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Song appropriateness--

dulcimer 29 Apr 99 - 07:23 PM
Banjer 30 Apr 99 - 01:47 AM
Joe Offer 30 Apr 99 - 02:29 AM
DonMeixner 30 Apr 99 - 09:12 AM
Sapper_RE 01 May 99 - 01:20 PM
Big Mick 01 May 99 - 03:05 PM
Joe Offer 01 May 99 - 03:47 PM
Rick Fielding 01 May 99 - 03:54 PM
Rick Fielding 01 May 99 - 03:59 PM
Big Mick 01 May 99 - 04:37 PM
Big Mick 01 May 99 - 04:41 PM
Joe Offer 01 May 99 - 04:46 PM
Big Mick 01 May 99 - 05:02 PM
Joe Offer 01 May 99 - 06:08 PM
The Shambles 01 May 99 - 08:34 PM
BK 01 May 99 - 10:54 PM
Joe Offer 02 May 99 - 03:29 AM
alison 02 May 99 - 07:43 AM
Sapper_RE 02 May 99 - 11:14 AM
Tucker 02 May 99 - 06:18 PM
katlaughing 02 May 99 - 11:55 PM
Rick Fielding 03 May 99 - 12:01 AM
Big Mick 03 May 99 - 12:03 AM
Joe Offer 03 May 99 - 02:27 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 03 May 99 - 04:13 AM
The Shambles 03 May 99 - 08:51 AM
The Shambles 03 May 99 - 08:57 AM
03 May 99 - 10:48 PM
Lonesome EJ 03 May 99 - 11:45 PM
katlaughing 04 May 99 - 12:18 AM
LEJ 04 May 99 - 02:01 PM
katlaughing 04 May 99 - 03:48 PM
katlaughing 04 May 99 - 03:49 PM
Sapper_RE 04 May 99 - 05:15 PM
LEJ 04 May 99 - 06:58 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 04 May 99 - 08:41 PM
04 May 99 - 09:56 PM
Big Mick 04 May 99 - 11:59 PM
katlaughing 05 May 99 - 12:12 AM
The Shambles 07 May 99 - 07:08 PM
John Hindsill 14 May 99 - 08:43 PM
The Shambles 15 May 99 - 02:30 AM
Rick Fielding 15 May 99 - 12:49 PM
Susan A-R 16 May 99 - 01:10 AM
katlaughing 16 Sep 00 - 09:07 PM
GUEST,Amy 09 May 09 - 09:40 AM
maeve 10 May 09 - 08:02 AM
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Subject: Song appropriateness--
From: dulcimer
Date: 29 Apr 99 - 07:23 PM

Don't want to open any heated debate or wounds among fellow Mudcatters, but...In reading the thread about the Galtree Mt. Boy, this thought occurred to me and may be our Irish commrades give me some insight. It is my perception that in America we are pretty flexible most of time about songs which may be controversial or stir up feelings of the past--not many of us get stoned or shot for singing a song which may offend some members of the audience. We may be told off and not invited back, but usually not physically attacked for our music. But if one were to sing a song about the Irish Civil War or from Rebellion Period on the 1900's in Ireland, how would it be received? Many songs which have such references sound great and are well received in the US. But what might one expect in Ireland? I know the question is going to depend on the song and the area and the audience. But I would sure hate to offend.


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Banjer
Date: 30 Apr 99 - 01:47 AM

There is in our local Civil War reenacting community one individual of obvious British descent who has managed to make himself somewhat unpopular by his actions and attitude towards anything NOT British.
Now I don't have a mean bone in my body, but it does give me great pleasure when he is within earshot to play such old time favorites as "The Rising Of The Moon" and others of that era.
Just to show I do not pick on any one group, there is also a piper amongst us (at least he thinks he is) who gets many comments from lots of folk, myself included. Comments range from "Play something you know," to "If I was to blow a pig, it certainly would not be in public!" It has also been observed that "If ya wanted to kill that thing stabbing it with a knife would be more effective than squeezing it to death." Do not get me wrong, I love hearing bagpipes when played properly. I have travelled across three counties to go see and hear the Black Watch Pipe and Drum Corps when they came on tour. Beautiful performance! I have also participated in the Dunedin, Florida Tattoo, the opening of their Highland Games, providing our units' artillery piece for them.
But some things just lend themselves to picking on......


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Apr 99 - 02:29 AM

I often think that when I'm in a group with a different background, it may not be appropriate for me to perform that group's music. I think it's better for me to present songs that come from my background or from other cultures - but to let the host group take the lead in singing songs that are their own, and then I should join in their singing.
I'm fascinated by Yiddish music, but I'm not Jewish, so I think it wouldn't be the coolest thing to perform Yiddish songs for a Jewish group - that's something I should let them give to me. I like Irish music, but I think I'd probably be likely to perform American songs if I were in Ireland - that also would help me avoid making cultural blunders like singing the wrong Irish song to the wrong Irish group.
The Celtic group Golden Bough spend about half the year performing Celtic music here in Northern California, their home, and they do a pretty good job of it. They're in Europe the rest of the year - and they're quite successful performing American folk songs there. I think that's a pretty good way of doing things.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: DonMeixner
Date: 30 Apr 99 - 09:12 AM

WEll said Joe. Am more tactfully than I'm likely to cover the same ground. I am reminded of an incident some years back when a Joan Baez clone in a club I was in sang this long, repititious, song in French. When it was over someone asked. "*****, do you speak French?" After a significant pause, "Well, No." She replied. "Well, Neither do any of us." was the immediate retort.

