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seasonal song - performing out of season?

brassy sharman 24 Jul 07 - 06:07 AM
Waddon Pete 24 Jul 07 - 06:50 AM
Splott Man 24 Jul 07 - 07:34 AM
greg stephens 24 Jul 07 - 04:00 PM
GUEST,doc.tom 24 Jul 07 - 06:59 PM
Genie 24 Jul 07 - 08:39 PM
Hawker 25 Jul 07 - 03:59 AM
Mr Happy 25 Jul 07 - 07:51 AM
Marje 25 Jul 07 - 08:58 AM
GUEST,Uncle Boko 25 Jul 07 - 09:04 AM
GUEST,Uncle Boko 25 Jul 07 - 09:05 AM
Mr Happy 25 Jul 07 - 09:10 AM
stallion 25 Jul 07 - 12:25 PM
Genie 26 Jul 07 - 02:31 AM
My guru always said 26 Jul 07 - 03:42 AM
stallion 26 Jul 07 - 04:07 AM
Folkiedave 26 Jul 07 - 04:21 AM
GUEST,Uncle Boko 26 Jul 07 - 04:37 AM
Marje 26 Jul 07 - 06:25 AM
GUEST,PMB 26 Jul 07 - 06:42 AM
GUEST,Uncle Boko 26 Jul 07 - 06:53 AM
Tim theTwangler 26 Jul 07 - 10:35 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 26 Jul 07 - 05:54 PM
Mo the caller 27 Jul 07 - 03:31 AM
George Papavgeris 27 Jul 07 - 05:40 AM
SharonA 27 Jul 07 - 06:26 AM
Mo the caller 27 Jul 07 - 08:28 AM
SharonA 27 Jul 07 - 08:43 AM
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Subject: seasonal song
From: brassy sharman
Date: 24 Jul 07 - 06:07 AM

When is it appropriate to sing songs out of season, dispute has arisen in our Morris Team, concensus will stenghten my case that any time is the right time!,


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Subject: RE: seasonal song
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 24 Jul 07 - 06:50 AM

Hmmm...not Christmas songs!

Otherwise I guess it doesn't matter if you are 'out of season'.

How many folks in a folk club on a Friday night will be 'setting sail in a westerly gale' or 'bringing the shearlings home' on Saturday?

Think of the drinking songs associated with Harvest Home that you would have to put on the back burner 'til September!

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: seasonal song
From: Splott Man
Date: 24 Jul 07 - 07:34 AM

Ritual songs have a season, and if you are a guardian of that ritual/tradition, then I think you have to be careful you don't dilute it's power through over-use. If you are not a part of that tradition, then I think you make your own choice. But you still have to respect the keepers of that tradition if you are in their vicinity.

For instance, I suggest you don't sing the Padstow May Song anywhere near Cornwall out if season.

Splott Man


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Subject: RE: seasonal song
From: greg stephens
Date: 24 Jul 07 - 04:00 PM

I would go further, and say don't sing the Padstow May Song outside of Padstow. Unless you wished to illustrate a talk about seasonal customs or something.
   And certainly, dont sing Good King Wenceslas in July. Unless for some very silly reason.


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: GUEST,doc.tom
Date: 24 Jul 07 - 06:59 PM

On the other hand, you can always sing While Shepherds to the tune of Lyngham in St.Issey (nr. Padstow) on the 2nd of May ~ if you don't believe me, check out the CAMRA guide.


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: Genie
Date: 24 Jul 07 - 08:39 PM

Well, back in the summer of 1962 or 1963 I heard Bonnie Dobson do 2 Christmas songs at Gerde's Folk City, in Greenwich Village.   OK, they were parodies.   But I've also heard other singers do some Christmas songs, e.g., Riu Riu Chiu, at other times of the year.

The appropriateness may depend on how tightly tied to the season the lyrics are. E.g., not only do I not do songs about Santa Claus except at Christmas time, but I stop singing most on Dec. 25, because it seems weird to be singing about and upcoming event (Santa is coming to town) after it's happened. On the other hand, songs about the birth of Jesus and the "peace on earth" message of Christmas don't seem odd after 12/25 but still during the general "holiday season."   And songs about snow and winter wonderlands, while associated with Christmas, are hardly inappropriate during the snows of January and February.

There are also songs that basically tell a story, and if the events of the story happened at a particular time of year, e.g., Halloween or Christmas, I don't think the story need be told only at that time of year.

In fact, most of my Halloween, Oktoberfest, July 4, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Labor Day, St. Patrick's, and Cinco De Mayo repertoire can be done at other times of the year and nobody seems to find it odd.   And I get requests for Autumn Leaves, Springtime In The Rockies, September Song, and other "seasonal" songs year round.

