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Folk Activism!

Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 22 May 09 - 12:56 PM
Les in Chorlton 22 May 09 - 01:11 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 22 May 09 - 02:27 PM
Richard Bridge 22 May 09 - 03:51 PM
VirginiaTam 22 May 09 - 04:08 PM
Surreysinger 22 May 09 - 05:33 PM
VirginiaTam 22 May 09 - 05:54 PM
Richard Bridge 22 May 09 - 06:00 PM
Surreysinger 22 May 09 - 07:01 PM
johnadams 23 May 09 - 07:04 AM
Richard Bridge 23 May 09 - 07:37 AM
glueman 23 May 09 - 07:56 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 23 May 09 - 08:39 AM
glueman 23 May 09 - 08:49 AM
johnadams 23 May 09 - 08:54 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 23 May 09 - 09:04 AM
johnadams 23 May 09 - 10:42 AM
Vic Smith 23 May 09 - 11:29 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 23 May 09 - 11:32 AM
glueman 23 May 09 - 11:39 AM
VirginiaTam 23 May 09 - 11:45 AM
johnadams 23 May 09 - 12:02 PM
Richard Bridge 23 May 09 - 12:41 PM
glueman 23 May 09 - 03:05 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 23 May 09 - 03:13 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 23 May 09 - 03:22 PM
glueman 23 May 09 - 03:27 PM
johnadams 23 May 09 - 04:13 PM
GUEST,Lord O'May 23 May 09 - 08:51 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 24 May 09 - 03:20 AM
VirginiaTam 25 May 09 - 07:10 AM
Mallee 25 May 09 - 07:36 AM
johnadams 25 May 09 - 07:40 AM
VirginiaTam 25 May 09 - 07:42 AM
glueman 25 May 09 - 08:31 AM
VirginiaTam 25 May 09 - 08:51 AM
glueman 25 May 09 - 09:12 AM
glueman 25 May 09 - 09:18 AM
Mallee 25 May 09 - 09:08 PM
Richard Bridge 26 May 09 - 02:42 AM
Jim Carroll 26 May 09 - 02:46 AM
Richard Bridge 26 May 09 - 03:40 AM
Mallee 26 May 09 - 04:01 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 26 May 09 - 04:19 AM
Jim Carroll 26 May 09 - 04:29 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 26 May 09 - 04:49 AM
GUEST,Sedayne (Astray in May) 26 May 09 - 05:12 AM
sian, west wales 26 May 09 - 05:29 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 26 May 09 - 05:38 AM
Jim Carroll 26 May 09 - 06:07 AM
Jim Carroll 26 May 09 - 06:09 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 26 May 09 - 06:24 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 26 May 09 - 06:55 AM
GUEST,Lord O'May 26 May 09 - 07:29 AM
GUEST,Lord O'May 26 May 09 - 07:31 AM
glueman 26 May 09 - 08:03 AM
Spleen Cringe 26 May 09 - 08:29 AM
Jim Carroll 26 May 09 - 08:33 AM
glueman 26 May 09 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,Lord O'May 26 May 09 - 08:54 AM
glueman 26 May 09 - 08:57 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 26 May 09 - 09:13 AM
Jack Blandiver 26 May 09 - 09:22 AM
Spleen Cringe 26 May 09 - 09:50 AM
Phil Edwards 26 May 09 - 11:14 AM
glueman 26 May 09 - 11:20 AM
Les in Chorlton 26 May 09 - 11:28 AM
Rifleman (inactive) 26 May 09 - 11:32 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 26 May 09 - 11:45 AM
sian, west wales 26 May 09 - 12:22 PM
Spleen Cringe 26 May 09 - 12:59 PM
johnadams 26 May 09 - 01:41 PM
sian, west wales 26 May 09 - 02:08 PM
Jack Blandiver 26 May 09 - 03:02 PM
johnadams 26 May 09 - 08:29 PM
sian, west wales 27 May 09 - 04:33 AM
BB 27 May 09 - 04:05 PM
GUEST,Chris P 28 May 09 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,Chris P 28 May 09 - 01:29 PM
Les in Chorlton 28 May 09 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,Rahere 29 Jul 13 - 04:50 AM
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Subject: Folk Activism!
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 22 May 09 - 12:56 PM

Seeing some very encouraging threads on here regards the more dynamic EFDSS, and developments in digitising six folk song manuscript collections EFDSS Take 6 Archive as an online resource.

But also there appears to be ongoing neglect at high level of the importance of English traditional arts (something our UK & Celtic cousins have been busily and successfully addressing for some time). This thread (Local Council doesn't recognise native Trad Arts as 'Culture' ) in particular motivated me to create this one.

In another thread discussing the EFDSS, I read Eliza Carthy address another poster with the question: "What kind of activist are you?" And I've thought about this question for myself. For while learning and singing the songs themselves, is a form of 'action' which supports the continuation of the legacy of our native folk culture, I feel I would like to do far more.

So this thread is a request for Information, Ideas, Suggestions, Thoughts concerning what both IS being done as 'Folk Activism' to raise the profile of, and promote the health and wellbeing of English TradArts publicly, locally, nationally. And also what COULD be done by people like me, both as individuals and collectively?

I'd prefer that this thread remain constructively responsive to these initial qqueries, and did not become either too innapropriately political, or descend into debate concerning the relative merits or otherwise of such enterprises.

Cheers ;)


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 22 May 09 - 01:11 PM

Folk Clubs, Singarounds, Tune Sessions, Barn Dances, Open Mikes, Guest Nights, Residents Nights, Themed Special Nights, Social Dance, Morris, Sword, Rapper, Mumming ....................

If you want to organise something, pick the one(s) you like and give it ago, but don't see the standard once a week Folk Club as the only or best choice

Cheers

L in C
Last Tuesday of the Month - Tunes
First and Third Wednesdays - Songs

The Beech, Beech Road, Chorlton, Manchester


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 22 May 09 - 02:27 PM

I hope She doesn't mind, but I'd like to Cut & Paste a relevant helpful post Sian, West Wales made earlier on 'Culture doesn't include Trad Music' thread:

Subject: RE: Culture doesn't include Trad Music
From: sian, west wales - PM
Date: 22 May 09 - 06:08 AM

I work for trac, the traditional music development agency for Wales, as some here may know. It isn't unusual for some people within the genre to sniff at the work we do with government and government agencies purely to keep traditional music "on the table". I have to sit through an awful lot of meetings with civil servants and local authority people; as often as not, I've had to pull in a few favours just to get invited to them!

