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What do you consider Folk?

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Jayto 11 Aug 08 - 09:18 AM
Peace 11 Aug 08 - 09:21 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 11 Aug 08 - 09:38 AM
Mr Happy 11 Aug 08 - 09:40 AM
alanabit 11 Aug 08 - 09:40 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 11 Aug 08 - 09:44 AM
The Sandman 11 Aug 08 - 09:52 AM
George Papavgeris 11 Aug 08 - 09:54 AM
Jayto 11 Aug 08 - 09:55 AM
Mr Happy 11 Aug 08 - 09:55 AM
George Papavgeris 11 Aug 08 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,guy Wolff On Lap top 11 Aug 08 - 09:58 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 11 Aug 08 - 10:04 AM
Severn 11 Aug 08 - 10:09 AM
Severn 11 Aug 08 - 10:15 AM
GUEST,guy Wolff On Lap top 11 Aug 08 - 10:15 AM
Jayto 11 Aug 08 - 10:55 AM
Peace 11 Aug 08 - 10:57 AM
Severn 11 Aug 08 - 11:08 AM
Marilyn 11 Aug 08 - 11:31 AM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 11 Aug 08 - 11:34 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 11 Aug 08 - 11:35 AM
Jayto 11 Aug 08 - 11:48 AM
The Sandman 11 Aug 08 - 12:00 PM
Jayto 11 Aug 08 - 12:10 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 11 Aug 08 - 12:23 PM
The Sandman 11 Aug 08 - 12:41 PM
Jayto 11 Aug 08 - 12:44 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 11 Aug 08 - 01:06 PM
GUEST,glueman 11 Aug 08 - 01:17 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 11 Aug 08 - 01:39 PM
Big Al Whittle 11 Aug 08 - 01:48 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 11 Aug 08 - 01:50 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 11 Aug 08 - 01:57 PM
The Sandman 11 Aug 08 - 02:30 PM
Jayto 11 Aug 08 - 03:26 PM
GUEST 11 Aug 08 - 04:24 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Aug 08 - 04:54 AM
Marilyn 12 Aug 08 - 06:49 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 12 Aug 08 - 07:04 AM
Lowden Jameswright 12 Aug 08 - 07:11 AM
Kampervan 12 Aug 08 - 07:11 AM
llareggyb (inactive) 15 Sep 08 - 06:42 AM
Big Al Whittle 15 Sep 08 - 06:57 AM
the lemonade lady 15 Sep 08 - 08:31 AM
Fidjit 15 Sep 08 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 15 Sep 08 - 09:43 AM
PoppaGator 15 Sep 08 - 10:05 AM
Scooby Doo 15 Sep 08 - 10:10 AM
Mark Ross 15 Sep 08 - 10:27 AM
Big Al Whittle 15 Sep 08 - 10:32 AM
Bill D 15 Sep 08 - 10:34 AM
Jayto 15 Sep 08 - 10:51 AM
Maryrrf 15 Sep 08 - 11:02 AM
Richard Bridge 15 Sep 08 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,Otis Luxton 15 Sep 08 - 05:04 PM
Big Al Whittle 15 Sep 08 - 05:14 PM
Big Al Whittle 15 Sep 08 - 05:15 PM
GUEST,Otis Luxton 15 Sep 08 - 05:19 PM
Richard Bridge 15 Sep 08 - 05:38 PM
Tootler 15 Sep 08 - 05:51 PM
JHW 15 Sep 08 - 05:54 PM
GUEST,Otis Luxton 15 Sep 08 - 05:58 PM
Bill D 15 Sep 08 - 06:19 PM
GUEST,Otis Luxton 15 Sep 08 - 06:39 PM
M.Ted 15 Sep 08 - 08:54 PM
Richard Bridge 15 Sep 08 - 08:57 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 15 Sep 08 - 09:48 PM
Bill D 15 Sep 08 - 10:40 PM
PoppaGator 15 Sep 08 - 11:25 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 15 Sep 08 - 11:37 PM
dick greenhaus 15 Sep 08 - 11:54 PM
GUEST,Otis Luxton 16 Sep 08 - 05:27 AM
Bryn Pugh 16 Sep 08 - 10:06 AM
Big Al Whittle 16 Sep 08 - 10:20 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Sep 08 - 10:32 AM
PoppaGator 16 Sep 08 - 10:55 AM
Richard Bridge 16 Sep 08 - 11:13 AM
goatfell 16 Sep 08 - 11:27 AM
Jayto 16 Sep 08 - 11:27 AM
dick greenhaus 16 Sep 08 - 11:34 AM
Bill D 16 Sep 08 - 04:26 PM
Bill D 16 Sep 08 - 04:34 PM
PoppaGator 16 Sep 08 - 05:09 PM
GUEST,A Traddie 16 Sep 08 - 05:16 PM
Big Al Whittle 17 Sep 08 - 03:52 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Sep 08 - 05:22 AM
glueman 17 Sep 08 - 10:43 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 17 Sep 08 - 12:35 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 17 Sep 08 - 12:43 PM
dick greenhaus 17 Sep 08 - 12:48 PM
Stringsinger 17 Sep 08 - 12:53 PM
glueman 17 Sep 08 - 01:16 PM
Stringsinger 17 Sep 08 - 01:21 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 17 Sep 08 - 01:30 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 17 Sep 08 - 01:32 PM
Jayto 17 Sep 08 - 01:45 PM
dick greenhaus 17 Sep 08 - 01:50 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 17 Sep 08 - 01:59 PM
PoppaGator 17 Sep 08 - 02:26 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 17 Sep 08 - 02:41 PM
Peace 17 Sep 08 - 02:48 PM
Big Al Whittle 17 Sep 08 - 03:48 PM
Penny S. 17 Sep 08 - 05:10 PM
GUEST,Jayto 17 Sep 08 - 05:11 PM
PoppaGator 18 Sep 08 - 02:10 PM
dick greenhaus 18 Sep 08 - 06:14 PM
Jack Campin 18 Sep 08 - 07:05 PM
dick greenhaus 18 Sep 08 - 08:36 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 19 Sep 08 - 10:17 AM
TinDor 19 Jan 09 - 09:01 PM
TinDor 19 Jan 09 - 09:06 PM
GUEST,Jon 19 Jan 09 - 09:30 PM
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Subject: What do you consider Folk?
From: Jayto
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 09:18 AM

There seems to be so many styles called Folk anymore. What do you consider Folk music? I know I have my feelings on the subject but I'd like to hear some other opinions. To me the old recordings are true Folk and other stuff (more modern) is Folk influenced or Folk based. Don't crucify me for this I am just wondering lol.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Peace
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 09:21 AM

*


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 09:38 AM

oy!   Here we go again. I predict this thread will hit about 200 posts and there will be the usual arguements that appear everytime this subject is brought up.

To me, "folk music" is a term that is on equal footing with "rock and roll" or "jazz" or "classical".   The words do not describe anything more than a general term - and as Jayto noted, there are traditional and modern. Technically, a "recording" should not even be considered "folk" as it is an electronic capture of a song out of the element in which it existed. However, as this thread will soon show, you can split hairs all day long and no one will ever come to agreement.

Depending on your age and geography, "folk music" will have a different meaning. There are folk music styles that may not appeal to you because the traditions come from a community or age that does not speak to your tastes. Folk music springs from a community, whether traditional songs or contemporary, and it serves a purpose that is very different from pop music or other commercial styles.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 09:40 AM

If all the folks in the pub knows the song I'm singing, then its a folk song!


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: alanabit
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 09:40 AM

Jayto, I think you must be one of the newer members of Mudcat - and very welcome too. The subject of what constitutes folk music has appeared here in many threads over several years. Some of the discussions have been regrettably acrimonious. At the end of the day most of us are able to settle for describing what folk music means to us personally. Some members like to regard this as an issue, which has been settled for us by academics. As for my own opinion, I shall keep it to myself. I am sure that everyone else out there is completely right!


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 09:44 AM

Deep Purple are a great folk band. :0)


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 09:52 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1PaQaNH9NI


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 09:54 AM

That's a video of someone fanning his crotch, Dick! :-)


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Jayto
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 09:55 AM

Thanks for the welcome I am new. I was just wondering I grew up around alot of folk music. My family and the area I grew up in are very musical. I agree 100% about the geography and I noticed that Folk is something it seems everyone has a different opinion about. Don't mean to start any feuds lol just wondering. I find it very interesting.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 09:55 AM

2,224 opinions on the definition of folk here:

thread.cfm?threadid=2224


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 09:56 AM

Sorry, back to the topic:

Yes.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: GUEST,guy Wolff On Lap top
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 09:58 AM

Hello this is just my take and I know there is more to it but : Home made music played after work that comes from a personal history..


