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the UK folk revival in 2010

The Sandman 23 Dec 09 - 06:09 PM
The Villan 23 Dec 09 - 06:13 PM
GUEST 23 Dec 09 - 06:40 PM
GUEST,Folknacious 23 Dec 09 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 23 Dec 09 - 07:06 PM
Lox 23 Dec 09 - 08:11 PM
EnglishFolkfan 23 Dec 09 - 09:02 PM
TheSnail 23 Dec 09 - 09:06 PM
The Villan 24 Dec 09 - 02:55 AM
The Sandman 24 Dec 09 - 05:26 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Dec 09 - 05:38 AM
Ruth Archer 24 Dec 09 - 05:46 AM
TheSnail 24 Dec 09 - 05:50 AM
The Sandman 24 Dec 09 - 05:59 AM
SteveMansfield 24 Dec 09 - 06:21 AM
Les in Chorlton 24 Dec 09 - 06:32 AM
TheSnail 24 Dec 09 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,N_ster 24 Dec 09 - 06:37 AM
Nick 24 Dec 09 - 06:49 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Dec 09 - 06:52 AM
autoharpbob 24 Dec 09 - 07:02 AM
GUEST,padgett on lap top 24 Dec 09 - 07:13 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 24 Dec 09 - 09:19 AM
TheSnail 24 Dec 09 - 09:40 AM
The Villan 24 Dec 09 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,Eeyore 24 Dec 09 - 10:04 AM
TheSnail 24 Dec 09 - 10:22 AM
Will Fly 24 Dec 09 - 10:23 AM
TheSnail 24 Dec 09 - 10:26 AM
Ian Burdon 24 Dec 09 - 10:44 AM
Les in Chorlton 24 Dec 09 - 10:46 AM
autoharpbob 24 Dec 09 - 10:51 AM
the lemonade lady 24 Dec 09 - 11:36 AM
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Aeola 24 Dec 09 - 11:52 AM
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Les in Chorlton 24 Dec 09 - 12:58 PM
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treewind 24 Dec 09 - 01:20 PM
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The Villan 24 Dec 09 - 01:24 PM
Les in Chorlton 24 Dec 09 - 01:35 PM
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Aeola 25 Dec 09 - 03:10 PM
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theleveller 26 Dec 09 - 08:08 AM
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theleveller 27 Dec 09 - 06:33 AM
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Aeola 27 Dec 09 - 09:35 AM
theleveller 27 Dec 09 - 09:57 AM
The Sandman 27 Dec 09 - 12:19 PM
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The Sandman 27 Dec 09 - 12:56 PM
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Jim Carroll 28 Dec 09 - 05:09 AM
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Bonzo3legs 28 Dec 09 - 07:58 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Dec 09 - 08:34 AM
romanyman 28 Dec 09 - 09:35 AM
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autoharpbob 28 Dec 09 - 12:20 PM
Marje 28 Dec 09 - 12:56 PM
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The Villan 28 Dec 09 - 02:00 PM
MikeL2 28 Dec 09 - 02:53 PM
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Jack Blandiver 28 Dec 09 - 03:59 PM
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GUEST, Poxicat 28 Dec 09 - 04:18 PM
treewind 28 Dec 09 - 04:20 PM
The Villan 28 Dec 09 - 04:29 PM
Richard Mellish 28 Dec 09 - 04:29 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Dec 09 - 05:52 PM
Phil Edwards 28 Dec 09 - 06:01 PM
romanyman 29 Dec 09 - 04:06 AM
Bonzo3legs 29 Dec 09 - 04:41 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Dec 09 - 05:26 AM
The Sandman 29 Dec 09 - 05:33 AM
MikeL2 29 Dec 09 - 06:39 AM
theleveller 29 Dec 09 - 06:42 AM
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Jim Carroll 29 Dec 09 - 07:15 AM
GUEST,matt milton 29 Dec 09 - 07:20 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 29 Dec 09 - 07:29 AM
Les in Chorlton 29 Dec 09 - 07:50 AM
Phil Edwards 29 Dec 09 - 07:57 AM
GUEST 29 Dec 09 - 08:03 AM
GUEST,matt milton 29 Dec 09 - 08:12 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Dec 09 - 08:51 AM
TheSnail 29 Dec 09 - 08:54 AM
Les in Chorlton 29 Dec 09 - 09:36 AM
autoharpbob 29 Dec 09 - 09:39 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Dec 09 - 09:43 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 29 Dec 09 - 09:56 AM
Les in Chorlton 29 Dec 09 - 09:57 AM
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Suegorgeous 29 Dec 09 - 10:05 AM
Phil Edwards 29 Dec 09 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,matt milton 29 Dec 09 - 10:15 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 29 Dec 09 - 10:28 AM
TheSnail 29 Dec 09 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 29 Dec 09 - 10:51 AM
TheSnail 29 Dec 09 - 10:57 AM
The Borchester Echo 29 Dec 09 - 11:41 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Dec 09 - 01:44 PM
TheSnail 29 Dec 09 - 02:15 PM
The Sandman 29 Dec 09 - 02:24 PM
MikeL2 29 Dec 09 - 02:48 PM
The Borchester Echo 29 Dec 09 - 03:00 PM
TheSnail 29 Dec 09 - 03:09 PM
Bonzo3legs 29 Dec 09 - 03:09 PM
GUEST,Lizzie Cornish 29 Dec 09 - 03:25 PM
romanyman 29 Dec 09 - 03:25 PM
The Sandman 29 Dec 09 - 03:34 PM
The Borchester Echo 29 Dec 09 - 04:01 PM
GUEST, Poxicat 29 Dec 09 - 06:19 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 29 Dec 09 - 06:26 PM
Tootler 29 Dec 09 - 07:39 PM
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The Sandman 30 Dec 09 - 05:45 AM
Les in Chorlton 30 Dec 09 - 06:27 AM
Bonzo3legs 30 Dec 09 - 09:48 AM
Phil Edwards 30 Dec 09 - 10:03 AM
TheSnail 30 Dec 09 - 10:08 AM
GUEST,PeterC 30 Dec 09 - 10:18 AM
Marje 30 Dec 09 - 10:36 AM
Les in Chorlton 30 Dec 09 - 01:21 PM
Suegorgeous 30 Dec 09 - 04:03 PM
romanyman 30 Dec 09 - 04:16 PM
Tootler 30 Dec 09 - 06:48 PM
Aeola 30 Dec 09 - 07:17 PM
Old Vermin 31 Dec 09 - 04:44 AM
theleveller 31 Dec 09 - 04:51 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 31 Dec 09 - 08:49 AM
Phil Edwards 31 Dec 09 - 09:40 AM
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Bonzo3legs 31 Dec 09 - 12:38 PM
Marje 31 Dec 09 - 12:44 PM
The Sandman 31 Dec 09 - 01:40 PM
GUEST, Poxicat 31 Dec 09 - 01:43 PM
GUEST,Lord Glueman of Holme 31 Dec 09 - 02:22 PM
Suegorgeous 31 Dec 09 - 03:04 PM
The Sandman 01 Jan 10 - 07:02 AM
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TheSnail 01 Jan 10 - 10:57 AM
Phil Edwards 01 Jan 10 - 01:10 PM
GUEST, Poxicat 01 Jan 10 - 03:53 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 01 Jan 10 - 04:27 PM
TheSnail 01 Jan 10 - 04:39 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 01 Jan 10 - 04:41 PM
Tootler 01 Jan 10 - 05:55 PM
Phil Edwards 01 Jan 10 - 06:57 PM
Marje 02 Jan 10 - 05:31 AM
Suegorgeous 06 Jan 10 - 09:03 PM
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Valmai Goodyear 07 Jan 10 - 02:09 AM
Les in Chorlton 07 Jan 10 - 06:49 AM
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Subject: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Dec 09 - 06:09 PM

Any ideas on ways it can be improved.
are there any musical aspects that are becoming marginalised, or in danger of disappearing?
should more Folk clubs be introducing workshops?
how well do Folk Festivals organise their Festivals,and how satisfactory are Folk Festival Workshops,have festival goers learned very much at Festival Workshops and how do they compare to tuition offered on the internet?


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Villan
Date: 23 Dec 09 - 06:13 PM

Support Village Halls and The Community and sod the pubs.

Thats what we are doing at http://www.faldingworthlive.co.uk/


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Dec 09 - 06:40 PM

Stop calling it a "revival" and thinking that folk clubs are still the core of it. Pay attention!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,Folknacious
Date: 23 Dec 09 - 06:41 PM

Pay attention myself! That was me not logged in (still)


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 23 Dec 09 - 07:06 PM

Why ignore the pubs? There are too many closing down already.
There are some pubs that have excellent sessions and bear in mind that a fair proportion of the songs and tunes that have come down to us probably only survived because they were sung in pubs not because somebody organised a workshop.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Lox
Date: 23 Dec 09 - 08:11 PM

You just have to play ... with passion ... a lot ... and draw the passers by in ... and try not to be snobbish about it but inclusive and welcoming ... then folks curiosity may tunr into involvement and in the long run a positive addition to the scene.

play play play!!!

And make it matter!


And promote it and advertize it on posters, in the papers and online.

Like any other event.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: EnglishFolkfan
Date: 23 Dec 09 - 09:02 PM

Getting non folkie friends to watch the webcast of the mainstage from our local Shrewsbury Folk Festival in Shropshire this August was the biggest help in converting them to want to go to live concerts, heck I've even got a few who no longer consider me 'weird' for enjoying Folk. They had all the preconceived ideas of Folk being a narrow genre. The official videos on the Festival Youtube channel are a great help too in dispelling the myth. Silver Surfers are a growing trend!

Since then one friend came to see The Unthanks in Whitchurch & loved them and another is planning to go to Shrewsbury Folk Festival 2010 and someone else has booked to see the Ukulele Orchestra of GB at Theatre Severn. The fact that Theatre Severn is perceived as 'mainstream' and they are putting on roughly 2 Folk concerts a month next year is making it easier to encourage more people of my mature years to experience all areas of the wonderful world of Folk.

The Webcast from the Festival gave out the right vibes of how varied and energising Folk is at the moment, something that the BBC has failed to do with the miserably belated coverage of Cambridge. I understand there are people coming over/hoping to come over from the US just to go to Shrewsbury purely based on what they saw on the live webcast.

I also nagged the manager of our small market town Arts Centre all year to screen Morris: A life with bells on and finally he did on 10th December to a packed house: but stubbornly will not book Folk Artists as he fears there is no audience, it's so frustrating as the venue is acoustically perfect. So I've given up all hope of walking to an event & will have to continue to drive (as zero public transport for evening return trips!).


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Dec 09 - 09:06 PM

The Villan

Support Village Halls and The Community and sod the pubs.

There's room for both, Les. Neither harms the other.

Nice idea, Hoot, but these days people don't sing in pubs they watch Sky Sport. Do you want us to stop running workshops?


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Villan
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 02:55 AM

Snail
I know and I agree.

The trouble is that too many pubs are either closing or kick folk clubs out when it changes hands etc. Sometimes those clubs stop, becuase there isn't another pub to accomodate them. Very often thevillage hall gets overlooked. In between times, village halls are dying and the local community are being isolated more and more.
Les


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 05:26 AM

I dont want anyone to stop running workshops.
Clubs[imo] should be places where people socialise as well as enjoy music.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 05:38 AM

Competently sung songs corresponding more or less to what it says on the label might be a good place to start.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 05:46 AM

"Nice idea, Hoot, but these days people don't sing in pubs they watch Sky Sport."

My local doesn't have a telly. But we do sing there a lot - not necessarily in an organised way. If certain regulars turn up, there's a sing-song. It's nice.

A monthly session has just started - again, mostly locals and regulars and very informal. Could never be called anything so grand as a "folk club". Not so much about folk as about the community. Works for me.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 05:50 AM

Jim Carroll

Competently sung songs corresponding more or less to what it says on the label might be a good place to start.

Here we go again.

It's already happening in a great many places as you well know Jim.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 05:59 AM

here is a competently sung folk song,one that I sing when doing folk club gigs.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWBRV-S4blI
BrianPeters,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCG2csH2OMY


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 06:21 AM

My suggestions would be ...

Join EFDSS if you haven't already, and support the excellent work they are beginning to do after many years marginalised in the doldrums.

Get out there and do it, whether your particular 'it' is song, music, dance, or any other aspect of the genre that ticks your boxes.

Spend much less time reading pointless arguments on Mudcat.

Get used to the idea that "I don't like that" is not the same thing as "that's not a valid part of the continuing development of the music".

And did I say spend much less time reading pointless arguments on Mudcat?

Happy Xmas everybody

Steve


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 06:32 AM

I think Beginners Sessions at Festivals have been a really good thing - more of them please and more of them where ever possible

L in C


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 06:32 AM

Good choices Good Soldier.

Brian Peters sang and played for us in February and Dick Miles is coming to us in June 2010.

(Bit worried about somebody who wears a hat and shades indoors.)


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,N_ster
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 06:37 AM

The beginners session at Shrewsbury Folk Festival is brilliant and more festivals should have similar.

I have been teaching myself fiddle, so playing at Shrewsbury was my first time playing in front of anyone (I hadn't even played for family or friends!) It was a relaxed pace, the sheet music was available in advance, and although we were encouraged to play from memory no one was judged for using the sheet music.
I don't think I would have the confidence to join a session, without having taken these babysteps first, and it has spurred me on to keep practicing and learning new songs and has given me a taste of sharing and playing with others, which is what folk music is about.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Nick
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 06:49 AM

I play and sing in pubs a lot. Last night there were probably 40 people in the pub, 20 taking part and 20 either listening or being there because something is always on on a Wednesday. Given that it is almost Xmas, the pub is situated well outside of a small village, the temperature was -5C and snowing I don't think pubs are necessarily dying. I play in a covers band too and that is nearly all in pubs and we play probably once every ten days without having to stray far from home.

Over Xmas I have been invited on Sunday to a pub to go and sing, Wednesday will go to our local, Thursday playing and singing in a pub for New Years Eve, Friday gig in local pub or could go to another, Saturday another pub thing, Sunday singing with friends at their house. That's without even looking.

Not a folk club involved or in sight but plenty of music (some of it trad folk, some not) and mostly centred around pubs.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 06:52 AM

"Here we go again."
Let me know when you run out of sand for burying your head in Bryan - we don't all live in Lewes and we've had enough debates to know what happens elsewhere (apart from more recent personal experience.
Season's greetings,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: autoharpbob
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 07:02 AM

In and around Nottingham, we could be suffering imho from a bit of overload. One excellent folk club had an audience of five - the performers outnumbered them by one - for a feature night recently. Main reason appeared to be that another club had just started up nearby, and was putting on well known local groups, free, in order to promote a local festival. I also find that I am one of several people who tend to wander round the many clubs here and bump into each other all the time, so it is becoming a bit incestuous. If I wanted to, I could be at a club every night of the week, and some nights I have three to choose from. All of these folk clubs present a variety of music - most booked acts are in the folk tradition, though sometimes that's the American folk tradition, but there is no accounting for what people perform at folk clubs. I have heard everything from trad finger-in-the-ear stuff to Mad World, and Ziggy Stardust! Which is great.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,padgett on lap top
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 07:13 AM

Yes it does seem that folk from traditional to contemporary is having to compete with main stream popular music and song

The problem is in finding a ready made audience and pubs seem to be where its at, but everyone wants a slice of the action and "pub" time

There are many excellent artists/musicians and singers out there and if folk is your thing you may be following anything "on stage", you have to be up to it and sold on your music!!

Other than that promote your music and sing largely to the converted, is not really getting out there!!

More commercialism may be the answer, get people interested in paying good money ~ but are there enough/good enough folk musicians actually out there??

Ray


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 09:19 AM

Snail,

"Nobody sings in pubs these days" Admittedly it's not very common but I've been doing it for twenty years twice and three times a week.
There are probably a few publicans around that would be quite happey to have a few musical drinkers in on a quite night even if it is just to make a change from listening to the juke box/muzak that's usually on.

Whoever it was above that said that they didn't think pubs were closing must live on a different planet or not enjoy a decent pint in a decent pub.

Regarding workshops I wasn't inferring that they had no place but couldn't see how that would work at a folk club.

Finally . Who or what is Ziggy Stardust? Is that Bronson or Child or Bill Monroe? can't see it any of my books. I suspect it's something manufactured by the so-called music industry to brainwash the kiddie winkies.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 09:40 AM

OK, I withdraw my "Nobody sings in pubs these days". There are plenty of tune sessions around here although only one predominantly song session in the immediate vicinity. What I really meant was that singing isn't part of everyday pub life as it once was in the way that darts or cribbage or toad-in-the-hole and, these days, footy on the telly now are.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Villan
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 09:40 AM

Whata a hoot Hoot.

You are pulling our plonker aren't you?

This is Ziggy Stardust


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,Eeyore
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 10:04 AM

Maybe the problem is in the idea of "workshops" as in the first item of this thread. I must admit that when I see an item "workshop" at any festival I run like hell rather then listen to some self-appointed know-all pontificating.

I don't know how it happened, but the folk scene seems to be regarded by some as a form of education rather than entertainment - probably because the number of teachers and ex-teachers in folk clubs, who can't break the habit of telling people what to do and think.

Folk clubs should be places where you can hear a bit of music, drink a few beers and chat with your friends, in an informal atmosphere with a friendly welcome. That way we might attract some more people.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 10:22 AM

Jim Carroll

we don't all live in Lewes

We don't all live in Miltown Malbay either. I do live in the UKwhere I regularly got to two traditional clubs nad occasionally go to others. I meet people who go to and perform at other traditional clubs all over the country. I go to festivals where I hear more traditional music.

I am sure there are clubs where you can hear nothing but Beatles songs and teenage angst singer songwriters and Dylan wannabees band even, for all I know, Ziggy Stardust. I don't go to them because there is plenty that I want to hear elsewhere. You extrapolate from tiny scraps of evidence, some of it from Mudcat, some of it from the time 20 or 30 years ago when you were involved in running clubs and some from your rare visits to UK clubs to declare ALL folk clubs moribund and to slag off those of us who are trying to promote precisely the sort of music you admire.