Despite the critics of this element of our work, I honestly feel it pays off. But it also means marshalling the forces behind us. We started out with a conference of all the trad music associations plus folk activists in 2003 which produced The Gregynog Declaration. We all then used it as an Addendum to every application we made to any body. We also encouraged other social development enterprises to use it in _their_ applications. We already had 'friends' within the Arts Council for Wales (BTW - when you write "Arts Council" please say "of England"; we have no UK-wide council) who had helped us get some Revenue Funding. I guess we've done an OK job because, when ACW decided to write a new Music Policy they remembered to include Traditional Music as one of their Consulation Groups. The Proceeding of the meeting (same website as above, on 'News' page) then led to ACW specifically naming Traditional Music within the policy and priorities (not a HIGH priority, but it's in there!)

I should also mention that the meeting didn't 'just happen'. We held a preliminary meeting a month before hand of trad music activists and wrote our own paper describing our genre and sketching out some development needs. We also kindly offered to organize 'expert witnesses' for ACW and ensured they were 'our kind of people' but also with government gravitas. (David Francis from Scotland, Paul Flynn from Northern Ireland Arts Council)

One committee I've devoted a lot of time to over 10 (gasp!) years is the National Assembly's Cultural Tourism Partnership. We've finally come to a point where ACW wants to try out a Music and Cultural Tourism initiative, led by them, and starting off with Trad Music as it's focus. It, too, is primarily a Marketing strategy but will have to include some professional development for musicians. They're going for European "Atlantic Arc" funding and, of course, may not succeed. But we're in there because we've been playing the government game and the big agencies, like ACW and Visit Wales (formerly Wales Tourist Board) now have trad music actually named in their paperwork.

OK - I also expect that, being the wee fish in the big pond, we may also soon suffer from the credit crunch. High Art has a lot more friends at court that we do. Still, it's a game worth playing and it may be worth having a go yourselves ...

sian


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 May 09 - 03:51 PM

It is worth following the link in Sian's post to the Greynog declaration.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 22 May 09 - 04:08 PM

greynog declaration


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Surreysinger
Date: 22 May 09 - 05:33 PM

Ermmm ... sorry chaps ... its not Greynog ... it's Gregynog!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 22 May 09 - 05:54 PM

my apologies

Friday, bloody awful week.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 May 09 - 06:00 PM

Ah yes. Like Eggnog only greyer.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Surreysinger
Date: 22 May 09 - 07:01 PM

Just for info, I'm assuming that the conference was held at Gregynog Hall (owned by the University of Wales) -hence its name ... see
here No doubt Sian could verify this if she were to see this thread. A place I always wanted to visit while I was a student in Aberystwyth ... but never did!


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: johnadams
Date: 23 May 09 - 07:04 AM

Good thread Crow Sister.

Apart from individual club, dance, festival etc. organisers, much of the action to promote folk music is being done by regional organisations. Some such as Folkworks and Folk South West are (sometimes precariously) funded. Others like Ryburn 3 Step and (I think) Folkus are self funding and exist on a large wadge of volunteer effort.

These groups of activists run events, workshops, promotional activities, ritual celebrations, etc.

In addressing this question I would be interested to accumulate a list of all the organisations who are doing this sort of work. There must be one within reach of most UK folk enthusiasts. If there isn't then maybe there's an opportunity in the offing.


Also, there are lots of people who are providing online resources. I run the Village Music Project and Folkopedia. There is the Digital Tradition right here on Mudcat. The Session provides a good and interesting focus on tunes. I keep seeing interesting sites referred to on Mudcat and should really be cataloguing them for future reference but I'm often in too much of a hurry.

There are probably lots of people who would like to offer some contribution and only need to find the folk community that suits them best and provides the most interesting opportunities. How do they find these? Maybe via Mudcat?


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 May 09 - 07:37 AM

In the main however I think we need someone like Joanna Lumley to ram it through to the powers that be and the ministry of Culture that THIS culture merits promotion - indeed far more so than things like opera and ballet which are of no relevance to most of the world, and for which there is no major tradition in the UK anyway


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: glueman
Date: 23 May 09 - 07:56 AM

"more so than things like opera and ballet which are of no relevance to most of the world"

You were doing so well till that point. I can hear Joe Public saying the same thing of Morris dancing and Maypoles. Never understood this high/low art snobbery. I'm happy to do Glyndebourne and football terraces - at least in the places terraces still remain. All art is mine, all mine!!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 23 May 09 - 08:39 AM

Glueman, don't start starting now.....

Yeah Richard, what's wanted is some kinda crusading Traddy 'Jamie Oliver' to annoy the hell outa the suits until his constant chirpy wittering breaks them! Resistance is Futile!

Thanks for your post John Adams, I'll have to blue clicky whatever I can find online from that.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: glueman
Date: 23 May 09 - 08:49 AM

The point is campaigns like these so often define themselves by what they are against, or name other genres they believe have unfair advantages. The idea of promoting folk is a valuable one without dissing other art forms.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: johnadams
Date: 23 May 09 - 08:54 AM

Here's a first pass. There will be lots more no doubt.

Village Music Project
Folkopedia
The Session

Ryburn 3 Step
Folkus (UK)
Note: There is a Folkus in the US too


Folkworks (UK)
Note: There is a Folkworks in the US too
Folk South West
South East Folk Arts Network
East Anglian Traditional Music Trust
Yorkshire Folk Arts


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 23 May 09 - 09:04 AM

Sure, I like early English music and contemporary dance too and I doubt either of these are particularly important to the majority of people.
I don't think RB was saying ballet and opera are 'crap', just that - very much like folk I guess - they are of little interest or consequence to the public at large.
Irrespective of this however, what they do have - unlike folk - is a whole lot more funding and promotion. While these arts may well be entirely worthy of receiving the recognition and support that they do, I personally see that *key disparity* as relevent and worthwhile to recognise and consider.

So long as we don't fall into err 'dissing' innit.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: johnadams
Date: 23 May 09 - 10:42 AM

The Arts Council of England music panel is reputed to have six or seven members devoted to white western classical music and one with a brief for 'the rest of the world' of which presumably includes English folk music.