For me, personally, it's sad that most people do seem to find it odd if you do a Christmas song much before Thanksgiving or much after Jan. 1. That's because two of the best songs I've ever written -- arguably my two best -- are explicitly about Christmas. And I rarely get a chance to present them in song circles during the Christmas season. Some of the regular song circles and jams get cancelled "for the holidays."   Even if they're not cancelled, many song circles in Dec. go on with no reference or thought to the holidays.   And there are virtually NO folk festivals or gatherings during the Christmas season. It can seem disjointed to throw in a Christmas song between "Long Black Veil" and "St James Infirmary,"   Once or twice I've just said, heck, I'm going to do my Christmas song at this folk music gathering (in March) because it's the only time available. But if I do that, I feel like I have to sort of apologize for doing an out-of-season Christmas song.

I don't think I'd ever do that during an actual performance gig.

G


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: Hawker
Date: 25 Jul 07 - 03:59 AM

A few years ago at Crediton Folk Festiva in March we had a late night sing that included several Christmas carols, It followed a discussion about carols and was greatly enjoyed by all (excepting those who were trying to sleep) Also at Miskin ac couple of years ago a late night sing in the cottage turned into a carol singing session (at Easter).I think in the right company and with the right spirit, it is OK to sing great songs outside of their usual 'shelf life' after all they were written to be sung!
Cheers, Lucy


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 25 Jul 07 - 07:51 AM

Even though its a great chorus+ harmonising song, I hesitate to do 'All among the Barley' 'cause the first line is 'Come out 'tis now September'


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: Marje
Date: 25 Jul 07 - 08:58 AM

Well, Mr Happy, you'd better not think too hard about when to sing "All Among the Barley", because nowadays the barley's hanging-down-its-head stage is reached by early August, and come September it's all been harvested. I think we can allow you a bit of leeway there.

There's no point in being too precious about this - for one thing, there's a surfeit of May songs, and very few that relate to, say, February or August. I think, though, that on the whole, most seasonal songs are most effective and enjoyable if they're sung in approximately the right season. There are times when you might choose to break the "rules" for some reason, but the songs that describe or relate to the seasons simply resonate more if the season is right.

Right now, in the UK, forget about summer songs - I think the weather's about right for "Annan Water", "The Water is Wide", etc.

Marje


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: GUEST,Uncle Boko
Date: 25 Jul 07 - 09:04 AM

I would say sing any seasonal song any time you like, especially if musical journalists are about!


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: GUEST,Uncle Boko
Date: 25 Jul 07 - 09:05 AM

We listen to Johnny Coppin's West Country Christmas CDs all through the year.


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 25 Jul 07 - 09:10 AM

Though I guess there'd be no probs with this one:

THE JANUARY JUNE

(tune: January man)
words: Les Barker


The January June she walks abroad
in sombre mood and boots of leather,
The February June she sings a song
About a pigeon getting lost.
The June of March may briefly smile,
But only for a little while;
It's good to get it over.


In April, it's the Easter Tree;
This June's degree's in misery; a master's;
In May the June of May may say
The June of June is due this afternoon.
Too soon the June of June's come true
To do as June Junes used to do;
Les Barker, you're a bastard.


In July, the July June she hums a tune
Of being poor and getting thinner.
The June of August takes the road
To watch the sea for sinking ships;
September June, she may be poor-,
But not so hungry any more;
Pigeon pie for dinner.


The June of new October's wearing black
And takes a sad song from her folder-,
With glee, November June sings fire and mist
And wind and rain and winter gale.
December June walks through the snow
To let a lot of dachshunds know
It can't get any colder.


And the January June comes round again
In sombre mood and boots of leather,
And inwardly, she fears maybe the year
Will reappear for evermore.
The January June suggests
That if you want to make requests
Don't ask for this one; ever.


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: stallion
Date: 25 Jul 07 - 12:25 PM

I am glad the september / August thing is cleared up for "All amongst the blah blah" we dust it off in August and sing it for a couple of months, oddly enough our school holidays are based around the harvest so I guess it's always been August?


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: Genie
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 02:31 AM

Marie, I tend to agree with you that songs usually work best when they're at least roughly "in season." E.g., I love Joni Mitchell's song "Urge For Goin'" but it feels really weird to sing about plying the fire with kindling, pulling the blankets to my chin, and winter closing in when it's early July and the temperature is in the 90s Farenheit.*

Genie

*PS, I've been known to throw in "Let It Snow" or "Frosty The Snowman" on just such a day, as a mainly futile attempt to "beat the heat."


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: My guru always said
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 03:42 AM

It may not be strictly 'seasonal' but I must admit I prefer to only hear 'Come Write Me Down' at weddings as this appears to have become a 'tradition' amongst the folks I know. But I have heard several people in that same crowd singing it out in Sings and this can only 'dilute' (wonderful expression, thanks Ned) the feelings around singing it at Folk Weddings.


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: stallion
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 04:07 AM

I ran this by Ron last night and he said, "but we only do some venues at the same time every year it denies them hearing the songs that are not in season"!
Draw a line at Christmas songs in summer!, as to " Come Write Me Down", it's a good song why should it be only sung at weddings?   Next it will be only singing drinking songs when your in the pub.............. well, not a bad idea.


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 04:21 AM

A few years we had a mid-summer sing of carols and other songs at Dungworth which for those of you who don't know is one of the homes of the Sheffield Xmas carols. (Not all the songs we sing at Xmas are carols anyway).

