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Money v Folk

GUEST,Jon 22 May 08 - 04:37 AM
Jim Carroll 22 May 08 - 03:12 AM
glueman 21 May 08 - 12:50 PM
GUEST,Jon 21 May 08 - 12:44 PM
Jim Carroll 21 May 08 - 11:38 AM
Jim Carroll 21 May 08 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 21 May 08 - 10:26 AM
Jim Carroll 21 May 08 - 10:21 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 21 May 08 - 08:44 AM
The Sandman 21 May 08 - 07:51 AM
Jim Carroll 21 May 08 - 07:44 AM
The Sandman 20 May 08 - 04:25 PM
Jim Carroll 20 May 08 - 01:11 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 20 May 08 - 05:35 AM
The Sandman 20 May 08 - 05:20 AM
Jim Carroll 20 May 08 - 05:10 AM
GUEST,Jon 20 May 08 - 05:06 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 20 May 08 - 03:54 AM
Jim Carroll 20 May 08 - 03:11 AM
The Sandman 19 May 08 - 06:11 PM
glueman 19 May 08 - 05:38 PM
Betsy 19 May 08 - 04:50 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 May 08 - 04:39 PM
Jim Carroll 19 May 08 - 03:36 PM
glueman 19 May 08 - 01:05 PM
The Sandman 19 May 08 - 12:26 PM
Jim Carroll 19 May 08 - 12:17 PM
glueman 19 May 08 - 09:51 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 May 08 - 09:50 AM
Dave the Gnome 19 May 08 - 09:29 AM
Jim Carroll 19 May 08 - 08:51 AM
Dave the Gnome 19 May 08 - 07:13 AM
GUEST,Jon 19 May 08 - 06:32 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 19 May 08 - 06:25 AM
glueman 19 May 08 - 06:20 AM
glueman 19 May 08 - 06:06 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 May 08 - 06:00 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 19 May 08 - 05:39 AM
Jim Carroll 19 May 08 - 05:19 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 May 08 - 04:09 AM
Jim Carroll 19 May 08 - 03:26 AM
Jim Carroll 19 May 08 - 02:34 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 18 May 08 - 06:11 PM
Dave the Gnome 18 May 08 - 05:56 PM
The Sandman 18 May 08 - 04:46 PM
The Sandman 18 May 08 - 04:44 PM
Jim Carroll 18 May 08 - 04:06 PM
Don Firth 18 May 08 - 03:42 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 18 May 08 - 02:44 PM
Don Firth 18 May 08 - 01:36 PM
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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 22 May 08 - 04:37 AM

Jim, the repertoire is still there and always will be but I think its only a small minority who know any of it. I think it's the same with more modern "folk" songs. No Man's Land for example is probably known by all who go to any type of folk club but it wouldn't be known by anyone I know who doesn't go to a folk club.

I'm not sure how you would quantify "emotional involvement" but a few years back I was involved in what I will call an "accoustic pub thrash" (I wouldn't insult terms like "session"). We played tunes mostly but there were some songs including Yellow Submarine, I Saw Her Standing There and Wonderwall. On a good night, people would join in with those ones.

Throw in "Caliope House" amongst a tune set in that sort of pub group and you might find some more interest as a good few know it - it followed on from A Man Is In Love by The Waterboys. Dirty Old Town will probably be known - Pogues did it...

Anyway, I'm just trying to give a picture of how I (perhaps wrongly) think thinks are, not pass judgement on quality or degrees of pleasure one may get (but I will say although I'm English and live in England, my first love is the Irish session - for me there is nothing better than getting together with a others and playing the music).


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 May 08 - 03:12 AM

Jon,
I have no argument with the statement that today people will listen to, and occasionally sing their way though the pop songs; this hasn't replaced the folk repertoire, it's always been there.
Walter Pardon, with his large repertoire of traditional songs and ballads, was among the most important traditional singers of the twentieth century, yet he could easily match those with music hall songs, Victorian parlour ballads and early pop songs. If you asked him about the different types of songs in his repertoire, he was quite adamant – some were 'folk songs' (his words) some weren't. His analysis of which was which was, in my opinion, quite accurate, both when he spoke into our tape recorded, and as early as 1948, when he began to write down his families songs in notebooks and listed them in categories. .
Mary Delaney, a blind Irish Travelling woman, gave us around 100 traditional songs, and would have doubled that number if we hadn't lost touch when she moved out of London. She could have doubled that number again with Country and Western songs, but she persistently refused, telling us that "those aren't the ones you are looking for".   
She told us (on tape) that "the new songs have the old ones ruined"; she "only sang them 'cause that's what the lads ask for down the pub" (again on tape).
Kerry Traveller Mikeen McCarthy gave us around 60 songs, mostly traditional, with a few early pop songs of the sentimental Irish type thrown in. He said he'd never thought about whether there was a difference between the types of song, but when we tried him on it, he had pictures in his mind when he sang his folk songs, "it's like sitting in the cinema" – he never got this with his pop songs.
Walter Pardon filled tapes with descriptions of the characters in his songs, and of the locations they were set in, and of the different 'feel' his songs had – "The Pretty Ploughboy is always ploughing in the field over there" (opposite his house).
We have dozens of examples of this type of identification; from Norfolk, from Travellers and from the West of Ireland.
People who want to sing for entertainment will take whatever is there; it's my opinion that the folk songs went far beyond that – and it's that we've lost.
Mary Delaney sang us a ballad she called 'Buried In Kilkenny', a superb version of the Child ballad 'Lord Randall'; she always made a good job of it, but because she didn't get to sing her folk stuff regularly she tended to overpitch and her concentration was on getting it right technically.
She had a large family of 16 children; when we met her a number of them were at school age, but hadn't been to school because of her itinerant life style.
When she was travelling round East London she decided to try and educate them, so she moved into a council flat in Hackney in order to send them to the local school. I have never known anybody so miserable – she hated every second of it. Completely blind, she was alone all day, devastatingly lonely; the only visitors she got were us, and the occasional Traveller friend who dropped in to see her (Travellers still on the road hate houses, and will only stay in them for as short time as possible).
One night we went to see her with a tape recorder and asked her to sing 'Lord Randal', which she did. It was electric – all the misery and loneliness and loss of her natural lifestyle was poured into the song; she was virtually in tears, and so were we.
If you can tell me that you can get the same level of emotional involvement from singing 'Oobla Dee, Oobla Dah', or 'Yellow Submarine' down at the pub, I'm willing to listen, but I'll take some convincing.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: glueman
Date: 21 May 08 - 12:50 PM

More or less wrote what Jon said before the elctro-mechanical brain dropped the line and lost it. Punk was as participatory as folk in its own way and matched it for anti-establishment fervour and simplicity.
I'm caught in the middle - miss the old farmer's pubs of the 70s where singalongs of traditional stuff would just begin unprompted - but see folk revival as the bourgeois, genteel activity it has become.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 21 May 08 - 12:44 PM

yes we lost our voice when the tradition disappeared, but no, it was not replaced by pop music.

