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the folk revival

The Sandman 28 Jun 07 - 06:05 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 28 Jun 07 - 06:16 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 28 Jun 07 - 07:48 AM
8_Pints 28 Jun 07 - 08:06 AM
greg stephens 28 Jun 07 - 08:07 AM
The Borchester Echo 28 Jun 07 - 08:23 AM
The Sandman 28 Jun 07 - 08:32 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 28 Jun 07 - 08:35 AM
The Sandman 28 Jun 07 - 08:35 AM
Deckman 28 Jun 07 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,Warwick Slade 28 Jun 07 - 08:56 AM
Waddon Pete 28 Jun 07 - 09:00 AM
Surreysinger 28 Jun 07 - 09:03 AM
George Papavgeris 28 Jun 07 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,Russ 28 Jun 07 - 09:17 AM
The Sandman 28 Jun 07 - 10:40 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 28 Jun 07 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,Rat bag 28 Jun 07 - 11:08 AM
GUEST,PMB 28 Jun 07 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 28 Jun 07 - 11:33 AM
treewind 28 Jun 07 - 11:42 AM
The Borchester Echo 28 Jun 07 - 11:42 AM
treewind 28 Jun 07 - 11:45 AM
treewind 28 Jun 07 - 11:51 AM
The Borchester Echo 28 Jun 07 - 11:52 AM
Folkiedave 28 Jun 07 - 12:13 PM
The Sandman 28 Jun 07 - 12:14 PM
Folkiedave 28 Jun 07 - 12:16 PM
The Borchester Echo 28 Jun 07 - 12:19 PM
Banjiman 28 Jun 07 - 12:41 PM
The Sandman 28 Jun 07 - 12:48 PM
The Borchester Echo 28 Jun 07 - 12:50 PM
Banjiman 28 Jun 07 - 01:11 PM
The Sandman 28 Jun 07 - 01:31 PM
treewind 28 Jun 07 - 01:32 PM
The Borchester Echo 28 Jun 07 - 01:44 PM
treewind 28 Jun 07 - 01:56 PM
Banjiman 28 Jun 07 - 02:00 PM
The Borchester Echo 28 Jun 07 - 02:05 PM
Folkiedave 28 Jun 07 - 02:10 PM
The Borchester Echo 28 Jun 07 - 02:13 PM
Folkiedave 28 Jun 07 - 02:17 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 28 Jun 07 - 02:27 PM
The Borchester Echo 28 Jun 07 - 02:41 PM
George Papavgeris 28 Jun 07 - 03:14 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Jun 07 - 06:03 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 28 Jun 07 - 06:51 PM
greg stephens 28 Jun 07 - 07:05 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 28 Jun 07 - 09:19 PM
GUEST 29 Jun 07 - 03:41 AM
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Subject: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 06:05 AM

Is the folk revival an irrelevancy,to traditional music.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 06:16 AM

I would say not, Dick. Any upswing in the public profile of folk in general, must inevitably have a positive effect, however small, on traditional folk song & dance.

This is the reason why the folk clubs I have run, have been as inclusive as I was able to make them. Many people who attended to hear contemporary music, discovered that they liked much of the trad side as well.

I can even recall a few diehard traddies (I use the phrase with affection, not as a pejorative), who discovered a liking for contemporary folk.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 07:48 AM

Some may find these words tough, but as a traditionalist singer, picker and scholar who is also a mod-folk singer-songwriter, I have a dual perspective. What follows is, of course, only my opinion, but it is an informed one.

The folk revival did wonders at bringing traditional music, styles, etc. before a wider public. But did it make a difference to the music itself? That is, did it add or change something important about traditional music? IMO, a qualified no.

First, insofar as it used real traditional music, the folk revival mostly copied, preserved, or bastardized. It did not innovate within, or anywhere near, the tradition. For a good reason! Those doing the music were almost exclusively of a sophisticated culture separate from the cultures they were drawing on -- mountain, cowboy, Cajun, shantymen, etc., all those usually regarded as "traditional" for folk music purposes.