Whether or not this has any resemblance to the truth I know not but it's plain that Don Quixote type tilts at these particular types of windmills will be a waste of effort.

What isn't a waste of effort is combining the small and manageable efforts of lots of people into a common purpose which then becomes so big as an entity that it can't be ignored. Isn't that what Crow Sister is getting at in this thread?

When this grass roots stuff happens in bulk, it gives organisations like Folk Arts England and EFDSS levers to use in higher places than individuals can access. Then higher level funding can start to become a reality, although I'd then question carefully what level and type of funding was good for folk music - sometimes it can be the kiss of death.

In the meantime I'm all for activism and often shout the activist's battle cry - JFDI (Just Do It!)


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 May 09 - 11:29 AM

John Adams wrote

JFDI (Just Do It!)


Surely you have left out a word for the letter "F", John?


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 23 May 09 - 11:32 AM

That'll be 'F for Folking' then?

PS. John A. - very good points made and worth some serious consideration too I'd have thought.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: glueman
Date: 23 May 09 - 11:39 AM

Wot j.adams said. When you sup with the devil take a long spoon.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 23 May 09 - 11:45 AM

I love all kinds of art too. I don't think anyone wants to see one kind raised above another or seen as more valuable. But it is true that more money is ploughed into what the powers consider "cultural."

Right on John. Pulling together a one stop shop list of all organisations is a very good idea. Even better would be to build partnerships between them. The list is good first step to that.

Would like to see funding for:

Traditional song and dance courses offered through Adult Learning with links to local folk clubs, sessions and Morris sides.

Mini Mummers and Morris Minor sides at primary schools or mixed aged Morris (for the family) to augment the Extended Schools agenda. These to include musician workshops with proper instruments provided to schools and paid instructors.

Of course all of the above should include regional song and dance and history.

I would like to see Open University get involved with the project, though it may be too much to ask for a qualification in tradtional performance arts of England. Or does this already exist?


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: johnadams
Date: 23 May 09 - 12:02 PM

Virginia Tam:

Mini Mummers and Morris Minor sides at primary schools or mixed aged Morris (for the family) to augment the Extended Schools agenda.

The Coes have initiated several junior sword teams in our local schools and got them all together to dance simultaneously in Halifax town centre to get an entry in the Guinness Book of Records. I've got the photo somewhere. Liam Robinson runs a Mini Morris schools project from Lincolnshire. Paul Davenport organised a school longsword team down in Rotherham. I think Caroline and Dan Hollinghurst have something similar going on down south with morris dancing. There's all sorts of stuff going on under the surface.

I would like to see Open University get involved with the project, though it may be too much to ask for a qualification in tradtional performance arts of England. Or does this already exist?

Apart from the Folk Music degree at Newcastle University, which is a performance degree, there are or were folk music modules on various degrees and diplomas. Pete Coe teaches one at Huddersfield University. There might still be one at Barnsley College. These are formally assessed modules contributing to recognised qualifications. I would be pleased to know of others.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 May 09 - 12:41 PM

Gg - I left the issue of "taste" right out of it. Opera is in the main not "relevant" (the word I actually used) because it is not rooted in the experience of the bulk of these isles - or indeed any other. It is a wholly elitist pursuit. Folk arts are rooted in the historic experience of the masses.

Further, those who in the main like opera have enough money to support it for themselves.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: glueman
Date: 23 May 09 - 03:05 PM

Rooted in what experience? Elitist how? 'Folk arts' are as elevated as Billy Budd. Try buying a Shaker cabinet or some Staffordshire flat backs to see how down-home the folk arts are.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 23 May 09 - 03:13 PM

"Folk arts are rooted in the historic experience of the masses."

sounds like one of those phrases"leftie" to me.
It's certainly rooted in the experiences of people; but the masses, nope

and folk arts are NOT elitist? If not elitist then they certainly are a special interest, every bit as much as opera, and classical music


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 23 May 09 - 03:22 PM

Yawn...
Any chance debate about side issues can be taken elsewhere?

Mods, any chance I can edit this thread, or someone with the powers to do so can do so on my behalf?

I've seen where this stuff goes too many times already... and it's not constructive.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: glueman
Date: 23 May 09 - 03:27 PM

You raise a valid point CS, should the folk arts be given a higher profile and perhaps funded alongside other arts. Unfortunately some see that as a duck shoot on world music, opera, conceptual art and anything else high or low the public enjoys.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: johnadams
Date: 23 May 09 - 04:13 PM

Funding is not really the issue on this thread unless of course we're talking about someone actively engaging in the chasing of funding.

Looking at my own valley we have Ryburn 3 Steppers active in the following areas:


Teaching weekly: Lakeland clog, Appalachian, longsword, singing
Running: monthly folk club, weekly tune session, monthly ceilidh, monthly 'sing, say or play' session.

Annual Spring Sing.

Concert party (singers, dancers and tunesmiths) offered to local community organisations for free to help them raise funds. This also acts as 'missionary work', recruiting new audiences to the other events.

Four one day workshops per year (latest was frailing banjo - Janet Kerr, before that Tunes and their history - me and Chris Partington).

Local radio show (me)

We have volunteer treasurer, fund raiser, secretary,... and so it goes on.

Some of our activists are non-folky, ie. village people taking part in a village activity - they never go to festivals or buy a folk cd.

In short, although it's taken a while,we've tried to build folk arts into the fabric of life around us.

Those of us who are heavily into folk contribute nationally - EFDSS, Yorkshire Folk Arts, AFO, Folk degree, etc.

All this is achieved without formal funding - mostly because many funders are a pain in the butt who usually require more time devoting to reporting back than actually doing the job.

I'm not suggesting that 'activists' should do what we do (if they want to we'll be glad to advise etc.) but merely illustrating that when a lot of people each do a little together you can get a lot done. Those nice people down in Lewes have got their own different and successful approach.

There is also a case for the activist working relatively solo - that nice Malcolm Douglas (RIP) got a hell of lot done on his own.

Just a few rambling thoughts.

JFDI


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: GUEST,Lord O'May
Date: 23 May 09 - 08:51 PM

Folk arts are rooted in the historic experience of the masses.