Replaced no, but most of what "the people" absorb well enough to sing is pop music, or. at least I think so. Stop the clock now, take away recorded music, get "ordinary people" to try and sing a few songs they know together. Or maybe just try a karaoke night to find out what is in the (sort of) oral repertoire today.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 May 08 - 11:38 AM

Ah Tom,
You're no fun anymore
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 May 08 - 10:28 AM

PS
Kennedy was part of a team working on behalf of BBC and EFDSS.
It is usually forgotten that Bob Copper, Seamus Ennis, Sean O'Boyle and a number of others gathered the material which he later appropriated.
I would guess that in terms of the tradition, he probably lost us as much as he saved.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 21 May 08 - 10:26 AM

Ok Jim you win. I'm wrong! All the best - Tom


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 May 08 - 10:21 AM

Tom,
I'm talking in historical terms - yes we lost our voice when the tradition disappeared, but no, it was not replaced by pop music.
Today we are passive recipients in our culture, our only say in the matter is to buy or not to by.
There is no way in which pop culture reflects our lives, it comes ready made and packaged - we take it or we leave it. There were suggestions at the time punk came into existence that this would be the new 'peoples' culture, but the market soon put a stop to that.
There have always been other forms of music alongside of folk culture - music-hall, classical etc., but the uniqueness of the folk tradition is that 'ordinary' people have had a part in its making, adapting and transmission.
If pop music is now 'our' voice, please explain where it reflects any aspects of out lives or work in they way say the sea songs, or the bothy songs, or the poaching songs did. And please explain what part we have in its creation
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 21 May 08 - 08:44 AM

I agree with everything you say Jim, but i will quibble with one tiny word: 'is.'

You said "Folk music, in its proper sense, is, as the Topic set rightly puts it, "The Voice of The People."

I'd say 54 folk music WAS the voice of the people, and occasionally still is, but actually today pop music is the voice of the people.

I agree that it's a huge shame this has happened, and that our connection to our musical roots has been so damaged - but it has.

And I agree that it would be a great thing if we could somehow reconnect the 'people' (I hate that term, actually, who the heck isn't a person?) with that voice - for, yes, both cultural and entertainment reasons. But we're not going to do that by fretting over the influence of money in the past or in the present.

The bough has been cut. The limb severed. Yes there is life in it yet, but it lies on the ground largely detached from its roots. And yet we expect leaves and flowers - and nuts, and we're getting them.

So where is the sap coming from? It's coming from where it always has - a combination of enthusiastic amateurism and responsible professionalism.

If we want to graft this limb back into the tree we're going to have to use some artificial techniques - including promotion and marketing and professionalism and expertise and other things which may not have been a major part of the tradition, but which have always played their part, and are doing so particularly effectively at the moment - through the efforts of festival organisers, club organisers, arts funding bodies, teachers, record companies, magazine editors, AND artists - for all of whom money is important, (even if profit may not be to all).

Because most people who encounter 54 folk today do so as a direct result of some exercise in which trade plays some role. Many still do so from family or community, of course - and hopefully that percentage is growing - but I'd hazard that they are still a small minority.

If we don't take these steps, the limb could dry out and die.

If we do, and in the process stop using words like 'theft' and 'squander,' and 'exploitation,' and try instead to see money as sap, as blood, as adrenaline - then we may, with luck, in time see a healthy tree which can once again draw from its roots as it should, and did, and does in other countries.

But of course all your caveats stand too.

Tom

PS Without Kennedy's cottage industry we'd have lost the Channel Island tradition entirely. For ever.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 May 08 - 07:51 AM

Do folkies want to have their music recognised by the general public.
well as far as Iam concerned, yes,but with qualifications,I dont want any of my singing to be used for adverts,and I dont want to have to compromise my material,to be successful.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 May 08 - 07:44 AM

Cap'n
Thanks for the lesson in Irish history and economics - much appreciated.
You put up a reference to a page which illustrates for me where money has had a devastating effect on traditional music.
Of course, you might also have mentioned the folk boom of the sixties, the aftershocks of which are still showing up on our Richter Scale.
I am not arguing that nobody should make money from folk music (proper or ersatz) - I am saying that making money the main object of the exercise has damaged and will continue to damage the music. Put it in the hands of the businessmen (sorry Tom) and they will turn it into a product to be marketed and exploited.
Kennedy, by turning the fruits of his labours into a financially driven cottage industry undid much of the good achieved by the 1950s
collecting programme.
Anybody who has worked at collecting knows what a minefield it can become if money is part of the equation.
Make traditional music part of 'cutural tourism' in the way Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann has in the past and it will be 'Darby O Gilled' as sure as the Pope's a Catholic.
The way that the original questioner set out his or her question is full of imponderables, but the main points for me are:
"Should anyone be making money out of Folk?" - no reason why not - with qualifications
"Would Folk survive without professional singers and musicians?" It would be a very sad state of affairs if it couldn't.
Do folkies want to have their music recognised by the general public. That's what it's been about for me from the year dot.
Folk music, in its proper sense, is, as the Topic set rightly puts it, "The Voice of The People". As well as being a wonderful entertainment it is a vital, and largely undocumented part of our cultural and social history; a voice of people who, it has always been assumed, have no voice. Squander it and you silence that voice.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 May 08 - 04:25 PM

Jim,Im not running the country unfortunately.
you give a one sided version of tourism.,I agree some of what you say is true,the other side of the coin is this,going back to the days when everyone[including musicians] had to leave Ireland to get work.
Ireland has very little productive industry,other than agriculture[and if Ireland votes yes in the lisbon treaty,Irelands Agriculture will go the same way as Irelands fishing],Tourism in Ireland is a twentieth century fact.,however it needs to be controlled,it cant be reversed.
in my area there are still unpaid sessions[that occur all the year round].
your one example, does not prove that cash has been the ruination of the music,it may have ruined o connors pub,but you are generalising from the particular.
thousands of Irish youngsters are learning to play irish music,some of them will end up playing for money,some of them will play purely for their own enjoyment,the main thing is that most of the time the music [In my experience]in my area is being played and played well,.
what is needed is a happy medium,we dont need the leprechauns gap,or plastic paddys,what we should be striving towards,is quality not quantity,to be able to play the music without compromising it.
I have been involved in organising The Ballydehob Jazz Festival,this brings people to Ballydehob,our artistic line up was not compromised,we had the following artists Joe Davidian,Sam Hudson Quartet, julia farino quartet includes Dave Moses]Willie Garnett.
Dan Moriyama Trio,Martin Vallely Quartet,and many more,without cash this would not have been possible.
Ballydehob also hosted a traditional festival which included EdelFox BobbyGardner,SeamusCreagh,Jackie Daly and many more,again without cash it would not be possible.
finally in my experience tourists are the most appreciative and polite audiences,listening attentively, and eager to know about history and regional styles etc. Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 May 08 - 01:11 PM

