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Traditional vs the tradition

Old Vermin 15 Nov 09 - 12:13 PM
Will Fly 15 Nov 09 - 12:20 PM
The Sandman 15 Nov 09 - 12:26 PM
dick greenhaus 15 Nov 09 - 12:35 PM
GUEST,Chris Murray 15 Nov 09 - 12:40 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Nov 09 - 01:19 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Nov 09 - 01:21 PM
Old Vermin 15 Nov 09 - 01:23 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Nov 09 - 01:31 PM
Will Fly 15 Nov 09 - 01:43 PM
Old Vermin 15 Nov 09 - 02:01 PM
Folkiedave 15 Nov 09 - 02:46 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Nov 09 - 02:59 PM
MGM·Lion 15 Nov 09 - 03:03 PM
MGM·Lion 15 Nov 09 - 03:04 PM
Andy Jackson 15 Nov 09 - 05:28 PM
Folkiedave 15 Nov 09 - 06:09 PM
Andy Jackson 15 Nov 09 - 07:47 PM
Spleen Cringe 16 Nov 09 - 03:01 AM
Marje 16 Nov 09 - 04:23 AM
Folkiedave 16 Nov 09 - 04:42 AM
Young Buchan 16 Nov 09 - 05:30 AM
MGM·Lion 16 Nov 09 - 05:50 AM
GUEST,JM 16 Nov 09 - 05:55 AM
Old Vermin 16 Nov 09 - 06:05 AM
Jack Blandiver 16 Nov 09 - 06:18 AM
MGM·Lion 16 Nov 09 - 06:31 AM
Old Vermin 16 Nov 09 - 06:55 AM
Jack Blandiver 16 Nov 09 - 07:01 AM
Old Vermin 16 Nov 09 - 08:15 AM
Folkiedave 16 Nov 09 - 10:36 AM
MGM·Lion 16 Nov 09 - 11:06 AM
Stringsinger 16 Nov 09 - 11:53 AM
Old Vermin 16 Nov 09 - 06:24 PM
Folkiedave 16 Nov 09 - 07:19 PM
GUEST,glueperson 17 Nov 09 - 10:32 AM
Old Vermin 17 Nov 09 - 11:15 AM
Marje 17 Nov 09 - 11:56 AM
Folkiedave 17 Nov 09 - 11:59 AM
Lonesome EJ 17 Nov 09 - 12:39 PM
Old Vermin 17 Nov 09 - 01:11 PM
Folkiedave 17 Nov 09 - 07:40 PM
TheSnail 17 Nov 09 - 07:47 PM
Folkiedave 18 Nov 09 - 04:38 AM
Valmai Goodyear 18 Nov 09 - 05:51 AM
MGM·Lion 18 Nov 09 - 06:01 AM
Mr Happy 18 Nov 09 - 06:04 AM
Marje 18 Nov 09 - 06:48 AM
Mr Happy 18 Nov 09 - 06:50 AM
Stringsinger 18 Nov 09 - 01:42 PM
Lonesome EJ 18 Nov 09 - 01:48 PM
The Sandman 18 Nov 09 - 01:59 PM
Folkiedave 18 Nov 09 - 03:15 PM
TheSnail 18 Nov 09 - 04:18 PM
MGM·Lion 18 Nov 09 - 10:11 PM
Folkiedave 19 Nov 09 - 03:49 AM
The Sandman 19 Nov 09 - 09:23 AM
MGM·Lion 19 Nov 09 - 12:04 PM
Folkiedave 19 Nov 09 - 01:04 PM
MGM·Lion 19 Nov 09 - 01:19 PM
Paul Davenport 20 Nov 09 - 11:08 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Nov 09 - 05:30 PM
Vic Smith 21 Nov 09 - 10:40 AM
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Subject: Traditional v the tradition
From: Old Vermin
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 12:13 PM

Had cause to be thoughtful about this distinction last Sunday. The evening was that of Remembrance Sunday. I was at a folk club in Sussex.