So my partial answer to Dick's original question is that we should start trying to believe in and appreciate what we've got.

Merry Christmas. Try a bit of goodwill.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 10:23 AM

Long live acoustic pub sessions say I. I go to four a month in pubs which welcome the musicians, give us space to play and - in one case - actually pay £100 for someone to turn up and run the session! (What we actually do in the latter case is buy all the participants a drink on the session tab). We play in the bars and, in most cases, the non-session drinkers have a listen, often applaud and enjoy the music. And if it gets a little noisy in the bar, I find a chorus of Hank Williams's "Hey Good Looking, What Ya Got Cooking" (in G) soon sorts out the men from the boys...

So hurray for those pubs - and let there be many more of them. No need to worry about our village hall, by the way - it's booked every day and evening of the week with one function or another - amateur dramatic rehearsals and performances, jumbles, fairs of one sort or another, concerts, society and club meetings, local parish meetings, etc., etc.

And hurray for the clubs and their hard-working organisers as well. Let's hope they've got the determination and patience to do what they've been doing for yet another year.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 10:26 AM

Forgot to say in reply to Hoot's Regarding workshops I wasn't inferring that they had no place but couldn't see how that would work at a folk club. see here - Lewes Saturday Folk Club. The workshop tutor, who is someone seriously good, plays at the club in the evening.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Ian Burdon
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 10:44 AM

What "revival" would that be then?

Merry Christmas to all.

Ian


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 10:46 AM

Tuesday Beginnres Tunes 29 December The Beech, Chorlton Manchester

L in C


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: autoharpbob
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 10:51 AM

What a great idea Lewes - get the guest to do a workshop in the daytime as well as a performance at night. And what guests!!! Martin Carthy, Shirley Collins, Boden and Spiers!!! But how do you afford that - I suppose you hope the fees from those attending covers the cost of the guest plus room hire - sounds like a risky business and something that will need even more hard work from the already overworked organisers. But I have seen nothing like that around my way - I wish!! I am reduced to paying fortunes for weekend courses like the Yucca Folk at Farncombe next Feb, and Sore Fingers at Kingham in April. Mind, I am not complaining. My original point was that far from fading out, the Folk scene around here is thriving, in pubs, in clubs and elsewhere. The problem might be that live music becomes so popular that everyone jumps on the bandwagon and dilutes the available audience too much. But then who needs an audience?


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 11:36 AM

Have a Folk Factor competition. Saturate the media.
Sal


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,woodsie
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 11:45 AM

Pubs are the heartland of folk music. The trouble with sessions that are held in community halls etc although they can be great events, is that they are not reaching and converting the casual/accidental passing trade and potential audience and it is these people that will make the genre survive and grow. A lot of folk musicians themselves are also to blame for the pubs discontinuing folk sessions. They must remember that Pubs are businesses and have to pay wages, power, enormous rates etc and are now struggling to survive. Some people that I know walk into a pub session and ask for a glass of tap water, others will sit with a half pint or two for the whole duration, and on occasions I have seen people bring their own booze hidden in a bag. and then there's the ones that order a cup of tea/coffee. I'm not saying that we should all be rolling drunks, but let's make an effort to get the landlord's till rattling. One of my good friends falls into the cup of tea category - but he is always accompanied by two or three drinking pals, who he goes out of his way to give a lift to and from the pub session. If every single person at the folk club makes an effort to invite their friends along too, then we can only grow and prosper, as well as putting a smile on many a landlod's face up and down the country!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Aeola
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 11:52 AM

Well we tried a folk night at the local RAFA club in Formby L37 on 1st wed of Dec. It attracted about 60 people and was a great night. Hopefully the next one in Jan will be just as good!!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Villan
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 12:07 PM

Concerts in Community or Village Halls if promoted properly do attract people who have never watched folk music before.
We have a full licence at our village hall and get between 60 to 100 people each time who spend their money over the bar. We don't have the problem of the Landlord not making enough money to survive.
We work bloody hard to make it succesful. It can be done.
The problem with a pub, is that the landlord is in charge! Yes its lovely and it has atmosphere, but so can any place.
Bear in mind we only have 300 people in the village.
We don't get any problems whatsover from rowdy, I don't want to listen to your music pubites.
Everybody that goes to our events goes for the music and enjoy the friendly atmosphere of like people enjoying the music.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: G-Force
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 12:16 PM

Pubs are getting too expensive. When I started going regularly to a Folk Club in 1974 the beer was 15p a pint. Now it's around 3 pounds. That's 20 times as much. My income hasn't gone up anything like that much.

The best thing that could happen to folk music is for the price of beer to come down.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 12:30 PM

It's worth thinking about tacking folk events on to other events. The local Greenists organised a Green Festival so I organised some songs and tunes in the afternoon and a Ceilidh in the evening. The Ceilidh was particularly successful.

Hardly a patch of ground in Manchester is without a friend. The City Council website lists 47:

Friends Groups in Manchester


I bet most urban and quite a few rural settings have Friends groups. They organise social events from time to time and a Ceilidh is a good bet. 60 people x £5 pays for the band and a raffle will pay for the room. This group then become a Folk friendly collection of people can be invited to other events.

Cheers

L in C


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,woodsie
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 12:50 PM

15p that was extremely cheap for 1974! in my neck of the woods (London) it was averaging 25p my take home wages were about £25 pw so I could buy 100 pints! Today's average wage for the job I was doing back then (accounts clerk) is about £300pw so again I could still buy 100 pints. But I do agree £3 is a bit steep and also more people are feeling the pinch or out of work altogether these days. The pricing of beer is the fault of the crap government along with the greedy large brewers. I am involved in two sessions that are in pubs and one that is in a local sports hall all three are currentlt thriving because we get the numbers in week after week and they spend money across the bars. Although the landlords are in charge of the premises they are certainly not "in charge" of our clubs. I remember when a landlord once tried to tell one club (a very well known club in north kent) what acts to book, they just told him to get stuffed and moved into another premises a few weeks later. When starting a club at a pub you must have an agreement with the landlord on how and who runs the club. The usual thing is "you run the bar" "we run the music and club membership" If any issues come up then they are discussed by both parties. A landlord has the right to refuse entry to his premises as does any landlord of a community hall etc.

We do need music in all types of venues to be kept alive and kicking. The very people who don't turn up week after week are the same ones who will start whingeing "there's no live msic" when the clubs close!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 12:58 PM

If you think beer and folk are expensive don't try to go to a Premiership football match you will die of a heart attack.

L in C


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,Borchester Echo
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 01:07 PM

60 people x £5 pays for the band

That would just about cover the caller and soundie. What would you use for music?


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: treewind
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 01:20 PM

Actually you could get two musicians and a caller for £300 (if you call that a band, but we do this occasionally) and you don't need a soundie for a band that small, nor does our usual 4 piece band have a sound guy.

But anyway £5 is pretty cheap for a ceilidh.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Villan
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 01:22 PM

>>don't try to go to a Premiership football match you will die of a heart attack<<

I don't, I watch it on Sky Sports or my PC :-)


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Villan
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 01:24 PM

Oh by the way Les, you just reminded me to watch the Arsenal Villa match on Sunday at 1:30pm (I think) assuming the gunners are gunna get rid of the snow and ice off their pitch.

Les


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 01:35 PM

Fair enoughski but sport on TV is like music on TV - ie not live.

We have had a couple of local bands for around £300 with caller but maybe I am a cheapskate. 80 x £5? = £400, 70 x £6 = £420.

Tacking on and seeking out friendly groups is worth exploring

L n C


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Villan
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 01:45 PM

>>Fair enoughski but sport on TV is like music on TV - ie not live<<

No, but I couldn't afford to go to Birmingham every other week or to away games. So I have to put up with it :-)


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 03:11 PM

Snail:
"We don't all live in Miltown Malbay either."
Nope, you don't, but I do, and I can go out at least four nights a week and hear excellent traditional music played to a good standard within a mile from my door. Here, youngsters from around 14 years old upwards are flocking to play, I would reckon there are something between 75 to 100 of these living in the immediate area. Should I decide not to brave the elements and stay at home instead, I can listen or view on radio or television, good programmes on traditional music and song, sessions and serious documentaries, most nights of the week.
On a personal level I can be (and have been) taken seriously by regional and national art groups who will fund up to (and over) €10,000 for any responsibly applied for folk music project.
Lots more where that came from, so I'll leave it there for now.
The secret? Well, no secret really, just simple common sense. People here have realised that you are not going to be taken seriously, not attract audiences, not pass on the music to the next generation, unless you respect the music you are playing, the people you got if from, and your potential audiences, enough to make a reasonable job of what you do.
This means applying standards above "wanting to be a performer," (remind me who suggested that one) and making sure your that musicians can play their instruments well enough, and your singers can remember the words without a crib sheet, can hold a tune, and can (at the very least) give the impresson that they understand and are enjoying the songs they are singing.
Please don't tell me that non-standards are not a feature of many UK clubs - I've experienced them personally and recently, and I've read them argued for interminably on this forum, from you and from many others.
Anything less than reasonable standards is the kiss of death for folk and any music (or any other artistic or creative endevour) and an insult to the intelligence and the judgement of any potential audience.
It has also helped that if a session is described as "traditional" you are not going to have to sit though interminable and badly sung "Blues, Shanties, Kipling, Cicely Fox Smith, Music Hall, George Formby, Pop, County, Dylan, Cohen, Cash, Medieval Latin, Beatles, Irish Jigs and Reels, Scottish Strathspeys, Gospel, Rock, Classical Guitar, Native American Chants, Operatic Arias and even the occasional Traditional Song and Ballad", as was proposed on this forum as a definition for folk music not too long ago.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 04:03 PM

Well said, that man !


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 06:34 PM

Jim, your interminable denigration of Folk clubs is tedious.
you live in County Clare, How many UK folk clubs have you visited in the last year?
you are like a 78 rpm with the needle stuck in a groove.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Old Vermin
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 07:44 PM

Humbly beg to report, Private Schweik, that you really could have put that more tactfully.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Dec 09 - 08:14 PM

Cap'n - even if I hadn't visited one club - visited a few actually - I could get some indication from what put up on Mudcat on a regular basis.
I have read here that not only are standards unnecessary, but are undesirable as they put off the less talented.
The list I gave at the end of my last posting came as a description of what went on in a club.
I have heard - interminably that there is nothing wrong with reading your way through a crib sheet on stage, with an audience singing along with a guest singer whether invited to or not, and to ask them not to is arrogant, with eejits popping their cheeks while someone is singing, that it's ok to encourage singers who can't make two notes relate to each other to stand up in front of an audience, that an evening of folksongs is BORING, that long ballads are BORING........
You ask how te clubs can be improved - clear out some of this shit and you might make a start.
I've told you a tiny part of what happens here and how it's been made to happen - tell my how anything I've described is either untrue or invalid.   
You don't like my answers - sorry - don't do answers to order,lets here some of yours.
So far, all I've heard is the scrape of deckchairs being rearranged on the Titanic.
Happy Christmas,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,De Bono
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 01:36 AM

I've never heard such bigoted shit in my life does this tosser know anything about FOLK music? Talk about being stuck up ones own proverbial arse!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 04:06 AM

Quote about workshops from further up the thread:

"I don't know how it happened, but the folk scene seems to be regarded by some as a form of education rather than entertainment - probably because the number of teachers and ex-teachers in folk clubs, who can't break the habit of telling people what to do and think."

But good workshops are NOT about "telling people what to do or think", they are about sharing ideas, insights and experiences with one's fellow performers. But then the 'anything-goes-in-a-folk-club-it's-all-folk-music' cult or sect are terrified of anything that smacks of thought or analysis. They can't resist coming out with paranoid nonsense about being 'ordered' to do or think this that or the other. Watch my mouth, I'm only going to say this once: NO-ONE can ORDER you to do or think anything, you are entirely free to attend or not attend workshops, it's completely your choice.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 04:07 AM

"does this tosser know anything about FOLK music?
A little bit - how about you?
I'll show you mine if you show yours.
Season's greetings
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 04:23 AM

Nah, sod it
Not in the mood the be mood to be polite this morning.
on't bother sowing me yours - try;
http://www.folkmusic.net/htmfiles/inart558.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 04:25 AM

I can only speak from my own experience.
I have had some great nights in folk clubs over the last year,admittedly I was guesting they were not singers nights.
I have also had frustrating nights at Irish Sessions[last night was an example]where a female guitarist was attempting to accompany a fiddler, and hadnt realised the fiddler had changed key on the second tune, and carried on regardless,[avoidable if accompanists would listen and play quietly if not sure].
Where musicians are not listening to each other and speed the original musician up.,again it is courtesy to let the original musician dictate speed and style
to be fair,I have not encountered that sort of thing in Folk clubs, at Stockton folk club the musicians all play along at the beginning of the night, and seemed pretty together.
on the question of crib sheets, personally, I would rather not perform than use them, but I did hear one singer give a surprisingly good version of The Whitby Whaler from a crib sheet.
workshops of the kind run by Lewes[sat] Folk Club, give people the opportunity to learn and improve, and that benefits the whole of the Folk Scene.
I would like to see more tuition available on a national basis[not just from Comhaltas,because, their remit is solely Irish Music]
if there was a national organisation offering tuition on a national basis,in English/Scottish/Welsh traditional Song/tunes,that[imo] would be useful.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 04:27 AM

Sorry - sticky keyboard -try again!
Not in the mood the be mood to be polite this morning.
Don't bother showing me your's - the music's worth more than that.
Try
http://www.folkmusic.net/htmfiles/inart558.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 05:18 AM

Just to get that link right: http://www.folkmusic.net/htmfiles/inart558

Respect where respect is due. I suspect that when our friend De Bono asks does this tosser know anything about FOLK music? he means what happens in the name of Folk Revival rather than Folk Tradition, which are, of course, two entirely different things - the latter is cultural heritage of world importance, the former is a faked up fantasy of interest to a dwindling number of enthusiasts.

Jim is ever fond of quoting my litany of genres that might occur as Folk Music in a Designated Folk Context. I might add that right now my earlier optimism in this respect has darkened to an all-consuming despair that has had me avoiding nebulous anything-goes folk clubs for the past three months and looks set to continue into 2010. Just as I won't use the word Gay to mean joyful, I will not use the word folk to mean Traditional.

Happy Xmas ane an' a'


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 05:24 AM

Cap'n,
Hope I've sorted the keyboard problem.
Any individual is capable of becoming a good singer - if they are prepared to put the work in.
It is helpful to be able to work with others and get their feedback, and I've always found people in clubs more than ready to give advice and practical help. If clubs are serious about caring for the music the onus is really on them to help new singers - and not by encouraging them to 'prctice in public' which is all too often the case.
God save us all from the Comhaltas method of teaching for competitions, which has led them to creating a standardised "right" way to sing or play in order to score points - and what do points mean - Points mean prizes.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 05:59 AM

Sorry missed S'O'P's posting.
Whatever flights of fancy SO'P cares to take us on with his non-definition romp (never amounted to more than a list of differing and apparently random musical genres as far as I can see), the fact remains that in order to be persuaded to get up off their bums and go along to the local folk club, people have to know what they are being offered. A badly performed magical mystery tour might persuade the odd punter to poke a nose round the door, they might even bring their mates along a second time for a laugh - rather like the Sunday day trip to Bedlam; but it isn't going to attract the long-term performers and listeners that the music desperately needs to survive.
I know this from seeing the audiences dissipate in the eighties in London, and from the fact that concentrating the mind on the music over here has turned the situation round dramatically, so that we can be confident that it will survive for at least another two generations.
Trying to rewrite, or even throw away the dictionary drove most of our audiences away and persisting with the chaos that was left behind ain't going to bring in any replacements.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 06:21 AM

I am however confident that by addressing themselves to The Tradition musicians & singers might create something worthwhile, even in the name of Folk, however so debased the word. I don't see this happening in folk clubs where the folk orthodoxy more-or-less guarantees a demographic that insists on MOR mediocrity (just look at some of the posts on CS's ballad thread) - but I do see it happening elsewhere, which is a reason to be cheerful on this Xmas morn.

My resolution for 2010 - Hear no Evil!!! (Io Io Io)


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 07:18 AM

"however so debased the word."
S'O'P.
I've got bad news and I've got bad news.
We've got the research; we've got the documentation, we've got the recorded (aural and literal) proof in exaples and analysis, and in our case (Pat's and mine) we've got thirty odd years fairly intensive field research.
None of this makes anybody automatically right and is open to discussion, but in order to so, you need to produce your own work rather sitting in your armchair pontificating.
You've already said you 'don't do research', but I'm afraid if you are ever going to produce anything other than hot air it's a case of: "Io Io Io" it's off to work you must go.
Jim Carroll
Disp


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 08:14 AM

If clubs are serious about caring for the music the onus is really on them to help new singers - and not by encouraging them to 'prctice in public' which is all too often the case.[quote]
I think you will find that that is the purpose of workshops,the LEWES[Sat]club put on a variety of different workshops,some instrumental and some vocal.
something that other clubs would do well to emulate.
apparently the folk club that used to be run by Red and Myra Abbott, in the sixties [leigh on sea or possibly Southend ]used to do just that.
Forthcoming workshops in 2010 -Lewes[Sat]Folkclub.
27th.Feb        Coope Boyes & Simpson        Vocal harmony
27th.Feb        Georgina Boyes        Folklore (participatory talk)
27th.March        Ben Paley        Fiddle
17th.April        Shirley Collins        Traditional song masterclass
18th.April        Shirley Collins        Traditional song masterclass
24th.April        Issey Emeney        Melodeon
22nd.May        Joe Penland        North Carolina song & social history
5th.June        Mike O'Connor & Barbara Griggs        Cornish traditional tunes from source manuscripts
6th.June        Mike O'Connor        Songwriting in the tradition
10th.July        Karen Tweed        O'Carolan's music (any instrument)
18th. Sept        Moor Music        Dartmoor music (any instrument)
9th. Oct        John Adams        Village Music Project (any instrument)
10th.Oct        Chris Coe        Ballad forum
31st. Oct        Martin Carthy        Guitar
13th.Nov        Frankie Armstrong        Singing & vocal techniques
20th.Nov        Tim Laycock        Concertina (all systems)


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Old Vermin
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 09:19 AM

Diverting onto Shimrod's point about the presence of teachers in folk, may I perhaps make a couple of observations?

