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tv and traditional music

The Sandman 26 Apr 09 - 02:40 PM
MartinRyan 26 Apr 09 - 02:57 PM
The Sandman 26 Apr 09 - 04:36 PM
MartinRyan 26 Apr 09 - 04:45 PM
akenaton 27 Apr 09 - 03:13 AM
SteveMansfield 27 Apr 09 - 03:19 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Apr 09 - 03:42 AM
Will Fly 27 Apr 09 - 03:52 AM
GUEST,Jim Martin 27 Apr 09 - 06:29 AM
melodeonboy 27 Apr 09 - 06:41 AM
The Sandman 27 Apr 09 - 07:21 AM
Dave Sutherland 27 Apr 09 - 07:44 AM
The Sandman 27 Apr 09 - 07:52 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Apr 09 - 12:21 PM
The Sandman 27 Apr 09 - 12:36 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Apr 09 - 01:48 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Apr 09 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,Jim Martin 27 Apr 09 - 06:32 PM
GUEST,iancarterb 27 Apr 09 - 11:45 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Apr 09 - 03:04 AM
Marje 28 Apr 09 - 04:45 AM
The Sandman 28 Apr 09 - 07:27 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Apr 09 - 02:58 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 28 Apr 09 - 03:17 PM
The Sandman 28 Apr 09 - 03:38 PM
MartinRyan 28 Apr 09 - 03:45 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Apr 09 - 07:11 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Apr 09 - 02:12 AM
Peace 29 Apr 09 - 03:39 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Apr 09 - 03:45 AM
GUEST,Peace 29 Apr 09 - 03:57 AM
The Sandman 29 Apr 09 - 05:05 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Apr 09 - 06:02 AM
The Sandman 29 Apr 09 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 29 Apr 09 - 08:08 AM
Marje 29 Apr 09 - 08:11 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Apr 09 - 08:47 AM
The Sandman 29 Apr 09 - 09:26 AM
Marje 29 Apr 09 - 10:36 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Apr 09 - 11:04 AM
greg stephens 29 Apr 09 - 11:13 AM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 29 Apr 09 - 11:21 AM
High Hopes (inactive) 29 Apr 09 - 12:55 PM
High Hopes (inactive) 29 Apr 09 - 12:59 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Apr 09 - 02:35 PM
The Sandman 30 Apr 09 - 01:16 PM
The Sandman 30 Apr 09 - 01:18 PM
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Subject: tv and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 02:40 PM

I have it on good authority,that certain traditional programmes on Irish television,are produced with more emphasis on good photography,than quality of music.
I am not talking about musical incompetence,the playing is competent,but the musicians appear to be bored stiff,because they are having to play the same set of tunes,many times,so that the camera crew can get a good shot of someone tapping their foot.,
these programmers seem to be stilted and artificial,its about time tg4 copped on,and got their musical priorities right[first or second takes,whilst the music still has life and spontaneity],if camera crews need six takes before they get a good shot they shouldnt be doing the job.
I want to hear spontaneous lively music ,rather than music that has suffered because of some guy wanting to get a better photo.
how do others feel?


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: MartinRyan
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 02:57 PM

Have you tried it without the pictures i.e. radio?

Regards


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 04:36 PM

yes ,I agree thats generally better.


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: MartinRyan
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 04:45 PM

Given that TV has to mix the visual and the audio - and give primacy to the former most of the time - we have to hope that it draws in more (new) people with the former than it loses with the latter. After all, as I implied, you can always close your eyes! "Rough and ready" takes will often put off the casual or inexperienced viewer, even if the cognoscenti recognise the brilliance of the music! At least TG4 TRIES!

Regards


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: akenaton
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 03:13 AM

At least TG4 treats traditional music with a little respect, wish we had something like it on BBC.
They also give a platform to folk like Tony McMahone, who can remind us of the history of the music and its place in society.
The Irish have also done well to bring forward traditional dance in tandam with the music, over here, dance has been completely ignored, as the musicians struggle for their "fifteen minutes of fame"


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 03:19 AM

Oh to be in the happy position to have so much music on TV to complain about.