The floor singers before the guest mostly sang songs traditional for that evening in that club, and were followed by a well-respected couple   - at least one a Mudcatter - who announced that, not having anything prepared on that theme they would sing an English traditional [possibly emphasised] song or two, and gave details of collector and singer collected.

The earlier floor singers included :

The Ladies Go Dancing at Whitsun
Home, Lads Home
One of Eric Bogle's - probably Matilda.

Likewise the previous Friday, across the border in Surrey we sang another of Eric Bogle's - probably No Man's Land, then Hanging on the Old Barbed Wire.

These songs are sung at that time of year in these clubs. As far as I know all except perhaps the last have known writers, so not, on one definition folk-songs. Only a label, after all. Traditional, indeed ritual, though.

From that, I started thinking about songs and tunes that are traditional in the sense of people learning them by ear and being sung or played at the same regular occasion but are recent enough to have known makers.

The obvious examples were carols and birthday songs. And the local pub session always used to close with American Pie and after that the Halling Polka on fiddle. this latter is more-or-less Filarfolket's 'Hallingpolska' which makes an excellent ear-worm.

Other examples?

Other's thoughts on what's traditional and what's tradition?


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 12:20 PM

I go to a monthly singaround in Surrey, where many of the singers and performers tend to bring material to perform which, in some way, reflects either the season or some particular occasion. The last one was on the Monday after Remembrance Sunday, and several of the songs were about the military or war/peace. One of the ladies present had brought her trumpet and we had a song or two - unaccompanied but for her trumpet - and then she played the "Last Post". Very moving and very appropriate.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 12:26 PM

talking about the tradition is almost becoming a tradition,its almost as Traditional as me mentioning the EFDSS,which as its now a tradition I feel duty bound to do every 3 months or so,
its rather like the tradition of Leadfingers trying to claim a 100 posts.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 12:35 PM

Discussions of the tradition assume that there's only one. Discussion doomed at the onset.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: GUEST,Chris Murray
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 12:40 PM

It must be all of ...oooo...a month since we last had a discussion on the Tradition and what it is and isn't.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 01:19 PM

And as Dick pointed out, people still persist in talking as if there was just "one tradition".

To quote one song which tends to turn up in traditions of the kind referred to in the opening post, "When will we ever learn".


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 01:21 PM

"It must be all of ...oooo...a month since we last had a discussion on the Tradition"
Far too long.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Old Vermin
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 01:23 PM

Will Fly - that singaround on a Monday wouldn't be at Charlwood would it?


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 01:31 PM

Absolutely, Dick.
There are many traditions and if we recognise that some are recent, some are ancient, and 'all stops in between' then there's much less to debate about. The oral tradition that existed almost everywhere a few centuries ago is now only to be found in a few isolated pockets. The 2 folk revivals set up new traditions and any qualitative comparison between any of these is just down to mere opinion and preference. If Joe Bloggs wants to set up a museum, sorry, folk club, that allows for performance only of the old tradition then he's perfectly entitled to. Likewise if SOE wants to do the same with only more recent songs; and all stops in between.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 01:43 PM

OV - Charlwood it was. A must for me every month.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Old Vermin
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 02:01 PM

Been to Charlwood just once or so - I think it was when the protest was about Gatwick expansion or perhaps PEL. A delightful session, but just too hairy a drive from here.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Folkiedave
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 02:46 PM

2 folk revivals Steve?


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 02:59 PM

Dave
Number 1 Sharp et al
Number 2 1950s
They're usually referred to in this way.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 03:03 PM

Don't know which 2 Steve meant, of course, but I would reckon 2 folk revivals --

1 about 1890 -1920s --- Baring Gould, Kidson, Fuller Maitland, Lucy Broadwood, Sharp, the Hammonds, Gardiner, Gavin Greig, Alfred Williams, Moeran, RVW, Grainger ...

