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Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer

Richard Bridge 10 Oct 07 - 05:06 PM
GUEST,pbc 10 Oct 07 - 05:45 PM
Wesley S 10 Oct 07 - 05:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Oct 07 - 07:00 PM
bobad 10 Oct 07 - 07:11 PM
Susanne (skw) 10 Oct 07 - 07:25 PM
Art Thieme 10 Oct 07 - 07:40 PM
Peace 10 Oct 07 - 08:31 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 10 Oct 07 - 10:52 PM
George Papavgeris 11 Oct 07 - 05:18 AM
Big Al Whittle 11 Oct 07 - 05:22 AM
redsnapper 11 Oct 07 - 05:31 AM
Grab 11 Oct 07 - 08:57 AM
Leadfingers 11 Oct 07 - 09:14 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 11 Oct 07 - 09:23 AM
redsnapper 11 Oct 07 - 09:36 AM
GUEST 11 Oct 07 - 12:33 PM
Peace 11 Oct 07 - 12:41 PM
Art Thieme 11 Oct 07 - 12:43 PM
Wesley S 11 Oct 07 - 12:43 PM
Darowyn 11 Oct 07 - 01:07 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 11 Oct 07 - 01:20 PM
Richard Bridge 11 Oct 07 - 01:24 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 11 Oct 07 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 11 Oct 07 - 01:41 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 11 Oct 07 - 02:15 PM
Peace 11 Oct 07 - 02:57 PM
Wesley S 11 Oct 07 - 03:13 PM
bankley 11 Oct 07 - 04:49 PM
Richard Bridge 11 Oct 07 - 06:26 PM
Peace 11 Oct 07 - 06:28 PM
greg stephens 11 Oct 07 - 06:30 PM
Peace 11 Oct 07 - 06:34 PM
Steve Shaw 11 Oct 07 - 06:54 PM
redsnapper 11 Oct 07 - 07:31 PM
redsnapper 11 Oct 07 - 07:33 PM
Grab 11 Oct 07 - 07:35 PM
GUEST,dick greenhaus 11 Oct 07 - 10:08 PM
Beer 11 Oct 07 - 10:13 PM
Ron Davies 11 Oct 07 - 10:16 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Oct 07 - 12:22 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Oct 07 - 03:31 AM
GUEST,Narrowboat 12 Oct 07 - 03:44 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Oct 07 - 03:50 AM
Dave Hanson 12 Oct 07 - 03:59 AM
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Richard Bridge 12 Oct 07 - 04:32 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Oct 07 - 04:40 AM
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PMB 12 Oct 07 - 09:20 AM
Big Al Whittle 12 Oct 07 - 09:27 AM
Peace 12 Oct 07 - 09:51 AM
Peace 12 Oct 07 - 10:11 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 12 Oct 07 - 10:14 AM
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PeadarOfPortsmouth 12 Oct 07 - 11:00 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 12 Oct 07 - 11:08 AM
Wesley S 12 Oct 07 - 11:09 AM
Rog Peek 12 Oct 07 - 11:17 AM
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GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Oct 07 - 11:36 AM
Wesley S 12 Oct 07 - 11:39 AM
Peace 12 Oct 07 - 11:40 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Oct 07 - 11:43 AM
Peace 12 Oct 07 - 11:45 AM
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Grab 12 Oct 07 - 11:56 AM
GUEST,Mr Fairplay 12 Oct 07 - 12:08 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 12 Oct 07 - 12:24 PM
Mr Happy 12 Oct 07 - 01:25 PM
Richard Bridge 12 Oct 07 - 02:58 PM
Ian Burdon 12 Oct 07 - 03:02 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Oct 07 - 03:09 PM
PeadarOfPortsmouth 12 Oct 07 - 03:21 PM
PeadarOfPortsmouth 12 Oct 07 - 03:30 PM
Ian Burdon 12 Oct 07 - 03:39 PM
skipy 12 Oct 07 - 04:06 PM
Peace 12 Oct 07 - 04:10 PM
skipy 12 Oct 07 - 04:15 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Oct 07 - 04:15 PM
PeadarOfPortsmouth 12 Oct 07 - 04:23 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 12 Oct 07 - 05:11 PM
oldhippie 12 Oct 07 - 05:41 PM
Grab 12 Oct 07 - 07:26 PM
Peace 12 Oct 07 - 07:35 PM
Art Thieme 12 Oct 07 - 07:40 PM
GUEST, TB 12 Oct 07 - 07:55 PM
greg stephens 13 Oct 07 - 04:08 AM
GUEST,TB 13 Oct 07 - 04:15 AM
Rog Peek 13 Oct 07 - 05:29 AM
dick greenhaus 13 Oct 07 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 13 Oct 07 - 12:11 PM
Anne Lister 13 Oct 07 - 06:02 PM
Art Thieme 13 Oct 07 - 10:01 PM
Peace 13 Oct 07 - 10:12 PM
Peace 13 Oct 07 - 10:17 PM
Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive) 14 Oct 07 - 05:04 AM
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Fidjit 14 Oct 07 - 12:37 PM
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Fidjit 14 Oct 07 - 01:53 PM
Peace 14 Oct 07 - 03:50 PM
Peace 14 Oct 07 - 03:55 PM
michaelr 14 Oct 07 - 04:32 PM
Declan 14 Oct 07 - 04:43 PM
Fidjit 14 Oct 07 - 05:36 PM
GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz 14 Oct 07 - 06:16 PM
Grab 14 Oct 07 - 08:01 PM
Beer 14 Oct 07 - 09:00 PM
GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz 14 Oct 07 - 10:15 PM
C. Ham 14 Oct 07 - 10:24 PM
Beer 14 Oct 07 - 10:32 PM
GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz 14 Oct 07 - 10:35 PM
Janice in NJ 14 Oct 07 - 11:56 PM
michaelr 14 Oct 07 - 11:57 PM
Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive) 15 Oct 07 - 03:02 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 15 Oct 07 - 04:29 AM
Big Al Whittle 15 Oct 07 - 04:47 AM
Grab 15 Oct 07 - 08:55 AM
GUEST 15 Oct 07 - 09:17 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 15 Oct 07 - 09:50 AM
dick greenhaus 15 Oct 07 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,Tom 15 Oct 07 - 10:09 AM
PeadarOfPortsmouth 15 Oct 07 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,Ian cookieless 15 Oct 07 - 11:37 AM
Rog Peek 15 Oct 07 - 11:43 AM
Peace 15 Oct 07 - 11:47 AM
Rog Peek 15 Oct 07 - 11:54 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 15 Oct 07 - 12:03 PM
Janice in NJ 15 Oct 07 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 15 Oct 07 - 12:54 PM
Peace 15 Oct 07 - 01:05 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 15 Oct 07 - 01:14 PM
Declan 15 Oct 07 - 02:17 PM
Declan 15 Oct 07 - 02:20 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 15 Oct 07 - 02:30 PM
PeadarOfPortsmouth 15 Oct 07 - 03:25 PM
Wesley S 15 Oct 07 - 04:17 PM
Peace 15 Oct 07 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 15 Oct 07 - 05:10 PM
C. Ham 15 Oct 07 - 05:42 PM
dick greenhaus 15 Oct 07 - 06:19 PM
Rog Peek 15 Oct 07 - 06:19 PM
C. Ham 15 Oct 07 - 06:21 PM
Art Thieme 15 Oct 07 - 06:28 PM
Art Thieme 15 Oct 07 - 06:33 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 15 Oct 07 - 07:00 PM
Declan 15 Oct 07 - 07:34 PM
GUEST,Tom 15 Oct 07 - 07:42 PM
GUEST,Tom 15 Oct 07 - 07:47 PM
Peace 15 Oct 07 - 07:55 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 15 Oct 07 - 10:16 PM
GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz 15 Oct 07 - 10:43 PM
Beer 15 Oct 07 - 10:50 PM
GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz 15 Oct 07 - 10:54 PM
Beer 15 Oct 07 - 10:57 PM
Janice in NJ 15 Oct 07 - 11:04 PM
Beer 15 Oct 07 - 11:04 PM
Beer 15 Oct 07 - 11:07 PM
Barry Finn 16 Oct 07 - 06:04 AM
GUEST,Ian cookieless 16 Oct 07 - 06:57 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 16 Oct 07 - 07:13 AM
Grab 16 Oct 07 - 07:58 AM
Fidjit 16 Oct 07 - 08:28 AM
greg stephens 16 Oct 07 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,TB 16 Oct 07 - 08:54 AM
deadfrett 16 Oct 07 - 09:01 AM
Declan 16 Oct 07 - 01:44 PM
GUEST,Ian cookieless 16 Oct 07 - 01:46 PM
Declan 17 Oct 07 - 03:01 AM
Lowden Jameswright 17 Oct 07 - 03:18 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 17 Oct 07 - 07:51 AM
Declan 17 Oct 07 - 01:54 PM
greg stephens 17 Oct 07 - 04:23 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 17 Oct 07 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Oct 07 - 06:02 PM
GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz 17 Oct 07 - 06:09 PM
Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive) 17 Oct 07 - 06:23 PM
Peace 17 Oct 07 - 06:38 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 17 Oct 07 - 07:16 PM
Declan 17 Oct 07 - 08:14 PM
GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz 17 Oct 07 - 08:21 PM
GUEST,Bardan 17 Oct 07 - 08:32 PM
Peace 17 Oct 07 - 08:37 PM
GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz 17 Oct 07 - 09:20 PM
Peace 17 Oct 07 - 09:33 PM
GUEST,Neuwirth 17 Oct 07 - 09:48 PM
Peace 17 Oct 07 - 09:54 PM
GUEST,Tom 18 Oct 07 - 04:02 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 18 Oct 07 - 09:53 AM
Peace 18 Oct 07 - 09:55 AM
The Sandman 18 Oct 07 - 10:21 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 18 Oct 07 - 10:31 AM
Peace 18 Oct 07 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,Captain Hook 18 Oct 07 - 10:35 AM
Wesley S 18 Oct 07 - 10:44 AM
Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive) 18 Oct 07 - 11:02 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 18 Oct 07 - 11:33 AM
Beer 18 Oct 07 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 18 Oct 07 - 05:35 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 18 Oct 07 - 10:17 PM
GUEST,Ian cookieless 19 Oct 07 - 03:47 PM
GUEST,Tom 19 Oct 07 - 06:03 PM
michaelr 19 Oct 07 - 07:19 PM
Peace 19 Oct 07 - 07:22 PM
GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz 19 Oct 07 - 08:16 PM
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Subject: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 05:06 PM

Today's Guardian in a headline refers to Ani DiFranco as a folk singer.

I have written to the editor: -

"Sir

Today you report that Ani DiFranco is a folk singer. Your ignorance seems to know no bounds.


Richard McD. Bridge"


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,pbc
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 05:45 PM

She's the style of artist those in the US may refer to as a folk singer (or contemporary folk singer songwriter!), so it's possibly a bit much writing to the editor as there IS a link between her and older, more traditional 'folk' singers, it's just not that obvious.
I guess she sits, rather uncomfortably, somewhere between rock/pop and folk.....the excellent version of Seeger's Waist Deep in the Big Muddy on the new Appleseed 10th Anniversary release only blurs things a little more.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Wesley S
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 05:56 PM

That's because the word "folksinger" is shorter and easier to print than "singer-songwriter that often plays an acoustic guitar". And that 99.937 percent of the general population just don't care - it's the same thing to them.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 07:00 PM

The Guardian tends to get these things wrong - a few weeks back they had a note about Oh Brother Where Art Thou, and its soundtrack of "bluegrass and soul music"...


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: bobad
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 07:11 PM

If you all try real hard you all can get over it.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 07:25 PM

If Utah Phillips likes her work enough to record with her, who are we to disagree? We probably ought to be glad someone with her reputation is labelled a folk singer. Might actually change some people's perceptions of the genre ...


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Art Thieme
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 07:40 PM

I've been told that Ani was quite tqken with both Utah's music and also his positions on life. She felt it important that her fans know some of the things they might hear from him---and also imortant that he might find a whole new audience in her generation. Quite commendable.

Art


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 08:31 PM

Good for the Guardian. Makes them appear a bit less stodgy.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 10:52 PM

No big deal.

The Guardian calling her a folk singer does not mean that the Child Ballads have been recalled or the work of Cecil Sharp has been thrown into the dumpster.    The biggest problem FOLK music has had is that people set build walls. I don't like the country-club mentality that only allows some people to be deemed "folk". There is a reason why most people hear the word "folk" and conjure up images of senior citizens in flannel shirts or paisley dresses singing out of tune songs.   

It's time to bury this crap and let the music speak for itself. You don't have to buy an Ani DiFranco CD, nor do you need to start writing your own songs.   Sing what you want to sing and let others do the same.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 05:18 AM

With you on this, Ron.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 05:22 AM

'The Guardian calling her a folk singer does not mean that the Child Ballads have been recalled or the work of Cecil Sharp has been thrown into the dumpster.'

yeh -shame about that.....


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: redsnapper
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 05:31 AM

So what? She used to refer to herself as "the little folk singer".

Much of her material is in the finest traditions of protest folk music. What does it matter if she is not a traditional singer.