Second, insofar as it added new songs, styles, etc., the folk revival almost completely failed to contribute any new repertoire to *traditional* music. Instead it created a parallel body of music faithful to its own sophisticated views: a *separate* repertoire that is admirable in itself, but not traditional in any sense I can detect. Instead I would argue that it is more or less a division of popular music, and is having a pretty hard time hanging onto "folk" status in the traditional sense.

Of course there are some exceptions to the above, and we all have our favorites we feel come close to the genre and perhaps could survive in tradition. They're few, though, and IMO they fall far short of outweighing the general rule.

Also, I'm aware what I've said depends on generalizing from definitions that have been much wrangled over on the forum, like "What is tradition? What is traditional?" (I've posted extensively on one of those DT threads if anyone wants to follow my thinking.)

But still, for overall trends, the rule mostly holds. The folk revival was a popular dip into the folk repertoire and manner -- that is, it was a non-traditional public making a tourist excursion into traditional territory. Some of the tourists became very knowledgeable, made great music, etc. But I they didn't constitute a new traditional upsurge.

Will some songs and styles from the folk revival become part of the body of traditional music as it carries on into the future? Yes, without a doubt. Some perhaps already have. But the folk tradition has always had a tradition of taking over material foreign to it -- from the stage, for example, a very big source in the 19th century, as records were in the 20th. The folk revival style and repertoire are just as foreign to tradition as the stage and pop music, but they're also fair game.

-- That is, if we can regard any population as "traditional" in this age. I think we can, and have to, if we're not to declare tradition dead. In that wider sense, we're probably tradition's bastard children, carrying on step-Daddy's and step-Mommy's songs, having adopted them. Here all the definitions go awry. If we're the traditional population, does anything we like become part of tradition, willy-nilly? Or is there still a discernible traditional population somewhere else on which we draw?

There is, of course, but that Somewhere Else is increasingly the past. The sons and daughters of the older traditional cultures are out making rock, salsa, pop music, country music, swamp rock, etc., and we, as in "Poor Howard," are left here "singing this song," making of it what we can.

Crystal-balling is anybody's guess, but I'd venture that whatever folk tradition will be in the 22nd century, it will include songs from rock, pop from the entire electronic era from the 1920s forward, hiphop, perhaps subdivisions of pop like meringue and salsa, plus future music we have no idea of now, and it will have some songs from the folk revival too.

What will it sound like stylistically? Very odd, maybe. Just as we'd sound almost incomprehensible and probably laughable to the traditional folksong ancestors of the 19th century -- the period when our present idea of folksong became crystallized, or congealed, or whatever.

I tend to feel traditional song of any era will still have to be music one person can make -- not depending on any very sophisticated instrumental accompaniment, attitudinizing, or performance situation. Of course if by then we all have chips in our brains that allow us to, say, vocalize and orchestrize in the same moment and from the same throat, it's anybody's ball game. That'll REALLY change the sound of tradition as time goes on.

On the other hand we may all be cooking over campfires in the ruins, and unaccompanied singing will make a splendid comeback. In that case enjoy your guitars, banjos, etc. now, because when the stringmaking technologies fail, we'll be back to playing on catgut, cornstalk fiddles, and mutant vines stretched to the breaking point. :)

I think SOLO is the key. Folk music, in any era, is music one person can make without sophisticated help. Without backing musicians, without an instrument whose skill level is highl, without media or stage, without pretension or production. It may be, with time, almost any sort of song, but performable offhand, and solo.

Musicians may get together and play it, sure. But if it can't be done solo, it has a harder time surviving. Like the old argument: learn golf, because you can go on with it when you're out of school and can't put together a team to play anything.

Just an opinion. I may be completely wrong, but then, nearly every past statement about tradition has ultimately been wrong, so I'll be in excellent company.

Bob


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: 8_Pints
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 08:06 AM

Dick,

If it prevented traditional song from being forgotten then it served a purpose surely?