2 1950ish+ Lloyd, MacColl, Lomaxes, Seeger, Ritchie, Kennedy, Palmer, ++++++++


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 03:04 PM

Sorry - cross-posted: but I seem to have got his meaning right anyhow.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 05:28 PM

Traditional songs are subject to many different definitions, depending it seems to me on the likes of the definer.
The Tradition however is surely much simpler to define.
It is traditional for people to congregate in a public house or similar and enjoy each others company with a song or a tune or two.

Andy (Downland Traditional Folk Club, Isle of Wight)


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Folkiedave
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 06:09 PM

~ accept those definitions of the first two.

What about the current one!!


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 07:47 PM

Define current one???


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 03:01 AM

Process. Context. Marketing term.


Oh, sorry, that's folk. Wrong thread!


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Marje
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 04:23 AM

I'm sure many clubs have their own regular patterns, which could loosely be called "traditions". For example, they may begin the evening with an instrumental medley as people arrive: the residents may start the singing with a familiar song or two; they may often finish with a particular chorus song or shanty. In between, there will be certain features that are, if not traditional, at least predictable, mixed in with some completely new and unexpected offerings.

It's a bit like the way we celebrate Christmas and other festivals - there's the broad tradition that's recognised nationwide (tree, lights, presents, carols etc) and within that there are particular family tradtions adn rituals that may apply only within a small group.

Trying to find songs that are appropriate to the season or the calendar appeals to the more tradition-minded in a club, whereas others will happily come along and sing "Summertime" or a rude rugby song on Remembrance Day or on Twelth Night. Personally, I like to sing and to hear songs that fit the time of year, whereas some people evidently don't give it a second thought.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Folkiedave
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 04:42 AM

Define current one

I think there is a new and qualititatively different folk revival going on. It is I think based around instrumental music rather than singing (which the first two were).

If you want me to expand on this I will give just a couple of examples. When I first started in folk music at the start of the 1960's there were few instrumentalists about. A melodeon player was rare. Name a 1960's melodeon player!!

Now there are loads of quality melodeon players about - we have more in Sheffield now than there were nationwide in the 60's.

Can I suggest a reason for this? Yes I can. I think this reflects the more "middle-class" nature of society, people can afford better instruments - for example and of course, tuition, things not necessarily available much before.

Many people going into a folk club will lament the lack of young people - yet anyone going to a festival will see loads of them. In sessions in Sheffield and the odd festival sessions I have attended there are simply masses of young people playing music. On all sorts of instruments.

A folk club is not conducive to instrumentalists (I would suggest) but a session is. A festival is a great place for like-minded people to meet.

There are other (more obvious in at least one area) as to why this is happening - but that's enough for now.

I stress this is not yet a "theory" and I need a lot more time to develop it. And I am happy to hear from those who want to contradict.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Young Buchan
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 05:30 AM

Name a 1960's melodeon player!!

Percy Brown
Font Watling
Oscar Woods

Is there na prize?


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 05:50 AM

Peter Kennedy used to play melodeon 50s-60s, I recall. Carole Pegg would occasionally vary to it from her usual fiddle of Mr Fox albums, I think.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: GUEST,JM
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 05:55 AM

Reg Hall


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Old Vermin
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 06:05 AM

FolkieDave - does he wear another hat in another place, by the way - observes a swing to instruments.

My local session experienced this before my time. There was a song session on a Monday.Instrumentalists arrived, and came to dominate that. The singers changed to Wednesday. Instrumentalists moved into that too.Session is now elsewhere, and still has some song ; doesn't have Ed Rennie singing Dives and Lazarus any more.

It may be coincidence that a local fiddler lived a hundred yards away from the pub but didn't discover the session for twenty years....

Trying to think when I first heard - or at least noticed - a melodeon.
Went to various clubs in Surrey in the 60s - guitar predominated, perhaps an occasional concertina. Almost all song rather than played tunes. Probably in the mid-90s. Mr Rennie - then in his Post Office uniform and others. Cluster of uniformed postman in used to appear at the end of the shift and pull out squeeze-boxes.