I have seen Ani live several times and she remains one of my favourite artists. Twenty-five odd albums on her own label since she was an 18 year old with $50 speaks volumes too. Others should learn from her example and motivation too whether they or not they like her music or voice (I know many here do not... and that's alright too).

RS


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Grab
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 08:57 AM

Today's Guardian in a headline refers to Ani DiFranco as a folk singer.

And they're right, if you consider that Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, Bert Jansch, Jez Lowe, June Tabor, Sandy Denny, Joni Mitchell, Richard Thompson and Ralph McTell are folk singers. They are (or were) all "singer-songwriters who play acoustic guitar", or who sing while someone else plays acoustic guitar, and all inhabit a musical world somewhere between traditional folk and pop. Most folkies, as well as the general public, would agree that the people above were folk singers. What's Ani DiFranco doing that they aren't?

Incidentally, I'm sure that letter worked wonders, Richard. Explanation? nah. Tell him how you think he got it wrong? nope. Just flame on, dude. (Still, nice to see you're donating to the Royal Mail's funds by wasting stamps - if more people bought stamps and threw them away, the Royal Mail could pay its employees better. ;-)

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Leadfingers
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 09:14 AM

Perhaps I have been living too sheltered a lifr - But MY only reaction was -- WHO ??


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 09:23 AM

You should excuse the Guardian as they must have obtained their information from another publication.

Today's front page news about the so called government spending watchdog who spends a huge amount of our taxes on his and his wife's travelling and entertainment is something that has been on-going in Private Eye for a couple of months or more.
What's more if you see their coverage of so called art you will see that many of their writers are very gullible people and don't live in the real world.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: redsnapper
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 09:36 AM

Perhaps Leadfingers...!

She's been discussed on Mudcat many times and has released about 30 albums since 1990!

RS


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 12:33 PM

Not to worry. The term "folk singer", largely due to the efforts of folks who share Ron's views, has become so all-inclusive that it has no meaning left at all.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 12:41 PM

I suppose you'd like it to mean only people who do traditional songs. Well, they too are included. Suck it up, Buttercup.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Art Thieme
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 12:43 PM

Guest, I agree. And I'm tired of reading that same post from Ron O. in various posts to many threads. We can agree to disagree.

Art Thieme

Art


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Wesley S
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 12:43 PM

Words change y'know......

Big deal.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Darowyn
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 01:07 PM

Outside the sheltered little world represented by this board and similar, clinging to fifty year old usages, this battle is lost.
Ani di Franco is a folk singer.
"Gay" does not just mean "joyful" either, you know.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 01:20 PM

"largely due to the efforts of folks who share Ron's views, has become so all-inclusive that it has no meaning left at all. "

Sounds like a good thing to me. The words never had a definitive meaning to begin with.

The words "folk music" really weren't in use until the 1800's, and by the mid-20th century the definition had changed. Here we are in the 21st century and there is no reason why it can't be evolved into a new meaning.

Art, I'm sorry if my posts upset you - but if the arguement is going to be raised, I am going to voice my opinion the same as anyone else.

One thing that I believe bears mention - I don't think ANYONE is advocating that "folk singer" or "folk music" be ALL INCLUSIVE.   There is a sense that a folk song grows out of a tradition and comes from a community. Ani DiFranco's music fits the description as far as I am concerned, and there are many more that would agree with me - although I doubt they would come to Mudcat.

The big problem is discussions like this have turned off too many people to all kinds of good music. If you read these boards you will find discussions about why attendance is dropping at folk clubs, why young people aren't becoming involved, why the music is being forgotten.   Take a step back and look at what is happening.

NO ONE is trying to destroy folk music.   If you love TRADITIONAL music, embrace that term. If you love singer-songwriters, embrace that term. When you get in arguments over which one is "folk", you end up missing the beauty in each of the genres.

Yes, we can agree to disagree. I do understand the love and dedication that so many people have to preserve this music - people like Art, Richard Bridge and many other Mudcatters. I do my best to honor that tradition and to keep the music alive, and to bring it to new audiences who might discover the same beauty and truth that we have found. No one is suggesting that this music be put out to pasture. Folk music is living tradition, and it needs to be allowed to evolve.

You might not like what your "kids" are doing with it, and a sentence in the Guardian might not fit YOUR definition - but try to understand that they are trying to keep it alive in the best way they know how.   For most of us, this music came along at a time in our lives when we related to the individual freedom and artistic expression that this music provided. Let other generations do the same, just don't expect them to do it in the same way you or I did.

Just remember, no one wants to join a dysfunctional family.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 01:24 PM

Do none of you understand the difference between "folksinger" on the one hand and "folksong-singer" on the other?

Wheter I like what DiFranco does or not is irrelevant. It is not folk song. Even if it were, she would not be a folksinger, but a folksong singer.

Absolutely unbelieveable.

Would you call Van Gogh a dancer?


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 01:35 PM

"Do none of you understand the difference between "folksinger" on the one hand and "folksong-singer" on the other?"

Why does it matter???


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 01:41 PM

Well said Ron.

The phrase 'I just scored a wicked mouse for my mac' no longer means 'I just folded a badly-behaved rodent into the pocket of my raincoat.' But it's insuting to neither Jerry nor Jobs. It's merely some old words that have acquired new meanings.

Language is a river of evolution - and the power in the most expressive of them all, English, lies entirely in the way it has eddied, ebbed, tumbled, rambled, chuckled and prattled over the centuries. And long my that process continue - for to dam it would be to damn it. Utterly.

The world Folk can no longer be equated with the word Traditional (as it was, briefly, by the International Folk Music Council in 1954). To try to fight a rearguard action (comme 'le rosbif') half a century later is, shall we merely say, unhelpful.

It really serves us right. We have been horribly lazy in this field. Making do with just 'folk' 'traditional' and sometimes 'source' (plus a few others), to describe a miriad of facinating and crucially different concepts.

What we need to do now is find some NEW words, which, for a while (only), will better describe what we mean, than these vague behemoths. And when their meaning shifts again, as it surely will in a few years time, what fun we'll have finding some new expressions.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 02:15 PM

Tom, I think that the evolution of words IS actually what scares people.   Another example would be if I were to call you an "awful gay punk". Years ago that would have meant that you were an awesome happy young man, but "awful" changed from meaning full of awe to a negative connotation, punk went from being a young man to someone who puts safety pins in their nose, and we all know how gay has changed.

What concerns people is that "folk" will disappear - specifically traditional music.   My point is that we should not be concerned about what a few words mean but concentrate on the beauty of the song. I think "traditional" serves a better purpose, at least in 2007, of describing properties of a music.

Believe me, I understand that concern of people like Richard, but perhaps I am more hopeful that the music can speak for itself and continue to enthrall new generations - no matter what it is called.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 02:57 PM

The evolution of words is hwat songwriters are dealing with. Hence, new songs which in 200 years will be traditional.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Wesley S
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 03:13 PM

I hate to say it but to understand what a folk singer is there would have to be a definitive description of what folk music is - I don't have to remind you how many Mudcat threads there have been on that subject. Folk music means different things to different people.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: bankley
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 04:49 PM

she's a 'righteous babe' anyway......


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 06:26 PM

If "folk" is to have meaning that meaning must be consistent across the concepts of "folk song" "folk music" "folk tale" "folk lore" and "folk dance".

Wesley - there is. All other uses are ignorance or pretension.

"folk" does not mean "anyone whining with an acoustic guitar, even if it's been amplified"

Anyone fancy defining "Opera"?


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 06:28 PM

The subject isn't opera. It's folk. Define it for us so we can all apologize and get on with life.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: greg stephens
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 06:30 PM

Perhaps those who maintain Ani DiFranco is a folksinger would clarify why they think she is, and differentiate her clearly from those they think are not folk singers. In other words, what are the qualities that make her "folk" in your defintion? In terms of my definitions, she is not a folksinger, so it is irrelvant. But, if you think she is, tell us why, so that we can decide whether to agree with you.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 06:34 PM

But first, let's establish exactly what is meant by the term "folk" and "folk music". Then we will have parameters within which to argue various points of tedious shit.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 06:54 PM

The photo accompanying the article made her look like a folk singer. That's good enough for me. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: redsnapper
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 07:31 PM

No... I would prefer it if you would define it for us Richard since it seems to be so important to you.

I don't really care whether The Guardian defines Ani DiFranco as a folksinger or not, or Bob Dylan, or Richard Thompson. I like all of their music. There are others in that genre I do not care for so much but perhaps others prefer them.

I also like many (though not all) performers of traditional song and music, blues and other genres. I don't really care what artifical category they are put into.

I also have no problem if someone else likes what I do not like. It is to be celebrated that there is diversity and something for everybody.

I care much more about, for instance, what is happening in Burma and in some other parts of the world than how The Guardian deems to decribe a singer.

I do find it disturbing, and I have to blame myself solely and entirely for this, that I have spent an unnecessarily long part of my life reading Mudcat threads about "What is Folk?"

On the positive side, this thread had a golden lining in that it has made me decide not to waste any more of my life like that.

RS


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: redsnapper
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 07:33 PM

Whoops... I made a couple of typos. Oh dear.

RS


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Grab
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 07:35 PM

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/folksong

folk song also folk·song
1. A song belonging to the folk music of a people or area, often existing in several versions or with regional variations.
2. A song composed in the style of traditional folk music.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/folksinger

folk·sing·er or folk sing·er
n.   A singer of folksongs.

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=30132&dict=CALD

folk
modern music and songs that are written in a style similar to that of traditional music:
I enjoy listening to folk (music/songs).
folk singers
a folk club/festival

Do none of you understand the difference between "folksinger" on the one hand and "folksong-singer" on the other?

Two separate dictionaries say there's no difference. Maybe instead of the rest of the world being ignorant, *your* usage is what's out of step...?

And if you get wound up over "folksinger" instead of "folksong-singer", man, you really need to get yourself a hobby - you've clearly got way too much free time. ;-)

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,dick greenhaus
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 10:08 PM

But it would be nice for those who care about such things to be able to go to a radio program, or CD bin or festival labeled "folk" and have some idea what they're going to hear.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Beer
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 10:13 PM

Dictionaries????? Wonder if they consulted any folk singers or Folk lovers to give them an answer. What ever the heck those two words mean.
Beer (adrien)


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Ron Davies
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 10:16 PM

I'm with you, Leadfingers. I've heard the name but that's it. However, I'm glad to learn she's a "righteous babe". That's all I need to know. But let's ask Bill D.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 12:22 AM

"But it would be nice for those who care about such things to be able to go to a radio program, or CD bin or festival labeled "folk" and have some idea what they're going to hear."

If you think "folk" is the only problem catagory, you have not been in a record store recently. Come to think of it, there aren't many left. Check "country". Do Bob Wills and Keith Urban belong side by side? How about "rock" - what do the Beatles, the Grateful Dead, Kanye West and Marilyn Manson have in common?   Check out "Celtic" next time you see a CD bin... everything from Christy Moore to Riverdance to Joe Heaney and sometimes Van Morrison.

Most people do not buy CD's unless they have an idea of what is on it, and radio's have dials (or buttons) to switch off when it isn't to the listeners taste.

IF you can't live without a lable, perhaps "Traditional" would work. You can't change what has happened - folk has expanded it's use.   It's only a word, the music is still out there.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:31 AM

Bang on Ron

If the question had been "Do none of you understand the difference between "traditional singer" on the one hand and "traditional song-singer" on the other?" the debate wojuld be more germaine, because the word Traditional does have a narrower definition these days than Folk - not least because that definitin is in part at least defined in law (in matters of copyright anyway).

'Traditional singer' is usually understood to mean someone from before the revivial - i.e. living and singing within the 'oral' tradition, before recordings and mass media priniting became commonplace (while remembering that the oral tradition is itself misnamed because there was actually a huge amount of writing down, publishing, semi-pro performance and composition by educated/professional writers etc). The word traditional here is being used to describe the singer and his artistic ecosystem, not the songs he sings.

'Traditional song singer' would include the above, but also anyone post revival who sings a traditional song - including me.

'Traditional song' is also quite well defined, though again there are two sometimes conflicting meanings. One means 'old, out of copyright, anon, in public ownership and at least partly reformed by mainly oral transmission,' the other means 'associated with a traditional activity but not necessarily any of the above' (e.g. Three Lions).

All this is bad enough. It's hardly surprising that people get confused, as is their perogative - it's their language after all. If we want to tidy this up, we really need to find more words to make the above less open to misunderstading.

Meanwhile, 'Folk' - which could have been substituted for the T word up until the 60s - has moved on. This is all Bob Dylan's fault, but he's ok about it now.

I do think Richard has a point here though: If "folk" is to have meaning that meaning must be consistent across the concepts of "folk song" "folk music" "folk tale" "folk lore" and "folk dance". I hadn't really thought about that. Certainly the other uses have not been eroded in the way folk song, folk music and folk singer have been. I'd like to agree that the meaning should be consistent - that would be good all round, but actually it's not consistent, and all we can do about it is notice, and complain if we don't like it.

There is a very very slim possibility that if enough people write to the Guardian about this, the F and T words might slowly move closer together again over time - if enough people campaign for it, but the reality is that words mean what the person you're talking to wants them to mean, not what you yourself think. Your task as the writer or speaker, if you don't want to be misunderstood, is to choose language that won't be misinterpreted by your listener.

