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What is the future of folk music?

theleveller 19 Mar 10 - 11:07 AM
Dave the Gnome 19 Mar 10 - 11:17 AM
Banjiman 19 Mar 10 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Mar 10 - 12:33 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Mar 10 - 12:40 PM
Leadfingers 19 Mar 10 - 12:43 PM
Howard Jones 19 Mar 10 - 12:52 PM
glueman 19 Mar 10 - 01:20 PM
VirginiaTam 19 Mar 10 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,padgett 19 Mar 10 - 02:17 PM
MikeL2 19 Mar 10 - 03:57 PM
Folkiedave 19 Mar 10 - 06:41 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 19 Mar 10 - 06:50 PM
squeezeboxhp 19 Mar 10 - 07:19 PM
EnglishFolkfan 19 Mar 10 - 07:24 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 19 Mar 10 - 07:36 PM
Bert 19 Mar 10 - 09:10 PM
GUEST,Stephanie P. Ledgin 19 Mar 10 - 10:06 PM
EnglishFolkfan 19 Mar 10 - 10:39 PM
10r 20 Mar 10 - 03:04 AM
theleveller 20 Mar 10 - 04:55 AM
Stringsinger 20 Mar 10 - 02:51 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Mar 10 - 04:32 PM
GUEST,Mouldy Bob 20 Mar 10 - 04:46 PM
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The Sandman 21 Mar 10 - 08:43 AM
theleveller 21 Mar 10 - 10:02 AM
The Sandman 21 Mar 10 - 11:30 AM
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GUEST, Sminky 24 Mar 10 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,Crowsis yes that's me cookieless ;-) 24 Mar 10 - 11:29 AM
theleveller 24 Mar 10 - 11:34 AM
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MikeL2 24 Mar 10 - 12:44 PM
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TheSnail 24 Mar 10 - 10:03 PM
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mattkeen 25 Mar 10 - 05:42 AM
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theleveller 25 Mar 10 - 06:25 AM
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Jim Carroll 25 Mar 10 - 06:48 AM
Banjiman 25 Mar 10 - 06:57 AM
mattkeen 25 Mar 10 - 07:07 AM
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TheSnail 25 Mar 10 - 07:31 AM
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The Sandman 25 Mar 10 - 09:49 AM
GUEST 25 Mar 10 - 10:33 AM
MikeL2 25 Mar 10 - 11:16 AM
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GUEST,Crowsis 25 Mar 10 - 11:56 AM
The Sandman 26 Mar 10 - 06:55 AM
Jack Campin 26 Mar 10 - 07:19 AM
The Sandman 26 Mar 10 - 09:17 AM
mattkeen 26 Mar 10 - 12:02 PM
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Bounty Hound 26 Mar 10 - 12:31 PM
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Tootler 26 Mar 10 - 02:47 PM
The Sandman 26 Mar 10 - 03:16 PM
Tootler 26 Mar 10 - 06:06 PM
GUEST,CS 26 Mar 10 - 06:27 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Mar 10 - 04:35 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 27 Mar 10 - 05:25 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 27 Mar 10 - 05:51 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Mar 10 - 07:50 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Mar 10 - 08:15 AM
The Sandman 27 Mar 10 - 08:19 AM
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GUEST,Ralphie 27 Mar 10 - 04:08 PM
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Phil Edwards 27 Mar 10 - 06:31 PM
Stringsinger 27 Mar 10 - 06:55 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Mar 10 - 04:56 AM
Richard Mellish 28 Mar 10 - 06:42 AM
The Sandman 28 Mar 10 - 06:52 AM
The Sandman 28 Mar 10 - 06:55 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 28 Mar 10 - 06:56 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Mar 10 - 07:18 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Mar 10 - 08:02 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Mar 10 - 08:04 AM
GUEST,CS 28 Mar 10 - 08:11 AM
Phil Edwards 28 Mar 10 - 10:57 AM
Callitfolk 28 Mar 10 - 11:12 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Mar 10 - 01:02 PM
GUEST,CS 28 Mar 10 - 03:19 PM
The Borchester Echo 28 Mar 10 - 03:52 PM
Tootler 28 Mar 10 - 07:29 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Mar 10 - 04:28 AM
Ruth Archer 29 Mar 10 - 05:20 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Mar 10 - 05:45 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Mar 10 - 06:02 AM
GUEST,CS 29 Mar 10 - 06:12 AM
Ruth Archer 29 Mar 10 - 06:23 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Mar 10 - 07:02 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Mar 10 - 08:55 AM
GUEST,Rob Naylor 29 Mar 10 - 10:22 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Mar 10 - 04:52 AM
Howard Jones 30 Mar 10 - 05:53 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Mar 10 - 06:33 AM
Will Fly 30 Mar 10 - 06:37 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 30 Mar 10 - 07:10 AM
mattkeen 30 Mar 10 - 07:20 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 30 Mar 10 - 07:52 AM
The Sandman 30 Mar 10 - 08:06 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Mar 10 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,Working Radish 30 Mar 10 - 09:28 AM
Tootler 30 Mar 10 - 11:08 AM
Will Fly 30 Mar 10 - 11:19 AM
mattkeen 30 Mar 10 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,Banjiman 30 Mar 10 - 11:44 AM
Will Fly 30 Mar 10 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 30 Mar 10 - 12:31 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Mar 10 - 12:31 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Mar 10 - 12:40 PM
The Sandman 30 Mar 10 - 12:45 PM
Will Fly 30 Mar 10 - 01:32 PM
mattkeen 30 Mar 10 - 01:50 PM
The Borchester Echo 30 Mar 10 - 02:06 PM
GUEST 31 Mar 10 - 03:32 AM
GUEST,Rob Naylor 31 Mar 10 - 03:48 AM
Dave the Gnome 31 Mar 10 - 03:54 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 31 Mar 10 - 04:18 AM
GUEST,Rob Naylor 31 Mar 10 - 04:19 AM
Phil Edwards 31 Mar 10 - 05:20 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Mar 10 - 05:26 AM
GUEST,Banjiman 31 Mar 10 - 05:29 AM
GUEST,Rob Naylor 31 Mar 10 - 05:31 AM
theleveller 31 Mar 10 - 06:18 AM
The Sandman 31 Mar 10 - 06:33 AM
TheSnail 31 Mar 10 - 07:01 AM
theleveller 31 Mar 10 - 07:12 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Mar 10 - 09:04 AM
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Subject: What is the future of folk music?
From: theleveller
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 11:07 AM

It is with some trepidation that I start this thread but I hope that it will be constructive and friendly. OK, here goes.....

I have a 10-year old daughter who has been brought up with folk music and loves it. She particularly likes Bellowhead, Eliza Carthy, Mawkin, The Levellers, Lucy Ward; she is learning the cello, the fiddle, the keyboard and wants to play guitar; she sees us perform and wants to do the same. But what does the future of folk music hold for her, as a listener and, perhaps, as a performer?

Now that the 'music-makers' who have been 'the movers and shakers, of the world forever, it seems' are getting older and passing on, will the battlelines between 'traditional' and 'contemporary' that we see on this board and elsewhere start to merge? Will 'folk' music itself, or whatever you choose to call it, become more a part of the mainstream music scene or still maintain its own identity as a genre? Will the youngsters listen to what we have to say or just go right ahead and plough their own furrows?

Do you have kids? Are they interested in folk music? If so, what musical future do you wish for them?


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 11:17 AM

My youngest (24 years old now!) twins are really heavily into folk music. They both loved Goth and Emo until a few years ago when they just seem to switch overnight. Their collection has far exceeded mine and the scope covers some traditional stuff that I found too heavy myself! Maybe it is the trad. ballads that attracted their attention when in the doom and gloom stage:-)

I am pretty sure they would have heard of it even if I was not around but them coming along to festvals and clubs certainly opened a lot of doors for them. Reciprocaly I have been introduced to artists I may not have heard if not for them and that, in turn, has affected my tastes!

I have every faith that folk music (whatever it is - don't start that again!) will survive. Maybe not as we know it at times but it will go on as long as people want to sing:-)

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Banjiman
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 11:22 AM

Fisherman's Friend I would have thought........or is that the past coming round again?


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 12:33 PM

I just saw a video which said that Martin makes 80,000 guitars a year. Someone's buying them and someone's playing them. I conclude that one way or another, folk music will always be with us.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 12:40 PM

Guitar? Flamenco maybe, but not necessary folk.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 12:43 PM

More Unis are holding Degree courses in various forms of 'Folk' , so there IS a lot of 'young' interest ! It should last me out , any way !


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 12:52 PM

One of the upsides of music sharing is that young people are exploring a far wider range of music than used to be the case and their interests may include folk as well as a lot of other things. When I was younger most people's listening habits seemed far more polarised (apart from a few enthusiasts), so far as I can recall. So youngsters today seem to be far more open to folk music, without necessarily becoming folkies but also judging it on its merits without "finger in the ear" prejudices.

Secondly, there are a lot of young people playing the music, and not just those on the Newcastle course. I sometimes visit a session in Manchester which has a lot of students from the university.

Thirdly, a lot of the young musicians are doing some very exciting things with the music, and a lot of it is based on traditional material. Not all of it is to my taste, but that's not the point. They're using folk to make some very exciting music.

It will always be a niche genre, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing if it allows us to keep more control over the music we play and listen to.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: glueman
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 01:20 PM

"Do you have kids? Are they interested in folk music?"

Yes and yes. The internet age has delivered a wealth of readily accessible information on folk music which kids can readily access. My guess is the playing and appreciation of folk music will grow stronger and take its place among more recent traditions such as rock music.

The 100% dyed in the wool folk fan may become a rarer beast as the 50s and 60s revivalists pass on but I beliieve folk music's popularity will increase as new perspectives and artists come along.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 01:23 PM

My daughter (when she was fifteen in 1995) introduced me to the following traditional songs. The Bonnie Earl O' Moray, The Twa Corbies, High Barbary, The Burning of Auchindoun. I am sure there were many others.   

These she learned from Society of Creative Anachronism bards as she went with her high school SCA group to events around Virginia and North Carolina. She later became an apprentice to a bard while she studied vocal performance at university.

I have no doubt that to this day she would still be learning and performing "folk" were she still alive. I like to think she still is learning and performing it somewhere.

Her younger sister (now 25, who also was part of the SCA in high school) will tolerate the genre in certain settings, but it makes her remember singing with her older sister and so I think she mostly avoids it.

The SCA still attracts members so the music will continue in that vein. I understand that LARP also boasts some singers of trad song.

May help if celebrities get involved as with this
http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_7521000/7521051.stm


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,padgett
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 02:17 PM

The future encompasses the past songs from tradition and "newer" songs which will pass into the folk repertoire, which have passed the tests of time

Musicianship of the younger players and singers has to my mind got much better over the last 30 years

Song is a different matter, but historical songs and songs about the recent past, such as loss of traditional industry and union conflict stand a good chance if they have been written well and become popular

What is required is probably more audiences,and more regular venues

This is counter to present conditions are pubs entertainment licences, PRS, car tax and beer prices

Ray


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: MikeL2
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 03:57 PM

hi

I agree with the view that folk music will continue to be played by the children and grandchildren of today and tomorrow.

There are far more children playing instruments today than ever. I live near to a comprehensive school and every day I see scores of kids carrying all kinds of instruments. Ok the guitar and violin/fiddle appear to be the most popular but there are many others.

Certainly in my time this was not the case. My sister and I came from musical parents but we were about the only kids of our age in the whole school that had our own instruments. The school did have some.

I sometimes pop in to the school here and I am amazed at the standard that some of these pupils are performing at.

OK most of what I hear is classical music with some folk inspired songs and tunes.

The standard is much higher than I remember even when my son was at school.

IMHO these kids will go their own way once they leave school and the music will be influenced greatly by them.

This is a good thing as music will be kept fresh and challenging.

cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 06:41 PM

To be honest I think the best you can do is pay for the lessons, buy or rent the instruments cross your fingers and hope for the best!! :-)

There is nothing I can say or do to predict the future with any certainty that I am aware of.

But I will say that with some musical skill the world is her lobster. I have none and folk music has opened all sorts of doors. What I would have done with talent I could not even begin to guess....


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 06:50 PM

I think the most important thing is to ensure that everyone is offered ready and easy access to "the music of the people" which belongs to all: feral folkie, inner-city kid, and middle class professional alike.

Access, access, access to all please. It's the only thing I give a shite about.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: squeezeboxhp
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 07:19 PM

some of the younger players make me feel like chopping my box up and hoping i will get that good eventually FOLK will always progress not always as we would expect it like this Cornish shanty crew finding popularity in UK all old gits but it may encourage new interest!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: EnglishFolkfan
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 07:24 PM

Thanks that the financial access to musical instruments becoming easier for the youth of today and the wonder of the world wide web as a repository of the Folk past in words, sound and pictures it is very doubtful that this genre will ever 'fade away'. Change it shall but the constant looking back by musicians for influence & ideas means that today a 4 year old girl with a home karaoke singing her little heart out isn't going to be afraid in 10 or 20 years time to explore the world of music and find her own voice writing & singing in the 'folk idiom'.

Indeed just tonight Jim Moray, Jackie Oates & The Unthanks will be performing in Austin Texas at SXSW with the musical label 'World' and not 'Folk' alongside their names on the listings, so maybe the genre label will change but not the music?


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 07:36 PM

Gimme the good stuff the old gits made, and young bloods that the old gits hate. You're fairly sure of something constructive arriving out of a decent clash between the two. Please don't give me music that the old gits approve of ever.. ever.. especially 'dadfolk' Nooooooooooooooooo...
Following the example in other arts, young artists should return to the source material and think afresh once again. No more revivals, but more correctly a return and hybrid rebirth.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Bert
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 09:10 PM

If you teach her songwriting the SHE will be the future of folk music.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Stephanie P. Ledgin
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 10:06 PM

I address this topic in Discovering Folk Music, particularly speaking to it being in the hands of our children/grandchildren. But that it is our responsibility to pass on folk music, be it trad, "new" folk, alt-folk, etc. Folk music is by and for people, who will always make music, therefore always will be with us in some form!


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: EnglishFolkfan
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 10:39 PM

A tweet rec'd 12.30am in UK from @allsongs (npr.com/music) commentating at SXSW

"Walked across the highway and in a big lot filled with people Billy Bragg was singing " there is Power in a Union". Gave me goosebumps."

Folk is music of/by/for the people and that's one "Old Git' busy inspiring 'Young Blood'!


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: 10r
Date: 20 Mar 10 - 03:04 AM

Have to disagree with the folks that say it's our children
learning folk music, but it may be one part of it. Personally speaking, I think a lot of us have been busy saving the world, putting a roof over our heads,putting food on the table, supporting our local communities, and raising our kids.
Now some of us have some more time on our hands and want to get
back to what we learned and were singing 30 or 40 years ago.
I'm one of those people who recently bought a new Martin guitar
(as someone mentioned above, they are selling a lot these days)
and am playing that folk music again.
Hence, we're playing out, having song circles or joining in on
jam or whatever nights, and having a great time and keeping the
spirit alive.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: theleveller
Date: 20 Mar 10 - 04:55 AM

Thanks for your views - really gratifying to hear a generally optimistic tone. I look forward to a dotage of listening to a wide variety of interpretations from kids who, judging by the comments above, will have had a good grounding in musicianship and the folk tradition from you lot.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 Mar 10 - 02:51 PM

Jim, Flamenco is folk music. It comes from the Andulusian (sp?) Gypsies in Spain who live in caves.