Cap'n,
Thank you for providing me with exactly the example I was talking about.
I don't know if you have ever visited Doolin; it's half an hours drive north of here.
When we first went there 'Doolin' it didn't exist as a town, it was a collection of small houses and a pub on Doolin Point; it was then called Fisherstreet,.
There were three noted musicians there, the Russell brothers, Packie (one of the finest concertina players in Ireland), Gussie (an excellent flute player) and Micho; they played regularly at O'Connor's pub with a couple of other locals; lovely music and a regular crowd of listeners.
Soon afterwards it began to attract tourists, who eventually arrived in droves armed with guitars, banjos, bodhrans, 12 string Kalashnikovs, spoons, kazoos – you name it they brought it. In a short time the locals were edged out and the visitors took over.
The last time we saw Packie he was sitting quietly in the corner with half a dozen pints bought by the visitors, plastered and not playing. He died shortly afterwards
When we last visited O'Connor's a few years ago, as we drew out of the car park a coach was pulling in, crammed with ten-gallon hats and 12 guitars.
It is now somewhat like lady's day at Ascot; a place to go to be seen and heard, certainly not to listen to good traditional music.
Doolin itself is a huge, sprawling theme park of hostels, holiday homes and visitors shops.
If this is what you have in mind for Irish music, or rural Ireland – please close the door as you leave.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 20 May 08 - 05:35 AM

Flag of convenience might have been a reasonable criticism in the 60s when the change was happening, and you may well be right Jon. But I think it's more subtle than that.

As I say - I wasn't there. I was incarcerated in an English Public School, where anything other than classical music was banned.

But I suspect what may have happened was that there was a bunch of people - mainly in the US - who started out doing bona fide 54 folk songs (Dylan and Simon were of course hugely influenced by their exposure to the UK revival, as were MacColl and others over here), but then began to write their own material. They may have written songs before doing 54 folk, but this is how they were first perceived by the public - as 54-ish singers. They then merely retained that tag when they began making new works in - initially - a similar style. And of course they went on singing some trad material too (as most of us still do), so it wasn't a total deception. Lloyd was doing something much more 'complicated' at the same time, and he was a proper scholar.

So flag of convenience might be a bit unfair on the artists. I'd look to the music journalists, record companies, DJs and promoters if I looking for scapegoats - because marketing obviously did come into it, but basically this is just what happens to music and language and society in general.

To me RnB will always be fast ('jump') blues. But I wouldn't accuse Mariah Carey of flying a flag of convenience. The meaning of the word changed to include "any music that was made by and for black Americans" (though scholars might dispute that - how'd I know)!

And no-one would suggest that Carey was pretending to sound like Dr Feelgood.

Or would they?

Tom


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 May 08 - 05:20 AM

Cap'n,
Stop throwing your toys out of the pram - address the points I have made or go and talk to somebody else - I really don't have time for thas.
Jim Carroll. sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.
For the last time[this is like talking to a brick wall] how has cash been the ruination of the music?
cash enables musicians to buy better instruments which allows them to perform better.
publicans have on occasions bought instruments[see Packie Russell Clare Gus OConnors pub.Ithink?],to be played in their pub,Isnt this a form of payment,ensuring that the session takes place in a particular pub,to the benefit of the publican who sells more beer.
I am sure this wasnt the publicans motive,but nevertheless more people would go to the bar because that was where the music was.http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=EBwTNaGGPBE


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 May 08 - 05:10 AM

Tom
Folk folk - I'll have to think about that!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 20 May 08 - 05:06 AM

As I said at the beginning - flag of convenience.

These days (my views have changed over the years I've posted here), I suspect you might be right. Were definitions based for examaple on the content of songs (sort of "meaningful words", "related to 'the people'", etc.) invented by a 60s contemporary singer-songwriter movement to justify their material as being "folk" and possibly even to provide themselves with an outlet for their music?

Whatever, "folk" has meant different things to different people for a long time and few are going to change their minds (and btw, some will say the term "folk" is "terminally screwed" and they might have a point) about what it is.

You can give your views for all your worth but your unlikely to achieve much other than attract labels such as "purist" and "folk police", etc. and so it goes on. The Internet has been littered with such debates probably since folk was first discussed on it, there never has been a general agreement and there never will be.

I'm not suggesting no-one should ever state what folk is to them but just to be aware of this mess we have with the term...


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 20 May 08 - 03:54 AM

I'm really sorry Jim, but I can't just go on repeating that I have no quarrel with the 54, and my music has no characteristics that will fit into that definition, and I have never once claimed that they have, nor ever will.

The 54 tin is still sealed, safe inside the Wiki larder. It just has 'trad' on the front now instead of 'folk.'

My music is in a DIFFERENT tin, also inside the Wiki larder, and it's labelled 'new story songs (about real or mythical events), and/or some 54 trad.'

Some other people decided, 40 years ago, to stick the word 'folk' on the front of the larder. So when I'm telling people where to find my tin I have to tell them to look behind the door marked 'folk.' I could keep my tin in the cleaning cupboard, of course, or under the stairs or in the garage, but I don't think it's really fair to expect me to. Soup tins live in larders.

I think you may have a wood/trees problem here.

Cheers

Tom


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 May 08 - 03:11 AM

Tom;
"Folk music is the product of a musical tradition that has been evolved through the process of oral transmission. The factors that shape the tradition are: (i) continuity which links the present with the past; (ii) variation which springs from the creative impulse of the individual or the group; and (iii) selection by the community, which determines the form or forms in which the music survives.
The term can be applied to music that has been evolved from rudimentary beginnings by a community uninfluenced by popular and art music and it can likewise be applied to music which has originated with an individual composer and has subsequently been absorbed into the unwritten living tradition of a community.
The term does not cover composed popular music that has been taken over ready-made by a community and remains unchanged, for it is the re-fashioning and re-creation of the music by the community that gives it its folk character."
What quarrel do you have with that - or what characteristics does your music have that will fit into that definition.
I could put up 'Some Conclusions' from which this was derived, and which fully covers (not always accurately) the sources of the songs and music - or the 16 page version from Funk and Wagnall's Standard Dictionary of Folklore - or A L Lloyd's reasonable effort to expand and bring up to date the definition in Folk Song in England', but as far as I'm concerned, the 1954 version is your starting point; ignore it and you have no case.
As we seem to be into analogies I've told Joe Heaney's story before, but it's a fair example of the double-think that seems to surround this subject.
"Once there was a Protestant who moved into a Catholic area, fell in love with a Catholic girl and wanted to marry her, but first had to ask the priest, who readily gave permission on the condition that he changed his religion.
One Friday, a week after the wedding the priest was cycling past the cottage when he caught the smell of frying bacon coming out of the window.
Knocked on the door and said, "don't you know us Catholics are forbidden to eat meat on a Friday?"
Your man replied, "Father, I can't do without meat every day - what shall I do?"
The priest replied, Each Friday you find the urge for meat coming on   
repeat to yourself "I'm a Catholic, I'm a Catholic, I'm a Catholic".
A month or so later, one Friday, the priest was going past the house again and, sure enough, the smell of frying bacon.
Furious, he jumps of his bike and storms into the house, to find your man sitting in front of a plate of bacon and cabbage saying, "You're a fish, you're a fish, you're a fish".
As I said at the beginning - flag of convenience.
The confusion surrounding what now passes for folk has been the cause of us losing many thousands of enthusiasts who were no longer prepared to sit through a 'folk' evenings without a 'folk' song being sung (such as the one a few years ago in the North of England that put on a night of Beatles songs).
The continuing 'Humpty Dumpty' attitude will probably mean that real songs will only survive between the covers of books or in sound archives - pity.
Cap'n,
Stop throwing your toys out of the pram - address the points I have made or go and talk to somebody else - I really don't have time for thas.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 May 08 - 06:11 PM

