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Interest in folk beyond trad

Janie 09 Nov 09 - 11:27 PM
Will Fly 10 Nov 09 - 04:29 AM
Geoff the Duck 10 Nov 09 - 05:49 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 10 Nov 09 - 06:34 AM
bubblyrat 10 Nov 09 - 07:38 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 10 Nov 09 - 10:53 AM
Tim Leaning 10 Nov 09 - 11:54 AM
GUEST,Russ 10 Nov 09 - 10:00 PM
Janie 10 Nov 09 - 11:03 PM
Effsee 10 Nov 09 - 11:09 PM
Janie 11 Nov 09 - 12:16 AM
Stringsinger 11 Nov 09 - 11:40 AM
GUEST,Russ 11 Nov 09 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 11 Nov 09 - 01:37 PM
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Subject: Interest in folk beyond trad
From: Janie
Date: 09 Nov 09 - 11:27 PM

I doubt this is a new topic or theme, but I'm gonna start a new thread anyways.

Suggest you put out of mind threads, thoughts and discussions about "what is folk music."

If you come to Mudcat occasionally or regularly at all, it is with the hope and expectation that you will find or have the opportunity to share music that approaches somebody's definition of "folk."

I'm neither a musician or a musical scholar. I just like what I like and it tends toward music that I consider to fall within the broad rubric of "folk." I notice that most of the music threads about music that I am likely to learn and sing are relatively unpopulated, and are also likely to be largely played by American musicians.   Jugband music. Blues. Old time stringband music, gospel, spirituals, accoustic singer/songwriter, etc. Good music. Folk music, imho.

Wonder what it would take for the more of the folks interested, expert and/or knowledgable in these others branches or offspring of folk and blues to feel welcomed and valued at Mudcat in the music section?

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Subject: RE: Interest in folk beyond trad
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 04:29 AM

Janie - I think the simple answer is that, if you have a particular topic of personal musical interest you want to air here, then go ahead and air it. I'm a huge fan of jug band music (Gus Cannon, Mississippi Sheiks, Memphis Jug Band), for example, and have a fairly large collection of vinyl in that area. Love the stuff. The same goes for string bands, and I used to haunt the big London record shops in the 70s, looking out for American imports of early string band and blues music. I also have most of the recorded output of Rosetta Tharpe - saw her over here in the 60s - and did she swing! Saw Gary Davis live in Manchester around the same time - a fantastic experience.

So - like-minded souls are out here - you just have to pull the right strings! :-)

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Subject: RE: Interest in folk beyond trad
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 05:49 AM

Janie - I don't think it is an easy question to answer.
Why do some people arrive and stay, whereas others arrive and then disappear?

Since becoming a member,I have talked to various people who did not stay, and there have been an assortment of reasons they have given. I'll try to summarise diferent responses with "Reason for Visit" (RFV) and different outcomes.

RFV - to get a question answered.
Result 1 - question answered, so do not need anything else from Mudcat/ I'll visit again if I have another question.
Result 2 - question NOT answered - if Mudcat doesn't have the answer to my questions (must be useless) I'll go elsewhere.
Result 3 - Upset by someone. They ran into one of the rude people (sometimes a member, sometimes a troll), went away angry and have no wish to repeat the experience.

RFV - They have heard about the Digital Tradition.
Result - They want to find lyrics. What they want is in the Digitrad. They are not interested in discussing the lyric (or anything else) so they go away. They may return at some later date.

Some people see themselves as a "Big Fish" in their respective "Pond". They do not like it when they arrive at Mudcat to find they are actually a goldfish in a bowl, and they have just been released into a lake full of bigger fish with teeth.

Some of the regular 'Catters spend time on different forums with a more specialist bias. Other members of those forums may simply have decided that the expertise and interaction they seek is covered by that particular forum and not see a need to see what Mudcat offers. We are a very wide collection of divergent interests, which for me enriches the place, but wouldn't for a musical monomaniac.

I personaly like the Mudcat's "All recent threads on show" format, but it does mean that if you were only interested in reading Blues or only English Ballads, they are not already sorted into little (or big) boxes where one click brings up every ballad discussion. It can be difficult to find a specific topic, (even when you know it is there because you remember contributing to it some months earlier). Thread titles can be misleading, and a forum search can be inconclusive if you choose the wrong search term.
A casual visitor who doesn't know the system can be excused for thinking that Mudcat isn't the answer to their needs.