The future of folk music is what it has always been, an international and intercultural
mode of expression by untrained musicians who come from traditions based on
sub-cultural and national groups of people around the world. Of course, "training" might
be construed to be absorbing the musical traditions of these sub-cultures.

It will always be with us though not necessarily found in the urban centers.

The world is rich with folk traditions that remain alive with the cultural and national sub-groups that preserve it.

It is a "well" that musical people can go to. Composers, songwriters, every kind of
singer can visit and be nourished.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Mar 10 - 04:32 PM

"Jim, Flamenco is folk music. It comes from the Andulusian"
Am aware of that Stringsinger - I was assuming that the question was about English singing.
My comment was based on my opinion that far too much stress is put on guitar accompaniment, which IMO, is given far more attention than it merits.
If all the guitars were to disappear overnight I have little doubt that singers would manage quite well without them and find a suitable substitute, were one considered necessary - nothing as beautiful as the unadorned human voice when well used as far as I'm concerned.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Mouldy Bob
Date: 20 Mar 10 - 04:46 PM

I wonder what instrument would take over should guitars somehow disappear or were banned? I guess, out of fairness, any guitar hybrids should be included in the cull. I suspect the bouzouki would win out. Small, portable, easy to strum along on, similar range as an average guitar. But, if bouzouki's / banjo's etc were also zapped, I'd fear the rise of the cheap electronic keyboard. Gosh, I hope it doesn't happen, although a Bontempi bossanova version of Tam Lin may be worth hearing. Unless Jim Moray's already done one I should know about?


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 05:05 AM

"should guitars somehow disappear or were banned?"
Why should they - nobody has suggested it here - have they?
If any instrument is needed there are plenty more - the concertina, psaltry, hurdy-gurdy, whistle and flute (with a little help from my friends)... that are more versatile and lend themselves far more readily to narrative songs.
My reservation about guitars - all accompanying instruments really - is when they don't (accompany, that is); long, over-indulgent guitar breaks that the singer has to climb over to reach the next line, making it necessary for the listener to break into a run to keep up with the plot IMO don't help the appreciation of the song. Or when the singing follows the accompaniment rather than letting the accompaniment - well, accompany, making every song sound like a hauling shanty.
One of the worst examples of bad manners I have witnessed is when a song is sung in a music session and a musician (who may be listening to a song for the first time), insists on joining in. This happened recently at a music week-end with a melodeon player who, even after the organiser asked him to stop, persisted, totally nausing up several songs.
IMO too often the instrumentation of songs is the object of the exercise rather than the passing on of the song.
And then there's the phantom whistler.... but that's another story!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Dave (Bridge)
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 06:25 AM

Regularly at the Bridge Folk Club in Newcastle UK, there is a night of performance from the students on the folk degree course. They level of talent and enthusiasm and research there is in their music and song is incredible. When I originally looked around the audience and saw all the geay hair I was concerned. Not any more. I think 'folk' is in good hands


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 08:43 AM

I do not know.
give me a crystal ball.and I will tell you,I will also tell you what will win the cheltenham gold cup,still i did that without a crystal ball,and got it right.
Jim has a good point,which really applies to all instruments, accompaniment should be just that, accompaniment,simplicity and sympathy with the song is paramount,however to acheive this requires a lot of practice, the performer needs to feel happy with his competence and feel that the instrument is an extension of themselves


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: theleveller
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 10:02 AM

It's absolutely acceptable to bring to folk music any instrument that is to hand.In the past, and in various situations, that has been the fiddle, the concertina, the whistle, the harp or whatever. Today (and, I suspect, in the future) the most popular intrument is the guitar. Therefore, it's safe to say that its place in folk music in the future is pretty much assured - and a good thing too. To dictate how instruments are used in perfroming folk music and song is to completely miss the point. In order for the music to survive and maintain its vibrancy, youngsters need to be able to perform it in the way they want to - and, of course, they will, when all of us here are long gone. Just been listening to Ian King - very interesting take on traditional songs.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 11:30 AM

quite true leveller,but do you not agree that accompaniment should be accompaniment ,that lyrics should be of number one importance,so they must be audible above accompaniment.
performers are free to perform how they want,but whether anyone wants to listen to them is another matter.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: deepdoc1
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 12:08 PM

Did somebody say guitar? How about a Strat or Les Paul as folk instruments...

Thin Lizzy
Van Morrison
The Byrds
Jerry Garcia
etc., etc., etc.

Just a few of the young groups who have brought traditional/folk music to masses of young listeners. This is not a fully researched idea, just the seeds of a thought, that the traditions of the past will always have an effect on the present/future. There will always be folk about who can 'freshen up' the past and present it in palatable form to current generations...though not alway as enjoyable to the more traditional. Those who are touched by the traditional will find more, and the dance goes on....


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 12:08 PM

"To dictate how instruments are used in perfroming folk music and song is to completely miss the point."
Nobody is dictating anything, but to suggest that anybody - singer, instrumentalist, is above criticism an that the average listener has no right to comment on what he or she listens to is a sure-fire way of creating an ivory-tower elite which would kill any music, whatever type, stone dead.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 12:56 PM

deepdoc1
It's hard to cunceive how any of the above list can be said to have "brought traditional/folk music to masses of young listeners."
Wonder if you could elucidate.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: deepdoc1
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 01:19 PM

"This is not a fully researched idea, just the seeds of a thought,"

Thin Lizzy and Van Morrison popped into my head from watching a PBS show on Irish music the other day. They were credited with bringing things like Whiskey in the Jar, etc., to the early rock crowd. The Byrds (Roger McGuinn, mostly) were also influenced by folk music. Jerry Garcia has done quite a bit of un-Dead work recording traditional mountain folk music and ballads along with David Grisman and others. As mentioned, this is hardly a mature idea, just a talking point for discussion. I have heard tracks by groups like Credence (among others) that have sent me scurrying after other versions and backstory which has led me to other traditional music in a frenzy of discovery. I think it works the same for others who weren't into folk from an early age. Thoughts?


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: theleveller
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 01:43 PM

"that lyrics should be of number one importance,so they must be audible above accompaniment.
"

Completely agree with that. Bloody 'ell I'd get a right mouthful if I drowned out my missus! WhatI try to do is complement her voice!

"to suggest that anybody - singer, instrumentalist, is above criticism an that the average listener has no right to comment on what he or she listens to is a sure-fire way of creating an ivory-tower elite which would kill any music"

Err, I wasn't suggesting that. People like what they like. In the end, when we are all gone, it's the opinions of those left to listen and perform that will matter. Whatever legagcy we may leave them, they will squandor or invest it as they wish. Those of us who, like me, were brought up in the shadow of WW2, are comfortable with a more austere approach to many aspects of life that would be unacceptable to our children and grandchildren. It will be the same with their music - some may take the time to appreciate the Proustian length and complexity of a long ballad but, I suapect, far more will go for a more immediate and accessible approach. Wouldn't it be great to be able to come back in 50 years or so and see what they have made of it?


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 01:45 PM

I suspect that the future of folk music will be much like it's past....long periods of being of interest to s small dedicated group of enthusiasts with an occasional splash into mass media pop culture, followed by a fairly rapid fade.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 02:26 PM

Another singer of folk songs and ballads and I were sitting in a coffee shop/European-style pastry parlor one evening, swilling coffee and talking guitars. Both of us played classics and both of us had recently acquired very nice Spanish-made guitars. After extolling the virtues of our respective instruments, we launched into a discussion of various guitar techniques, both folk and classical, with a few forays into flamenco.

During the day, the proprietor of the pastry parlor ran a music store specializing in folk music records, song books, and instruments. As he waited tables, he kept an ear tuned to our conversation. Finally he said, "Do you fellows consider yourselves primarily singers? Or primarily guitarists?"

That brought us both up short. Both of us had initially picked up the guitar because we had become entranced with folk music, and both of us were actively performing—singing—at one place or another. For pay.

In my case, primarily a singer.

But we both realized that, other than learning new songs as fast as we could, the main thing we were concentrating on was working out accompaniments to those songs. That was a most mind-focusing question.

Milo sang mainly because he was in a group, but he wasn't that much into singing. He wanted to focus on learning flamenco. I, on the other hand, after being asked that question, began paying a lot more attention to the songs themselves and how I sang them. Along with making sure that I wasn't thoughtlessly working out razzle-dazzle "accompaniments" that overshadowed the songs.

I've told this before in other threads on this forum, but I think it bears repeating. One summer I worked for a picture framer. I was mainly a grunt, sanding frames and washing glass. This particular framer was especially liked by local artists and galleries, mainly because his frames had the characteristics of being "just right" for that particular painting;   setting off the painting in space and, in general, showcasing the painting, rather than drawing attention to itself, like some of the more ornate frames one often sees.

He said, "A good picture frame should borrow elements from the painting itself. Look for shapes within the painting and pick a molding shape that reflects this. Then examine the colors in the painting and make the color of the frame a neutral combination. The frame should set the painting off in space, and should never call attention to itself. If people look at a painting, then walk away saying 'that's a really nice frame,' then the frame is a failure. They should hardly notice it at all."

The painting determines the elements of the frame and the song determines the elements that make up the accompaniment. A brief restatement of a melodic phrase between verses perhaps, maybe carefully select your bass notes to provide a bit of counterpoint to your voice, and the rhythm of the song dictates the rhythm of the accompaniment, not the other way around.

Working that summer in the picture framing shop taught me a lot about accompanying folk songs and ballads. Or any kind of songs.

Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: theleveller
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 03:08 PM

"How about a Strat or Les Paul as folk instruments..."

Of course, why not? Just this second finished listening to Dick Gaughan's 'Both Sides of the Tweed' whuilst cooking a curry. Dick plays a mean Telecaster.

Last year I heard Gordon Tyrell doing a superb electric set with a Strat and some pre-recorded looped stuff. One of the songs was Reynardine which was so atmospheric it had my hair standing on end - pretty amazing as I don't have hair. I was talking to him afterwards and we agreed that there are many traditional songs ( acknowledging Mr Lloyds involvement in that one) that are just so strong they will work with many different interpretations. Must go - the curry's burning.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 04:03 PM

"Thoughts?"
Well, apart from the fact that none on your list (as far as I can remember from the dim and distant past) bear any resemblence to any folk singer I've ever heard.
The second is in direct response to the orinal question - in the interest of keeping folk music alive (and attracting new blood) what on earth advantage can there be at pointing to a bunch of blasts from the past who would be as alien to them as James Hogg's mother?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: deepdoc1
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 05:46 PM

I fear I lack the wit to convey my meaning. None of the aforementioned are folk singers, with the possible exception of Roger McGuinn these days, but all were influenced by folk music and perhaps in turn influenced others to seek out the origins of some tune or lyric which caught their fancy. I expect that's where I got the idea (doubtfully original) that folk music can be successfully purveyed unto future generations in many ways, of which this is one. I think it definitely qualifies as a method of 'attracting new blood' in the sense of the OP. I don't suggest this is in any way a primary propagator, but should be in the mix somewhere. Many other ideas are suggested in above threads.

In some ways, many folk tunes could be blasts from the past, just not electric. Would James Hogg's mother be Robert Hogg's wife? Google is such fun ;)


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 03:46 AM

Sorry - still don't follow how the recruiting of aged pop stars can possibly influence the fortunes of the music one way or the other.
The strength of the revival has always lain in its democratic nature - it is 'our' music, as opposed to the pap fed to us by the machine (fine examples of which you provided). Can't see how taking on board the machine's cast-offs because of who they once were can possibly help. The songs and tunes, as old as the were, were never 'blasts from the past' (a phrase invented by the pap industry when it ran out of fresh ideas and material), rather, when they were performed well they were as fresh as the day they emerged from the heads of their makers, whoever they may have been.
Just as you appear not know who James Hogg's mother was (an elderly 18th century singer who once said something very wise), I find myself in the same position with Robert Hogg - manager of 'Millstream Recycling' maybe (yes - googling is fun).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 04:43 AM

Jim, I don't see it as a case of recruiting aged pop stars now, it's more a case of what they were doing in their heyday. Thin Lizzy's hit with Whiskey in the Jar in the 70's may have would have undoubtedly introduced many pop/rock listeners to a traditional song and may have sparked an interest to dig deeper. Similarly with the other examples quoted. This is likely to keep happening in the future with current pop bands/artists.

I agree with Deepdoc that it's in the past it's probably not been the main way of attracting folk to folk, and it probably won't be in the future, but it does have an effect nonetheless.

I can't say it's worked too well for me with English folk, but it's certainly been the case with blues - i.e. tracing the line back from Clapton through Robert Johnson through to his influences and beyond.

Pete.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 06:04 AM

Why does this thread seem to be morphing from "What is the future of folk music?" into "How do we attract people to folk music?" I distrust 'evangelists' of all types. I also despise fashion and 'fashionistas'. If folk music has the qualities which many of us believe it to have then discerning people will find it for themselves.
If we feel the we have to sell it in order to make it fashionable, then it will merely turn into yet another form of commercial pop pap. Once that happens it really will be in danger of dying out as soon as it becomes unfashionable and its place is taken by some other musical fad.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 06:45 AM

"Whiskey in the Jar in the 70's would have undoubtedly introduced many pop/rock listeners to a traditional song"
Did it, certainly not in the long term (see my posting above); and why should it? Nor, IMO, has any of the other 'users and abusers' who have turned to folk music when their imaginations ran dry.
he only interest Rod Stewart's Wild Mountain Thyme generated was a scramble to copyright the song.
There is no evidence whatever to suggest that the pop treatment of any folk song has attracted anybody to the music any more than Delius's and Vaughan Wiliams's.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 07:10 AM

Jim, if it hadn't been for the Pogues I never would have discovered folk music.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 07:14 AM

Sorry; my posting on the subject was on the 'Ballads' thread; (reproduced below) referring to Jim Moray's assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm on the ballad Lucy Wan.
Jim Carroll

"The problem for me with this age-old argument is that I am always left with the opinion that it only generates an enthusiasm for that particular approach, and when other methods are presented it leaves a potential audience cold.
I first came into contact with 'live folk' in Liverpool with the Spinners. After I had been attending their club for a year I was on the point of pulling out altogether (there are only so many renditions of 'Fried Bread and Brandy O' you can take) when somebody said "have you heard MacColl's Folkways set of 'English and Scottish Ballads'?
While it's true that I wouldn't have been there in the first place if it hadn't been for the four lads (and Jaquie McDonald in those days), 'gawd bless 'em', their particular approach wasn't enough to hold me and I had to start virtually from scratch.
This argument was used when Shirly Ellis's 'Rubber Dolly' hit the top of the charts - "folk music had arrived' - but it hadn't, of course.
Some years ago the organisers of the Clare Traditional Singing Weekend (exclusively unnaccompanied) was offered the services of Christie Moore, a perfectly valid reason for having him was that they themed the week-end as 'Political Songs'. When the news got out, hordes of youngsters decended on Ennistymon and it was believed that this would be the big breakthrough - it wasn't. Even though we were treated to a festival of superb singing from all the performers - the youngsters never came back. Christie has a large following for his own style, which isn't traditional - and there's the rub.
If an audience is to be won for traditional singing, it has to be for its own merits and not for something else, and thereby hangs our problem."