Don


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Sapper_RE
Date: 01 May 99 - 01:20 PM

Some people will be able to tell three things about me from my handle:- 1) I am male; 2) I am British and 3) I have (proudly) served in Her Majesty's Royal Corps of Engineers. Being a folk fan I have, several times, had to endure strongly pro-IRA songs at different clubs. Having had several mates murdered by that cowardly band of thugs, I do find it as objectionable. I suspect most Americans would object if someone started singing the praises of the Oklahoma Bombers or the pair of twisted kids at the school the other week. Being an ex-squaddie I enjoy the Ballad of the Green Beret's, but do rarely sing it as I realise it will upset some people.

Bob.


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Big Mick
Date: 01 May 99 - 03:05 PM

Sapper (please tell me that your nickname doesn't imply what you do in her majesty's army),

You should remember before you start flamethrowing that one person's terrorist is another person's patriot. What we do try to do around here is to keep discussion on a civil level. Now since you started this, I need to ask you a question. How do you view the UDF chaps? Are they thugs too? I know you know that the Orange paramilitary's have killed more innocents than the IRA and other Republican paramilitary's. And how about the RUC which has been proven time and again to be complicit in the harrassment and assassination of Irish people? Are they butchers too? And how about the evidence that is now surfacing about the Her Majesty's Snipers on Bloody Sunday, are they butchers and thugs as well? And do you get just as upset when the marchers want to parade through Catholic neighborhoods, stone and destroy Catholic churchs and assault people going to pray to their God in their way, are they thugs too? What about the murder of Rosemary Nelson? Got an opinion?

I do not begrudge you your opinion, in fact I would enjoy the debate. But you are not the only person around here with military background in special units, and yours is not the only opinion. So how about an intellectual type of comment about why you have strong opinions. Give us good debate, not flamethrowing. You could talk about the senseless brutality of Omagh and I wouldn't even argue. But throwing out the type of comment you made, does not lend itself to a civil discussion of a modern tragedy.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 May 99 - 03:47 PM

Whoah! I think somebody touched a nerve there, Mick. I had the impression this thread was about sensitivity. I think it's important for us to keep in mind that the other guy always has some validity to his point of view. If we can't learn to walk in the shoes of others, we will never learn to walk together.
Bob lost some friends to the IRA, and he's right to grieve the loss of his friends. Let's not turn this thread into a battle.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 01 May 99 - 03:54 PM

Sapper, why on earth would you go to a folk club, when what you come away with is having "endured?" Hmmm, IRA and Oklahoma bomber (Tim McVey) cut from the same cloth my friend? I doubt if Mick's request for an "intellectual" debate is going to sit well with you, but this has been a trying and stressful 2 weeks on mudcat, and I'm attempting to think positively, so who knows?


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 01 May 99 - 03:59 PM

whoops, was typing while you were Joe. You're right. Let's drop it.

rick


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Big Mick
Date: 01 May 99 - 04:37 PM

Joe,

You know that I have the utmost respect for you. I really do. And I know that context is hard to read. But I would ask you and others to read Bob's message, and then mine. The type of assertion made by him is completely inappropriate. Just make the point that you find rebel songs objectionable, and old Mick won't say a word, other than to continue the discussion. I have pointed out to him in direct terms what is wrong with the statement, and I stand by it. BOBI have been in war, have lost friends at it, and understand that when you are in another country other than your own, attempting to impose the will of your government on those peoples, you will take casualties. I am sorry that you have lost friends, I truly am. I say this as a fellow warrior who has faced the same circumstance. But the insensitivity in this thread is yours and yours alone. If you want to have a good discussion of the North of Ireland and understand my feelings on it, do a forum search for the thread titled "Back Home in Derry". If you want to make a statement on Song Appropriateness in this thread, then do it in an appropriate way. I stand by my statement. If you throw flames, you will get burned.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Big Mick
Date: 01 May 99 - 04:41 PM

And now back to the subject at hand. I believe Joe's approach is the proper one. I would not dream of going into a pub in Ireland and doing music that I was not sure how it would be received. I would not go into a pub in England and do songs that might be offensive. Not unless I had been asked to. I would probably do American folk music. It would seem to me if you are not sure, then you probably shouldn't do the music without asking around, or just listening a bit.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 May 99 - 04:46 PM

Nope, Mick. Take a moment, clear your mind, and walk in the other guy's shoes.
Then tell me what you think.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Big Mick
Date: 01 May 99 - 05:02 PM

Joe,

I have gone back and read it. "cowardly band of thugs" and references to Tim McVeigh and the Colorado shooters are his words, not mine. I have walked in the shoes he is describing, and I understand the passion he feels. But my posting simply pointed out that the use of these terms in our discussion are not productive, and then used examples to point out what others would think of. Sorry we disagree, but I will stand by the points I have made. I will let it drop here, as far as this thread goes in the interest of keeping it civil. But I respectfully disagree with you on this matter, and I believe I am on sound ground for doing so.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 May 99 - 06:08 PM

Oh, I know, Mick. You're absolutely correct. What you say is the truth - I guess. Trouble is, if we keep on standing by the so-called "truth," we will continue to kill each other. Truth and honor and patriotism and justice are all lovely virtues, but is all this killing really worth it? Could it be that there's a higher truth?

I have the highest respect and admiration for you, Mick. Still, I plead with you to stop and look at things from another person's perspective. If a group of people were to kill a friend of mine, no matter how noble their cause, would I not be justified in calling them thugs and being offended by songs that support them? Would I not be justified in making at least an oblique comparison between them and others I despise?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 May 99 - 08:34 PM

Julie Matthews has written a marvellous song about The British Empire. It gave the title to of one of Fairport Conventions recent records, called The Jewel In The Crown. Whilst introducing the song, she mentioned that when playing it in Hong Kong (I think) she was approached by a serving member of Her Majesties Armed Forces who told her that he did not agree at all with the sentiments addressed in the song.