There is a pretty fair proportion of teachers in general population - you are more likely to meet a teacher in most gatherings than say an actuary, blacksmith or carpenter.

Teaching was - and I say was - possibly the perfect day-job for a folkie. Relatively short hours and long holidays. Work that was being constantly in front of an audience of a sort. Brain work and performance. Enough spare time to rehearse and gig. The possibility of symbiosis - the music, song and dance feed back into the classroom. So for a generation or so, that worked. I understand that Carolyn Robson, Peter Coe and Sting among many others have taught in schools.

Most of that observation comes from my wife. She taught. Retired. Misses teaching children but not the bureaucratic nightmare of the English state system nowadays. The job changed. Far too many hours, and far too much drudgery over pointless paperwork. She is strongly of the opinion that the school-teaching path into folk paid professionalism has gone.

Schweik, dear chap - thanks for the reminder on the Lewes workshops. Just a question of being good - or confident - enough to go to workshops.

Right, that's me kept out of the way for half-an-hour as instructed.

Merry Christmas, one and all.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,S O'P (Astray)
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 10:03 AM

One of these days, old man, you might actually bother to read what I say instead flying off the handle.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 10:04 AM

Cap'n; as much as I have admired the Lewes programme of workshops (from afar unfortunately) I see little there that resembles anything ongoing for beginners - not saying there isn't anything, just that it doesn't appear appear on that list.
A number of clubs we have been involved with have had long running workshops specifically planned so they could cater for non or new singers who wanted a start. Some of these have proved pretty successful over the years.
They were structured in such a way that they could be diverted into other channels for the rest of us when there were no newbies around. The London Singers Workshop, which existed in parallel to at least three clubs we helped organise, ran for nearly twenty years; we set up a magnificent sound archive, and a reasonable library for the use of its members, which proved invaluable - (wonder where the Bronson is now?)
I have been giving the subject of teaching some thought lately as it keeps cropping up over here.
While I believe that singing can be learned, I'm not sure it can be taught, at least not without creating insurmountable problems.
Maybe the subject for a separate thread once the season to be inebriated is over?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 10:11 AM

"One of these days, old man, you might actually bother to read what I say instead flying off the handle."
And one of these days you might consider phrasing your lanuguage in such terms as not to give the impression that it had just gone over the wall from Pseuds Corner.
Have sought a rationale behind your pronouncements and edicts, even requested same on occasion -alas, in vain.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 11:22 AM

Jim,
certain things can be taught, breath control,singing exercises,vocal warm up exercises.,exrcises to extend vocal range etc.
advice in the art of performing, gaining confidence,Alexander Technique etc
advice can also be given,guiding people towards certain singers,MacColl is a good place for beginners to listen to Ballads,plus certain traditional singers, Cox,Tanner, Pardon,Larner,Taylor,to begin with.,I suppose the more that are listened to the better.
perhaps suggesting that certain singers are more likely to be successful with certain kinds of songs,getting singers to take a note so that they pitch correctly, etc.
some singers may always have limitations,but to get them to be aware of what they are more likely to be successful with,
for example, a particular singer may be very good at shanties,but not good at story songs,of course the singer must have respect for the adviser.,but the adviser can give guidelines as to how to improve interpretation of story songs.
[imo]Ballads are the most difficult songs to perform well.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 11:45 AM

Would like to go into the methods used in teaching at greater length, but not sure that this thread is the place and that 25th December is the time.
One of the problems with being 'taught' to sing is the tendency towards imitation.
I am interested in finding out the experiences of others, but maybe at a later date.
Am not sure I agree with you abouut ballads - in many ways the stories are so concise that they virtually sing themselves as long as you have put the basic groundwork in beforehand. The real problem with them can be the length - but that's often as much a problem with the listener as it is with the singer.
More later - eat well and don't get pissed
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Aeola
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 03:10 PM

Well Jim C. you are quite ( vociferate ) about Folk singers 'Generally 'but I think you should be aware that a lot of people are quite happy to go along to a folk club and listen, join in, or participate. You know , enjoyment!!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 08:19 PM

"a lot of people are quite happy to go along to a folk club and listen, join in, or participate. You know , enjoyment!!"

I wonder why some people consider doing a thing well a contradiction to enjoying something; perhaps someone can enlighten me? Personally the greatest pleasure I ever got from singing was when it worked, both for me and for the audience.

Favourite quote, from interview we did with MacColl:
"Now you might say that working and training to develop your voice to sing Nine Maidens A-milking Did Go or Lord Randall is calculated to destroy your original joy in singing, at least that's the argument that's put to me from time to time, or has been put to me from time to time by singers who should know better.
The better you can do a thing the more you enjoy it. Anybody who's ever tried to sing and got up in front of an audience and made a bloody mess of it knows that you're not enjoying it when you're making a balls of it, but you are enjoying it when it's working, when all the things you want to happen are happening. And that can happen without training, sure it can, but it's hit or miss. If you're training it can happen more, that's the difference. It can't happen every time, not with anybody, although your training can stand you in good stead, it's something to fall back on, a technique, you know. It's something that will at least make sure that you're not absolutely diabolical
The objective, really for the singer is to create a situation where when he starts to sing he's no longer worried about technique, he's done all that, and he can give the whole of his or her attention to the song itself she can give her or he can give his whole attention to the sheer act of enjoying the song."

If you can see anything wrong with that, I'm buggered if I can.

Another aspect, if that's not enough.
Some of us are quite keen to see the next generation get the same enjoyment out of the music that we have been lucky enough to - that depends on the clubs surviving which, in turn depends on new, fresh audiences turning up..... take it as far as you want.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 25 Dec 09 - 10:30 PM

I ate well AND got pissed *hic* :)

Look forward to any thread on teaching/learning. I really wish there was something ongoing near me. Tried to make this happen once with a local teacher, but it came to nothing. Which reminds me - I must pester her again...and Bath Folk Club...


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 04:07 AM

Cheers Sue!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 05:26 AM

> Look forward to any thread on teaching/learning. <

Me too.

However someone has already pointed out the difference between workshops such as the Lewes ones, that seem to be (correct me if I'm wrong, Valmai) aimed at experienced singers and musicians, and those (much rarer) aimed at getting beginners started on the ladder. Sometimes mixed-ability works, but generally it's better if all are at a similar level.

Anyway, let's have that thread, when Jim or someone is ready to kick it off.

Richard


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,John Tucker
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 05:37 AM

Folk Music is alive and kicking in clubs up and down the country! People of all standards from beginners to pros are coming in each week to perform wonderful songs by the classic masters of the genre - Bob Dylan, Ewan MacColl, Joni Mitchell, Richard Thompson, Donovan, Billy Bragg and lots more. There are also lots of really talented people writing and performing their own material. You don't need training for folk music, you are getting confused with CLASSICAL music old chap!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 05:37 AM

One of the problems with being 'taught' to sing is the tendency towards imitation.[quote ]
fair point, [as regards style]which is why it is better to expose people who wish to improve to as many good singers as possible, and let them develop themselves.
but good breathing technique can be taught,as can the art of performance,extending vocal range, warm up exercises [etc].
suggestions can be made about repertoire.
however many people imitate without being taught, case in point isSuibhne O P, who is noticeably influenced by Peter Bellamy,I can think of another singer who hasa noticeably influenced style,neither were taught by P Bellamy


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 06:43 AM

John Tucker
"You don't need training for folk music,"
Oh dear! Always the bridesmaid, never the bride!
Of course you need (not necessarily training), but at the very least, work to master the basics of singing - any singing, unless you are going to demote it to its most mundane and artless.
I can see a number of people on your list who would have benefited greatly from a good dose of 'training' in order to improve the ability and understanding of the singing of folksong - but that's another argument.
"you are getting confused with CLASSICAL music old chap! "
Not me old chap - talked to too many traditional singers about what went into their singing - how about you?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 06:56 AM


you are getting confused with CLASSICAL music old chap!


Many a musician can do both or more, being versed in the different techniques. In common is practice and more practice, and NOT in public.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 06:58 AM

PS
And by the way, whatever you or I may think of their singing, it is deeply insulting to everybody on your list to suggest that what they are doing is so simple and artless that you don't have to put any effort (work) into singing it - old chap.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 07:13 AM

The voice is an instrument, like any other and, to use it properly and at its best, technique and practice make it sound better.

If you take any instrument other than the voice, you wouldn't expect to be able to play your way competently through a repertoire of folk tunes without a decent understanding of the basic technique and plenty of practice. And you would surely want to master, say, half a dozen tunes before performing them in public? I've been playing guitar and other fretted instruments for over 40 years and have earned money from doing so. However, I took up the violin some months ago - mainly to play traditional tunes in sessions - and one of my first acts was to find a good teacher so that my fingering and bowing technique would be correct from day 1. She's an excellent player and teacher, and my fortnightly lessons have been inspirational and unmissable.

Why should the voice and vocal performance be any different? I'm a great believer in encouraging people to join in at sessions if they can, and to get to grips with playing and performing music in public. But I'm also a believer in encouraging beginners to improve their performance at every opportunity - they will get more pleasure out of doing so and so will their audience. The way to improve technique and performance is through good mentors, lots of practice and through listening.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 07:14 AM

If all you are going to do is argue about performing folk music, no wonder it doesn't progress as it might.

I'm off to digitise Albion Country Band at the Howff on 29/12/1972, and listen to some very good playing indeed!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 07:16 AM

Well, presumably the Albion Country Band will do some good playing because they learned how to play well through practice and hard work? :-)


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 07:17 AM

The various Albions - did ever a band practice and rehears more than they?

Best wishes

L in C
PS bring you singing and playing gear down The Beech


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 07:20 AM

Albion Country Band at the Howff on 29/12/1972

And that is a very apt illustration of the point: Sue Draheim, a classically-trained violinist who has been mistaken for a real-deal Sligo fiddler who nowadays has a chair in a San Francisco symphony orchestra as well as playing in old timey bands.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,John Tucker
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 07:22 AM

Mr Carrol

Nowhere did I suggest that the material was artless or that no effort was required! I said that beginners and pros performed at folk clubs ( some who have no doubt received training). You do NOT require training to be able to perform at a folk club. You do however, need to put a lot effort and practice in though. To play classical music I'm sure that you do need formal tuition and lots of practice. There are certainly classical musicians that play folk & blues at folk clubs that I attend and they do not look down their noses at the untrained beginners. The folk clubs are friendly welcoming places for people of all abilities who share a love of MUSIC at all levels. Not a bunch of elitist snobs.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 07:29 AM

John - with respect, I think a lot depends on how you define "training". I certainly agree with you on the question of effort and practice - which I think is training. Selecting the right key for your voice, understanding a bit how to breathe and where to sing from (stomach, etc.) to get projection and good pitch - all are also part of practice. If you don't know how to do these things naturally, then some tips from one more expert - and good solid listening to other (good) singers is also part of training.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 07:35 AM

I have started a thread.
the voice is an instrument and needs to be practised in the same way an instrumentalist would practise his instrument.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 07:39 AM

Albion Country Band at the Howff on 29/12/1972

And that is a very apt illustration of the point: Sue Draheim, a classically-trained violinist who has been mistaken for a real-deal Sligo fiddler who nowadays has a chair in a San Francisco symphony orchestra as well as playing in old timey bands.

Yes but she played "in the style" back then and was very good - Ashley never hired bad players!. Do you mean that she is chairlady of the SFSO or that she simply plays in it. I am unfamiliar with the verb "to have a chair in".


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 07:43 AM

Mr Carrol - I prefer Jim - Carroll if you must!
Training - work - teaching all the same thing, the amount of work required surely depends on the individual singers requirements and desires. It's up to the club organisers to decide whether they want or need to organise them and at what level.
I know that here in Ireland singing weekends are now organising singing classes, and that they are usually well attended, but then again, the standard of singing over here is far higher than it is in the UK for traditional events.
"You do NOT require training to be able to perform at a folk club."
Really - we are all blessed with pitch control, relaxation abilities, large enough ranges to handle any song in the repertoire, in order to have free access to that repertoire? Don't think so really.
"Not a bunch of elitist snobs."
Good singing means elitism - ah well!!!
My suggestion has always been to aim for a reasonable basic standard - can't see for the life of me how that in any way the friendly welcoming atmosphere of a club - as for 'all abilities - can I take it that you don't believe that being able to sing in tune and handle the full range of a song is not a necessity for singng in public?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 07:55 AM

"but then again, the standard of singing over here is far higher than it is in the UK for traditional events."
I meant to add - and a damn sight more friendly and welcoming than some of the cliquish freemasons lodges where the regulars sit in little bunches and ignore strangers, as I have witnessed and exoerienced on many occasions in the UK down the years
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: theleveller
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 08:08 AM

Well, I'm not sure folk music needs reviving; it seems full of life from what I see of it.

I think what we need to do is stop the pointless and unproductive arguments about what is folk music and to continue to perform and reinterpret traditional material and encourage those who are creating new folk music. In fact, pretty much what has been happening for quite a few years now.

Anyway, that's what I intend to do.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 08:28 AM

Nice objective Leveller - as long as you can give me - or anybody, what I/they are looking for when they follow their 'folk club' noses and turn up on your doorstep.
I'd be interested to know how you propose to do that!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 08:49 AM

"but then again, the standard of singing over here is far higher than it is in the UK for traditional events."
I meant to add - and a damn sight more friendly and welcoming than some of the cliquish freemasons lodges where the regulars sit in little bunches and ignore strangers, as I have witnessed and exoerienced on many occasions in the UK down the years
Jim Carroll

Absolutely - with their heads bowed down and their little rules!!!!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,John Tucker
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 11:21 AM

Well said Mr Leveller! What exactly are you looking for Jim? Perhaps a club that plays/sings only material that you approve of and at a standard set by you? I always approach music with an open mind and welcome diversity. It's a small and shrinking world and we have to live together.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 12:23 PM

None of this has any anything to do with either my approval nor my standards. I suggest that unless the clubs cease to allow themselves to be used as musical landfill sites, and unless what goes on there is performed to a basic standard, they will die. You have my suggestion of what those standards should be elsewhere on this thread, but here we go again - REMEMBERING THE WORDS, SINGING IN TUNE AND HAVING ENOUGH OF AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE SONGS TO BE ABLE TO CONVEY THEM TO THE LISTENERS.
As far as what material is presented - let's argue about definition if you want but if you give yourself a name - in this case 'folk', you commit yourself to a type of music - god knows, it's become wide enough to cater for a large range of tastes, but as far as I can see, not as wide as - (sorry S O'P - you shouldn't have provided the perfect example in the first place):
"Blues, Shanties, Kipling, Cicely Fox Smith, Music Hall, George Formby, Pop, County, Dylan, Cohen, Cash, Medieval Latin, Beatles, Irish Jigs and Reels, Scottish Strathspeys, Gospel, Rock, Classical Guitar, Native American Chants, Operatic Arias and even the occasional Traditional Song and Ballad", most of which don't come anywhere the term 'folk'. Try pleasing all of the people all of the time and you end up pleasing no-one. I know this from bitter experience when two thirds of the club audiences disappeared in the 80s because folk clubs stopped presenting folk music, and basic standards were abandoned.
"It's a small and shrinking world and we have to live together."
What on earth does that mean - does that mean I can now go to a classical concert expecting east Anglian dance music, or to a recital of operatica arias and expect to enjoy an evening of Gordeanna McCulloch or Ellen Mitchell singing traditional ballads? If not, why not?
You seem to have gone silent on our earlier head-to-head; let's see how we do with this one.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 12:51 PM

REMEMBERING THE WORDS

Some folks cannot remember the words to songs so they have a piece of paper handy to remind them. Nothing wrong with that. Some folks cannot sing in tune but it's the taking part that matters - ask Martin Carthy, he says that the worse thing you can do to a folk song is not sing it, and so Jim Carroll a little of what you say is absolute bollocks.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 01:11 PM

I suggest that unless the clubs cease to allow themselves to be used as musical landfill sites, and unless what goes on there is performed to a basic standard, they will die.

I doubt it, actually. I think what's far more likely is that clubs will flourish as "musical landfill sites" - I could name two local examples, both of which pack them in week after week. Quality is quite variable and anything goes in terms of material, but in its own terms it works. The audience consists mainly of performers and friends of performers; everyone who wants to can get up and do a turn; and at the end of the night somebody a bit more polished does a few numbers, and everyone goes home happy.

What you won't hear a lot of, at either of those folk clubs, is anything traditional. From my own experience, I'd agree with you that folk music in folk clubs is in a poor state (although it's doing quite nicely at a couple of local singarounds). But the clubs themselves seem to be flourishing.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: theleveller
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 01:12 PM

"as long as you can give me - or anybody, what I/they are looking for when they follow their 'folk club' noses and turn up on your doorstep."

Oh, and I forgot to add - don't think you can please all of the people all of the time :)


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 01:15 PM

Some folks cannot remember the words to songs so they have a piece of paper handy to remind them. Nothing wrong with that.

Some people don't make sure they're on top of a song before singing it in public - and I think there is something wrong with that.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 01:24 PM

unless the clubs cease to allow themselves to be used as musical landfill sites

Indeed yes, they must, and forthwith.

