Wow! We all seem to be pushing each other's buttons here!
I have to admit I am coming from the technical approach here - and as I'm training as a singer and had heard so much about the Waterson's I was prepared to listen intently and learn what I could. Yup, you're probably right Winick (although I did study a fair amount about Roma culture from since oooh , 30 years ago when I was not as old as I am now).
It just dismays me that ,okay - let's open up the discussion a little, that we still have the same icons in Folk as 30 odd years ago. Sure, Kate Rusby's coming along, but when I listen to the radio it is still (more or less) the same performers as 30 years ago and they are still doing the same stuff in the same way. Surely, like all things Folk should evolve/develop/ be a little more expansive?
I think that it concerns me that the general public might listen to Norma (or who ever) and be turned off from what should be a fabulous genre.
I mean, why is it that I can go out to a club/venue and hear superb hardworking, professional (as in they do it for a living) singers/musicians yet the record companies still pump out the same old stuff? Which is the music genre the public hear and think "Oh, that's Folk? Do/don't like that" Why aren't (Folk) record companies investing in and promoting new performers in the same way they do the established performers? I watched with horrified fascination the documentary about "Pop Stars", bemused at the amount of money being thrown at bland pop, surely money isn't so tight that folk record companies can't stick their necks out a bit?