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 10:04 AM

"Home made music played after work that comes from a personal history.. "

Very true. Another type of folk music is the music that was sung DURING work!


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Severn
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 10:09 AM

Are you SURE you want to open up this can of worms once more so we can all go fishing in this hole again, baiting and de-baiting each other, and give all the appropriate angles from all the appropriate angler's stories (including those from out of ye olde angle-o-files) about the exact length and bredth of said slippery beast?

We can have Joe Offer post a long, long list of previous related attempts at the top to show you how much talk has already been expended through the years and how far we still have to go for the answer. Luckily, all this has been done here on computer, so that several forests have saved from the ravages that would be caused by those of us who care most about them and love to mourn about their demise in song, had we chosen to do this all on paper.

Why, WincingDevil of the FSGW has named it a topic of the next Folklore Society of Greater Washington themed Open Sing, so that many of the greatest minds here in the Nation's Capital (minds that President Bush SHOULD want to die for, but would have a better chance of politically dying FROM) will meet in song at this possibly historic forum,

(or against'em as the case might be)

Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?....


....and if WE solve the question, a paper might be presented at the Getaway. If not, it's just more fish stories of the "gotaway".


But, hey! You just might be the stimulus to finally nail this one for good! So leet's have one more go at it!



"TO DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE....."

Wait! Wait!

THAT's the one we decided was was actually NOT a folksong!






Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

.....or DID we?


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Severn
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 10:15 AM

Hey! There was but two posts when I started typing and there were 14 by the time I posted. I know, I'm a slow typist, but it looks like the folks, if not The Folk, are rarin' to go again.

Stand Back!

We'll roll the rock up the hill THIS time!

Sys-a-fuss is back and boulder than ever!


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: GUEST,guy Wolff On Lap top
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 10:15 AM

Sorry I hit the wrong button again . All these years on Mudcat and Im still hitting mac return and away goes my note .
       Folk music is of the people by the people and for the people . I do love the phrase Home made . The Japanese have a folk movement called Mingai meaning "The unknown Craftsmen" . We have a lot of known folk musicians of course but on the whole folk music s comes from the back porch and it's strength comes from that .. So why record or pay to hear people?? ::: because we love it done beautifully . I couldnt live without hearing Finest Kind or Bruce Malsky or Martin Carthy or or or or
            So one of folk music's most incongruent properties is that ware it comes from is not always where it ends up being found . Ha   
    All the best to all here . Guy


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Jayto
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 10:55 AM

This topic may have been dicussed alot in the past as several of you have pointed out to me (remember I'm new I didn't know).There seems to be alot of people still biting at the bit to discuss it though. I am enjoying reading others take on it.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Peace
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 10:57 AM

Look then at the various blue links to other threads at the top of this page.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Severn
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 11:08 AM

There are songs that came up through the Folk Process and we can argue what that is, but as to "When does a non-Folk Song become at least temporarily a Folk Song?", the answer would be "When it's used in the manner a real folk song (whatever THAT is) would be used"

Using anything as a work song might give it the temporary right to sign on as a GUEST.


The same would be true of Lullabyes. When that infant just won't go to sleep and you've sung up all the traditional lullabies you know and you start singing just ANYTHING soft and slow ten THAT can be considered, at the moment, a true Folk Song, especially if it's the one that finally does the job! And I've heard several people use "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You" to sing babies to sleep. It actually was a French folk song to start out, but even with Elvis as the "source singer", it can be folk at times.

Remember, if an audience walks out before hearing the end of a song, the song may be bad, If a child falls asleep before hearing the end, it just might be a goodun.


So in this, or any day and age, context can be as important as the song itself.


And Jayto, I'm not putting you down by any stretch for starting this. In fact, we're always game and it's always seemingly in season.
You just tapped into a sacred Folk Ritual, is all.



.....Lizzie, you refer to Deep Purple as "they". So it's not yet still another nickname for Bruce Murdoch?


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Marilyn
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 11:31 AM

What you consider 'folk music' seems to be such a personal thing - it means something different to each person I think.

I'm English and, for me, the words 'folk music' mean folk music from the British Isles. Folk music from other cultures is, to me, World Music. Going further, again for me personally, folk music is Traditional British Music. This is obviously a VERY PERSONAL DEFINITION and I don't want to be attacked for it as I'm not trying to stuff it down anyone else's throat!

A folk club I go to has a very good regular who sings Gershwin's 'Summertime'. It's a gloriously lovely song but, for me, it definitely isn't folk music. Do I therefore object to her singing it? Well, no - but I still don't think it's 'folk' so I wouldn't sing it at a folk club.

As soon as I hear the words 'here's a song that I wrote ...' I have to confess that my heart sinks and, usually, I just endure the offering that follows and hope that the next person will play a Morris tune or sing a traditional song. There are exceptions (Virginia Barrett comes to mind as a young singer/songwriter of great talent who is always worth listening to).

So my own personal definition of folk music is quite specifically British Traditional. I don't insist that you agree with me - find or create your own definition (or accept the 1954 one if you like). The important thing, I think is this: please, don't try to tell others what they should like!!


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 11:34 AM

I know some of the other "seasoned citizens" on this thread can relate to the following.

In the late 1950's, when I really began to be heavily involved in my local coffee house circuit, the argument was usually between the "ethnic" or "traditional" wing and the more progressive one, for which musicianship, stage presence and good arrangements were of great importance as well as the source music.

Some of the traditionalists (most of them from comfortable middle-class families) wore eastern european garb, affecting the neo-Bolshevik look, or dressed like seedy "street folk" or just sat in the corner, tuning their homemade dulcimers or playing chess and smoking gnarled briar pipes, affecting a sort of esoteric superiority. Sometimes, they would deign to teach us a song or two, which we joyfully accepted and often adapted to our own style.

Most of the rest of us, young and often apolitical, just wanted to play music and have our shot at performing on stage. What the hell, there were pretty girls there, and we were full of what ardent young folk are full of. We shared songs from The Weavers, Burl Ives, Bud and Travis and Bob Gibson or Terry Gilkyson to The Kingston Trio. We wanted to "sound good." If a traditional song worked for us, we used it. Many of the songs we favored were composed in the 20th century, not in the middle ages.

Of course, boundaries were crossed. The purists taught us some reverence for the origins of songs and the countries and traditions from which they came, though they were sometimes heavy-handed about it. Both camps got into the endless discussions about finding and tinkering with guitars and banjos, chords, strums and finger picking, etc.

In the end, I don't know that there was any resolution. Folk song is what any of us perceives it to be. There is no "snapshot in time" which forms boundaries for what constitutes folk music. I believe it is endlessly being created, composed and performed to this day, whether by trained musicians or creative amateurs speaking to their life experience through music.

Lou Gottlieb, of The Limeliters, was a musicologist with a PhD. He obviously had a reverence for the academic side, but it did not keep him from realizing that, if you want wider acceptance, it doesn't hurt to be well-rehearsed and to use good musicianship and stage presence. I wish he were still around. I would like to pose the question, "What is folk music?" to him.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 11:35 AM

I think there is a big difference between folk song and folk music. You can have non-folk songs be folk music, as Severn noted - and as Marilyn pointed out. IF you accept that the "folk club" scene in the UK is part of your folk heritage, a song like "Summertime" can be offered as folk music, even though it is not a folk song.

This is where the arguements begin, and I will say that I do understand and accept that not everyone will agree with my first paragraph.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Jayto
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 11:48 AM

That is how I started thinking about it yrs ago. I am from Ky and to me Appalchian music is my Folk. Because that is the music played by my ancestors. My family has a very rich and long history in folk music in this area. The more I traveled around the more I noticed how much the idea of folk music changed. I defines the people in the area your in. It tells thier story as a people and how they came to be. To me that is the magic of folk music. It is the music of people and history.

Severn I know your not putting me down I appreciate your response and I am enjoying reading all the posts.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 12:00 PM

the fun will really start, when J C arrives.
now I cant really explain why,but personally I consider blues singers folk music,singers like Roscoe Holcomb and Clarence Ashley,and also singers like Harry Cox,Roy Harris,Burl Ives[but not always], Ewan Maccoll,PhilTanner,Nic Jones.The Original Carter Family,but not,Johnny Cash, DanielO Donnell and Barry Manilow.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Jayto
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 12:10 PM

Captain Birdseye I have a question. Why Barry Manilow? I don't mean any disrespect or anything I just didn't expect to hear him mentioned. I am not real familiar with his work well really at all. I remember my parents had alot of his albums but I never listened to them. Just wondering.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 12:23 PM

" ... for me, the words 'folk music' mean folk music from the British Isles. Folk music from other cultures is, to me, World Music."

Do you work for HMV by any chance? Do you also consider Welsh Military Band music to be folk music?