Far be it that I claim to speak for Dr MCMBE but I am absolutely certain he did not mean that tradarts should be churned out, unrehearsed, in public at karaoke standard. Crib sheets are unforgiveable, the ballad singer's role is to tell a story, not read out a synopsis. Learn the words, and the tune before even thinking of venturing out from your bedroom or shower. Surely (unless you actually enjoy making an arse of yourself in public), you owe that amount of respect to the music and to yourself.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: theleveller
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 01:41 PM

Far be it from me to tell people how they should perform but, speaking personally, I don't see how you can put your own interpretation on a song unless you actually work at it before you perform it in public. Unless you are performing your own material, it is the way that YOU put it across, as opposed to the millions of other performances of a song, that makes it interesting to me, as a listener. If you don't want to do that, fine, but you'll probably get a luke-warm reception.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,S O'P (The Ghost of Xmas Future)
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 02:07 PM

I'd agree with you that folk music in folk clubs is in a poor state (although it's doing quite nicely at a couple of local singarounds). But the clubs themselves seem to be flourishing.

There's a fundamental contradiction here which is what gave rise to my Folk as Flotsam idea in the first place - i.e. Folk is now music of indetermiate genre sung by Folkies in Folk Clubs and other designated folk contexts. The majority of what happens in the name of Folk isn't Traditional - Folk Song is, therefore, something different to Traditional Song, being determined as it is by context rather than genre. The only reason I go to folk clubs is to hear & sing (in that order) traditional songs; if the Trad to Flotsam ratio is any less than 5-1 then I'd just as sooner not bother, which, in general, I no longer do. Life is, as they say, just too short!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 02:13 PM

Remembering the words is part of the preparatory work for performing it in public. There are all sorts of 'tricks' for doing this while working on the song - singing it at double speed, taking the verses out of order.... If you can't do it, the song isn't ready to be aired.
Not being able to sing in tune - the same thing goes, but even more basic work needed.
I have said often enough that I believe anybody (almost) can sing, but if you are among the miniscule minority who can't, go and do something else. Otherwise you are like Monty Python's actor applying for the role of Tarzan.
I have spent abest part of a lifetime trying to dance, but I can't, so I don't.   
Pip,
Maybe the landfill sites will survive - no reason why they shouldn't, as long as they don't edge out any other type of music in order to do so.
When I lived in Manchester I often used to go to a pub on the Stretford Road where the landlord organised a 'singing night' - anything goes and a couple of free drinks and a fiver to the winner - wonderful. But on Fridays and Tuesdays I could go to Harry Boardman's and Terry Whelan's folk clubs and hear the best of folk songs sung well.
My objection is that nowadays my ability to choose my music has been removed by the 'folk club' organisers having torn the labels off.
"you owe that amount of respect to the music and to yourself."
Says it all really.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 02:20 PM

. Some folks cannot sing in tune but it's the taking part that matters,QUOTE.
NO, 99 percent of the people can sing in tune if they work at it,train their ears, learn to breathe well,learn where to pitch their songs.
however taking part is important too,and trying to improve,amnd learning to perform has to be a doing it experience.,that is why recording oneself and listening critically is important,so that you can get better each time,nobody minds a beginner, who is nervous but can be seen to be improving on each performance.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 02:30 PM

"Some folks cannot remember the words to songs so they have a piece of paper handy to remind them. Nothing wrong with that. Some folks cannot sing in tune but it's the taking part that matters -"

As a singer who does manage to remember the words without a crib sheet, and one who has to work very hard at learning the tune, I feel rather insulted by people who can't be bothered to do either.

As a member of the audience I much prefer to listen to people who know the words and can hold a tune. If you're a beginner good luck to you, but please put the work in in private, and get some advice and feedback from other singers, before you inflict yourself on me!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: MikeL2
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 03:00 PM

hi

As usual here there is a very wide gulf of opinions..........

Could I try to stay as close to the thread as possible by offering the following -:

1. There is no folk revival but a constant evolution which has been happening for as long as music has been played and sung. It is evolving in ways which some people here don't like.

2. There seems to be a view among some that folk isn't folk if it isn't traditional folk. Not true.....Traditional folk music is a small ingredient in the whole package.

3. Folk clubs are declining in standards. Again not true. Unless you only go to watch traditional music.

4. Use of crib sheets and other aide-memoirs are unforgivable. I don't necessarily agree. It depends how they and when they are used.
I don't believe that they should be an excuse for not learning and practising the material thoroughly.
For instance in my time I have perfomed literally hundreds of songs - most of which I learned and practised to my best standard possible.
However sometimes on stage for no accountable reason I suffered " mind blocks". I used to prepare some cryptic guides to help me remember the words, which on occasions I did have to use.....but I did so discreetly and in a way that most people never knew that I was doing it.

5. Workshops may well be extremely valuable as teaching and learning aids but I don't like the idea of becoming integrated into folk club nights.

My hope for the coming years is that all folk enthusiasts of whatever leaning try to pull together and improve the image of the whole.

United we stand - divided we fall and all that.....

Mike


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 03:59 PM

In response to Mike's points, just above:

1. Yes there is evolution, but a major aspect of the evolution during some periods such as around 100 years ago and around 50 years ago (and to a lesser extent before and since) was the devotion of considerable efforts to collecting, disseminating and performing material that was looking likely to be lost without such efforts. I thing "revival" is a good label for that aspect.

2. I sympathise both with SO'P, who points out how the label "folk" is often used nowadays, and with Jim, who points out that that label on the tin gives a poor indication of what you're likely to find inside. This is epitomised by GUEST,John Tucker's posting
> Folk Music is alive and kicking in clubs up and down the country! People of all standards from beginners to pros are coming in each week to perform wonderful songs by the classic masters of the genre - Bob Dylan, Ewan MacColl, Joni Mitchell, Richard Thompson, Donovan, Billy Bragg and lots more.<

I would regard those song writers as masters of some of the range of genres that all get lumped together as "folk". And John didn't mention traditional songs at all, though some of those people have sung those as well as their own compositions.

3. At the one club that I have attended at all often in the last decade or so I don't think either the blend of material or the standards to which it is performed have changed much. I am in no position to agree or disagree for any other clubs.

4. I agree. I disapprove of crib sheets in general, but they are legitimate in some special circumstances. Two that I sometimes see are a newly written song, which the song writer gives an airing to as work in progress (a bit like a beta software version, only to be inflicted on willing victims); and a song that is outside the singer's usual repertoire and brought out for special reasons on a particular occasion.

5. No opinion, yet. Try different arrangements and see what works.

Richard


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 04:11 PM

Some folks cannot remember the words to songs so they have a piece of paper handy to remind them. Nothing wrong with that.

Some people don't make sure they're on top of a song before singing it in public - and I think there is something wrong with that

Listen, Richard Shindell ALWAYS has his word book and I should think that he makes a pretty good living - he lives in Buenos Aires and commutes to the USA and Europe. Polly Bolton who perhaps has one of the best folk voices ever in the UK, ALWAYS had her words.

It is a very bigoted view to think that song sheets should not be used. Some people simply have short term memory loss.

I have heard men who sound like bleating sheep singing in folk clubs but I would never say that they should not perform. I saw a female duo in a Euston folk club having a chat as if they were in their kitchen at home before they sang, but I would never say that they should not perform.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 05:04 PM

I sympathise both with SO'P, who points out how the label "folk" is often used nowadays, and with Jim, who points out that that label on the tin gives a poor indication of what you're likely to find inside.

Perhaps dear Jim will hit the roof at me saying this but essentially I feel the same way he does. I'd just as soon as not use use the word Folk at all because of what it has come to mean - or rather come to mean nothing at all, or else everything that is performed by enthusiastic amateurs in a folk club regardless of genre. Whilst I think this is, in general, a very good thing, it no longer floats my particular boat.

When it comes to Traditional Song I am infamously tolerant of all abilities, and am generally happy to hear any Traditional Song sung by anyone, regardless of musical ability. Some of my favourite singers of trad. songs are some of the worst singers in terms of conventional technical musicality, but their passion, knowledge & understanding of the material override any such considerations.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 05:08 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOrd3JJePIc&feature=PlayList&p=0BEBEADB0557BC9C&index=0&playnext=1

Richard Shindell forgets the words to You Stay Here!!!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 05:10 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOrd3JJePIc&feature=PlayList&p=0BEBEADB0557BC9C&index=0&playnext=1

that's better!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 05:19 PM

"Unless you only go to watch traditional music."

Watch traditional music?? Personally I don't perceive any sort of music through my eyes ... but I suppose in certain very rare cases a few people might ...?


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 26 Dec 09 - 07:06 PM

It is a very bigoted view to think that song sheets should not be used.

I didn't say that, and don't hold that view. What I did say (and you quoted) was:

"Some people don't make sure they're on top of a song before singing it in public - and I think there is something wrong with that."

Nothing there about song sheets.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 04:14 AM

"Some people don't make sure they're on top of a song before singing it in public - and I think there is something wrong with that."

Well, if you go to one of the London folk clubs, you will see all manner of loner looser and scruff who are almost certainly not on top of anything yet alone a song, but they simply take part and nobody minds.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 04:17 AM

nobody minds

Oh yes they do.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 04:26 AM

all manner of loner looser and scruff

Another example of Bozo's social conscience.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 04:32 AM

Well I don't mind at all, though I do object to Bozo's teminology. I don't go to folk clubs to judge musical ability, rather to celebrate to wonders of traditional song and the potency such material has to invariably lift my spirits no matter who sings it, just as long as they have a passion.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 05:06 AM

"I think what we need to do is stop the pointless and unproductive arguments about what is folk music"
To an extent I sympathise with Levellers comment, but it seems to me inevitable that when the subject of clubs or the revival comes up, eventually it will come down to an argument on definitions, simply for the reason that many of us feel the word "folk" has been usurped by something that bears no relation whatever to its meaning. This means that we can no longer go to a 'folk' venue and listen to the music that we like, the way that we could say twenty-odd years ago. This hasn't happened through 'evolution'; much of the music that is being performed under the auspices of folk has its own history, identity and definitions, but has been unceremoniously crammed under the term 'folk' for the convenience of a group of people who, it seems to me, were looking for a pit to hiss in, can't be bothered to dig their own, so the folk clubs were as good a venue as any.
SO'P had declared long and loud that mine, and others like me's idea of folk is the invention of academics and collectors; he is perfectly at liberty to hold that view, but if he is going to make any headway with it, he really is going to back it up with something more than empty declarations. I certainly don't object to his thinking the way he does, but I do feel it more than a trifle arrogant that he should try to wipe the slate of centuries of work with – well – none of his own; he doesn't believe in research!
In the long run it doesn't matter; those who would wish for 'folk' to mean something else have not come up with a viable alternative, a body of work, even a logical argument to back up their claims, and rely totally on the Humpty Dumpty philosophy of "words mean what I want them to mean". This doesn't make for good communication and, as far as it affects me personally, means my freedom to choose what I listen to has been curtailed by the fact that I can no longer trust folk clubs to provide me with what I am looking for as I once could.
As far as the future is concerned, we have our credentials in the form of a workable definition (certainly in need of adjustment) and our literature, recordings and documentation. Our work as researchers and collectors has been carried out (thirty-odd years of field work with traditional singers in our case), indexed, annotated, documented, archived and made available for public scrutiny, and will survive long after the landfill sites have been bulldozed over and parks put in their place. If nothing else, it's comforting to think people will be listening and referring to Sam Larner, Harry Cox, Walter Pardon, Mary Delaney, Bill Cassidy, Tom Lenihan, et al, long after the snigger snogwriters have faded from memory. Even the work of the best of the revivalists, MacColl, Lloyd, McGinn, Tawney….. has been documented well enough to be reference points for the foreseeable future.   
Pip may be right that the clubs will survive as landfill sites for a time to come, but they will have to clean up their act – literally – audiences don't renew themselves indefinitely unless there is something worth making the effort for, and the tuneless mumblings of forgotten words, by 'singers' who don't understand what they are singing and are not encouraged (or think it will spoil their enjoyment and so can't be bothered) to put in the necessary work just won't hack it. This is evidenced by the fact that many of today's clubs are populated by and large by crumblies of my generation who will eventually fall off the twig, leaving nothing. The need for standards was recognised as far back as the seventies and eighties when one of the great headlines which preceded the folk 'holocaust' then was "Crap Begets Crap" and it certainly does.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 05:55 AM

Jim,

Anyone actually still alive that a folk club organiser could book that would be "folk" enough for you? (and who would bring in an audience).

Names would be useful.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 06:16 AM

SO'P had declared long and loud that mine, and others like me's idea of folk is the invention of academics and collectors;

Folk is an academic concept of culture defined by criteria developed by outsiders seeking an objective viewpoint - as E.P. Thomson said: Folklore in England is largely a literary record of eighteenth and nineteenth century survivals, recorded by parsons and genteel antiquarians regarding the across a gulf of class condescension. (Folklore, Anthropology and Social History, 1979). The same could equally be said about those involved in the so-called Folk Revival which bears little functional, cultural or socio-economic relation to The Tradition it is claiming to Revive.

And just where did I say I don't believe in research? Maybe that's another of your obtuse misreadings of what I actually wrote. Point is, I know when the sun is up, Jim - it is as empirically self-evident as the true nature of Folk.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: theleveller
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 06:33 AM

"we can no longer go to a 'folk' venue and listen to the music that we like, the way that we could say twenty-odd years ago. "

"my freedom to choose what I listen to has been curtailed"

I'm not sure who this "we" is that you refer to and I don't see how your freedom has been curtailed. If you don't like what you hear in a club, you have the freedom to leave - the people who go there obviously enjoy what they hear. Most people who go to folk clubs - certainly the ones I go to - have a wide taste in folk music, both booked artistes and in singarounds. I don't like all of it but it is a real joy to go along and discover some new talent that would otherwise have escaped me. I'm sorry that your tastes are so narrow that you can't appreciate the people who are writing the folk music of today. Incidentally, is that the view you take of the songs that Ewan MacColl wrote? Personally I much prefer those to his renditions of traditional songs.

I find the use of the term 'landfill' for something that you personally don't like is extremely offensive - what you are saying is that your taste is good but mine is rubbish!

One of the best folk clubs around is Kirkby Fleetham run by Banjiman (Paul Arrowsmith) and his wife, Wendy, who is herself an excellent example of people who are writing and performing songs in the folk idiom. The success of this club is testament to the fact that folk is alive and well.

It's folk, Jim - but not as you know it!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 06:41 AM

"And just where did I say I don't believe in research?"
Please don't make me dig it out - you said it word for word - If I am wrong, please show me some of yours.
Folk was a term conceived to identify and explain a cultural phenomenon and its origins - if you've got a better one, let's have it.
Banjiman:
Plenty of example of people who would be 'folk' enough for me - Terry Yarnell, Bob Blair, Len Graham, Kevin and Ellen Mitchell, Gordeanna McCulloch, Sara Grey, Peggy Seeger..... hundreds of Irish singers and musicians (all bringing in audiences and attracting youngsters onto the scene over here).
Whether they would bring in audiences is beside the point of this argument - I really don't adapt my definitions to fill the clubs; words mean what they mean.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 07:21 AM

Thanks for that Jim.

At least I've previously booked one artist on your "approved" list and she pulled in a crowd!....... and she even plays the banjo! Can't have it totally wrong then, even by your very tough and narrow definition.

I didn't ask you to adapt your definition, but as a club organiser I rely on pulling people in. If I don't then our club dies. To me, it is the nub of the argument, if you can't attract people in the music will die..... you've made the very point yourself (and you have blamed non-trad music in folk clubs as a reason why audiences might be dwindling).

We try to put on a varied programme, but most of the acts we book play/sing at least some traditional songs & tunes, or very trad sounding material. We put on a few acts that move away from this for a bit of variety. The average age of our audience is 40 - 50 (with a fair smattering of teens, 20's & 30's) which pretty much mirrors the demographic of the very rural area in which we live.

I think you would enjoy most of the evenings that we put on Jim and it's really very easy nowadays to check out an artist on YouTube, MySpace etc to see if they are your cup of tea.

Lay off the UK clubs a bit mate, they're probably not all like you imagine.

Leveller, thanks for your kind words.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 07:56 AM

"The same could equally be said about those involved in the so-called Folk Revival which bears little functional, cultural or socio-economic relation to The Tradition it is claiming to Revive."