Bob vG


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 08:07 AM

Bob: a very interesting look at the question. I'm 90% in agreement, though not totally happy about your equating folk with what one solo person can deliver. The village band has a long and distinguished history servicing births, marriages, deaths, seasonal celebrations, pissup etc. and long may it continue to do so.
But your general point seems spot on. The revival used (and to a lesser extent uses) folk material, but is not itself part of any folk tradition. Except in so far as some genuinely trad folk msucians got into the revival, whether for enjoyment or employment. But the current folk revival has as much, or as little, to with folk as Benjamin Britten, Vaughan Williams and those others revivers before. They came, admired, borrowed, rearranged, wrote songs in the style of: but they never joined, and never really could join.The Gates of Eden only opened to let people out.
That may not be the case with the next revival, of course. It will depend on the people involved. But the current revival merely created its own scene.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 08:23 AM

Greg is of course entirely right about the importance of the village band. And it can scarcely be forgotten that it was the ceilidh scene that dragged English music through the 80s when the revival (in the UK) had otherwise disintegrated into a mish-mash of comedians and snigger-snoggers.

Bob Colman asserts that nothing important has been added or changed about traditional music. Not so. It may be far more an English phenomenen but many of out finest musicians are writing 'in the tradition', using and expanding upon existing material as well as creating new compositions to identify with our landscapes and ways of life. Obvious, high profile examples are The English Acoustic Collective, Kathryn Tickell, John Tams and Alisdair Roberts, though it's invidious to list.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 08:32 AM

Bob,you say the folk revival almost completely failed to contribute new material to the traditional repertoire.
Wrong.1 sweet thames flow softly ,2.Dirty old town,3 fiddlers green.4.Ring of Iron.5.Whitby whaler 6.Fields OF athenry[now sung by football fans].6 Reynardine.7 .Song for Ireland.8Wild Rover,9 willie mcbride.and so on on on.
It is not an irrelevancy,because it has enabled traditional musicians/singers like Walter Pardon,and many others to have a platform to perform,to enable singers like Walter who were only singing at home,to pass on their music in live performance to others.
   the music people of like OSCAR WOODS has influenced revivalist performers like Katie Howson,Rod Stradling,Flowers and Frolics,SuffolkBell and HoreshoeBand, Syzewll Gap
In AMERICA Roscoe Holscomb,played little Birdie to Pete Seeger[Traditional musician to Revivalist]PETE asks him what tuning hes in.
immediately interaction and influence takes place.

. the revival cannot be seperated from the tradition,the two are intertwined.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 08:35 AM

Bravo, Bob Coltman!

Thanks for an interesting and perceptive contribution to the debate.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 08:35 AM

8 pints ,I asked a F...KING QUESTION.of couse it served apurpose.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Deckman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 08:49 AM

Answer to Bob Coltman,

I, for one, think you are completly correct. For many years, I was a singer of ONLY traditional folk songs, which for me meant two things: the song had to be at least 100 years old and the author had to be unknown. While I built up a huge repitore, I began to find my self imposed limits stiflying.

Then along came the likes of John Denver, yourself, and many other song writers that attracted my attention because of the excellence of their material. I soon had to change my (expand) my personal limits.

I think your point of the "SOLO" performer is excatly correct. Thanks for your thoughtful posting. Bob Nelson


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Warwick Slade
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 08:56 AM

Any revival cannot be irrelavant to its subject. Traditional music has been handed down from generation to generation, often isolated in time and place from other influences. It sometimes moves across vast areas ie to the Americas, and mutates with other influences, to create something 'new'. Is that still traditional? I would argue yes as the change is subconcious and then becomes, once more, isolated.
The folk revival immediatly exposed the tradition music to the influences of the mass market, with new instrumentation and popular
ie contrived, music.
We are fortunate enough to be able to still hear where the music was at when recording was invented and, as such, that music continues to be handed down in a static form. What the revival did was allow folk music to evolve and mutate, extending its perimeters.
This is a subject to set for the degree in folk at Newcastle


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 09:00 AM

I agree that Bob Coltman has made a significant contribution to this thread. I have always thought that the solo performer unaided by technicalities, who can sing, or play in any circumstance is the best definition of a traditional style.