It's unfortunate in some ways that folk has lost it's original meaning, because its value is a 'finger pointing back through history' has largely been lost. But the word still has A meaning, and we still have Trad - for a while yet anyway, and as long as people notice the difference and use both words carefully we can still tell people what's in the tin when we need to.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Narrowboat
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:44 AM

P is for pedantic.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:50 AM

This is a discussion for people who are interested in the use and value of words - which can be a fascinating study in it's own right. If you are not interested, narrowboat, feel free not to join in.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:59 AM

It says ' India ' on the bus tyres, but they don't go there.

eric


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 04:09 AM

Actually I'll correct that.

Yes, I'm being pedantic, but there is a good reason for my pedantry. As has been discussed at length eslewhere - (but still needs to be said because a lot of people still don't get it) - all this definition stuff does matter, and matter a LOT.

Why? Well, if we don't use these words carefully - within a consensus, and with proper defintion and explanation when needed - we risk eroding our mutual ablility to track back, and uncover important 'archeological' information through music. And that DOES matter.

Also we contribute to a looseness of definition and attribution which can lead to the separation of writers' credits from their work, with potentially serious legal and financial consequences further down the line, through the foolish muddling of the separate meanings and legal definitions of the words folk and traditional


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 04:32 AM

Folk song/music. 1954 definition.
Folksinger.   A singer of folk songs who has learned them through the folk process.
Folksong-singer. A singer of folksongs who has learned them in any other way.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 04:40 AM

And what year is it now Richard? As a lawyer you'll know that none of those ever had any legal weight. Which is why the PRS chose to avoid the word folk altogether, but to accept the word traditional. The 1954 consensus was dissipated decades ago leaving us with today's legal and conventional definitions

Which are...?


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 08:58 AM

I actually found the Ani DiFranco Website and listened to a few sound tracks ! Now I know why I have never heard of her - I spend MY time listening to (And Performing) Folk Music in a number of its forms!


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: PMB
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 09:20 AM

Would it be better if she renamed herself Aine niFranco? And as for Child ballads- are we allowed to perform them these days without a certificate from the police?


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 09:27 AM

basically this is not about language.

its about power.

those who wish to reject, disparage, thwart, decry, discount.....anything that's not chundering up the same old dross from another age.

its a nasty bastards charter, with many signatories on mudcat.

they lack creativity themselves so they become organisers, critics, talented amateurs with a strong point of view.

Ani DiFranco, they will have to rage impotently at. But theres plenty of other nascent careers they can muck up; and they will, and they do.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 09:51 AM

"Folksinger.   A singer of folk songs who has learned them through the folk process."


And once again songwriters are left out totally. Is that because the bloody songs just happened? Is it doubtful anyone actually wrote the songs? Sheesh.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 10:11 AM

HOWever, despite being in six degrees of disagreement with the thread originator, I find Dick Greenhaus' remark cogent, and subsequently I'm in two degrees of agreement with Richard Bridge.

PT Barnum had people going to see the egress.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 10:14 AM

If there's one thing I'd like to see happen in this field, it would be for it to become The Done Thing for singers always to state the name of the person who wrote a song (if known - in which case they should darn-well have that infomation if they're planning to sing it) or, in the case of Anon, where it came from, as far back as they know.

That would help enormously.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 10:59 AM

And IF its a traditional song , which singer they got it from would be useful too Tom ! ALWAYS credit your source !


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: PeadarOfPortsmouth
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 11:00 AM

For some perspective, we may want to remember that the perceived erosion of the "folk" designation does have a practical benefit.

After rocking out in my teens and early twenties, I was finally able to appreciate acoustic rock, which led to borderline "folk" performers. And because of the broad use of the term "folk" here in the States, I was eventualy exposed to "traditional" music as well. The each progression got me primed for the next level.

In short, I never would have found Child's ballads if it weren't for performers who are broadly labeled as "folk" ... including Christy Moore, Jez Lowe, Richard Shindell, and, to a lesser degree, Ani DiFranco. (Say "heresy" all you want.)

As a relative newbie, I realize I have LOTS more to learn. Thank goodness that I found mentors who didn't chide me for my ignorance or dismiss me because my understanding of "folk" didn't meet their standards.

From my own experience, I view the broader use of the word "folk" as a good thing because it is an opportunity to engage the next generation who might be interested in learning more. Seems much more productive than simply flaming the Guardian.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 11:08 AM

Yes - I'll go along with that too. One door closes, another opens, my glass is half full - well it will be as soon as the sun's over the yardarm


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Wesley S
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 11:09 AM

Richard - I would tend to agree with your definition of a folk song. However - to the public at large anyone who stands up with an acoustic guitar is a folk singer. And if you really did write to the editor and say "Today you report that Ani DiFranco is a folk singer. Your ignorance seems to know no bounds." Then you missed the boat. You had an opportunity to educate and instead you chose to insult. Someone said that you should never pick a fight with someone who buys newsprint by the barrel. With fans like you - folk music doesn't need any enemies.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Rog Peek
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 11:17 AM

Who cares what it's called, I guess it's a bit like 'Art', to my mind there's an awful lot of snobbery, an opportunity to look down the nose at something that doesn't quite conform. The traditional music of today must have been 'pop' music once, when it changed from one to the other, who knows? If we don't define it 'properly', will it all disappear in a puff of smoke? I doubt it.

Take a leaf out of Louis Armstrong's book, he said "All music is folk music, I ain't never heard no horse sing a song"

Rog


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: frogprince
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 11:36 AM

Folk song/music. 1954 definition.
Folksinger.   A singer of folk songs who has learned them through the folk process.
Folksong-singer. A singer of folksongs who has learned them in any other way.

So what does that distinction actually mean, in practice? Doesn't it sorta imply that "folksinger" should be reserved, at least for the most part, for blind singers who don't read braille?


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 11:36 AM

If we don't label things properly we loose the ability to track them - and that can have unforeseen consequences.

Have you ever heard of something called change management Rog?

If programmers make independent changes to a programme without keeping track of who did what when and why, chaos soon ensues.

If we allow the various traditional tributaries which flow into folk music to get merged into one happy clappy soup without noting where they came from as they trickled in, we'll loose the ability to track back upstream - which would be a massive shame (and crime in my opinion) as there is so much yet to (re)discover.

Call the big pot folk by all means. But use the other phases carefully and as accurately as you can - and always ALWAYS attribute (indeed Leadfingers)!

It's like plants. If we forget which flowers produced which chemicals for which drugs we'll soon lose the motherlode.

Where's Diane when you need her (and why didn't you come to Sharps D)?


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Wesley S
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 11:39 AM

It means that there are only about 5 or 6 "folksingers" left in the world. And they will be dead in the next few years. Any of us who learn songs from CD's will need to find a new name for what we do. Science will have killed all the folksingers.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 11:40 AM

"In short, I never would have found Child's ballads if it weren't for performers who are broadly labeled as "folk" ... including Christy Moore, Jez Lowe, Richard Shindell, and, to a lesser degree, Ani DiFranco. (Say "heresy" all you want.)"

It was the same but opposite for me, Peadar. Now I find my song writing going more to a 'rockish' sound--despite still using an accoustic. I still reach back now and then to my 'roots' days, and I still revere the old songs--not that I'm any kind of authority on it all. I guess it's very simple for me. I like what I like and I seldom care what 'genre' a song is from. If it works for me, well and good.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 11:43 AM

"You had an opportunity to educate and instead you chose to insult. "

Bingo!   That sums up the problem this community has.

We seem to spend more time with geeky arguements about semantics rather than spreading the gospel about the beauty and relevance of the music. It is little wonder that the public at large has a negative image of the particpants in this music.

No one is saying that you have to embrace Ani DiFranco. I'm not a big fan either, I think her music is largely inaccessible to casual listeners but I do see her influences and connections to the changing tradition. Yes, traditions do change. They are meant to be alive, not museum pieces. Let them call her a folksinger, it won't hurt any of us.

At the same time, I honestly do see the concern of people like Dick Greenhouse and Richard Bridges and I tend to agree with them - to a point.    If we are going to define folk, then do we need additional levels - sea chanties, Appalchian ballads, dance tunes, cowboy songs, coal mining songs, spirituals, etc? Do we really need to compartmentalize our music to such an extent in order to reach the public?   Supposing that Cecil Sharp came across a family of tuba playing Applachians during his travels - would he dismiss the music even if it met all the other criteria?   Collectors gather songs that live through the source - and modern times have changed the way we all live, and the way we create our art.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 11:45 AM

"Collectors gather songs that live through the source - and modern times have changed the way we all live, and the way we create our art."

That, sir, is a brilliant statement.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 11:50 AM

"If we allow the various traditional tributaries which flow into folk music to get merged into one happy clappy soup without noting where they came from as they trickled in, we'll loose the ability to track back upstream - which would be a massive shame (and crime in my opinion) as there is so much yet to (re)discover."


If were a real river, and we chose to change the flow of the tributaries, we are altering the course of nature and adding our own effect to the ecosystem. Now, as in the case of New Orleans, you can build levees to preserve the city - that is a choice and you weigh the cost.

I've always felt that the study of folklore should be from an observer point of view, not decided by the collector. Did we not hear complaints lodged against the Lomaxes, Child, Sharp and others for making their own input?   Would we be doing the same by ignoring what the FOLK are doing today?

I do agree with Tom Bliss about losing the ability to track changes, but I don't think there is danger in that.   Certainly a note in the Guardian doesn't stop the collectors and musicologists from doing their work.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Grab
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 11:56 AM

Gay, 1954 definition
Happy

Gay, 2007 definition
Homosexual

And Richard, you're relying on a definition from an organisation which ceased to promote that definition, and which is now called the International Council for Traditional Music. This might be a hint as to what the rest of the world thinks, including other people involved in folk music.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Mr Fairplay
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 12:08 PM

..so what then did Ms DiFranco do to upset the Guardian enough
to deserve such a cruel & humiliating insult ?


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 12:24 PM

Indeed. Calling Ms DiFranco a folksinger is not dangerous. Failing to attribute accurately, however, is. And bad manners.

We don't need to label all sub-genres all the time, but we should know when it would be helpful do so, and then do it as accurately as we can.

Banging on that folk still only means trad just holds everything and everyone back.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 01:25 PM

Like some others above, I'd never heard of her, but disliking remaining ignorant about stuff had a peek here: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_9VHpdmIrFM


Seems ok to me, her stuff's much like lots thats done in sinarounds all over the place.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 02:58 PM

Try getting the Guardian to publish a long letter. Then you will understand why I wrote a short one.

Ignorance does not become knowlege by being commonplace.

An newspaper columnist ought to try to know something of his topic. Would you send Jordan to interview a nuclear physicist?

If folksingers (or "source" singers) are extinct or nearly so, that does not make others into folk singers.

A starling is not a Dodo.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Ian Burdon
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:02 PM

Ron Olesko wrote:

"Supposing that Cecil Sharp came across a family of tuba playing Applachians during his travels - would he dismiss the music even if it met all the other criteria?   Collectors gather songs that live through the source - and modern times have changed the way we all live, and the way we create our art."

Actually this did happen - it happened with (white) blues collectors who went in search of the "authentic" and disregarded much that was also in the repetoire of the players. This included chunks of jazz which didn't fit with the conception of what the unsophisticated should be playing and also cross-overs with "white" music - Muddy Waters' fondness for Lawrence Whelk wasn't something which was made a great deal of for example.

On a similar them I got this in a letter a while back from an acquaintance -

"I recall an evening with Belle and Sara Stewart, and Sara's son Ian, singing Hank Williams songs and other country hits. Sara's husband had been a C&W singer, and they were so disappointed that all across America the only people they met were "folk" fans who wanted to sing old Scots ballads........"

Ian


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:09 PM

"it happened with (white) blues collectors who went in search of the "authentic" and disregarded much that was also in the repetoire of the players. This included chunks of jazz which didn't fit with the conception of what the unsophisticated should be playing and also cross-overs with "white" music"

So then I guess the "ignorance" that Richard spoke of earlier was really misplaced. It looks like this whole falacy of traditional folk music has been perpetuate by some really ignorant people.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: PeadarOfPortsmouth
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:21 PM

Richard, with respect:

First, you wrote an insult to the paper, not a letter.

Second, if the nuance between "folk singer" and "folksong singer" can generate a discussion on Mudcat, why on Earth would you expect a newspaper columnist to make that distinction?

As far as I can tell from this thread, broadly labeling DiFranco as a "folk singer" is relatively appropriate in the modern use of the term. So the reporter/columnist DID know "something" of the topic.

Newspapers are for the general public and are not journals aimed at music historians...so don't get your knickers in a twist because a distinction wasn't made to the level you would like. It's not good for your blood pressure.

Evolution is going to happen -- whether it's the folk tradition, language, or birds. I guess I'd rather be a flying starling than a dead dodo.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: PeadarOfPortsmouth
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:30 PM

And I'm truly curious...

I have learned songs from other singers at sessions, and I have learned songs from recordings. I have learned tunes by playing along, week after week, until it sinks in, while I've looked at the sheet music for others.

So what label would you throw on me? Is the folk tradition not pure enough because of the "other" sources?