I'm not sure that that's true. I once heard a lecture from the folk scholar, Chris Bearman about the communities in Somerset from which Cecil Sharp collected many fine folk songs and which produced singers like Louie Hooper and Emma Overd. I seem to remember that the point of this lecture was that these singers tended to live in little sub-communities and I got the impression of one or two people in a sub-community gaining an interest in old songs and inspiring their neighbours to take up singing them as well. This is not so very different from the traditional song circles that I move in, although modern communications means that we no longer live 'cheek-by-jowel' as Sharp's informants did. The main difference today is that there are professional singers around and rich sources of material such as records, CDs, books and the internet.
I acknowledge that the material circumstances of the 'old style' traditional singers were very different to mine, as were their relationships to the society of their day (although not all trad. singers were poor or destitute by any means). But the more I read about them, the more I am struck by the realisation that the reasons why they sang old songs were not so very different from reasons why I and many of my friends sing old songs. After all trad. singers were people just like you and me and if they were lucky enough to have their material needs fulfilled (however inadequately) I would bet that they had the same needs for novelty, entertainment, self-expression etc. as we do.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 08:28 AM

here is something I feel should not be happening to any artist in 2009 or 2010 or anytime.
I was offered a booking at a UK midlands folk club,some 18 months ago,which I accepted[it was part of a week long tour]scheduled for june 2010, six months before the gig,the gig was cancelled,the reason given,was that there were too many squeeze boxers in a period of six weeks.
what has happened at the club is this:the previous booking secretary is now very ill,the person that has taken over the bookings now,has discovered that a third person,in an interim period booked a few people.
my booking was made 18 months ago,by the original bookings secretary ,
on receiving the email cancelling my booking,I replied offering a compromise: a reduction in my fee,or a possible alternative date, the problem[in this situation] is this that every club has their schedule arranged further than six months ahead,neither of the suggestions I offered appear to have been thought suitable by the present Folk club bookings secretary.
of course every folk club bookings secretary has a perfect right to book who they wish.
however cancellations at short notice should take into account the fact that an artist is on tour from another country,that other comparable artists who in fact live locally,are not going to be so inconvenienced[as regards finding accomodation].
I understand that folk clubs are run by amateurs,most of whom are professional in their attitude and who treat guest artists in a decent manner,but in my opinion the treatment given to me by this club, should not be given to any guest artist,and is not acceptable.
even if I was to be offered an alternative date,there is no guarantee I can make it part of a tour,[bearing in mind the original fee was a tour fee not a single one off fee]
is it surprising that so many talented performers give up [to the detriment of the scene], when they get treated in such a cavalier manner,look at all the talented performers who have given up over the last 15 years.
in fairness to the UK folk scene,this is probably only the third time this has happened in 30 years,but it should not happen at all.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,woodsie
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 08:37 AM

I think that is a disgusting way to treat any artiste. The club in question should be named and shamed!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 08:39 AM

Sorry Leveller; cross posted;
"I find the use of the term 'landfill' for something that you personally don't like is extremely offensive"
Tough tittie - I have found terms like 'folk police' and 'finger-in-ear' and 'purist' extremely offensive down the years, but have had to learn to live with them as it seems to go with the territory. I find it offensive to drive half way across the county only to find some burke serenading the fluff in his navel with some sort of indefinable dirge when I have been promised an evening of folk song. I find it offensive when, after 35 years of field work I am told by some sedentary pontificator that I have rigged the evidence.
I have long come to the conclusion that these debates aren't for the faint-hearted and learned to live with it - suggest you do the same.
Your particular brand of music may be worth listening to if we are allowed to judge it on its own merits, but we are not being given the opportunity to do so while it is being passed off as folk music, so as far as I'm concerned 'landfill' will suit as well as any.
"It's folk, Jim - but not as you know it! "
See what I mean - define your terms.
Paul:
"even by your very tough and narrow definition."
As a researcher my definition is fairly narrow because that's what I do - research folk traditions (though I confess that moving to Ireland has forced me to rethink some of the ideas I have previously had - another story).
As a singer, club organiser and listener, my definition is not particularly narrow - I cut my teeth on MacColl and Seeger who have individually probably written more songs than any other performer on the folk scene. I listened to the new songs with pleasure, sang them (and still do), helped sell 'New City Songster', as far as I know the only magazine regularly produced to circulate new songs made in the folk idiom; I even tried (and failed miserably) to write some myself. I believe that without new songs the revival would be no more than a musical version of 'The Sealed Knot'.
My gripe is that much of what I have heard (and heard argued for) owes nothing whatever to the tradition, it certainly doesn't sound like it - fair enough, but I'd rather be doing something else and I resent being conned by being told it is folk song.
If you are presenting songs that I can identify with folk, you have my support and gratitude (can't listen to anything at the moment - my computer sound system is up the pictures).
If my side of the revival fails I will be very sorry, but it has to fail on it's own merits and not because it has been used as a dumping ground for something else.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 08:57 AM

Dick: that is unacceptable and unprofessional behaviour.
Do you not have a cancellation clause in your contract, like how much notice before some or all of the fee becomes due?
If you didn't I hope you've put one in now.
"Organisers" might be doing this as a spare time hobby, for you it is a livelihood.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 09:08 AM

Dick, that is a horror story, but what is the relevance to this thread?

.....or have I missed something?


Jim, I think yourself and The Leveller probably share quite a lot in common over your tastes of what is presented in folk clubs. Certainly the material that Pete sings is all pretty traddy...... you should get the sound working on your computer again and have a listen to his self penned song "Jack & Jill". Very definitely in the tradition (as I would understand it anyway) and a real treat.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Aeola
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 09:35 AM

' words mean what they mean '

If only that were true, over the years words seem to change their meaning!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: theleveller
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 09:57 AM

"Jim, I think yourself and The Leveller probably share quite a lot in common over your tastes of what is presented in folk clubs"

Thanks Paul, I think that's probably very true. I do, however enjoy listening to a wide range of music that may or may not be called folk. Many of the songs I write do come from a traditional source - Jack and Jill is a story told to me over 40 years ago by an old farmer from the Yorkshire Wolds and much of what I write comes from the legends, stories or whathaveyou of that area and of Hull, two parts of East Yorkshire where my family comes from.

Anyway, back to the subject of folk clubs. I like to hear a mix of styles in clubs. The first clubs I went to, over 45 years ago were like this - lots of Americana, Dylan, "new" stuff from the pens of Jansch and others and, a real treat when I first heard them, The Watersons. They frequently came to our local clubs and I often went to The Blue Bell in Hull - but that wasn't a purely traddie club; I became acquainted with a wide range of music there. In fact, I think the only "policy" club I ever went to was The Singers' Club and decided (probably too) quickly that it wasn't for me.

Jim, I thought we were having quite a civilised debate here, so no need to get nasty - if my sense of humour offends you, I apologise (happens all the time :0).


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 12:19 PM

Banjiman
this thread is about the uk folk revival,and that story is a recent happening in the uk folk revival,thats the relevance,this sort of thing should not be happening in folk clubs in the year 2010.
I am going to give this club a chance ,its got six months to come back and offer me an alternative date,if it doesnt I will name it.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 12:25 PM

academics and collectors and the Archers - all a pain in the neck!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 12:39 PM

Leveller;
I thought we were having a civilised debate too, and my intention certainly wasn't to convey any nastiness; if it does so, please accept my apologies. Your sense of humour does not offend me in the slightest and I have always read your postings with interest, though I might not agree with them.
I confess to becoming a little frustrated at times at having to go over the same ground over and over again, as I detect you do.
Despite the fact that I have been away from the club scene for some years, I attach a great deal of importance to it. It was my way into the music and I believe it still be can an introduction to others.
I am convinced that for that to be possible we need to square the circle of designationg different types of music 'folk' that obviously, to me anyway, bear no relation to each other, either in form or origin.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 12:56 PM

yes, I see no harm in Blues clubs being labelled such, even though I consider it folk music,it is a specific type of folk music.
likewise if a club was to specialise in Indian Folk Music,it should be reasonable to describe it as such.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: theleveller
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 12:56 PM

"we need to square the circle of designationg different types of music 'folk' that obviously, to me anyway, bear no relation to each other"

I suspect it would be easier to find the holy grail or guarantee world peace. I sympathise with your frustration because I know that you have devoted many, many years to the cause of traditional music.

I have decided that, personally, rather than argue about it I'd just rather listen to individual artists' take on it. So, if I listen to Chris Wood or Dick Miles or Mawkin or whoever, I've a rough idea of what to expect. Those who are new to me, I'll make my mind up about when I come across them. Certainly, from where I'm standing, the folk music scene here in Yorkshire is as vibrant and exciting as I can remember it ( and I'm an old git).


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: TheSnail
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 01:58 PM

I hope everybody had a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas; I certainly did. Discovered I'm going to be a Great Uncle.

Lots to respond to here but I'm just off to a session. Back tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 02:12 PM

Leveller,
It occurs to me that you might think my "sedentary pontifictor" remark was aimed at you - it wasn't. That seat is well and truely occupied and I have no doubt the occupant would totally resist any suggestion that he might move - sorry.
Congratulations Bryan.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,Poxicat
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 03:15 PM

I trust this will serve as a consistent identity if I post using a proxy server.

Without getting sidetracked, I should like to know what this 2010 UK folk revival is and where I can find it.

By which I mean "folk", not contemporary acoustic and ARSS.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Paul Reade
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 03:17 PM

This thread seems to have got completely away from the original question of "How can the revival be improved?" and degenerated into the usual "tradition v. others" arguments that we've been having for the last 50 years. In case you haven't noticed, whilst we've been having this argument, the audience has lost interest and gone elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 03:27 PM

As I said further up

academics and collectors and the Archers - all a pain in the neck!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: romanyman
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 04:12 PM

as usual thread breaks into slaging off session rather than a so called forum, ive been on the outside looking in and in my humble opinion if you want folk to be more widely thought of stop being so bloody eliteist, it happens everywhere, im still fighting with my bloody melodeon, i dance no i am part of a morris side, so you would think thats a good basis,       nah, our musician live miles away has a very busy job travels all over the place , so to sit down with me and try to help, is really a non starter. yes begginer sessions would be good and yes wether in a pub or a community setting, either would do, but again in my opinion if you had beginer or even folk sessions in a community setting im sure youd get more response. dunno,


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 05:09 AM

Some of us are committed to the music and the people who gave it to us and feel that they have been given a raw deal by many of the clubs.
Personally I'd rather try and put that right rather than indulge in a backslapping session of telling each other what a great job we're all doing - sorry if the answers don't suit you.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 06:10 AM

Beginners Tune Session tomorrow, Tuesday, the Beech, Beech Road, Chorlton, Manchester.

All welcome

L in C


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 07:58 AM

Just been digitising my recording of the John Kirkpatrick Wassail show at the Maltings in Farnham from December 1995 - with none other than George Faux in the band.

Now that's real trad folk!!!!!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 08:34 AM

"academics and collectors and the Archers - all a pain in the neck!"
Wonder what we'd hav been singing if the collectors hadn't got off their bums and recorded them and the academics hadn't bothered to gather them up and publish them? Interesting that virtually every folk song has passed through the hands of a collector before it was made available.
Agree with you about the Archers though!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: romanyman
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 09:35 AM

with out starting the thread on a totally different road, do i and forgive me if im wrong, from the above post am i to assume then that folk in all its guises belongs to the collectors and academics therefore pushing it into the realms of club sshhers and the like, if you wants folk to be put into the eye of the public , take it to em . when i lived in wales there was an ol boy used to come into the boozer with a battered and obviously well loved sqeeze box, he would order his pint, sit in a corner or in the garden if the rain god was in a good mood, and off he would go playing away, no one booked him no one paid him he just played for the heck of it, once he had his pint off he would go now thats folk


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 10:09 AM

"i to assume then that folk in all its guises belongs to the collectors and academics"
No, it doesn't; it belongs to all of us - or so Walter Pardon once told us. Acedemics and collectors are just part of the process of passing it on, just as the singers in the clubs are part of that process.
It is up to all of us to value and take care of what we have been given so those who come after us get the same pleasure out of it that we did.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: autoharpbob
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 12:20 PM

1. Many of the clubs I go to now are called "Folk and Acoustic.." - so I do know that I will hear a mixture of styles and am not disappointed. In amongst that will be some traditional folk. Thats great, I like the variety.

2. Many of the people I hear at these clubs have not succeeded yet in learning the words, being able to play competently, or in learning how to sing. I applaud them for having the balls to get up and perform in the first place, it does not put me off going back to that club and guess what - when I hear them again they have improved. The only way to learn how to perform is to do it, you cannot get good at performing before going out in public.

3. Encouraging the people above to keep coming is what makes a friendly and flourishing club. Discouraging them is what would kill off the club. I was useless when I started performing, playing wrong chords, forgetting words and sounding really awful. I had my first professional booking before Christmas. If I had been treated as landfill I doubt that I would have kept at it - except that I love what I am doing, so probably would have.

4. As an ex-teacher, I am used to making a fool of myself. IMHO you cannot be a teacher if you are afraid of this. Maybe thats why there are a lot of teachers in clubs.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Marje
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 12:56 PM

Oi, you lot, lay off the Archers!

The Archers has a lot in common with a good folk club, e.g:
People in the Archers don't fluff their lines or have to apologise for delivering them badly.
The younger actors are sometimes a bit clunky but often improve.
Several of the older ones have beards.
The Bull in Ambridge sells real ale.
The plotlines (like songs) often have good stories and some humour.
The Archers deals with many issues to do with England's rural heritage.
It has being going for almost 60 years, which is longer than most folk clubs.
And best of all, it's traditional!

What more could you a folkie want from a radio drama?

Marje


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 01:17 PM

having the balls to get up and perform in the first place

That should not be overlooked. My first floor spot was at Borehamwood Folk Club in about 1965, I was very nervous playing for a young lady known as the "singing matchstick" as she was so thin, and the guest artist for the night - I think it may have been Bert Jansch, came up to me and said "pretty good for a rock guitarist" - it obviously showed!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 01:28 PM

Folk and acoustic: I know what folk is in terms of song and music - acoustic defines as 'pertaining to sound' - which surely all music, whatever variety, does. However, am happy to accept F & A as a warning not to bother as it takes away any chance of choosing what I listen to (not keen on C&W, Wagner, hip-hop, garage, punk......)
If you think that turning a club over to non or bad singers is going to attract audiences (other than those who prefer non and bad singers) - we move in different circles. Practice before you go public, not in public. What do you do if, as one singer improves having practiced at your club, another bad singer comes along - ad infinitum? There are many ways to learn how to perform, but NEVER in front of an audience.
Landfill as far as I used it, refers to not giving the audience what you have promised but running a 'song' club rather than a 'folk' club; standards is a different question altogether.
As an ex-teacher you will be aware how self conciously frightened young people are of making a fool of themselves in front of strangers, especially a large number of them - it only takes one song to fall apart and you won't see them for dust - seen it happen.
Why are people so insistent that encouraging aspiring singers with help and advice rather than throwing them in at the deep end and watching them flounder, is abandoning them?
If I had been a casual individual interested in finding out what folk song was and had visited a club where you were "playing wrong chords, forgetting words and sounding really awful", I certainly wouldn't have come back. Did you expect the other singers at the club to pick up the pieces after you had made a fool of yourself and was the extra work you put them through worth it now you have "had your first professional booking"?   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 01:32 PM

PS - only joking Marge.
Can't get The Archers here in Ireland now as overseas BBC radio is taken over by the ******* cricket!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Villan
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 02:00 PM

Watch yuour language Jim. How dare you insult my beloved cricket.
You are a ******* jerk.
Only kidding :-)

I love cricket and Folk and any other sort of music.

Concert venues need to put on people who can perform.

However folk club singarounds are a different situation. Very often they are like a family gathering and can be one of the greatest ways of feeling at home and wanted. I don't think an audience is so important in such situations. Its more about enjoying the company of your fellow members.

If a folk club puts on a guest, I do think that one of the worst things they can do, is put on support people who are obviously not good enough. I think folk clubs have a responsibilty to the people paying to get in, to put the very best support acts they can, even if the less capable get upset. That is assuming they want the paying audience to come again.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: MikeL2
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 02:53 PM

Hi villan

Well said. I'm with you. .....and with cricket too.

I taught myself guitar and I have played and sung in public as a pro/semi-pro for four decades now.

I remember first starting out. Where could I go to try out the songs I had been learning?

I was advised to try the local Folk club. I practised and practised till my throat and fingers were sore.

Came the big day and I stood up and sang. Of course I was nervous. Made a right balls of it.

But I was praised by the organisers and I think most of the audience.
Bolstered by this I accepted an invitation to return and did so after more practice - with different songs.

That went down better and so my musical "career" was started.

I haven't always played folk music - I did rock,pop,blues jazz and some session work.

But never forgot where I started and was often delighted to go back and play and sing ( for no fee !!!) to demonstrate my thanks.

Also I have organised and run folk clubs ( not just traditional music though) and have always welcomed with open arms people who are prepared to be serious about wanting to perform. I have - along with others - helped other musicians by giving slots and help and advice.

That's my idea of a folk club.

If that is landfill then so be it....

cheers

Mike


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 03:16 PM

Villain - your poor taste in sports aside!!
The first contact that I and I suspect, most others here, ever had with folk song was by visiting a club - I would not have dreamed of spending my hard-earned wages in going to a concert of music I was unfamiliar with. As it happened, the club I started with - the Liverpool Spinners, as lightweight as the music was, was profesionally run by people who were friendly and welcoming, but who took seriously the job of entertaining me and didn't compromise on standards. I continued going to their club until I found a different, more satisfying and long-lasting type of folk music to fulfil my needs.
I find it as difficult to equate proficient with unfriendly and unwelcoming as I do having to equate work with lack of enjoyment.
As far as locking away your poorer singers when the guests arrive - I have to confess I find this totally insulting to any club audience.
An audience that has dragged themselves through the pissing rain to a residents night has, as far as I'm concerned, earned far more of my respect than one who goes along just to see Martin Carthy. Your committment should be to give of your best at all times, not just to impress a guest (or his/her followers) with your most seasoned residents.
I've argued this before but any club should be in a position to put on a good night, even if it cannot afford guests, or the one you booked cancels at the last minute, or whatever. A guest night should be one where you present a new face, not necessarily a better one.
As far as the 'family' bit; there is nothing more offputting for a newbie than to walk into a room and realise that everybody knows everybody else - except you, no matter how 'friendly' and 'welcoming' they are!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 03:17 PM

Concert venues need to put on people who can perform.

However folk club singarounds are a different situation.


I think some distinctions need to be made. I go to a folk club (with a stage) & a singaround in a pub backroom. At the folk club you pay on the door, there's a raffle halfway through and 30-40 people usually turn up, of whom about 20 do a song - mostly originals or cover versions, some blues, some C&W and a smidgen of trad. The singaround has no entry charge and no raffle; 10-20 people turn up, almost all of whom do a song or two.

I go to the folk club to meet people, have a laugh and relax, and to get a bit of practice singing to an audience. It's precisely the kind of "come one, come all" environment autoharpbob described: get up and have a go, and you'll get a round of applause. All good fun, but the singaround is where I go to hear (and sing!) traditional songs. The standard of performance at the singaround is much higher - we're among friends, but the friends we're among are people who love folk songs and want to hear them done well. (And "well" doesn't necessarily mean "to a high technical standard" - passion and love of the material count for much more than remembering every word and nailing every note.)

It comes down to the difference between

a) Paying a tenner, sitting in rows and hearing it done properly
b) Paying a pound or two and getting up and having a bash in front of a sympathetic audience
c) Paying nothing and singing your heart out in the refrain of a song you'd never heard before that evening

They're all fun to do - the question is which of them is going to keep traditional music alive (or on life-support). To me there's no question that c) is a better model than b).


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 03:19 PM

MikeL
From the sound of it you came to the music with a degree of experience and "practised and practised till my throat and fingers were sore" before you arrived - isn't that what we are asking people to do rather than wait until you get up in front of an audience?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: MikeL2
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 03:41 PM

hi jim

Yes of course you are right....but the point I was trying to make was that I was almost a complete beginner at that time....tho a serious one certainly.