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 12:41 PM

cos,I cant stand him.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Jayto
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 12:44 PM

lol oh I see lol I read it wrong I thought you included him as folk sorry lol


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 01:06 PM

"now I cant really explain why,but personally I consider blues singers folk music"

You have a very good reason - blues is a folk music tradition!


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 01:17 PM

It's difficult to imagine any sensible definition of the word that would exclude Roscoe Holcomb and Clarence Ashley.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 01:39 PM

""That is how I started thinking about it years ago. I am from Ky and to me Appalchian music is my Folk.""

Jayto, there are those who say that to hear REAL English traditional folk songs, you have to listen to the songs that are sung in the Appalachian mountain region of the USA.

There are those who do not, because they truly believe it, and those who do not, because to admit it would be to admit they could learn from Americans (heaven forfend).

It's a minefield of toes with very sensitive corns, and stepping lightly is not just advisable, it is essential.

As a songwriter in the STYLE of the tradition (mostly),who sings and accompanies his own compositions, I am not acceptable to the devotees of traditional folk song in the UK, as either a folk singer, or indeed a folk musician. To the REALLY traditional folkies, I am not accepted as a singer/songwriter, but rather derided as a "Snigger/snogwriter".

None of this affects me in the slightest. I still write what I choose, and sing what I choose, and a sufficient portion of the average audience likes what I do to enable me to get a few paid gigs, and a welcome at most festivals.

What is folk? How the hell would I know? I just keep going and hope that one day someone will say "Your Great Grandfather was one HELL of a folk singer, and I love the songs he left us".

Trouble is, I'll never know.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 01:48 PM

You're right from your side and I am right from mine.....

I think Abraham Lincoln said that.
(trad. anon. arranged Zimmerman)


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 01:50 PM

Amen to that WLD

Don T.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 01:57 PM

100!




(I just thought I would get that out of the way early!)


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 02:30 PM

101, and no J C,and we are all gettin on politely.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Jayto
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 03:26 PM

In Ky we have a VERY heavy concentration of English,Irish, and Scottish families. We have always been an economically challenged region (read that as broke broke broke lol) and more years isolated. It was hard to get in because of the mountains and once you were here uh why? No jobs or money were to be had for years. I understand exactley why is would remain pure. I think the term Folk is like the word Mom. Everyone knows what I mean they just think of something different when they hear it.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 04:24 PM

Weelittledrummer: Didn't John Stewart also use that phrase in "One Too Many Mornings," a song he did while with the Kingston Trio?


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 04:54 AM

"the fun will really start, when J C arrives."
"101, and no J C,and we are all gettin on politely."
Off topc somewhat:
Cap'n,
That's twice;
I am not involved in this thread and the last thing I need at my time of life is a cyberstalker - please leave me alone.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Marilyn
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 06:49 AM

GUEST,Shimrod
in your post of 11 Aug 08 - 12:23 PM

" ... for me, the words 'folk music' mean folk music from the British Isles. Folk music from other cultures is, to me, World Music."

Do you work for HMV by any chance? Do you also consider Welsh Military Band music to be folk music?


I'm not sure whether your question is serious or meant to be a joke but, just in case it's serious, I don't want to be rude and not answer.

No, I don't work for HMV and I don't think I've ever been into one of their shops.
You actually made me think a bit deeper about what I'd written (good thing, yes?). I never actually use the term 'World Music' in my head so traditional Swedish tunes I would think of a Swedish Folk Music, French as French Folk Music etc. What I meant to say, but didn't express very well, is that when I think of 'folk music' I think of traditional British music and I further subdivide that into music that sounds Irish or Scottish or Welsh or English. The more modern stuff isn't folk music TO ME (emphasis because I'm not trying to tell anyone else what to think).

Whether some of the modern stuff will become folk music in the next hundred or two hundred years is irrelevant to this thread because the question is 'What do you consider Folk?' and well, we won't be here in a hundred years time!

And no, I don't think that Welsh Military Band Music is folk music at all - but you don't have to agree with me.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 07:04 AM

The Rolling Stones are great too.. :0)


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 07:11 AM

Good folk is folk getting together in a pub and playing/singing & having a drink instead of sitting on their arses vegitating in front of the telly.

PS ..and not agonising over definitions (1954 etc) and "traditions"


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Kampervan
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 07:11 AM

Jayto, as others have said, 'Welcome to the world of Mudcat'

It's a great place, but one or two topics always strike a dissonant chord with some members.

When you're thinking about starting a new thread, it always helps to do a site search first to see if the topic has been aired in the past, and what the general tone of the thread was.

If you've got something new to say or ask then fine, go ahead and open the subject up again.

Good luck

K/van


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: llareggyb (inactive)
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 06:42 AM

For our family open house singalongs, we use a very broad definition: "anything two or three people like to sing and can remember the tune to". Since I sometimes overcomplicate things, my ex has added "and that you can sing in the kitchen while making dinner". We don't make a distinction between "folk" and "world" music -- our song book has songs in at least 8 languages -- but that's a personal choice.

In other words, besides traditional (usually anonymous) folk music, anything goes for us so long as it has entered the general cultural consciousness, at least that of the "folkie" community (definiton of folkie: people like us). That includes commercial &/or contemporary thorough-composed folk music (e.g. Dylan, Ewan MacColl, Stan Rogers, Tarika), old Beatles favourites, Sesame Street counting songs, other children's songs, pop songs of the swing era, you name it: but only if you can sing it a capella or with just a guitar or two, without studio equipment/click track/conductor/session musicians/six rehearsals etc., and if it meets the "you can sing it in the kitchen while making dinner" criterion.

So some of (e.g.) Stan Rogers' songs make the cut, but others fall by the wayside because they are too technically tricky for most of us to remember the tune right or fit the words in. "Mr. Tambourine Man" gets a special dispensation even though it's tricky: getting the words & the tune together in the l-o-n-g last verse often reduces us to giggles, but we like it too much to not include it.

The great thing is, since we are all "folk", you too can have your very own definition of folk music. Leave the arguments to the purists and lexicographers, and just keep on singing!


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 06:57 AM

I have been made to see the error of my ways. I don't do folkmusic.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 08:31 AM

In my opinion folk is a song having been passed down through generations , telling a story that used to while away the hours either working on a farm, walking long distances, riding in a trap to market (maybe) or being sung in the ale house at the end of a long day, sitting in the warmth of the inglenook fire so that the fuel is saved in the home. I'm sure a lot of the songs were much cruder than the versions sung today that have been 'cleaned' up by 19th century vicars. I also think they were the news papers of their day, hawked about the countryside by balladeers and storytellers; words changing and stories being embroidered.

My observations and my opinions are that these days the Male of the species sings with a finger in the ear and with eyes closed; other hand in the pocket. Quite often the balding, yet also pony tailed male, wears a 'T' shirt, with previous festivals on it, trousers tightly strapped with a belt (under a large, real ale paunch). On the table is a pewter tankard, filled with the favourite brew. On his feet he is wearing the proverbial socks and sandels. He often forgets the words to the songs, sings da da la la and carries on to the next chorus.   He'll very often sing a song with 32 verses because he knows he won't get another look in, and/or as the song drones on he gets slower and slower.

The female of the species usually wears elasticated brightly coloured skirts from the local charity shop, yes another 't' shirt with a previous festival printed upon it, sometimes socks and sandels. when told it's her turn, she looks surprised, can't remember what she's going to sing, says I haven't sung this for ages, starts to sing, voice crackling and clamping her throat or patting her chest,She again sings with her eyes closed and very often forgets the words, and with apologies,giggles with embarrassment and meekly sits down. This song is tollerated by the male of the species, he uses it as a bog break, a time to replenish his pot, and to watch the breasts heave up and down. These comments I feel fall into the traditional meaning of folk and have gone on for generations. Shame we can't go back in time and be flies on the walls of the ale houses where we would see what actually happened. I dare say it's not a lot different, although clay pipes would have been allowed and there wouldn't be a mobile phone or crib sheet in sight.

S


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Fidjit
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 09:28 AM

He often forgets the words to the songs, sings da da la la . . . . .

As collected by C#

Chas


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 09:43 AM

Marilyn,

If you're still out there. I seem to have missed your gracious reply to my somewhat facetious comment about HMV.

I always have to smile when I go into one of their shops and contemplate their 'musical categories' - especially when I contrast them with our endless, tortured debates about 'what is folk?'.

You see, to an HMV marketeer it's very simple:

"Folk is anything 'acoustic' but includes 'Folk Rock' whilst excluding anything in the categories, 'Blues', 'Country' or 'World' which happen to be acoustic. Anything that doesn't easily fit into any other category is also included under 'Folk' - for example Welsh Military Bands"

It's so simple, really, I don't know why we get so 'hot under the collar' about it!