Peter


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Ian Burdon
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:39 PM

We're drifting away a bit from Ani DiFranco and there is always the distant thunder of hooves in discussions like this. In essence I suppose I think that categorising can be useful for what we might call archiving and analytical purposes (as suggested earlier in the thread), and it is certainly the dominant theme for marketing purposes.   But musicians will - and listeners should - recognise quality where they find it and not bother whatever the "label".   

I grew up in the West of Scotland. I well remember realising at a young age that at house parties when we were passing songs around, the songs were more likely to be drawn from the repertoire of Jim Reeves than the "folk" cannon and songs learned within the family were likely to come from music hall or vaudeville or WW2 radio dance band era songs. The fact that I was aware of "traditional music" through my parents made me unusual. There is a discontinuity between "folk music" and music which folk sing/sang. No big deal and certainly no new insights here, just something of which I try and remind myself from time to time.

Ian


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: skipy
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 04:06 PM

O/k time wise I have only read about 1/3 of the above posts, I'm NOT, REALLY NOT going to get into the "what is folk music row"!
However if someone in my village likes her work & therefore becomes less scathing of the words "folk music" & attends one of my charity concerts because of that, then I will be over the moonI Hopefully having risked it, they will be exposed to what "we" call "folk music", just maybe they will come back. If they don't like what we put on then we have lost nothing.
I have never heard of her, so it's off to Youtube now!
Skipy
Listening to Seth Lakeman, wonderful, but is it folk?
I think so, I love his work.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 04:10 PM

"A starling is not a Dodo."

Prove it!


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: skipy
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 04:15 PM

O/K, been on youtube, not my cup of tea, talented however, "folk"? not for me to say.
What would I know anyway.
Skipy
The jury is out.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 04:15 PM

Sort of reminds me of the whole controversy about "white chocolate". There is no cocoa solids or chocolate liquor used in the manufacture of white chocolate. It taste different, and not everyone likes it. Yet there is a certain mouth feel that reminds you of traditional chocolate.   There are some countries that won't allow it to be called "white chocolate".   Yet many people enjoy the taste, and there is little danger of the major chocolate companies going out of business or being forgotten.

Eat and let eat.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: PeadarOfPortsmouth
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 04:23 PM

mmmmm...chocolate


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 05:11 PM

"And I'm truly curious...

I have learned songs from other singers at sessions, and I have learned songs from recordings. I have learned tunes by playing along, week after week, until it sinks in, while I've looked at the sheet music for others.

So what label would you throw on me? Is the folk tradition not pure enough because of the "other" sources? "

Ahem - in a word, yes. But it has nothing to do with purity, or sanctity, or quality - just the potential for future study.

You see Peter - as we've said above; the terms we typically use to explain the differences between Trad and trad (see?) are hopelessly inadequate and confusing because of their overlapping definitions and terminology.

But one fact IS irrefutable (or should be):

Whatever words we choose to use, we must ALWAYS make a clear distinction betwen songs and processes from the pre-recording, pre-massmedia era, and songs and processes which HAVE been informed by the mass media.

Why? Because even though we know that the pre-collection aural/oral Tradition was never in fact as it's often, (through rose-tinted pub windows) presented to be (because the mouth-to-ear-to-mouth process was always tainted by print, professionalism and pedants) the transmission of songs was in those times slow enough to be trackable.

Geography was relevant. Social status was relavant. Tribe was relevant. And from these traces, which we might call the 'context' of a song, we can learn invaluable information about all manner of things historical.

Think about Time Team. They throw away the top layer of soil because it's too jumbled by ploughing and frost heave to provide anything other than the artefacts themselves (should any have risen to the surface). There is no contextual information. But below about three feet, every layer of soil has its relevance. As do the ways in which the artifacts happen to be grouped.

It's the same with traditional song. Context matters.

Knowing that a song dates back into this pre-media period is crucial. Because in that period we can extrapolate all sorts of interesting data by comparing versions, by examining lyrics and tunes, by looking for connections with other writings of the (assumed) period etc.

We can't do that with post-mass-media songs. Well we can - but it's an entirely different study.

There's nothing wrong with the mass media, and with sharing old material by modern means. We just need to keep the 'artefact' tag attached to it, so we know where to go looking for this extra data - should anyone want to investigate at any future point.

Like the landed gentry - we are only temporary custodians of our heritage.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: oldhippie
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 05:41 PM

Or, as her bio on her homepage states:


As impressive as her recorded output may be, there's no substitute for a DiFranco live performance. As relevant and compelling today as the young firebrand was when she first burst on the scene, this self-described "little folksinger" continues to galvanize audiences, packing joints like Carnegie Hall and amphitheaters around the world, though she has the knack of making each venue she plays feel as cozy as a living room and as sweaty as a neighborhood dive.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Grab
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 07:26 PM

A starling is not a Dodo.

Absolutely.

One is dead as a doornail and survives only as stuffed specimens nailed to perches. It occupied a particular niche in time and location, and found itself unable to adapt to a changing environment when competition arose for resources, and could not produce enough young to survive. So sad. Meanwhile one is alive and squawking happily.

And Darwin's finches, for a further bird example, survive today because they have evolved to meet each new environmental situation, producing various new sub-species to fill particular niches and cross-fertilising to maintain the genetic strength of the wider group.

Bottom line is adapt or die. Trying to nail your music back to a 50-year-ago definition, regardless of developments since then, can only result in it achieving dodo-hood.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 07:35 PM

Well, can they both still be birds?


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Art Thieme
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 07:40 PM

refresh


That would be refreshing.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST, TB
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 07:55 PM

"Bottom line is adapt or die"

Yes. If the music hadn't been adapted it might well have died by now - but it didn't, so we'll never know.

The only thing to remember is that folk/trad/source/ancient/anon song is more than just music and words. It's folklore, and history, and identity, and politics and, and and.

Just leave the door open when you raid the larder ok?

It's simple. Say where you found it, and use words that no-one will misunderstand.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: greg stephens
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 04:08 AM

Grab:the 50-year old definition,not a bad one I'd have thought, actually included adapting as part of the definition. Of course folk music adapts, that is what makes it folk music. The question at issue here seems to be whether it has adapted into Ani DiFranco, or not.Finches evolve, and presumably in time could evolve into elephants. But they are not famous for it so far.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,TB
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 04:15 AM

Greg, the definition (the contents of the tin) hasn't changed. Only the meaning of one of the words used on the label - hence a new label to describe the same old contents.

Not the other way round!


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Rog Peek
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 05:29 AM


Utah Phillips and Ani DiFranco


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 11:42 AM

Putting aside, for the moment, the "oral tradition" aspect of folk song, there's still a recognizable--if difficult to define--idiom that's been generally accepted as "folk song". Some singer-songwriters tend to produce material that's in that idiom--Art Thieme, Woody Guthrie, Shel Silverstein (at times), Steve Gillette, Pete Seeger, Ewan MacColl, to name a few. Others tend to stretch the limits of that idiom--Martin Carthy, Fairport Convention etc. but retain some clear ties to it. And still others have departed so far from it that it's difficult to justify their inclusion in the designation.
    I don't care what horses do or don't sing.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 12:11 PM

Let's try putting this another way.

It's not that the 54 definition has been stretched to include new works, styles or processes.

The 54 definition used the word ''folk' to describe a particular catalogue of material which had been created in a quite specific way. That process is now (almost) defunct, thanks to recordings and the mass media, the arrival of which has effectively closed that archive. It cannot therefore be changed or added to. It exists. We can take things out and play with them, but that's all, (though we can find more existing pre-collection material if we're very lucky).

Meanwhile a new, separate archive is being built up - all the way to Ani DiF. New songs, new traditions, new versions and adaptations. All linking back to the closed archive, but fundamentally different because of the massively different processes which have informed their making.

Rightly or wrongly the definition of the word Folk has been allowed to grow, to include BOTH these calatogues. But this does not dilute the older archive - the one they were defining in 54. And it doesn't threaten that definition, or that catalogue, or our access to that calalogue.

It's like the word Hoover.

When the success of that company's machine resulted in all suction-based floor cleaning machines being called Hoovers, it didn't mean that all the other brands had been bought by Hoover and were being made in their factory.

All that had happened was that a specific word had become a generic word.

It did mean, of course that if you really DID want to refer to a macnine actually made by the Hoover company, you had to find a new way to do so - saying Hoover was no longer specific enough.

It did Hoover no harm, neither did it damage vacuum cleaner sales for other companies.

So let's have no more of this suggestion that the change in the use of the word Folk means we now have to include post-revival versions and new works in the 54 definition.

If that's what people think is happening no wonder they get earated.

But it's absolutely not, and it cannot ever be.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Anne Lister
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 06:02 PM

I've become increasingly aware on sites such as MySpace that there are all kinds of sub-genres which I had never met before. Such as acid folk and psychedelic folk. When I've had a brief listen to their MySpace offerings I've been at a total loss to work out why the F word is applied to their music at all - but it is. I've given up worrying about it, and wondering why they feel they can use the word in such a cavalier manner when I don't feel I can about my own music... but there it is. Words, definitions and categories (oh, go on then, GENRES) change all the time. People need to put tags on things so they know which box to put them into. Me, I'd be happy to be just plain ole music, but there we are. I've adopted the circumlocution of "performs mostly on the folk circuit" to avoid calling myself a folksinger or a writer of folksongs, but maybe I should just get on with it.
As has been said by others, "folk" is almost as meaningless a descriptor as "celtic". I'm not going to lose any sleep over it - but, as Tom says, I think we need to remember to credit where songs or ideas came from, if we know.

Anne


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Art Thieme
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 10:01 PM

Anne,
As you intimate, 'twas a time when the word "folk" meant quite q bit to many of us here. It still means those things to some of us. As Utah Phillips says so often, "The past didn't go anywhere!!"

Really, it's still here, waiting for you to find it. If you sweep the scum of the present off the top of the pond, it will be much easier to look into the depths where the nuggets that were found by the great collectors are readily available. And we can marvel at their fine state of preservation...

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 10:12 PM

That is so true, Art. And at the same time we should search the stuff floating on the pond lest we throw away good and meaningful songs simply because they co-exist with much of what passes for music but doesn't meet the quality test.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 10:17 PM

PS, the quality test is one each person has to do for him or herself. Subjective for sure, but then what in the arts isn't.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 05:04 AM

Is it not simply the case that the term 'folk music' has changed and evolved over time, much in the same way as the term 'rock music' has? In my opinion, both terms have become so broad and inclusive as to lose any tangible meaning. If you describe a particular performer to me as a folk singer, in 2007 I have no idea what that means. In order for me to get a rough idea what they sound like, you'd have to be more specific: a singer of (insert country/region) tradtional music; an acoustic rock singer songwriter; an acid folk collective; a folk rock band; and so on and so forth.

Meanwhile, outside of the world of folk clubs, folk forums etc, there are plenty of people playing and listening to music they would define as folk music but would not be recognised as such by many of the users of forums like this, including those who slag off traditional music as too narrow a genre. In Manchester, nights like the Red Deer Club, Hedge and others, featuring largely unsigned, local, acoustic acts are getting decent crowds, most of whom have little crossover with the established folk scene. Personally I think this is great. I also don't believe this threatens traditional music in any way - though it may threaten some peoples' conceptions of 'folk music'...

Never liked that Louis Armstrong quote, though... the logic of it means that we'd have to accept that the Spice Girls and Status Quo are folk bands.

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Anne Lister
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 09:26 AM

Yes, Nigel, that's pretty much where I was headed with what I wrote. The problem with "folk" is that it really does mean all kinds of things to all kinds of people, and although I have my own idea of what it means and clearly so do others on this thread it's not necessarily a globally accepted notion, nor do we necessarily agre with each other even on this forum. There are also many positive and negative connotations, depending on the experiences and prejudices of the listener.
Which is why I'm not losing any sleep over it all, but I still stumble over trying to tell people what kind of music I play. My best moment was with a class of kids in an inner London school ..."Oh good," said one tactful child. "I like folk music. Except I can't remember ... is it fast or slow?"

Anne


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Leadfingers
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 09:43 AM

An old mate of mine used to turn up at the folk Club and do some REALLY good songs , with acostic guitar ! When asked about his source , he would say Chumbawumba , or some other 'Not' folk band ! Good songs can work out of their original environment !!


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 12:21 PM

Forgive them Ani, for they no not what they do...


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Fidjit
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 12:37 PM

Ok. Richard and co. Whats on your cv's?

What do you define yoursevles as??

Source singer? Trad singer? Revivalist?

Oh S**t this will probably bring out birdseye and co.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 12:39 PM

Uh...make that KNOW. And let this be a lesson to all of you to never write posts here on Sunday mornings before your 2nd cup of coffee. Anybody remember Muddy Water's "Folksinger" album? Released under that title because the Record Exec's(remember Record Exec's?) felt that it would boost sales because they were releasing it during the Folk Boom!
You should be sending a bottle of Champagne to the Guardian along with a big Thank You note. This will kick open a door to an audience who otherwise would never know you existed. If the kids hear Ani with Utah, you can bet your booties some of 'em will check some of YOU out. This is a GOOD thing. "Great Gosh Amighty, I be searching for a rescue." (Little Richard)

Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition...
bob


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Fidjit
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 01:53 PM

Haven't managed to hear the lady. Anyone know of a site that has some music/song ?