And as a beginner I was welcomed to the fold. Had I not been I could just have given up before I started.

I agree that you owe it to your audience to do the best you can....and there is no substitute for that.

Gary Player was once interviewed by a reporter who asked Gary if his reputation for being able to hole-out from bunkers was luck. His relpy was...."sure and do you know the more I practise the luckier I get".

Music is like that ....practice makes perfect.

Cheers

MikeL


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Villan
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 03:56 PM

Well Jim
I would make you welcome at

Faldingworth Live

I like what you do. However we are fully booked.

Jim Carroll Myspace

I have a feeling there is a lot of "At cross purposes" in this thread.

Whilst I put on a lot of people that suit my club, I also put local support acts on who do themselves justice and are more than capable of doing more than 30 minutes as a support act.

We are very rural, and if the music isn't good enough we wouldn't have an audience big enough to pay for the acts. It serves as a "Community" concept and we get a very good turn out each time.

Our organisation does it for the love and and not for the money, but we take a great pride in what we put on. We do our utmost to look after every person who performs here, whether they are the main act or support.

Our audience pays for that.

However, what we do is one thing and what a folk club does is another and IMHO, there is room for everybody and if we all try to do the best we can, then everybody wins.

Les Worrall


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 03:59 PM

I hope & pay that our Jim Carroll is a very different Jim Carroll to the one on that Myspace link.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Villan
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 04:01 PM

OOps have I got it wrong?

Will the real Jim Carroll put his link on here then please.

Les


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 04:04 PM

very funny.a different Jim Carroll surely?
however, Les, you should consider, this performer,but you had better be quick he is considering retiring.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2TywvoqKFQ


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Villan
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 04:12 PM

Why is Dick Miles being allowed to call himself Jim Carroll, when he already has a Dick Miles signature. I thought that wasn't allowed

I sure fell for that one. LOL

I have changed my mind now :-)


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST, Poxicat
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 04:18 PM

Yes, but where is this revival? I might like it if I could find it.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: treewind
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 04:20 PM

I think that may not be the same Jim Carroll...
A.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Villan
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 04:29 PM

Blimey Anahata, it is so confusing. Don't change you name before you come to Faldingworth LOL


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 04:29 PM

I agree with Pip's 28 Dec 09 - 03:17 PM posting above, except for the terminology. Most of the "folk clubs" that I have attended over several decades, and all of those that I have attended at all regularly, have been closer to what Pip describes as a "singaround".

If I hear "mostly originals or cover versions, some blues, some C&W and a smidgen of trad" I won't go there a second time.

Richard


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 05:52 PM

Not the same Jim Carroll - there was a rock journalist here in Ireland who died recently - that wasn't me either! Try the Living Tradition' web-site - that's me in the hat!
We really have been over much of this hundreds of times before.
MikeL
Hello to you too.
A question, and please treat it as rhetorical; I spent enough times in jazz clubs to know the answer.
If I walked into one of your jazz clubs with a clarinet and said "I heard this wonderful number called "The World is Wating For The Sunrise, last week; it really knocked me out, so I went and bought this. I haven't got it quite right yet but a couple of spots in front of your audience should soon put that right - what do you think?" what do you think the response would be?
Is our music so inferior that it doesn't need a basic standard before it is presented before an audience?
MacColl once said that he felt that many of teh clubs were falling into the hands of people who neither liked nor usdersood folk music. I didn't believe him - how wrong can you get!
"Near enough for folk song," - to quote the late Alex Campbell, is for me, a sign of deep contempt for the music we profess to love.
Sorry,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 06:01 PM

Most of the "folk clubs" that I have attended over several decades, and all of those that I have attended at all regularly, have been closer to what Pip describes as a "singaround".

Lucky you! Chorlton FC is quite an extreme example, but most of the clubs I've been to around Manchester were closer to that end of the spectrum than the Beech singaround. I've seen a 50/25/25 ratio in a few places - 50% cover versions with acoustic guitar, 25% original songs with acoustic guitar and 25% everything else (including trad). What varies more is where the 50% comes from - Harvey Andrews, Jez Lowe and Gordon Bok in some clubs; Ani DiFranco, Suzanne Vega and Radiohead in others.

I like meeting some friends, having a drink, sitting back and knowing I'm going to hear "something completely different". But I love traditional songs*.

*Except Fanny Blair.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: romanyman
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 04:06 AM

so getting back to the point, where is the so called revival of grass roots folk, sadly all there is here is those that regularly perform to all those that are already into folk be it trad or modern, i see the people that do perform well in public, saying and being told how good they are, i see explanations of how some in the start were not very good , but hey im great now, what about putting folk where it belongs in the community, yes even in pubs , wherever it matters not, but folk for folkies is not creating a revival if thats what you want to call it, why not those of you that can play or sing turning up one day at a pub or something and just jamming for an hour or so , nothing organised just do it, who knows it could turn into a flash folk event, lets say new years day, all over the country             yeh right as if


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 04:41 AM

We visited a "folk" club held in a Phoenix Arizona coffe house whilst on holiday in 1998, and of the folk clubs we have been to over the years, this was one of them! The place oozed with enthusiasm at every performer - it was names picked out of a bucket until it was empty and then they started again. There was none of the heads bowed down, loser - loner singing goats scenario so often seen in London folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 05:26 AM

"Heads bowed down - loser"??? sorry Bonzo3legs, don't understand
"I hope & PAY that our Jim Carroll is a very different Jim Carroll to the one on that Myspace link."
Can I take it that the cheque's in the post?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 05:33 AM

singing goats?
that would be worth paying to see.
however, inadvertently you have made a good point about performing,it is best to sing with a feeling of confidence,singing in the style of Pete Seeger[is not recommended] is however bad for the voice.
posture is important,plus singing from the diaphragm,adress the audience,when you get up to perform say hello,etc.
eye contact,is something that must be handled carefully,only fleeting eye contact is best,nothing wrong with singing with ones eyes closed either.
Bonzo,I have been booked frequently at London folk clubs in the past ,but I cant recall any singing goats anywhere,tell us more.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: MikeL2
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 06:39 AM

hi jim

< A question, and please treat it as rhetorical; I spent enough times in jazz clubs to know the answer.
If I walked into one of your jazz clubs with a clarinet and said "I heard this wonderful number called "The World is Wating For The Sunrise, last week; it really knocked me out, so I went and bought this. I haven't got it quite right yet but a couple of spots in front of your audience should soon put that right - what do you think?" what do you think the response would be? >

Jim it has actually happened more than once - not with that song or instrument.

You have to try to ascertain what level the requestor is at - some very much underplay their abilities and others the opposite.

However in the situation you describe my answer would be to kindly point the person towards providing me with some sample of his/her prowess after the gig with a view to coming back at a later date.

I would also try to get one or two guys from the club to sound him/her out and to try to get him to join in a practice session.

But you can't win them all - I had a guy send me all kinds of blurb and commendations about him being the " next Bob Dillon"...etc etc.

he travelled many miles to come to my club ( uninvited and unannounced )the night before and asked could we put him up for the night. We did - we were used this then.....not now !!!

He talked the talk so I put him on. I had to jerk him off after two songs.....nicely of course.

So you can't always tell.

I do get your point Jim and I agree with much of what you say and I applaud your fantastic work that you do in keeping something that is important to you ( and to music ) alive and well.

Kind Regards

MikeL


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: theleveller
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 06:42 AM

In my opinion, the best folk clubs are those that offer a wide variety of music in the (for want of better words) folk idiom (dons hard hat and waits for the missiles). I suspect (and I'm sure Banjiman will correct me if I'm wrong) that this makes for a successful club because it has the widest appeal. If I were to go to a club where only traditional songs were sung I would soon get bored and would probably not return. I suspect that this would be the case with many folk fans.

Something for everyone isn't a bad maxim in this, as in so much in life.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 07:03 AM

A lot has been said about the need for and advice about vocal training and related issues. Where can such advice be found? Websites, books?

L in C


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 07:15 AM

MikeL
"You have to try to ascertain what level the requestor is at..."
It would appear that we have no disagreement whatever - you are applying the same standards I would expect.
There is a tendency to exaggerate these arguments - all I have ever asked is that a singer ON A PUBLIC PLATFORM be able to hold a tune and remember the words well enough to convey the meaning of the song to an audience - no more, but certainly no less.
I, and the people I have worked with have probably spent more time than anybody on this forum encouraging and helping new singers. The London Singers Workshop ran from 1969 to about 1990 and worked with a total membership of over 60 people. Before that, The Critics Group set up by MacColl, of which I was a member for a couple of years, ran for 10 years.
Before that - the Manchester workshop ran for over a year until I moved to London.
Not too bad a track record!
All of these were run on the basis of giving new singers a platform before they went public.
Is that not feasable and desirable for today's clubs?
Leveller:
"a wide variety of music in the (for want of better words) folk idiom"
No problem with that at all - providing we can agree on what consitutes the 'folk idiom'.
I am not - and have never been (quoting Senator Joe Mac) a member of that group who wishes only to present traditional songs, not because I would find it boring, but I would find it quaintly antiquarian and reactionary; as I said 'Sealed Knottish'.
I've given examples of what people present at their clubs - now that I find sharp practice (and probably boring as well).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 07:20 AM

thing is, there are plenty of jazz open mics too. In London, the Jazz Cafe does one on Sunday afternoons, and there's quite a few around south London and east London.

It's essentially the same principle as floor spots: nobody is suggesting they will be as good as pro guests (though sometimes they are).

This floorspot or "good enough for folk" debate will run and run forever, but it really doesn't need to. I personally think having an "all-comers welcome" slot is a really valuable thing, and because it's always given it's own little box, nobody could possibly confuse it with "the real thing" - so I don't see how it's detrimental to folk or any other sort of music that indulges it.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 07:29 AM

"I personally think having an "all-comers welcome" slot is a really valuable thing, and because it's always given it's own little box, nobody could possibly confuse it with "the real thing" - so I don't see how it's detrimental to folk or any other sort of music that indulges it."

Absolutely! It's no different than joining a watercolour class, chess club, hiking group, dinner party club or indeed any other sociable amateur hobbyists club.

Amateurs aren't considered representative of or responsible for the overall condition of any other art-form or discipline that I'm aware of?


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 07:50 AM

A lot has been said about the need for and advice about vocal training and related issues. Where can such advice be found? Websites, books?

L in C


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 07:57 AM

If I were to go to a club where only traditional songs were sung I would soon get bored

Really? I've been going to the Beech singaround in Chorlton for two years; I've heard a few songs twice in that time (and sung a few twice), but I've heard at least one song I'd never heard before at every single session. (And, judging from reactions, I've sung something several other people had never heard before at most of them.) 'Traditional song' covers an awful lot of ground.

In an ideal world I think I would want to go to a club where only traditional songs were sung, but I know it would never be possible to have that kind of policy without getting into endless and pointless arguments. Les's line to describe the Beech sessions - "songs mostly but not exclusively traditional" - hits the right balance, I think. It certainly seems to work in practice.

matt: I personally think having an "all-comers welcome" slot is a really valuable thing, and because it's always given it's own little box, nobody could possibly confuse it with "the real
thing"


But that's just the point! Go to Chorlton FC and, nine nights out of ten, that "all-comers welcome" slot will be all you see: twenty-odd assorted semi-pros, amateurs and hopefuls, of widely (wildly?) varying levels of ability, doing one song each because there's no time to do more and get everyone on. And any newcomer to the scene, heading for the local FC because they fancy hearing or playing some folk music, is naturally going to get the impression that that's what "folk" is like. I know, I did - I was that newcomer, and it was several years before I found my way to somewhere where traditional songs were being sung & sung well.

I'm not slagging Chorlton FC (honest) - it's a good night out. But the music really needs something different.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 08:03 AM

I mean, sure, if a newcomer were to wander in at exactly the moment when a particularly bad singer is murdering a classic, well, it's bad timing. But, realistically, the odds are it's not going to happen that often. It's bad luck, it's not the death knell of the folk scene's 'marketability'.

I heard a truly awful floorsinger a few weeks ago, both tone deaf and nervous. Someone really should take him aside and tell him. But he was one of about 5 floorsingers that night. All the others sang their song to what I'd call a 'professional' standard. Without a floorspot feature, we wouldn't have heard those other good singers.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 08:12 AM

that was me above, by the way.

well Pip, it sounds to me you're essentially describing a regulars' singers night. I still think that's a valuable thing. OK, it wasn't what you were looking for, and it's unfortunate that that's the first place you found. But you'd presumably heard folk music before, right? The stuff that made you go looking in the first place? So it wasn't like some be-all-and-end-all-experience: you must have known/guessed even then that there were other folk gigs doing different things.

Especially now, with blogs, with websites (like this one) it's so easy to see that there's a lot of multifaceted folk clubs out there. I don't think anyone these days could possibly dismiss folk clubs outright on the basis of one bad night unless they were out to do so.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 08:51 AM

"Amateurs aren't considered representative of or responsible for the overall condition of any other art-form or discipline that I'm aware of?"
Sorry CC - yes they are if the are part of a set-up that aims to attract audiences from the general public. A bad singer can bring the whole evening crashing down about your ears. At best, the more experienced singers have to work twice as hard to pull up the slack.
The most frustrating thing about this discussion is that if the clubs took the initiative and set up facilities to cater for non singers who wanted to learn, none of this would be necessary. Practice in front of an audience is totally unfair to the audience, to the regulars, and certainly to a new singer. It damages the image of the music rather than enhancing it.
You should never encourage a bad singer by telling them they are good; that only establishes bad habits and complacency. Rather, why not have some of the regulars publicly offer help; it doesn't have to be patronising or insulting if it is done with a degree of sensitivity and it can cover singing, accompanment, instrumental work, even examining and helping build a repertoire.
For a time in London we worked on three levels. We ran a weekly club and we had a fortnightly workshop which catered for all levels of skills; we found plenty of other things to do if there were no newbies needing help (nobody with any sense ever stops learning).
But for simply creating a club atmosphere (as consenting adults in the privacy of....) we took a pub room, or even someone's kitchen, and held private, very relaxed singarounds-discussions over a few bottles. Worked like a charm for the new singers and the seasoned ones. Slow starters were often encouraged to try their hand at storytelling. Anybody who was serious at singing we supplied with recorded examples of voice exercises and we regularly went through simple relaxation techniques.
None of this produced Joe Heaneys or Jeannie Robertsons, but it certainly helped some people not fall apart in a song and get used to singing in front of strangers.
We also set up a (eventually huge) sound archive and a small library.
I don't think anybody can describe any of this as elitist, even if we didn't encourage singers to practice in public.
Going on far too long again.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: TheSnail
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 08:54 AM

Jim Carroll has said so much over Christmas that it's impossible to respond to it all so here's a selection.

Snail:
"We don't all live in Miltown Malbay either."
Nope, you don't, but I do,


Rather my point. Lewes has two UK folk clubs, Miltown Malbay has (by definition) none. Lewes has many UK folk clubs within travelling distance, Miltown Malbay has none. I am involved in running a UK folk club, Jim is not. Apparently I have my head buried in the sand and Jim knows far more about the UK folk scene than I do because - "even if I hadn't visited one club - visited a few actually - I could get some indication from what put up on Mudcat on a regular basis." Jim has now excelled himself by using the "Blues, Shanties, Kipling, Cicely Fox Smith..." twice in one thread. Even Sweeny is beginning to comment.

Plenty of example of people who would be 'folk' enough for me - Terry Yarnell, Bob Blair, Len Graham, Kevin and Ellen Mitchell, Gordeanna McCulloch, Sara Grey, Peggy Seeger

Heard four of that list in a UK folk club in the last year. Is that enough?

Favourite quote, from interview we did with MacColl:

An excellent quote with which I heartily agree but I wonder why you post it when you are so fundamentally opposed to what it says.

Cap'n; as much as I have admired the Lewes programme of workshops (from afar unfortunately) I see little there that resembles anything ongoing for beginners - not saying there isn't anything, just that it doesn't appear appear on that list.

Thank you. Can I take it that you are no longer accusing us of "dumbing down" and "promoting crap standards"? We have ballad forums where people sing, analyse, compare and generally emote over their favourite ballads and we have harmony workshops but we don't have anything specifically for beginner singers. I run a concertina "mutual support group" and some of us run a beginner musicians session, both out of the eye of the general public.

I meant to add - and a damn sight more friendly and welcoming than some of the cliquish freemasons lodges where the regulars sit in little bunches and ignore strangers

A curious piece of nastiness even by your standards, Jim. Really needs no comment apart from noting that it is a bit of a reversal from your usual "landfill site", "anything goes" accusations.

Try pleasing all of the people all of the time and you end up pleasing no-one. I know this from bitter experience when two thirds of the club audiences disappeared in the 80s because folk clubs stopped presenting folk music, and basic standards were abandoned.

Could you just remind me who was running the clubs then? Whose watch did it all start to go wrong on?


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 09:36 AM

"we supplied with recorded examples of voice exercises and we regularly went through simple relaxation techniques"

A lot has been said about the need for and advice about vocal training and related issues. Where can such advice be found? Websites, books?

L in C.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: autoharpbob
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 09:39 AM

Jim, you are obviously not going to change your view of what is needed on the folk scene, which appears to be some sort of vetting panel that decides who should perform and who should go away quietly - along with the belated but welcome idea of good performers actually helping out those who are starting up. Fortunately, I have never found a club such as you describe, and I hope I never do. I would not wish to go to such an elitist, exclusive, discouraging gathering, and can only say how pleased I am that all the clubs I have attended and learned in have been inclusive and encouraging. The only thing I would learn in a club such as you describe is how to be part of an audience, as i would never have been asked to perform. And please tell me how it is possible to learn how to perform IN FRONT OF AN AUDIENCE without an audience?

"Did you expect the other singers at the club to pick up the pieces after you had made a fool of yourself and was the extra work you put them through worth it now you have "had your first professional booking"? "
I expected what I got - everyone there clapped me like mad and told me not to worry, they had all been there, done that. Then quite a few of them showed me how it should be done, while several others made as big or bigger "fools" of themselves. And a great time was had by all. There were no pieces to pick up, nothing got broke.