However, when 2 or 3 are gathered together, you get a group!

Then there is the question of whether we are traditional singers or singers of traditional songs? If I sing songs that I learned from my family, that they, in their turn, learned from theirs...does that make me a traditional singer or just lucky?

As long as you are singing the songs you enjoy with conviction and understanding, (with or without an audience)...does it actually matter?

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Surreysinger
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 09:03 AM

Captain - oh dear, I hate to say it but in the trade of "interrogators" (otherwise known as interviewers) in my previous line of business the question which you asked at the head of this thread is known as a closed question - to which there are actually only two possible answers - YES or NO . 8 pints has effectively provided a NO answer - and now so have you!!! So IMHO I really don't think that 8 pints merited that response.

(As my profession required the wheedling out of information,and establishment of facts, we were trained to avoid closed questions , and to ensure that any question was framed in such a way as to open discussion out ... amazing that even now the habits of training from a number of years ago still come flooding back ... as now do some of those interviews, and the occasions where the use of a closed question ended with a lack of information and an inability to "break the case" :-( )

Incidentally, questions about THE folk revival always intrigue me - which one - the 1850's, 1880's- early 1900's, the 1950's, 1960's or 1970's - an indeterminate genre (ie folk revivals in general) or even now?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 09:16 AM

I agree - Captain, unnecesarily loud and rude response to 8 pints, helps no-one.

Bob Coltman, great answer, though I will go with Diane's modification point about groups of musicians/bands being important to traditional dance music.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 09:17 AM

Bob,

Beautifully put.

Russ (Permanent GUEST, traditional musician, and folkie)


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 10:40 AM

apologies to 8 pints,it is a question,[at that point I had not stated my opinion].
his reply gave a suggestion that I might have answered yes.
the question can be answered yes /no,then the responder qualifies his answer,just as I did by mentioning Walter Pardons opportunity to perform.
Bobs answer that the folk revival has contributed hardly anything to the repertoire is in itself irrelevant,because it doesnt disprove the relevancy of the revival,the revival is relevant to the tradition,if it all it ever did was provide traditional singers and musicians with a platform to perform.
personally I think it has done more than that because it has also exposed traditional singers and their music to a wider audience.
Finally Bobs argument that it has to be solo is flawed,Bob and Ron Copper,Rita and Sara keane,The Wexford Carol Singers,the village bands[that also played in church]as described by Thomas Hardy.,the Wren boys,and so on.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:07 AM

"Those doing the music were almost exclusively of a sophisticated culture separate from the cultures they were drawing on -- mountain, cowboy, Cajun, shantymen, etc., all those usually regarded as "traditional" for folk music purposes."

But were they not a reflection of a culture onto themselves? The city kids who gathered in coffeehouses in the 1960's to sing cowboy songs created their own "tradition".   The cowboys of the 1860's utilized songs and traditions from other cultures and eras to create their own culture on the plains. The songs that came over to this country originated in Europe.   Is it not an ever-evolving "tradition"?

"Second, insofar as it added new songs, styles, etc., the folk revival almost completely failed to contribute any new repertoire to *traditional* music. Instead it created a parallel body of music faithful to its own sophisticated views: a *separate* repertoire that is admirable in itself, but not traditional in any sense I can detect. Instead I would argue that it is more or less a division of popular music, and is having a pretty hard time hanging onto "folk" status in the traditional sense."

By definition, you can't "add" to an existing tradition. If a 22 year old accountant sings a sea chanty at a festival in Kansas this weekend, that is about as far from the original setting as possible. What makes that "traditional"?

Is it the act of singing, the song itself, or the setting that determines?