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 10:05 AM

"One Too Many Mornings" is a Bob Dylan composition, hence the witty footnote "trad., arr. Zimmerman" when WLD quoted that line about "you're right from your side and I'm right from mine."

It's one of Bob's earliest published works, but I did not realize it was old enough to have been recorded by the Kingston Trio.

**********************************

The range of opinions among Mudcat members on this topic ~ strongly held opinions ~ is absoutely astounding. I remember reading a message from one of our British brethern that any music played on the guitar is phony modern non-folk tripe! That would probably sound pretty crazy to a new member from Kentucky ~ huh, Jayto?

My own opinion, already expressed too many times, is pretty radically at the other end of the spectrum. I believe that folk music for the folk of today's electronically-interconnected world includes anything I could sing and play on a streetcorner in front of a bunch of strangers that they would recognize, enjoy, and perhaps even be able to sing along with. That would include Beatles songs, Dylan songs, composed-in-Nashville numbers like "Long Black Veil" or "You Don't Know Me," Motown classics, even garage-band faves like "Louie Louie" and Hey Joe" ~ but NOT necessarily all of the the more obscure and mostly-forgotten numbers so loved by the more "purist" wing of the folk-music community.

Just my opinion, of course. I certainly do not begrudge anyone the right to enjoy whatever they like.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Scooby Doo
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 10:10 AM

Songs from the bygone age which has been passed down through the ages to the present down or you have modern folk which most people listen to at festivals through bands and groups.I prefer the earlier version.

Scooby


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 10:27 AM

Actually, the line Dylan used in ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS, was 'she was right from her side and I was right from mine" is a direct steal from Woody Guthrie who was talking about his divorce from Mary Guthrie. It's in AMERICAN FOLKSONG, ya could look it up!


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 10:32 AM

It all depends on how you punctuate the question

1) what do you consider folk? (do you know that one by The Spinners?)

2) what...... do you consider folk?(how is your sense of social rsponsiblity?)

3) What! do you consider, folk? (do you think a lot?)

4) What do you? consider folk! (what are you up to? give it some consideration!)

As someone said there seven types of ambiguity, people aren't aware of the layers of profound meaning that lie hidden in these seemingly dull repetitious questions.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 10:34 AM

as one of the most insistent 'trad' defenders, I find I kinda like the definitions offered by " llareggyb "

" anything goes for us so long as it has entered the general cultural consciousness, at least that of the "folkie" community (definiton of folkie: people like us)

This is the basic attitude I 'put up with', as long as newish, songwriter, commercial stuff doesn't become the majority. This IS how various music becomes folk/trad, so it needs to be recognized. Unfortunately, for some of us...(like me)... the process goes much too fast these days, and people want to include everything THEY liked or were familar with as kids...so the Beatles and Dylan are being offered status in just one generation.

Anyway, if an evening includes ONLY a few such things that have recently"entered the general cultural conciousness", I'll survive.
(unless the evening/event has been specifically planned as a trad/folk event!)


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Jayto
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 10:51 AM

Not everyone was raised up around alot of folk music. They may have came to it and "discovered" it later in thier musical journey. Then they have to play catch up with others that may have grew up hearing it and/or been into the scene longer. In turn alot of times they will take songs they are familiar with and try to make them sound folk. The whole time they are discovering and learning true folk music. I always try to give people credit on this and really I think everyone should. Kind of like a learning curve you know. I might get upset if someone comes up saying " I am going to play a folk song." and then busts out Metallica on an acoustic guitar. Unless they were joking about the folk nature of the song then I would laugh. Hell I'd laugh one way or another on that one lol. Metallica did do a version of Whiskey in a Jar though lol (at this moment I a ducking from flying debris being hurles at me from members on of this board lol). We can't expect someone that wants to play and sing or someone that already does play or sing to stop playing or singing until they build up a large volume of "True" folk songs. Even if they did we can't even decide what folk really is or is not and have ran across more ultra talented folk singers,writers, and musicians on this page than I have anywhere else ever. Just wanting everyone to keep that in mind and be something this world is not very much of anymore----tolerant.
cya


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 11:02 AM

I couldn't agree more with Bill D.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 01:45 PM

Goodness me! I thought everyone knew what I thought was folk. 1954 definition.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: GUEST,Otis Luxton
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 05:04 PM

In my belife...

Peoples ideas of the word 'folk music' are a romantacised myth. Its the same with the word 'traditional music'. You cant define a tradition of an art form- its simply a contrived style as is all musical and art 'styles'. Of course you can say that this contrived style is what we now call 'Folk Music' or 'Traditional Music' - but you have to ask yourseves should people really be attaching the word 'Folk' or 'Traditional' to this style of playing or singing. I find It hard to say that 'Folk Music' is in other words the 'Peoples Music' because then you seperate it to any other stylised form of music, claiming that such genres such as pop, rock and classical arent the 'peoples music'- people made this music, and therefore it belongs to them.

As for tradition, all music is traditional. All music follows patterns, cliches, contrived forms, even if the maker of that music is trying to make something completely new. Hip Hop is a traditonal form. There isnt a certain age or popularity something has to be to become traditional. It becomes traditional through continuity, which I feel all art forms have; so why link it to only one style of music?

Call me synical, but I feel many 'folkies' as they like to be known can be very snobbish on what they feel folk music is. I think they they feel 'folk music' is a more pure, true and honest form of music. - Infact i feel the contrary about what they would call 'folk music' Ironically, I belive its stagnant and has lost any continuity because of that and thus looses its status of being a Traditional form. - of course many would argue that this type of music isnt stagnant, and is ever evolving - in my honest opinion, i dont think it is evolving (not enough to call itself 'traditonal' form anyway)

Maybe on their folk festival line up next year, these so called 'folkies' should visit an illegal techno rave in thetford forest or maybe a three day german heavy metal concert because I feel these are the truest forms to a 'folk festival' today.

I have no problems with people playing/singing 'folk' music or 'traditional' music - I would just rather that it not be called folk/traditional because I belive this is a bastardisation of words which carry alot of meaning and weight. Furthermore much 'folk' music also carries alot of meaning and weight, so we must treasure this like all other forms of music and art which also carry alot of meaning and weight. - No art or music form is superior to another, because they all have meaning and a social/historical context - wether it be Harry Cox singing 'what will become of England' or Girls Aloud on MTV.

In conclusion, the way I see 'folk' music is that is that it is like a medieval re-enactment society. - We perform what we thought music was like many years ago. Often idealising it, or romantacising it. A theatrical performance of History. We treat the music like a play, as the re-enactment society does - a spectacle for others to observe. As Antonin Artaud would put it - Deadly Theatre.

I happen to be studying a Degree in Folk and Traditonal music at Newcastle University, which doesent make me superior or educated in any way. I dont want to give the impression that because I am studying 'Folk and Traditonal' music it makes me more knowledgeable than anyone else in any way because i dont feel like this - But if anything, it has made me look more critically at the 'folk' scene. Maybe not coming from a 'folky' family, its all a bit of a shock to the system.


I hope what i have said isnt too dysjunct or intelligable - ive just had too much coffee.

Please feel free to send me hate mail at otis_luxton@hotmail.com

Otis.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 05:14 PM

No Otis. Its very reassuring to hear from a young person like yourself that the accepted 'truths' and truisms of the folk revival are being questioned somewhere other than on the threads of mudcat.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 05:15 PM

ps the other side always win the argument though - there are more of them!


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: GUEST,Otis Luxton
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 05:19 PM

Weelittledrummer - i guess there will be more of the otherside, being Mudcat and all. but thanks for reading though. Im glad you think its the truth too. :)


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 05:38 PM

Otis, IMHO you need to read a lot of the linked threads here before accepting what WMD (oops, WLD) says - he has opposed the linkage of "folk" as a concept to what has gone before ever since I first online met him, and it is contrary to the ideology of a "folk art" however you slice it.

If you want to conceptualise the ideology of "folk" from a modern perspective, it would be useful to investigate the roots of "folk metal" which I at best imperfectly understand (but for an old fogey I am learning) but which I understand largely divides into two classes - the racist/fascist on the one hand and the historical/mythological on the other (funny, I wonder where Wagner goes).

I have a view that differs from yours (and his) but at this stage I urge you merely to review the old phrase "analysis before synthesis".