Judging by what crops up on YouTube, TG4 broadcast a lot of traditional and tradition-based music. Would that the BBC in England did the same - I see lots of stuff cropping up on the iPlayer from BBC Scotland and BBC Alba, and the occasional thing from BBC Northern Ireland, but (apart from the occasional morsel on BBC4, fighting for time with jazz and blues and soul and ... and ... ) there is very little traditonal music of any description on BBC England.

Acts who appear on TV and look bored or fed up with the process are doing themselves a disservice, in the presentation of themselves as performers.

The presentation of traditional music on TV as if it were a session or a house party is an artifice, an illusion, a chimera of the music's native setting. Filming at an actual session would be impossible and impossibly intrusive, as the conditions are just not condusive to getting decent sound and visuals - so instead the TV production companies strive to recreate a televisual illusion of that environment (the most bizarre example I've seen recently being the Celtic Connections highlight programme where all the acts are sat round one side of pub tables with half-empty drinks artfully arranged so they don't block the camera angles, and the woman presenter starts each link is pretending to be a barmaid at the pub!).

Alternatively the music is presented on stage in a concert-type setting, or filmed live at gigs or festivals, in which case precisely the same rules apply for traditional music as for any other concert music in terms of making-it-look-and-sound-good-on-the-TV.

Either way the performers know what they are getting into when they sign up to do the TV programme. I'm not talking about fly-on-the-wall mock-reality documentaries, and I've frequently had cameras shoved in my face in mid-tune and know how intrusive and disruptive that is. I'm talking about the presentation of one medium, eg music, on a foreign medium, eg television. If the performers in question aren't prepared to accept that presenting the music on that foreign form is worth the inevitable consequences and compromises that entails, they are missing an opportunity to present themselves to their core existing audience and possibly to gain new interest.

If, as a musician, you appear on television, you are no longer playing by your rules as a musician, you are playing by television's rules. That is the nature of the beast, and if you don't accept that, you're the one who comes off looking worse.


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 03:42 AM

Hi Cap'n,
I remember attending a lecture given by Tony McMahon years ago on the subject of the visual presentation of traditional music on the media (may still have it on tape somewhere).
I remember thinking at the time "how do you present something visually, which is fundamentally aural?" - no ready formula springs to mind.
Can anybody suggest how they would do it?
Come to think of it, I can't remember any television programme or film (apart maybe from Jazz on a Summer's Day) which does successfully do the trick.
I can remember instances where it very spectacularly hasn't worked. Excellent American film-maker, John Cohen once made a film on English traditional music. One of the sequences showed Walter Pardon singing The Broomfield Hill, and when he came to the verse:

Then nine times she did go to the crown of his head,
Nine times to the soles of his feet

Up went the camera to the top of the singer's head, then it moved slowly down the length of his body until it came to - you guessed it - his feet.
It's different if the brief of the film-maker is wider than just the actual music, such as the beautiful film made on our late friend and neighbour, concertina player Kitty Hayes, where they were able to make good use of location shots of her background, her home, the local session.... etc, but even there, it would be hard to imagine what they would have done if the film had been longer than the half hour it was. Also with something like Folk Brittania which, for me, was superb (visually) because of the old footage they were able to search out.
As a performer Cap'n, how would you like to see yourself presented?
Thanks for a thought provoking question.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 03:52 AM

I thought the "Transatlantic Sessions 3" was an excellent production on BBC4. The music was intelligently filmed and presented with a minimum of fuss and blether. I know it was a "studio" situation, even though presented in a big house setting, but the music was superb and the filming was appropriate.

Seeing and hearing Russ Barenberg playing "The Drummers Of England" with the snow falling in the background window shot was a great TV experience. I bought the 2 DVD set on the back of that series, and it's worth every penny.

So, it can be done.


