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What does your repertoire mean to you?

SPB-Cooperator 16 Aug 09 - 12:50 PM
Willie-O 16 Aug 09 - 01:41 PM
Gibb Sahib 16 Aug 09 - 02:41 PM
SPB-Cooperator 16 Aug 09 - 03:11 PM
Mzee Simba 16 Aug 09 - 03:43 PM
jacqui.c 16 Aug 09 - 03:49 PM
Phil Edwards 16 Aug 09 - 03:55 PM
Newport Boy 16 Aug 09 - 04:38 PM
kendall 16 Aug 09 - 04:48 PM
Rumncoke 16 Aug 09 - 04:57 PM
bradstonian girl 16 Aug 09 - 05:02 PM
Uncle_DaveO 16 Aug 09 - 05:10 PM
Don Firth 16 Aug 09 - 05:27 PM
Michael Harrison 17 Aug 09 - 12:01 AM
Peace 17 Aug 09 - 12:12 AM
GUEST,iancarterb 17 Aug 09 - 12:40 AM
open mike 17 Aug 09 - 01:24 AM
Deckman 17 Aug 09 - 09:38 AM
GUEST,Mr Red 17 Aug 09 - 10:56 AM
foggers 17 Aug 09 - 12:45 PM
Nick 17 Aug 09 - 01:03 PM
Richard Mellish 17 Aug 09 - 07:09 PM
Fidjit 17 Aug 09 - 11:02 PM
Peace 18 Aug 09 - 06:53 PM
Herga Kitty 18 Aug 09 - 07:42 PM
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Subject: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 12:50 PM

When I started going to folk clubs I built me repertiore on the basis of just liking a tune or song that I heard in a club, on the radio, on a record, with no rationale apart from the fact I liked singing it. After a nearly three-year break, I don't see the point of reviving large chunk of my repertoire.

When I was with the Shanty Crew there was an obvious purpose to singing sea songs and shanties, but I don't see myself going back in that direction.

So, how many songs and tunes in peoples repertoires have a purpose for being there, apart form the obvious answer of those who write their own material.


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: Willie-O
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 01:41 PM

They all have one of two purposes for being there:

1. I like singing them

2. (a) Someone else wants me to sing them! Which often leads me back to point 1
. (b) I am getting paid to perform a certain repertoire, appropriate to the venue.

If you don't see the point in singing stuff you used to sing, it's probably cause you don't like singing them any more (or think you don't).

After a break from performing, you get to reinvent yourself. One of the big perks of playing music.

W-O
"We don't have much fun, but we make a lot of money"-John Foreman


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 02:41 PM

I think "repertoire" is basically all the pieces/songs you can more-or-less perform. Out of those, for given musical projects, bands, events, etc., you establish a selective repertoire geared towards that purpose. That can vary depending on who your audience will be and how you want them to react to your music, or what you want them to experience, or how to perceive you. It is tailored to each instance, or to your general project. One typical consideration, for example, is in creating a "balanced" set of music for performance X. A lot of chantey singers, for instance (though I am not a big fan) will make sure they have "John Kanaka" in their repetoire because they will often find themselves in the situation where they want to portray the image of a "diverse" influence on chanteys. Another example is the decision whether to have mostly original songs or mostly "traditional" songs, the balance of which will greatly shape how an audience receives your music.

Gibb


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 03:11 PM

The reason for the question....

All songs in a repertoire have come from somewhere, be it self-penned, a study/interest in a specific genre, selection of how you want to be perceived as a performer, family repertoires, or even no other reason aprt from liking the song/tune. Back in the eighties and early nineties, there were a plethora of 'singaround' clubs, and in those days, I'd chose material that seemed to fit in with the mood of the session - not always successfully. I rarely 'did' shanties as I was performing these as part of a group. By the end of the 90s by which time singarounds were giving way to 'spots' I found myself thinking in terms of performances - albiet 2 or sometimes 3 songs, and they tended to be comic or music hall songs.