This from Wykopedia

Chas

[edit] Musical style and the "folk" label
DiFranco's guitar playing is often characterized by a signature staccato style,[5][6] rapid fingerpicking and use of a plethora of alternate tunings. She delivers many of her lines in a speaking style notable for its rhythmic variation. Her lyrics, which often include alliteration, metaphor, word play and a more or less gentle irony, have also received praise for their sophistication. The song "Talkin' Mrs. DiFranco Blues," by Dan Bern, strings together some of the moar memorable lines from DiFranco's early career for comic effects.

Although DiFranco's music has been classified as both folk rock and alternative rock, she has reached across genres since her earliest albums. DiFranco has collaborated with a wide range of artists including pop musician Prince, folk musician Utah Phillips, funk and soul jazz musician Maceo Parker and rapper Corey Parker. She has used a variety of instruments and styles: brass instrumentation was prevalent in 1998's Little Plastic Castle, a simple walking bass in her 1997 cover of Hal David and Burt Bacharach's Wishin' and Hopin', strings on the 1997 live album Living in Clip and 2004's Knuckle Down, and electronics and synthesisers in 1999's To the Teeth and DiFranco's latest studio recording, Reprieve.

DiFranco herself noted that "folk music is not an acoustic guitar — that's not where the heart of it is. I use the word 'folk' in reference to punk music and rap music. It's an attitude, it's an awareness of one's heritage, and it's a community. It's subcorporate music that gives voice to different communities and their struggle against authority."[7]


Chas


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 03:50 PM

It's lots like ice cream. Few flavours we don't like and lots we do. But that too has gone from having chocolate, vanilla and strawberry to having a menu that takes a while to read let alone choose from. Some days I gotta have pistachio, but if they're out I don't drive to another town. Maple walnut will do in a pinch.

But did you ever notice that some ice creams just getcha and ya gotta have that or that's it, ya have a peanut butter and jam sandwich instead? Yeah. Thought so.

I don't know why the heck I wrote that. But I will say this: right now peach would hit the spot.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 03:55 PM

PEACH flavour from YOUTUBE.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: michaelr
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 04:32 PM

Do none of you understand the difference between "folksinger" on the one hand and "folksong-singer" on the other?

Well, I sure don't. The whole premise of this thread seems silly to me.

June Tabor has recorded a slew of Child ballads and other traditional materisal. She also recorded contemporary songs by everyone from Richard Thompson to Elvis Costello. Many of her CDs feature keyboard and horns-based arrangements, with nary an acoustic guitar in sight. Would anyone suggest that June is not a folk singer?

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Declan
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 04:43 PM

Another example of a fairly ridiculous opening post leading to an interesting thread.

I have no idea what the news item about Ani was about, but given an assumption that the description of Ani as a folksinger is likely to have been a background detail to the story rather than being germaine to the main story, I think the reporter may be forgiven for not researching the 1954 definition before deciding whether she was a folk-singer, a folksong singer, or just a singer in a slightly folkie style.

And Michael, I'll let Richard speak for himself, but I don't think he would regard June Tabor as a folksinger by his definition. Which is an example of why the definition, in my opinion, is out of date.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Fidjit
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 05:36 PM

Ah just heard the lady and I'm

Hypnotized


Chas


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 06:16 PM

Yep. Just heard "Hypnotized." Ani DiFranco is a Folksinger...

Doesn't this whole thing remind you of the blind men who find an elephant and are asked to describe what it is? One thinks it's like a snake cause he's holding the tail, another thinks it's like a tree, because he's holding a leg...etc. Betcha if you put the girl in front of a RAWKIN" band with a wall of Marshalls, dressed her in lycra and she sang the same song she'd be a Rock Star. Take the guitar away, speak the same song and she's a Poet. Maybe she can do some magic tricks too and that makes her David Blaine.
Ani: If you get to see this, you know how we live in a Googlin' world, nice song, good lyrical twists. You GO girl...
bob

p.s. Thanks Fidgit/Chas


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Grab
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 08:01 PM

Of course folk music adapts, that is what makes it folk music. The question at issue here seems to be whether it has adapted into Ani DiFranco, or not.

Not according to Richard. Richard's argument in his "1954 definition" is that ADF can't be a folksinger, not because of her material or her style of writing, but because of the way she learnt her material. If what she sings is folk (and that is a separate question) then he insists we, and the Guardian, should call her a "folksong-singer".

Finches evolve, and presumably in time could evolve into elephants. But they are not famous for it so far.

Gotta be line of the month there. :-)

But if we keep the animal analogy, you certainly don't see many elephant-like finches, but penguins have evolved to behave rather like dolphins, which are mammals evolved to behave rather like fish... That's why I think fighting the "this is folk, and that isn't" battle is pointless. Hence "folk-rock" or whatever tags to give a better description of the parents that spawned it or the niche it's filling, and to differentiate it from "traditional folk".

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Beer
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 09:00 PM

I'm with you on this Bob Ry., I've been booking singer/song writers for the past five years at our Folk Festival and I have selected a few that would be a bit questionable in what I regard as folk . But hay!, I don't book to only please myself. Ani I would book without hesitation even thought I'm not nuts about her music. But as I said, it's not only about what I like, it's about what I think the audience would.
And Ani would go over very well. Maybe not with the older generation, but with the younger ones I think she would be a hit.
Beer (adrien)


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 10:15 PM

Hi Kids: Just got back from YouTube where I find Jesse Winchester(who used to call me "The Silver Fox!" HA Ha Hee Hee Hee, Luv ya Jess..) Anyhound, Jesse's being interviewed, and is asked, "People call you a Folksinger. At least that's how you are categorized in the record shops(para.) What do you think of that?" So Jesse replies as he looks at his acoustic/classical, " Well, I guess that comes from playing the acoustic guitar, so I get called a Folksinger. I don't like it." Interviewer asks, "Well, how would you describe your music?" Jesse replies," Country, mixed with Rhythm and Blues. Pop." He does "Biloxi" in the same segment...
Tex Koenig(Bless) used to tell me about stuff he heard. One group, "The New Tradition" played Folk songs, sea shanties, etc. A real love there in wanting to keep that whole thing alive. All this gets swirled around. It's really about the music. Not about categories. I'll leave that to the "Categoristas".
I went for a walk this afternoon thinking about all of this and asking myself, "If Woody Guthrie were here today, would he be a "Folksinger?" Maybe his "dustbowl" would be Iraq, and his "do-re-me" would be a credit card. Maybe he'd be a black kid playing beats on plastic buckets outside a subway station like his life depended on it. Or some tatooed 20-something with piercings singing what she considers "traditional" Green Day!
Or what if Celine Dion picks up an acoustic guitar and sings "Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore" in one of those computer generated digital things with Luciano Pavarotti, Man, they would be some Folksingers...
GOT TO TELL YOU THIS ONE: So my walk ends up in Lenscrafters where I ask the girl if they carry ROUND-lens glasses like John Lennon? She replies,"Who?" I reply, he was a singer in a group called The Beatles. They were pretty good...
Nite All...bob


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: C. Ham
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 10:24 PM

I saw Jesse Winchester perform a few months ago. He referred to himself several times as "a folksinger."


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Beer
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 10:32 PM

Hay Bob.
E-mail me (seeing as I can't p/m you.)at: douadr@rocler.com
Want to talk to you about Jessie.
Beer (adrien)


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 10:35 PM

And there you go... In the clip I saw he said he didn't like it. I guess one day you like black, the next it's white....
bob


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 11:56 PM

The first time Elvis Presley appeared on The Louisiana Hayride in 1954, the MC introduced him as a folk singer. So what? I have heard Gordon Lightfoot, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Paul Simon, and Jewel all described as folk singers at one time or another. The poet, journalist, and biographer Carl Sandburg used to call himself a folk singer, which I guess he was. Pete Seeger doesn't call himself a folk singer anymore, although I say he still is. Does it really matter? I'm with Ron Olesko all the way on this one. I doubt that Ani gives a rat's hiney one way or the other.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: michaelr
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 11:57 PM

Yeah, Declan, exactly. Out of date by 50 years. Some folks adapt, some ossify. Richard, you choose.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 03:02 AM

Okay then, you lot who put up the last dozen or so posts. You've all agreed amongst yourselves that Richard's 1954 definition is wrong. So how would you define what is and isn't a folksinger? Or are you saying it's anyone who wants to call themselves one or get called one by someone else?

You see, I more or less know what a traditional singer/ singer of traditional songs is. I don't know what a folksinger is though, beyond the definition 'people whose music I like'...

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 04:29 AM

The 54 definition was an attempt to describe 1) the process of mainly oral transmission, 2) the individuals who were part of that process, and 3) the material created/adapted within that process by those people.

It referred to the pre-collection, pre-recording, pre-mass media, mainly-orally-transmitted, locally-adapted, workplace/tribally-rooted 'traditional' music, aka The Tradition, (though for the purposes of this debate I'm going to give it a new and unique name The Wellspring).

They felt it was necessary to separate out The Wellspring from the rest of 'popular' music because, already in 54, the territory was becoming muddied by the advent of radio, records and the media, and the activities of collectors over the past half-century.

They used the word Folk because at that point it was still universally understood and appropriate.

But since then the meaning of the word Folk has changed. It has now become - to the vast majority - an umbrella term used to describe many genres and styles of music - including The Wellspring, but also much much more.

The problem is that a few individuals feel that this change somehow threatens The Wellspring. They want to word Folk only to point us towards to The Wellspring. For them Folksinger ONLY means a singer from and within the Wellspring - i.e. someone from before the revival or magically isolated from it by some accident of history (or perhaps mere cussedness)!

I can see why they want to do this, because we all want and need a unique word to describe the Wellspring.

But in protesting that word Folk should still only point us at the Wellspring they seem to people who don't understand the problem to be implying that somehow all this new material is being bodged into The Wellspring, which is not happening, and cannot happen by definition.

I tried to explain above, but I don't think anyone got it. So here goes again.

The Wellspring is fundamentally different to anything that comes later, because of the way the songs were learned and passed on, against the way they are learned and passed on today.

May I try the analogy of species evolution?

When creatures exist in an evironmental niche, they adapt within it, they are informed by the niche, and the niche is informed by them - and so they evolve to become unique within that niche.

If you loose that niche, you loose a key principle of evolution, the 'rules of engagement' of competition change, and species may die out or change dramatically.

Thus, when the Wellspring was in action, traditional material was developing - or so the 54 definers would have it - in a plethora of separate socialogical niches. This separation was crucial. It meant that versions were developing within the context of a localised history and sociology.

It means that still, today, we can compare a version of a song sung by miners, with the same song as it has evolved in a fishing community, and learn much in the process.

(I should add that of course the whole concept of oral-only transmission is under scrutiny today - as it now seems that the oral process was never as simple as the 54 definers would have had it, but that's not the point here).

The bull point is this: Within The Wellspring, musical niches existed, and that separation was a crucial princliple of The Wellspring.

Then along comes Mr Marconi with his electrical kit. Suddenly the niches have gone. The miners can hear the fishermen's version on the wireless, the fishermen buy records with versions from farmers, sung by professional artists.

EVERYTHING changes.

The process which built The Wellspring has gone for ever. And from this point onwards we have to view traditional songs in a different light, and ask is this version from inside or outside the Wellspring?

There's nothing wrong with talking songs out of the Wellspring and doing modern versions, but we do need to know that's that is what has happened, and view them in that context.

NOW.

Richard (forgive me if I put words in your mouth, Richard), and others who make similar statements, seem to feel that using the word Folk to describe people, material and processes which are NOT from The Wellspring, somehow threatens and diminishes that archive and its value to us.

In protesting as Richard has done, they make a good point - but it's not the one they intend.

It's way too late to 'save' the word Folk. Those who want to re-refine (not re-define) its use are on a hiding to nothing.

But what they ARE doing is pointing out yet again that we do need a new, uniquivocal definition of, and term for The Wellspring, Wellspring singers and Wellspring songs.

If we had that, it would free up the word Folk and stop all this argument.

Folksinger would mean anyone who sang folk music, including Wellspring singers (who are now mostly all dead), and Folksingers who sing Wellspring songs, which is most of us.

So why didn't I choose the word Traditional instead of Wellspring?

Most of the Wellspring songs are, of course, Traditional - but not all.

More importantly we know that non-Wellspring songs can become - in many people's opinions - Traditional, because they see the process as continuing into the revival and on to the present day. Which it does, but WITHOUT THE NICHES. And that's the crucial difference that we all need to take on board.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 04:47 AM

The only trouble Tom, it isn't traditional.

Its not the tradition handed down to the generality of English people. It is an intellectual confection thought up to flatter glutinous taste for self absorption in the middle classes.

If y0u must call it anything - call it mid 20th century tradtional folk. Its an artistic movement which really got rolling around that time.

The English people have their sensibility and musical tastes intact and it doesn't run to modal scales, mazurkas, and medieval ballads. Someone somewhere is probably writing their folksongs, but he won't be as willfully obscure in style as the mid 2oth century traditional folk.

(d'you like the triple 'M' - just a little something I picked up off Neil Kinnoch!)


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Grab
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 08:55 AM

WLD, I think that's the point Tom was making. It's not traditional - but it's influenced by/inspired by/written in the style of traditional music.