BTW old as I am I have pretty recently done sound for grunge postgrunge and metal bands and I am not unreceptive to re-invention, but we all have roots.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Tootler
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 05:51 PM

I came across this in another forum. I thought the person concerned had something interesting to say so I kept it. It refers to instrumental music rather than song, but much could be applied to song:

Traditional music, in my opinion, harks back to a time when communities were a horse ride away from each other and styles were localised. Tunes would be played at celebrations and would be known tunes within a particular community or group of communities. At weddings and other celebrations, dances would be a form of community bonding. Knowing the steps would be a form of cohesion, of belonging. New dances and styles would be slowly absorbed from the periphery, variations from the next village etc. Occasionally a newcomer would bring something new – a new instrument, a new dance a, new tempo, a new variation. This would be absorbed into the culture and molded into the repertoire. The industrial revolution started to distort traditional music, through mass migration, and the opening up of even the most isolated communities to the world. At the same time collectors with wonderful foresight started to gather tunes from areas, preserving in aspic many of the old traditional tunes, before they were lost. Mass communications, firstly radio, then TV, allowed music traditions to be both preserved, and diluted and distorted and marketed. New tunes in the tradition, so to speak, were composed in their thousands.
Lastly, the Internet has allowed musicians to communicate directly with each other, and express their own views on the traditional music, they can hear tunes from around the world. On the one hand all these modern innovations (from transport, through mass communications to the internet) have diluted traditional music and spread it to the four winds to be played by any musician with a whim to play it. Here in Scotland I can happily collect Appalachian music, Northumbrian music or Japanese music and add them to my repertoire of local tunes. Some I meet will only play local tunes, others have their specialities, cajun, bluegrass, shanties etc etc etc.

The important thing to me is that these tools have also allowed people who care about the traditional music of a locality to study and preserve it too. There will always be people who believe that the music should be preserved at all costs while others are open to any and all influences. One day, with the passing of oil, and mankind being thrown back onto the resources of the local community, the time may come again when a style of music and dance will identify us with a particular locality. Meantime we live in a time of unbounded richness of music, and I for one will play anything if it is a good tune and stirs some emotion in me and those who will listen to me.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: JHW
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 05:54 PM

Who pays for all this?


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: GUEST,Otis Luxton
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 05:58 PM

Hello Richard, thanks for your reply.

I'll be honest with you, without wanting to sound arrogant or rude, but your reply has confused me. Where did the 'folk metal' bit come from? - I know i made reference to German Death Metal in my post, but i didnt expect for someone to ask me to look at the roots of 'folk metal'.

But in response, I have experienced and looked at this kind of music. Like you say, you can compare it to Wagner and Nationalism (which can easily be confused with Racism/Facism) and historical/mytholocial kind of stuff. Its quite a popular trend in Scandanavia and northern Europe - for example music such as 'Viking Metal' which exists in Sweden. But just like the 'folky' scene, 'folk metal' it takes a highly stylized music, and encorperates it into another highly stylized music. - im not sure its much to do with roots, rather i feel its to do with mixing two sounds of music to create a 'quirky' and i feel gimmicky kind of music. Still though, you can argue the roots of 'folk' and 'metal' all day long.

Im not sure we can divide 'folk metal' so simply into the two classes of it either being racist/facist or historical mythological though. Although Wagner is known to be Hitlers favourite composer, I feel his music has alot of artistic merit, and is possibly a highlight in the Renaissance of Germanic Culture. - Just because Wagner made what we now call Nationalistic music, it doesent mean he was a Facist. ( which he actually probably might of been, considering his social group/context )

What does IMHO mean?

Otis.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 06:19 PM

"..claiming that such genres such as pop, rock and classical arent the 'peoples music'- people made this music, and therefore it belongs to them."

Well, Otis, I see your point, but "people made this music, and therefore it belongs to them." is something between a cliche and a tautology. It is very close to the old "I ain't heard no horse singing it" line.
   The point is not to debate whether some particualr word should be defined precisely or not... the point is that categories exist, and some people make special efforts to find, buy, listen to, collect and play & sing...varying types of music. There ARE people who listen mostly to orchestras playing 'classical' music & opera...so they need a word for it when they go to the music store or search for it online.
   Obviously, the same goes for Hip-Hop, Rap, Bluegrass, 'Country', Dixieland jazz, Heavy Metal...and many etcetras! Some people, like me for instance, discovered in the 50s & 60s a type of music which had most of its roots in older music & song that was traditionally played at home for fun and passed down orally for sometimes hundreds of years. As this music was gradually recorded and talked about, the terms 'folk' and 'traditional' were used to refer to it. It wasn't a clear, precisely defined area, but for 30-40 years it was pretty clear what was meant, even though the edges were often fuzzy!
Now, we often STILL need to refer to those old songs, tunes... and the people who kept that music alive. *IF* people keep crowding new genres and variants under the umbrella of 'folk', the word ceases to have much use at all! I can no longer say "I like 'folk' music" and be sure you will know what I mean.
I do NOT care much for 'electrified' folk, or most 'singer/songwriter' stuff...with certain exceptions. So... after most of my early years being able to say "I like 'folk' music, what am *I* supposed to do now to avoid spending my money badly when I see a 'folk' concert or festival advertised?

   I repeat, as I have repeated in this forum for over 10 years...if a word is used too broadly, it begins to have little meaning at all... The reason we HAVE different words & phrases is to differentiate between various categories..in places like stores and web sites and concerts.

   I am quite aware that I have essentially lost the battle to preserve 'folk' to mean music with a certain set of characteristics...the word is just too short, simple & useful.
But maybe, in little corners of the world, I can remind a few 'folks' what we are really dealing with.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: GUEST,Otis Luxton
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 06:39 PM

Bill D. - I completely agree with you on the necessity of having labels and categorys. - it helps things immensly and makes life alot easier. It also means we dont have to beat around the bush when we talk about things. And of course, there is a distict difference in sound between Chiago Blues, and Delta Blues for example - and having the labels is a great way of being able to talk about each individual style without great deals of confusion.

But, i think what I would like to clarify is that I think that the label 'Folk' is one that shouldnt really be applied as it currently is. - Folk is, undoubtedly a huge umbrella term for all sorts of music. But i think with the particular word 'folk' - it carries with it alot of meanings, connotations and ideas that arent particulary true to its actuall form. Furthermore, the word 'folk' isnt just used in reference to the music, its used in reference to the dance, food, philosophy and culture. Which i dont feel is very healthy as it is, like i say, some kind of re-enactment, which we cant live throughout our day to day lives because we dont live in the past.

Otis


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: M.Ted
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 08:54 PM

Otis--as much as I appreciate any mention of Antonin Artaud, in fact, the concept of "deadly theatre" comes from Peter Brook--


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 08:57 PM

In My Humble Opinion


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 09:48 PM

"I am quite aware that I have essentially lost the battle to preserve 'folk' to mean music with a certain set of characteristics..."

Did you ever stop to think that there might be a reason why the battle has been lost.

The sacred 1954 definition that so many people cling to seems to be misinterpreted more than anyone will admit to.   If you look at the "set of characteristics" that can be gleaned from using that definition as a guideline, you would see clearly that traditions live and are created,a true folklorist examines such trends and sees that connections.   Unfortunately, most people who cling to that definition seem to have a finite view of ONLY a small section of "folk music".


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 10:40 PM

Well, Ron... *I* have barely read that 1954 'definition'. I am trying to discuss, from a pragmatic viewpoint, what *I* am faced with....totally apart from your 'we all have to realize how things change and evolve' mantra. You do a radio show, and I am quite aware that it would have a hard time surviving if you limited programming to "Bill D's preferred format".
   Here in the DC area, our own Mary Cliff has made essentially the same point to me for years....yet she understands precisely what I am saying and tries hard to keep a 'reasonable' amount of.......whatever it is I am looking for - the 'older' sorts of folk.... alive and relevant. Sometimes, her program is excellent (in my view)...and sometimes it is full of newly written stuff, or older stuff 'speeded up and loudified' (to coin a phrase) by 'modern' young folks with LOTS of talent but not much perspective...and I end up turing it off.

Now, if I were running a radio station or financing a CD company...or even booking for festivals... I would no doubt realize that, in order to have listeners & customers, I have to offer what is 'popular'...and "louder and faster ...and more chords and navel gazing" IS a lot of what sells! Let's just be more candid about what it is and is not! It may have many roots in traditional folk, but it's very like the guy who claimed he owned George Washington's axe..."yeah, it's had 5 new handles and 2 new heads, but this is G.W.s axe!" He needs to call it something else...a 'replica'...whatever... and not use the words which should be reserved for the original.

    BECAUSE 'folks' have expanded and muddied the meaning and relevance of 'folk', I can no longer use it, except in certain situations, in its classic mode. *shrug*...so....I get by. As I said, I don't expect anyone to change and words... all I hope for is that the IDEA stays in the heads of enough people, even if it now takes 2-3 sentences to describe what used to be 'almost' clear in the phrase 'traditional folk'.

I would hope that that "true folklorist" you refer to can keep in HIS head some perspective on what the origins were, even as he "examines such trends and sees that (sic) connections."