The funniest thing about that statement is that there's an outside chance that you actually believe it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 24 May 09 - 03:20 AM

I do hope no-one minds, but I've pasted the thread drift to here:

Are 'Folk Arts' Elitist?

It's not an unimportant question actually, and probably deserves it's own thread.

Meanwhile, thanks again John A for your further thoughts, will come back to this thread later.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 25 May 09 - 07:10 AM

Already been said but reiterating, with funding may (very likely) come an expectaion or requirement on part of funder to alter the recipient's art. Perhaps too much like the patronage system.

Samuel Johnson defined a patron as "one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and, when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help".[snip]

Could be very dangerous ground and would require advocats that will not budge on authenticity and will not permit application of glossy or twee marketing and/or production or co-opting of art by the funder.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Mallee
Date: 25 May 09 - 07:36 AM

I went for an arts funding for the production of a CD in the folk genre on local issues ,heritage, people and events. Sent material and a very well presented submission. I was knocked back. I asked for feedback and the reply was. Yes nice submission BUT content was to parocial

I really wonder what the criteria is for an arts funding committee


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: johnadams
Date: 25 May 09 - 07:40 AM

The criteria seem to change on a regular basis and those goalposts just keep jumping to one side!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 25 May 09 - 07:42 AM

Very good point Mallee. Being on the sidelines of Arts Development and other funding streams in a large county council, I hear things.

I guess it would depend on the remit of that particular grant you applied for as well as the tastes of the application panel.

Bit scary that.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: glueman
Date: 25 May 09 - 08:31 AM

Funding is mostly based on tick box criteria rather than the excellence of the proposal. Inclusion (of outsider groups), multiculturalism, open access, that kinda thing. Belts have been tightened in the last year or two and money re-directed to the olympics.
Get an olympian angle on folk and you should be able to wangle some wonga.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 25 May 09 - 08:51 AM

Ah but we have schloads of money being poured into linking the Olympics to Essex tourism and culture. Got to create those 2012 Legacy links. Though the historical aspect is looking at creating an archive for future generations not so much at linking the past to the present.

They are hooking up museums, walks, cycling tours with arts projects etc.

Doubt very much that any kind of folk tradtion will come into the mix.


Also ECC has earmarked £1,000,000 LifeRaft Pledge. Funding to support Essex cultural attractions (try and define that one) in the economic downturn. Sell by date 31 March 2010.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: glueman
Date: 25 May 09 - 09:12 AM

TBH most funding quangos aren't bright enough to exclude, they have their criteria from above and buzzwords get a tick and enough ticks get funding. Simple.
If you create some olympics-tradition link however tenuous and keep a straight face while delivering the magic phrases you stand as good a chance as of cache-ing in as the next multicultural, open-accessing, disenfranchised group.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: glueman
Date: 25 May 09 - 09:18 AM

"Funding to support Essex cultural attractions (try and define that one)"

Choreographed doughnut turns by moonlight with fast food backdrop? As I burned-out one May morning wiv drumnbass?


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Mallee
Date: 25 May 09 - 09:08 PM

The Kings New Cloths
The King is in the altogether the altogether the altogether
He,s altogether as naked as the day that he was born.

Yeah who criterias the criteria

I hope the internet, global village, and multiculturalism does not affect the folk process and exclude grassroots and ethnocentric singer /songwriter/ composers. METHINKS it will


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 May 09 - 02:42 AM

Exclude them from WHAT?


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 May 09 - 02:46 AM

"The funniest thing about that statement is that there's an outside chance that you actually believe it."
And the funniest thing about that statement is that there's an outside chance that you believe it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 May 09 - 03:40 AM

I'm not sure that the Lord of May is funny. To wander from the musical aspects for a moment, the insistence that the striving of the underclasses now is essentially different from the striving of the underclasss than undermines much of attempts to further political progress.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Mallee
Date: 26 May 09 - 04:01 AM

Before i dig myself in deeper and by way of explanation my remarks were aimed at the Granting of grants and as pointed out by other threads it may be necessary to be all things to all people in the sense of being culturally inclusive. I am unashamedly pro Anglo Celtic and not anti any other ethnic group. So if my remarks smack of some sort of ethnic phobia my apology. I just fear the erosion of ANY cultures grass roots. So if to get a grant I must sell my soul, prostitute my art and become devious then I will happily go without.

Excluded from grants, Richard

Jim: I believe in the preservation of cultures I also find the word multiculturalism offensive and damaging to all cultures

Did i read somewhere that there will only be 3 world languages soon
Are the French not banning all other languages spoken at schools
Each culture must insulate its own heritage so others can delight in
its difference not become an homogeneous GLOB

Have a happy day

"beam me up Scoty Ive done it again"


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 26 May 09 - 04:19 AM

"Each culture must insulate its own heritage so others can delight in
its difference not become an homogeneous GLOB"

I don't think traditional English performing arts (TEPA..?) need 'insulating', but it would I feel be a positive thing, if the English actually KNEW they have any traditional arts in the first place. Hence my queries on the thread stemming from Eliza C's: "What Kind of Activist are You?"

It strikes me as a rather interesting phenomena - with no doubt a multitude of contributing factors - but I wonder how many other countries, apart from England, have completely lost and forgotten their own cultural roots?

As Richard said this culture merits support. Plus if folk enthusiasts don't ensure this happens, who will?
Oh yeah, neo-fascists are already busily on the case. Problem solved then...


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 May 09 - 04:29 AM

"most funding quangos aren't bright...."
IMO as the recent recipient of a rather useful grant, applying for funding is as much to do with the folk scene getting their own act together as it is persuading the grant givers to part with taxpayers money. Blaming '"funding quangos" is easy.
"I'm not sure that the Lord of May is funny."
Funny sheesh - not funny ha-ha.
I supoose if you make it up as you go along it's just as acceptible to redefine 'the masses' as it is to abandon any logical definition of folk.
Needs must.... as they say!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 26 May 09 - 04:49 AM

"applying for funding is as much to do with the folk scene getting their own act together as it is persuading the grant givers to part with taxpayers money."

I suspect you're on the mark there Jim.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: GUEST,Sedayne (Astray in May)
Date: 26 May 09 - 05:12 AM

Jim - when you're quite finished fantasising about The Masses, could you tell me what you know about a song called My Blue Eyed Mountain Queen?