Of course, in the 60s, it was clubs and I wouldn't have known where to find a session.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 06:18 AM

Carole Pegg would occasionally vary to it from her usual fiddle of Mr Fox albums, I think.

Bob was the melodeon player.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 06:31 AM

Yes, he was; S.O'P - but the Wiki entry on Mr Fox mentions Carole on occasional *accordion* also.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Old Vermin
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 06:55 AM

Just trying to identify an instrument I was lent in '69 for a bit. Like a one-row, but no stops. Don't remember about bass-keys. Couldn't make sense of it, and it was duly returned. Had belonged to someone's grandfather, possibly Italian.

Had treble key mechanism totally exposed - one-piece keys with 90° bend to stop reed-hole.

Now was it different notes on push and pull? Is it really forty years?


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 07:01 AM

Sounds like a Flutina, which have a couple of bass keys. There's a couple at Pamela's Music just now.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Old Vermin
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 08:15 AM

Thank you, Suibhne O'Piobaireachd. Imagine a one-row version, with perhaps more robust, rectangular keys. In shape, not material which was metal, the business end of the key is rather like what you'd find under he grille of a Pokerwork. But pretty much the same thing.

Super link of yours, leads to their museum, within driving distance for me with things for sale. Drat. I shall resist temptation. Probably.


MTheGM - could it be that a wiki entry mentioning an accordion might refer to a diatonic accordion or melodeon?

"Vienna Model 2915 Maybe the most intuitive form of music making
The exterior of these jewels is lovingly designed based on the roots of the diatonic accordion tradition.

http://www.hohnerusa.com/index.php?212

Looks like a Pokerwork to me.

Marje - Presumably denied a spot the week before, someone sang 'When this Bloody War is over' yesterday evening. Perhaps the thread should have been titled 'song in secular ritual'.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Folkiedave
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 10:36 AM

Folkiedave is happy to reveal his identity as Dave Eyre. As for wearing hats - only rarely. I post at Folk Roots occasionally as Dave Eyre. And on the BBC board - again rarely - under the same name. I don't have multiple identities. I lose my cookie occasionally.

Name a 1960's melodeon player!!

Percy Brown
Font Watling
Oscar Woods


In fact unless you went to sessions in East Anglia you would not have heard of these. But now look at the scene nationwide. Richard Arrowsmith, Dan Quinn, Matt Quinn, Liz Giddings, John Spiers, Saul Rose, Simon Care, Matt Crum, Andy Cutting, Brian Peters and so on. And I bet anyone could name a number more.

Fiddle players in the 60's? Dave Swarbrick, and traditional players obviously - not a great many more.

Other instruments? I have seen piano and saxophone and bass-clarinet and trombone and tuba and so on. Brenda Power and Will Pound have given a boost to the mouth organ.

Of course, in the 60s, it was clubs and I wouldn't have known where to find a session

I suppose the point I am struggling towards (and this is by no means fully formed) is that there has been a shift and I think we can make a good case for this being a new revival.











And they are just the well-known names. Many morris teams seem to have really good melodeon players.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 11:06 AM

60s fiddle players -- only Swarbrick? Carole Pegg; Peter Knights; Barry Dransfield .....


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Stringsinger
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 11:53 AM

Folkie Dave I agree that there has been a concerted rise of instrumental virtuosity in recent years in all forms of music. The jam session may have some bearing. True for jazz, OT, Bluegrass or Irish sesiuns.

As you have mentioned, there are regional exemplars of folk virtuosity in the UK as well as the US.

The notion of "the Tradition" is a fiction as Dick Greenhaus has pointed out. There are "traditions" and they are developed through respect and interest.

Singing in traditional styles has not had the attention. The voice is a flexible but difficult instrument to master. So much depends on the personality of the singer as well as the tonal quality. It is also open to wildly different degrees of interpretation by the audiences.
How else can you explain a Louis Armstrong whose voice sounds like sandpaper but is adorable and loved internationally? And then there's Dylan.