The idea of singing a song because 'I liked it at the time' doesn't sit comfortably with me any more. Music Hall is still a possibility, but at a risk of being 'typecast'. I would like to do more traditional materials, but apart from Shanties, I do not have a consistant performance style for it, and being nearly 50 I am probably too old to learn new tricks.....

So... I am curious to know if any performers have criteria for deciding if a song/tune, style or genre find a place in thier repertoire.


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: Mzee Simba
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 03:43 PM

Sing the songs that actually move you...whether they make you cry or make you laugh...and try to move your audience, to reach their emotions and make them feel something outside of their own lives. If the song doesn't move you any more, the audience won't care about it either. In my opinion, the best public performances (be it music, theatre etc.) is most successful when it conveys emotion and creates emotion on the part of the audience. Everything else is the vessel for the transmission of emotion. Touhing people in their heart is what it's all about.


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: jacqui.c
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 03:49 PM

I quite often have no real choice of the songs that I learn as I end up with earworms that persist until I learn that particular song.

Experience teaches you what is suitable for your particular style and so far as learning new tricks is concerned, I was 52 when I got into Folk music seriously and am still learning the craft.


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 03:55 PM

being nearly 50 I am probably too old to learn new tricks

Oi! I'm 48 & have been going to clubs regularly for 6 and a bit years. My head was turned by traditional music about eighteen months ago, and since then I've been building a trad repertoire - and building, and building. (I try to get a new song into shape every week.) As for new tricks, I'm just now starting to think about accompaniment (a long story which I've gone into elsewhere).

What should go in the repertoire? Whatever impassions you; whatever moves you to tears the first time you sing it through; whatever makes you think, when you hear it on record, I want to do that.


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: Newport Boy
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 04:38 PM

You're never too old to learn new songs or styles - it just takes a little longer. I listen to the few songs I recorded 30 years ago (when I ran a folk club and had a repertoire of about 120 songs) and those from 15 years ago (when I sang mostly for myself and family). Neither period sounds anything like the 20 or so songs I sing now.

I don't know what I'll be singing 15 years from now, when I'll be 88!

Phil


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: kendall
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 04:48 PM

Nor much these days. :-(


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: Rumncoke
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 04:57 PM

I decided to write down all the songs I knew when my memory started to be less than perfect, and I am up at 300 and still remembering more.

I have always sung, or been in an environment where people sang, so I have an enormous variety of songs. I don't perform at folk clubs - I do turn up at festivals and find a sing around at a pub. Most of my songs I can accompany on guitar, or not.

I like to think I can make a good job of it - that it is in my vocal range, is suitable for me to sing, - but it has to have some sort of relevance or resonance for me. If I can't feel some sort of connection then it is not for me.

I do have some shanties in my book - not John Kanaka, because when I was sailing I did not sing that, and although I like it, I only join in with it.

Some people find it strange to have a female lead a shanty - so it is not often that I sing one, but I do sometimes get the feeling that I might be the only person in a room who has needed to sing a shanty to get a sail up or help with pumping.

I do try to learn new songs from time to time, but it is increasingly difficult to get past the first verse. They tend to be nostalgic.

I don't sing songs that move me, other than the Manchester Rambler and I can generally cope with that, the connection isn't emotion it goes deeper than that.

If you don't feel that you want to go on singing a song then it probably wasn't really worth you learning it. The last one I learned goes - as far as I recall -

Theres a song that keeps resounding
As a song will sometimes do
It takes me a way to my younger days
And the men and the ships I knew
To the men I knew in a time long gone
And a ship of some renown
When we sailed away to mobile bay
Where they roll the cotton down
Roll the cotton down bullies
roll the cotton down
I thought I heard the old man say
Roll the cotton down.

I feel it suits me well enough.

Anne Croucher


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: bradstonian girl
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 05:02 PM

I agree with Mzee Simba. making a connection with a song is the key.As for not learning new things at 50, that was when I started to sing folksongs. for the last three years Ive also started to write songs about family/local history. It's never too late this is living!


