The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #60042   Message #960584
Posted By: Frankham
28-May-03 - 12:27 PM
Thread Name: Living Tradition and the Revival
Subject: RE: Living Tradition and the Revival

The intersection between the traditional and the revival is essential for the appreciation of folk music. It's ok to make the distinction because it helps both. The traditional singer learns to appreciate his/her form. The revivalist carries the music forward to new audiences.

The reason that the revivalist should study the music of the tradition is that it furthurs the understanding of style, nuance, lyrics, and appreciation for the song. It can be used as a valid springboard for other interpretations by revivalists. Why not? If it's musically interesting and yes, entertaining, what's wrong with that?

I don't agree that the traditional and revival music have merged into one form of expression. That's just a cop-out by those who don't want to take the time to examine the traditions of the music. At the same time, I think it's a cop-out to pretend to be someone you're not.
Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery but there is a specious side to this. (Example: when a young white kid tries to imitate a black singer or a rural musician). This doesn't mean that the young white kid can't interpret the music of his/her choice. But the differences have to be allowed for. There's not one white guy I know who is going to sound exactly like a Delta Blues musician who was born and raised black in southern Mississippi. There may be great interpreters of that music, however, such as Ry Cooder and others.

So what if they don't sound exactly like that? Who really cares? If they bring music to life for others, give them a window to appreciate traditional music such as people like Pete Seeger, Burl Ives or others, why not? This is great.

Tradition is the key word here. It means something like history. If you understand it, study it and appreciate it, then something comes out of it that's special if it's done with taste, respect and ability.

I believe that traditional and revival singers should share the same stage. What the best of both worlds have in common is that they appreciate the depth and breadth of the music.

This would be true for jazz. Why not folk music?

Frank Hamilton