It did not stop her from performing it though, which surely is the way to treat this issue.

I would suggest that the best way to deal with it is, if you hear a song expressing views that you do not agree with, then find or write or perform one that does. As this place has demonstrated many times, there is pretty much a song for every conceivable occasion and one for just about every view.

Wherever you are in the world, it must be better to fight with songs/words than with our cruder inventions and methods?

To change the subject a little, this thread specifically mentions songs...........Does this mean that the problem is only due to the words, or are there places where a tune can be just as contentious?

I am thinking of Ireland, in particular..... I have and do play tunes in sessions with people from the North and South of Ireland, with people from Japan and from just about every part of the world. It is probably due to my immense ignorance and insensitivity (and great love of the music), but I have yet to notice any great North, South divide in instrumental music? Does this exist and to what degree?


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: BK
Date: 01 May 99 - 10:54 PM

Mick & Bob; please understand there are murdering thugs in every large group of humans, and the excesses of the more extreme sub-sets of the IRA were repeatedly the main subject arousing apparently deeply felt horror expressed by almost everybody we met when travelling through SOUTHERN Ireland - not the North! Think about the Stan Roger's song which describes how he tossed out the fund-raiser that came to his door, about the Irish Catholic woman murdered for comforting a mortally wounded Tommy. I come from an American Irish Catholic family, (Mom's side); My mom wanted me to be a priest. I guess I kinda think Bob was just reacting from his personal perspective, not doing what I usually think of as "flaming."

I have served w/pride & honor, both Officer & Enlisted, in the Army & Navy. But I will never forget what the Army did - virtual genocide, repeatedly, to my American Indian ancestors (Dad's side). Custer & his ilk -Army officers - really did have it coming; just ask Chief Joseph..

So we also know abt the evil murdering scum among the Ulster protestants, and the events in "Come Out Ye Black & Tans," and the slaughter of Indians wanting freedom on various occasions during the British Raj in India.. None of it, nor the zillions of other incidents of murderous brutality should be excused.

So: I see both sides of this issue & think, as do many in Southern Ireland, that many of the folks in the extreme wings of both the IRA & the Ulster Protestants are indeed murdering thugs, just like the "ethnic cleansers" in Kosovo... & it doesn't seem like flaming to me.. seems like Joe's right... (as often is the case).

Just 1 man's opinion

Cheers, BK


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 May 99 - 03:29 AM

Well, I'm sure glad things have settled down in this thread. I was about to gather my fellow pacifists, and we were going to go out and really kick butt.
Grrrrin.
-Joe Offer, butt-kicking pacifist-


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: alison
Date: 02 May 99 - 07:43 AM

Hi,

and here I was expecting a nice sedate little thread......

Shambles I don't think there is much of a difference instrumental wise between tunes.. a good tune is a good tune.. it's when you put words to it that you get problems.

I think it all comes down to a matter of respect for where you are playing and who you are playing to. I would not dream of going into a Protestant pub and singing a strongly Republican song, or a Catholic pub and singing a Protestant song. I have been subjected to both on occasion... and those hard line songs on both "sides" make me feel very uncomfortable.

I was at a folk festival last week where amongst the various venues for entertainment was a pretty country church... a man sang "The Burning Times" (Isis, Astarte, Diana etc.....) in the church. There were plenty of other venues and occasions where he could have sung this.. but he chose the church. In my opinion I think it was an inappropriate choice..... many others were offended by it. This is what I mean.. you need to have respect for the feelings of the people you are performing for. You'll never please everybody.. but you can try...

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Sapper_RE
Date: 02 May 99 - 11:14 AM

Wow, I did not know what a hornets nest I was stiring up!! If anyone is offended then I do appologise. I also apologise to anyone who is getting fed up with this thread, but this is the first chance, since my original posting, I have had to answer some points.

To Big Mick, first of all, a Sapper is the rank given to a private soldier in the Royal Engineers, formerly known as the Royal Corps of Sappers and Miners when a "Sap" was a trench dug towards enemy defences. Thus any member of the REs is known as a Sapper. I regret that it is nearly 20 years since my demob. With respect a couple of points he raised, first I also condem the so-called loyalist thugs. There is nothing loyal about them. Secondly, the only OFFICIAL "Shoot to kill" policies in Ulster have been those of the Paramilitaries, so-called Loyalist as well as Republican. Yes, during the 70's there were some RUC officers involved in the murders of republican activists and some officials, now no longer in positions of authority, turned a blind eye to these activities. But let us not forget that RUC officers, especially any catholic who joined the RUC, were specifically targeted by the IRA. The RUC today has been cleansed and is probably one of the least bent police forces in the world today. With respect to Bloody Sunday, there were no snipers. Just a bunch of twitchy over-hyped young kids in uniform who had been sent "Paddy Bashing" (a term I always detested) under the control of officers who should have been court-marshalled. As an intersting point, I believe that the Roman Catholic Primate of All Ireland is on record (at least a recording held by the BBC) as stating that at least one armed known IRA activist was with the marchers as they were assembling and requested by him to depart. Incidently, was not the term "Bloody Sunday" also used for the day at the start of the earlier troubles when IRA gunmen kicked down the doors of several dozen RIC officers and murdered tham in their beds? As you can probably guess from my opinions above, I consider the murder of Rosemary Nelson to be another senseless act of brutality in a brutal world. "One person's terrorist is another person's patriot." When there is a constitutional means of redressing grievance, there is no justification for murder. A Patriot or Freedom Fighter is justified only where such means do not exist. The Civil Rights movement in Ulster were achieving a great deal in changing public opinion in the rest of the UK with respect to the gerrymandering and injustices of the Stormont parliament. Had the IRA not jumped on the band wagon most of the changes required would have been conceded.

