The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #60042   Message #962213
Posted By: 8_Pints
30-May-03 - 06:04 PM
Thread Name: Living Tradition and the Revival
Subject: RE: Living Tradition and the Revival
We agree that this is a very interesting and potentially contentious thread. For some time we have been involved with a group of traditional singers who believe that it is the song, not the singer that is really important. We used to meet every week in a pub in Manchester (until the pub was renovated and we lost our room!) and called ourselves the "Song Carriers" club. We hosted a weekend to commemorate the life and work of Ewan MacColl 3 years ago and from that has developed the North West Critics Group. We meet monthly with the aim of becoming better singers and performers of traditional material. The objectives are probably similar to those that Ewan originally had for the Critics Group, in that the songs deserve to be sung properly, by people who have worked at developing their skills. The group is not exclusive, anyone is welcomed who genuinely wants to improve their understanding, style and delivery. No-one is "ripped to shreds", in fact the opposite is true - the group is very encouraging.
I don't think many of us have been lucky enough to collect our material from source singers directly, but have been able to listen to original recordings and discuss their interpretations and techniques. This helps us to appreciate what the song is saying and hopefully aids our own performances. We do not try and copy the collected versions - of course we use our own interpretations, but they are a very useful starting point for any song.

There is a very interesting letter in this month's 'Living Tradition' about the lack of traditional songs being sung in folk clubs generally. It is certainly worth a read.

Sue vG and 8 Pints