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: theleveller
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 07:39 AM

Jim, with all due respect, the thread is about the future of folk music, not just the future of traditional singing. It would be good if we could discuss the broader context.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 07:44 AM

People not raised in the tradition need gateways. A band that mixed music I understood (punk) with traditional acoustic instruments and even occasionally songs and tunes, was like they key to the first door for me. For more than 20 years I have been moving through. Successive doors, and there is certainly music I love now, such ad the recordings of John Reilly, that would have seemed tedious and incomprehensible to my 20 year old self. They would have remained so, I suspect, if I had not been led to folk by certain "pop" bands. I can't believe I'm unique in this.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Banjiman
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 07:57 AM

"I can't believe I'm unique in this."

You're not..... Pogues, Men They Couldn't Hang even New Model Army (they had a fiddle!) kept me interested through my 20's.

But then most people do seem to have ended up with a slightly more eclectic view of folk than Jim! Each to their own though.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 08:02 AM

And we wouldn't be without him. :)


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Keith Price
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 01:28 PM

Flanagans Apple, Rosie O Gradys, Kitty O Sheas, The Liffy, O Neills and many more Liverpool theme pubs were booking live bands 7(drunken) nights a week, with 2 to 3 bands in each venue at weekends, for well over ten years. Playing Dubliners,Clancys,Saw Doctors, Waterboys,Pogues,to packed houses, most of it gone now " flavour of the decade?" The Everyman Folk Club is the only one in Liverpool city centre average attendance about thirty, doesn't seem to have had much impact

Btw Banjiman "most people" would that be the same half dozen who criticise most of Jim Carrolls posts?


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: gnu
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 02:13 PM

The past.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 03:01 PM

I love Jim Carrolls posts,long may he continue.
fortunately I havent heard Jim Morays assault on LUCY WAN, who is Jim Moray anyway?
however as a betting man,Iwould give odds of 4/9 on that Jim Carroll is right.
ruth archer ,if your introduction to folk music was the pogues,id say youwere not properly brought up or introduced.,but still you got there


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,JM
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 03:16 PM

Dick - I am Jim Moray.

I'm not sure what to make of Jims comment.

The version of Lucy Wan I recorded a few years ago is (up until a few minutes in) an unaccompanied version over a drone. There is very little to find offensive. I suspect that what Jim is referring to is what happens in the second half - I gave the song to my friend the rapper Bubbz to see what he'd do with the story.

I'm absolutely fine with you not liking it, I can respect that it's not to everyones taste. But don't question my intent or motives. My intent was to do something interesting and that allowed someone else to put their influences into traditional song. I don't have to point out that Bubbz is British and the music is just as much his as it is mine or yours, do I?

ruth archer ,if your introduction to folk music was the pogues,id say youwere not properly brought up or introduced.,but still you got there

*face-palm*


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Banjiman
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 03:35 PM

"Btw Banjiman "most people" would that be the same half dozen who criticise most of Jim Carrolls posts?"

I don't criticise his posts, usually. He has a point of view which is valid. I would maintain that most people have a broader interpretation of "folk" music than JC though.

GSS, I would suspect that one's route into folk music is pretty age dependent. I think R.A's would not be atypical for someone currently in their forties.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 04:01 PM

"folk music, not just the future of traditional singing."
Sorry - never beenable to tellthe difference - would ask for enlightenment but don't wan't to start another 'what is folk' thread so I'll just have a peep in the dictionary.
Jim M - nothing personal - hated your Lucy Wan - whatever happened to the poor lady who was seduced by her brother, killed and dismembered?
Sounded if it all took place at a rap session. Didn't find it the slightest bit intereresting - but that's possibly me - I prefer my ballads with nowt taken out, particularly the plot.
"I would maintain that most people have a broader interpretation of "folk" music than JC"
Sorry Paul - most people have NO interpretation of folk music whatever, probably why the op thought itnecessary to seek assurances.
Even those who run the clubs can't make up their mind what it is.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 04:07 PM

"If an audience is to be won for traditional singing, it has to be for its own merits and not for something else, and thereby hangs our problem."

I have a lot of time for JimC's posts too Good Soldier, though I reserve the right to completely disagree with them on a regular basis! That's simply healthy discussion as I'm sure he'd agree.
The problem I have with JimC's post here, is the premise that an *audience* for traditional singing need to be won at all in order for it to have a 'future' - as per the OP.

I'd see it the other way around entirely, to encourage more people to explore traditional songs and singing for themselves. And yes, as JM says, IMO these songs and their stories belong to *all of us* to discover, explore and to respond to, as directly and intimately as we are able, drawing upon whatever personal resources, experiences or skills we may possess in order to achieve that.

I can't recall the traditional singer's name, but Jim has told us the story of two folk celebs squabbling over who was going to get to record his songs. And the chap says simply: "They're not my songs, they're everybody's".


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,JM
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 04:19 PM

Jim - the point was that it was the brothers take on it. There was a whole load of backstory to the plot added in by Bubbz's contribution. And I sing exactly the same verses as A.L. Lloyd did - you just didn't notice because you were running away with your hands clamped over your ears before it'd even started.

I take issue with the "assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm" bit, as if people like me do these things just to annoy people like you. As Jon Boden memorably wrote -

"Do you think we just toss out albums in between spraying graffiti on the walls of Cecil Sharp House and urinating on the grave of Sam Larner?"

I do everything with a genuine love of traditional music, and with a great amount of care and research. I am aware of the history and the context I'm singing in, and I am careful to put the song first in whatever I do. If you want to use me as an example of thoughtless plundering of the tradition for personal gain you've picked on the wrong person. I don't want your approval. I just want to get on with what I'm doing without people like you and Dick telling me I'm not allowed to.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,cardboard cutout
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 04:26 PM

hear hear! And welcome home.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: theleveller
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 04:55 PM

"would ask for enlightenment but don't wan't to start another 'what is folk' thread"

Well thanks for that, Jim - that's the Mudcat equivalent of the end of the Cold War. Now we can move on to the future....


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 05:14 PM

I could not agree more with Jim Moray.

I love traditional music. Really, really do, and am quite happy with the route that took me to the tradition, Dick. I am, as Paul astutely points out, 42 years old. Given the generation that I grew up in and the fact that I did my growing up in America, it's actually rather surprising that I got here at all. After 20-odd years of listening to folk and traditional music at all levels, I still think that what the Pogues did was adventurous, exciting, and original - and bloody great music. It may not be to your taste, but it was incredibly influential and still sounds as fresh now as it did more than 20 years ago.

I'm no expert on British grime music, but from the first time I heard JM's arrangement of Lucy Wan I had chills. As he says, it gives the brother's point of view: self-justifying, adolescent rage; brutal and uncompromising. Sometimes it can be hard to relate to the death and violence in the old ballads - it seems remote and unreal, and at times pretty OTT. JM's Lucy Wan is the opposite.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Neville Grundy
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 05:47 PM

"One of the worst examples of bad manners I have witnessed is when a song is sung in a music session and a musician (who may be listening to a song for the first time), insists on joining in." Jim Carroll.

I'm a contemporary singer-guitarist who frequents folk singarounds and sessions, and this sometimes happens to me, even though most of my material is not widely known. I'm quite happy when people do know the song, indeed I sometimes invite them, but in many cases, although they have no chance of knowing or even busking along with it, some will persist anyway. It puts me off my stride and I have on more than one occasion finished a song early as a result, and once ground to a halt - irritating for me and those who were listening.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 06:07 PM

"Do you think we just toss out albums in between spraying graffiti on the walls of Cecil Sharp House and urinating on the grave of Sam Larner?"

Following RuthA's post on the Pogue's being an inspiring influence for her, maybe folk could do with a virulent dose of latter-day punk spirit?

I think young folk artists find themselves suspended in limbo. And have to ask themselves "Who am I trying to please?"
Punk of by contrast, never asked that question.

When I'm an old git I'll have writ on my headstone: "Feel free to piss on my grave, if it inspires you!"


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Sophie
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 06:27 PM

I have to say I am a massive fan of Jims version of lucy wan.
i think it mixes folk with british rap perfectly
As a younger folk lover I was really excited to hear a song like this, where it mixes two genres of music which i listen to on a regular basis.

Just thought i would put a little opinion in there :)


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 06:43 PM

Jim M
You are quite within your rights to do whatever you wish with songs - folk or other, but as you do it in public, I, as a member of that public have every right to express an opinion on what you do with them. For me, your approach made no sense whatever in relation to the text - sorry - put me down as a totaly unconvinced listener. A little presumptuous, I thought, of your suggesting that because I didn't like your singing I couldn't have been listening - tsk-tsk. And please don't tell me how I listen to songs. I tried hard to like it - I really did - failed miserably - and the rap bit; well.......!
"I can't recall the traditional singer's name,"
Walter Pardon - who treated the songs that had been handed down to him by his family with respect, and expected the same from others that he gave them to.
"Now we can move on to the future...."
Sorry Leveller - just a break in the hostilities while the two sides sing carols and have a game of football. I think you will find that the question will run much longer than The Moustrap.
What is presented at our clubs under the name 'folk' and how is is performed lies at the heart of everything we do and is certainly the answer to the op's question.
I have no objection whatever to Jim M doing what he does to folk songs - experimentation has always happened. We were rockin' up folk songs in the sixties after chucking out time; never stopped us enjoying the real thing.
Looking back at all the different cul-de-sacs that the revival took, the thing that strikes me is how old fashioned it all sounds now - the singing pullovers, the mini-choirs the electric soup..... all gone, and I'm sure, more tomorrow - if there is a tomorrow for our music.
One thing is for certain; it is the stuff that is being documented and archived as 'folk' which will still be available for future generations to see what a fist they can make of it, long after we've all gone to join the 'choir invisibule'. I also know what the youngsters here in Ireland are doing with the music and how well and sensitively they are doing it - and how well it is being received; surely a lesson for us all?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 07:05 PM

Jim Moray
Ihave never told anybody they are not allowed to do anything.
I love Jim Carrolls posts,long may he continue.
fortunately I havent heard Jim Morays assault on LUCY WAN, who is Jim Moray anyway?
however as a betting man,Iwould give odds of 4/9 on that Jim Carroll is right.
ruth archer ,if your introduction to folk music was the pogues,id say youwere not properly brought up or introduced.,but still you got there
now, firstly my remark to ruth archer was meant as a joke,I would have thought that was obvious,I have met Ruth Archer and Derek Schofield and I realise they appreciate the same sort of music as myself.
Jim Moray,I will give your version a listen soon,and maybe I will be proved wrong,I do know that Jim and I have similiar tastes in music,but youare quite right I shouldnt pre judge.[however my odds were 4/9 on not 1 to 10000.
Ruth, I totally disagree with you about the pogues,so on that one we will have to agree to disagree.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 07:17 PM

right ,I have listened to it,on the positive side your voice is pleasing and your diction is good.
the accompaniment? imo adds nothing to the song[imo[the rap in the middle makes the song ridiculous]and is just an interruption to an otherwise competent performance .
however I would not attempt to stop you from doing anything,but please dont expect me to praise[what was imo] a ridiculous interruption into what was otherwise a decent but not over whelming version,Iprefer Martin Carthys version but each to their own.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 08:09 PM

OK - final post on the subject.

Jim - it wasn't that you said you didn't like the singing. It was that you said I had discarded the plot (and thus totally disregarded the point of the song). One of those things is an opinion that you are entitled to, one is an inaccurate criticism that I am entitled to defend myself from. There's a difference.

Dick - I don't expect praise. But I equally think that derision for coming into the music through a different path to your own is an idiotic thing to say, joke or not.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Dancing Dancer
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 11:22 PM

I believe folk music is experiencing a rebirth...mainly in the form of UK's Bobby Long. His lyrics are far reaching and actually have meaning unlike most artists his age. Finally there is a musical talent my 12 year old daughter and I can agree on!
www.musicbobbylong.com and www.myspace.com/musicbobbylong have some great examples of his growing body of work.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Andrew
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 02:58 AM

Future of folk music? Pretty bleak for me if I don't find my plectrum!


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 04:11 AM

I'm amazed that Jim Moray, was so restrained in his reply to Mssrs Miles and Carroll.
What arrogant pomposity.
So Dick thinks that Jims voice is pleasing and his diction is good. Oh my.. Praise indeed.
And then he completely disses the arrangement of the song. By who's right I ask?
Anyone has the perfect right to interpret any song in any way they see fit.
Are you saying Dick that I should only play music hall tunes on my duet? Not morris?
And if I'm accompanying a singer, performing an "old" song (avoiding the Trad/Folk spat) and I decide to put a screaming hammond organ solo in the middle of it, that I am therefore making "a ridiculous interruption"
Modern singers and musicians are taking music into other exciting and interesting fields, And selling out huge venues. (Jim and other English performers have just played a huge festival in Austin Texas, Have you?).
The OP posed the question What is the future of Folk Music. My answer is just fine and dandy, with a new crop of singers and musicians coming through. All it needs is the dinosaurs on the scene should get off their backs. If you don't like it, don't listen. Stay playing to two old men and a dog in a dingey pub, if you want to.
Ralph
Oh Yes, Jim Moray is really Doug Oates, brother of Jackie Oates, and has grown up with the music all his life. You could at least do some basic research, before slagging off his work.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 04:11 AM

"Looking back at all the different cul-de-sacs that the revival took, the thing that strikes me is how old fashioned it all sounds now"

I would agree that SOME of it sounds very old-fashioned now - because it was very much of its time in terms of instrumentation and arrangement, and even the equipment that was used to record it. But that's not the case with all of it by a long stretch. I can think of albums that were made around the time I was born that don't sound remotely dated to me.

It is a huge challenge for contemporary musicians, regardless of their genre, to make music that is "timeless". When it comes to the folk revival, I don't think that trying to sound exactly like source singers/musicians is the way forward. Folk rock albums very much sound as if they were of their time, but is that a crime? They were trying to be relevant to people of their own generation, and for the most part it's still people of that generation who listen to the music of Fairport, Steeleye etc. Were they trying to create a timeless sound? I doubt it. They were probably just trying to make music that sounded good to them. And don't forget,that what becomes unfashionable often becomes fashionable again: in 50 years' time, people may re-discover folk rock and think it is absolutely brilliant as a nostalgia music.

All of this, though, stands as a separate entity to traditional music. The most important thing is that it does the tradition no harm at all for people to do the kind of thing Jim Moray does, and for many people he brings a fresh new perspective to the music. That's to be celebrated, surely? One thing you can be certain of is that, even if his work is not to your taste, he brings a respect, knowledge and understanding of the tradition to his music. That's very much his jumping-off point.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: theleveller
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 04:30 AM

Come on, Dick, you put your own interpretation on songs and you also create your own (and very good they are), so what is wrong with interpretations that push the boundaries a little further than some may find entirely comfortable? Whether you like it or not is just a matter of personal taste but, as was said of the talking dog (sorry, no effence JM), the point is not whether it is done well or not but that it is done at all.

"Sorry Leveller - just a break in the hostilities while the two sides sing carols and have a game of football"

Fair enough, Jim, but I've signed a neutrality pact. I am now, officially, Switzerland (but minus the yodelling).


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 05:26 AM

"Anyone has the perfect right to interpret any song in any way they see fit."

Where is anyone disagreeing with that? I can't help noticing that, in these endless debates, the 'let's change everything to sound like contemporary pop music' crowd are always very touchy about their 'experimentation'. Any hint of criticism is interpreted as cruel persecution: "THEY are trying to stop me from doing what I do!"

What childish, sulky, self-serving bollocks!! ANYONE has the perfect right to express an opinion - even if it's not a particularly positive one!