As a last point, BK wrote "about the Irish Catholic woman murdered for comforting a mortally wounded Tommy." She was Jean NcConville, a protestant girl who married a catholic and converted to catholisism. The British Magazine "The Spectator" did an article on the "Bog Jobs" in the 15th of April issue, 1995 that is worth reading.

I apologise for extending this issue, but if anyone is in any doubt about the IRA, then there is a book by a former member, Sean O'Calahan, (I've probably spelt that wrongly) that describes his activities. One last thing, most of you reading this are Americans and have never had to live with the IRA like we in the UK have. I respect the opinions of the peaceful, constitutional side of Irish Republicanism as personified in Gerry Fitt, but the majority of the people of Ulster want to remain under the British Crown. Please respect that. Bob.


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Tucker
Date: 02 May 99 - 06:18 PM

Wow. I almost skipped over this thread and maybe I'll wish I had. Right now I feel like a Brit who feels his country shouldn't be in Eire, except my country is in Kosovo. My last name is McCoy and I am pretty damn sure my ancestors were exiled from the north of Ireland somewhere before the famine. I also have two cherokee greatgrandmothers. For all the grief we get for being bigoted I think we have solved our problems well here. There have been wrongs and they continue, but as a whole we are very united. If anyone wants to see Hell on Earth try repeating Pearl Harbor. That said, let me say this. I would not dream of going to Ireland and singing pro/anti IRA songs. At a recent Celtic festival in Cincinnati I did not hear one song regarding the troubles. I will admit that I have a lot of IRA songs in my reportoire. They are catchy and when you aren't british, funny. I don't sing them in public though. That would be like singing the Horst Wessel at a Bar Mitzva (?)As much as it is hard to admit people we are now global. If nothing else the net has made us so. When I get on here I have to take into account Sapper's, Big Mick, Katlaughing's, Catpaw's,Banjer's, Joe's, Rick's.........you get my drift. I think that if we all met at a gathering and lost our accents we would be instantly united. We love music, we love life. It's time to get over the prejudices that we all harbor. Aye, let's keep our songs, they are our history, but let's not use them to instill hatred in yet another generation. Upfront, yes I want a united Ireland. I want an Ireland where the North and the South are all accepted as Irish. The Orangemen are there for the same reasons I am in America, but America is my home and now I am American.


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: katlaughing
Date: 02 May 99 - 11:55 PM

Well, I hadn't looked at this thread until tonight. While all of you obviously know much, much more about the Troubles than I do, I have to say when I read Mick's first postings after Bob's, I felt the point he was making was that, here, on the Mudcat, we usually don't use inflammatory rhetoric, and, if we do, it isn't right off the bat. I agree with him and had I read this thread when it started, I probably would've told Bob so. It has been a pparent to me since ocming here to the 'Cat, that we are all pretty decent and caring phoaks who really do not want to offend each other. we can repsectfuuly agree to disagree, but we usually do not resort to name calling. It is important to remember that we do not know one another's backgrounds right away, so that if we write something derogatory, another of us may feel personally slighted.

My dad was raised on a cattle ranch in Colorado, with Native American/Irish/Scottish/English ancestry. The sheepherders in those parts were Mormon, usually, and deeply hated and mistrusted. One of them tried to kill my greatgranddad in an ambush. I have been very careful not to post any of the prejudices I was raised with because of that past, because I do not want to offend anyone, plus life has a way of putting those we think of as our enemies in or face sometimes. My second husband was Mormon. My dad eventually married one!

Frankly, Joe, I am surprised you didn't back up part of what Mick was saying. You have always seemed to be the courtly gentleman of the 'Cat. For Bob to come out of the chute with an off-hand comment like that seemed a little offensive to me.

Now, I've had my say, boyos. I hope it dinnae rile yawl up, agin!

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 May 99 - 12:01 AM

Tucker, you're makin' a few good points. Now don't get me wrong, we're probably on opposite sides of the fence on most issues, but I've been lookin' over that fence into your yard a few times and it ain't a bad yard. When I first came to the Mudcat about half a year ago, I was a little overwhelmed. Even though I shoot my mouth off, make silly jokes, and make my living in front of groups of people, I've fought big-time shyness all my life. When I'm in a comfortable environment I'm a total extrovert, but in ANY other situation...well I try like hell to AVOID other situations. I found several catters' computer expertise totally intimidating...until..I was able to be some help in an instrument selection thread. A couple of folks were SO articulate that I felt reticent to even take part in a discussion with them, (I'm a grade 10 drop out and not proud of it) until I realised that most of us rarely use first-class sentence structure. (all my stupid brackets)
Well to make a long post, short (yeah, I can be a one man thread creep) after hanging about for a couple of weeks I started to understand what a class group this is and I took the plunge. Good-bye shyness. (in these confines, anyway) Holy Cow, do I love these folks. They are so fucking generous (oops, sorry) in so many ways. I'm writing this because you put my name into the list of folks who's opinions you have to take account of. Yup, ain't it the truth? Me too. Sometimes it's difficult. My belief structure has been formed by 51 years on this planet of looking, listening, experiencing, acting, re-acting etc. and sometimes it's damn hard for me to understand why people don't feel the same as I do on a lot of issues. Good example is this thread. I thought Sapper was inflamatory in his first post and jumped in. I certainly agreed with Mick's rebuttal, but then I thought "right or wrong, both these guys have seen combat and death first hand. I haven't. Back off until it cools down". Sometimes I think Joe must have eyes in the back of his head (or a little Mighty Mouse in him) 'cause he diverted the debate in another direction that I knew, although it might get heated, it would be civil. I was also glad to see Sapper's later (and much longer) posting. Can't say I've changed my feeling on the issue, but I've gone back and read each exchange several times and that's a start.