There were those who predicted gloom and despondency for singing out of season. In fact we had a lovely summer.

We didn't do it this year.

The Watersons sang all their seasonal songs as part of their normal repertoire.


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: GUEST,Uncle Boko
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 04:37 AM

Jolly good too. It's amazing how some folks make up their own rules about what should be sung when, and in some cases how, and that they should even be sung without instruments, which was ponificatified at great length on that hideously control freak controlled site at Folk Roots, by music journalists and others who think they are!!!


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: Marje
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 06:25 AM

Uncle Boko, why on earth shouldn't anyone make up their own rules about what they sing and when? I don't think anyone here has said what others ought to do; what people are saying is what they prefer to sing and to hear, and what works for them. There wouldn't be much point in the original question if all answers were ruled out of order.

You seem to have your own rules too: your rule seems to be that you'll sing anything at any time, regardless of its seasonality. You've also hinted at a preference for instrumentation over unaccompanied song. That's your choice and preference. Others have different priorities, and I'm finding it interesting to read and compare them. Most people who sings with or perform to others are interested to know what others enjoy, and why. If you don't think that's important, it's not worth reading this thread.

Marje


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 06:42 AM

Obviously folk music should only be performed when and where it is appropriate. No one should sing a shanty unless they are dog tired, soaked and frozen, and a long way away. For harvest songs, it should not only be the correct season, but two thirds of you should be going on the dole tomorrow. The Sweets of May should only be sung in May, after dinner. The Maid Who Broke My Heart should only be played by the lovelorn. Bean Setting should be danced while the breakfast leftovers congeal in the saucepan. Males should not sing female songs unless they are coming out. Anyone singing Ratcliff Highway should be given lashes one hundred and three, and those who sing Athen- bloody- ry transported.

There must be rules, and rules must be obeyed. The alternative is chaos.


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: GUEST,Uncle Boko
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 06:53 AM

What do you mean by "coming out"? Do you mean coming out to play?


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: Tim theTwangler
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 10:35 AM

LOL
How are we gonna hear all your wonderful songs if you only perform them when 'tis time for a'maying or Well Blessing or....
Sounds a bit sniffy and exclusive to me.
Maybe be only mannual labourers should be allowed to sing songs about mining,sailing ,ploughing digging holes,being poor etc?
Maybe we need more anorak or library songs?
(NB the above comments are intended as light hearted banter.)


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 05:54 PM

Nice one PMB, that just about says all that's needed. "Reductio ad absurdum".

Sing what you like, when you like, how you like.

Don T.

P.S. And as often as you like, or until thrown out, whichever happens first.


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 27 Jul 07 - 03:31 AM

Hey, I never get invited to folky weddings, but I do enjoy joining in with the chorus of "write me down".
OTOH Christmas songs are better in season (and it makes singers learn more songs, or dust off the old ones)


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 27 Jul 07 - 05:40 AM

I agree with PMB. A carol is enjoyed best at Christmas, but it is not "inappropriate" the rest of the year. May songs are more evocative on the 1st of May, but they can be also enjoyable in June or March. And both the examples I mentioned are "functional" songs in the sense that they are written to work with/be part of a specific event.

But there are many more songs that simply refer to an event, without necessarily being functionally part of it. A Christmas song can simply refer to the celebrations; the "January Man" refers to all months of the year; so many songs begin "'t was on a May morning" without being "May songs".

I find "seasonal" singing of songs a little twee; like a performer or comedian putting on different hats to accentuate a joke (yes, Sid K too), or putting on a hat for a wedding when one does not wear hats the rest of the year, or the "white tie"/"black tie" dressing conventions. This kind of telegraphing one's message or presenting feelings through symbols might have been useful in bygone eras, or in the world of the music hall. Nowadays, they are just quaint, I feel.

Sing what you like, when you like. You can do the song no harm.


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: SharonA
Date: 27 Jul 07 - 06:26 AM

Two weeks ago, I played a gig where I was asked to sing my Christmas-Hanukah song. Perhaps the answer to the "when is it appropriate to sing the songs" question is "when the listeners will enjoy them." So my question is, does brassy sharman's Morris team feel that out-of-season seasonal songs will alienate their audience, and if so on what basis do they draw this conclusion?

BTW, as for Christmas carols, one might expect that the songs celebrating the birth of Jesus would be sung through the year just as the songs referring to his resurrection would be, yet this doesn't seem to be the case. Moreover, the time of year (the season!) of Jesus's birth is in dispute but seems likely NOT to be in late December, so it seems odd that most people continue to feel comfortable attaching the carols to a particular (and arbitrary) date.


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 27 Jul 07 - 08:28 AM

Well when I sing Carols I'm not celebrating a (dubious) past event, but harking back, nostalgically, to childhood and the magic of the season, then.


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Subject: RE: seasonal song - performing out of season?
From: SharonA
Date: 27 Jul 07 - 08:43 AM

"...I'm not celebrating a (dubious) past event..."

Mo, I'm imagining you singing, "This, this may be Christ the King..."

LOL!


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