For that matter, the music listened to by the "generality" of English people is more likely to be pop or rock. And plenty of people have learned Beatles songs from their parents singing them before they ever heard the recordings, making the "traditional" method of learning stuff even more dubious as a guide to folk-ness.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 09:17 AM

I like Genesis.

Rick Wakeman isn't bad.

I don't like X Factor though. There are much better sun creams around.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 09:50 AM

"The only trouble Tom, it isn't traditional."

You are right Wee - it isn't traditional, it's folk! Traditional is traditional!


"Its not the tradition handed down to the generality of English people. It is an intellectual confection thought up to flatter glutinous taste for self absorption in the middle classes."

I'd bet you a dollar to a donut hole that the stuff you consider "folk" or "traditional" would fit the same catagory. Middle class collectors during the last few centuries collected the songs that they felt represented the "generality" of the English (or whatever culture you choose) and selected songs that would fit THEIR image of the "people". They chose to ignore songs that did not fit their criteria - be it religious, political, or cultural reasons.

The songs that were handed down - even through the supposed "source" singers of the 20th century, were delivering an "art" that was meant to satisfy the artistic movement of the folk revival.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 09:58 AM


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Tom
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 10:09 AM

I'm trying to avoid the word Traditional right now, because there are three conflicting meanings:

Some people save it to describe ONLY The Wellspring itself, and nothing afterwards.

Others use it to decsrcibe the Wellspring PLUS anything that's influenced by, informed by, borrowed from, or sounds a bit like the Wellspring.

A third camp say it's anything associated with habitual use by a community (e.g. Boy Scouts, Football fans, etc - even if modern).

(And there the fourth, legal definition - in public ownership.

We have somehow to separate the meanings, and merely adding qualifiers (Source, Revivial, etc) doesn't seem to be enough.

NB

This is a _separate_ debate to the one above, over whether Folk = Traditional or not!


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: PeadarOfPortsmouth
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 11:18 AM

Tom (et.al.),

Thank you for taking the time to clarify this debate. As a newcomer, I didn't get my head around it the first time, but you've laid out the problem facing the community so even I can understand the crux of it now.

...if only I could offer a solution. Guess that's another puzzle I'll have to work on. ;-)

Peter


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Ian cookieless
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 11:37 AM

Just discovered this very interesting thread. Frogprince's comment hit the nail on the head:

"Folk song/music. 1954 definition.
Folksinger.   A singer of folk songs who has learned them through the folk process.
Folksong-singer. A singer of folksongs who has learned them in any other way.

So what does that distinction actually mean, in practice? Doesn't it sorta imply that "folksinger" should be reserved, at least for the most part, for blind singers who don't read braille?"

As I get older I understand less and less why my way of learning songs - books, or other singers, or CDs, or old records - is any less 'folk process' than so-called 'traditional folk singers'. They learned their songs their way because that was what was available to them. In learning songs their way, they changed them a little (or a lot), as others had done before them. That's the folk process, surely? I - and others like me - learn my songs my modern way because modern methods are available to me. This is more national or even global than local, but this is the world I inhabit. In learning songs my way, I change them a little (or a lot), as others had done before me. That's also the folk process, surely?

Richard, you say "Try getting the Guardian to publish a long letter. Then you will understand why I wrote a short one. An newspaper columnist ought to try to know something of his topic. Would you send Jordan to interview a nuclear physicist?" That's like saying, 'They're stupid, they'll never understand, so why bother?' I still don't know why you did. And if you want to bother at all, you would, I hope, want to elicit something positive from the correspondence. That won't happen with a one line insult.

This thread reminds of Monty Python's Life of Brian. Do we belong to the Judean People's Front, the Front for the People of Judea, or the People's Front of Judea? Does it matter? It didn't seem to matter to 'traditional singers', as previous posts have indicated. I'd rather just sing.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Rog Peek
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 11:43 AM

God, I've just discovered I am a singer of folk songs. Give me a pistol and show me the way to the library!
Rog


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 11:47 AM

Take the horse with you, Rog, and the harpoon.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Rog Peek
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 11:54 AM

Sorry Peace, you'll have to elaborate.

Rog


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 12:03 PM

Ian says:

"As I get older I understand less and less why my way of learning songs - books, or other singers, or CDs, or old records - is any less 'folk process' than so-called 'traditional folk singers'. They learned their songs their way because that was what was available to them. In learning songs their way, they changed them a little (or a lot), as others had done before them. That's the folk process, surely? I - and others like me - learn my songs my modern way because modern methods are available to me. This is more national or even global than local, but this is the world I inhabit. In learning songs my way, I change them a little (or a lot), as others had done before me. That's also the folk process, surely?"

Yes it's A 'folk' process, but it's not the SAME 'folk' process as the one which informed the creation of what, to avoid confusion, I'm currently callng The Wellspring. (The 'Oral Only Etc' process).

Did you read what I said about niches? You're not isolated within a niche. You're not learning from a rarified source. You're learing songs against a background of a mass-media driven consumer market. You hear a lot of stuff from all over the place. So your interpretations will be informed by the global village, not just the village you were born in.

If we are to respect this music, we must all start by taking the trouble to understand the difference between slow, localised, community-based evolution*, and mass-media-informed evolution (*tempered by, of course, some manuscript and lyricl writing which DID travel faster than 'song of mouth').

This won't stop us changing songs, making radical new arrangments, fusing them with any other musical style we fancy - that's not the issue.

We have total freedom to create, and that's as it should be.

But we don't own this music, and we do have a duty also to respect our sources, and to pass them on along with our new innovations.

And that means taking the trouble to at least try to understand the Wellspring's place in society - in, ok if I must, in folklore.

If we allow the values of the post-revivial tradition (which are exceptional in themselves) to become muddled with the values of the pre-revivial tradition (see why I'm using Wellspring?) we blur this distinction to the point of corruption.

And that IS wrong, because that DOES begin to damage the archive, and our ablilty to attribute, to learn from source, to track back upstream etc etc.

That's all I'm saying.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 12:46 PM

In the USA the first people to be called folk singers were a talented and diverse group of individuals who were born late in the 19th century, and who came to prominence in the 1920s. These included Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), Harry "Haywire Mac" McClintock (1882-1957), Frank Crumit (1889-1943), Carson Robison (1890-1957), and John Jacob Niles (1892-1980). With exception of McClintock, who had actually learned many of his songs as a working cowboy and later as an itinerant worker, none could be considered a true source singer. They were collectors, arrangers, popularizers, adapters, censors, and even singer-songwriters. But what they did was sing folk songs, or at least songs that sounded like folk songs and which the public considered folk songs. Thus on this side of the Atlantic, that is what the term "folk singer" has meant from the beginning.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 12:54 PM

Do you have a term for the people who taught songs to the source singers, who taught songs to the folk singers, Janice?

Those are the guys we don't have a unique name for over here.

Some call em folk singers, some call em traditional singers, but as both these names can also be taken to refer to quite different (modern) singers, it's getting everyone in a muddle, and making people like my new chum Richard quite cross with one of our better newspapers!


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 01:05 PM

I was fartin' around, Rog.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 01:14 PM

"And that IS wrong, because that DOES begin to damage the archive, and our ablilty to attribute, to learn from source, to track back upstream etc etc."

How does it damage? Your ability to attribute and learn cannot possibly be so fragile that you will lose it because of a name change.

"Do you have a term for the people who taught songs to the source singers, who taught songs to the folk singers"

We usually refer to them as teachers.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Declan
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 02:17 PM

Nigel asks above how I (and others) would define a folksinger. I've managed to get thus far without a definition, and think I will survive for another while. Admittedlyh I am not someone who formally studies these things.

It seems to me that a lot of people aound here only use the definition to try to identifyh people who are not folksingers.

But I do differentiate between what is traditional or contemporary - I dislike the term revivalist, which dates back to the time of a revial in the 50s/60s. To my mind that revival is long over and the music has been revived and is alive and well.

I think for most people the term folk is a broad term which includes the narrower terms of traditional and contemporary. Richard seems to equate the terms folk and traditional and declares anything not traditional as not to be folk. This definition is not one I agree with.

Mostly for me its all music - though this is not to say that pop music or classical music are folk music. I know wha


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Declan
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 02:20 PM

Sorry hit return by mistake there.

I was going to finish by saying that I know what I like, and that for most purposes is good enough for me. In a library, music shop etc I will head for the folk or Irish Music section in the hope I'll find the stuff I like, but when I'm listening to music, I don't need to make that distinction.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 02:30 PM

The changes in terminology have caused confusion about responsibilities, and led to the loss of some basic principles - such as correct attribution of all material. For example, public ownership may mean there's no copyright, but it doesn't mean there are no responsibilities. Lots of people fail to appreciate this, only because of the confusion over what 'trad' and 'folk' are supposed to be describing.

It all contributes the a culture where attribution is casualised (I only seldom hear people in singarounds credit where a song came from - apart from 'this is a Christy Moore song' - even though the collector or writer was almost certainly written on the CD sleeve). This is bad for both the study of old songs, because it makes it harder to track back upstream, and also for writers, who may miss out on credit or even royalties.

We also have a situation where people fail to appreciate the archeological value of songs and music. Very few people want to use songs for study, but that resource exists, and we need to make sure our new versions don't sweep sand over the dig. Metal detectors not wanted!

Finally, this lack of consensus over the meaning of these two disputed words also leads to bizzarre outbreaks of in-fighting, which make it harder to promote folk music.

This would include things like Richard writing to the Guardian and helping promulgate the concept of a Folk Police (when I'm sure he's nothing of the sort), and also instances like the infamous review of Bellowhead's Flash Company on the Musical Traditions site.

If we all used the same words to mean the same things, and there was consensus instead of confusion, many thing would be better.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: PeadarOfPortsmouth
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 03:25 PM

Tom,

I totally agree that credit should be given to the song writer or, barring that, the collector. Admittedly, that is an attitude that has been instilled in me by my mentors as I've become more serious about learning and performing the music, but I don't think that is too much to ask of anyone who loves this genre. That's just respect for the creators and history.

(As a quick aside, I've been fascinated to go back and learn where some of the songs that I heard growing up originated. I was shocked to learn that The Mermaid - which I heard as a young buck - is a variant of Child 289. I only learned who Child was within the last 18 months!)

To me, the distinction has always been between "traditional folk" (which sounds like another symantic minefield) and "contemporary folk". Clearly, there is more to it than that...but I appreciate the fact your making that distinction understable in a rational manner. I think it's starting to sink in.

Until I internalize that understanding, however, I guess I'm going to flinch when someone insists that the term "folk" be reserved for music with a specific lineage. To my mind, folk music has always meant "music of the people". Overtime, that incorporates Wellspring, revival, music hall, etc...and will eventually incorporate songs that were inspired by/influenced by that tradition. (Little "t".)

I love the term "Wellspring", however, and hereby make a motion to all 'catters that we adopt it universally as a way to end the debate. ;-)

Yours in continual learning,

Peter


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Wesley S
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 04:17 PM

Please, please, please - don't ever try to define sex or you'll take the joy out of that too :}


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 04:29 PM

LOL

Well said, Wesley.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 05:10 PM

LOL - if addressing this takes the joy out, you're into the wrong music, Wes!

Sorry, but we don't have a choice. We're volunteer gardeners.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: C. Ham
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 05:42 PM

Here's two scenarios:

Performer A learns a song from playing the record over and over again.

Performer B learns a song from hearing his father sing it hundreds of times.

Which one is a folksinger using the folk process?

Scroll down...















Performer A is Doc Watson learning "Deep River Blues" from a Delmore Brothers record.

Performer B is Frank Sinatra, Jr. who learned "Strangers in the Night" from hearing his father sing it over and over again.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 06:19 PM

I never heard a horse sing "Strangers in the Night" either.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Rog Peek
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 06:19 PM

That's a relief Peace, I thought I was really losing my marbles.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: C. Ham
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 06:21 PM

I guess Dick didn't see the Mr. Ed episode where the horse sang "Strangers in the Night."


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Art Thieme
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 06:28 PM

Tom,
You ask to know where the source singers got their songs?----Try parents--grandparents etc...
Art


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Art Thieme
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 06:33 PM

I believe Jean Ritchie would corroberate. (And also from others too.)

See her fine book "Singing Family Of The Cumberlands"


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 07:00 PM

I didn't ask where the source singers got their songs - good grief, I know that! What on earth do you take me for? lol!

I asked Janice what her term for those people was. Her descriptive, generic name, as in 'Source Singer,' 'Revival Singer,' 'Traditional Singer' etc. - a term which would differentiate pre-source singers (out of the US oral-only tradition) from her 'Folksingers' who, by her definition, came much later. ("none could be considered a true source singer. They were collectors, arrangers, popularizers, adapters, censors, and even singer-songwriters")

Do try to keep up!


(Both Doc Watson and Frank Sinatra are from the meass-media/non niche era - .i.e outwith this discussion).


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Declan
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 07:34 PM

So neither Doc Watson nor June Tabor are folk musicians?

Give us a break!


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Tom
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 07:42 PM

I didn't say that. (Are you actually reading this thread, Declan)?

They are both 'folk singers' by most people's definition of the term- but not everyone's. Look back through the thread. Some people are saying that the term can only apply to people from a previous era, from 'the wellspring' era.