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: theleveller
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 05:37 AM

Shimrod, that's not how I interpreted the comments made here. Until your intemperate outburst everyone was having a fairly civilised discussion.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: deepdoc1
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 05:46 AM

It seems to me that this thread is possibly a small sampling of the future of folk music. Strong tradition, diversity, passion, emotion, scholarship, enthusiasm, craftsmanship. This allows for very polarized views to each be 100% correct in where they either draw boundaries or rub them out, and for others to be able to wander about between camps enjoying the crafts proffered...something for everyone.

I think I'll listen to some "Seagulls and Summer People" on the way to work this morning. Nothing like a little Maine humor to bring things back into focus (thanks be to Mr. Kendall Morse!).


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 05:51 AM

I started to read all the above and gave up and just thought I'd throw in my bit, so apologies if it's just repetition.

The Future of Folk is well safe in the hands of the next generation. It's already started just looka round at the wonderful youngsters we see all around us. James Finlay and Dyer Cummings are prime examples. (just use Google)
As for the old stagers not being replaced just look at the likes of Vicki Swan and Johnny Dyer and the songs they are writing, ready made Tradition in my view. Mary and Anahata breath new life into everything they touch.
What is struggling and may well fall by the wayside is the old way of presenting folk music - the Folk Club. I have been involved with running Clubs all my adult life. In the heyday we attracted regular audiences of 100 plus, with standing room only being the norm. Today most clubs are happy with a regular couple of dozen or so. This is not because people don't want the music, I think it has proven that the Folk Clubs have done their job. We kept our music alive when it was very much a minority interest. Now it has been rediscovered and is all around us. You are now very likely to hear Kate Rusby or a bunch of Cornish Shanty men on National Radio or TV. There have been many TV shows about our music, and like it or not our music is a core part of a very popular main stream Sunday night drama.
No I'm not worried about the future, I just want to hang around for another 60 years to enjoy it.
Well you did ask.....

Andy


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 05:53 AM

"What arrogant pomposity."
My thoughts exactly Ralphie.
If it is pompous to express an opinion contrary to the flow - it's a fair cop guv - thought these forums were for airing differences and not a nodding dog display.
I said why I didn't like Jim M's singing of Lucy Wan, contrary to those who have told us little more than what a great singer they believe him to be - if you want to make a point, do so by discussing his singing of the song, not his popularity rating.
And please don't lump me with Dick - as much as I might respect him, there are many points on which we disagree - we may both live in Ireland but we ain't joined at the hip.
On arrogance - I did think Jim M's suggestion that the reason I didn't like his singing was because I wasn't listening, somewhat arrogant - is he really that good or am I really that deaf?
Ruth
It always strikes me that whatever experiments are carried out on folksong, in the end it's the Jeannie Robertsons and Harry Cox's who rise to the top long after the diverters are part of our fond memories of a mis-spent youth.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 05:55 AM

Sorry,
That should read Harry Coxs - bloody apostrophe.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Count Arthur Strong
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 06:01 AM

i would just like to say, that I personally I, agree with everything that Jim Carroll & Dick Miles say.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 06:14 AM

So I readd a bit more of the above and dodged of to look and listen to JM's Lucy Wan...Interesting.. and so real. It certainly makes me want to fold back my blinkers even more!


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: theleveller
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 06:33 AM

Deepdoc1, excellent insight. If that is the future then it's going to be an exciting one - and, as JC suggests, plenty of heated debate. I hope I'll be around long enough to do a great deal of wandering between camps.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 06:38 AM

"It always strikes me that whatever experiments are carried out on folksong, in the end it's the Jeannie Robertsons and Harry Cox's who rise to the top long after the diverters are part of our fond memories of a mis-spent youth."

That's as may be for some, Jim. And that's fine. Personally, I think that if someone can make you see a traditional song from a different perspective (as does Jim Moray's Lucy Wan) or breathe new life into the song - which, as I've said previously, I think JM's Lucy Wan does by making the emotion and the violence immediate and real - then it's all good. It may not be to your taste, but there is undeniable artistry, talent and passion in what has been created, and, fundamentally, a grounding in traditional music and song, which for me is key. Jim Moray is no blow-in, who is playing with the tradition because it happens to be a bit fashionable at the moment; he is very serious in his approach to the music, and in wanting to do something interesting and meaningful with it. Even if the outcomes don't really blow your skirt up, surely that's to be applauded.



"It seems to me that this thread is possibly a small sampling of the future of folk music. Strong tradition, diversity, passion, emotion, scholarship, enthusiasm, craftsmanship. This allows for very polarized views to each be 100% correct in where they either draw boundaries or rub them out, and for others to be able to wander about between camps enjoying the crafts proffered...something for everyone."

Well said.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 07:04 AM

I will explain why I dont like jim morays inclusion of rap in the middle of lucy wan.
I pointed out that Jims diction was good,but I could not understand what the rapper was saying,so in my opinion it is a pointless exercise,if jim had changed from singing to speaking the song,I am sure I would have understood as Jims diction is good.
I feel that the idea is not necessarily a bad one,but that the rap part was not cdone as well as it could have been.
RALPHIE,I do not care whether Jim Moray is the brother of the king of Timbuctoo,I am explaining why I think this particular experimentation does not work,that does not mean that I am against experimentation.
are you in favour of experimentation for the sake of it regardless of the outcome?.Idid not diss Jim Morays singing although I stated that I preferred Martin Carthys version,that does not mean his singing is bad it is not.
what I think is poor is the inclusion of something[of which the diction is poor]in the middle of an otherwise fairly good version,what is the point?is there any cultural link between the two? if Icant understand the words it becomes just a distraction and one that does not seem to have much musical connectiion,therfore it [imo]makes the song something ridiculous.
"And if I'm accompanying a singer, performing an "old" song (avoiding the Trad/Folk spat) and I decide to put a screaming hammond organ solo in the middle of it, that I am therefore making "a ridiculous interruption"quote Ralph Jordan.
in my opinion if you did what you described in the middle of the outlandish knight it would be a ridiculous interruption because it interferes wtith the flow and the story of the song,in a song such as the streams of lovely nancy ,I do not think it as important.
however you have missed my point,which is why include something the majority of which is indecipherable.,and which appears to me to have no cultural connection.
it is rather like eating jam with caviar,,both are pleasant on their own,but when taken together are a gastronomic catastrophe, admirable for its eccentric qualities but little else.
Ihave geard other perfprmances by JimMoray he is agood singer ,but his version of Lucy Wan [because of the rap] does not work for me.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Count Arthur Strong
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 07:30 AM

Good point, all well made.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 08:27 AM

"Stay playing to two old men and a dog in a dingey pub, if you want to.
Ralph"
ralph jordan you appear to be dissing folk clubs,for the record I have never played to two old men and a dog[this sort of stereotyping of folk clubs] does not do yourself or folk music any favours.
Folk clubs are a very important part of the uk folk revival,there are manuy organisers on this forum who run successful folk clubs,Villan,Banjiman,drprice/ dame pattie,david el gnomo,the snail/valmai goodyear,VicSmith,The Admiral and many more whose clubs are not two men and a dogand are not held in dingy pubs.
you sound like you need to get out and see some of them


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Ian
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 08:30 AM

Very interesting debate.

I totally agree with Ray Padgett where he reckons the quality of younger musicians has improved over the last 30 years. The taking of folk "roots" into fields where a larger audience will get the chance to listen is something that has always gone on, and always will do.

As a teenager who was in a rock band and at the same time enjoying nights at folk clubs, I was bemused yet pleased to hear Thin Lizzie's Whiskey in the Jar, or Led Zeppelin's Gallow Pole (not to mention Sandy Denny on Battle of Evermore.)

Elvis Costello writes songss about subjects that tick every box for me, (as well as starting out in folk clubs,) and of course, you cannot use music for social comment without being called folk, (Billy Bragg etc.)

So, the future of folk music OR as I suspect many will interpret the question... the future of the folk scene as it has lasted for the last 40 years +.

I was at a party last year, where old friends from over the years turned up. I am touching 50, yet just as when I was a teenager, I was the youngest performer on the night.

That is what is at stake here. The question being, "do you convince people that the "format" of an evening of folk music is part of the culture, or do you bring the music to another way of presenting it?

I don't mean this badly, although it will come over so, I am sure. But the mental image of woolly jumpers, beards, sandals and real ale fascism is an image that prevails outside of folk clubs. Perhaps many people love the music (or would if they heard it) but don't feel part of an existing culture? I have a beard, drink bitter rather than lager and don't mind listening to an office worker singing about how hard it is down the mine... But my son, (an ex miner like myself) would probably record it on his phone and upload it to utube as an example of British eccentricity.

Perhaps a thread about the future of folk music also needs a different thread about the future of British folk delivery over the last 40 odd years. Because like many fine traditions, it may only last as long as those who perpetuate it.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 08:55 AM

Guest Ian:
"real ale fascism"
Oh please; and when you were doing so well!
Fascism conjurs up for me concentration camps, extermination ovens, BNP hate marches....
It has nothing whatever to do with real ale or folk music, now matter how strong the views on either subject.
I don't go along 100% with your views but I am grateful for your insight.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 09:19 AM

After the recent comments by and about Jim Moray, I followed up with a wee YouTube search for some more of his material - and found this interview. His comments about being a young musician working with old songs in the context of a contemporary British culture, might be pertinant to this thread: Jim Moray interviewed by Paul Morley


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Banjiman
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 09:27 AM

Jim (Carroll), Dick,

I wondered if there is anyone performimg on the UK folk circuit who you do admire? Under the age of say... 45?


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 10:09 AM

Seems odd that discussion is so centred on the UK.

Who's comparable to Jim Moray in the US? Or in Germany, or France?


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Mouldy Bob.
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 10:15 AM

Who's comparable to Jim Moray in the US?


Vanilla Ice perhaps? Similarly ground breaking yet frowned upon by die hards.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Dave of Mawkin
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 11:03 AM

I'm with Jim Moray on this one. His and Bubbz's interpretation of Lucy Wan actually made me stand up and listen.When Bubbz kicks into his rap, the song comes to life, you actually get the rage, the crazed desire, everything all rolled into a very concise little passage, its wonderful. I cant see how Jim Carroll can draw this conclusion;

// "Didn't find it the slightest bit intereresting..I prefer my ballads with nowt taken out, particularly the plot."//

As ALL the original trad verses are in there!

A famous rapper once said 'you dont need eyes to see, you need vision'...


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 11:27 AM

each to their own,I prefer other versions,although I was enjoying his version until the rap interruption.
I expect the response I got from Ralphie he is primarily an instrumentalist rather than a singer.
as far as I am concerned what famous rappers have to say is of little consequence,any decent ballad singer should be concentrating on singing the story,have a listen to EwanMacColl,orJeannie robertson singning MY SON DAVID,they are singers who really knew their business,and could brioing ballads to life without the need for rap interludes.these songs stand up perfectly well unaccompanied if the singer is a good singer.JimMoray was doing fine until the rapper interfered


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 11:55 AM

GSS: ",they are singers who really knew their business,and could brioing ballads to life without the need for rap interludes.these songs stand up perfectly well unaccompanied if the singer is a good singer"

RuthA had it right below, it doesn't have to be an either / or situation.

I love singing this stuff unaccompanied - for my own pleasure. And so long as there are 'spit & sawdust' folk sessions where people gather to share music for its own sake, I can't see myself ever wanting to quit doing that. I also think it'd be super if more people felt like dipping their toes in unaccompanied trad. songs. But that's still only one way of doing it, and it doesn't preclude an artist exploring the exact same songs in their own personal way. In that YouTube I posted Jim M speaks of responding to the songs "honestly" and that means for him not attempting to sound 'authentic' or trying to pretend to be something that he's not by ignoring all the other musical influences that have contributed to his own way of experiencing and responding to these songs. Whether or not some others find the result aesthetically pleasing to their ears or not, is not as important as an artist addressing the material itself with honesty and human integrity. And IMO such a position is entirely laudable, and indeed respectful so to speak to the music itself.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Dave of Mawkin
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 12:10 PM

Like you say GSS each to their own, for me, the ballad doesnt stand up on its own otherwise I would of 'got' the song when I heard Jon Boden sing it years ago (and he is a fantastic singer)..so it took a new interpretation for me to 'get'it. So Moray has done his job well.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: theleveller
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 12:22 PM

And in the end, whatever version you prefer, it's the song (and folk music) that's the winner. Hooray! I now get a glimpse of the future.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,JM
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 12:30 PM

Thanks Leveller. Nicely put. Hooray!

Word to your mother.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 01:40 PM

"I wondered if there is anyone performimg on the UK folk circuit who you do admire? Under the age of say... 45? "
Paul - out of touch with the UK scene but I can put you in touch with several hunderd youngsters singing and playing traditional music within five miles of here to an excellent standard - how about you?
I can also name you several excellent UK singers who have thrown up ther hands and left the scene in depair of what's happening.
"As ALL the original trad verses are in there! "
They probably are - but you have to clamber over a heap of intrusive noise to get to hear it - including what sounds suspiciously like two people fighting with wooden swords.
The accomanpiment is overbearing, there is, as afar as I can see, no intrepretation other than an occasional theatrical stab at one, and the rap is a joke that plummets the whole thing into meaningless mush - IMO,of course.
Words are of no use if you can't follow them close enough to make sense of the plot.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 02:02 PM

well said Jim,I agree about the accompaniment,and the rap is ridiculous,I would be kinder about the interpretation,Carthys version is better,but its reasonably well sung[imo].,it is a bit theatrical,but if he had sung it at a concert unaccompanied ,Iwould have thought its good enough without being exceptional.
I am not impressed by people like Ralph Jordan trying to tell me about Jim Morays pedigree or where he has played, I am judging one track only and I let my ears do that for me ,I do not need someone telling me thatI should like something because someone is famous or has played in TEXAS[of course Texans are bigger and better than anyhwereor anybody else]look at George Bush.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 02:03 PM

100


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 03:09 PM

Miskin Man

The Future of Folk is well safe in the hands of the next generation. It's already started just looka round at the wonderful youngsters we see all around us. James Finlay and Dyer Cummings are prime examples. (just use Google)
As for the old stagers not being replaced just look at the likes of Vicki Swan and Johnny Dyer and the songs they are writing, ready made Tradition in my view. Mary and Anahata breath new life into everything they touch.


We've had all of those at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club, and a good time had by all. It may be that the folk club has had its day but I hope not. Hearing a real live human being singing and playing a few feet in front of you is a magical experience that the concert can never provide. Sitting alone in your room watching YouTube videos just doesn't cpme near it.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Tootler
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 04:16 PM

In the heyday [clubs] attracted regular audiences of 100 plus, with standing room only being the norm. Today most clubs are happy with a regular couple of dozen or so. This is not because people don't want the music, I think it has proven that the Folk Clubs have done their job.

Not sure I entirely agree with the last statement. I think it is maybe more of a case that the clubs have found their niche. What I value about a folk club is its intimacy and you don't get that with an audience of 100 - that scale is more appropriate to a small theatre or concert hall.

I mostly go to singarounds and I think that if you get more than about 20 - 25, it is getting unwieldy.