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 06:29 AM

I guess if we are never (it seems) going to get a TV channel devoted to trad music, we'll just have to keep on badgering the likes of BBC4, TG4, BBC Alba, ITV Scotland, Sky Arts which do, at least, give something - TO PLEASE DO A LOT MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: melodeonboy
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 06:41 AM

If you have cable television and "Catch up on Demand" (or, presumably, if you live in Scotland!), it's worth looking at the programmes produced by the Scottish service BBC ALBA (mentioned above). They seem to have a fair number of programmes on "Catch up", and quite a lot of them are music programmes, e.g. Julie Fowlis and band performing at Celtic Connections, Davy Spillane performing in a pub setting, likewise a fabulous Asturian band (which was comicly translated from the Gaelic as "Austrian"! - that must have confused some people!).


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 07:21 AM

in answer to Jims question,I would like the best music to be recorded,to me its irrelevant that it is television,the producer should have a knowledge of traditional music,and should consider music before photography.
musicians performances are being ruined by the photographers insistence upon doing loads of takes,so that the cameramen can get good photo shots,consequently although the final product is competent,much of the life and joy of playing has been squeezed out.
it is very difficult for anty musician to play with zest and enthusisam,after seven or eight takes of the same tunes.
my priority is the sound of the music not the image.
we do not need to see peoples feet tapping,producers should not have to tell the audience to tap their feet,[if the music is good enough people will be tapping their feet anyway]as a musician/singer what is important is the music,if I need to have images,shots of the players fingering their instruments are useful,but are still of secondary importance to the actual music.


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 07:44 AM

Way back in 1975 BBC wanted to film the Birtley Folk Club Christmas Ceilidh for the opening programme of Omnibus 1976. The proviso issued by the Elliott family was that the recording must be "warts and all" i.e. no songs or tunes would be re-done, singers would be chosen as if it was a normal club night and no particular performer would be "showcased"
The resulting broadcast brought forth a number of enthusiastic reports saying it was the best example of folk music televised to date; it also produced an equal number of reports saying that it was the worst example.


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 07:52 AM

furthermore it is not the nature of the medium,for example, Nicholas Carolans archive programmes, capture musicans playing spontaneously,subsequently IMO The programmes are much better,it matters little to me,that Denis Murphy wears thick glasses ,what matters is what he is doing with the fiddle .
the difference beteween the two approaches one highly artificial the other natural, is reflected in the musicians performances.
that should be the criteria,when making musical programmes whether they are television or radio.
if the camera crew,need to force the musicians to do many takes[to the detriment of the music] ,so that they can get good shots,they are not up to it as cameramen.,that sort of thing should be sorted out before hand,or at least in not more than two or three takes.


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 12:21 PM

Cap'n,
The question in the end is what do you show on the screen while the music is being played - what do you want the viewer to see?
As much as I love Kevin Burke's fiddle playing, the last thing I want to watch while he magics his way through Bonny Kate and Jenny's chickens is the top of his head.
For me it boils down to whether there is a place for simple performed music on film - it's a question that has never been convincingly answered for me.
Jim


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 12:36 PM

as a viewer I want to see his fiddle and his fingers,but what I see is of secondary importance to what I hear.In fact I could happily watch the tele with my eyes shut


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 01:48 PM

"I want to see his fiddle and his fingers,"
For the length of a whole programme???
"I could happily watch the tele with my eyes shut"
If you're giving lessons in this I'll be on the next train to Kerry
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 03:49 PM

"TO PLEASE DO A LOT MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "
Hi Jim Martin,
Sorry, meant to respond to this earlier.
While I have no desire to throw the cat among the pigeons (sorry – I'm lying; I'm delighted for the opportunity to clamber onto my favourite hobby-horse); I strongly believe that the question of media access rests, if not completely, certainly to a great extent in the hands of the folk song/music enthusiasts themselves.
The scales didn't suddenly fall from the eyes of the Irish media establishment regarding the social and cultural importance and marketability of traditional music. Fifteen/twenty years ago traditional music was still regarded with contempt by them upstairs - diddly-di music was the common term for it. What gains have been made have been won as a result of the music scene here getting up off their collective arses and getting their own act together and treating their music with enough respect to improve standards - self respect has won the respect that the music now has. It is this and this alone which has turned the scene round and guaranteed that the music will still be played for at least another two generations.
If I hear another Brit folkie tell me that standards are not necessary for the performance of folk song, or that they no longer know what folk music is, or "why think about it, or make any serious effort to sing or play it, let's just enjoy it" - just like Violet Elizabeth Bott - I'll scweam and scweam, and scweam.
Nobody is going to go out of their way to take our music seriously if we don't respect it ourselves, if we allow our clubs to be practice sessions for out-of-tune singers reading from a crib-sheet and near-enough-for-folk-music musicians who can't bother their arses to get their instruments in tune.
If I'd have taken a collection every time somebody told me that the above attitude was not only acceptible but desirable so as not to scare the horses (on this forum and elsewhere) I'd have gathered in enough cash to buy a TV station to present wall-to-wall folk music seven nights a week, twelve months of the year.
Nobody loves a crap musician who won't try to improve, and if I were still a Brit tax or licence fee payer I'd be grateful for that fact - sorry!!!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 06:32 PM