"The tradition" is a mask for the understanding of "traditions" because it makes an assumption that is not correct and that is as an overall blanket for what some feel is
more "authentic" styles of singing then others. It's another label that obscures the meaning of "traditional" usually by self-styled academic types who claim knowledge that
becomes a suit of clothes rather than a closer look at what a tradition is.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Old Vermin
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 06:24 PM

Pleased to have been prompted to recall hearing Swarbrick and Carthy when I was a teenager and they were probably in their early twenties. The sheer energy...like nothing I'd heard before.

FolkieDave - thanks for the ID info - I'd wondered initially if the soubriquet might also apply to someone in MBS, Not so, and you are most definitely yourself, which is excellent.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Folkiedave
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 07:19 PM

NP and TY.

The list of fiddlers I would respectfully suggest does not get much longer.

A concerted rise in other forms bears out what I said - parental influence and money accounting for it in the form of tuition fees and quality gear.

Not sure where the young jazz player goes - but since in my limited knowledge I see it as a mainly instrumental form of music here in the UK then it wouldn't have changed much.

But folk music was mainly (second revival) a sung form, and because there was no-where to go, folk clubs. Now the musicians - some of whom are actually good singers - prefer to play - and can so so in sessions - but not in folk clubs.

They play with their friends at festivals instead.

I am genuinely interested how people react to this half-formed theory...


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: GUEST,glueperson
Date: 17 Nov 09 - 10:32 AM

My tradition is a love of traditional music along with a deep suspicion of anything else to do with it, the history, the collectors, the debate, even my own motivations for loving it.

Dwelling on the subject and claiming to know the answers is too new a tradition for me not to be suspicious of it. Give it a hundred years.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Old Vermin
Date: 17 Nov 09 - 11:15 AM

Following on from FolkieDave, I'd like to get Eric Hobsbawm's view of it, although he does, I understand, favour jazz. On a Marxist view of history as being pretty much about economics, the human voice needs nothing physical more than reasonable health and a tolerable setting to sing. Cheapest instrument there is, in one way.

Doesn't need mains electricity, spare strings or tuning. Next up in cost/inconvenience scale are perhaps the tin whistle and harmonica and the shaky egg. And so it goes detouring through washboard and string bass through guitars and fiddles then squeezeboxen and Costalottas to such delights as Midi melodeons and the Eigenharp

Yes, there are swarms of youngsters playing instruments at festivals, and a good thing too. Just wondering how this may change as times get tighter.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Marje
Date: 17 Nov 09 - 11:56 AM

Yes, young people do play instruments far more than they sing, and they don't often do so at folk clubs, because the clubs are mostly centred around singing. Getting up to perform on your own (or with a friend or two) for a purely instrumental set is fine, but a succession of such tune-sets would not, in most cases be a very satisfying club evening for anyone. What most musicians like to do is play together in an informal setting with other players, not for an audience but for their own pleasure. This is what happens at sessions (some of which are popular with younger players) but it isn't what folk clubs are about.It's nothing to do with age - older musicians prefer sessions too and don't often attend clubs if they don't sing.

The big difference between the age groups is that younger people are much more likely to play than they are to sing, whereas singing makes up an important part of the folk experience of older people.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Folkiedave
Date: 17 Nov 09 - 11:59 AM

Thanks Marje - sums up my thoughts as well.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 17 Nov 09 - 12:39 PM

The Night they Drove Ol Dixie Down
Dark as a Dungeon
Barrett's Privateers
High on a Mountain
Anything by Ralph and the Stanley Brothers

Each of these has the feel of a traditional song to me.