I agree with Crow Sister when she says

I love singing this stuff unaccompanied - for my own pleasure. And so long as there are 'spit & sawdust' folk sessions where people gather to share music for its own sake

I also think the Snail's last couple of sentences above is spot on.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 05:12 PM

A "screaming Hammond organ in The Outlandish Knight would be rather good FX. The song's about a bloke steaming in through Fair Margaret's bedroom window blowing some brass thing and why she should just say no. Secondly, it would explain why the cat woke up and got the parrot. Excellent interpretation.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 06:55 PM

and the banging of dustbin lids should be compulsory in all ballads.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 03:20 AM

"What I value about a folk club is its intimacy and you don't get that with an audience of 100 "
Does it have to be either-or?
We had the small, intimate singarounds as part of our workshop sessions, but along with these we could pull in large audiences for, say, Seamus Ennis or Joe Heaney, or Paddy Tunney or MacColl and Seeger.... with every musician and folk enthusiast in the Greater London area turning up so that the atmosphere crackled - magic!
The aim was always to narrow the gap between resident/lesser-known guest evenings upwards, not downwards.
It seems to me that being satisfied with small audiences is selling the music short - "come and we'll cater for you" did it for me.
Apart from anything else, I've always got the impression that strangers were often more comfortable in a crowd rather than a small group where they were obviously the odd-one-out.
I've walked into some of these 'small, intimate sessions' and been left with the feeling that I'd intruded on a private family gathering, or in some cases, a wake even - not for me, I'm afraid.
We were there for the music - the intimacy could come later if you played your cards right!
Countess and Cap'n
"screaming Hammond organ " - "the banging of dustbin lids"
Now look what you've done - as is the 'singalonga' mob with the finger-in-cheeks wasn't enough!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 03:37 AM

It's all relative...for people who are used to going to large venue concerts, 100 people is intimate.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 04:01 AM

Hammond Organ solos?
Well. did it on our interpretation of a Mike Waterson song.
(Working Chap) PJD's CD Flat Earth. (sadly now out of print).
Mike liked it. So, What problem?
Sorry for my spat at Dick Miles yesterday, but, I do feel that a few people should take their blinkers off as regards to interpretations of all music. If you hadn't noticed. It's 2010. The world moves on (in a traditional way obviously), and the next generation, whilst hopefully embracing the past, will take it their own way.
Listened to the Dave Burland/Nic Jones take of Lankin yesterday, modulating from Major to Minor as the story unfurled. Not traditional in any way that some people here would approve of, but, emminently listenable. (Has even got a cheesy synth part on it, that always makes me smile!).
Relevant? I think so.
As relevant as Peta and Kens London club is, as relevant as the Volenteer and the Radway in Sidmouth are, as relevant as Bellowhead, Faustus, and....(dare I say it) Jim Moray is?
I applaud Jims work in the collecting and archiving field.
Songs and tunes should be collected as they can be.
But, the next generation of singers and musicians will do with them what they think floats their collective boats. And there is bugger all we old fogies can do about it!
For myself, I'm intrigued, and sometimes astonished by the music being created today.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 04:41 AM

"Hammond Organ solos?"
I suppose it's a matter of taste - bearing in mind that our tradition is almost entirely word/narrative based and anything you do to interfere with that is detrimental to the song.
I've always been an admirer of Peggy Seeger's singing; she introduced me to the American versions of ballads and songs and the research she put into them helped me understand how the oral tradition worked. She used this to inform her own songwriting and the skill she had with words puts her songs up among the best as far as I'm concerned.
But the last time I heard her sing she'd taken to using keyboards.... sorry Peggy... a wall to climb to get to the understanding of the song - for me anyway. I don't object to this because it's 'new' but because it gets in the way - not all 'progress' is 'progressive' - we have to travel some distance nowaday to get a half-decent loaf of bread since our local bakers was 'progressed' out of business by the supermarkets.
"I applaud Jims work in the collecting "
Thanks for that Ralphie - but sometimes I wish people would stop saying this (but not just yet!) - rewiring houses was work - recording singers was a self-indulgent pleasure.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: theleveller
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 04:51 AM

"the next generation of singers and musicians will do with them what they think floats their collective boats"


Well said, Ralphie. What our two archetypal grumpy old men sitting in their corner of the St. Ewan Old Folkie's Home haven't grasped is that "nu folk" isn't aimed at them. Sorry guys but neither you nor I are the future of folk. The torch has well and truly been picked up by a new generation who aren't afraid to experiment and reinterpret the material and the genre - a process which, inevitably, is going to raise eyebrows and hackles and piss off the pedants. But thank goodness that we have the likes of Jim Moray, Mawkin, Jim Causley, Lucy Ward, Kat Gilmore and Jamie Roberts, Kris Drever and many, many more who are enjoying themselves and bringing back the excitement and vitality to folk music and, by attracting a new audience, saving it from a terminal decline. The number of hits of Jim Moray's myspace (858,492 so far), and the press coverage he's attracting, shows that his music has a resonance with quite a few people out there – many of whom would not go near folk music as practised by their parents and grandparents.

Giving the music to our children is what prompted this thread. Thank f**k they are happy to receive it. What they do with it is up to them.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Banjiman
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 05:09 AM

"In the heyday [clubs] attracted regular audiences of 100 plus, with standing room only being the norm"

We always have a few sell out nights each year at KFFC (that's pushing 100) but we also have nights where we have a couple of dozen (depends who's booked and what else is going on). It works either way and being a small village hall it still feels intimate. There's a real buzz when it is pretty full though.

"but I can put you in touch with several hunderd youngsters singing and playing traditional music within five miles of here to an excellent standard - how about you?"

Jim, we don't even have a hundred youngsters living within 5 miles of the club so that would be difficult! One thing we are doing though is sponsoring kids from the local school(s) to enter the Wensleydale Tournament of song. There is a junior class for unaccompanied traditional song.

This year there is only one entry (which is a tragedy) we have an aim of getting a minmum of 10 entries next year (including my daughter!). We'll do this by the club paying the entry fee and working with 3 or 4 of the local schools (Wendy already does some singing workshops in these schools) to identify potentially interested kids and give them some coaching.

Having said that about the importance of getting trad song sung Wendy has also been working with one of the schools this year on writing a song for the choir class (as part of a wider project). The school in question is on Catterick Garrison and the theme of the song is what it feels like to be left behind when your father is away at war. This seems an equally valid "folk" expression to me.

There will be a charity CD of the kids singing the song (and a few others including some trad)) available mid-April. Funds raised go to the school and Forces family charities.

So don't lecture me about the death of folk clubs or getting kids involved in folk music.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Banjiman
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 05:14 AM

Last line should read:

So PLEASE don't lecture me about the death of folk clubs or getting kids involved in folk music. ......... with a smiley face at the end!

Oh, we'll be using The Yorkshire Garland work as a source of "local" songs for the kids to sing where possible.

Altogther now:

"In that beautiful dale, home of the Swale,
How well do I love thee, how well do I love thee?
Beautiful dale, home of the Swale,
Beautiful, beautiful dale."


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 05:18 AM

"isn't aimed at them."
Folk music was never 'aimed' at any particular group; it was always the self-expression of those with no other voice.
"858,492 so far"
If we're going into the numbers game lets clear the stage for Lady Gaga and her counterparts; numbers are no guide to either quality or relevance.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 06:07 AM

Further thoughts:
We started to visit this part of the West of Ireland because of its rich store of songs, music, dancing and storytelling. Among the first things we noticed was the total lack of a genertion gap - young people going to the older generation to learn songs, play music, dance - oldies relying on youngsters for new ears and fresh dancing partners - and sometimes, just for company, a total interaction. This has left us with a continuance of those things that were passed on to us, hence the number of youngsters now playing music.
The British revival was launched on what we were given by the oldies - Harry Cox, Sam Larner, Phil Tanner.... It started out with a total respect for these people and a total recognition of their contribution to our music. That respect gradualy degenerated into lip service and marked a sharp decline in the club scene.
Now, it appears "isn't aimed at them." it has disapeared altogether - if this is to be believed.
One of the problems with all youth culture is the constant demand for renewal - if this wasn't invented by the music industry, it is certainly exploited to the full by them.
It doesn't work like that with folk music.
Sacrifive our music on the 'youth' altar and it will fizzle out the next time something new comes along - you only have to look what happened to Sinéad O'Connor's 'Nua Sean Nós' to see that.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: theleveller
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 06:55 AM

"One of the problems with all youth culture is the constant demand for renewal"

Problem? That's what youth is all about - in fact that's what life is all about. As Darwin pointed out, what doesn't constantly evolve and adapt becomes extinct.

"Sacrifive our music on the 'youth' altar and it will fizzle out the next time something new comes along"

Actually it's their music as well and what 'youth' has been doing with folk music over the 45 years that I've been involved in it is what has kept it alive and kicking arses. It's certainly why it's kept me interested and excited for four and a half decades, enduring where other musical tastes have come and gone. And, let's face it, they're going to do it whatever you or I say - my god, I wish I was 40 years younger!


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 06:58 AM

JM's version of Lucy Wan doesn't work for me, but I'm not his target audience. However it occurs to me that in a few years' time this version will sound just as dated and of its period as the 1970s electric folk of Steeleye Span. Martin Carthy's version, on the other hand, which simply delivers the song on its own terms, sounds as fresh now as when I first heard it, more years ago than I care to think about.

It is characteristic of ballads that they don't analyse the participants' emotions or motives, they simply set out the events and leave the listener to draw their own conclusions. So for me the (largely incomprehensible) rap section adds nothing to the song.

Nevertheless, Jim is to be congratulated on producing on getting a traditional ballad played on Radio 1. If it prompts a few young people to explore folk music further then good luck to him. However it will be interesting to see whether in 10 or 20 years time this track will be seen as anything other than a passing curiosity.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 07:05 AM

Again it is not an exclusive situation. There is, always has been and always will be, youngsters and us old fogies! I can see what you are getting at, theleveller, but surely because the youngsters want to do their own thing there is no need to deny us our bit of pleasure is there?

Likewise, Jim, I agree about keeping the music as is becuae an awful lot of people enjoy iy just like it is. There is nothing wrong with that as long as it is not to the detriment of people that DO want to experiment with it.

I don't see anyone saying that one line MUST be followed to the exclusion of all others so just what is the argument about? It has worked since the year dot and, as far as I can tell, will continue to work forever. People will experiment. Some people will not like the experiment while others will. Both the original and the new version will still be listened to. We end up with more choice. It's a win-win situation in which everyone gets their way:-)

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 07:09 AM

"interesting to see whether in 10 or 20 years time this track will be seen as anything other than a passing curiosity."

I think that's probably an inevitability, as indeed it is for virtually all popular commercial music.
The *ballad* itself will continue to endure perfectly unharmed, quite irrespective of that however.
I feel there is too much emphasis being placed on professional artists making commercial folk in any event. And while their work is high-profile in the media may attract the interest of a fresh generation of enthusiasts, like all popular trends (including that of the 60's revival) it will pass.
I'd like to see more emphasis placed on the value of encouraging and supporting amateurs to take up traditional songs and tunes for themselves, and less on the importance of passing commercial music trends.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 07:09 AM

it has nothing to do with being old or grumpy,it has to do with constructive criticism,its pathetic that people are not allowed to say they do not like something without being accused of being grumpy or old.
I am 59 young,I love music and ilike to see it performed,I donot enjoy Jim morays inclusion of the rap in this balad.
for that mattere idonot enjoy Peter pears singning waly waly with benjamin britten playing a ridiculous accompaniment , the interesting point here is that no one acuuses me of being grumpy or old when i criticise pears or britten.
worshipping youth respective of performance is a gigantic mistake,yes young singers should be encouraged,but they are no more above criticism than old opera singers and classical composers or anyone else.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,JM
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 07:34 AM

Can we drop it now? I didn't want to be dragged into this at all until Jim decided to use me as an example of bad music. I don't need either to be told how much people hate it, or be defended. It's all by the by.

Please go back to the topic and stop this now.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 08:13 AM

When I was a youngster, aged 20 or so (no, this is not the beginning of a folk song, but it could be...), I was knocked for six by Shirley Collins singing "Pretty Saro" with the accompaniment of Davy Graham on guitar. I can't describe the excitement I felt at hearing the purity of Shirley's voice with the beautiful modal playing of Davy - it married the old and the unusual to create something new and exotic. I thought it was wonderful then, and I think it wonderful today.

I'm using this as purely as an example of the sort of thing that can move young people to become interested in the music. Whether you like or dislike Shirley and Davy's experimentation is not relevant to my point - which is that the difference, the approach, the nature of the sound was what caught me up and wanted me to try it for myself. You can't and shouldn't expect the future of any art to be static, and you can't and shouldn't expect people indulging in the art not to experiment and play with the art.

There are some excellent artists working in stained glass today, producing beautiful artefacts in the medium. There are some beautiful pieces of medieval stained glass in churches all over the country. What's to worry over? It's stained glass. The tradition and the art goes on - different but continuous. I'm sure folk music - songs and tunes, by the way (lest ye forget), will go the same way.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 09:25 AM

"Please go back to the topic"

I thought you made some comments that were actually rather pertinent to this topic on the link I posted, which is why I posted it. Sorry if it pissed you off though. But yes, the topic isn't all about 'Is Jim Moray's Lucy Wan brilliant or shit?' I think we probably need a whole separate thread for that..


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 10:15 AM

"Problem? That's what youth is all about -"
It's only a problem in the 'Roll over Beethoven' terms you set it out.
"nu folk" isn't aimed at them."
This is acceptable only if you take on board the fact that experimentation reaches a point when the music ceases to be 'folk' - unless you believe folk song to be merely words and tune.
Is Butterworth's 'Banks of Green Willow' (to my mind, one of the most beautiful pieces of orchestral music ever written), folk music, and if it isn't, how does it differ from what is being done in the name of experimentation today?
The constant characteristic of folk songs is their universal timelessness - they took root wherever they landed and became part of that landscape. That is why we have variants of the same songs all over the English-speaking world and down the centuries. Put a sell-by on this, as happens with popular music today and you destroy that universal timelessness. It is this, I believe, that gives the music its importance, what makes it 'our' music rather than something produced, packaged and sold to us; what makes it democratic .   
"There is nothing wrong with that as long as it is not to the detriment of people that DO want to experiment with it."
True - and has always been the case - (Vaughan Williams, Delius, Grainger - et al), but it must work both ways.
"....until Jim decided to use me as an example of bad music."
No I didn't; I responded to somebody putting the song up as an example of good ballad singing - I disagree. I'm not qualified to say whether it is good or bad in the particular style that you've chosen to sing it - just that, IMO, it doesn't work as a folk song, particularly a ballad.
Surely you've been around long enough to be able to cope with your singing being discussed openly?
"Can we drop it now?"
With respect, you've signed in as a guest - don't tell us how to arrange the furniture
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 10:40 AM

Firstly I agree with JM. This shouldn't become a witch hunt about one persons interpretation of one song.
Secondly, I'm with Will Fly on this.
Stained glass as produced hundreds of years ago still exists, and is beautiful in its own way. There for all to enjoy in churches, and other places.
But,there are also many artists working in stained glass today. Some in a traditional way, some in what could be said is an iconoclastic way.
In fact the same is true of pottery, dance, poetry, in fact all of the arts.
None of the work of artists (of any genre) in the 21st century in any way detracts from what has gone before, so, why should music be any different? Well, because it isn't different, that's why
Will cites Shirley Collins and Davey Grahams collaboration as a major influence in his life.
I was influenced by Dick Gaughan, Bailey/Rosselson, Nic Jones..etc.
Through these revivalist (how I hate that word) singers, I discovered all the older generation of performers and musicians.
Without them, a whole side of music might have passed me by.
And now it is the same for the next generation to discover the huge legacy that has been passed down to them. And they are so doing in droves.
All the books, and post 1900 (ish) recordings of songs/tunes from previous generations are still there. They're just being re-interperated, that's all.
Some people might not like it. Well tough!
I didn't have much time for most of Ewan McColls work. So what?
That's just my opinion.
So, I state again my answer to the OP's original question. a resounding YES.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 10:58 AM

"a witch hunt"

Hold up there Ralphie, I don't think anyone's getting burned alive here! Though this minor spat seems to echo what to my mind can be a terribly precious attitude towards some artists work among the folk community. Seems like no-one is allowed to critically comment on anything around here without eliciting screams of 'rape, murder, fire'! This is a forum for the discussion of folk music, so the work of folk musicians is an entirely relevant topic of discussion. After a recent similar debacle involving a poster's criticism of another artists work, this thread is starting to feel a bit uncomfortably de ja vu.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 10:59 AM

And actually, (if anyone is still interested at all!).
What really annoys me, is fakery.
I'm talking X Factor, Antares Pitch shifting. Miming.
Basically music that is manufactured by an industry....(Yes industry) that is in it purely for the desire to promote a "product"
Any genuine artist, from an orchestral flautist to the lead singer of Napalm Death, has my support 100%.
I once had a well known boy band in a Radio studio, actually miming to their latest single, live!..(remember, it was Radio!!)
All set up by their management.
Apart from me, nobody got the irony. Doh!
So, it matters not the genre of music being performed.
As long as the performers actually play and sing, they can do what the hell they like!