All this may make you very happy - it pisses me off.
As I said, the older singers and musicians were there - we were not. Listen to them and you might - just - learn something.
Jim Carroll
no Jim It doesnt make me happy, its called change.
Please dont patronise me,I have listened to their singing a lot,and I have learned a lot.
listening to their singing is a different matter from accepting every statement a traditional singer, makes as being a pearl of wisdom.
here is an example,a good traditional fiddler once said to me in the old days, if we didnt have a top E string we used a bit of fishing line,and if we didnt have any rosin we used a bit of sugar.he dismissed with contempt the Piano[all its fit for is ding dong bell pussy in the well]never mind Beethoven or Josephine Keegan.
well sorry Jim,this guy was a good fiddler but there is no way I am going to put a fishing line on or use sugar,or dismiss the piano.
You still havent explained why cash is the ruination of the music,how did it ruin O Carolans music.
Margaret Barry,Julia Clifford ,Micheal Gorman were happy to play for cash,James Morrison was happy to teach for cash,how did financial reward ruin their music.
Finally,please do not insult my music by trying to imply I have never listened to traditional musicians/singers.Ihave listened long and hard ,I have also listened to what they say but I listen ,in the same way that I listen to anything else,rejecting that which is nonsense and accepting that which makes sense. Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: glueman
Date: 19 May 08 - 05:38 PM

Something I've noticed is the way 'serious' folkies talk about it in code, like it's a secret for the initiated, something regular people wouldn't understand, sending snide broadsides across anyone who isn't a believer. It's a musical form. You can play it on instruments, sing the words and buy the records from shops where they'll talk about little else for as long as you can bear it. It had a peculiar genesis but it's still music that people can like or lump it. I don't get the mystique, smoke and mirrors that go with it and I love folk, proper and improper.
If it costs a few quid to hear it because the landlord can rent the spare room to the railway modellers I won't bust a gut. Try watching professional football if you want to get shafted seeing something people do for nothing. Avoid Cambridge maybe, and folk is still one of the last great life enhancing bargains out there.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Betsy
Date: 19 May 08 - 04:50 PM

Try doing it for a living .......there are much easier ways to pay the bills.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 May 08 - 04:39 PM

Jim, there may be nothing to connect the ersatz with the real, or there may be much. It's a matter of personal taste and opinion - but they are NOT falling under the same classification. They are NOT both the same thing - any more than than primary red and generic red are the same. They are different things with the same name. One contains the other, that is all.

There are two different classifications here, an outer one and and an inner one, which happen (wrongly, stupidly, confusingly) to use the same word.

I've come up with a number of metaphors and careful explanations, yet you still seem to feel that we're trying to shoe-horn the wider description into the narrow, just because the label happens to be the same. We are not.

I'll have one final go, then I'll have to bow out.

'Grill' describes a type of restaurant, but also a kind of cooker. They have ovens and hobs and microwaves in the kitchen too. The chef knows only one machine makes toasted cheese, but he's happy for the whole business to be called a grill.

Or, to pick up on your metaphor, we have a tin of soup labelled 'folk.'

We have a larder labelled 'folk' - which contains the tin labelled 'folk.'

We are not cramming the contents of the larder into the tin.

We've just got a stupid muddle over names. And of those who recognise the problem and want to avoid future confusion, some want to re-label the tin, and some the larder.

As a majority believe that 'folk' means larder, and call the soup 'trad,' that's what's happened and is still happening. I don't know how or why it happened - I wasn't there. I only know it did - and the Wiki definition explains that pretty well too.

I'm sorry the old ways are gone. But that's not only happened in music. It's called society. And for everything we loose we gain something - some of which is actually better than what we had before. Like the minimum wage and health care.

Tom

PS Actually, though I haven't challenged the 54, I have, I hope, mounted a careful case for it for be viewed in context with the broader history of indigenous music - one that includes trade writers, writers-down and musicians.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 May 08 - 03:36 PM

"Is mushroom soup any less authentic if it's sold as consomme champignon"
No, but if I order mushroom soup and I am brought a plate of baked beans something has gone severely wrong with our communication system.
Nobody has yet told me what the erzatz product and the real thing have in common enough for them to fall under the same classification - please tell why they are both 'folk'.
As many times as people use the term Geaneology it will remain an 'alogy' until somebody makes a cease for it being otherwise.
As many times as somebody may repeat that the 1954 definition is irrelevant, I have yet to hear one challenge to it.
Cap'n
One more time,
The older music saw the kitchen and crossroads dances virtually decimated by a charge being levied (one shilling per head I think) on everybody attending. This was backed up by the priests who claimed they didn't approve of young people meeting at such events unsupervised, but who really wanted to drive the people into church-run dance-halls (1935). The music barely survived this particular period.
Commercial records by Coleman et al established a manner of playing which virtually destroyed regional styles.
In latter days, when people started to be paid fees for playing at local bars, in many cases the sessions disappeared, to be replaced by recitals by professional musicians. It happened here in two pubs that have hosted sessions throughout most of the 20th century. It is the practice of some of these musicians to treat their 'booking' as a job of work, to get there at the allotted time, play up to the time they are paid for, and go home.
The complaint of the older people is that the 'craic' has gone from the music. In the old days the session was where you could go to play, stop and chat if you felt like it. In many cases it has become formal.
I won't start to talk about wrangles over playing (and in some cases recording) 'other people's tunes' that have caused dissention, and in some cases caused rancour in the communities, and and occasionally within families.
The last time we were in Connemara we were asked to pay €5.00 per head to go into a pub to listen to sean nós singing. Five years earlier we were in the same pub and when we asked about local singers, the feller we spoke to sang us half a dozen songs.
Our local traditional music centre is running seminars on how to make money out of singing.
All this may make you very happy - it pisses me off.
As I said, the older singers and musicians were there - we were not. Listen to them and you might - just - learn something.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: glueman
Date: 19 May 08 - 01:05 PM