Another thread might be traditional songs that have the feel of having been written by an individual


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Old Vermin
Date: 17 Nov 09 - 01:11 PM

And the stories of writers being told that their songs are either traditional or written by someone else.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Folkiedave
Date: 17 Nov 09 - 07:40 PM

Fiddler's Green - well known traditional song.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: TheSnail
Date: 17 Nov 09 - 07:47 PM

Irish traditional song, please.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 04:38 AM

Sorry Brian - Fiddler's Green, a well-known Irish traditional song. But at the risk of being called a pedant - it has also been claimed for the Canadians, in fact John Conolly met the bloke whose father wrote it.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 05:51 AM

Yes, chaps, this festival website proves that Fiddler's Green is Irish.

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 06:01 AM

Well, if the Cambridge Festival is in Cambridge & the Keele Festival is in Keele & the Philly Festival is in Philadelphia, then what is the Fiddler's Green Festival doing in Rostrevor — we all know that Fiddler's Green is somewhere quite else ··· Not in Ireland or in England, but well elsewhere. Somewhere presumably where instruments never go out of tune, and all workshops attract exactly the right numner of participants, and all audiences listen with absolute attention to all performers... & the Festival Director is in the refreshment tent making tea for the roadies ---


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Mr Happy
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 06:04 AM

Re; 'Tradition'- How old does something need to be before it acquires this tag?


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Marje
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 06:48 AM

That's a nice concept, MtheGM. Fiddlers' Green, the perfect festival.

The skies are all clear and there's never a gale. And of course no rain, no mud.
And every session has the perfect balance of instruments.
And there's never a queue or a scramble for places, you just amble in to the event of your choice.
And the girls are all pretty (not to mention the men), and the beer is all free...

I'm sure someone could reassemble these ideas into a new song.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Mr Happy
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 06:50 AM

Alternatively, 'the beer is all pretty & the girls are all free!'


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Stringsinger
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 01:42 PM

Mr. Happy, it isn't just about age. It's about change and variation that helps a song endure.
However, to ensure this process, time has to go by. There is no tradition that was fashioned "today or yesterday". You can't put a time number on it but we know the songs that have survived over time.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 01:48 PM

Now, Paddy West is traditional, I think. But it certainly has enough detail and specifically targeted humor that it bears the mark of one creator. Is it truly traditional?


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 01:59 PM

can I mention the EFDSS.It has become a tradition for me to do so.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 03:15 PM

Don't know which 2 Steve meant, of course, but I would reckon 2 folk revivals --

1 about 1890 -1920s --- Baring Gould, Kidson, Fuller Maitland, Lucy Broadwood, Sharp, the Hammonds, Gardiner, Gavin Greig, Alfred Williams, Moeran, RVW, Grainger ...

2 1950ish+ Lloyd, MacColl, Lomaxes, Seeger, Ritchie, Kennedy, Palmer, ++++++++


I knew about those. :-)

I wonder if there is not a third - going on at the moment, its major feature being a new look at old music with a greater mix, but instrumental based. I can certainly make a case for this.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 04:18 PM

Couldn't it be said that there was a third revival (at least, in England) in the late sixties/seventies starting off folk/rock (Steeleye Span/Fairport Convention/Albion Band...) and moving more acoustic (Old Swan Band, Blowzabella...) before we entered the Dark Ages of the eighties and early nineties?

Similar things going on in Ireland (De Dannan, Planxty...) and Scotland (Battlefield Band, Ossian...).

Largely instrumental, as now, and very different from what was going on in the fifties.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 10:11 PM

I should call that 'a development' or an 'evolution' rather than a revival: the 50s onwards revival hadn't gone away but was simultaneously ongoing, and these things were just different manifestations of it, different forms it took. There was nothing to 'revive' because nothing had died, in the way that the impetus initiated by Sharp et al had died away during the 30s-40s. The well-known history of the Copper Family being REdiscovered by BBC Home Service's Country Magazine is instructive here.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 03:49 AM

I'm not sure about this Mike. There was definitely low points after (let's just say 1980 for now). I would date a gradual decline from the days of folk rock when amplification became necessary and places without it (and sometimes fairly sophisticated gear) started to close. I am obviously thinking of clubs here.