Was in the merry month of may when the fields were fresh and green
I we forced to leave my native home me age being scarce sixteen
And when I parted with my lass her loving tears were seen
In troubled mind I left behind my blue eyed mountain queen

Farewell to Glenbay's green clad hills and her lovely mountain streams
Where the sun arose and through the gloom poured forth her brilliant beams
Was grand to stand beneath the view bound round wi' laurels green
In meadow's gay I spent my days with my blue eyed mountain queen

Me Father he's a fisherman he ploughs the raging sea
Me Mother's dead seven long years, sleeps cold beneath the clay
Me brothers aye me sisters four I regard them with esteem
But little they know that I weep full sore, for my blue eyed mountain queen

God speed the ship across the deep that brings my love to me
A wind to fill her pleasant sails as she goes ower the sea
Her ensign bright does wave about it's of the emerald green
And on it's breast it bears the crest of my blue eyed mountain queen


To hear it sung go the Shibboleth page & click on the 2nd song.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: sian, west wales
Date: 26 May 09 - 05:29 AM

Sorry to come late to the discussion. I've been having a proper Bank Holiday. Went to the Fishguard Folk Festival on Sunday and saw Crane Driver, Sussex Carole, Madame Patti and Splottman and had a lovely time. (Called at Splottie's Tafarn Sinc on the way home for supper on a warm sunshiny evening. Purfeck.)

Anyhoo, no - don't mind the cut and paste at all.

Yes - the Declaration was named after the venue in which the Conference was held and, as I pointed out, the strength of it is the fact that it was drafted jointly by representatives of national bodies, not just trac. trac was responsible for getting it out and about and acknowledged as a key document; not perhaps anything the grassroot folkies are deeply interested in but essential for those who want a fair shake from government. It is important to remember that this was happening in the midst of the early PEL drafts.

johnadams, I found your posts very interesting. I have on more than one occasion suprised funders in open meetings. When they quiz me on what the sector needs, they start off with, "first you want more funding, right?" and I reply, "no." That isn't the first thing. Yes, it would help some things but it would kill off others. I've heard several senior figures in Ireland say that there are a lot of pubs with mediocre musicians being paid to hold sessions for the tourist market and it's dragging the standard of music down. I wouldn't want that to happen in Wales, although I'd like more opportunities for professional musicians to develop. I also think that the grassroots activity SHOULD be about stuff that happens, unpaid, because it's just another expression of community life.

I actually think that the FIRST thing I want from gov't is a level playing field. I won't go through the PEL argument again but that's one example. Another is the assumption of economic development agencies that kids can only be interested in rock/pop music or that traditional music doesn't have a role to play in their precious "Cultural Industries".

I do worry, john, when you say, "Some of our activists are non-folky, ie. village people taking part in a village activity - they never go to festivals or buy a folk cd." There are a number of Mudcat discussions which I avoid because they seem to assume that folk musicians are something "apart". For example, "who is the best folk singer?" Well, in my opinion, my mother was pretty damn good and it would never occur to her that she was in any way, shape or form a folk singer. She was just a mum who knew a lot of songs (true "traditional" plus musicals plus nursery rhymes plus ...) Suibhne has Left the Building, in the other thread said, "you can walk a lot of miles in the real world before you meet another folkie - and even further before you meet another traddy." I suppose that's true if you define those entities as being something akin to a sect that you have to join; I pass people who know good songs folk and trad, every time I stroll around my town but, like mum, they don't see this as setting them apart/above/below anyone.

But I do get your drift in its context johnadams, and agree that your types of activity are superb in reminding people that they have a music to call their own.

Following on from the Gregynog Declaration, perhaps it would be in keeping with the thread title to also show you our (trac's) Cultural Policy. Now, any group getting grants these days must have an Equal Opportunities Policy, and a Health & Safety Policy, and a Child Protection Policy and, in Wales, a Welsh Language Policy but we decided to go one further. I don't know of any other organization which has a Cultural Policy - even our Arts Council! This one was devised in a one-day Board workshop led by an outside facilitator. We were all astounded when she boiled the whole thing down into one page but, crikey, it works! Remember: this is specifically for trac, which is a STRATEGIC development organization for traditional musics of Wales. We have no intention of trespassing on other community music organizations' turfs.

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

trac Cultural Policy

•        trac's Objects are to 'advance the education of the public by promoting the use of traditional and tradition-based arts including – but not exclusively – music, song and dance, by activities designed to increase participation and raise standards.

•        trac will pursue these objects within the context of its Cultural Policy.

•        This policy

i)        respects the traditional
ii)        respects the contribution of people from all age groups
iii)        respects the principles of equal opportunity
iv)        respects the cultural heritage of the Welsh language

•        trac's main aim is to ensure the continuation of the traditional culture of Wales – it was established in reponse to a genuine concern that this continuation is in danger.

•        trac recognises that its role is potentially endless since the terms 'tradition' and 'culture' are so wide. Given this, in the context of trac's core function the terms are interpreted as follows:
i)        'culture' refers to the various art-forms
i)        'tradition' refers to that which is unique to any given community and deeply rooted in that community.

trac works towards the preservation, continuation and development of those art forms that are unique to the communities of Wales and that have deep roots in Wales.

•        Priorities

Given the very broad nature of the field, trac accepts that it is necessary to prioritise specific aspects of the above – and will support the work of other sister agencies and network closely with them to realise activities that promote similar objects.


•        trac prioritises projects   
i)        that are based on music – whether it be instrumental, vocal or played for dance
ii)        those which involve more than one art form.
iii)        those which hand over the story – as tales, myths or ballads etc

•        In accordance with trac's educational object, and its concern to see the continuation of the tradition, trac will emphasise in the first place projects that hand over the tradition and create opportunities for people to adopt the tradition i.e. where the main focus is on the audience or the receivers rather than on the performers or providers and creators.

•        In the second place, trac supports the creative development of the tradition, and in this, promotes the holders of the tradition and attempts to ensure a platform for their work in and beyond Wales.

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


I suppose, while I'm at it, you might as well see our Vision and Mission Statements:

Vision statement

Traditional arts are a cornerstone of social cohesion and an expression of Wales' distinctive history, languages, culture and way of life. Music, song, cerdd dant, dance, and storytelling are part of our birthright.