This seems to me to be a matter of expectations. If I go to see a pro guest at a folk club, which seems to be about once a month around here, my expectations are very much higher than if I go to a normal meeting. I don't go to see as many guests as I should - cost is a big factor, but the other factor is that on a guest night I probably won't get to perform. I, like many people, want to perform, and I learn how to do that by doing it and watching others do it - good and bad. It seems to me that clubs who attract new performers are doing as much if not more than clubs who attract new audiences.

And a Happy New Year to all!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 09:43 AM

Bryan;
Ypu seem determined to cut acrioss evey posetive suggestion I have tried to make.
I have asked that we agree to disagree, but ....
Right - basic difference
Did you or did you not propose that the only criterion fo encouraging anybody to sing in public was that they shoud want to, whether they where capable of holding a tune or remembering and understanding the words or not? I hasten to add that you proposed this for other clubs as such things did not happen in Lewes.
If you did so - how is this NOT dumbing down?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 09:56 AM

"what is needed on the folk scene, which appears to be some sort of vetting panel that decides who should perform and who should go away quietly"

Well - that IS what happens with professional performers in any equivalent business isn't it? Yes, nothing wrong with that. If I paid money to go see musicians (or any other serious performance based art form) and incompetent tone deaf awfulness was up on stage, I'd want my money back. I see nothing wrong in managers vetting performers (be they paid or unpaid) before a paying audience.

Amateur song / music sessions are a different matter. The amateur session I regularly attend is a mixed bag, but there are still people who like to come and listen for free as is their right - who's going to tell *them* "sorry, but we're only amateurs so you can't drop in and listen, as it might put you off *proper* folk music?"


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 09:57 AM

Hello, hello?

L in C


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 09:58 AM

I believe Jim, has some Critics teaching materials archived Les??


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 10:05 AM

Les - perhaps your (twice-asked) question might get answered if it had a separate thread all to itself? I believe Jim plans to start a thread on that very topic... perhaps it's time, Jim? *nudge*

And maybe it's time someone (me, if I had the skills...!) started a little webpage somewhere that would be a resource for voice/singing training/courses/workshops/tutors/etc?

Sue


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 10:11 AM

you must have known/guessed even then that there were other folk gigs doing different things.

No, not really. There are very few clubs where the bill of fare is mostly trad (in this area, in my experience, in this decade... add qualifications to taste). When I tried other clubs, they mostly felt a bit less open to all comers than Chorlton, but the mix in terms of material was pretty similar. If anything, the comparison with other clubs made me feel like Chorlton was the one getting it right - if you're going to encourage any and every kind of material, why not encourage anyone and everyone to have a bash? The two go together, I think.

It took a long time for me to find my way to a mostly-trad singers' session, and a while after that for me to realise how different it was. The only reason I get involved in these discussions is that I'd like to save people like me a bit of time!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 10:15 AM

The example I gave of one floorsinger (out of five) who was awful, while the rest were all very good, happened at a folk club that has been going for decades, and which was full on that particular night.

If bad floorsingers really was something harmful to clubs, surely QED it would have destroyed those clubs years ago. The fact that it hasn't suggests that if there's anything wrong with folk clubs it is something else entirely.

Personally I don't really think there is anything especially wrong with folk clubs. The UK folk scene is doing a hell of a lot better than plenty of other niche, non-mainstream musics.

Oh, and the really awful singer I referred to was a guy in his early 20s – precisely the sort of 'new blood' that bad floorsingers are supposedly discouraging from attending.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 10:28 AM

"Oh, and the really awful singer I referred to was a guy in his early 20s"

Actually I wouldn't be surprised if there were a real upturn in younger performers sparked from the success of young folk bands. I saw a really dishy hip young guy sing at a club a while back myself, though he sang very well in fact! There will no doubt be pants X-Factor wannabe's among them, but I bet the quality will outweigh the dross. Err 'kids' (hark at the old one!) are usually pretty focused and serious about crafting music.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: TheSnail
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 10:51 AM

Jim Carroll

Ypu seem determined to cut acrioss evey posetive suggestion I have tried to make.

Really? Examples please. Your contributions seem to be overwhelmingly negative.

I have asked that we agree to disagree, but ....

But you continue to attack and denigrate the work that I and many others do to promote precisely the music that you claim to love. Am I supposed to sit back and let you do it?

Did you or did you not propose that the only criterion fo encouraging anybody to sing in public was that they shoud want to, whether they where capable of holding a tune or remembering and understanding the words or not? I hasten to add that you proposed this for other clubs as such things did not happen in Lewes.

No. I did not say that.

If you did so - how is this NOT dumbing down?

And if not, not.

I notice you have ignored some of the more inconvenient points in my last post. Who DO you blame for the downturn in the eighties?


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 10:51 AM

I `ad that Jim Carroll in my cab again this morning. `e looked well confused. `e`d just come off that MudCat. When I asked him where `e wanted to go `e just kept shaking `is `ead saying `DAY-JAR-VOO`, `DAY-JAR-VOO`
I said, "DAY-JAR where? Where the `ells that?"
`e just kept on, "DAY-JAR-VOO. You know, Jim. It`s French for seen it and been there all before."
I said, "Oh, France is it".
So I took `im up the St.Pancras Eurostar terminal!!

Whaddam I Like??


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: TheSnail
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 10:57 AM

Jim Knowledge

DAY-JAR-VOO

Nah. It's French for "Here we go again" which is what I said a while back.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 11:41 AM

the downturn in the eighties

The cause was unfunny "comedians" and failed popsinger snigger-snoggers. Any sort of noise with some vague connection to someone who had a cousin who once owned an acoustic guitar, to the extent that the word "f*lk" (and "f*lk club" in particular) became so terminally damaged that punters ran very fast indeed (mostly into the Crown & Anchor, to Dingwalls or to festivals and ceilidhs).

Come the mid-90s, the old guard's offspring + motivated mates came to the fore (Eliza Carthy, Nancy Kerr, Barnaby Stradling, Andy Cutting, Saul Rose . . . that sort of ilk . . . came to the fore, followed by Nancy Wallace, Matt Quinn, the brothers Sutton, the sisters Askew, the Oates siblings and similar bright young progeny.

For over a decade, these artists have been filling venues, enthusing others into emulating their achievements and fast-tracking the tradition at breakneck speed into the future. Which isn't all that different from what Jim Carroll and his associated Critics started off four decades ago.

Déjà vu? Not really as there is such a sense of doing something new with what has been inherited.

There's nothing wrong with what occurs in one little town in Sussex (as far as I know, I can only speak from personal experience of the Royal Oak, never having been to the Lewes Arms or whatever it's called nowadays), but it's a very small part of what's stirring out there.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 01:44 PM

Bryan and all, particularly Bryan
I have been part of the folk revival for a long time; the best of that time was when it was possible to go into the clubs and hear folk songs well sung. I have always been happy to pass on whatever was given to me, in the way off ideas and of material - it's really was the time we spent collecting was about.
I don't expect to have people falling on their arses accepting my ideas and experiences, but I do expect them to be able to put them forward and have them accepted in the spirit they are offered with a view to passing on the music that has given me so much pleasure over the years.
That, apparently, is out of the question - thanks for that Bryan - so what's the point in my hanging round?
I'm off - wishing you all a Happy New Year and all the best for the future.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: TheSnail
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 02:15 PM

Just in case you're still listening Jim -

with a view to passing on the music that has given me so much pleasure over the years.

That's what we are trying to do. A little support and encouragement would be nice.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 02:24 PM

Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Suegorgeous - PM
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 10:05 AM

Les - perhaps your (twice-asked) question might get answered if it had a separate thread all to itself? I believe Jim plans to start a thread on that very topic... perhaps it's time, Jim? *nudge*

And maybe it's time someone (me, if I had the skills...!) started a little webpage somewhere that would be a resource for voice/singing training/courses/workshops/tutors/etc?

Sue
I started a seperate thread with suggestions, result four replies.
Borchester Echo.
"Come the mid-90s, the old guard's offspring + motivated mates came to the fore (Eliza Carthy, Nancy Kerr, Barnaby Stradling, Andy Cutting, Saul Rose . . . that sort of ilk . . . came to the fore, followed by Nancy Wallace, Matt Quinn, the brothers Sutton, the sisters Askew, the Oates siblings and similar bright young progeny."
With Respect not one of those[talented instrumentalists though they are] have realised their potential as singers [yet].
much as I have my criticisms of Ewan MacColl,not one of those can Handle a ballad halfway as well as Ewan MacColl,or Tony Rose[sheath and knife],or Martin Carthy[Famous Flower of Serving men],or Phil Tanner [Henry Martin],or Brian Peters or SteveTurner, those you have mentioned are still learning their craft as regards singing .
the problem with the 21 century uk Folk revival is the cult of the young,it is great to encourage, and give the young the opportunity but who do they turn to for constructive criticism, they are idolised like pop stars,and good as they are,they only receive sycophantic adulation from the folk press[because of their popstar like status],instead of constructive criticism,how are they ever going to improve.
This is not a new phenemoenon
I look back and listen to Maddy Prior singing Thomas The Rhymer,it is in tune ,but can you make out all the words? NO .
SHE BEHAVES LIKE A POP STAR AND YET CLEARLY DOES NOT ANALYSE HER PERFORMANCE


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: MikeL2
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 02:48 PM

hi

I sang pop songs and got treated like a folk singer......lol

What did I do wrong.....lol

Happy New Year

Mike


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 03:00 PM

Dick: the two waves of new(ish) artists I listed, albeit very incompletely: most unforgiveable among the omissions were lots of YFA contenders - notably Damien Barber, Tim Van Eyken and Rob Harbron - was in contrast to the "horrendous downturn of the 80s". I did not say they had realised their potential as they obviously will climb far higher.

What is different is that they can stand alone, if need be and in some cases are. having been incomprehensibly dissed by the old gits from The Swiggin' Pig who hold the equally unfathomable view that anything, even the amateurish dross they spew out, is Good Enough For F*lk. It isn't.

These performers do, of course, acknowledge their sources and influences . What they don't do is put up with shit from "organisers" such as the one who pulled your booking in a tour series at short notice or descend to crass, GEFFish amateurism prevalent in past-sell-by clubs.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: TheSnail
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 03:09 PM

Eliza Carthy, Nancy Kerr, Barnaby Stradling, Andy Cutting, Saul Rose . . . that sort of ilk . . . came to the fore, followed by Nancy Wallace, Matt Quinn, the brothers Sutton, the sisters Askew, the Oates siblings and similar bright young progeny.

Damien Barber, Tim Van Eyken and Rob Harbron


Yep. Booked quite a few of them and hope to book more.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 03:09 PM

not one of those can Handle a ballad halfway as well as Ewan MacColl

That control freak was a boring old git.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,Lizzie Cornish
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 03:25 PM

And there you have it, Bonzo....Ewan gathered around him many of the same ilk...both male and female...and the English Folk World fell into the hands of the Controlling, Sniffy, Super Snobbed, Intelligensia..and became so up its own arse that people still, even to this day, shy away from it.....

Or...they are deliberately driven away...


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: romanyman
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 03:25 PM

folk clubs folk clubs ******* folk clubs get out more, do something real, this thread was about folk revival as i remember, it dont need revials it needs more people to hear it, good or bad, folk music is just that, people are obssesed with clubs and hiding therein, most people dont or wont go to folk clubs, in my time personally im sick of em to many purists sshhhers and such, i stopped going 10 yrs ago, and from what i hear nothing changes, get the music out of the clubs and into the real world perhaps then ya can talk about revivals


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 03:34 PM

he could sing a ballad,with every word crystal clear,and in some case bring the story to life[more than can be said for maddy prior and thomas the rhymer].
he also wrote some very good songs.
Bonzo,you havent told me about the singing goats,were there just one,or did you see two.
Borchester,yes,
very good points,the club was in fact, Mansfield Folk Club,the reason given too many squeezboxers in a period of six weeks.
Steve Turner remains on the guestlist[although he only lives locally in Long Eaton[outskirts of Nottingham]of course organisers are perfectly at liberty to cancel who they like , it is however only common decency[imo] to reimburse , some portion of the fee, bearing in mind accomodation is likely to be approximately 40/50 pounds,and at 6 months the likelihood of a comparable booking is nil.,or offer an alternative date,bearing in mind that the original fee was a tour price.
I notice from their website they only charge 3 pounds.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 04:01 PM

I notice from their website they only charge 3 pounds

That is an entirely unrealistic door charge for a booked artists. However can they expect to cover a standard artist fee (albeit at tour rate), expenses and accommodation out of that?

It's not only a financial insult but an artistic one. At such a low door charge, punters will expect rubbish. A door fee for a major guest ought to be a minimum of £10. This is a prime illustration of what is wrong with the past-sell-by mindset of certain "f*lk clubs" who are still living back in the 70s. Shame on Mansfield.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST, Poxicat
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 06:19 PM

I came here to do something else, but must point out Romanyman that you used to attend and apparently enjoy the sessions at the Nag's Head that Richard Bridge ran where standards varied from the sublime (Crow Sister, or Brian and Marion Rodgers, or John Barden's golden tonsils) to the abysmal like Richard himself (I have his permission to say that - although he is sometimes doing something interesting with the guitar) and possibly some (no names, no pack drill) even worse - and what is more the locals used apparently to enjoy it and even joined in - one turning out to be a more than acceptable guitarist/singer.

Diane, you should know that the capitalist credo that you only get what you pay for is false. Being expensive makes nothing any better. Being cheap does not make it worse. The liars and cheats of "selective distribution systems" pretend otherwise, but it is only a marketing ploy. A performer is as good as he or she is, and all strive.

A partly valid point is made above that the preponderance of young modern virtuosos seem to be instrumentalists not singers, but the relatively young Jon Loomes turns as fine a ballad as any (as well as bing a killer guitarist and fine multi-instrumentalist) and I recollect a young (very young) unaccompanied local singer at the last Miskin who told a tale as moving as any I have heard: Tori something.

We see other talents to be found posting here - like MGAS. I don't suppose any of them need to be told how to sing or play a folk song or tune, and stifled by the dead hand of pedagogy. That is the point. They have found their own ways.

But I'd still like to know where this revival is.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 06:26 PM

Here you go then.....for your Revival...a man I've only just discovered tonight, in Myspace...and what a wonderful voice he has!
Mind you, he's a singer/songwriter (shock! horror!) ;0) but just take a listen to him singing 'Lord Franklin' ......WOW!



Trev Reed


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Tootler
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 07:39 PM

What an intolerant lot some of you are.

You come out with pejorative terms such as "snigger snogwriter" and "practicing in public" to label all those who do not subscribe to your particular view. You pontificate about how perfect things were back in the old days and how dire they are now and how folk clubs are dying.

Does it not occur to you that perhaps most people who go to folk clubs are there to enjoy an evening out and a few beers with friends who share a common interest and they go because they enjoy taking part; singing a couple of songs and listening to others sing, hearing some new songs and some familiar one and in between having a natter and generally socialising.

We are not looking for professional standards from everyone, though we get it from some, we don't mind if someone fluffs their words - everybody does at some time, and some feel more confident if they have a crib sheet in front of them, well that's fine - after all, professionals forget their words sometime and need some kind of a prop when that happens, it's just done more discretely on the professional stage.

If you don't like that, well it's simple. Stay away, but stop knocking those of us who do.

Folk clubs are not dying. There will always be people who want to get together and share songs and the folk club - at least in its singaround form - is where that is happening and, where I live at least, there are plenty of them about.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 08:19 PM

Dick - your thread, as I recall, was a list of some bits of advice - it didn't really answer the query posed by Les, which was - what/where are the sources of advice on vocal training etc?

Les - Jim seems to have wandered off (temporarily I hope), so perhaps we're not going to get his proposed thread just yet. The best source of training/advice IMHO comes from doing it rather than reading about it on websites and books, of which I'm sure there are some good ones. Far better to learn by doing, at one of several courses/workshops run around the country, many specifically aimed at singers of trad song. I can provide a starting list of the ones I know about, if that's helpful.

Sue


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 05:45 AM

It is easy it is here on you tube,the vocal techniques are some of those used by classical singers,for extending the range and singing in tune ,and improving diction[it is not necessary to use vibrato] it does not mean you end up sounding like a classical singer, do I?
You select that which you require. but it means you dont damage your voice.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 06:27 AM

Thanks Sue,

"websites and books, of which I'm sure there are some good ones"
any suggestions?

"Far better to learn by doing, at one of several courses/workshops run around the country, many specifically aimed at singers of trad song. I can provide a starting list of the ones I know about, if that's helpful.
"

Yes that would be really helpful

L in C


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 09:48 AM

Thanks Tootler, like minds should knock some sense into these pontificating folk nerds, archering their views as above!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 10:03 AM

Thanks, Tootler, for describing the problem so succinctly!

perhaps most people who go to folk clubs are there to enjoy an evening out and a few beers with friends who share a common interest and they go because they enjoy taking part; singing a couple of songs and listening to others sing, hearing some new songs and some familiar one and in between having a natter and generally socialising.

We are not looking for professional standards from everyone, though we get it from some, we don't mind if someone fluffs their words - everybody does at some time, and some feel more confident if they have a crib sheet in front of them, well that's fine
...
If you don't like that, well it's simple. Stay away, but stop knocking those of us who do.


I like that fine - as I've said repeatedly, it makes for a good night out. But it's a really lousy way to hear traditional songs sung well and with passion. Until I got drawn into the Beech singaround, I had no idea that there was anywhere you could go to hear traditional songs sung well and with passion - not only that, but I had no idea that I would enjoy hearing t. s. sung w. and w. p. as much as I do (much, much more than I enjoy a standard come-all-ye singers' night).

Let me repeat: I didn't know how much I would enjoy singing and hearing traditional songs. I didn't know there was anywhere I could go to sing and hear traditional songs. And this was after five years of being a regular performer at a Folk Club (and visiting several others). Anything wrong with this picture, you reckon?