Now what was I saying? Oh ya, Tucker, you made some good points.

rick


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Big Mick
Date: 03 May 99 - 12:03 AM

Sapper,

I am ill today, and have not been online, and am not going to stay on now. I have read your post, and I must say that it is well thought out. As I am sure you know, I do not agree with it in total, but I have great respect for the way you responded. You could have gone off in the direction of spouting rhetoric and official lines. But you did not, rather you presented your view well and with conviction. One day I hope to visit England and I honestly hope I can sit down over a jar with you. The debate should be interesting to say the least. Thanks for a cogent response.

To the rest of my fellow 'Catters. I am sorry if I made you uneasy. One thing about old Mick is that I am passionate in my pursuit of life. Sometimes that means taking positions that may not be popular, but you may be sure that I will stick to them. I would love to continue the debate with Sapper, but this is not the thread to do it. I would suggest that if anyone is interested, they should resurrect the "Back Home In Derry" thread. If it pops up, I will contribute.

Joe, the answer to your question with regard to others killing friends is not valid, in my mind. You are comparing based on a different set of circumstances. In fact I have had friends killed by a group of people that we were fighting as a military unit. And if you would bother to check other threads, you would know my view of it. Specifically the "Vietnam War Songs" thread.

I am not a pacifist, though Lord knows I wish I could be. I wish young people would never have to war again. War should occur only when their is no other choice. The "just war" as our church (Joe's and mine) calls it. How do you distinguish? Milosevic and Yugoslavia are the perfect example. If this were just a civil war, the Yugoslav forces against the KLA, then I would feel that we have no business there. But the minute the mass executions started, the day the forced removal of people from their homes started, the day the rapes and murders started, that is the day it went from being an internal matter to what it is. If, in the North of Ireland, the IRA were calling for the removal of the people who came over 500 years ago during the time of plantation, I would oppose them with all my might. They are not. This is about Ireland undivided. Nothing more.

Once more, to Sapper, thanks for a very good response.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 May 99 - 02:27 AM

I suppose that after Matthew, Luke, and Ephesians, the book that affected me most in my life was the biography of Gandhi by Louis Fisher. Gandhi makes me believe that maybe pacifism and non-violence are not as impractical is it might at first seem. It has always been fascinating to me to see how Gandhi was able to achieve great power and accomplish great things without compromising his gentle ideals. Nelson Mandela accomplished wonders through non-violence. So did Corazon Aquino. Martin Luther King did pretty well, too. Matthew, Luke, and Ephesians promote the same ideals (ignore the sexist stuff in Ephesians, please). Gandhi makes those ideals real for our time. It's not a long book, but it's very powerful stuff.
The movie was good, but ya gotta read the book.

OK, I'll grant that Sapper's first statement could be seen as somewhat inflammatory. Mick's response was natural, and justified - I'll grant that, too. Still, despite the justifications for Mick's response, what good did it do? What would have happened if he had taken the time to see things from Sapper's point of view, and then approached Sapper with understanding and generosity? If he had started from a point of sympathy and understanding for Sapper, he would have had a much better chance of coming to agreement with him, instead of just pushing farther apart.
Mick and Sapper have served as soldiers in the field and learned the singlemindedness that soldiers need to survive. That is a remarkable and wonderful thing. I did my military time in intelligence, and I learned the importance of understanding the opponent's point of view, to try to avoid conflict and keep the soldiers alive.
I realize that the idea of pacifism just doesn't sound logical in this world of ours - but animosity hasn't done us much good, has it? Maybe there's a way we can all learn to live with each other. We can start by taking the time to understand the other person's point of view.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 03 May 99 - 04:13 AM

Great thread, guys. I just checked in--somewhat put off by the word "appropriateness"--it's puritanical, in a weaselly way. It's late at night, almost 1 a.m., and I have to work tomorrow (I'll admit I start late)(and that I have a pretty easy time of it, teaching photography and home-made music in an independent study school), so I'll make it short. No comment on the Mick v. Sapper scuffle; my only point is that if you don't cross the line at least a bit you're just "preaching to the choir," which is comfortable, but it doesn't change any minds. Of course if it's your living, and you want to keep on feeding the wee ones... (gratuitous Irish locution) It's way past my bed time and I'm babblin--and still trying to figure out why we are blowing the shit out of Yugoslavia to stop Christians from killing Muslims while we are sending weapons and other support to Muslims in Indonesia who have been killing Christians in East Timor far longer and in far greater numbers. It ain't mercy, guys--it's Realpolitik. --seed


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 May 99 - 08:51 AM

First off I would like to remind us of the very first words of this post. Dulcimer said: "Don't want to open any heated debate or wounds among fellow Mudcatters, but..."

I did try to return the thread to it's original subject and not to take sides and make it worse, but it does now seem to have returned the level a sensible debate and at the risk of inflating it again, I shall put my size 10's in. The post was about songs and Sapper's post was to the effect that he was not happy having to listen to song supporting "that cowardly band of thugs". Now surely we can all accept that, any of us hearing a song in praise of what we considered to be murderous thugs, would be a little uncomfortable?

The difficulty comes when one persons idea of murderous thugs, is another's idea of brave freedom fighters. That however was not what this thread was about, it was about songs.

Mick

I have come to like you very much and have respected your strongly expressed opinions, for all the time I have been here. I do not always agree with them, but over time you can see more of a person that they can ever express in one or two short postings. I know your heart to be big enough and in the right place, and that makes up for the fact that your foot sometimes isn't, not that you are alone it that. Judging people on a few postings is perilous, but that is what you have done with Sapper, on just about his introduction to the forum. His subsequent reply shows that he can certainly defend himself, so I will not attempt to do that for him. I certainly hope he stays around, to add to all our debates, but other less robust souls probably wouldn't and that would have been The Mudcat's loss.