I'm not agreeing - I don't know what the terms should be. I'm only saying there's a difference - and it would help if we all understood that, and used terms that do not confuse.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Tom
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 07:47 PM

OK short post.

System a - no record players, no radios, not many books - what do you call them?

System b - with record players, radios, and lots of books - what do you call them?

That's the two types of singers/ songs and processes we need to separate. (Reasons explained above)

Got it now?

Tom


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 07:55 PM

Why the acrimony appearing on a thread about songs?


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 10:16 PM

Somebody needs to try decaf.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 10:43 PM

Look. If we're ordering out, let me see. That makes it 24 decaf. 13 decaf. with valium. 3 nembutal lattes. 6 decaf. expressos with seconal. And one decaf. with instamorph.(At the experimental stage right now.) And what the heck, top 'em all with whipped cream and a sprinkle of chocolate for EVERYBODY! Ya got to live LARGE! right? Kids: If you are reading this, THIS is how wars start. These are very nice people who are taking themselves WAAAAy too serious. And, it's a durn good thing that they are not all looking for the same parking place. And, it's a Blessing that none of them have their finger on the nuclear trigger...

Be nice to each other, "You're right from your side, and I'm right from mine, and it's one too many mornings. And a thousand miles behind."

bob(No, not THAT bob)


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Beer
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 10:50 PM

Hay Bob!, you forgot the Librium.   And I bet if we were all face to face we would be all on the same side.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 10:54 PM

Beer: Are YOU saying I forgot the Librium?! YOU were supposed to provide the librium!!!. IT WAS IN OUR CONTRACT!!!!

bob


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Beer
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 10:57 PM

LoL.
I just checked the med cupboard and there was nothing left.
Ad.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 11:04 PM

As Eric Burdon used to wail, "Baby, please don't let me be misunderstood." I believe my point was a simple one, but let me amplify it. In the USA the term "folk singer" was originally used in the 1920s to describe a diverse array of people, a few of whom may have been traditional source singers, but most of whom weren't. The term has continued to be used that way ever since. The one thing that all these folk singers have in common is that they became known for singing folk songs, or for singing songs that sound like folk songs, or for singing songs which the general public regards as folk songs.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Beer
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 11:04 PM

Please, everyone. Go to You Tube and type or paste the following:   Tim Conway & Harvey Korman. The first picture that should show up is "The Dentist". Sit back and laugh till you eyes hurt.
This is great great stuff and will help all relay.
Yeah!, Right.
Worth a try thought.
Beer (adrien)


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Beer
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 11:07 PM

Relax
Well mabe relay is good to.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Barry Finn
Date: 16 Oct 07 - 06:04 AM

I just heard Ani on the radio singing something about a releationship break up backed up by trap drum set, electric strings & organ, Didn't sound like folk to me, not even close to acoustic, maybe singer/songwriter rap/folk, or non-acoustic-rock-slow/folk, or classic-easy-listening-folk, or not-your-everyday-folk, or not-so-slow-folk. It wasn't of the people's rock-folk or re-cycle-delic-folk, or well-sung/sprung-folk, or world/roots/folk, or,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,whatever it was.
Well if she isn't folk what is she & what was it she was singing? & if you can't box her how can someone promote her? If she plays folk clubs do they book her as the ????????? to draw in the ??????? crowd.
What do they call her concert acts & what happens if she does a varity of the above mentioned do we just put her out into the world as cross cultural classless counterfolk act? I'm just glad when someone says traditional I understand that.
We have a folk radio station (that's by their deffination) in Boston WUMB, all folk 24hrs, so they say. They play singer/songerwritter, acoustic, gospel, celtic, electric-easy-listening, world-roots, folk-rock, re-cycle-delic folk, 60's folk rock but I hardly hear any folk & seldom if ever any traditional folk, no wonder we're all a mess, no ones doing any folk but they are doing a lot of anything but folk & those that are doing folk don't folking know it.
I'm going home, this is just to confusing, I'm going back to where it's simple & folkie, I'm going back to the farm, back to the hills, back to the sea, back to the factories & the prisons, I'm going where thje sun don't shine & through the pouring rain, I'm going anywhere but here. Someone save me, I'm going down,,,,for the 3rd & last time, help. Good nite.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Ian cookieless
Date: 16 Oct 07 - 06:57 AM

Tom, you posted:

"System a - no record players, no radios, not many books - what do you call them?

System b - with record players, radios, and lots of books - what do you call them?

That's the two types of singers/ songs and processes we need to separate. (Reasons explained above)"

The purpose of my earlier post was to ask why we need to differentiate between these two "systems". We know that singers like Sheila Stewart, who sang family songs, also picked up things from the radio and saw no reason to put them in different categories - though those who 'collected her' did.

If the 'folk process' is taking a song from a source and doing your own thing with it - as whole populations do with songs, words, clothes, food, etc. - then this term applies regardless of the source. Of course people did it differently in the past - they didn't have the technology to do otherwise. We do, so we use it.

So-called 'source singers' (and there's another whole debate about that term!) also had their sources. I wonder if they argued over terms and categories from the past? Or did they just learn the songs because they liked them? If someone had offered them a CD from the future to learn songs from, would they have refused it on the grounds that this wasn't 'traditional' or 'folk' enough?


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 16 Oct 07 - 07:13 AM

The issue is about influences. When you study the Wellspring (which does still exists in some microcosms) you can reasonably safely make some basic assumptions about niches. When you move outside it you can't - so you need a different approach. Yes, people today can an do learn and pass on songs in the same ways that their forebares did, but you can't count on it, because of external influences. That's the difference - and in musicalolgical terms it's the only difference that matters. (Achieving consesus over the conficting words would merely help marketing and communication).


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Grab
Date: 16 Oct 07 - 07:58 AM

Tom, you want to make those two systems even more complicated, add broadsheets and songbooks, which is almost certainly how some of the repertoire of "source singers" got to their families to be passed down the generations...

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Fidjit
Date: 16 Oct 07 - 08:28 AM

Well I know what I do

It's all written on the first page of my website.
(well acually the second, but we're not spliting hairs here are we?)

I call myself (probably wrongly) a folksinger. What else is a singer of folk songs?

My, Peguin Pocket English Dictionary defines Folk as:

1'Folk
1, The great proportion of the people that tends to preserve its customs, superstitions etc.
2, Specified kind or class of people - often with meaning.
3, Simple music, song of traditional origin or style.
(Nb "or style". Now that says a lot!)
4, People generally, often with meaning.
5, The members of one's own family, relatives.

2'Folk
1, Originating or traditional with the common people.
2, Of the common people.

I'll get my coat.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: greg stephens
Date: 16 Oct 07 - 08:47 AM

Fidjit hits the nail smack on the head when he draws attention to the word "style" in his dictionary definition. Now, I've been cudgelling my brains as to how to define intellectually my gut feeling that Ms Di Franco is not a folk musician: and Fidjit has found it. I know the simple rustic plain folk that live round here, and none of the them sing in the same style as A DiF.QED.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,TB
Date: 16 Oct 07 - 08:54 AM

Graham, I've been careful to allude that fact briefly in nearly every post


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: deadfrett
Date: 16 Oct 07 - 09:01 AM

In this mish-mash of labeling, I wonder is the Guardian a newspaper or something to clean fish on. Its all in your personal viewpoint.
Our "weekly wiper" hasn't mentioned Ms. DeFranco altough we finally did get some news about Shrub's Security and Prosperity Partnership(SPP).That's taken about two years and I'm still confused about that.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Declan
Date: 16 Oct 07 - 01:44 PM

Tom B,

Apologies for putting words in your mouth. My post back up there a bit was over the top.

I don't personally understand why the media used to pass on a song makes such a difference. But if you want to find a word to use to distinguish between the two feel free.

I do think that Art's point that preceded my post last night brought an interesting perspective to the discussion and I felt that you were dismissive of that.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Ian cookieless
Date: 16 Oct 07 - 01:46 PM

Tom, I wonder what these presumably 'bad' "external influences" are that must not be allowed to sully the 'purity' of folk music? Ewan MacColl was certainly critical of some gypsy singers who, in his opinion, were too influenced by the styles of crooners and music hall. But was he right to be critical? We are all influenced, surely, consciously or not, by all we hear. Is the logical end of this kind of 'purity' that 'folk' should only sing unaccompanied, as that's the way (British Isles and Irish) collectors heard their sources? Are Bellowhead not folk, because they are jazz influenced (oh dear, and is trad. jazz a type of folk music?!)? Should Nic Jones, Martin Carthy et al have kept their guitars in their cases to save sullying the purity of English song? Does it matter, as long as the songs are sung and loved?


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Declan
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 03:01 AM

Apologies again,

The contribution I was talking about in my last post was from C. Ham and not by Art.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 03:18 AM

Critical of others, except his wife - why should we take any notice of his judgement based on that fact alone!!


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 07:51 AM

"I wonder what these presumably 'bad' "external influences" are"

Nay nay and a thousand times nay! This has nothing to do with quality or subjective opinion.

Bother. The trouble with an issue like this is that if you try to be brief you may be misunderstood (and usually are), but if you take the trouble to explain properly you come over as a pompous ass - and even worse, people skip the post and so understand even less.

But I'll try one more time, in pompous ass mode - no apologies.

(I'm talking abut UK-based folk music here, though the same does apply elsewhere).

Folk, uniquely amongst other genres of music, operates in a territory where the study of history, and issues around the preservation and exploitation of historical culture, overlap with contemporary art and commerce.

With classical and most other 'old' music, people stick to the dots, and the dots have the maker's name at the top. This is mostly even true of early music and choral work. There is usually a clear route back to the root. Everything is well documented, and there are plenty of ways we can cross reference a composition with the life of the composer, for example.

All the other musical genres, jazz, pop etc, were mainly created in the mass-media age. Victorian music (blues, music hall, parlour balads), does lie somewhere inbetween, but mostly we again have a good knowledge of the context and all that goes with it.

But folk is different. Only folkies work with material which is both popular and dynamic today, but also stretches back into history - into the territory inhabited by historians and archeologits, and which may be of importance to both, even if they have no interest in the music per se.

Now, in other areas of society where there is a direct connection with historially valuable material, such as metal detecting, wreck diving, or the restoration of old buildings, there are laws designed balance modern activities against the intrinsic historial value of the original work, and to protect the information contained within and around that work, even if the work itself cannot be preserved.

There are no such laws - and nor, in my opinion, should there be - around folk music.

But there are some responsibilities to do with making sure that those who do want to study the history of folk music and to relate it to other historical investigations, or who are just interested in the exploration of old traditional music, can do so without latter-day activities muddying the water, and making such studies harder than they need to be.

So, the purpose of encouraging people to understand the difference between the development of the wellspring, where songs and tunes evolved in niches, and the development of post collection, post mass media folk - in all its many permutations, is merely to recognise that there is a difference in the way we have to approach this music, and the veracity of the information we can interpolate from it.

I wasn't being dismissive of C. Ham's point - it's a good and interesting one, but it has nothing to do with the point I'm trying to make.

Both Doc Watson and Frank Sinatra could have learned both those songs EITHER from a personal acquaintence, OR from a recording.

Wellspring singers could ONLY learn from a living person (ignoring broadsheets etc for the moment, ok?) Crucially they will have not only learned the words and tune from that person, but they'll have been fundamentally influenced by that person's approach. The singing style, and perhaps - as Jim Carroll has suggested, facinatingly, in another thread - other technique about 'seeing' songs, about projection and other issues of interest, which have been passed on, in relative isolation, down that particular stream.

And even if the song WAS learned from a piece of paper (as many were), that singer would still have been working in some isolation - so his influences would be localised by geography, tribe, occupation, etc. It's this isolation, and only this, which allows us to make educated guesses about the evolution of songs and tunes, and so grobe back through history - to, for example (mis-quoting BIll Prince singing last night in Northampton) try to work out if Long Lankin was a mason, a leper, or the figment of someone's fevered imagination. (Compare the historical value of two versions collected by Bob Copper only 3 miles apart, with the historical value of a version learned from a Martin Carthy CD - for example).

I would NEVER say it was wrong or bad to bring influences from elsewhere into your personal interpretation of a song or tune. In fact I do it massively all the time. And I doubt MacColl was saying that about Gypsy singers who'd been influenced by Music Hall either. I suspect he was saying (and I guess this because it fits closely with the other 'crimes' of which he and the critics group are wrongly accused) that we can't learn as much from those performers as we might from a singer who had never heard music hall, and so might provide valuable insights into the musical heritage of their particular niche.

You see the difference?

One more point: I've been referring - for simplicity's sake - to the arrival of a mass, global media (and, in particular, sound recording) as the break point in our ability to interpret, to track and tace backwards, to learn and glean contextual information. But it's equally true that the very act of collection creates a break point.

One unfortnate side effect of any collection of wellspring material is an element of ossification, of even fossilisation, of that work at that point - if we're not careful.

Post-collection, the song continues to evolve. All sorts of interesting influences may or may not come to bear, and the song may or may not be improved massively as a result (just look at the reworkings in my own repertoire - some of each)!

We can admire and enjoy all those versions, but we can't learn much about the origins of the song from them.