The fault line is the us/them thing. Is folk the music of the masses or not? If it isn't, who's music is it? Is Cajun or Zydeco a Frankenstein of some devalued primal form, or grown up music sold on the market place?
To be taken seriously, serious folk has to decide if the meat is in the tradition, the sound, the label or the chap doing the playing? To paraphrase art, is everything a folk musician does folk? Is mushroom soup any less authentic if it's sold as consomme champignon in a fancy restaurant, or to be posh, is the form inscribed in the delivery.
Nobody seems to have the answer including the man at 1954.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 May 08 - 12:26 PM

Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 19 May 08 - 02:34 AM

Tom,
90% of the English-speaking world don't have a definition for folk music - we never managed to involve them - more later - too bloody early.
Cap'n
I think I just heard the first cuckoo
Jim Carroll.very good Jim,Ihope he was calling in a major third.
but you havent still backed up your statement, money is the ruination of the music.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 May 08 - 12:17 PM

Can we knock something on the head before we start slinging slogans about.
If I go into a shop and ask for mushroom soup, I'm being specific, not purist
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: glueman
Date: 19 May 08 - 09:51 AM

If you take the idea of a 'meme', a unit of cultural information that spreads through practice, habit, song, dance, etc., as the 'virus' by which folk is spread, you are forced to confront the idea that this unit will also mutate and transform, the better to carry information appropriate for the time.
The idea of folk is quite flexible IMO, while still being irreducibly folkish, though individuals find some forms more resonant than others. I can find significance that's personally moving in say, sea shanties, blues and old timey, much less in bluegrass, modern idioms like Dylanesque and highly mannered English interpretations of folk (contemporary sensibilities either have the knack of emoting historical issues successfully or they don't and no amount of foldirolling can transport the listener).

Money may be the root of all evil but if folk is a rarified commodity, which purists seem to suggest it is, it becomes a valuable one. Quality isn't suggested by craftsmanship and virtuosity alone - the most obvious of popular temptations - but by verissimilitude and cultishness. I'm prepared to believe folk music lost something when it took the dollar/pound but there's no way of getting back to Eden, wish as we might. The greenback virus is part of the dna of music now, original sin if you will but whether harking back to a pre-avoirdupois state can tell us anything about music or ourselves is open to question.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 May 08 - 09:50 AM

Well on a purely personal note I'd be far less likely to allow modern songs of an introspective and private nature as 'folk' (I personally would never say 'folk song' unless I was referring to Trad - but that's just me). I'd probably say 'folky.'

But there is a MASSIVE canon of work between the trad repertoire and the ARSS stuff you'rev referring to. Where do - to take just today's writers - Graham Miles, John Connelly, Jez Lowe, George Papavgeris, Matt Armour, Paul Metzes, Vin Garbutt, Ralph McTell, Allan Taylor, Bonnie Shaljean - golly scores of them - fit into that? There are plenty of modern writers who compose universal songs, trade songs and story songs - which you can't possibly dismiss as introspective and therefore short-lived for that reason. And they are indeed being taken up - in spades!

And there have always been writers who wrote sometimes about their feelings, sometimes about their communities, and sometimes about events. I'm afraid I'm not at all with you on that one, Jim.

I'm also not sure we can surmise that just because a makers name wasn't included on printed sheets that the writer never received any payment. You have said yourself that the culture was not to think about passing on the authorship of songs along with the words and/or tune. But that doesn't prove that publishers didn't 'employ' writers to provide material for them to sell. I'm not saying they did, just that we can't presume they didn't from your point above - specially as we know very well that lots of writers were typically were paid at various periods in history. They may not have fallen into the 54 definition, but their work soon did (e.g. Carolan) - and that's what this thread is all about.

We should bear in mind that until royalties became feasible with 20th century technology, the only realistic method of payment would have been outright sale, with ownership passing on at that point, and thus no need for record-keeping of any kind. It's hardly surprising that composers names are so rarely known.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 May 08 - 09:29 AM

I'm not convinced, Jim. Yes, the loads of anonymous material could indicate that the songs were not sold. It could also indicate that the businessmen or gentry who bought them were far wiser than the poor uneducated songwriters. There is ample evidence of songwriters being ripped off to this day and maybe, just maybe, some of the songs we love were purchased for enough to make the composer happy at the time but with no thought of perpeptuation of their name. As you say, even some broadsides are anonymous. We do not know who the author was. I think the only safe conclusion we can draw is that we will never know who, if anyone, benefitted and how!

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 May 08 - 08:51 AM

Jon,
I realise that I am generalising, but one of the main differences between the two types of song for me is that while the traditional ones have been composed in a universal manner, thus enabling them to be taken up, adapted and used to represent different people and communities, the singer/songwriter type are, more often than not, introspective and private.
Some of the songwriters of the early revival (MacColl, Tawney, Rosselson, Guthrie etc, and even Dylan for a short time) set out to create universal songs, and they will, I believe, be with us for a long time to come. Quite honestly, I find the subject matter and form of most of the modern ones indistinguishable from that of the pop repertoire. I really can't see them being taken up and adapted, nor can I see them surviving the life or interest of the composers. Apart from anything else, the custom of copyrighting them will go a long way towards making sure of that anyway.
Can I make it clear that I am NOT making a value judgment on all this. Some of our most beautiful and important song and poetic literature is introspective. The traditional compositions reflected aspects of the communities, or trades, or ways of life - thence lies their importance and their difference.
Dave;
"when the composer is not known, we cannot say if they made any money out of the song or not. Can we?"
I would have thought that if the songs were being sold, the composers name would have survived, as did those of Waugh, Bamford, Hogg, and the host of local minor songwriters and kail yaird poets. Even the compositions that made it to the broadside presses seldom came with an named author.
The fact of the existence of a huge body of anonymous material dating back centuries and surviving (in some cases) into the mid 20th c. surely reinforces this.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 May 08 - 07:13 AM

Sorry, Jim, I misinterpreted you then - The passage I had in mind was -

During the course of our collecting we have encountered a somewhat strange phenomenon. On several occasions we have recorded songs, here in Clare and also from Travellers, which must have been composed during the lifetimes of the singers. On two of these (both composed communally), the singers were present when the songs were made. Yet each time we have drawn a blank on finding the composers. It just didn't seem important enough to be remembered.

I took it to mean that the as the songs were composed during the life of the singer, the composer could, theoreticaly, still be alive.

