The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #60042   Message #959819
Posted By: M.Ted
27-May-03 - 12:15 PM
Thread Name: Living Tradition and the Revival
Subject: RE: Living Tradition and the Revival
Don't beat yourself up for being inauthentic or being a revivalist. Nothing bad about being a revivalist at all.

As far as I can see, a living tradition exists if there is community that exists in time and space, where a body of songs and a style of performance are passed from one generation to another.

A "revival" means that the living tradition has ended or is ending, and the material is collected and brought into another area where it can be kept alive. It is also possible for a living tradition to spread, which is a process that has nothing to do with revival--such as sailors leaving songs where they travel, and missionaries teaching hymns.

Bottom line is that revivals often become traditions themselves, as they pick up bits from here and there and become coherent entities of their own. The reverse of that is that is true too-- all the things that we think as traditions really are a collection of bits and pieces from diverse places that settled in a particular community and were then passed on.

The thing is to appreciate that you are playing and singing as part of a community that exists in the present, and, God willing, will continue into the future, becoming a tradition of its own--In fifty years, some aspiring young person may sit you down in front of a recording device of some sort and try to get you to remember the songs that you played in a time and place that are only memories--