What kept it going were those who still offered clubs and those who still went. Martin Carthy, John Kirkpatrick, but I reckon there were not many folk singers or instrumentalists (however defined) who "started" as professionals in this period.

I would argue that the "development" is a qualitative change, from a "vocal" to an instrumental revival. And that's one we haven't had before.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 09:23 AM

I started around that period,as did Brian Peters,Jez Lowe,Pete Castle,Dick Miles,Damien Barber.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 12:04 PM

So, for that matter, did Eliza C, e.g. I don't think it was purely instrumental. the scene was indeed *diversifying* I agree, Dave, during 70s-80s-early90s: but I think the mainstream can be traced thruout as a continuous process, with those names rubricated above by GSS (who I am glad to see includes Dick Miles in his list - would never have done for him to omit that one!), emerging as the sort of folksingers who could have surfaced any time since 1950.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 01:04 PM

I suspect as we older people get older we don't realise how long ago that was!! :-)

Eliza was born in 1975 - she certainly had not started playing professionally in 1980. Likewise Damien, he entered his first YFA in 1989 or 1990.

But when you look at the younger musicians they seem to me to be mainly instrumentalists - hence the lack of young people in folk clubs, who wants to go in, play a set of three tunes (=three songs) and then leave.

So they go to sessions instead.

In me experience there is a huge revival in interest in folk music at the moment - especially amongst young people. And it is mainly a young instrumentalist revival, not a singing one.

Whether this is indeed a 3rd revival, well I suppose time will tell. When did we start calling the second revival "the second revival" and more pertinently I suppose - when did it (will it?) stop!


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 01:19 PM

I think it was recognised as the 2nd revival very early on, when the skiffle craze of about '54 onwards merged with folk, so that, e.g. at the clubs where Henry Morris's skiffle group played in the mid-50s, followed by the Nancy Whiskey club,[both at the Princess Louise] the 2nd half would include folksingers, like Henry [versatile] & Nancy herself [who employed at first a skiffle gp to start evening off as that was expected — but 2nd half, from about '55-'56 onwards, would include Ramblin Jack Elliot, Peggy Seeger, Bert Lloyd, Ewan MacColl — & anyone could see that a FOLK revival was underway. It was about then too that the Skiffle Cellar in Greek Street, run by Russ Quaye & Hylda Syms [who, bless them, gave me my 1st paid gig in 1956 — 10 shillings, well worthwhile in them'thar days] became the Folk Cellar with Steve Benbow's group, who were British folk not skiffle, the anchor group for the evening. ]That later became the Establishment Club {Lennie Bruce et al} & the original offices of Private Eye.]


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 20 Nov 09 - 11:08 AM

Although FolkieDave raises an interesting point I think there is a bit more to it than that. Certainly the virtuosic instrumentalists are think on the ground in the 25 to 35 age group, But a careful examination of the same group will reveal singers in equal numbers.
For a short example try, Jon Boden, Fay Hield, Gavin Davenport, Jess Arrowsmith, Bryony Griffith, Matt Quinn, Cuthbert Noble, Jackie Oates, Damien Barber, Rachel Unthank, Dogan Mehmet etc, etc etc. Trouble is, unlike my generation, many of these are also outstanding instrumentalists too.
Bryony Griffith once suggested (at Chippenham FF) that most of her generation got into folk music/song via morris dancing. Is this a common 'lead-in' for others of the older generation?


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Nov 09 - 05:30 PM

Paul,
As one of the older generation you well know most of us were all- singing, all-playing, all-dancing, all-getting-pissed, and other things I won't mention.


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Subject: RE: Traditional vs the tradition
From: Vic Smith
Date: 21 Nov 09 - 10:40 AM

Good Soldier Schweik wrote:-

I started around that period,as did Brian Peters,Jez Lowe,Pete Castle,Dick Miles,Damien Barber.


Both you and Dick Miles, eh? Can I put my tongue in my cheek and ask how the split personality is getting on these days? (Ouch! I've just bitten my tongue! Serves me right for trying to make a funny!)


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