I feel that the various folk revivals created their own traditions and added to an ever evolving tradition.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Rat bag
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:08 AM

What a load of over-intectualised hog wash, come on boys, get a life.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:16 AM

I think it depends which folk revival you mean, and where. The folk revival in Britain of the early 19th century resulted in the collection of a lot of ballads which might otherwise have been lost, but also the selectivity of recording- the collectors only wanted ones they thought were good in their own terms- meant that they were recorded in a standardised sort of way, that perhaps didn't reflect how they were being used at the time.

The later 19th century British revival resulted in a lot of material being recorded, particularly collections of Yorkshire and Geordie songs, with a lot of new songs added (Dalesman's Litany for example). Some of this came via the music halls, and has been subsequently incorporated in what we think of as traditional.

The early 20th century views of Sharp and co refocused attention on specifically songs of the country side, as they had a definite image of the unspoilt agricultural labourer carrying an unpolluted tradition that could be recovered. Unfortunately, they didn't think the UAL's style of singing as suitable for their own circles, and produced arrangements to be sung in a light tenor to a polite piano accompaniment, or for choirs of schoolchildren, with content altered to match. This buttercups-and-daisies period again collected and preserved a lot of stuff, but may have also contributed to its dying as a vernacular tradition, by association with the frankly risible sanitisers.

And so on. Our own revival, apart from the period from the mid 50s to the early 70s, has had to struggle against the image of tradition left by Sharp, and later against the image of "protest song" from the period when it was associated with CND etc. (That's where we got the bearded, arran- sweatered, carrot- juice drinking teacher cliche).

The American, Irish, what have you, revivals will have their own dynamics and baggage.

So my take is, in answer to Dick's original question, that not only have the various revivals been relevant to traditional music, it has to a great extent governed what people mean by traditional music.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:33 AM

During my freshman year of college, in 1958, I started hanging about in a coffee house with a group of like-minded boys and girls who had fallen in love with "folk music." Now, none of us, at the time, really knew or, more to the point, gave a rat's backside concerning the difference between "traditional" or "ethnic" songs and the things we were beginning to hear on the radio. Two camps developed in this venue. Those who chose the path of a rather self-righteous defense of "traditional" music; i.e., the Child ballads, songs collected by the Lomax family, etc., and those of us who did not find some updating all that offensive.

I say, to thine own self be true. For me, good music, well performed, trumps the more intellectual exercise of being absolutely true to the original material and performance style. For those who love the research and the collection of the arcane, God bless you. You're the folks who found the material we used. We are both right.

I have noted, over the years, that the audiences for the more polished
versions of "folk songs" tend to be consistently larger than those which favor the "pure" form. If that makes the former more "commercial," I'd take that to the bank.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: treewind
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:42 AM

"produced arrangements to be sung in a light tenor to a polite piano accompaniment"
There's a lot of mileage to be got out of those songs still, starting from the collected words and the music and avoiding the trained voice and Sharp's piano parts, and avoiding other "revival" recorded interpretations too. And playing the game of "one song to the tune of another" when words and music were not collected together, which they often weren't.

"[the revival] has to a great extent governed what people mean by traditional music."
The revival IS (part of) the tradition, which is a history of perpetual change, innovation, reaction, preservation, backlash and disagreement. It's always been like that, and long may it continue to do so!

Anahata


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:42 AM

Which revival?
Indeed, was there one at all and do we know which century we're talking about?
I imagine, for the purposes of this discussion, Dick means the mid C20th one.

Bob Davenport has this wonderful story about a 'field collector' who was giving a talk. This 'expert' claimed to know exactly when (to the month and year) that the hammer dulcimer ceased to be played by traditional musicians in England.

'That's amazing', said Bob. 'You mean that was a ghost I saw down Hoxton market this morning?'

Point is, traditions are all around us, at times more visible than others.
And it depends not on whether a cappella solo art singers are are up on platforms doing their interpretations, but on whether local communities out there are involved in their cultural heritage of dance and song, and carrying it forward.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: treewind
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:45 AM

Diane, I know you weren't responding to my post, but of course I meant any or all of them, in fact I couldn't make up my mind whether to put it/them in the plural or not...