Perhaps it would help if Max could create a system where threads could be "Tagged" with extra sub categories beyond the standard "Lyric Request"/"Tune Add"/"Folklore" ones, so you could click boxes labelled "Ballad" "Bluegrass", "American", and your search would narrow down to threads which contained all three tags. Of course, even if the database can be modified to include such tags, somebody would have to actually go through threads to tag them, and that would not be a quick process even if some clone or clones were willing to take on the task.

Just a few semi random thoughts.

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Subject: RE: Interest in folk beyond trad
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 06:34 AM

I really can't see why anyone should feel excluded by Mudcat. It seems to me that the organisers of this site are very open and fair-minded people (I, on the other hand, am a curmudgeonly old purist who likes a good scrap - but that's my problem!).

As to why certain people don't use this site - well, remember the old adage, "you can take a horse to water, but you can't make it drink (and it's a waste of time trying)". I'm reminded of a similar situation where I live. The local authorities seem to be consumed with anxiety because they believe that people from ethnic minorities don't use local green spaces. Actually they do, but they use them differently: they tend to hold family based picnics, occasionally, when the weather is good, and don't bother filling in silly council surveys. The 'natives', on the other hand, go in for lots of obsessive jogging and dog walking. Perhaps, on this site, 'Jug Band enthusiasts', or whatever, dip in and out and tend not to contribute to obsessive debates/slanging matches about 'what is folk music' (like what I do).

As for G the D's "Result 3", about people being upset by rude people, yes, there are rude people on this site but there are far too many over-sensitive people who interpret any challenge to their precious opinions as 'rudeness'; if you contribute to a public debate you must expect to encounter differences of opinion. Lots of people disagree with me, and are sometimes rude to me, but I'm not really bothered by those things and consider rudeness to be a sign of poorly thought through opinions.

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Subject: RE: Interest in folk beyond trad
From: bubblyrat
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 07:38 AM

I have been involved with "Folk" music since 1964,but by no means always "Trad",whatever that actually is.Yes,I like to play "traditional" tunes,and sing along with the choruses of "tradional" songs,but then again,tomorrow night Karen & I might just as easily be performing something by Briege Murphy, Kate Wolf,or even Matraca Berg ! Followed possibly by "Pleraca Fanni Ni Poer" and "Planxty George Brabazon" !!----It's ALL music to my / our ears !

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Subject: RE: Interest in folk beyond trad
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 10:53 AM

As a newcomer, it's been down to me *asking questions* about 'folk' on this board, that I've learned whatever I have thus far about the subject.

My questions have essentially been about traditional folk, and I have had a great deal of helpful responses from people who are keen to share their experience - but I think like Mr. Fly says, you just need to actively tweak those who know, in order to encourage them to respond to your interest.

I'd suggest initiating a few threads asking for anecdotes, stories, information on styles and so-on. Get the ball rolling on discussions you'd be keen to follow or participate in. In fact I'm sure it'd do Mudcat's Music section the world of good, and even hopefully drag up some of those who have been lazily exchanging fart jokes down in the dusty old catacombs below, since sometime BC... ;-)

In fact Janie, you've made me have a think of my own... Lately I've been seriously considering dropping the forum - but there are some excellent and highly knowledgeable people here. Even if they can be a bit curmudgeonly at times, they're full of great stuff too!
So maybe I should just start initiating some threads of my own again...

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Subject: RE: Interest in folk beyond trad
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 11:54 AM

There are loads of ace people on here, A few not so nice maybe.
But as a resource for ignoramus its great

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Subject: RE: Interest in folk beyond trad
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 10:00 PM


I've lurked Mudcat for years.

If memory serves me, the threads about the music you are "likely to learn and sing" have always been relatively un/underpopulated. It is not a new phenomenon.

As for what would it take to get people who are expert/knowledgeable in such branches of folk to participate, I think it would probably be a significant change in Mudcat demographics.

I think that Mudcat is perceived as a website by "folkies: for "folkies."
I am cool with that as my years of lurking prove.
But In the musical circles that I move in, that is rarely seen as a good thing.
No matter how "folk" is defined by those who wear the label proudly, it is still a mildly pejorative term when used by the musicians I am thinking of.

For example, Although I love Mudcat, it is not the place I would select as the venue for any sort of meaningful thread about old time banjo playing. For that I go to Banjo Hangout.