We can learn much more from the collected version, specially if the collector has done a good job in collecting contextual information along with the song.

But if we only go back to the source singer, we can easily fall into the trap of believing that this was somehow the 'correct' version of the song (that's what I mean by ossification). That version acquires a spurious integrity - which it doesn't actually deserve.

To go back BEFORE the point of collection, and before any real possibility of 'tarnish' by the mass media (and recordings) - and again I'm not using that word in a perjorative sense - we have to triangulate from the various versions we to have, and we need maximum accurate information about those versions.

Tom

(I'm not a musicologist, but I'll defend to the death their right to musicologicise!)


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Declan
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 01:54 PM

Good post Tom.

I understand the importance of what you are saying.

However the 1954 definition seems to be being used by some to be puting down others as non-folk performers, as if this made some sort of difference.

I am very slowly (embarassingly so) beginning to realise that some of those who post in this manner are yanking our collective chains. I will try my best not to react to such provocation in future.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: greg stephens
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 04:23 PM

Declan: you and some others always seem to confuse clasification with adverse criticism.Personally, I am not that familiar with Ani DiFranco,'s work so I haven't anything much specific to say on that; but surely you can recognise that saying you think someone is or is not a folk performer is not denigrating or praising their performance? If we see a black and white striped anuimal, we might disagree if you called it a zebra and I called it a giraffe, but neither of us would be saying it is a Bad Animal. We would just be attempting to classify it.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 05:22 PM

Greg, the arguement isn't over whether the animal is called a giraffe or a zebra - the arguement is over whether it can be called a mammal.

Frankly, the black and white animal is starting to smell like a skunk.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 06:02 PM

Did you know that:

Louis Armstrong was a concert pianist

Frank Sinatra was an opera singer

Beethoven was a bluesman

Mozart was a rapper

Einstein was a nun

and Stephen Hawking is a biologist.

Anyone want to argue? After all they're only "labels"! And anyone who says different is a boring, "label-loving" old fuddy-duddy!!

I'm definitely with 'PQRS - Ran Elesko' on this - because he is a marine crustacean - just as I am a mollusc.

Sorry, but I'm going to have to stop now as my leg has just fallen off. Oh no - it's my arm (got confused there for a minute - can't think why ...?). Anyway, I hope the "doctor" (or "tailor" as he's sometimes known) knows how to stitch ears back on!


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 06:09 PM

I wonder if Aliens from another Galaxy are watching this, and if they are, what are they thinking?


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 06:23 PM

Shimrod, that was the funniest post I've read in ages!

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 06:38 PM

"I wonder if Aliens from another Galaxy are watching this, and if they are, what are they thinking? "

I am. I think there are two VALID points being made.

1) It's nice to have an idea what music one will listen to before going to a club or concert, so in that regard the label is a good thing.

2) Good music is good music, and that is self evident.

BUT, there seems to be the presumption that someone has said the ONLY good music is trad or folk or . . . . Folks--it ain't been said. Not by anyone on this thread. Nor did anyone dis (sp?) Ani DiFranco, so do one of two things: Leave the thread and save your BP, or talk to the point, not the fuzzy area that some people think has been created by an incident that didn't happen.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 07:16 PM

It's funny Shimrod, but it has nothing to do with the topic, nor is anywhere near being a comparable analogy, but it was a really nice try.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Declan
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 08:14 PM

Greg,

I am not disagreeing with labelling. I disagree with the labels being applied.


It is not correct to say that there are no value judgements associated with these labels on this forum.

Anyway I've wasted far too much time on this thread, which I'm convinced was set up with a view to getting people wound up. Light the blue touchpaper and stand well back and enjoy the fireworks.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 08:21 PM

You know, what we need here is a TEST. That's right Folkmeisters, a Flakin' FOLKSINGER TEST! The kind of test that, if you get all the answers right, proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, that YOU are a Folksinger. Ready? Let's get started:

Q1/Multiple choice: Woody Guthrie is: a/The fabulous new scent by Donna Karan. b/Woody Allen's brother. c/a golf pro. d/a bird from Australia(fam."woodpecker"). e/a singer/writer of songs, early 20th Century.

Q2/ A coffeehouse: a/is where I met my wife. b/a place that caffeine addicts should avoid. c/were places from the 60's where Folksingers hung out(Brits insert "Pub"). d/Damn, I miss those. e/What's a coffeehouse?

Q3/ Fill in your response: I HAVE: a/Slept in someone else's bed or on the floor more than 300 times in my life. b/Drunk more coffee(Brits insert "beer") than a platoon of Ani DiFranco's. c/found more than 1000 uses for old guitar strings, from jewelry to weapons.
d/been insulted and applauded in at least 15 different languages. e/"borrowed" songs, my routine, and picks from other people.

Q4/ Name the pair that are LEAST likely to have slept together: a/George Bush & Phil Ochs. b/ Hillary Clinton & Bill Clinton c/Ledbelly & Madonna d/Joni Mitchell & Mitch Miller. e/The Kingston Trio & The Jacksons.

Q5/ My guitar: a/ and electricity have never met. b/ is older than your sister. c/cost about 1/2 of what I pay for shoes now than when I bought it. d/just try to take it from me and see what happens to you. e/is my wife's main competition.

Well kids, that's it. So how do you think you did? We're on the honor system around here so all responses are confidential. ANSWERS can of course be found "blowin' in the wind" on some dark and dirty highway...

Next time you pass by a high school ask the first group of kids you see, make it fair, try some that have piercings and tatooes, others not, What's a Folksinger? Now they WILL take a LOT of photos of you with their digital cameras, don't panic. And be sure to ask them when they don't have their iPod earphones plugged in...Then, ask them who Ani DiFranco is...

bob


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Bardan
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 08:32 PM

I promised myself I wouldn't get involved, but here we go anyway. The point I want to make (and it's a minor one) is that 'source singers' 'the wellspring' or whatever else you call it *was* quite exposed to outside influences. There are a whole load of irish songs and tunes that went to America and came back or were even written in America and came over to Ireland. Likewise, you'd find it hard to claim most maritime music was locked into the one region tribe etc... (you could suggest that it was more restricted to sailors, but sailors surely had loads of contact with landlubbers even back in the old days when voyages were longer.) Broadsheets were all over the place. A lot of movement between classes has also happened, (eg the links between various folk dances and court dances at one time or another.) Even recordings of folk are older than the fifties. I think it is slightly naive to see any period as being characterised as a time when music was definitely locked in to particular communities exclusively. I'm probably going to be told I misrepresented people's views and/or am simply an idiot but there we go.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 08:37 PM

Yo, Bob. I answered yes to all in Q3. But I like rock and roll. Am I in need of analysis?


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 09:20 PM

All is One, in a myriad of forms...

This thread has had too much analysis, and not enough Feel.
Reminds me of when I was with Reverend Gary Davis, who told me, "You ain't from here, are you boy? Just remember, anyplace you hang your hat is home..."

Another old memory from the 6th grade, Gabriel Donato, an immigrant from Syria, could not speak English and had a tattoo on his left arm "53". The year he came in. Given by the government, I think. Us kids took him in and began to teach him English, We started to point at stuff, telling him the names, like "book", "bike", "bus". You know by the time we graduated from High School. He was the Valedictorian, giving the speech in front of the whole school.

So, I don't see borders in music...

bob


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 09:33 PM

No, you don't, Bob. And in my memory you never have.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Neuwirth
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 09:48 PM

I take it you people are still pissed about Dylan going electric at Newport in '65.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 09:54 PM

I'm not.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Tom
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 04:02 AM

You're right Barden, but we can still make connections, as you just did. Once everyone is hearing everything on the radio and buying records it gets a lot more complex.

Bob - Too much analysis not enough feel? No. Just because an issue is hard to explain, and people don't want to know, doesn't mean it's not important. Feel? Have you ever heard my stuff?


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 09:53 AM

"It's funny Shimrod, but it has nothing to do with the topic, nor is anywhere near being a comparable analogy, but it was a really nice try."

Thanks, Ron.

But the point that I was trying to make is: if you're going to abandon one label (for the sake of contemporary sensibilities) why not abandon them all? Where do you draw the line?


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 09:55 AM

Drawing the line


___________________________________________________


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 10:21 AM

Shimrod,aTeapot is a Teapot,a Spout is a Spout.a kettle is a kettle without any doubt.
the 1954 definition was written not by the singers themselves,but some well intentioned but misled academics,some of them members of the EFDSS.,and is [imo]a definition which has flaws.
no one asked the singers did they?


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 10:31 AM

Shimmy - no one is drawing lines or abandoning any label!!! That is the frustrating part of this discussion - everyone is talking over the heads of each other.

The problem has been, the original label - the word "folk" was NEVER well defined, no matter what a group said in 1954 to the contrary. The word "folk" has been altered, tragically or refreshingly depending on your point of view, and nothing can be done to stop it. All the pissing and moaning, stomping your feet and holding your breath to you turn blue will not prevent the Guardian from calling Ani DiFranco a folksinger.

Aside from the altercockers who cling to semantic anchors, the world moves on. This does NOT mean that ANYTHING has been abandoned or thrown in the trash heep. Time marches on and change will happen.

During the folk revival, many folklorists and musicologists chose to ignore the revival - with legitamate gripes at the time. I feel what they failed to take into consideration is that this music is a living tradition. The reason collectors still had source singers was because the music was part of their lives. Guess what, Ani DiFranco may be part of the lives of a new generation and her songs MIGHT be serving the same purpose.

You can't freeze time. You can learn from the past, and a big reason for learning from it is so that we can take the lesson and apply it to our modern lives.   People don't live in museums.

The study of folk music will always be about homemade music that comes a community.   I think this helps separate "folk" from "popular".   The river is always going to be muddy, but you swim where you choose.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 10:33 AM

"altercockers"

Just where did you get that from, Ron? Haven't heard it in years. What do you know from Yiddish?


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Captain Hook
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 10:35 AM

I don't believe in folksingers, I don't believe in folksingers !

there mateys, 2 folksingers just vanished from existence..


..and another 2 each hour from now unless you lot sort out this endless 'debate' asap.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Wesley S
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 10:44 AM

All of this talk about the true meaning of folk music reminds me of a song lyric by Jefferson Airplane - either Paul Kantner or Grace Slick:

"It doesn't mean shit to a tree"


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 11:02 AM

QUOTE: "altercockers"

Ron, I really like this word. I'm going to start overusing it with immediate effect.

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 11:33 AM

Good luck with it Nigel!


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Beer
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 12:44 PM

Ron,
Must say I really like your last two observations/stanza/paragraph whatever of your post before the one of good luck Nigel.
Very well said and a lot to think about.
Beer (adrien)


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 05:35 PM

Ron,

Are the words 'Jazz' or 'Rock' or 'Classical' well-defined?

Perhaps I should try the experiment of singing 'Lord Bateman' in a Jazz club and see what reaction I get ...

On second thoughts, perhaps 'Cap'n Birdseye' could try it and report back ... ?

Oh! Hi, Cap'n ... more tea?


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 10:17 PM

They are as well defined and as open as folk.

Perhaps you should try singing "Lord Bateman" in a jazz club. Be sure to bring your dictionary.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Ian cookieless
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 03:47 PM

Tom, just to say I appreciate all the time and effort that's gone into responding to these posts in such a measured way, for taking my points, sincerely meant, and for responding in a likewise sincere manner. And Declan, I too wish that folks whose only intention is to inflame, well, just wouldn't.

I see what you mean about origins, Tom. I am always fascinated to read of - and investigate myself (i.e. seek out what others have variously written and compare - I am no folk scholar) - the origins of a song or tune. In that respect I can completely see your point about locality and song evolution. But I just don't think that, as you seem to suggest, local origins were ever hermetically sealed, but highly porous - just as they are today, in fact. And I also don't think that we can easily - or at all - make an altogether clear distinction between broadsides and the oral tradition. They merge and mix, just like all of life does. I won't go into reasons why I think this, as others have already made those points above. But just to cite one example, the most ubiquitous traditional song of all, Barbara Allen: scholars still cannot decide if its origins are Scottish or English, for all its hundreds of local variants.

My reference to Ewan MacColl was from his radio series, The Song Carriers, which I have on CD. And yes, I am positive he said words to the effect that I mentioned (criticising traditional gypsy singers for not being, in his eyes, traditional enough). If you like, I could dig it out and make a direct quote.

Again, that's for taking the time.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Tom
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 06:03 PM

Thanks for that - and as you'll see above I've always conceded the points about niche leakage and broadsheets/broadsides.. it's a very inexact science, but based on some basic principles of presumed isolation and reasonably identifiable and tracable migrations and cross-contaminations (again, not perjorative).

The point is it is not what it was like, but that there's a clear distinction between the 'g'olden days and the post collection period.

Some scots mix single malt with iron-bru. Nice drink I'm sure, but harder to identify which whisky you're drinking.

Oh, and radio killed the tradio star.


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: michaelr
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 07:19 PM

Tom, as a single-malt lover I'm curious: What's iron-bru?

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: Peace
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 07:22 PM

Iron Bru


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Subject: RE: Guardian calls Ani DiFranco folk singer
From: GUEST,Bob Ryszkiewicz
Date: 19 Oct 07 - 08:16 PM

This here thread is edjukational...


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