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 11:10 AM

Constructive criticism is important,all of us have to put up with criticism from reviewers,I have had some prety bad ones like someone describing my singing as if i was singing with a peg over my nose and on another occasion being a poor mans MartinCarthy [Isound nothing like Martin Carthy.
however there was constructive criticism foe example a habit i had [which ihave now corrected of singning the [thur],so constructive criticism is something performers can learn from.at all times my critiucism has been constructive[I pointed out pluses about Jims performance [tuneful pleasant voice good diction].
Ralphie,no one has said that anybody cant do anything,
nobody is trying to restrict anyone
I have said I didnt like the inclusion of the rap,I have a perfect right to state an opinion without being called arrogant or pompous,now get off my back.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 11:13 AM

Sorry CS....Cross posting there! Woops!
I'll state again.
The future of Folk (how I'm beginning to hate that word. let's just call it music shall we?).....is absolutely fine.
I'll do it my way. People might like it, people might not. Hey Ho.
You can do it your way. People might like it, people might not...
etc, etc....
Assuming that you are Crowsister? I acknowledge your love for a more traditional interpretation of song.
Great....Hopefully I'll get to hear you one day. Look forward to it. Unaccompanied singing can be really uplifting and emotional.
I've been mesmerised by Peta Webbs voice on hundreds of occasions.
But really, there are only 2 types of music.

1. Music performed by musicians (any genre)
2. Music manufactured in commercial studios by the likes of Sony/Warner.

I think that I prefer 1.
Cheers Ralphie


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 11:14 AM

Ralphie - no witchhunt here.
There are enough voices in favour of J M's treatment of Lucy Wan to suggest that an open debate is permissable - or do you only want to take the 'aye' votes?
"I didn't have much time for most of Ewan McColls work."
I've never had a great deal of trouble finding a good 'sleeves rolled upper' on Ewan and his singing - would you make this a no-go area as well?
Another thing that will kill folk music stone dead is anodyne comment and sycophancy in place of honest criticism (CS's 'preciousness').
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 11:16 AM

Crowsister, any debacles are all in your head. To be honest, nothing much that gets said here in the name of "criticism" matters a whit, as it's pretty much the same half a dozen people saying the same things over and over and over again in dozens of threads. Mudcat's "purists" are pretty much dismissed as cranks everywhere else.

At the end of the day, Jim Moray will make records. People who like them will buy them, people who don't, won't. People who think there is too much emphasis on commercial folk music will keep singing to each other, and telling each other how fantastically talented they all are. Whatever. Twas always thus.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 11:16 AM

Well Dick.
It probably isn't going to be worth sending you a review copy of my new CD then?


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 11:24 AM

"unless you believe folk song to be merely words and tune"

What else could it possibly be?


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Crowsis yes that's me cookieless ;-)
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 11:29 AM

"Assuming that you are Crowsister? I acknowledge your love for a more traditional interpretation of song."

Hey Ralphie, yeah I like to sing unaccompanied. But I'm actually probably more open minded than you might imagine from some of my postings. I'm experimenting with a friend of mine at the mo' using what they call Musique Concrete as a kind of aural scenic setting to ballads.. It's sounding pretty strange and abstract right now. I'm not sure if it will ultimately work but and I've threatened Jim Carroll with it, once it's done so he can be horrified by me horribly assaulting these poor helpless old songs! Go figure ;-)
And as for innovation, I think this guy's arrangements are quite the most exciting I've heard: Andrew Stuart King It'll make poor Jim's hair curl!


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: theleveller
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 11:34 AM

Well, I started with part of O'Shaughnessy's poem. Here it is in full. Sums it up for me.

We Are the Music-Makers
        
We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world's great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire's glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song's measure
Can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o'erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world's worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 12:14 PM

"let's just call it music shall we?"
No, lets not shall we - we are talking about a specific type of music - I dont go in and ask for a tin of soup.
Though you are free not to use the term if you feel that your particular music doesn't live up to the description - would that others had your honesty and initiative.
"I'll do it my way."
And if you put it up for public scrutiny we will have an opinion on it and will discuss it when the opportunity arises.
"But really, there are only 2 types of music."
Oh dear, try telling it to the jazzmen and the classicists and the middle-of-the-roaders and all the other types whose music has been dignified with a title so we know where to find it when we want it.
An immediate flaw in your logic - isn't 'Music manufactured in commercial studios' performed by musicians or has R2D2 finally taken over the asylum?
"What else could it possibly be?"
You jest, surely!
Folk music is a record of the experiences, emotions and opinions of people who otherwise have had no voice; our transportation songs are a record of the enclosures from the point of those who got the shitty end of the stick: emigration songs, the experiences of those forced to leave home because of famine, evictions and political persecution; solders songs about those sent to 'die for the king or queen'; bothy songs a unique chunk of Scots farming history...... Where do you stop?
In many cases these events would be merely facts and figures in books and are quite often the only existing records of what took place.
They are what we are and where we've been and are forest in which all our family trees are planted.
"It'll make poor Jim's hair curl!"   
Digitising some recordings CS - will listen later - thank you for assuming I still have hair - (which I do, I hasten to add).
Jim Carroll
PS Can I say that while I may not appreciate J M's treatment of traditional (no - folk) songs, for what it's worth he has my respect for turning up here and fighting his corner - which is more than can be said of those prepared to throw in the towel on his behalf.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: MikeL2
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 12:44 PM

Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Ruth Archer - PM
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 11:16 AM

Hi Ruth

How true but many thanks for bringing out a sensible note here.

Regards

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 12:45 PM

"which is more than can be said of those prepared to throw in the towel on his behalf."

?????


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 12:46 PM

Folk music is a record of the experiences, emotions and opinions of people who otherwise have had no voice; our transportation songs are a record of the enclosures from the point of those who got the shitty end of the stick: emigration songs, the experiences of those forced to leave home because of famine, evictions and political persecution; solders songs about those sent to 'die for the king or queen'; bothy songs a unique chunk of Scots farming history...... Where do you stop?

Apparently with the tunes? And apparently with any modern recording or transmission of similar events in our times? I wonder if there are modern songs about, say, the Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven, or about the Battle of Orgreave (Miners' Strike 1984). If there are, then these are perhaps the modern-day equivalent of what went before - they certainly would deal with similar themes.

I appreciate the sociological/historical aspect of the music you describe, Jim, and it's very obvious how it touches your own heart. I just wonder, once again, how such music is to go forward, develop and progress and perhaps have some consonance with times other than those in the past. We live in a curious period vis-a-vis this music. We're close enough to it for some of it still to have relevance to our lives or the lives of our families, and some people, like yourself, have been part of the collection process. But we're being slowly and gradually distanced from it by the passing of the years. (This is not to detract from its melodies or its poetry).

What relevance will it have for those who sing it in 100 years' time, and what will stand alongside it if nothing new emerges? If nothing whatever new of the genre is created, what then? You may well, rightly in your view, reply, that the music has no need to develop or progress. Fair enough - but I wonder how it will sit in the musical spectrum in 100 years' time.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 01:47 PM

Ralphie,I would give your cd an impartial review,my personal dislike of your continued personal attacks on me,does not alter my opinion of you as a concertina player,you are a very good concertina player,not much of a singer,and someone with clearly a few problems.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 02:03 PM

"I appreciate the sociological/historical aspect of the music you describe, Jim, and it's very obvious how it touches your own heart. I just wonder, once again, how such music is to go forward, develop and progress and perhaps have some consonance with times other than those in the past. We live in a curious period vis-a-vis this music."
   it will go forward by those singers that have absorbed the traditional singers style ,it will go forward by a continous movement and through cultural connections,the problem with just experimenting with two completely unconnected cultural styles [english unaccompanied traditional singing and rap]is that you end up with an eccentric collage with two styles that do not sit comfortably together,it is the equivalent of mixing strawberry jam with caviar,it ia gastronomic catastrophe,here we have a musical absurdity.
if the singer had decided to sing part of the song and talk the rest it may well have worked as an experiment,providing the singer was competent at both singing and story telling.
traditional music or any music[imo] can do without gimmicks or thoughtless experiments.
if we could have understood the rappers words and the accompanimment had been lower in the mix,it might possibly have worked better.
but why rap?what is the cultural connection between the two styles
mixing of styles can work,but generally the musicians have to be very good at both styles[which is unusual]most musicians are good at one style,can you imagine charlie parker trying to perform with martin Carthy?or Martin trying to play be bop,I am sure he could do it,but he would need to listen for a long time to absorb and be comfortable with it.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 03:10 PM

I play Music because its my life,I dont play or sing to make gimmicks or to do something that makes me lots of money.
Idont care what others do ,[thats their business,
but I reserve the right to speak my mind,when I dont like something without being called pompous or arrogant.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 03:32 PM

"To be honest, nothing much that gets said here in the name of "criticism" matters a whit,"

Precisely! I said exactly the same thing last time there was one of these arguments. People will buy the music of artists they like, irrespective of a couple of comments made on a discussion board.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 03:48 PM

Hi CrowSister.
Your fusion stuff sounds interesting.
Please let us all know when you've got something you'd like us to hear.
Regards Ralphie
I'll go to bed tonight safe in the knowledge that Dick thinks I'm a good concertina player, but not much of a singer...
Can't possibly disagree with that.
I'll sleep safely then. One out of Two isn't bad. (Never pretended to be a singer in the first place!)


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 03:52 PM

Cheers Ralphie, I'm not much of a purist after all, huh? Though I'm definitely a crank! ;-) Btw. 'Flat Earth' is a lovely piece of work.. Snooze sweetly!


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 03:56 PM

Ruth:
"?????"
Was referring to the cries of 'witchhunt' which apparently were an effort to place our boy above criticism - nothing more; we're all entitled to pro and con the argument however we see fit.
Will:
Thanks for that; for me it's what it's all about. So many people early in the revival were using folk music in the way it was always used - as a comment on what they saw around them; MacColl, Tawney, Ed Pickford… Matt McGinn in particular rang bells with me: I was an apprentice in the Liverpool shipyards when I heard songs like Swan Necked Valve, The Tea Break Strike and Foreman O'Rourke, which were saying what I was experiencing daily.
Then it appeared, (to me anyway) it all turned in on itself and became navel-gazing and private, concerned with the individuals' own particular angst rather than relating to all of us; a friend described in an article as feeling you wanted to "tap them on the shoulder and ask them for permission to come in".
I don't believe that's what folk song did; rather, it reflected the collective experience, so much so that it became relevant wherever the songs ended up. You only have to listen to Harry Cox's "And that's what the buggers thought of us", comment to Lomax after singing Betsy The Serving Maid to realise this to be the case.
Those of us involvd in this particular school of thought believed that folk song forms lent themselves to modern self-expression - that's why MacColl, Tawney, McGinn et al, composed the songs the way they did. One of the positive aspects of this as far as the clubs were concerned was that we could fill our clubs on the basis of songs that 'sounded' like folk - even though they weren't - it gave us the necessary consistency we believe we needed.
Your posting leaves a great deal of food for thought, so I'd like to come back to it later rather than end up with typer's cramp.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 04:10 PM

PS - Guildford - Maguire songs - not specifically as far as I'm aware but plenty from the Troubles, from within the NI communities (on both sides) and from sympathisers from afar.
The miners strike didn't appear to produce many from the mining communities as far as I am aware, apart from sloganising parodies, but plenty fom sympathetic outsiders.
Whether they have passed into any tradition depends on what happened to them at a later date - bit difficult with the miners after Thatcher scorched-earthed the industry.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Mouldy Bob
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 04:30 PM

Although I love a great deal of traditional British music, I just cannot get beyond this charade that it is still a living breathing naive entity - naive as in untouched by outside forces and sung unaware of outside forces. To me, a great deal of the folk purists seem to be intent on keeping the music exactly as it is - which is fine - but the falsehood comes when they pretend that in that setting it's a living, evolving tradition. It's not, no more than am-dram Shakespear is living and evolving.

Maybe these people should persue Antique Folk, where they get to preserve things exactly as they please - as close to source as possible. That's great - I thoroughly enjoy Antique Folk - especially Dick Miles' jumpers (seriously) - in fact, to me, the way it's sung often has a lot more meaning and feeling than the more exploratory, Ikea Folk.

And the Ikea Folk should get on with their exploration, happily acknowledging that times have changed completely in both a musical and social sense. Those days are gone, man. Me personally - there's a lot of this Ikea Folk I consider guff of the highest order, but I applaud their right to try. Some of it I love. i'd put M Carthy, Nic Jones, Ali Roberts all in the Ikea Folk category, but they're amongst the classic designs. There's also a whole raft of forgettable plastic cups.

I'm not suggesting two different genres really, just different types of furniture with different reasons for their design but the same heritage - somewhere to park yer arse and smoke pipe at the end of an evening.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Jim Redfern
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 05:18 PM

It's easy to assume that one has to look to the youngsters to be the manifestation of the answer to the question in the thread.I don't know what the future will be but the most innovative performers on the scene currently are The Claque with a combined age of about 230! The underground movement in traditional song,in particular,will probably retain the characteristics it has now,as long as respectful and awestruck singers like Jackie Oates continue to go and seek them out and reproduce their songs.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 10:03 PM

The same challenge to both ends of the spectrum -

Jim Carroll

I can also name you several excellent UK singers who have thrown up ther hands and left the scene in depair of what's happening.

Really? Tell us their names.