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 05:10 PM

For my repertoire, it's all about story! Even if the content doesn't rise to being a connected tale, like a ballad, it always has to have that strong narrative feel--and I can't define that any further; it's subjective on my part.

The instrumental content (if any) is decidedly secondary in importance to the story quality. Maybe 20% of my songs are done unaccompanied, mainly because I can't imagine anything I could do for the particular song on guitar or banjo that wouldn't distract from the effect I want and feel I can get with voice alone.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: Don Firth
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 05:27 PM

"I quite often have no real choice of the songs that I learn as I end up with earworms that persist until I learn that particular song."

That pretty well summarizes my experience as well, jacqui.

I got actively interesting in folk music in my very early twenties, along with my girl friend at the time. Then she and I took in a small concert by a local folk singer, which I describe in detail elsewhere (Tales of Walt Robertson). What I heard that night:
He sang for nearly three hours that evening, weaving tapestries of song and story, evoking ancient images and emotions that seemed to emerge from the Unconscious or from some genetic memory trace: medieval castles looming above cold and misty moors; the suffocating claustrophobia of a coal mine; wind and salt spray on the heaving deck of a whaling ship; the sweat, dust, and boredom of the cattle trail; the roar of cannon, flame and smoke erupting from the gun ports of pirate galleons; the agony of love betrayed, and the joys, both bawdy and profound, of love shared; the gleeful nonsense and fresh wonder of children's songs and rhymes . . . dream visions and antique echoes. And somehow, shadows from within my own soul.

I was enthralled. Spellbound.

I wanted to do that!
I went home that night with dozens of earworms competing with each other—song after song that I wanted to learn. Fortunately, the following Monday, I met the singer and hit him up for guitar lessons. And he taught me many of the songs I wanted to learn and introduced me to many books (Lomax, Sharp, et al) and recordings that were good sources for other songs to learn.

Although I could go through my current song list and divide the songs into categories (love songs, sea chanteys, tragic ballads, etc.), I didn't (and don't) learn the songs in any organized manner. I would hear a song sung by someone else or on a record. It would tell a compelling story (I know what Uncle Dave means:    even if a song isn't a straight narrative like a ballad, it always implies a story), or appeal to me emotionally, or simply stick in my ear, and I had to learn it. Simple as that. Yes, I can organize my repertoire, and I have, several different ways. But that's after the fact.

And as to "being nearly 50 I am probably too old to learn new tricks. . . ."    Howzat again!??   I'm 78, and I'm learning and singing new songs all the time!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: Michael Harrison
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 12:01 AM

Thanks, Don; at almost 60 I'm starting to feel young around these parts. Cheers,...............mwh


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: Peace
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 12:12 AM

"and being nearly 50 I am probably too old to learn new tricks....."

Kids these days . . . .

You are young enough to learn new 'styles'. But rule one: if it doesn't appeal to you don't do it. I have some songs that mean the world to me that I just don't do anymore. Some dated or just not 'me' anymore. Others don't appeal to me as once they did. Had a few songs I don't sing but would with an audience request.


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: GUEST,iancarterb
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 12:40 AM

There IS a time when it's too late to learn new songs. Until just before that event, learn what moves you. As several have observed above, it will only move others if it moves you.
Carter


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: open mike
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 01:24 AM

i love a song that tells a story. At a gig yesterday, a youngster came up to me and asked me how many songs i know. I was surprised to say that I probably have at least 1,000. I recall beong astonished at a high school friend who claimed to know 400 ... and that was nearly 40 years ago....i am sure i have learned many more since then! (the kid proceeded to request a song...presumably country...called tears in my beer or some such..which i had no idea about. I was singing and playing with a pair of country singers...and they sang dozens that i had never heard of...i was able to play chords to many, but did not know the lyrics.

At one point, in my life, when i was dealing with lots of changes in my life.... i was in the middle of separating from my then partner, and my children were growing up and leaving home, and i was moving...
and my parents were dying, I was also trying to process the loss of my parents....at that time most of the songs i played had death in them .... i guess i was coming to terms with death.

