The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878 Message #4030374
Posted By: GUEST,Pseudonymous
26-Jan-20 - 03:49 PM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
"We can now safely lay to rest the fiction that the brothers were ‘uncomfortable’ during this meeting, that they were ‘held captive’ in any literal sense (I hadn’t realised they made three visits), or that the fictional discomfort had any ‘decisive role’ in their choice of songs."
Three points here: on the first, I disagree, on the second, I didn't realise that anybody had suggested this, (have they?), and the 3 visits thing just shows how much information is incomplete/potentially misleading), and on the third, again, I am not sure of its relevance to the points being made or that it has been established at all.
Vic agreed with the following from Jack Campin: "What I suspect happens is that they mediate their own reporting of what they believe to select what they think their audience is interested in."
I absolutely agree with it too, and I think I called this 'self-mediation', though I would see self-mediation as potentially going beyond this. Nice to hear it coming from Vic and Jack because if I raise this idea I get called names and people express feeling 'disturbed' (present company excepted of course).
Let's be fair to Cole: he quotes from and cites Copper's book (and the ODNB on the family) as well as Kate Lee's lecture to the Folk Song Society. (The fact that there were three evenings is stated by Cole, based on Lee's lecture. Copper's account says 'several more such evenings'.) Just prior to citing a passage from Copper's book he says it is 'a rare view of the perspective of the singers themselves.' So he is making a point that many of us, including Harker, would agree with.
Cole goes on to say 'Rather than showing interest in the brother's environment, Lee viewed the Coppers ... not for their intrinsic worth but for the content they conveyed'.
Kate Lee, of course, was not a cultural theorist or a sociologist, she was a song collector. So not an example of the following:
"cultural theorists with axes to grind often misrepresent the data, and are less interested in the voices of actual people (as opposed to anonymous and stereotypical ‘workers’) than were the folk song collectors whose work they attempt to undermine."
It seems to me that if the Coppers stood on equal social status terms with the gentry they would not have been received in the scullery, this being of course the part of a large gentry house where the servants got on with their work.
We have not established as far as I can see whether the Coppers knew songs that they chose not to sing in front of a woman (especially one of higher social status?). This is I think they key point Cole is making, and he cites Lucy Broadwood as an authority for the view that some singers would not sing in front of female collectors songs that they thought were unsuitable.
In addition to the material on their own website, there are Copper family videos on YouTube and quite a lot of work on Spotify.
Some people almost define 'folk' and 'folk authenticity' in opposition to the commercial and industrial world. I found a recent comment to this effect on a Mudcat thread. It would be nice if 'modern' folk were free from the influence of and from engagement with the modern commercial and industrial world.
But it isn't so I guess one 'agenda' is that I find it a bit odd that some people regard as 'traditional' practices which may have some links with practices and contexts of the past but which are deeply entwined with modernity and more to the point sometimes get hot under the collar when these links are pointed out to them. There is not much that is 'traditional' about a pair of brothers singing songs to a visiting professional singer in the scullery of a local big house while she writes down what they are singing, selections of which she later performs (as Cole describes).