GUEST,Mouldy Bob

To me, a great deal of the folk purists seem to be intent on keeping the music exactly as it is

Really? Tell us their names.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Mouldy Bob
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 04:09 AM

The Folk Purists? Why, that'll be those who prefer to keep their folk pure. If the cap fits... No shame there.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Crowsis
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 04:19 AM

Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Mouldy Bob
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 04:30 PM

Nice post Mouldy & welcome to the forum too btw. :)


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 05:23 AM

"Really? Tell us their names."
Sorry Bryan - not really prepared to speak on their behalf. I hope they'll be noted by their absence.
Mouldy:
'Purist' is one of those meaningless labels that is convenient exactly because of its meaninglessness - a handy stick.....
The British tradition is more or less an unnacompanied one - in nearly fifty years I've known only a tiny handful of clubs that banned the use of instruments - other than that there has been a constant and innovative use of musical accompaniment, sometimes effective, sometimes not - not a great deal of purity there!
While a minutely small number of clubs over that time have concentrated just on traditional songs (usually as a precaution against being swamped by the singer-songwriter, mid- Atlantic mob), I've known few that would not have booked Eric Bogle, Cyril Tawney, MacColl, Seeger, Adam McNaughton, Tim Lyons, Con 'Fada' O'Drisceoil.... or any of the large army of writers of their own material who were and are composing using folk forms - pure - what pure?
Folk 'purists' are no different from those who, when they see a concert of chamber music avertised, expect to enjoy an evening of - well, chamber music, and if they are given a selection of 'Songs from the Shows', or 'A Night of Easy Listening' go home more than a little pissed off.
We use labels like 'folk' in order to exercise a choice in what we listen to, just as we use them so we know what tins to open, not to keep ourselves 'pure', whatever that means.
Welcome to the war Mouldy - now grab yer trenching spade and start digging!
Jim Carroll
PS Bryan - some way to backing up your argument that all is not the doom and gloom that I occasionally believe it to be - our local pub put on a show of music last night - two young women from the UK, 'Blyde Lasses', playing and singing Shetland music and song beautifully - highly recommended to all.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 05:32 AM

GUEST,Mouldy Bob

The Folk Purists? Why, that'll be those who prefer to keep their folk pure. If the cap fits...

Can't think of anybody that cap fits. Name names.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: mattkeen
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 05:42 AM

The deep entrenched divisions that are expressed here, amongst those who probably love lots of the same folk music, just encourages the myth that there is an "either or" choice between experimentation and traditional conventions in delivery

Its not either or
Only yesterday I had the lovely surprise of hearing 3 random songs in the car:
May Bradley: Under the Leaves
1st track of Bellowhead 1st album
then a track off a CD od West Gallery music that I have

it was all great to me

I didn't for one minute think that I had to choose
I know many might say they are just expressing what they like and they have the right to do that - but the repeated vehemence of these arguments suggests a deeper difference, and does, in fact, push people much closer to an either/or approach. It certainly does me and I don't like it.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 05:43 AM

While we're bandying names for traditionalists around, what about the so-called "elitists", "Folk nazi's", "folk police" and not to mention the scary "folk masons" and "folk mafia"!
"Purist" doesn't sound quite so bad when compared to those ;-)


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Mouldy Bob
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 06:20 AM

From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 05:32 AM

GUEST,Mouldy Bob

The Folk Purists? Why, that'll be those who prefer to keep their folk pure. If the cap fits...

Can't think of anybody that cap fits. Name names.

1.   Kurt Monfort
2.   Louisa Nickle
3.   Esmeralda Sherrard
4.   Darren Iannuzzi
5.   Rosalinda Dierking
6.   Amie Staff
7.   Jamie Kearley
8.   Marcie Hulme
9.   Clayton Plotkin
10.   Ted Wisener

There's 10 names for you Snail. I got them using this - http://www.kleimo.com/random/name.cfm If you need any more, help yourself.

JC - "Folk 'purists' are no different from those who, when they see a concert of chamber music advertised, expect to enjoy an evening of - well, chamber music, and if they are given a selection of 'Songs from the Shows', or 'A Night of Easy Listening' go home more than a little pissed off."

Yes, I agree. As I said, no harm there. I'm not really interested in arguing over labels - Folk Purists was the first thing that came into my head. Funnily enough, everyone seemed to know what I meant - I can see why the labels can be divisive and fun to pick over, of course... Curious though, what term would you use, for one who'd prefer his or her folk music unadulterated by outside influences from say, the last 50 years?

Cue uproarious & hilarious answers of Dull / Blinkered, etc - but those aside - I'm curious if there's a term you'd use? Not putting you in that bracket, not knowing you from Adam.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: theleveller
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 06:25 AM

Oh dear, back to the same old 'What is Folk' debate yet again. I hoped we'd be able to move on and talk about the future but, hey ho....(yawn).

Can't be arsed - talk amongst yourselves.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 06:37 AM

Taking the question at face value, it's a no-brainer. As the late and great Cajun fiddler Dewey Balfa once said: "A tradition is preserved one generation at a time". The future of folk music clearly lies with the succeeding generations, if only because Jim Moray and his age group will still (I hope) be playing and singing traditional songs and music when I, and Dick Miles, and Jim Carroll, are pushing up daisies. Then one day let's hope the generation beyond Jim Moray's will pick up the old material and do something different with it again.

It would be foolish to expect every successive generation to take the same approach to traditional material; each of us has a musical personality that's a product of the music that we've soaked up, whether that be MacColl, Carthy, 70s rock, minimalism or rap. The interesting thing will be to see what happens with the generation that did not grow up experiencing Fred Jordan or Lizzie Higgins or Walter Pardon at first hand. Will they be studying the archive recordings for style (as Sam Lee, Emily Portman and Lauren McCormick, for instance, have done)? Jon Boden and Fay Hield have booked Will Noble and John Cocking twice for their folk club, so they clearly think that the old style of performance is worth hearing and cherishing.

One of things I always liked about folk music is that each generation has always been prepared to learn from the previous one, and long may that continue, even as new experimental approaches are tested. As for 'purists', well, if you're going to apply that label to anyone who likes to simply stand up and sing an old song without accompaniment, then you're dismissing many of the greatest singers of our age according to a value judgement none of them would recognise. I suspect that way of singing a song will still hold its appeal however much technology gets showered over us.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 06:48 AM

"Curious though, what term would you use, for one who'd prefer his or her folk music unadulterated by outside influences from say, the last 50 years?"
Off the top of my head - non-existant.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Banjiman
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 06:57 AM

"One thing we (Kirkby Fleetham Folk Club) are doing though is sponsoring kids from the local school(s) to enter the Wensleydale Tournament of song. There is a junior class for unaccompanied traditional song.

This year there is only one entry (which is a tragedy) we have an aim of getting a minmum of 10 entries next year (including my daughter!). We'll do this by the club paying the entry fee and working with 3 or 4 of the local schools to identify potentially interested kids and give them some coaching."

Hopefully the Jim Moray "debate" has died down no. So I'll try again.

Anyone else working with under 12's to try and ensure trad (& broader folk) song has a future?


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: mattkeen
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 07:07 AM

Interestingly and in complete paradox to this thread what my children liked and enamoured them towards the music was the sense of togetherness and fun at folk concerts and festivals

We don't need to do anything much for the young adults except get out of their way


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 07:10 AM

Banjiman, I meant to respond to that post of yours last time, but we got a bit side-tracked! Yes, great initiative. Hopefully it will pick up in interest.

Like I said below, it would be lovely to see lots more similar moves encouraging a hands-on approach among regular peeps, and of course kids in particular. For me that's exactly what 'the future' of traditional song & music is all about. I keep thinking of capturing one of my little cousins to get them along to a song session before they suspect anything's amiss...


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 07:31 AM

The same challenge to both ends of the spectrum

and both failed.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 07:57 AM

"I hoped we'd be able to move on and talk about the future "
Leveller - you have to qualify your question before even approaching a conclusion - the future for what?
The defintion of 'folk' on this thread and elsewhere on Mudcat recently has ranged from centuries old ballads to Jumpin' Jack Flash and everything in between (and even later).
Surely we need to narrow it down a bit?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 09:49 AM

Anyone else working with under 12's to try and ensure trad (& broader folk) song has a future?
Yes I am doing it all the time teaching guitar singing banjo concertina mandolin


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 10:33 AM

Dick, is broader folk a pc term for the fat kids?


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: MikeL2
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 11:16 AM

Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Good Soldier Schweik - PM
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 09:49 AM

< "Anyone else working with under 12's to try and ensure trad (& broader folk) song has a future?
Yes I am doing it all the time teaching guitar singing banjo concertina mandolin " >

Dick I am pleased to hear thar you are sharing your experience with the future possible folk lovers.

I take my guitar to a couple of primary schools and try to teach the kids the rudiments of how to play the guitar. I don't teach them folk music as such but let's say it is folkish.

I am more concerned about teaching them to play music - I will leave it to them what they want to play.

Cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 11:29 AM

well i think basic fingerpickin and flat picking techniques are useful for all kinds of music,yes, those broader kids,very pc.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Crowsis
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 11:56 AM

"what happens with the generation that did not grow up experiencing Fred Jordan or Lizzie Higgins or Walter Pardon at first hand. Will they be studying the archive recordings for style"

Sound post from BrianP as usual.

I started out last year basically plundering traditional songs from recordings by revival bands (I never learned to read music as a kid). Later I began to acquire more material by traditional singers. In retrospect I really wish I'd have been able to use archive material from source singers from get go, because the 60's set a certain aesthetic spin on trad. songs which is all it's own, and now I've subliminally absorbed that I've found it harder to shake off than one might suppose. Even so with reference to 'style' I don't think I'll ever sound like - or indeed want to sound like - Lizzie Higgins for example. Although she's a fabulous singer, I'm reluctant to attempt to imitate a voice that simply isn't mine. Plus a lot of those recordings were done when these singers were elderly, they weren't singing at their peak. That link I posted below to Andrew King, I posted because I think his arrangements are very potent and evocative, but he really sounds as though he's imitating someone like A.L. Lloyd much too heavily for my taste. And I don't dig that at all. What's challenging for me right now, is finding my own voice through all of the variables. Maintaining a positive balance between valuing tradition and personal creativity. I reckon everyone who comes to this music - be they an amateur dabbler like me, or a professional musician - is inevitably going to be confronted with the tension posed between these supposed opposite positions we have been discussing here. And I think it will be that very tension, that will keep traditional musics alive and kicking in the future.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 06:55 AM

to understand any music you have to go back its roots,in the case of folk music[imo]that means listening to traditional musicians and singers and absorbing their treatment of the songs.
before you can experiment is it is necessary to know where youare coming from,plus your experimentation has to have some connection to the roots of the music.
for example jazz continues to experiment,on occassions it uses twelve bar blues format,however it doesnt necessarily have to sound like blind lemon jefferson and frequently doesnt,but it is still a twelve bar blues,but if the player has listened to the roots of blues,he is [imo]more likely to undertstand that blues is supposed to be an expression of the players feelings,not just an intellectual exercise or an excuse to demonstrate his virtousity,an undertstanding of music roots can help the player to perform better music
if you want to become a good opera singer,listen to opera singers if you want to be a jazz singer listen to jazz singers,if you want to be a folk singer go back to the roots of the music and listen


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 07:19 AM

I'm experimenting with a friend of mine at the mo' using what they call Musique Concrete as a kind of aural scenic setting to ballads.. It's sounding pretty strange and abstract right now. I'm not sure if it will ultimately work but and I've threatened Jim Carroll with it, once it's done so he can be horrified by me horribly assaulting these poor helpless old songs!

Musique Concrete as song accompaniment is what MacColl and Parker were doing in the Radio Ballads with all those sound effects, only they didn't call it that. (For that matter, their mix of song and spoken word was pretty similar to what a folksong/rap fusion achieves).


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 09:17 AM

but you could understand the words of the radio ballads.
[For that matter, their mix of song and spoken word was pretty similar to what a folksong/rap fusion achieves).
that is your opinion it is not undisputed fact ,the rap is amixture of spoken word and mechanical cacophony[thats my opinion].


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: mattkeen
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 12:02 PM

Absolutely spot on Jack

I can understand the words of the rap, Dick
You should get out more


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Ian
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 12:17 PM

First of all, tongue almost in cheek... but makes you think; Jim Carroll mentioned music as from centuries old ballads to Jumping Jack Flash and even later. Quite; as Jumping Jack Flash was released as a single 42 years ago. I suspect there are many songs people reckon are traditional, having heard them all their lives, that are younger than that song!

To try and say what I said earlier in the thread but to try and make it more coherent, (and not be berated by saying real ale fascists this time....)

The future of folk music is reasonably safe. The future of folk culture as experienced by most of the followers is not so safe, mainly because it is growing old with its followers. You can teach old dogs new tricks, and listening to Martin Carthy with Imagined Village is my way of proving it to myself, exciting, good to listen to and reaching out to interest a large number of people in music with folk roots.

However, the British folk tradition of sitting with a pint and singing away may not last as long as much older traditions such as Morris dancing or traditional arts & crafts. Why? Because those who enjoy sitting in the upstairs of a pub singing have a bloody good night and enjoy it to the full represent folk culture to most other people. Quite rightly so. But some of it is habit, some of it is nostalgia, all of it is a comfortable feeling for certain people. Younger people do get involved. I may be nearly 50 now, but a whippersnapper in the company of my friends over the years.   Not sure it can expand in the way it did in the '60s and '70s though.

Music = safe.
Lifestyle = as long as you can dodge coffins.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 12:31 PM

As I look at the line ups being announced for some 'folk' festivals, I am strating to think it is time to be worried about the future of folk music. When you see things like 'The Divine Comedy' as the headline act for Moseley 'folk' festival. Excellent as they are, it is not exactly folk music!

Is it time to start telling festival organisers that we want to put the 'folk' back into festivals?

I am all in favour of 'modernising the tradition' as part of a folk/rock band, but the music we perform is largely traditional, but let's stop passing things of as folk that simply are not.

End of rant.

John


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 12:48 PM

Jack - that's jolly interesting about the radio ballads, I wasn't aware of that. Sounds like it might be worthwhile me checking them to see how MaCcoll & Co worked with adding sound textures to ballads.

"However, the British folk tradition of sitting with a pint and singing away may not last as long"

Maybe so. Though pub trad. music sessions seem to be filled with young bright things wielding fiddles & bodhrans etc. The interest in singing trad. song amongst younger generations is currently far less by comparison, but it could easily kick off in the same way. Maybe I'm being a bit unrealistic in thinking that the commercial 'buy me' side of folk and the people 'play me' side of folk will not forever be bound at the hip, with the former inevitably driving interest in the latter. Though if there were more initiatives involving education of kids and people in general about trad. music/song in England in particular, that might change and we could potentially end up with a situation more akin to that which our Celtic neighbours are currently enjoying.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,glueperson
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 01:57 PM

One of the things I enjoy about the blues is the distortion of lyrics, sometimes to the verge of incomprehension. Linguistic sense is only one way of putting across meaning.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 02:06 PM

Gluey: "One of the things I enjoy about the blues is the distortion of lyrics, sometimes to the verge of incomprehension. Linguistic sense is only one way of putting across meaning."

One of the things I enjoy about traditional song is the freaking weirdness of some of the lyrics which provoke koan-like incomprehension - that in itself makes me want to go back and find out WTF was that all about? The other thing I like about it, is the fact that no-one would ever write some of these songs again. I mean, who the hell would write about screwing their sister, then slicing her up like sandwich ham before promptly fucking off after she got pregnant?


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 02:11 PM

PS: Err, well maybe Nick Cave or even Kate Bush or something.. but definitely not your achetypical folk singer-songwriter IMO.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,glueperson
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 02:17 PM

One of the things that put me off folk, at least as youngster, was the fine pronunciation of song lyrics on the BBC radio children's service. Kathleen Ferrier singing 'I Know Where I'm Going' springs to mind or the Glasgow Orpheus Choir or any number of infant school teachers killing the English language with clarity.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 02:27 PM

Gluey: "One of the things that put me off folk, at least as youngster, was the fine pronunciation of song lyrics on the BBC radio children's service."