I played at several funerals, and one house where a friend was dying.
I dwelt on it so much, i recall being asked NOT to sing any songs about death...i guess i was experiencing a trend...in subject matter.


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: Deckman
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 09:38 AM

This is being a very rich thread. Later on today when I have more time, I will add my coments to this thread. Good comments folks ... Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 10:56 AM

My journey through life, post-divorce. And that is pretty significant.


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: foggers
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 12:45 PM

I choose songs that grip me in some way; and the qualities likely to do that are a good yarn, good tune, in a style that I think I can make work for my voice. Having been out of the music scene for many years I set myself the task last summer of learning a song each week. So I have a repertoire now of about 50+ songs that I would consider to be of performance standard.

It is all about what moves me - if a song does not affect me in some way then I can't envisage it having an impact on an audience.

Looking at the list of songs, there are some themes that emerge. I tend to go for songs that work from a female perspective, and I have deliberately aimed for a range (ballads, some comic songs, some with choruses suitable for singarounds). I see it as bit like building the colours up of a palette. Then when I performance I can compile a suitable set list that will (hopefully) fit the occasion.


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: Nick
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 01:03 PM

>>and being nearly 50 I am probably too old to learn new tricks.....

Good grief. I'd make sure you have a good funeral plan in place and perhaps start looking round a few nursing homes. Perhaps start to think about getting a live in nurse...

But seriously - 50 is the new 30 so you have plenty of time to learn new stuff if you choose to.

I started playing music again in my very late 40s when I started a folk club like thing in a local pub. Since then I have pretty much completely changed the way I play guitar, learned to play the mandolin to a standard where I can join in and play ok, gone back to playing bass, played in 5 bands including the current band I play in, started singing having never sung live in my life, met and played with some wonderful people who I have learnt enormous amounts from, played a load of gigs in various lineups, and still have a load of things I want to do and achieve over the next 5 years. Off to sing tonight in one local pub, have our weekly meet on Wednesday, band practice on Thursday and then no doubt hit Whitby a bit over the following week.

You are lucky you are so young. Make the most of it.


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 07:09 PM

I choose songs that I have come across somewhere (mostly at folk clubs or on commercial recordings) but that I have seldom heard sung by anyone else. I see no point in singing a song that someone else in the same place sings, or that is very well known, except possibly if I have a substantially different version that I think deserves an airing. Even if (rarely) I think I could sing a song better than someone who has it in their repertoire, I won't do that, because there are plenty of other songs that I'm not hearing sung by anyone else.

Of course every song also has to appeal to me in some way, but there are plenty of possible reasons. I recently sang one that is a very condensed version of a well-known song, notable in my opinion for being so condensed and for its particular conclusion (Bob Roberts' version of A Sailor's Life, which ends with the spoken words "And over the side she went").

Richard


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: Fidjit
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 11:02 PM

It's telling the story.
I usually do a 3 song set(then they chuck me off)theme that compliment each other. Sort of makes it into a chapter, giving a brief insight of life of the times.

Chas


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: Peace
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 06:53 PM

Wanted to add one more thing. Patrick Sky taught me the importance of pacing, and that means really evaluating what the audience has show you whether through applause, quiet applause, their faces and body movements.

If you decide to do "Sad-eyed Lady of the Lowlands" and you haven't nailed it in three or four lines, well, the next twelve minutes will be the longest of your life. And that something you'd have to decide before playing the song. It also depends on whether you get interactive with the audience. Their feedback is their expression of how they think you're doing in your job: entertainment. Listen to them.


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Subject: RE: What does your repertoire mean to you?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 07:42 PM

Well, if you've just made a CD it's easy to get trapped in the songs you're hoping people will buy. I haven't been as organised as perhaps I should have been in keeping lists of songs I sing or sang, but I do keep getting reminded by performances of songs by other singers that there are so many songs I used to sing...

Kitty


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