Anyway - not to worry. I am not going to get hung up on that point because what I was saying, was that when the composer is not known, we cannot say if they made any money out of the song or not. Can we?

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 19 May 08 - 06:32 AM

Re definitions: I think there is a difference between what (these days) I would consider to be a folk song and what material I might consider appropriate in a general folk club... Some of it (notably what I might describe as coming from "The Bob Dylan school of contemporary [American I suppose] singer-songwriting) I might even dislike and wish it never had found a place in the broader usages of "folk" but I tend to agree we are there and can't turn time back.

---
divorced from the people
I love that one. "Traditional folk" wasn't. Little in the way of "contemporary folk" (including stuff I enjoy) really reaches many. Mostly, it's the pop songs that do that.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 19 May 08 - 06:25 AM

According to Isaac Walton in "The Complete Angler" (1652), folks definitely did sing for a fish or two/their supper.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: glueman
Date: 19 May 08 - 06:20 AM

BTW, if anyone's interested Vladimir Propp
did some excellent work on the structure of the Russian folk tale, many aspects of which are shared by English tales and songs, a language which shares a similar grammatic structure.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: glueman
Date: 19 May 08 - 06:06 AM

It beggars belief that singers or musicians were n e v e r remunerated, even if that was grandpa getting free beer at the local to do his turn. Technology changed communication as it's still doing today - is the internet art of the problem, propogating quasi-industrial musical hegemony through paypal transfers or allowing kindred spirits to keep tradition alive?
1954 definitions are fine but folk must then be seen in the same light as historical re-enactment, the sealed knot and so on; hermetically sealed discourses divorced from the people with whom they originated and mediated by third parties, collectors, intellectuals, i.e. orthogonal to the seamless, atemporal oral record that's assumed by the term 'folk'.

If I have a gripe it's with those who want to keep debate in the nursery, clutching at 'simple truths' where there are none, 'certainties' where there is contradiction and nuance. If people don't like the long words they can of course, always kiss my @rse.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 May 08 - 06:00 AM

Well Jim we've reached the point we got to last time, with no progress again!

I guess I need to clarify that for me (I can't speak for others in this thread) that recognising the importance of authorship and 'non-54-folk' transmission, is not only about price tag. In modern terms a price tag may indeed be morally appropriate, and it's a shame that in the detachment of value from authorship this baby has somehow been thrown out with the bath water - but there is an academic imperative too. The study of '54-folk' song must inevitably work back and back towards the author - that's the logical route, and then one can come back up another strand, and so start to suggest some really useful conclusions. But because this information was not considered very important we've lost more of it than we might, and the task is more difficult than it could have been. So it's not only about money - but study too.

I'm sure the IFMC did pay attention to makers and 'short-circuiters' - but the wording of the 54 deliberately seeks to play down that attention. It focuses, for good reason, on the 'folk process' because that's what interested those people at that time. But there is another story too, running parallel and woven through that one - or perhaps just another way of looking at things - and now there is a strong movement to recognise the influence of writers and writers-down and other 'trade' elements - which the 54 definition does not assist.

Leaving the word 'folk' out of it for a moment - by definition these people are sidelined in the 54, only because the 54 was shining a light on just one aspect of musical history.

But there are other aspects too which are equally worthy of study and debate. I'm interested in the history of music, period, not only of the oral/rural/local process - so I want to know who wrote the songs, to what extent court payers fed into the oral system, how much influence travelling players had - etc, and the 54 is not particularly helpful in this regard because the whole point of it is to focus on the oral tradition only. There was a strong non-oral element, and a strong trade element to the development of the music I personally enjoy today.

You and I do agree entirely about the unhelpfulness of the confusion and double-speak. The academic use of the word is, as you say, still current and valid between those 'in the know', but folk music academics are only a tiny handful compared with the numbers who enjoy that they choose to call folk.

You may well be right about Dylan et al - and maybe history will judge them harshly, but we artists and promoters have to work with common rather than 'correct' language. As I've said, 'folk' is not the only word that's lost its 'true' meaning. It happens to words all the time ('wicked' is another good example). You can either go with the flow, and make progress, or sit in a bunker and snipe at the passing throng.

I'd find my own name for my music - in fact I avoid the f word as much as I can for this very reason, but it's used in the wider sense by nearly everyone I know, so when I'm labelled by others as a 'folk musician' I'll accept it because those who are comfotable with that tag are a massive majority. That's how language works, I'm afraid.

Wikipedia is not 'wrong' or 'out of step.' It's an accurate explanation of what happened - and it certainly covers my music - self-penned and trad, as well as the activities I take part in.

It's a shame, and yes we now have a muddle - but genie/bottle stuffing is not likely to the answer.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 19 May 08 - 05:39 AM

"Within the broader music industry, and beyond, what some get for their hour's work compared with others is ridiculous and inhumane; hence, many relatively competent musicians within the folk-scene are really struggling to make ends meet; so, if we like fair competition, we don't like capitalism. A better way, as I've suggested in verse, is to accept that humans are competitive, and have strong regulations (partly via nationalisation) to make that competition as fair as possible – whilst also providing "safety-net" support." (From davidfranks.741.com).


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 May 08 - 05:19 AM

Tom,
I said, or tried to say that they attached no importance to the authorship of their songs; the songs were very much a part of their lives - that's why many of them lasted for centuries. They certainly did not hang a price tag on them - as appears to be happening here.
In the early part of the 20th century Sharp et al identified and collected a body of songs which he referred folk. He had a stab at analysing the characteristics of the material - flawed, but certainly adequate, and it was from the early work that the 1954 definition was arrived at. The term was applied an identifiable body of song and referred to it's origins ('folk' has a separate dictionary reference apart from it's musical and lore one). To say that the IFMC payed no attention to the people who made and circulated the songs is utter nonsense - that's exactly what they did and that is the strength of the definition when used correctly.
Some time after the start of the revival, a section of the singers involved, who may well have started out on a folk basis, Dylan for instance, moved away and began to use the term as a cultural dustbin in which to discard anything that they had no immediate identification for. This eventually led to the mass exodus (myself included) from the clubs and the confusion that exists at present.
Academically nothing changed; the term continued to be in use, the collections and the research still appeared under the heading 'folk' - hence the doublespeak.
Because Wikepedia got it wrong and is out of step with the established definitions is no reason to continue down that particular road.
If you wish to apply the term to your music - please explain the connection between it and that which has been in use for at least a century, and is still in full use in research (please don't mention the talking horse!)
From all points of view it is would be far better to recognise that we are dealing with totally different genres of music and identify them as such - we were here first - get your own name!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 May 08 - 04:09 AM

Jim, yes 90% don't have a Definition (note my capital) but they do have a definition (note the absence) - in that they'll use the term, and will know what they mean by it. That meaning will vary hugely, and though it may include the 54 (though most would probably only have a vague idea about oral transmission), it will also include all manner of other types of music and activity and style.