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: TheSnail
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 10:08 AM

Sounds more like an opportunity than a problem, Pip.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 10:18 AM

Tootler's description is a perfect explanation of why the folk scene as we know it will vanish up its own backside. Little cliques of friends singing together with nothing to encourage outsiders become interested.

It wasn't cosy little singarounds with nobody caring that I am folk music's answer to Jeremy Hardy that made me interested. It was clubs run by people like Nic Jones with floor singers to match. Yes, once I was interested I was happy to have a go myself and discover my own limits as a singer in an appropriate venue, but if my first encounter had been that sort of singaround then I woudln't have come back.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Marje
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 10:36 AM

Oddly enough my experience is quite the opposite of yours, Peter. Although I had always done a lot of singing in choirs, I was nervous about to singing solo, and the first folk club I attended was a cosy little singaround in a basement bar. It wasn't at all cliqueish, they were very welcoming, so on the second turn around the room I decided to have a go, and did a song (and yes, I knew it all and didn't mess it up even though I was nervous). Some of the singers in that club were very good, others middling, but almost everyone seemed to sing as if they cared about it, and as if the song mattered.

In that club I built up my confidence and my repertoire, although I'm not defending in any way the idea that a club like this is a good way to practice. I always prepared what I was going to sing and made sure I knew it, which I found was essential in conquering the nerves.

Eventually I branched out to other clubs with a more formal "floor spot" pattern, and there I found I was ready to come out to the front of the room and sing. If I hadn't experienced the informal singaround first, I might never have had the confidence or the skill to get up and do a floor spot of a couple of songs in front of a roomful of people.

Marje


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 01:21 PM

I think it says a lot about old songs and tunes that not only do they survive but they are being sung and played in different ways without loosing what evr it was tat enabled them to last so long.

A problem for all once a week events is that most of us probably wouldn't want to go that often and the quality and variety probably doesn't exist to sustain our attendance.

What ever folk is it can be tasted in many contexts:

Folk Clubs + guests
Singarounds
Tune session
Ceilidhs
Workshops
Festivals
Morris etc.
and so on.

Perhaps the people who organise this variety could share the way they spread information?

L in C


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 04:03 PM

Will do, Les, soon as I can. :)


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: romanyman
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 04:16 PM

Poxicat yup i used to go to richards do and yup enjoyed it, but hey isnt that what ive been sayin take the music to the public not wait and expect joe public to beat a path to ya bloody door it wont happen.
but and as always there is a but how many of joe public came, sadly not many. and the point is dont revive, educate, show people the days of the stereotype folkie are gone, apart from the few that still linger,


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Tootler
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 06:48 PM

The singarounds I go to locally are definitely not cliquey. Cosy? I don't know, but certainly they are welcoming to newcomers and there is a friendly atmosphere or I would not have kept going. I was encouraged by the regulars who always made me feel welcome and also encouraged my singing.

One point I was getting at is that not everyone who goes to a folk club as a participant is a professional performer, and not all have strong aspirations in that direction. They are simply people who enjoy folk music and enjoy singing (and playing an instrument in many cases) and in fact care about their music.

To use pejorative terms such as "snigger snogwriter" or "practicing in public" or to condemn them for forgetting their words sometimes - what professional hasn't done that some time? and wanting to keep a cribsheet handy as a confidence booster is a gross insult to these people.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Aeola
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 07:17 PM

All the practice in private cannot beat the lesson learned in front of a live audience. It doesn't have to be a paying audience either. I am a little dismayed at some comments which seem to be based on ' research ' as though that is the be all and end all. Over the years 'research' in many different fields has been found to be slightly mis interpreted/represented and can be clouded by the individual. No doubt there are some academics out there who can comment!!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Old Vermin
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 04:44 AM

As someone said, we're all still learning.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: theleveller
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 04:51 AM

"Over the years 'research' in many different fields has been found to be slightly mis interpreted/represented "

It's called the drunk and lamp post syndrome. You use if for support rather than illumination.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 08:49 AM

"One point I was getting at is that not everyone who goes to a folk club as a participant is a professional performer, and not all have strong aspirations in that direction. They are simply people who enjoy folk music and enjoy singing (and playing an instrument in many cases) and in fact care about their music.

To use pejorative terms such as "snigger snogwriter" or "practicing in public" or to condemn them for forgetting their words sometimes - what professional hasn't done that some time? and wanting to keep a cribsheet handy as a confidence booster is a gross insult to these people."

To my mind this is a rights AND responsibilities issue. If a club or singaround 'grants' you the 'right' to sing (and most do, in my experience) then you have a 'responsibility' towards the the other members of the organisation (whether it be the audience or other singers) not to bore the pants off them, or cause them discomfort and, hopefully, to entertain and move them. If you can't remember the words, or sing in tune, or interpret a song in an interesting way, then you are not fulfilling your responsibilities - and THAT'S insulting!

This debate is ALWAYS framed in terms of discouraging beginners - but, I insist, it is not! There is nothing wrong with encouraging beginners but I don't think it's unreasonable to ask beginners to work at their art and to try to improve; it is their responsibility to do so. What annoys me is people who are crap as beginners and crap 3 or 4 years later. What often tends to happen is that they transcribe longer and longer songs into their f****ng exercises books and hence take longer and longer to mumble and moan their way through them!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 09:40 AM

This debate is ALWAYS framed in terms of discouraging beginners - but, I insist, it is not!

Absolutely. For me it's about two things. (This is unfortunate, because they seem like very separate issues, but I think they're quite closely connected.) One is the material: if a newcomer wanders into your local club, what kind of signal will they get in terms of what type of material is going go down well? The other is the level of performance: what kind of message will that newcomer get in terms of how good they need to be before they get up?

The message most people will get from most FCs I've been to is
a) blues, country, singer-songwriter stuff - your own if it's good enough - a bit of trad if you can bring it off... just get up there and sing it
b) try not to stop halfway through, don't use a crib unless you have to, but the main thing is to have a bash

I think the two things are connected, because the underlying message in both cases is "anything goes". Which is great if what you want to do is sing whatever you feel like & relax with like-minded musicians. It's not got much to do with traditional music, though.

Whether by luck or design, the Beech singaround has developed into somewhere where the messages are
a) traditional preferred (although plenty of other stuff is welcome)
b) do it as well as you can

As a result the Beech is somewhere where you'll not only hear traditional* songs you've never heard before, but songs you know sung extraordinarily well, & songs you thought you knew sung in ways you'd never heard before. (We're down there next Wednesday, by the way.)

That, to me, is what a folk club should be like - but I know that clubs like that are very thin on the ground. The UK folk revival in 2010? Like Gandhi said when he was asked about Western civilisation - I think it would be a very good idea.

*Mostly, but not exclusively.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 09:47 AM

Speaking of putting off newcomers, I've just scared myself off going to the Beech on Wednesday ("extraordinarily well", by crikey). I'd like to add that you'll also hear all manner of crass amateurism and slipshod tomfoolery. (Mostly, but not exclusively, traditional.)


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 12:38 PM

Try Islington Folk Club in London!!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Marje
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 12:44 PM

I've said this before, but I'll say it again: in my experience it's not the beginners who are a problem, it's some of the older performers.

At a club I visited not so long ago, a man of mature years appeared for the first time and was welcomed to sing. For his first number he just played a series of vague chords on a badly out-of-tune 12-string guitar. For his second, he produced a sheet of words, placed them on a table in front of him, announced happily, "I haven't practised!" and proceeded to prove this by adding a tuneless mumble of some sort of poem to the guitar noise.

Fortunately, performances of this degree of awfulness are rare, but they're usually inflicted on us by people who've evidently been doing this for years, with no consideration for those who have to listen to them.

Marje


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 01:40 PM

Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs - PM
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 12:38 PM

Try Islington Folk Club in London!!Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs - PM
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 12:38 PM

Try Islington Folk Club in London!!Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs - PM
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 12:38 PM

Try Islington Folk Club in London!!Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs - PM
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 12:38 PM

Try Islington Folk Club in London!!Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs - PM
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 12:38 PM

Try Islington Folk Club in London!!Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs - PM
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 12:38 PM

Try Islington Folk Club in London!!Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Bonzo3legs - PM
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 12:38 PM

Try Islington Folk Club in London!!


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST, Poxicat
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 01:43 PM

I see, the "revival" is metropolocentric. Hmm


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST,Lord Glueman of Holme
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 02:22 PM

"For his first number he just played a series of vague chords on a badly out-of-tune 12-string guitar. For his second, he produced a sheet of words, placed them on a table in front of him, announced happily, "I haven't practised!" and proceeded to prove this by adding a tuneless mumble of some sort of poem to the guitar noise."

You've warmed my New Year's Eve. There isn't nearly enough of this kind of thing, it's bland virtuosity and historical research at the places I visit.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 03:04 PM

Dick - ummm, what's your point there? didn't quite geddit....


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 07:02 AM

It must be where Bonzo has seen singing goats.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 08:49 AM

Possibly, but still don't get your post *scratches head dolefully*


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 10:57 AM

Pip Radish

That, to me, is what a folk club should be like - but I know that clubs like that are very thin on the ground. The UK folk revival in 2010? Like Gandhi said when he was asked about Western civilisation - I think it would be a very good idea.

Good ideas are all...er....very good but they don't just happen. Somebody has to get up and actually does something about it. Somebody has to find a venue, set the aims and purposes, assemble a few like minded individuals, book the guests if that's the way you're going to go, set out the chairs, do the advertisng, sell the tickets...

Folk club organisers aren't some separate species, they are just enthusiasts like you or me.

Getting the hint yet, Pip?


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 01:10 PM

Not really, no.

Here and now, I've got no reason to start organising a club - I'm in the fortunate position of having a club like that to go to. A couple of years ago, before the Beech singaround started (or rather, before Les got it going), I had no idea of what I was missing - I was a regular at a Folk Club, after all.

My comments are really aimed at anyone else who's in the position I was in a few years ago - the message being, There is a better way, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: GUEST, Poxicat
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 03:53 PM

"Set the aims an purposes" - oh my sainted aunt, Glueman is right (many threads ago), here come the so-called civil so-called servants.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 04:27 PM

I've fallen in love with singing these old songs. And I try to sing them as well as I can, because I feel they're worth the effort, and indeed it's become an increasingly rewarding experience to put the effort in.

But for my own part I actually feel pretty indulgently towards those ancient old chaps who mumble their way through an exercise book. Just so long as there aren't *too many* of them at the same session at the same time.. :-)

I guess my feeling is that I'm on their turf, and this might be the one day in the month that they get out and meet people. Plus they've usually got something interesting to say (even if they did say it last time as well). I feel similarly about some of the dotty old ladies who work in charity shops.

I know this won't be an opinion shared by most, but personally I see amateur song / music sessions as principally fulfilling an important social role in the community. And to me the pastoral 'people factor' of amateur FC's matters far more than 'The Tradition', or whatever.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 04:39 PM

GUEST, Poxicat

"Set the aims an purposes" - oh my sainted aunt, Glueman is right (many threads ago), here come the so-called civil so-called servants.

Pardon? I would have thought that making up you mind what you want to do before you start was quite a good idea.

Pip Radish

Here and now, I've got no reason to start organising a club - I'm in the fortunate position of having a club like that to go to.

OK, not really getting at you Pip but I get the impression, from what you and others have said, that traditional music is a bit thin on the ground in your area. There's always room for more and you come across as just the sort of person who should be running a folk club.

The only way for there to be more venues performing traditional music is for people who care about traditional music to go out and organise them. Folk club organisers aren't "them", they are "us".


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 04:41 PM

PS "Poxicat", send RB my best wishes for the New Year for me...
I really miss those fabulous sessions he used to host at the Nags!*









*not an excercise book mumbler to be heard..


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Tootler
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 05:55 PM

Well said Crow Sister. You've very neatly captured the essence of the point I was trying to make.

I am on the way to being one of those "ancient old chaps", though I don't feel I am there yet (I'm 65) but I do try to learn my words and I hope I don't mumble as I think enunciating your words clearly is important. However, I do have a crib sheet discreetly available in case things go wrong, though I don't have to use it very often. However, everyone forgets their words from time to time and I have seen seasoned performers go completely blank in a singaround and have to give the song up.

What I do plea for is a little tolerance for those who have to use their words. There may be good reason for it. One person I know told me he had to start using a crib sheet after having a stroke some years ago as it had affected his memory. For others it's a confidence booster, they have the words there but only glance from time to time. Anyway I would rather they used words than not hear them sing as most, in my experience, are perfectly creditable singers. After all you are not looking for a professional standard performance in a singaround, even if many of the participants perform professionally. It's a social evening after all.

I agree with your last paragraph, btw. I think folk music is as much about sharing songs/tunes and making your own entertainment as it is about a particular repertoire.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 01 Jan 10 - 06:57 PM

CS:

I've fallen in love with singing these old songs. And I try to sing them as well as I can, because I feel they're worth the effort, and indeed it's become an increasingly rewarding experience to put the effort in.


to me the pastoral 'people factor' of amateur FC's matters far more than 'The Tradition', or whatever.

Slight inconsistency there?

I don't care about 'The Tradition', I care (like you) about the old songs; I like singing them and I like hearing them sung well, sung passionately, sung differently or all of the above. A relaxed, welcoming group of musical friends & acquaintances who sing any old stuff is great - but a relaxed, welcoming group of musical friends & acquaintances who sing old songs and do it well is better. (And more fun.)


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Marje
Date: 02 Jan 10 - 05:31 AM

I see what you're saying, Crow Sister, but there may come a point where a Folk Club has to decide whether it is to be a "care-in-the-community" venture. This may be a perfectly worthy project, but it will not attract either the keen enthusiasts or the wider public who want an entertaining evening out. A club can carry the occasional passenger, but as you say, more than one or two and the whole evening can lose momentum and become quite depressing.

I'm not going to go into the whole crib-sheet issue again now, but there's a huge difference between carrying a crib-sheet as a confidence booster and reading from it as if you'd never seeen the song before. And announcing that you haven't practised is just being rude to your audience.

Marje


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 09:03 PM

OK, Les (and others) - as promised, here are details of some voice/singing courses/teachers that I can recommend, some (but not all) of them trad/folk-oriented. I have taken part in all of them, so if you have any queries, just ask. (I've never really used websites or books for actual tuition purposes, so I feel I can't recommend any.) Hope this is helpful.

Folk Southwest Easter School
Folk South West
Not yet on FSW website, but dates according to John Kirkpatrick's site are 8-11 April this year. This offers probably the best, most trad/folk-focused singing masterclass workshop. Fantastic tutors (eg Chris Coe, Tim van Eyken, Eddie Upton, Shirley Collins).

Folkworks
Folkworks Summer School
(then click on Adult Enrolment for 2009 programme)
Used to have a Solo Singer masterclass, but I think their voice class is now more group/harmony singing. Check when the 2010 programme is put out.

Maddy Prior's voice courses
Maddy Prior
Run by Maddy, usually with Abbie Lathe, and sometimes her daughter Rose Kemp teaches too. All singing/voice classes, with at least one masterclass workshop.

Baring-Gould Song School
Baring-Gould Song School
Past tutors have included: Sandra Kerr, Martin Graebe, Sian Graebe. Participants create their own programme, but masterclass/solo singing is always included

Farncombe Community College
Farncombe
Sandra Kerr used to teach voice here, but doesn't seem to be on the programme this year - but Jo Sercombe's Solo Singing looks good, and Frankie Armstrong teaches here too.

Lewes Saturday Folk Club workshops
Lewes
Class with Shirley Collins coming up! check with them about workshop content.

Counterparts (Helen Porter)
Counterparts
Not folk, more jazz/classical oriented - but Helen's actual voice technique tuition is first-class, in a master-class format.

The Tuscany Project
Tuscany Project
Again, not folk, but more musical theatre/cabaret/classical. This week-long workshop is pricey, and takes place in Italy, so more of a special summer holiday. Course is intensive, challenging, and with superb voice work tuition.


Sue


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 09:14 PM

Just to add - nearly all the above courses use the master-class format. I strongly recommend this format for learning to sing. It's intense, challenging, but satisfying and successful. And it's the epitome of learning-by-doing, always the best way to learn anything.


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 07 Jan 10 - 02:09 AM

Many thanks, Sue. The Lewes Saturday Folk Club also has an all-day workshop with Frankie Armstrong on singing and vocal techniques on Saturday 13th. November. Frankie performs at the club in the evening, as do all our tutors.

Shirley Collins is giving a separate presentation each evening after her masterclasses: 'I'm A Romany Rai' and a new one on Peter Kennedy's song collecting in southern England. There will be opportunities for floor spots both nights and we expect some rather good people to drop in.

To go on the Interested list (without commitment) for any of our workshops, email me on valmaigoodyear(at)aol(dot)com. Full details are available about three months before the event, at which point we start taking firm bookings. Apols for the repetition:

20th.Feb         Steve Turner Concertina for song accompaniment (all systems)
27th.Feb         Coope Boyes & Simpson         Vocal harmony
27th.Feb         Georgina Boyes Folklore (participatory talk)        
27th.March        Ben Paley         Fiddle
17th.April         Shirley Collins   Traditional song masterclass
18th.April         Shirley Collins   Traditional song masterclass
24th.April         Issey Emeney    Melodeon
22nd.May         Joe Penland         North Carolina song & social history
5th.June        Mike O'Connor & Barbara Griggs   Cornish traditional tunes from source manuscripts
6th.June         Mike O'Connor    Songwriting in the tradition
10th.July         Karen Tweed         O'Carolan's music (any instrument)
18th. Sept         Moor Music Dartmoor music (any instrument)
9th. Oct        John Adams    Village Music Project (any instrument)
10th.Oct        Chris Coe Ballad forum
31st. Oct        Martin Carthy Guitar
13th.Nov        Frankie Armstrong Singing & vocal techniques
20th.Nov        Tim Laycock Concertina (all systems)


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Subject: RE: the UK folk revival in 2010
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Jan 10 - 06:49 AM

Thanks a lot to Sue & Valmai, lots of useful contacts and good advice - it will take a while to digest

L in C


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