The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #60042   Message #959876
Posted By: GUEST,Russ
27-May-03 - 01:55 PM
Thread Name: Living Tradition and the Revival
Subject: RE: Living Tradition and the Revival

I apologize if my initial response sounded too snotty.

If your interest in the distinction has an academic component, then one of your jobs is a review of the literature. You could probably get an entire thesis or dissertation out of the debate. It's been going on for well over a century.

"If we all agree these are silly terms, why are they so commonly employed, and we revivalists, or in my case second generation 60's revival (I'm 25) made to feel inferior because we're not farmers?"

But that's the point. Such distinctions are too often made to exclude and denigrate. To use a very old fashioned word, the distinction is "political." It is made to justify giving or withholding funds, to put people in their place, etc. Academics SHOULD use the terms purely in a classificatory way. For them a distinction is a tool. Non-academics often use the distinction to make value judgments. For them the distinction is a weapon. At your age you should consider very carefully the source of pejorative uses of the term "revivalist." At least some of them might be expressions of one generation's traditional dissatisfaction with a younger generation's aesthetics.

You cannot "harm" the folk process any more than you can harm the water cycle. However, you as an individual can affect other individuals including traditional musicians. It's an old story, but traditional musicians tend to play and sing what the collectors want to hear. Also, the relation between academic and traditional musician is fairly often viewed as exploitive by the musicians and their communities.