I rest my case...now I go rest my body.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 11:25 PM

When I first became interested in folk music ~ along with MANY others, in the USA at least, back in the mid-1960s ~ the distinguishing characteristics of the genre were (a) genuine human feeling expressed in generally unpolished vocals and (b) a simple and straightforward instrumental sound devoid of "studio tricks" and orchestration.

This approach distinguished this newly popular old-style music from an earlier generation's favored theatrical-style songs and also from that era's rock n roll, which had lost most of the vitality characteristic of the first RnR/R&B recordings, znd had seemingly become the province of corporate interests intent upon "marketing" at the expense creative personal expression.

This "authentic" sound was about equally accessible in old-time/traditional folk (both as performed by "source" artsts and as reinterpreted by younger performers) and in the new music created by artists who would later be called "singer-songwriters." It was only in later years, and/or in other cultures, that contemporary compositions would become definitively excluded from the category of "folk" by some enthusiasts.

I certainly understand that some people will prefer art of one or another historical era and/or bygone culture, whether out of some kind of academic preference or simply because they like the sound. What irks me about some of the less tolerant of the "traditionalists" is their contention, implicit or otherwise, that their particular favorite subcategory of song is superior, and some how more valid, more heartfelt, more expressive of the communal feeling and experience of The Folk, than someone else's.

It is patently absurd for contemporary people, often fairly privileged economically and culturally, and almost always tuned into electronic commuications of various sorts, to pretend that they are "preserving" some long-gone and never-to-be-seen-again culture that evolved in relative isolation from the wider world. They are only enjoying the opportunity to attempt replication of the sound of recordings that they've been privileged to hear ~ nothing more.

All those preserved-in-amber songs and musical styles were the communial musical expression of various different human communities, but they're something different today. They're artifacts.

The human community to which all of us here belong today is international, electronically interconnected, and English-speaking by default. The musical culture that we all share, even when that "we" is self-defined as a group sharing special interest in music that is vaguely defined as "folk," includes plenty of music that we've all heard and, to different extents, enjoyed ~ almost none of which stands up to "the 1954 definition."

While we all have our different favorite areas of intense interest, the musical culture that we all share as "folk" of a common group includes, yes, the best-known traditional songs of older English and Celtic English-speaking cultures ~ but it also includes the best-known and deservedly enduring songs of the British music-hall and the American musical-comedy stage and movie screen, jazz "standards," blues, rock "oldies," country-and-western classics, Stax and Motown, "British Invasion" pop, "singer-songwriter" pseudo-folk, etc., etc., etc.

Without any intention of denigrating anyone's favorite subgenre, I content that this very broad range of popular (i.e., widely disseminated) music ~ essentially, anything one might sing around a campfire ~ constitutes the real folk music of the world we live in today.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 11:37 PM

"I would hope that that "true folklorist" you refer to can keep in HIS head some perspective on what the origins were, even as he "examines such trends and sees that (sic) connections." "

Or "her" head! :)   Just teasing! What I was saying is exactly that - a true folklorist would keep perspective on what the origins were.   The question is- there are many different cultures and communities, and many different origins.   I could be off base, but it seems what you are describing is a "folk" music that you are familiar with.


"Here in the DC area, our own Mary Cliff has made essentially the same point to me for years....yet she understands precisely what I am saying and tries hard to keep a 'reasonable' amount of.......whatever it is I am looking for - the 'older' sorts of folk.... alive and relevant. Sometimes, her program is excellent (in my view)...and sometimes it is full of newly written stuff, or older stuff 'speeded up and loudified' (to coin a phrase) by 'modern' young folks with LOTS of talent but not much perspective...and I end up turing it off."

I love Mary and I think we have similar perspectives. I try to do the same in terms of keeping the "older" sort of folk alive, but I do see a connection in contemporary music that tends to be overlooked. The idea of "speeded up and loudified" is an indication that the traditions you look at are based on musical styles that probably came out of the folk revival. If you look at how those styles were developed in the first place, you might see why the "speed up and loudified" contemporary style is simply a reflection of the culture that created it.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 11:54 PM

Ron-
You've convinced me. As of now, my two favorite examples of folk music are the Bach B Minor Mass and a chocolate eclair.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: GUEST,Otis Luxton
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 05:27 AM

- M. Ted.


Thanks ever so much for correcting me. Indeed it was Brook. I read both of the books at the same time, which was obviously a mistake, because i always mix the two up. ta da. Cheers


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 10:06 AM

Strange. No one in this thread has yet referred to (disinterred ?) "Horsemusic" - and I do not advert to the 'Topic' record by Lea Nicholson et al.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 10:20 AM

In the last analysis Otis - you must do what is right for you.

Folk is more of a smorgasbord than a set menu. Its no use saying the only real folkmusic is this or that. You might get up on stage and find you haven't got the right length fingers, the comic or narrative talents and your sound crap or you're boring everybody, or even worse - you're boring yourself.

Find some music you enjoy doing or writing about and give it your best. It position or non position in folkmusic will become apparent to you eventually.

Folk is a bit like God - it regardeth more the thoughts of the heart than outward displays.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 10:32 AM

"You've convinced me. As of now, my two favorite examples of folk music are the Bach B Minor Mass and a chocolate eclair. "

With all due respect Dick, you are being ridiculous. We have had this discussion in person and whether you wish to admit it or not, you know that I am NOT saying that "everything is folk music", but you seem to want to put those words in my mouth.

Dick, I respect the work you have done and I respect EVERYONE that has preserved and perpetuate TRADITIONAL folk music. I don't buy the fears that people like Jim Carroll have expressed about these traditions being lost because of an interest in the folk music that is created by contemporary cultures and communtities.

These discussions are getting more absurd because no one wants to listen to what the other person is saying and people cling to their own stubborn beliefs. I am really sick and tired of all the narrow minded attitudes that will only acknowledge one or two particular styles - usually something that starts with a British tradition - and fails to acknowledge that other cultures in contemporary settings are doing EXACTLY the same things that their ancestors did - utilizing the tools and modes of communication that are available. These expressions are dealing with the same issues and serving the same purpose.

No one is saying that you need to enjoy rap music in order to earn your folkie stripes. Everyone is certainly entitled to listen to music that appeals to their senses and satisfies their needs. At the same time, there is something seriously wrong when the organic process that created an interest in "folk music" can no longer be acknowledged.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 10:55 AM

I wonder if Jayto is still monitoring this discussion, or if he's already seen enough...


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 11:13 AM

Please note: I did not start it this time...


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: goatfell
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 11:27 AM

anything really, including rap? because the songs/tunes today in the future will be considered trad in centuries to come


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Jayto
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 11:27 AM

Yes PoppaGator I am checking it. Wondering what I have started here lol. I will have more input on this sometime today. I am in a rush right now running to a couple of sessions (Recording sessions for those across the pond lol I found out about the different meanings last week lol). When I get back I am going to add :)
cya


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 11:34 AM

If anyone really wants to get serious about defining "folk", he should recognize that there are several definitions currently in use: a sociological one, a literary one, a stylistic one, a performance one...and so on and so on. TRying to have a discussion on the subject without agreeing on which definition you wish to use is totally pointless.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 04:26 PM

I like chocolate eclairs, but someone tried to pass off one made with carob the other day...boy was HE sorry after my 2 hour lecture...

Poppa Gator:re:

"I contend that this very broad range of popular (i.e., widely disseminated) music ~ essentially, anything one might sing around a campfire ~ constitutes the real folk music of the world we live in today."

I know exactly what you mean, but I would express it differently. "Widely disseminated", to me, MEANS 'popular'...or pop-folk music. After it has been filtered and mellowed for a number of years, it may BECOME traditional and get absorbed into the realm of trad/folk. So, what the difference? Why get so picky? I just hope that using clarifying words can help retain clarity of thought and remind people that styles, melodies, topics (subject matter) and venues (how & why played) were quite different in earlier times. If they are all called the same thing each generation, no matter how different, who knows what chocolate eclairs will taste like in 100 years...


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 04:34 PM

...and, you note, that in a forum that tries to discuss Morris dancing and Child ballads, with an attached database filled with presumed 'folkish' music, we get threads started about the death of a guitarist in "Pink Floyd". To me, that is a clear sign that distinction are blurring and that many people just can't be bothered with silly categories...after all,"it's all just music".


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 05:09 PM

Hi Bill,

The furthest thing from my has been to "get picky." As I'm sure you can perceive, my intention is to open up areas for consideration, not to shrink 'em down.

And also, even though I may have allowed myself to be understood otherwise, I certainly understand that meaningful category-names or "labels" are necessary, just so we can understand each other, each knowing what the other is talking about.