Wiki makes a good stab at it, I think - though my personal view is that the word is now so vague as to have little real value other than to point people in a general acoustic/historical direction. I liken it to the word 'art.' It's art if the maker calls it so - the consumer then only has to decide how much they like it. Thus also with 'folk.'

I noticed you mentioned to Dave, as you've often said before, that the singers you collected placed little value on the composition of music.

This is a very interesting point to me. I'm not in the least surprised by it, because people will always tend to take things for granted unless the value is pointed out to them, and one side effect of oral transmission is that there was no-one around to do this.

Just because people (including even the authors themselves, perhaps) were happy not to place much value on the creation of new works doesn't mean that the creation has no intrinsic worth. (And we have no evidence that it was always thus anyway). We, with perhaps a wider perspective on the history of indigenous music, are not forced to inherit the value system of the early 20th century along with a much older repertoire.

If I was sitting on the International Folk Music Council in 1954, I'd have wanted to add a clause which recognised the role of the people who created music (and maybe suggested that better-written material might be least adapted), and also the role of the 'ambassadors' (travelling musicians as well as migrants, as well as collectors/printers) who distributed and cross-referenced material between of local areas and regions - because it's now clear that this happened a lot, and no study of local music will be worth much if this is not taken into account.

The IFMC seem to have missed this point - and in so doing may have left a loophole through which Guthrie, Dylan and Simon were able to drive their horses - starting the devaluation and confusion we see today.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 May 08 - 03:26 AM

Dave,
Didn't say the composers were still alive - don't know of any composers of folk songs still alive.
I said that they are known.
Still too early.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 May 08 - 02:34 AM

Tom,
90% of the English-speaking world don't have a definition for folk music - we never managed to involve them - more later - too bloody early.
Cap'n
I think I just heard the first cuckoo
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 18 May 08 - 06:11 PM

I think Jim that we have a different idea of what a definition is for.

Certainly if you are, for example, an academic or a legislator looking for specific, verifiable definitions, then something like the 54 is necessary. I'm not sure what the PRS line on this is, but it's certainly true that their definition of 'traditional' has nothing to do with the 54. They tell me the word is synonymous with 'anon' and 'in public ownership' - which just means the writer has been dead for more than 70 years, or can be assumed so. And no more - certainly nothing about "variation which springs from the creative impulse of the individual or the group" for example.

I guess I'm assuming that the 54 was an academic exercise, designed to help those who wanted to study the music to isolate one specific genre - and as such I'm sure it did the job admirably.

But I'm not an academic. I'm a businessmen, and I'm interested in exciting people in, in descending order; a) 'real' live music, b) music with both story and history c) music that connects with their local culture. This is mainly for personal reasons, but I row the bigger boat whenever can too.

Like anyone involved in marketing I have to start with what my listener knows. If the very first thing I do is lecture them on the precise derivation of the music I'm presenting, and how it connects or doesn't with another genre, I'm going to loose them before I've started.

So I use with the second definition - as do the vast majority of people involved in things called, by them, 'folk.'

The issue here is what the people who used the word when writing on this thread meant by it.

It's clear to me that a good few of the 'no-money' camp were meaning the 54, and that most of us 'don't be so silly' camp were meaning the Wikepedia - and that should have been obvious from what we said. The influence of people like Carolan goes without saying within the Wiki definition.

Hmmm - I don't think I'm being patronising in suggesting that we're unlikely to persuade 90% of the population of the English speaking world to change their understanding of the meaning of word 'folk' now. Or to find a new one for that thing. Just realistic. The genie's been out of the bottle for 40 years, Jim! Far better to go with the flow and find a new word to describe the 54 definition - and 'Traditional' seems to be doing quite a resoanable job - for now, so why not just use that?

Because it's not a matter of 'disprov[ing] the old definition' - just resolving two conflicting uses of the same word.

The 54 still defines something very important - which has not changed. It's only the WORD used at the FRONT of the equasion that's changed. Not the definition itself.

Another example:

To a TV engineer 'red' is one very specific hue. To everyone else it includes cerise, and scarlet and crimson, and pillar box, and cherry and lots of other shades. But the TV engineer knows that if he sets the cameras to record crimson, the pictures will be unusable, so he retains the correct kelvin temperature as his definition for 'true' primary red (at work anyway). But he also understands that when his wife says she's wearing red lipstick it's very unlikely to be the primary colour.

Does that make any sense?

I'm not sure what this sentence means:

"Surely if you are an official in a responsible position on the issue of copyright it is your duty to tell it as it is, not how you/they would prefer it to be."

I'm not an official - is that what you thought? But absolutely they should tell it like it is! I'm only telling it as I understand it to be - as no more than a writer-member of PRS with an active interest in improving various aspects of their operations around foolk (new word to avoid argument - the bigger term)!

As for copyright, there are effectively three states. 1) Copyright, 2) out-of copyright and 3) shared copyright, where protection only relates to individual use.

I missed your challenge I'm afraid in my rush to correct to another post. I use the word 'folk' to descibe what I do ONLY because the vast majority of other people do so. I would never call my stuff traditional, and as I'm sure people who've been to my gigs will verify I do try to at least give the gist of the argument and explain the difference between what I do and the 'real thing.'

'Folk' is the easy option, yes - but I do sing real folk songs, and I participate in real folk gatherings too, so it's not cut and dried, and in the absence of another word I have little option.

It wasn't me that decided the word had changed it's meaning. Bigger boys did it, and then told me it was ok to use a bad word.

I'm not sure how having me relinquish my rights would prove anything. Perhaps when I'm not quite so desperate to pay the bills I might (though not till after Dickie Attenborough has categorically turned down my offer to use Spirit of Ecstasy in his new film)!

But the point is, Jim we are innocently making cerise and pink and crimson here. We're not doing anything bad. We're not spoiling the primary red, or passing our stuff off as the primary colour. We'd just using the WORD red - and ONLY because it's common practice - the normal correct use of language - to do so.

I'll make no comment about Kennedy, though I've read much about him here.

The PRS collection and reporting system is not perfect, but it's a reasonable first stab at a workable solution in a very very complex situation. That said, you can drive coach and horses though some areas (including the "copyrighted music 'might' be played during the course of the evening" issue) which is why I'm still agitating for change - but that's a thread all on its own.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 May 08 - 05:56 PM

Exactly what I am saying, Jim. I think we may just be interpreting it in different ways! You say "Dave, Don't even go there. If you think folk definition is contentious, try dipping your toe into 'who wrote the folk songs' and watch your feet disappear."

That is just what I am saying - With folk songs, particulary old folk songs, Ie - Not like the ones you mention where the composer is still alive. We just do not know who wrote it. If we do not know who wrote it, how can we say with any degree of credibility that they did not make money out of it?

Simple question surely?