We believe the values inherent in our traditional forms of expression are ties that bind us together;   the challenge for the future is to renew these forms of expression in ways that both satisfy the rising generations and honour the preceding ones.

trac exists to foster the development of these traditional arts.

Mission statement

trac exists to foster the development of Wales's traditional performing arts. We will do this by:
-        Encouraging opportunities for education, participation and sustainability in handing on the traditions.
-        Facilitating cohesion and interaction between groups and individuals.
-        Identifying areas for further development and initiating solutions.
-        Advocacy on behalf of the Tradition with public bodies and other organisations at local, national and international levels.

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

In actual fact, even I resent the amount of time that a lot of this stuff takes, but we do get Revenue as well as Project funding from our Arts Council and all these descriptions and definitions are what they want. Also (I admit it) they do help us keep ourselves on track (ok - yeh - pun; we've heard them all) in our work.

Again - all this is designed specifically for trac and for traditional Welsh music. Some may be transferable but it's really a process groups have to go through for themselves. I recommend it even if you don't want to go for funding as it clarifies peoples' ideas. It may even encourage new groups to form.

By the way, a lot of this is "informed" (as civil servants put it) by the processes of Community Development Organizations, not by Arts funders and I would also recommend asking them to facilitate your deliberations for two reasons: a) they work on a 'holistic community' basis which means your work is part of a broader scheme of things and b) it brings you to their attention, and quite often they're the ones who can pull strings!

Lastly ( ! ) I spoke at the TMSA's 40th anniversary conference a couple of years ago and they seemed quite taken by our magazine, Ontrac. Internally, we refer to it as "the comic"; it's colourful and rarely does an article cover more than one page. It's mailed direct (and free) to over 1000 addresses; most are people interested in traditional/folk music but a good number are elected officials, local authority officers, etc. We cover much more than trac's own work and by showing what's happening around Wales under the auspices of any and all agencies it convinces people that it is, indeed, a vibrant community. In fact, it also convinces individuals that "if he's doing that there, I can do that here - and better," ... which is all grist to the mill.

Good grief. Long post. Hope it's got stuff of interest!

sian


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 26 May 09 - 05:38 AM

""So this thread is a request for Information, Ideas, Suggestions, Thoughts concerning what both IS being done as 'Folk Activism' to raise the profile of, and promote the health and wellbeing of English TradArts publicly, locally, nationally. And also what COULD be done by people like me, both as individuals and collectively?

I'd prefer that this thread remain constructively responsive to these initial qqueries, and did not become either too innapropriately political, or descend into debate concerning the relative merits or otherwise of such enterprises.
""


Just thought it might be a good idea to jog some memories as to the TOPIC under discussion.

An argument about semantics, and another about politics, seem to be exactly what Crow Sister didn't want. The question of funding, and raising funds is, likewise, a side issue.

The primary need is to achieve RECOGNITION of the folk arts, as something indispensible, and integral, to the ENGLISH way of life.

The Scots, the Welsh, and the Irish have this reasonably well under control within their own independent cultures.

The English, however, do not, and looking at the way this, and other threads, tend to descend into heated conflict, IT IS NOT SURPRISING.

If you can't listen to each other's point of view, how are you going to persuade a bunch of thick skinned, culturally bereft, and self serving politicos to listen to YOU?

I've said before that there is no concern in the UK parliament for ENGLISH affairs.

What has to be done is to make it impossible for Westminster to ignore our demands that we be treated as a Nation, with a separate identity, culture, and tradition.

The first step, as Tam said, is to list all local and national organisations which currently promote and preserve our culture.

Step two is to persuade them to unite, which is best done by joining said orgs, and working from the inside.

Step three is to lobby, badger, harrass, and pester, without cease until someone takes notice.

None of that will happen while we are busily engaged in shredding strips off each other in rows about who "owns" the tradition. The answer?..........WE ALL DO!

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 May 09 - 06:07 AM

"Jim - when you're quite finished fantasising about The Masses, could you tell me what you know about a song called My Blue Eyed Mountain Queen?"
Be glad to when you've finished fantasising about the definition of folk music
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 May 09 - 06:09 AM

PS - and would tell us if it's your own personal definition or whether others share it
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 26 May 09 - 06:24 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nCKYEM8qRc&feature=related


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 26 May 09 - 06:55 AM

The BNP and Fok Music

And like I said earlier, if Folk Enthusiasts aren't inclined to pull together to ensure public awareness of Trad Music and Song is increased, fascists like the BNP Are doing so...
I for one, believe the implications of that are worth serious meditation upon.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: GUEST,Lord O'May
Date: 26 May 09 - 07:29 AM

PS - and would tell us if it's your own personal definition or whether others share it

I think, ultimately, we each of us have our own personal definition of folk music & song based on our own unique experience of it, and as those experiences change so must our personal definitions change, along with our expectations. We might find others who agree with us, but ultimately I feel that an absolute consensus will remain, thank God, elusive. With respect of defining folk song beyond the subjective, then I feel we must recognise that if 80%+ of what is being sung in the name of folk isn't folk song according to an orthodox reading of the 1954 Definition then something must be wrong somewhere.

But that wasn't my personal definition, Jim - rather that was me trying, and failing, to understand the objective consensus of what folk song was in terms of the collective experience of The Revival, where the reality of the thing must (and does) outweigh the theory. However attractive that theory might be, it in no way accounts for the experience of Folk Music & Song in 2009 - at least not according to the orthodoxy, as far as such an orthodoxy might actually be said to exist beyond the fevered imaginations of The Orthodox.