I believe that "traditional" is the clearest label and most fitting name for the kind of music that some would like to be the only music graced with the honored name of "Folk." In fact "traditional" alone is probably inadequate; for more meaningfull identification, "traditional English," "traditional Appalachian," "traditional Bulgarian," etc., are probably more helpful.

When it comes to the meaning of "Folk" beyond, or deeper than, a simple category name to be used in music stores, the meaning that resonates with meaning as "of the people," etc., that's where I have to differ. The traditional folk music that many people embrace is NOT the primary "soundtrack" of anyone's lives in the present day, it's an historical curiosity and a hobby for those who so choose, not unlike interest in classical "early music" as performed on valveless horns and other obsolete intruments. Not that there's anything wrong with that; I'm simply arguing that such music is very much less central to our community life than it was when it was current, that is, when it was folk music.

Quoting you, in regard to the wide spectrum of popular contemporary music:
"After it has been filtered and mellowed for a number of years, it may BECOME traditional and get absorbed into the realm of trad/folk."


You're right, insofar as not all the songs widely known and enjoyed today will withstand the test of time. Thing is, we don't yet know which will survive and which won't. For now, we simply share a huge and motley assortment of music; ALL of it is the communal property of us 21st-century internationally connected folk.

Now, compare our shared contemporary musical heritiage with the then-current folk music of some 17th century fishing village. The best of their songs may remain known to this day, but certainly not all of them. I'm sure they had a number of other songs that did not, in the long run, prove resilient enough to gain immortality. Still, back then when they were current, they were part of that culture's "folk music." I feel the same status should be conceded to all the songs that all or most of us recognize today; some will live forever and some won't, and we have no idea which are which.

Do I think CDs of "Louie Louie" or "Over the Rainbow" should be labelled as "folk" in the record stores (insofar as record stores still exist)? Of course not. I am simply arguing the position that, labels aside, the best and/or beast-loved music of many different categories functions as the "folk music" of our new, unprecedented, communal, global world.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: GUEST,A Traddie
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 05:16 PM

Back in the "dim dark ages" there were some people who discovered the music of the peasantry, farmers and the like and they started collecting this music (which probably would be lost by now if not for their efforts). They needed a name for this music and hence the term "Folk Music" was born along with a definition which is largely unknown now. As time went by other people who did not know of this definition or bother to do any research were a bit confused by what the term "Folk Music" meant and started formulating their own ideas as can be seen by all the comments made on threads such as this, to the point where it is now very muddy water. My main musical interest is in the music this term was originally devised to cover but I don't care how wide the compass is now as it helps to draw more people to this genre. A small number of them will be attracted to the original folk by their exposure hence the wider coverage will help to keep the older music alive and will provide "a venue" for this music. I also enjoy the wide diversity of music that can be heard on the folk scene today.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 03:52 AM

The original version of 'Louie Louie' - calypso and lyric sounds very much like a folksong to me. Certanly has the feel of an old sailor's song - and something in the lyrics - I bet it's first cousin to a shanty something like Lowlands Away, my John.

Nobody else ever thought that...?


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 05:22 AM

What still puzzles me, after all these years, and all the hot air, is why are some people so desperate to have their own favourite form of music accepted as folk?


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: glueman
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 10:43 AM

Folk is easy to find: just follow the anger.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 12:35 PM

Hello Gluey! Where ya been?

I've given up on definitions. It's much better fun listening to the damned stuff, rather than spewing out 54 ways of shouting yerself horse...


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 12:43 PM

"What still puzzles me, after all these years, and all the hot air, is why are some people so desperate to have their own favourite form of music accepted as folk? "

A better way to phrase your question would have been:
"... why are some people so desperate to have music that they do not like or understand disputed as fitting the definition of folk?"


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 12:48 PM

Well Ron-
Let's reverse the field a bit. What don't you consider to be folk?


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 12:53 PM

I keep feeling like a broken record. folk song and folk music are for people who want
to share their music in a musical community that isn't catered to by commercialism,
professionalism or some grey-bearded academic's idea of what it is.

It transcends definitions by its application.

It's accessible (folk) and doesn't require singing on stage or on TV.

It's not for the purpose of making money. That's bs.

It happens in living rooms, front porches, sometimes as a lullaby, sometimes as
a work song or schoolyard chant. It is constantly changing as people add to it,
new verses, new variants and is never frozen in time.

It is a might river (not wind) and has many tributaries.

Sometimes it is filtered through someone who speaks for a given community or
sometimes it is the lifted voices and instruments of those in a community.
It heals because it brings people together.

My friend Mark Dvorak put it this way, "To be able to play the blues, I once heard, you have to be born with the blues. Well, I wasn't. And the world of jazz is filledwith cats who are hip and cool. I'm not. And rock music has been entwined forever with the dazzle of celebrity life. I don't care anymore. I like folk music. It's for the rest of us."


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: glueman
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 01:16 PM

Jus' hanging Spleen, jus' hanging. And writing a book that isn't about folk. Still look in but I'm all outta wordz.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 01:21 PM

Promoting "folk singers" today is kind of like promoting "stars".
That's a real oxymoron.

It's like saying that politicians and preachers are the American people.
Or that they really represent the American people.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 01:30 PM

"What don't you consider to be folk? "

Broadway show tunes, rock and roll, and classical for a start. Music that is created for a commercial purpose and not coming "from" a community but rather "directed at" a community.

Now Dick, can you tell me what you consider folk music.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 01:32 PM

"I keep feeling like a broken record. folk song and folk music are for people who want to share their music in a musical community that isn't catered to by commercialism, professionalism or some grey-bearded academic's idea of what it is."

Very well put Frank!!


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Jayto
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 01:45 PM

It seems to me that anything with acoustic instruments is called folk. I know it is not right but that is what I run up against alot. I play all kinds of different styles of music. My instrument of choice is an acoustic guitar. I swear I can get up and play nothing but rock gat off stage and somone will say something about it being bluegrass or folk. I am not sure if the general public doesn't know what folk or not. I think traditional is a good term for it. I always point out traditional songs when I play them. Alot of times I will give a short history of the song before playing it. When I am around home I like to tell the people about the songs that are more local. It gives them a connection to the song and hopefully it will stick in thier heads a little better. Of course I say that because I want the old songs to live not as a way of marketing myself. I want to be clear about that. As far as the Folk Metal movement that someone mentioned earlier I have listened to some of it a few years back. I sometimes get on wikipedia and look at the different musical genres trying to find something I have never head before. That is a good way to find styles you may otherwise miss. I came across that genre one time and checked it out. Don't stone me or anything but I thought it was pretty cool not something I would really get into. It reminded me of Norwegian Death Metal with fiddles lol. What I heard (and I haven't listened to tons of artists from this style) takes the term folk from an idealogical point and from using traditional instruments mixed with the Metal. I don't really see much Folk in it other than that. If there are some better examples than what I heard let me know and I will check it out. I missed the whole Wagner thing. I know the socialism aspect and yeah he was Hitlers fav (He saw Tristan over 7 times alone). Are you saying Wagner was folk? If so would KMFDM and bands that use Wagner as sampling in thier music Folk? If so I guess it would be industrial/folk/metal/NGM lol just kidding but someone clarify a little on the Wagner thing. I have been in a big rush all week and just glanced over the posts so if I got something wrong let me know. Speaking of rush I have to go. Check back later
cya
JT


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 01:50 PM

Ron-
"Music that is created for a commercial purpose and not coming "from" a community but rather "directed at" a community. "

Now consider who's appearing at virtually every folk festival, and tell me that they don't fit that description.

To me, "Folk" (at least as far as it goes in terms of professional performance) would suggest a strong connection with the style (and type of content) of past traditions. To repeat what I've said many times, "Folk" is NOT a value judgment. I like a lot of music that I don't consider to be folk, and I dislike a lot of music that i do
so consider.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 01:59 PM

"Now consider who's appearing at virtually every folk festival, and tell me that they don't fit that description. "

They do not fit that description.

To begin with, if commercial interests were the major criteria, they would not be performing at a "folk" festival. The music comes from past traditions - a more recent vintage that can be traced to the folk revival and the community that it spawned.   Even though there are known authors, the music evolved from a singer-songwriter style that can be traced back to artists like Woody Guthrie. They also use the form of traditional music. Some use the form and update it to reflect changes in the culture.

" "Folk" is NOT a value judgment."
I would think we are all in agreement on that.


"To me, "Folk" (at least as far as it goes in terms of professional performance) would suggest a strong connection with the style (and type of content) of past traditions."

The only issue is that most professional performers have very little connection with the past traditions other than as students or observers.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 02:26 PM

Ron, I think Dick's point is well taken. Just because a professional (i.e., "commercial") performer makes his/her living on a relatively modest scale, rather than by playing huge arenas, does NOT ipso facto make them folk performers. Their tastes, abiliites, etc., help to determine what kind of audience they can appeal to, how large a demographic, what age group, etc. They're still doing it for money, even when the money is not obscenely huge, but merely "a comfortable living."