Anahata


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: treewind
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:51 AM

Point about this solo and unaccompanied thing: a folk song doesn't HAVE to be sung unaccompanied, but if it CAN'T be sung unaccompanied (like a lot of pop tracks can't really) it's never going to be a folk song. Really, to be folk it's got to be possible to pass it on by word of mouth or by playing the tune on an instrument, or it's a different kind of music.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 11:52 AM

Yes, I know. Anahata. We posted simultaneously.

And your points about making use of any source while avoiding slavish copying of a style, as well as mixing and matching texts and tunes are absolutely right, as you prove so effectively in your own work.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 12:13 PM

I think Bob makes some excellent and very valid points but I would like to offer a different perspective.

There are some problems here - not least of which is the term "revival". I do not want to get in to a discussion about that as a term but I just want to question its widespread acceptance in hopefully a non-confrontational way. (Second time I have asked for non-confrontational-ness on Mudcat this week - I must be getting soft!)

Another problem is - when did this revival start? There is a huge gap for example between the first folk clubs and what people call the revival starting in the mid-sixties. And I have never had any problem discovering traditional music in Ireland or Scotland.

Now here you might say it was a gradual process - in which case was the dying out a gradual process and if it was the tradition going on at the same time? Semantically difficult then to describe as a revival I would say.

The traditional "events" of the folk world - let's just take the Haxey Hood game, never died out and have passed through generations with no influence from the so-called "revival" except in the numbers attending.

From the perspective of my own city - for our American friends one of the UK's largest formerly industrial cities - then we have traditional singers and we have traditional dancers and we have traditional events (which involve singing) and all of these have passed down through generations and continue to be so. In no way could these be described as revivals. And I have watched two of these change with little influence from the "folk world".

As far as the interest in "folk things" in Sheffield (given a wide-ish definiton) then it is easy to make a case that it never went away - and certainly it hasn't. Not much of a revival there then - even though there was a lot of folk clubs in the sixties - none of whom discovered the local singing traditions for ages. And often still ignore it.

If I point to a different area - then the interest in bothy songs has existed and never went away - and again - I would argue may have received a bit of an upsurge of interest but really that is all. Again if it never went away not really a revival IMHO. A number of bothy ballad contests (some including free whisky from the sponsors!) are held and new songs are written in the traditional style (just as they always were). And before someone says it for me - yes I know the social and cultural and economic circumstances of farming in N.E. Scotland have changed - but that is also reflected in the modern versions of the bothy songs entered into the contests.

You may want to argue that these are anachronisms, but as far as the area I know best is concerned not at all - just part of my life.

Anyway for those really interested in folk revivals there is a conference here which naturally enough is being held in Sheffield!

Anyone seriously interested in attending might let me know. I shall be there but travelling each day.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 12:14 PM

yes DIANE,That was the one I meant.treewind I agree.
But, what, no Jim Carroll.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 12:16 PM

No - but Dave Eyre has joined in with points already mentioned albeit at length.

Sorry that was the length of time it took to get my ideas down and in some semblance of order.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 12:19 PM

Oi, stop provoking the poor bloke.
I'll not say this very often but this is one discussion that's better off without input from Mr Carroll!


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Banjiman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 12:41 PM

Anyone got a useful, working definition of what is a "traditional" song?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 12:48 PM

[instead it created a parrallel body etc not related to the tradition]Bob coltmans words.
Davy Graham brought to england,and the English folk revival,open tunings that were being used by morrocan traditional musicians,these were later used by Martin Carthy,NicJones Chris Foster etc,in theEnglish folk revival.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 12:50 PM

Since you ask. I suppose I could wheel it out again:

'The tradition' comprises art forms of a distinctive national, ethnic or social group rooted in that community's lore and customs and passed on orally, aurally or by demonstration rather than by written/recorded or formal didactic means. It has thus belonged collectively to that community, rather than to individuals or the state, and tells the history of the people from their common experience.