Sapper did not start the personal insults and cheap jokes, Mick, you did. If, as Kat say's, you considered his remarks were more "inflammatory" than we usually use here, then I think that could have been gently pointed out to a relative new recruit, rather than 'going for the throat'. To me just about the only 'crime' here, is to do something that may discourage someone from posting. The best way to deal with those, who from time to time, deliberately want to insult and disrupt, is to ignore them, their views and when they do not 'get a bite', they will go away and fish other waters.

There does seem to be an almost automatic reaction in us, to some views. Sometimes to what we THINK is being said rather than what actually IS being said. I know this to be the case with me and the best course of action, I have found in these cases is to take NO action. To sleep on it and then decide.

To return to the subject of the thread. It is interesting that most of the conversation has been to avoid un-appropriate material, rather than moving toward our strength and my personal hope for the future, The universal language of music.

The songs and music that can unite us all, rather than the ones that divide .

Mick and Bob

I hope you will let me join your pub session, we can get 'rat-assed', sing, play and argue all night. If we don't know what to sing, we could surely give this one a go, as a start? Bumbling Englishman.


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 May 99 - 08:57 AM

Just to make the point about putting my foot in it too, I went and did it, just at the right place by not 'closing me bold bit'.


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From:
Date: 03 May 99 - 10:48 PM

Like Shambles, I don't want to reheat or resurrect any potential unpleasantness, but I have to say that like Joe, I was surprised at your original reaction to Sapper, Mick.

Now I know that you live life and your convictions passionately, but it does seem to me that you over-reacted in this case. It may be that the connotations of "sapper" in the Vietnam context mislead you; as Sapper has pointed out, in the Commonwealth forces, a sapper is an engineer nothing more or less. As I read the post, Sapper was saying that he felt that in the context of the clubs he visited, songs supporting the IRA/PIRA were inappropriate. I also note that he did not say that songs supporting the unification of Ireland were inappropriate, only songs glorifying those who sought to pursue that aim through violence.

It is virtually impossible to describe or analyse the Northern Ireland situation without using terms that someone will find emotive, regardless of how appropriate the term is in its literal meaning. No one that I know who has had any direct experience of the situation, including both Protestants and Catholic civilians as well as members of the armed forces, supports or condones the use of violence by any faction. So far as I am aware, it is accepted by all but the fanatical, which I know you are not, that the "military" wings of both groupings contain a high percentage of people with at the very least antisocial tendencies. You will know from your own experiences how hard it is for a normal person to deliberately kill another, even when under direct threat. To set out with that intent requires a basic perception that your target is less than human. Now this may arise from either an intrinsic amoral nature, or conditioning, but most likely from a mixture of both. The result diminishes the perpetrator far more than the victim, and so they are perceived in their turn, and with far more justification, as irrational and dangerous by the majority of the population. It is in the nature of every day communication that the labels we use are pithy, and for those who we wish to condemn, derogatory; rather than clinical and precise, so we should not be surprised or offended at the words Sapper used.

Like Joe, I have to hope that people across the world, will be willing to pursue a non-violent approach to the redress of grievance. It is all too obvious that the use of violence whether at a personal or community level only perpetuates and exacerbates a grievance rather than solves it. Perhaps one of the heartening things to come out of Northern Ireland over the last thirty years is the degree to which relatives of victims from both sides have sought to use their loss as a means to end the violence. That these attempts have failed is in my view the ultimate condemnation of those who wished the violence to continue, and gives the lie to any claim that they are acting on behalf of their respective community.

It is perhaps one of the many tragedies of the situation that the public and vociferous support of Irish American's has been for the PIRA and Sinn Fein rather than the SDLP who have done far more, often at risk to themselves from the PIRA, to protect and promote the Catholic community, and to foster understanding between the sides, at national and, in particular at a local level.

I have always felt Mick, that if we sat down for a jar or three and a natter, we would have a lot in common, and that where we disagreed, we could argue passionately, and still be friends at the end of the evening. Please take the above in that spirit, and get well soon from whatever ails you.

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 03 May 99 - 11:45 PM

I' m a little curious, as an American who is standing outside much of this quarrel, what the definition of "Pro-IRA" songs is? How about "Foggy, Foggy Dew"? Or "Rising of the Moon"? They certainly commemorate battles in the Irish struggle for independence, and tragic losses for the Irish. To me they demonstrate an Irish character trait- not hate, but bravery and hope in the face of almost certain defeat. And certainly not the act of cowardly thugs. And neither do I think of men like Charles Parnell or Michael Collins as murderers. Maybe this is what got Mick stirred up. If so, I can't blame him.

But maybe I am wrong about the songs. Maybe there are songs that are more closely related to the vicious and indiscriminate acts of terror that we have seen from both sides in the Troubles. It does seem to me that nowadays there are few "heroes" pulling triggers on either side. It seems to me the heroes must be the men, whether IRA or Orangemen, who have the strength to accept and live with one another, no matter what their religion, station, or cultural heritage is. Or what songs they sing.

LEJ


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 May 99 - 12:18 AM

I am sorry to "harp" guys, but I still think you are all missing the main point and that is that here on the Mudcat we try to be civil to one another. If a newbie comes on here like a gangbuster, slinging mud without regard to who it's hitting, well then, I say let him stand back and catch some of it himself!

It is certainly possible to talk and write about the Irish conflicts without using derogatory terms; I know, I've had editorials published on the subject.

Now, isn't it interesting that here are Mick and me, he the Irish American Catholic, me Irish/Scottish/English and Native American, who was ardently encouraged to wear orange on St. Pat's Day, agreeing more often than not and able to engage without mudslinging? Here on the Mudcat, though, I do not find this surprising at all as it has been more often than not the case with everyone.