As I said elsewhere on this thread (or the other one) I see English Folk Music & Song as a bucolic fantasy existing on a similar level as railway modelling & medieval battle re-enactment with the only difference being that your average railway modeller would at least recognise a real train if they saw one & even the most hardened veteran of The Sealed Knot isn't going to complain if the government doesn't include them as part of our national defences. In other words, it is a form of eccentric escapism, pure and simple, but remains as serious as the lives & passions of those individuals, yourself included, who somehow manage keep it afloat. This, I feel, is activism enough, especially given the broader political & cultural issues at stake here - Nationalism, WAVism, the BNP, etc. etc. - all of which flock to folk like flies around shite.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: GUEST,Lord O'May
Date: 26 May 09 - 07:31 AM

Bit of a cross post there, CS - but I fear the damage is already done.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: glueman
Date: 26 May 09 - 08:03 AM

I concur with the good Lord's analysis completely.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 26 May 09 - 08:29 AM

"even the most hardened veteran of The Sealed Knot isn't going to complain if the government doesn't include them as part of our national defences"

Thank you, S! This is my quote of the month.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 May 09 - 08:33 AM

Lord O'May
'Blue Eyed Mountain Queen'
Sole source appears to be Herbert Hughes' 'Irish County Songs', vol. 4, pp 49-51' No note to song, but preface states that it shares its tune with the older version of 'Galway Bay' ("It's far away I am today....") and the Tyrone version of 'Skibbereen'.
The reference to 'Wynne's Castle' in the text suggests that it comes from the Glenbeigh area of County Kerry.
Sorry I couldn't find any more information.
"rather that was me trying, and failing, to understand the objective consensus of what folk song was in terms of the collective experience of The Revival..."
You might have more success if you realised that your somewhat off-the-wall definition is fairly isolated to your (and possibly your club's - what you suggest is hardly 'collective' considering the response your non-definition received) rejection of a perfectly servicable term and replacing it with one that fairly comfortably encompasses 'music' but little else.
It might be of additional assistance if you took into cosideration the fact that there's a great big world outside the somewhat rarified atmosphere of the folk club scene.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: glueman
Date: 26 May 09 - 08:35 AM

And...
"...at least not according to the orthodoxy, as far as such an orthodoxy might actually be said to exist beyond the fevered imaginations of The Orthodox."

He's on spectacularly good form today.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: GUEST,Lord O'May
Date: 26 May 09 - 08:54 AM

'Blue Eyed Mountain Queen'

Cheers, Jim. Clive's note to the song was a love song from the peaceful valley of Glencolumkille in County Donegal nestling beneath the mountain of Slieve League and facing out to the Atlantic Ocean.

Just because the thread failed it doesn't change the way things are with respect of Folk Song, or indeed with the wider interests of the Folk Scene as a whole - Mudcat included. As I said above ...if 80%+ of what is being sung in the name of folk isn't folk song according to an orthodox reading of the 1954 Definition then something must be wrong somewhere. And by wrong, I don't mean with the folk scene!

As for folk, or another other musical activism:

Like so many of you I've got my doubts about
How much to contribute to the already rich
And God knows how long can I pretend music's more
relevant than fighting for a socialist world


(Gloria Gloom - Robert Wyatt)


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: glueman
Date: 26 May 09 - 08:57 AM

"You might have more success if you realised that your somewhat off-the-wall definition is fairly isolated to your (and possibly your club's - what you suggest is hardly 'collective' considering the response your non-definition received) rejection of a perfectly servicable term and replacing it with one that fairly comfortably encompasses 'music' but little else".

Jim's post summarises a particular and in some ways valid point of view but is based on the principal of if you keep repeating something often enough it will become an unassailable truth.
I don't believe Lo'M's representation of the realities of folk are 'isolated' or confined to iconoclastic sensibilities (which you might believe if you took some of what's written here seriously) but are completely mainstream opinion. I do believe there are on-going folk acts - parent's telling nursery rhymes to their children, football chants, a few folk tales and 'urban myths' (which are often neither urban or mythical) but by and large the tradition is mostly theatrical re-staging by people with only the vaguest, most notional connection to the actualities they're singing about.
The performance may evoke all kinds of dearly held and visceral emotions but they are recreations and revival, not an immediate or unproblematic domestic form of expression.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 26 May 09 - 09:13 AM

"Just because the thread failed"

I don't think the thread failed by a pretty long mark actually. Quite the opposite. Posts from Johnny Adams and Sian in particular provide much to be going on with for anyone who feels 'folk activism' is a worthwhile endevour. The fact that others like yourself do not, is of course going to be a given, but doesn't undermine my own feelings about the work being done, or what could be achieved amongst motivated parties.

Though if the drift continues I guess I'll just have to cut and paste relevent postings to yet another bloody thread... ;-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 26 May 09 - 09:22 AM

Sorry, CS - I meant the 1954 and All That thread had failed, not these ones!


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 26 May 09 - 09:50 AM

I have to admit that my own attempt at folk activism (The Woodbine and Ivy Band) is grinding along very slowly at present, so apologies to anyone reading who has contributed so far. Apparently we'll have it finished by the end of autumn. It'll be worth the wait, honest!

Meanwhile, any folk activists out there, actual or potential, can take inspiration from this lovely bit of David Owen art: Come and have a go...


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 May 09 - 11:14 AM

I do believe there are on-going folk acts - parents telling nursery rhymes to their children, football chants, a few folk tales and 'urban myths' (which are often neither urban or mythical) but by and large the tradition is mostly theatrical re-staging by people with only the vaguest, most notional connection to the actualities they're singing about.

I agree completely. The tradition is dead - long live the tradition.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: glueman
Date: 26 May 09 - 11:20 AM

Or even alive and well and old enough to go into pubs by itself in a nice new hat and coat. Or the age of majority as I prefer to think of it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 26 May 09 - 11:28 AM

Only the physical inability to get to The Beech is going to stop me attempting to sing or play in there. So the songs and tunes live on

We remain active

L in C
4 hours to Tunes


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 26 May 09 - 11:32 AM

sian, at least you have something to say, of interest:-)

Unlike some who indulge in epic length postings *LOL* They rather remind me of Fairport Convention's song, Sloth, everytime they play said song,it gets longer and longer and longer and....


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 26 May 09 - 11:45 AM

Thanks for your last post Sian, after having looked at your magazine, it all looks most inspiring. Much from the Welsh example that a similar English body could draw from. Also your reference to not wanting to follow some faults in Irish attempts at promotion shows where an English body could also learn.

So initially, as John A says, it would seem that a body of nominated figures from both regional and national organisations already active in promoting the cause of English TradArts need to form a body reprensenting them all, and thus English TradArts as a whole.

I wonder if any discussions of that nature have ever taken place between different English folk arts organisations?


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: sian, west wales
Date: 26 May 09 - 12:22 PM

Good to know that our soul-searching in Wales is of interest!

A couple of further points ...