In the case of music, its platform has been predominantly the informal social gathering, the workplace or the home rather than the theatrical stage or concert hall, and pieces tended to be known by what or who they were about rather than by composer. This is not, of course, to say that trad musicians have not borrowed and adapted from formal composers or from other cultures. Obviously they have, and do, which is why the tradition continues to evolve.

However, three factors in the current revival are forcing ever more rapid and inexorable changes:

(a) digital archiving
(b) writing, consciously, 'in the tradition' and registering the result with MCPS/ PRS
(c) population mobility resulting in monumental cross cultural influence and collaboration.

It will, thus, never be the same again. 'The tradition' will remain that static body of information that has been quite literally passed down before the irrevocably altered times put an end to the centuries-old process (cue Richard Thompson . . . ). What is NOT traditional, by definition, is a recently composition of known origin. Even if you call it The White Hare.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Banjiman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 01:11 PM

Thanks Diane, an interesting and useful definition, not sure about the dig at Seth though..

If this definition is correct then (returning to the question that started the thread maybe?) the folk revival is an irrelevancy to traditional music as:

"'The tradition' will remain that static body of information that has been quite literally passed down before the irrevocably altered times put an end to the centuries-old process"

I assume this means that no song can ever again pass into the tradition?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 01:31 PM

not at all,fiddlers green instantly springs to my mind,I have heard this song sung in Ireland,at G.A.A. Scors,at pubs, etc everyone assuming it was irish and traditional,in fact I think JohnConnolly[the songs composer]was even told that he never wrote it,by one expert.
then we have all the songs sung at football matches.,even if the songs are not very good,some of them are still traditional songs,made up on the spur of the moment ,and no one claiming authorship.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: treewind
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 01:32 PM

Yes, I've seen that definition before and I still don't agree with the implication that there will be no new traditional music in the future.

(a) digital archiving
You may as well say traditional passing on of songs by word of mouth died when the first broadside was printed. And though I can access 1000000 tunes on the net, I still get the motivation to learn one because I've heard someone play it - then I might use John Chambers' tunefinder to get hold of a copy, which speeds the process up a bit, but I didn't know I could do that I would have written it down instead.

(b) Writing 'in the tradition' and resistering with MCPS/PRS
Doesn't stop anyone else performing them, and doesn't stop a song from evolving and changing. Which part of the process of "tradition" is affected by PRS registration? And eventually the copyright expires...

(c) population mobility, cross cultural influence and collaboration...
That has always happened in all the arts. It can happen faster now, but not all that much faster because it takes a while for people's tastes to change and be re-educated. And people still don't move all that much!

Anahata


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 01:44 PM

I still don't agree with the implication that there will be no new traditional music in the future

It doesn't (I didn't) say that. I said that the process was irrevocably different.

And it's not a dig at Mr Lakeperson but at the idiocy of Smoothops trying to defend the indefensible over the 'Best Traditional Track' at the Folk Awards.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: treewind
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 01:56 PM

That wasn't what I understood by the words: "'The tradition' will remain that static body of information that has been quite literally passed down before the irrevocably altered times put an end to the centuries-old process"

"static body" implies it won't change or be added to.

Personally I don't think the process is all that different. Things happen a bit faster, and use different technology, that's all.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Banjiman
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 02:00 PM

"then we have all the songs sung at football matches.,even if the songs are not very good,some of them are still traditional songs,made up on the spur of the moment ,and no one claiming authorship"

WE R IMPS, WE R IMPS, WE R IMPS........Ill try this new traditional song next time I'm at a folk club :) (Yes not only do I play the banjo but I was also born in Lincoln...the crosses I have to bear!)

Seriously, is it not just the case that means of passing on the tradition changes (digital archiving) and that the "folk process" is speeded up (population mobility).