Now, I think you all are belabouring the point and have not taken your own advice to try to see things from Mick's perspective. Yes, his "Irish" might have been up and he may have reacted, but I don't think it was uncalled for. If someone is going to come in here and use those terms, then they'd better be ready for the fallout. Just 'cause we Mudcateers tend to be easygoing, nice and caring, doesn't mean we have to lie down in the road.

And now you know why my nickname used to be Irish; it went with the red hair and temper!

katlaughing, sparks a'flying


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: LEJ
Date: 04 May 99 - 02:01 PM

Huh? I thought I said that Mick's response was justified. I was trying to get a little clarification about what was pissing off Sapper.


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 May 99 - 03:48 PM

Leej, I am sorry, please accept my apologies. I should not have been so general in my tirade. You were very clear and it is appreciated.

kat


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 May 99 - 03:49 PM

Leej, I am sorry, please accept my apologies. I should not have been so general in my tirade. You were very clear and it is appreciated.

kat


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Sapper_RE
Date: 04 May 99 - 05:15 PM

Mick, Thankyou for the generous remarks. If I may (hopefully without stirring up too much rancour) refer to two extreme historical ironies of English involvement in Ireland twice being supported by the then pope! The first was the initial English involvement under one of the early Edwards, in either the 12th or 13th centuries to supress the activities of Dublin based pirates who were threatening the commerce of not just England and Wales, but Brittany and the Northern part of the Iberian Peninsular. The second was even more ironic, King William the Third (King Billy) had papal support for his efforts to prevent the return of the deposed James! The reason? James was supported by the French Court which, at that time, was heavily under Jesuit influence. The Jesuits being then involved in a major power struggle with the rest of the Vatican. Regarding my comments about the IRA being a cowardly band of thugs, what else to you call someone who, for whatever reason, walks up behind an unarmed person, man or woman, produces a gun and blows their brains out? Yes, I do know there are so-called Loyalsts with the same habit and feel just as much contept for them. after all, the first British Army casualty in the current campaign was a Lance-bombardier (Lance-corporal in the Royal Artillary) shot by an Orange gunman. A pox on all their houses! Bob.


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: LEJ
Date: 04 May 99 - 06:58 PM

Kat- well, you didn't really have to apologize TWICE !

LEJ :]


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 04 May 99 - 08:41 PM

And here I thought nationalism and all the problems that flow from it were supposed to be irrelevant in the new EU. Looks like the same old shite.


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From:
Date: 04 May 99 - 09:56 PM

Not just in the EU Tim, I thought the idea was to do away with nationalism worldwide, but as you say, no such luck.

Well I'll risk being scratched. I don't think we are "...missing the main point" Kat. Yes we do try and be civil to one another on the 'Cat, and that is exactly the point. I can't see how Sappers' original comment can be construed as derogatory about anyone here. If anyone here has murdered to advance their political ends, they have certainly not said so. As I said above, Sapper was quite specific, he referred to songs supporting the IRA / PIRA, not generically to anyone who supports Irish unity. If occasionally someone lapses into the vernacular, or writes conversationally rather than formally on a serious subject, I do not believe this should be attacked per se. The use of generic labels, derogatory or otherwise, for groups of people may have its own problems, but it would be very difficult to conduct a meaningful analysis or discussion without them, or as I said, to find a label or term to which no-one took exception.

I would also question your statement that "It is certainly possible to talk and write about the Irish conflicts without using derogatory terms". Like emotive terms, which are also derided by some as "clouding the issue" derogatory terms by definition depend on a personal viewpoint, and the fact that an article is published may say something about your skill as a writer, but has no implication as to how the words used are interpreted by a reader.

I don't want to belabour the point, nor do I wish to attack Mick, for whom I have the greatest respect, and I certainly don't expect anyone here to "lie down in the road"; unless it was to try and catch a 'possum; but Mick's reaction seemed to me to be out of character, both for him and the 'Cat in general.

I can't quote examples as I am at a client site and do not have the time to do an extensive search of the forum, but I'm sure I recall some equally "derogatory" remarks about people who committed torture and murder in pursuit of, to them, "legitimate" political aims in Chile, East Timor, Kosovo and Germany to name a few. The difference it seems to me, is that in these cases we were collectively censorious of the aims as well as the means.

Now if this fails to calm you down, how about a nice bowl of cream? Straight from the goat? Or a nice warm rabbit? You'll have to fight Bat Cat for that though; and the fires alight with a nice warm rug in front?

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Big Mick
Date: 04 May 99 - 11:59 PM

I am going to give it one more stab. I am going to separate out my response here away from the issue of British involvement in Ireland. I believe that Sapper and I could have a very good debate on this issue, done in an intelligent fashion and interesting for the rest of you to read. I will respond to those remarks later, when I have time to give them their proper due and in the appropriate thread, probably BACK HOME IN DERRY or THE MAN FROM THE RUC. I have some strong disagreements on issues of fact as stated in the posts, but I feel that we can discuss them better in the appropriate thread. Based on Sapper's second post, I am certain that discussion will be done with respect and intellect.Sapper, so you don't think me a glib American with no background and who really doesn't understand, I would ask that you read those two threads. You will find that while I am indeed born in raised in the States, I am Irish raised and to the very core of me. I was fortunate to be exposed to the culture and ways of my people, and while I love the country of my birth (served honorably in her military), I love Ireland and consider myself to be an Irishman.