Acoustic performers who have managers and spend weeks at a time on tour buses are "commercial," even though they don't appear in the pages of People magazine and don't attract crowds of papparazzi. Their audience may be concentrated in college towns, not is the suburbs of every metropolitan area, but it's an audience that a performer might well learn to reach using a very calculated, strategic approach.

Such performers may well be classified under the category of "Folk" as a way to finds their CDs at the music store, but Dick has a point in arguing that what they're doing is NOT, strictly speaking, "folk music" in the same way that those old traditional numbers WERE folk music in their native environments and eras.

On the other hand, you and me sitting on the porch swapping songs, without the slightest thought of remuneration, IS folk music ~ even if we don't do a single "traditional" number and play nothing but Beatles songs, Everly Brothers, "Over the Rainbow," "Hey Joe," "Mr. Tambourine Man," etc. etc.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 02:41 PM

"Just because a professional (i.e., "commercial") performer makes his/her living on a relatively modest scale, rather than by playing huge arenas, does NOT ipso facto make them folk performers."

I agree, that is not what I meant. As you noted "a performer might well learn to reach using a very calculated, strategic approach" and that is a different perspective, reason AND tradition that separates them from the community.

Many of the source singers that we can thank were paid - that does not negate that the song came out of a folk tradition.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Peace
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 02:48 PM

With no offence to anyone on this thread, I have come to detest the term 'folk music'.

Folk songs have informed and thus helped me write the non-folk stuff I do these days. They are songs from my past that my grandfather taught me. But he played harmonica, piano and had a wonderful tenor voice. He sang songs he liked. That's all. He was never hung up on what 'kind' of song it was. His musical tastes were many and varied. IMO, he would not have understood what all the arguing is about.

BTW, he was English--from the UK.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 03:48 PM

ah well! blody English! they're always causing trouble. getting pissed and fighting with the Irish, calling the Welsh taffys and the Scots a load of mean gits.

you were off to shakey start with such disreputable antecedents, Bruce.

better off where you are, I'd keep quiet about the English. they're not popular, and many of them have strange sexual habits.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Penny S.
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 05:10 PM

I've been worrying about songs I grew up with which came from Community Song Books published by newspapers for crowds to sing together in halls in the 20s and 30s. And the National Song Book, published for schools. Some are not what I would think of as folk, having named authors, such as Arne, but others are clearly rooted in a folk tradition, while edited for polite society. (Sometimes not what we would think of as polite when the source is south of the Mason-Dixon line.) Some are like Villikins and his Dinah, which has passed through the music hall.

Are these songs folk?

Penny


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: GUEST,Jayto
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 05:11 PM

I never really stated the reason for starting this thread. For years now I have ran into VERY biased musicians and fans. Die hards for whatever genre they prefer have always gone out of thier way to point out why I am not thier particular favorite genre. Now almost everyone has been cool about it with some exceptions but in general they have been cool about my playing and cool to me. After years of hearing from different people "your too rock." , "your too folk.", "your too country." I thought well I'll just ask what folk is. I think this was one of my first posts on here. I have really enjoyed reading everyone's posts. Musically I am just going to be me and play what I like to play. Out of curiosity I just wanted to ask. Thanks for the posts
JT


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 02:10 PM

Well, if you've learned anything from this, it's that there are as many definitions of "folk" as there are people wanting to offer definitions.

I've argued for my particular point of view pretty often, probably too often. I've seen these "What Is Folk?" thread title pop up over and over again, and often tell myself that I won't even open them up and read them, let alone participate. But sooner or later, I usually yield to temptation and start shooting my big mouth off.

Every time I do so, I seem to learn at least a little something, and/or to develop a little deeper insight. Here's my latest musing:

My usual argument (or "hobbyhorse"), that the "real" folk music of today's world includes a wide variety of well-known stuff not all of which meets most other folks' meanings of "Folk," is based on my idea of the function of folk music ~ i.e., what is the commonly-known music shared among people who play and sing for their own edificaton and amusement, and who are alive today?

Folk music as a label is an entirely different concept. What meaning of "Folk" serves the useful purpose of identifying one style of performance, one binful of recordings, one concert series, one festival, etc., from others? In this context, a much narrower meaning is called for than that of my vision of "what functions as our folk music today."

However, there is some danger, or more preceisely some futility, in arguning for TOO narrow a defintion for the label of "Folk." Labels, indeed words, have no meaning at all beyond whatever meaning is shared by everyone involved.

Some people may wish that the word "folk" would apply only to one tightly restricted category of music ~ the one that they prefer ~ to the exclusion of all others. Unfortunately, widespread agreement on any really definitive meaning is unlikely to ever occur.

We simply have to be satisifed with the status quo, where "folk" has many diverse meanings, but where most of us can perceive the general idea of its meaning in different contexts. We also should be able to recognize circumstances where we won't be sure what meaning is in force.

For example, a given event may be advertised as a "folk concert" or "folk festival." Surely, we should all realize that all different kinds of music may or may not be included when that "magic word" is invoked ~ but, depending upon our knowledge of the context (venue, region, promoter, past history, etc., etc.), we certainly should be able to determine whether the proceedings will be to our individual taste, OR, we should realize that we won't be sure without asking around, doing research, etc.

There is certainly no excuse for showing up for a "folk" event and then protesting that "This isn't folk!" (i.e., "This isn't MY idea of folk!) if you didn't do your homework first.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 06:14 PM

Of course, if you have to depend "...upon our knowledge of the context (venue, region, promoter, past history, etc., etc.), we certainly should be able to determine whether the proceedings will be to our individual taste, OR, we should realize that we won't be sure without asking around, doing research, etc.", you're saying that the word "folk in the "folk concert" or "folk festival" is essential;ly meaningless. Which makes for difficulties in going to hear people of whom you're not familiar, unless you have a lot more spare money and time than I do.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 07:05 PM

: the musical culture that we all share as "folk" of a common group includes, yes, the best-known
: traditional songs of older English and Celtic English-speaking cultures ~ but it also includes
: the best-known and deservedly enduring songs of the British music-hall and the American
: musical-comedy stage and movie screen, jazz "standards," blues, rock "oldies,"
: country-and-western classics, Stax and Motown, "British Invasion" pop, "singer-songwriter"
: pseudo-folk, etc., etc., etc.

Who is this "we"? I'd never heard of "Stax" until you mentioned it there, I've heard less Motown than Balinese gamelan and a *lot* less C&W than 20th century chamber music. I don't see any point in that random assemblage of genres - are you saying that if you like one you'll like them all? Certainly not true for me - more than half of that list are things I've never paid money to hear and some are things I actively switch off or leave the room to avoid.

Other people have made this point before, but if you aren't a member of the north-east North American middle class your exposure to singer-songwriter music is going to be pretty limited.

You have also left out techno and its descendant genres, which are FAR more prevalent in the public sphere where I am than any of the forms you mention. Just listen to what leaks out of iPods on the bus.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 08:36 PM

Poppagator-
What you're using as a definition of "folk" is the sociological/cultural anthropological one...how artistic expression fitS into a particular culture. A good and useful definition...but by no means the only one.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 19 Sep 08 - 10:17 AM

"but by no means the only one"

"we should realize that we won't be sure without asking around, doing research, etc.", you're saying that the word "folk in the "folk concert" or "folk festival" is essential;ly meaningless. Which makes for difficulties in going to hear people of whom you're not familiar, unless you have a lot more spare money and time than I do."

Dick, I'm not sure what you are driving at here. You seem to acknowledge that the are different definitions of "folk" based on different positions, but you seem to still argue for a singular definition. Earlier you acknowleged that there are many definitions and that "If anyone really wants to get serious about defining "folk", he should recognize that there are several definitions currently in use: a sociological one, a literary one, a stylistic one, a performance one...and so on and so on."

I think Poppagator's assessment of the "issue" is a very good summary.   We are talking about art and culture, and to force it into pre-sized cubbyholes does a disservice and ignores the infinite influences that make up folk music.


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: TinDor
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 09:01 PM

To me "Folk" music is any nations/ethnic groups, roots music which all of their there forms are roots in. So Appalachian, Blues, Calypso, Samba, Cuban Son etc... are all Folk


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: TinDor
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 09:06 PM

**To me "Folk" music is any nations/ethnic groups, roots music that all of their forms are rooted in**


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Subject: RE: What do you consider Folk?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 09:30 PM

Songs about people and where they live, I don't know, maybe things like this
Songs about love life like this

I'm not sure either would fail content rules some explain to me about what a folk song is. I like them btw but they don't form part of my own "folk music enjoyment".


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