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 May 08 - 04:46 PM

Comhaltas of course help, by bringing lots of peopleWHO SPEND MONEY to difFerent areas through the COUNTY /REGIONAL and NATIONAL fleadhs.


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 May 08 - 04:44 PM

Jim I live In Ireland.
every friday there is a session in Ballydehob,no one gets paid ,the session was started by my partner Cathy Cook,in 1987.
there is also a session in Skibbereen on a Tuesday,which is an unpaid session.
many pubs are closing in ireland,most of those that can afford to pay musicians, are those that make their money through selling food.
the reasons that pubs[in rural areas are closing are many,but drink driving laws,and lack of available public transport /taxis is an important one][money does play a part here] taxis drivers do not want to pick up a fare and go out into the country when they can stay in a town, picking up fares from a nightclub].
JIM I dont dismiss comments out of hand,I listen and if singers/musicians say something that makes sense,I consider it ,if they say something like money has been the ruination of music without backing it up,as you have done, I dismiss it.
one of the reasons,I have been involved in the Ballydehob Jazz festival,is to bring people to Ballydehob .
I suggest,that if you are concerned about rural Ireland ,you get involved in organising something that brings people to your area,.voting NO re the Lisbon Treaty,and protecting rural agricultural incomes,might be astart.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 May 08 - 04:06 PM

Tom
Thanks for that; thought we'd fallen out.
If we had a bundle of definitions to argue the toss over, perhaps we might get somewhere; as it stands we have on the one hand an established definition, on the other a school of thought which has no definition and appear incapable of constructing one. Simple solution; disprove the old one and replace it – surely.
Have just seen your posting and comments on the '54 definition. Surely if you are an official in a responsible position on the issue of copyright it is your duty to tell it as it is, not how you/they would prefer it to be. It appears to me somewhat patronising to assume that because people don't necessarily understand the situation now, that this will always be the case.
A strong argument for defining your terms clearly is the fact that you have two distinct bodies of material; one in the public domain, the other, somebody's property. I couldn't help but notice that you chose to ignore my invitation to relinquish your claim on your own compositions and allow them to fall into public domain.
You seem to be under the impression that all copyright abuses were a thing of the distant past – and in Ireland. Peter Kennedy (very English) was working for the British Broadcasting Corporation (even more English). He died a year or so ago and was making claims on traditional material right to the end. We are still living with the mess he created.
I seem to remember that the PRS claim for payment on the grounds that 'copyrighted music 'might' be played during the course of the evening' arose from an incident in the UK – may be wrong.
Dave,
Don't even go there. If you think folk definition is contentious, try dipping your toe into 'who wrote the folk songs' and watch your feet disappear.
On of the defining factors of folk songs (with exceptions, I hasten to add) is their anonymity. Surely, if there is payment in the offing a composer is hardly likely to conceal his/her identity
During the course of our collecting we have encountered a somewhat strange phenomenon. On several occasions we have recorded songs, here in Clare and also from Travellers, which must have been composed during the lifetimes of the singers. On two of these (both composed communally), the singers were present when the songs were made. Yet each time we have drawn a blank on finding the composers. It just didn't seem important enough to be remembered.
Cap'n,
Folk scholarship is bedevilled by the fact that by and large we have no information on our singing traditions from the real experts – the traditional singers. It is a sad and extremely puzzling fact that nobody has bothered to ask their view on their art. This, to me, shows a great contempt and disregard for the people who gave us our songs and music, a contempt displayed pretty typically by your comments.
As far as I'm concerned, they were there when the house and crossroads dances were destroyed by the 1935 Dance Halls Act which levied a monetary charge on all such activities in order to drive people into the newly constructed ballrooms.
They were there when the influx of commercial records from the U.S. all but destroyed regional musical styles. They witnessed these events; we didn't, and it seems like basic good manners to listen to what they have to say on the subject, and not dismiss them out of hand, as you have done in the past and are doing once again.
I have given you an account of what is happening here in the sessions - please tell me I am imaging it all!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 May 08 - 03:42 PM

Thanks, Tom! I will give it some thorough study.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 18 May 08 - 02:44 PM

I can't find the mudcat thread but this is from another site:

"The "official" definition of folk music [was] laid out in 1954 by the International Folk Music Council. snip

"Folk music is the product of a musical tradition that has been evolved through the process of oral transmission. The factors that shape the tradition are: (i) continuity which links the present with the past; (ii) variation which springs from the creative impulse of the individual or the group; and (iii) selection by the community, which determines the form or forms in which the music survives … The term can be applied to music that has been evolved from rudimentary beginnings by a community uninfluenced by popular and art music and it can likewise be applied to music which has originated with an individual composer and has subsequently been absorbed into the unwritten living tradition of a community … The term does not cover composed popular music that has been taken over ready-made by a community and remains unchanged, for it is the re-fashioning and re-creation of the music by the community that gives it its folk character."

It is the last sentence that's relevant to this discussion. If you accept that the word 'folk' still means this definition and only this definition, then under the terms of the last sentence you do indeed specifically exclude any influence by the original lost writer or known writers in more recent times - and by association any influence by performer, arranger, collector or other tradesperson.

So those who cleave to this definition are completely correct in what they say.

But if you believe that the word 'folk' no longer implies only this definition, and now encompasses a much wider selection of music (both interms of activity and repertoire), then the last part may still, or may no longer be, relevant - in which case the influence of the writer and/or collector, publisher, producer etc can indeed be germane.

I'm in the latter camp, purely because I need to talk far more often to people who have never heard of the 54, and probably wouldn't take it very seriously even it if they did, than to those who hold it to be of unchanged relevance.

Here is another more recent definition, which I myself prefer - even though it's only by Mr Wicked P. Dear:

"Folk music can have a number of different meanings, including:

"Traditional music: The original meaning of the term "folk music" was synonymous with the term "Traditional music", also often including World Music and Roots music; the term
"Traditional music" was given its more specific meaning to distinguish it from the other definitions that "Folk music" is now considered to encompass.

"Folk music can also describe a particular kind of popular music which is based on traditional music. In contemporary times, this kind of folk music is often performed by professional musicians. Related genres include Folk rock and Progressive folk music.

"In American culture, folk music refers to the American folk music revival, music exemplified by such musicians as Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, who popularized and encouraged the lyrical style in the 1950s and 1960s."

Tom

PS sorry if someone else has posted in the interim - I was interrupted by a Rosbif (another example of contentious language evolution)


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Subject: RE: Money v Folk
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 May 08 - 01:36 PM

". . . I'm using the modern 'common' meaning of the term, rather than the 54 definition. . . ."

Tom, can you (or someone) direct me to the thread, or some other source, where the 1954 definition was stated? I can remember reading it, but I can't remember offhand who framed it or what it exactly says. I'd like to give it a good look.

Thanks!

Don Firth


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