on Mudcat but we don't often get a chance to listen to them and then talk about them face to face. So a bit of good news is that Bob Askew's Ballad Chats at Cecil Sharp House start again this month. Dates arranged so far are 28th Sept, 2nd Nov and 14th Dec, 7-9pm. Usually we are in the Committee Room, but it can be elsewhere in the building, so enquire at the Reception desk. Newcomers are always welcome, to sing if they wish, and anyway to listen and join in the discussions.

This is a free session, and all are welcome, but it would be nice to hear from you if you intend to come, so that we have a rough idea of numbers. Contact: Bob Askew:

See EFDSS Events List for details of next ballads.

These Chats are run very informally to encourage everyone to chip in. We discuss two ballads each evening; nearly always ones that are in Child's The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, but an "almost-Child" one such as Long A-Growing can slip in occasionally.

We normally start with one of us singing a version of the first ballad for that evening, then we discuss it for a bit, then someone else sings another version, or we may listen to a recording of a traditional or revival singer.

The chat is free ranging, but covers what we think the ballad is about, and what we like about it. We particularly enjoy hearing what the ballad means personally to us. Folk songs and ballads often mean different things to different singers, and to different listeners; and we state that there is no right or wrong about this. Different opinions add to the glory of the song. We can also talk about where the song came from, and different versions etc. Sometimes we speculate about the back story. We appreciate all opinions: from someone who is hearing the ballad for the first time and from someone who has read and listened to everything that they can find about it. We value listening above reading, but are aware that the ballads can be complex, and that written texts and comments can aid understanding. Texts to every Child ballad are available on the internet, and comments on the ballads are also available there. Child, Bronson and others have also written interesting material about them.

We take a short break before moving on to the second ballad.

At the end, having aired our views, we go away with our personal response to what has been said.

The choice of ballads for the following Chat is normally made from suggestions of those present.

Richard Mellish on behalf of Bob Askew