Not sure what you're saying Jim - so do you not think it worthwhile pressurising the aforementioned TV channels to give us more?


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: GUEST,iancarterb
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 11:45 PM

The best TV sound is a good CD over a silent hockey or baseball game video. OK, football in the UK.


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 03:04 AM

"……….pressurising the aforementioned TV channels to give us more"
More what Jim?
It was proposed on a recent thread that 'folk' should be defined as anything that takes place within the confines of a 'designated folk context' – i.e. a folk club. The proposer proudly told us that "Blues, Shanties, Kipling, Cicely Fox Smith, Musical Hall, George Formby, Pop, County, Dylan, Cohen, Cash, Medieval Latin, Beatles, Irish Jigs and Reels, Scottish Strathspeys, Gospel, Rock, Classical Guitar, Native American Chants, Operatic Arias and even the occasional Traditional Song and Ballad" all performed "irrespective of ability" were what passed for folk music at his club.
It has been consistently argued on this forum that standards of performance are not required for the playing and singing of song and music at folk clubs; on one occasion it was suggested that by raising standards you risked driving singers of lesser ability away; 'long live mediocrity' were the words used.
Is that how you see our music – is that what you want to offer the public as representing folk music and song? It's certainly not mine.
Can you imagine the 'Geantraí' format being used to present such clubs? Do you think that any responsible television or radio producer would be prepared to venture his or her arm by presenting programmes of such standard and content – and even if they did, how would that benefit folk music as a whole?
The sea change in the fortunes of Irish music came from within the music scene itself, via events such as The Willie Clancy Summer School, the tribute weekends (Micho Russell, Joe Heaney, Mrs Crotty, Diarmuid O Súilleabháin… et al), the setting up of The Irish Traditional Music Archive, teachers such as Bríd O Donoghue's music classes...... etc. It was though these and many more events and actions that standards were raised to the level where the music was taken seriously and the media (and the Irish arts establishment as a whole) were presented with an offer they could not refuse.
I believe that a serious cleaning out of the Augean stables has to take place in Britain before such a change can take place there.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: Marje
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 04:45 AM

In some ways you're absolutely right, Jim. English folk often does itself no favours and therefore we shouldn't be surprised that outsiders dont' tkae it seriously.

And yet, and yet ... there is so much good stuff going on in clubs and festivals that doesn't get promoted. At many local clubs, there are excellent, thoroughly entertaining performers who get up and sing/play alongside the excruciatingly bad ones.

There are various summer schools, "workshop" weekends, competitions etc around the country, which reveal some tremendous talent, but (as you say) there is always someone in the background muttering "I bet Walter Pardon never had a singing lesson!" or "Competition spoils everything," rather than enjoy and celebrate excellence and high standards.

Marje

Open sessions in pubs can be a real eye-opener (ear-opener?) for the uninitiated. Often, when non-folkies stumble across such gatherings, they're amazed and delighted, and very impressed at how well we play and improvise together without any written notes or apparent rehearsal. Once when a few of us played at a local village event, we were asked if we had a CD, which made us laugh, as we - that particular combination of people - had never actally played together before.

What I'm saying is yes, we need to weed out the lazy, the tuneless, the hoplessly deluded performers, but we also need to respect and cherish what's good and worth promoting.