None of this is intended to be criticism of Mudcat. I think Mudcat is fine just the way it is. I just have what I think of as realistic expectations.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)

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Subject: RE: Interest in folk beyond trad
From: Janie
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 11:03 PM

And others have posted very similar views, Russ. (Sorry you didn't make the Getaway. Maybe next year?)

I guess the thing about Mudcat for a non-musician dilettante like me, is that I can read and learn and get broad information that enhances my appreciation and understanding of many different folk genres. My interest is broad and general, and my knowledge is superficial. I'm not a musicologist or even an amateur scholar. I'm just really, and generally interested. And Mudcat is pretty tolerant of folks like me.

I enjoyed scanning the recent thread about Ralph Stanley's banjo playing, but it was over my head. It was a musician's thread. I scan or read a lot of those threads but do not have musical understanding or the experience of the instrument to understand much. The resurrected Geneology of Bluegrass thread, however, focusing on the matrix of history and cultural influences, is fascinating to me, and I have stolen minutes throughout the day to read the entire thread.

I also greatly enjoy and learn alot from many, many of the music threads, be they about ballads, songwriting, performing, etc. My particular affinity for gospel, blues, spirituals, old time stringband, old country and bluegrass is both ethnocentric and egocentric. It moves me emotionally, speaks to me culturally, and/or I can clog or flat-foot to it, or I can actually sing it with visceral passion with my unusually low voice of limited range, or sing that 5th above harmony that gives me shivers.

I am not just a fan of folk music. As I said above, I am also not a musician or musical scholar.

I am a beggar at the table in these music threads. I appreciate the scraps. I thrive on them. I prefer scraps and gleaning as that is all I can take in. Mudcat is quite tolerant of beggars like me and is broad enough to make room at the table for this beggar.

I do occasionally go to other sites such as Banjo Hangout, but they are much more specific and geared to the musician.

I guess I'm just begging. And thank all ya'll for allowing me to do so.


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Subject: RE: Interest in folk beyond trad
From: Effsee
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 11:09 PM

Janie, when are you gonna get back to the "Holler"?

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Subject: RE: Interest in folk beyond trad
From: Janie
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 12:16 AM

Major Thread Drift Alert.

You know Effsee, I think I will, but I really don't know when. While I have occasionally come back to it for a post or two, and I have a fairly clear idea of the ending, I haven't figured out what happens between where the story is now and the ending.

I perhaps should have ended it when Cathy died, but it seemed like there was still more story to tell. This is the first story I have ever written. I envisioned it at the start to be another "Mudcat story thread" but it seems to have become my story, though not at all possible without those who have contributed. Mmario, with his wonderful touch of magic, has been particularly important, but doesn't want to be intrusive and is, I think, deferentially waiting for me to take up the reins again.

I never should have sent Sharon out West, a place about which I know nothing, and I never should have transformed her into the main character without understanding her better. This story, while absolutely fiction, draws strongly on my own cultural, family and personal history and experiences for inspiration. I am still adjusting to some major life changes that occurred after I was well into the "Holler." I have written and deleted a number of installments because they were overly autobiographical. It may be that I have to land somewhere myself that is recognizable before the inspiration will arise to lead me to the conclusion of "Holler."

Your interest and encouragement, along with the few others that have occasionally posted, is very validating. Even though I have disappointed by the lack of writing for quite some time, there is this story that somehow needs and deserves to be completed, that keeps tugging at me. I anticipate that the time will come when "I" get out of the way sufficiently that the story can finish telling itself.

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Subject: RE: Interest in folk beyond trad
From: Stringsinger
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 11:40 AM

Janie, I think the answer lies in seeing folk music in a larger context. It is the well-spring
from which many forms of music emerge, jazz, classical, pop etc.

Narrowing its role in counter to understanding what it is.

There is no reason why people with varying tastes in music can't contribute to the understanding of folk music.

In folk, you can't go beyond traditional without appreciating and understanding what traditional is. But it has been the framework for many creative musicians to develop their music. And it will be for time to come.

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Subject: RE: Interest in folk beyond trad
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 01:35 PM

I was planning to attend Getaway this year but got a better offer.
It is on the calendar for next year.

Stay with Mudcat but keep going to the specialized sites as well.

The more you read detailed technical discussions the more they'll make sense.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)

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Subject: RE: Interest in folk beyond trad
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 01:37 PM

Stick your finger in your ear, shut your eyes, take a deep breath....

You are there already!


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