Captain....Another question re songs like Fiddlers green(Smile in Your Sleep By Jim Mclean is another one), if someone assumes a song is traditional, does that mean it is?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 02:05 PM

What I'm saying is that the process is a lot faster and that you can't undo the digital revolution. There can no longer be any doubt or uncertaintly over attribution (which is good from the royalties point of view). And it's not just physical mobility of population but the lightning-speed ease in which tunes can be disseminated electronically.

That is why the times are altered irrevocally.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 02:10 PM

That is why the times are altered irrevocally.

You mean the times they are a-changing?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 02:13 PM

That they already have.
Contrary to popular belief.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 02:17 PM

Eeeh!! and I thought the change were constant.

Wasn't it Hegel who suggested not only can you not throw yourself into the same river twice - you can't even throw the same you into the same river?

Or have I got my philosophers mixed up?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 02:27 PM

"But, what, no Jim Carroll."
Sorry Cap'n; I like to think about what I write before I write.
"I'll not say this very often but this is one discussion that's better off without input from Mr Carroll!"
I wonder why Diane?
I'll be back,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 02:41 PM

Oh, just that you're so dismissive of absolutely EVERYTHING that's happened in the revival.
And although there's plenty of diversionary crap, it's not all bad.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 03:14 PM

There's crap in the music of every era and every genre. Just because a song is interesting and important from a social study or academic viewpoint it doesn't make it de facto a great song, it needs more than that. And many great songs of the past may be unpalatable to contemporary music tastes or their subject or language may be offensive to today's mores - this doesn't make them bad songs, simply out of time.

I see the 50's/60s revival partly as an accelerator to the normal folk process, which went on before then and still goes on.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 06:03 PM

Heraclites - the Heraclitean imagery of a life as a river.

I agree with that bloke from San Diego - somewhere up the thread. he seems to have been involved the same folk revival I have been.

This is an odd experience, as nobody usually agrees with me on this subject.


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 06:51 PM

Rats! You mean Grayson & Whitter, and Darby & Tarlton, Brownie & Sonny, the stuff that Doc Watson, Clarence Ashley and Fred Price did together, all the old string band stuff, the Carter Family and the Blue Sky Boys... all that stuff really isn't what's important in folk music? True, the song can be performed solo, but what about the creativity (and tradition) of harmonies. One man harmonies stink.

Love ya Bob, but excuuuuuuuuse me!

Jerry


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 07:05 PM

Dig in there, Jerry! But like I said earlier, I think Bob Coltman's contibution was masterly. But a litle bit flawed(well, a lot flawed) when he said folk music had to be deliverable by one person. I'm with you, Jerry, on that count he is talking out of his slightly inaccurate area. But in general, fine. It's not got much to do with folk music if you've played Cambridge or Celtic Connections. What couints is, how many weddings and funerals?


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 09:19 PM

Yeah, Greg: Bob definitely knows his stuff. And he is one of my very favorite songwriters. It's a matter of perspective. Some folks picture folk music as a lonesome hobo shuffling down a dirt road with his guitar slung over his back. And that's an important part of folk music. But not all of it, by any means. I suppose it also depends on whether you put the song above everything else. If you do, then you're probably going to lead toward the lonesome hobo image.

Push comes to shove, just about nothing tops Train 45 by Grayson & Whitter, for me. I could sit and plunk away at it on the front porch all day, but I couldn't touch them boys. :-)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: the folk revival
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 03:41 AM

Diane
No I'm certainly not! I am not dismissive of everything that's HAPPENED in the revival; I am more than a little disturbed at what's HAPPENING in the revival NOW, which is very different.
I came to the music through the revival; I really don't know anybody researching the music who didn't, and I suspect that those who didn't would make very dull scholars.
I still have hopes that, among other things, given the right circumstances, the revival can continue to give a great deal of pleasure and to help create new songs.

One of the objects of my collecting was to make available the songs we found to a wider audience - that's why anybody interested can walk into The National Sound Archive or the Irish Traditional Music Archive and listen to our recordings.
It's the reason we are in the process of setting up a local archive here in Clare - in order to get the songs sung again.
Jim Carroll
PS Don't forget - even Scousers have feelings!


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