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 07:27 AM

jim.while competence is necessary,it is not number one priority,number one priority is musicality.
my preference is for musicality with competence,but I would rather listen to a passionate musical performer who made one or two errors,than a competent but boring performer.
that does not mean I condone unpractised performances.
some of the traditional music I see on television,is competent but has had all the spontaneity driven out of it,because the producer has made the performers play the music ad nausaem so the cameraman can get good shots.


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 02:58 PM

"but I would rather listen to a passionate musical performer....."
Sorry Cap'n - not for the first time you've lost me completely.
Are you suggesting that passionate singers aren't competent, or that competent singers lack passion - can't we have both?
Good singing, as far as I'm concerned, is a balance of the two - surely?
This thread, which you started, is about our relationship with the media. If we are going to have any credibility with them - with arts bodies in order to further our music - with the world in general, we are going to have to be good at what we do and how we present what we believe to be important.
By the way, for most people musicality isn't found under a goosberry bush but has to be worked for; it's part of an aquired technique for most of us.
Marje,
I agree with much of what you say regarding what goes on at SOME clubs and festivals; unfortunately we are judged by everything that goes on and quite often it's the crap that floats to the top. Our image is one of deliberate amaturism in the worst sense - "we're only doing it for fun, so why make the effort?"
"I bet Walter Pardon never had a singing lesson!"
This is one of those lovely "folksong is as unconcious as birdsong" arguments which sinks to the ground the moment that somebody like Joe Heaney or Paddy Tunney or Phil Tanner or Harry Cox opened their mouths.
Let me tell you about Walter.
He grew up in a household where singing was a regular event, Harvest Suppers, Christmas, Birthdays, Agricultural Workers Union meetings.... whenever.
Unlike those of his own age, he took to the old songs and memorised them, though the opportunity for him to sing them wasn't great - 'older people's privilege'.
He sat for years learning songs and singing from his two uncles, who both died at the beginning of the 40s When he returned home from the war he began writing out his family's songs in an exercise book, painstakingly filling in gaps from other family members. He kept the tunes alive by playing them on a melodeon.
Shortly after this the last of his family died and he was left at home alone, singing to himself and playing the melodeon.
In the early seventies his nephew persuaded him that the songs were important, so he bought a tape recorder and spent four months recording about a dozen songs - we have a hilarious recording of him describing the process, blow by blow.
When he started to sing in clubs he would practice each song carefully until he was totally satisfied with it. He seldom forgot words, and on the few occasions he did he would work twice as hard to make sure it didn't happen again. He was his own fiercest critic. He would go through this process every time he sang in public - why - because he passionately believed that the songs were worth it, especially as they were all his family's songs.
One week-end, a few years before he died, he told us that, as he could no longer do justice to the songs, we would no longer sing in public - he never did again.
I wonder if you can name me anybody on the scene who has put in a fraction of that work throughout their lives.
Personally, I find people who use Walter, who quietly dedicated his life to the singing of folk songs (a term he used constantly), or anybody like him, as an excuse for not putting in the work on singingmore than a little nauseating.
As I have said before, if we don't take ourselves and our music seriously, no other bugger will, and folk music will remain an object of ridicule - simple as that.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 03:17 PM

Is it ("folk" music) an object of ridicule? You're the only one who seems to think so, or, at least, you're the only one who appears to have mentioned it.

I took PLAYING the music very seriously along time ago. How about you? or do you just talk a good gig?


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 03:38 PM

Jim Isaid
while competence is necessary,it is not number one priority,number one priority is musicality.
my preference is for musicality with competence,but I would rather listen to a passionate musical performer who made one or two errors,than a competent but boring performer.
that does not mean I condone unpractised performances.
some of the traditional music I see on television,is competent but has had all the spontaneity driven out of it,because the producer has made the performers play the music ad nausaem so the cameraman can get good shots.
my message is perfectly clear.


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: MartinRyan
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 03:45 PM

Jim re Walter Pardon

One week-end, a few years before he died, he told us that, as he could no longer do justice to the songs, he would no longer sing in public - he never did again.