Now to the remarks that started our little Donnybrook. I will explain this, but I will not discuss it again as I feel it is getting away from the topic. There were two things that bothered me about Sappers post. The first was that he seemed to imply that when he goes to a folk club, he shouldn't be subjected to songs that were offensive to him. I would say that if you are going to a Wolfetones concert, or a folk club with Irish singers, you are going to hear songs like "Sean South" or other songs that glorify the fight. If you are in a folk venue, you are going to hear it. But more importantly, and the reason I responded harshly, is that I was offended and continue to be offended by people that further the impression that the terrorism in the North of Ireland is all IRA sponsored. Joe Offer did this in a thread, I believe it was the Colorado thread, and I didn't correct him because at the time we were discussing such a tragedy that I felt I would leave it out. I said this before and it bears repeating. If Sapper had come on and said he found songs that glorified the IRA inappropriate in a venue where there were British soldiers, I probably wouldn't have said a thing. But the minute he politicized it and took a position, and started the name calling in a worldwide forum, that he should have known would have Sinn Fein supporters and Republicans in it, he showed the same disregard for me that he claimed he had to suffer. I will not get into the debate here about my views of the IRA. We will do that in another thread. But I will not allow here or anywhere else that I see it, such statements to go unchallenged. I repeat, when Sapper went from objecting to Pro IRA songs to judging them and acting like all else didn't exist, he had to be challenged. I stand by my reaction to his comments. And I appreciate, and look forward to his input on the subject in the other threads. I find it interesting, Joe and Shambles, that you were immediately concerned for his feelings, with no regard for mine. I do not believe I have changed anyone's mind here, so I am requesting that we let this issue die now, and agree to disagree.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 May 99 - 12:12 AM

Well said, Mick. Pete M. a bowl of cream might do nicely, by the fire, but the claws do come unsheathed quite easily. In respect of Mick's wishes, I will say no more.

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 May 99 - 07:08 PM

Back Home In Derry


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: John Hindsill
Date: 14 May 99 - 08:43 PM

Katlaughing-
At your suggestion I read these threads. While I see a connection to the "oldtimey" thread, I think there is a difference. Most messages here seem to be about confrontation, not entertainment or education...but point well taken.

Joe Offer-
If you love Yiddish songs, why not sing some to a Jewish group? If done in a spirit of respect and comradery they might enjoy it. They probably wouldn't even make fun of any mispronounciations...unless I was there***grin***. Oops, I don't know Yiddish, only the good (read 'bad') words.

John


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: The Shambles
Date: 15 May 99 - 02:30 AM

I think most groups would actually forgive you performing most songs, if it was genuinely done and performed in inocence.

Is there not a danger of us becoming so worried we will not perform at all?


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 15 May 99 - 12:49 PM

A few years ago Heather and I had dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant in down town Toronto. The ownwer noticed my guitar (I was on my way to a gig) and asked me to play a song. I played a tune called "The Rain On The Leaves" by the Vietnamese composer Pham Duy; and the owner freaked! "Do you know the Vietnamese words to that?" He cried. I admitted that I had learned it from an "Addis and Crofut" recording and didn't know the original. "I'll teach it to you," he said excitedly - "and then you'll come and sing it at Vietnamese New Year celebrations!" Holy Cow, what have I got myself into, I thought. Over the next few weeks I tried to learn the words phoenetically - but this is one tough language, and it wasn't easy. Next surprise was when I found that the celebration was being held in Convocation Hall - which seats 2000 people! I don't get stage fright, but that night I was scared shitless. I used the autoharp for accompaniment 'cause I knew that none of the 2000 would have ever seen one and maybe they'd be so curious that they'd ignore my wonky pronunciation.

Well I'm glad someone taped the event, cause I've got living proof of how generous people are when they think you've taken the time to learn about their culture. After every LINE the audience errupted in cheers! It took 10 minutes to sing a two minute song, and I felt exhausted by the end of it. I was floating on air for months after. "Noc Mur Chin Lai"..still phoenetic!


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: Susan A-R
Date: 16 May 99 - 01:10 AM

Thank you Rick!! I know that I am nervous when someone comes in to my Kitchen on a night when the food from their culture is being served. So far, the response has been supportive and positive. With music and words it is a bit more complicated, but the willingness to learn about what you are doing, the background of the song, the pronunciation, and the situation (were you invited? Is it expected that you will play and sing songs from the culture? etc) all combine to make this more complex communication (more so than sushi, bindetek, dolmas, samosas, tortillas and gnocchi) possible too.

Now I just got back from a Jay Unger/Molly Mason concert tonight, and they do a medly of Civil War songs, including Dixie, Year of Jubilo, etc. I think that there are places where those don't go over so well, and I know that my Georgian relatives wouuld skin me alive and serve me over grits should I sing Marching Through Georgia. It'd be just plain rude.

Susan


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 Sep 00 - 09:07 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: GUEST,Amy
Date: 09 May 09 - 09:40 AM

I came to this list today from Google link to check up on a thought that Cotton-Eyed Joe might stem from or support racism. I learned a lot.   Then started reading the "IRA etc" posts with interest, as an Irish/German/Scottish American. The last post i read with interest: What if we stop singing certain songs for fear of offending? (my paraphrase)
As a Children's performer, mainly, i am even more careful about songs, because i feel that everything i sing will give children some type of "impression" and i don't want to give them any negative/hurtful/ignorant/etc ideas. We've also got the parents to consider, the ones paying us, who might not hire us again if they feel any songs are inappropriate or offensive/etc.
So the theme of "what to sing" hits home with me. Yet the theme of "too much fear" also does!
Thanks for the discussions, of any sort. It's all a learning experience for me in the subject of humanity.
Amy in NH


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Subject: RE: Song appropriateness--
From: maeve
Date: 10 May 09 - 08:02 AM

"It's all a learning experience for me in the subject of humanity."

Welcome to The Mudcat, Amy. I hope you visit us again. Membership is free.

maeve


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