I think people are too worried about full consensus. The recognition debate doesn't need to have a definition of folk and/or trad to which all parties are agreed. In any arena, you form your coalition on those principles you have in common ... and I think there will be enough of those for you to declare some basic principles. Good grief - I'm writing from Wales where disagreement among factions is a Science! William Williams Pantycelyn, the great hymn writer, wrote in a poem once something to the effect of, "Two opinions in one church, and sometimes eight or nine ... Zeal for the least of things working away in the blind." (Sounds better in Welsh!)

The other reflection I might make is the debate about "English"; not the ethnic minority one, but the indigenous minority one. You'll probably have to be strong on the rights of regionalism in "English" music as the Cornish, the Cumbrians, and probably a whole boat load of others would require this.

Throwing another piece of info into the mill, might I suggest that current folk "activists" in England get in touch with their area's Cultural Olympiad Programmer? I was in a meeting in Cornwall at the beginning of April where the Programmers were discussing certain elements of their event calendar to which the folk/trad community should contribute. Of course, they're claiming they have no money to fund anything but ... it's still worth "swapping howdies" with them and getting on their radar.

BTW, forget not the existence of Folk Arts England. We very much enjoy taking part in the Association of Festival Organizers events which they organize and we've always assumed that they are trac's equivalent in England.

sian


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 26 May 09 - 12:59 PM

Folk Arts England

English Folk Dance & Song Society

East Anglian Traditional Music Trust

Yorkshire Garland

Wren Trust

Ryburn 3 Step

South East Folk Arts

Folkus

Farne

And just for you, CS...

Essex Folk Network

And last but far from least, the wonderful Folkopedia


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: johnadams
Date: 26 May 09 - 01:41 PM

Sian,

Thanks for your interesting input. It's certainly food for thought.

You wrote I do worry, john, when you say, "Some of our activists are non-folky, ie. village people taking part in a village activity - they never go to festivals or buy a folk cd."

I'm not quite sure what worries you. The sentence was meant in a positive way, ie. they don't need to be 'folkies' in order to actively contribute to the running of folk type activities. To them it's just stuff to do as a very sociable hobby. I don't really like the term 'folk music' - the invention of Victorian collectors and if people can enjoy and even enable the music outside the framework of the 'folk scene' then that's good. It doesn't disable the folk enthusiasts or the folk academics etc. and adds something refreshing into the pot.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: sian, west wales
Date: 26 May 09 - 02:08 PM

Yeh, I worried about using the word "worry" as it happens. It wasn't quite what I was looking for. I just feel that people who don't attend festivals or buy designated folk cds may still be deep reservoirs of folky ... ummm ... stuff. Maybe it's the difference between 'folk' and 'Folk'?

You know that saying about being in a hole and realizing you should stop digging? I think I'm in that position. I'm not stating my case very well. Something to do with "folkies" forgetting that the wider community is where the music has to resonate (IMHO). And then I get into the swampland of "geographic community" vs "community of interest", and cultural entitlements, and even "what is folk". But I also value the festivals, and clubs, and the academics and commerical promoters and ... Oh lord. Not only have I not stopped digging, I'm also beginning to fight the alligators instead of draining the swamp.

I'm going to lie down now ...


sian


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 26 May 09 - 03:02 PM

Not to forget Folk Works - or does that come under FARNE these days?


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: johnadams
Date: 26 May 09 - 08:29 PM

Sian wrote:

Something to do with "folkies" forgetting that the wider community is where the music has to resonate

The music/dance/custom doesn't just resonate out there but chunks of it actually exist without knowing (or caring) that the folk scene exists.

For example, we tend to think that 'the folk dance scene' belongs to the ceilidh circuit, the festival field, the barn dance societies, etc. But who has the most ceilidhs in the UK? - the Caravan Club!

Ok, you're not going to find chunks of the community singing Child Ballads while isolated from the folk scene (or are you?) but there are significant numbers of people who dance, sing, celebrate ritual, engage in seasonal customs, etc. without ever going to a folk club, or folk festival, without ever reading a folk magazine, or listening to a folk cd or radio programme.

I said I didn't like the word 'folk' but it does work in the sense that it's folk who do it and when they get enthusiastic to an extreme I suppose they become a 'folkie'.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: sian, west wales
Date: 27 May 09 - 04:33 AM

Are we arguing the same side? I think we must be. You just put it better.

Of course, there are differences between England and Wales. Here I'd say the dance scene is seriously overshadowed by competition (eisteddfodau) and exhibition (competition teams doing displays at local events). There are very few opportunities for good ol' knees ups. But I think that there are still a lot of people who can sing true (?) and old folk songs and also maintain certain seasonal customs as an unbroken tradition and, as you say, neither know or care that the scene exists.

To bring it back to activism, we have one society, Clera, for Welsh traditional instruments which has completely changed the instrumental music scene in Wales. Run completely by volunteers, they run one-day workshops with excellent tutors (who take well below the ususal daily rate) for instrumentalists at all levels. They formed an all-Wales folk orchestra in 2007 just to celebrate their 10th anniversary but it carried on, going from strength to strength. Last year they were invited to play the main stage at Lorient Festival and this August they'll be releasing their first CD. This has done wonders for the confidence of the individuals involved, some of whom are now organizing regular workshops and sessions in their own areas to keep their skills up between rehearsals and gigs.

I think this snowballing effect is a great way to create sustainable activities. I suppose the modern expression would be 'viral marketing'?

sian


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: BB
Date: 27 May 09 - 04:05 PM

Add to that list:

Folk South West

and

Southern Counties Folk Federation

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: GUEST,Chris P
Date: 28 May 09 - 12:39 PM

Hi Johnny.
Point of information. You mean the Camping And Caravanning Club, not the Caravan Club. They are deadly rivals within their own field, one lot regarding themselves as better than the othert. What does that remind me of?
Chris.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: GUEST,Chris P
Date: 28 May 09 - 01:29 PM

.....but at least they have a level playing field.


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 28 May 09 - 01:45 PM

We are friendly they are elitist

L in C


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Subject: RE: Folk Activism!
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 29 Jul 13 - 04:50 AM

Just to show you what goes on behind the scenes, have a look at
this band of Arts Council luminaries and in particular their founding thinking.

I find the second most revealing in that it seems to have an Agenda not too dissimilar to Common Purpose's sense of Fuhrerschaft - examine the annexe with particular care as it explains a lot about the disparity felt between TRAC and another body.


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