Did you see Sarah Anne O'Neill at the TG4 awards? Persuaded, reluctantly to sing a verse or two, she did so. Then, later, when being presented with her award, she thanked the sponsors for the award - and the audience for listening to her "dreadful squawking"! At ninety, IIRC...

Regards


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 07:11 PM

Martin,
I did see Sarah Anne - with mixed feelings, I must admit. I'm not sure it was wise to pressurise her to sing when she was choked up with a cold.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 02:12 AM

Cap'n
"but I would rather listen to a passionate musical performer who made one or two errors,...."
I don't disagree with this, but as I said, your question reaches far beyond personal preferences. If the songs and music are to survive competence has to be a major part of the process.
As I asked, can't we have both, or does one rule out the other?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: Peace
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 03:39 AM

Wot's a TV?


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 03:45 AM

A sexually transmitted disease!!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: GUEST,Peace
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 03:57 AM

Whale
I'll
Beef
Hooked


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 05:05 AM

of course we can have both,but if tg4 persist in making musicians play the same tunes ad nauseam until they get a good shot,the music is going to suffer.


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 06:02 AM

Cap'n,
We're still at cross purposes.
My point is on improving performance and attitude to further the music.
How you approach filming the music once you have won your airspace is a totally separate question.
I ask again, how do you make a 30 minute tv programe of musicians playing - I don't know - do you?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 07:48 AM

firstly you concentrate on getting the best music,camera shots in my opinion should be of secondary importance.
what should not happen,is that musicians become bored with what they are playing because they have to play it ad nauseam,to satisfy a photographers desire for good camera shots.
The best way to do it is to catch musicians playing in a non contrived situation, an artificial session is in danger of coming over as contrived,that is why nicolas carolans archives programmes are so much better,they show and reflect musicans playing in a natural[rather than artificial situation].
cameramen should keep it simple,[photographs of the crowds as well as the musicians are interesting as is the architectural environment, yes and even motor vehicles],years later, they show us much.,and reflect historical and social change
the producer should concentrate on the music first,try and capture genuine live music at a fleadh or wherever.


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 08:08 AM

Do you think RTE's effort at representation of the Fleadh Ceol with all it's Comhaltas rhetoric is a better effort Dick?


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: Marje
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 08:11 AM

Hey, Jim, you've missed my point completely, so I'll explain in case others did too. When I put that "quote" about Walter Pardon ("I bet WP never had a singing lesson"), it wasn't what I thought - I was using that to illustrate an attitude which I don't agree with and have no time for (but which is occasionally expressed by others in this forum).

I agree with you completely about the evident skill and care that singers like Pardon put into their singing, and in fact I think he'd probably have enjoyed and participated in modern "workshops" and singing classes if they'd been available to him. I can't be bothered with singers who think it'll all come naturally and that if they make any effort at it, this will somehow destroy something precious.

I also agree with you that competence and musicality are close partners, not opposing forces that we somehow have to choose between. You can't express musicality without competence, and you can't be truly competent without musicality.

Marje


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 08:47 AM

Marje:
"it wasn't what I thought"
I didn't really think it was - at least I hoped that was the case; I have usually found myself in agreement with what I've read from you in the past (now there's a millstone for you to carry around). I was grateful to you for the opportunity to put the record straight on Walter; te same applies to other singers we've questioned on the subject.
Hi Peter:
"the Fleadh Ceol with all it's Comhaltas rhetoric...."
I hope your prepared to sit down and eat the can of worms you've just opened!!!!!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 09:26 AM

different,and not good for different reasons,is probably the right answer.
a while ago I saw a programme about Crookhaven,The programme was about the decline of the village
Seoda: The Irish Village (OS) Duration: 33:50
Rinneadh taifead ar 'The Irish Village' i mbaile Cruacháin i gCoraigh i 1959. Ba é James Clarke, stiúrthóir as an mBreatain, a stiúraigh an scannán. Bhuaigh sé gradaim BAFTA agus Oscar ina dhiaidh sin. Is meascán atá sa scannán d'antraipeolaíocht agus cur síos ar shochaí na háite, cur síos ar an saol i gCruachán i 1959. Sa ghuthú deirtear nach bhfuil aon cheo speisialta faoi Chruachán ach go bhfuil sé ag fáil bháis.
The Irish Village was shot in the town of Crookhaven, Co. Cork, in 1959 by James Clark, an English director who would go on to win Academy and BAFTA awards for his work as a film editor (on The Killing Fields & Vera Drake). It is a mix of anthropology and social commentary, a visual record of life in Crookhaven in 1959 with a voice-over that tells us that there is nothing special about Crookhaven 'except that it is dying'.
this was available on listen again on tg 4,at 23 minutes there is some irish trad music plus a boy stepdancing [quite fast ]to the boys of bluehill.re of the village.
the way the music was presented on this programme was an example of how it should be done.
This was shown on tg4.


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: Marje
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 10:36 AM

I think what you're illustrating there, Dick, is the very good point that folk/traditional music could and should be put to use more often as incidental music in documentaries and dramas, particularly relating to the past. I've lost count of the number of times I've seen a historical drama, or a documentary about something like coal mining or hop picking and thought, "But there's a perfect song about that - why aren't they using it?" Instead, we get some heavy, portentous orchestral piece, or a scrap of Verdi's Requiem or Orff's Carmina Burana which are all wrong both in period and in content.

All we get most of the time is a few cliches - Greensleeves for anything Tudor or perhaps more generally Olde English, Country Gardens for anything more modern but still rural, a brass band (probably playing Dvorak) for anything "Northern" or industrial, Uilleann pipes for anything Irish (or even Scottish), etc. when there are hundreds more pieces of music that would be more apt and more varied than what we're offered. The English tradition has shanties and hornpipes; morris and other ritual dance tunes; farming songs, country jigs and reels; marches and soldiers' songs going back to Napoleonic times; songs about pit disasters, press gangs, drinking, hunting, and country courtship ... there's so that deserves to be better known.

If traditional music were heard in a more widespread way like this, English people might begin to feel more at ease with it and come to recognise it as part of their culture.

Marje


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 11:04 AM

The best use I ever heard made of traditional music was in the wonderful St Kilda film, 'Ill Fares The Land' (perhaps somebody can remind me who was responsible for it - John Tams maybe?)
A close runner-up surprisingly was Pasolini's 'Arabian Nights' The director had gone for the 'folk' sound rather than historical and geographical authenticity. I can still remember being bowled over by the sound of Belfast singer Robert Cinnamond's 'Napoleon Bonepart' which accompanied a scene that had no connection with he song whatever - worked like a charm.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: greg stephens
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 11:13 AM

John Tams wrote the music for the St Kilda film. Don't know who performed it.


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 11:21 AM

Thanks, Marje, for putting into words something which I've long been aware of, but simply accommodated as one more example of the repetitiveness and/or "dumbing-down" which seems almost inevitably to be part of Television production; not that the music used is "dumbed-down", but that it's repetitively used as a convenient but often hardly appropriate accompaniment to the kind of scenes you mention. Perhaps the answer to the question in your first paragraph could be sought in the class background, the education (or lack of it), the attitudes of many among those who commission/produce/direct such programmes.


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: High Hopes (inactive)
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 12:55 PM

St. Kilda On Film


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: High Hopes (inactive)
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 12:59 PM

oops forgot this...

Ill Fares the Land
Another 1983 Bill Bryden film set on the Hebridean island of St Kilda. The film is a dramatisation of real life events leading up to the evacuation of St Kilda in 1930. John Tams wrote the music but does not appear.


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 02:35 PM

Earlier posting seems to have gone astray.
Thanks for that Greg and HH
The musical soundtrack was taken almost completely from the BBC 1952 recordings (including those lovely waulking songs). Some of The Arabian Nights music came from the same source, but also included international material.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 01:16 PM

I rather enjoyed the Watersons lou killen,documentary.
and also the use of the Watersons music in Land of Green Ginger.


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Subject: RE: tv and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 01:18 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzNqp-1iWUs, thirty foot trailer


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