Lol! I remember 'Music Time' with Christopher Lilycrap (real name!) as a kid. It was appallingly bad in the worst condescending school ma'm sense. However I must confess that I myself do sing so all the words can be properly heard - possibly an inheritance from singing the odd bit of choral stuff. I also have an accent almost verging on RP.. if I'm not very drunk!


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Tootler
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 02:47 PM

From: GUEST,glueperson - PM
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 02:17 PM

One of the things that put me off folk, at least as youngster, was the fine pronunciation of song lyrics on the BBC radio children's service. Kathleen Ferrier singing 'I Know Where I'm Going' springs to mind or the Glasgow Orpheus Choir or any number of infant school teachers killing the English language with clarity.

I know exactly what you mean. It was a case of being over precise in pronunciation. I think it is a result of stressing the importance of "correct" enunciation of the words and singing the notes accurately which then resulted in a somewhat sterile performance. The overall result was that the meaning of the song got lost.

Clarity of the words is important but, equally important is to convey your understanding of the song as a whole.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 03:16 PM

Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: mattkeen - PM
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 12:02 PM

Absolutely spot on Jack

I can understand the words of the rap, Dick
You should get out more
sounds like someone telling me wahat to do.
I will decide what I do,thanks.
so would you like it, if I tell you what to do,IN ANGLO SAXON.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Tootler
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 06:06 PM

I too have difficulty understanding what rappers are saying much of the time.

I think sometimes that is deliberate. They are addressing a restricted audience and they are not keen that a wider audience understands them.

This is not always the case, but it often is, IMO.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 06:27 PM

"I think sometimes that is deliberate."

Blimey!
Are we not familiar here with dialect in folk? I know I find the question of addressing dialect a challenging thing - don't know about anyone else?

Sure hope the Scot's Irish & Welsh ain't just speaking in barmy accents to make some kind of rebellious point!
Not that I could blame them mind.. ;-)


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 04:35 AM

I had no intention of putting J M's Lucy Wan to the rack and thumbscrews, or did deride it – my response was to somebody putting it up as a good piece of ballad singing which I don't believe it was.
It may be quite true that rap treatment to a story such as this could work, I don't believe it could using the existing texts of ballads because of the way they are so tightly structured that if you miss anything - even a few words, you can lose the whole ballad. Dick is not alone in needing to get out more; there are many of us who have difficulty in following the words.
Anyway, this isn't 'rap', rather it's a hybrid; it starts off with a (rather mannered IMO) unaccompanied voice, moves into a rap, then ends up with one of the most intrusive pieces of accompaniment I've heard in a while. I have great difficulty taking it seriously due to its schizophrenic structure. For me a comparison not too far from the subject matter is Oedipus Rex - far closer to Tom Lehrer than to Sophocles.
Cards on the table; after thirty odd years of fieldwork I have no doubt whatever that, apart from a tiny handful of 'custom songs' and those sung at sporting gatherings or in the schoolyard, the singing traditions of these islands are as dead as Monty Python's Norwegian Blue. They died when people stopped making songs that reflected their lives and events of their communities and passing them on to enable others to adapt them to serve the same purpose; they died when they/we sat back and let others make their/our culture for them/us, becoming passive recipients of a manufactured 'product' culture rather than relying on the innate talents we all posess.
Walter Pardon said he saw it disappearing in his area in the early thirties when his contemporaries turned their backs on the family songs and took up the latest in popular music, leaving the older members of his family to sing the old songs at Christmas parties until finally they all died. The songs would have died with them if he hadn't taken the trouble to systematically write them down and memorise the tunes on his melodeon.      
The singing traditions died here in rural Ireland in much the same way with the disappearance of the 'cuirt', the inter-neighbour house visit, usually held in the kitchen, that was the natural home of singing, dancing and storytelling.
The Travelling communities, due almost entirely to their rather isolated life-styles, were the last to lose their traditions, finally surrendering them to 'the box in the corner' in the mid-seventies.
They didn't 'evolve' into anything else; they were replaced with shop-bought culture. If they had 'evolved' they would have been re-defined, researched and documented and somebody would have been able to point to that research, re-definition and documentation, rather than rely on 'folk and tradition are what I say they are', or 'what happens at our club', or 'what the man-in-the-street says it is' (in my experience, the man-in-the-street says little on the subject, but is content to leave it to those involved).
Sure, family sing-songs still happened – and happen, and pub singing (television, piped music and pool permitting), and all the other gatherings where people socialise, and sometimes these include our old folk songs - they always have; Victorian tavern gatherings, the Vauxhall Gardens 'fringe', (even as early as actress, Mrs Knipp who sang the old Scotch ballad, Barbara Allen for Pepys) but this is very different from the vast repertoire of songs that were created and re-created by working people to articulate their lives and feelings and aspirations.
Our culture got 'Barry Bucknalled', shifted up into the attic to make room for newer, disposable stuff that we no longer had a hand in creating. It is argued, here and elsewhere that this is a good thing, that the old songs no longer have a use simply because they are 'old'. If this is true, I hope they leave enough room up there for Shakespeare, and Homer, and Dickens, and Bach…. and all the other stuff that has reached the end of its shelf-life.
For a long time the clubs saw the value, as a social resource, as a means of self-expression and as entertainment, of hanging on to the old songs, their functions and their methods of creation and re-creation, and it was great while it lasted. But, if threads like this are to be believed, that's been shifted up to the attic too, to be replaced by something that is more akin to the store bought goods – and every bit as disposable - if this is true, pity, we've abandoned a great source of self expression and creation.
I don't believe it's gone entirely; Bryan Creer keeps telling me it's still around. If you want to see it in action, I see two of the great exponents of traditional singing at its best, Kevin and Ellen Mitchell are booked at Long Eaton on 2nd May to show how good it can be when someone sets their mind to it, wish we could be there.
Now - as our OP said earlier - talk among yourselves - I'm off to clear some land drains if the good weather holds up.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 05:25 AM

Hi Jack Campin and Crowsister.
Also worth checking out the John Tams revisit of the Radio Ballads from a couple of years ago. (available to buy).
In one episode called "Song of Steel" (iirc), the rhythm of the song is a steam hammer in a Sheffeld foundery. Must have been an archive recording, as Thatcher closed them down years ago.
A really fine example of "Musique Concrete"
The singers and musicians on that series of programmes (6 hours plus one about the Miners strike broadcast last month). made a completely valid input to what is happening to modern day ballads.
I'll let you go and find them.
As for Mr Miles comment about "going back to your routes, and listening to traditional singers and musicians"....OK...Have done that..For many many years. Jolly good too. and I have assimilated all that I have learnt, and allied that to what I am hearing today in 2010....It's called the Folk Process.
Learn from the past and added to the present. Nowt wrong with that.
If people choose to use electronica, rap, grunge, death metal, or anything else, what is your problem? No one is dragging you in chains and sticking your head in an enourmous speaker stack, are they?
If you don't like it, don't listen to it, very simple.
But, don't go dissing those people that want to take that path. Some of it, doesn't float my boat. I admit. But having spent 30 odd years recording John Peel sessions for a living, I've learnt to remove the blinkers. Every artist who came through Maida Vale was / still is treated with the greatest respect, whether it be the Copper Family or Oasis.
I don't "Have" to absorb anything...because I do it constantly, without thinking. And then I mould my music (Whether tunes or accompaniments) as I see fit, in a way that I like.
If you don't like it, don't bloody listen to it then.

I couldn't give a damn as to whether it fitted 1954, yours, Jim Carrolls, Ewan McColls , or indeed Uncle Tom Cobbleys definition.

But, I look forward to hearing the music of more opened minded posters material. Am intrigued by Crowsister for instance. Nothing wrong with the path she wants to pursue. CS. Let me know if you want me to record you...happy too.

Out of here now. Have got an incredibly non PC Urban Molly rehearsal to go too. (Where the band wrote all the tunes, and the dancers wrote all the dances. Oooooh how dreadful, should be doing Cotswold)

And, do you know what? I'm really looking forward to it.
(BTW, our absent Patron, because he lives in Donegal, and is 93, is Packie Manus Byrne. And 25 years ago, he joined in with the band and thought we where brilliant. You can't get more traditional than that....even found the Blue Bowler hat that he made for me, and the Lagerphone too!)


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 05:51 AM

Message to Jim Carroll.
Quote
"Apart from a tiny handful of 'custom songs' and those sung at sporting gatherings or in the schoolyard, the singing traditions of these islands are as dead as Monty Python's Norwegian Blue. They died when people stopped making songs that reflected their lives and events of their communities and passing them on to enable others to adapt them to serve the same purpose; they died when they/we sat back and let others make their/our culture for them/us, becoming passive recipients of a manufactured 'product' culture rather than relying on the innate talents we all posess."

I refer the Honourable member to the answer I gave some moments ago.
Jim, just go and find the John Tams hommage to MacColls original Radio Ballads.

1 The Song Of The Steel.
2 The Enemy that lies within (Hiv/Aids)
3 The Horn of the Hunter.
4 Swings and Roundabouts. (Circus life).
5 Songs Of Conflict. (Northern Ireland)
6 Shipyards.

And the new one about the the anniversary of the Miners Strike.

If you want, I'll send you them. But, don't tell me that the folk process is dead.
It's just insulting to the many fine songwriters who are providing songs for future generations.
Maybe with guitars, synthesisers whatever.
People are angry, and angry people write angry songs. every day. It'll never stop.
Long may it continue.
If you want to bury your head in the past, please, carry on.
Me? I'll hold my head up high, and embrace the music and talent that I see around me now.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 07:50 AM

The new radio ballads took as their inspiration the old radio ballads which, at the admittance of their makers, were revival based, which in those days, took their inspiration from the handful of remaining 'song carriers' many of which, even then, had never been involved in an active thriving folk tradition. Which makes the radio ballads - how many times rmoved from a living song tradition - I've lost count.
Got them and listened to them all with great interest - thanks all the same.
By the way, it is not my, nor MaColl's, nor your Uncle's definition - the one that's been kicking round since the 1830s, that provided us with our first contact to folk song via the revival, the one that all our research, literature and published and archived collections are based on and the one that still remains valid until it's replaced - care to have go?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 08:15 AM

"If you don't like it, don't bloody listen to it then."
Meant to add - this in not about taste - hopefully we all listen to (or don't) whatever we like, no matter how it is defined.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 08:19 AM

"dont go dissing those people who want to choose that path",Ralph Jordan.
Sorry,Ralph but you cannot shut me up,I reserve the right to say I dont like something,All perfromers have to put up with that.
I did/do not like particularly some things that you have been involved in,that doesnt alter the fact that I recognise you are a good concertina player,I do not like Peter Pears treatment of WALY WALY,however he is a good competent light opera singer,I have a right the same as any critic to air my opinion.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gHTw9XjKMc
I do not see that as the future of folk music either,because it has no connection stylistically with the roots of uk traditional music, neither [imo]does Jim morays inclusion of rap in lucy wan,just an opinion.
performers have to live with opinions and criticism.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 09:16 AM

Hiya Ralphie, I've been advised by someone who knows, that I should definitely take you up on your offer. To quote: "He's an incredibly experienced and skilled sound engineer - who is a proper folk musician yet has wonderfully broad & eclectic musical taste..."
Sounds good to me! I can't log in, and I don't want to put my email up on the board in case of spam & other unwanted rubbish. So if you're genuinely happy to work with me, please get in touch with Irene. I'll let her know on my side too & remind her of my email address so she can pass it on to you. Now I'm just toddling off & won't be back on here for a while, so have a good day & hopefully chat more laters? Cheers! :-) x


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 04:08 PM

Jom Carroll.
Thankyou...I think we are just arguing semantics here. And I certainly think that if one was to pick a year, 1830, is vastly preferable to 1954!!
Of course the work that you, and many others do is absolutely vital.
In my own way, I'm an archivist too. Not in the way that you see it, but in the audio field, as and when I can.
I'm glad that you've heard the new "Folk Ballads". For myself they have more relevance than the Parker ones, because they refer to subjects that are of the "now". When Parker/McColl did the originals, I was only 6 or 7 years old. But I certainly remember the dismembering of the shipyards, the steelworks, etc,etc.
as I've said before, You research the old, combine it with the new, and end up with the future. That's the way it is. People can rage against it, but, that's what will happen.
I, for one, trust that people in the future will, whilst on the one hand, take the music in their own direction, many of them will respect where it came from.
So, I doff my cap to you, and John Howson, Reg Hall, and many others for the work you do.
If there was any justice, then the EFDSS would get shit loads of lottery funding, and a central archive could be funded...(could even include Doc Rowes stuff too)


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Whovian
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 04:55 PM

The future of Folk Music is countless millions of years beyond the end of time,
many star systems away at the edge of our dimensional universe.

If it turns out the most dominant Folk singers in that distant future are Daleks,
then as interesting as the prospect might be,
I don't think many of us would want to listen to an entire CD*

[* or whatever the playback medium might be.;
of course, if we all had the good luck to be The Dr's travelling companion
and were trusted to use the sonic screwdriver .....]


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 06:31 PM

Howard said everything I wanted to say (irritatingly enough) in this comment. I think the point I'd want to stress is that things are being treated as if they're mutually exclusive, when they're actually complementary. To be more specific, I don't actually like Jim Moray's version of Lord Bateman, but I'm immeasurably grateful to him for not only recording it but doing something sonically interesting with it - because it was through his recording that I discovered that song, & it was through his interpretation* of it that I became fascinated with it. Having listened to the track repeatedly & listened to other versions of the song, I find it's the other versions that I prefer - but if it wasn't for Jim M's version I would never have had any interest in seeking out those other versions.

A couple of people have said that versions of folk songs in 'contemporary' styles will date, just as 'modern' versions from the 1960s and 1970s have dated; and other people have said that, although those versions have dated, the songs have survived. What I want to say is that that's actually *how* the songs have survived - and how they will survive. As far as I'm concerned, the songs don't need new arrangements - the plain, spare, unadorned readings of artists like Nic Jones, June Tabor and Tony Rose are all the adornment they need (and some would say we should eschew even that level of frippery and stick to the source singers). But I'm speaking (now) as someone who already loves the songs. To anyone who hasn't already acquired the taste, new arrangements are exactly what the songs need, and will continue to need. (Sweet England is the only folk CD I've dared to play in the car with my family - in that context there's something very satisfying about the bit where the beats drop in on Early One Morning...)

I also just wanted to say that Jim Moray won my eternal respect and gratitude by making one small modification to On One April Morning -

Young men are false and we seldom do prove true

Anyone else want to volunteer to sing that version?

*Textually, it has to be said, Jim M's Bateman is very orthodox - Child 53L word for word.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 06:55 PM

In the U.S. kids are popping up all over the place. Many play bluegrass, blues and old-time.
They are not all trying to be pop stars or the next Dylan. Where I live, near Atlanta, there are some wonderful young fiddlers. Just because it's not on the radio much doesn't mean that
it's not happening. It is!

The future looks brighter and brighter as more history and materials become available.
When I was younger you really had to search for authentic folk music. Now, a lot of what we tried to find is readily available. YouTube is amazing.

I don't really know the Brit folkmusic scene but here in the States you can find it without the radio.

I need to remind the posters here that folkmusic and songs are not confined to the U.S.
or Great Britain. Sweden is finding a renaissance. Africa is. Slavic countries.

Folk music continues in spite of it's Mark Twain demise. (Greatly exaggerated).


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 04:56 AM

Ralphie
"So, I doff my cap to you,"
Thank you for your good wishes, but just a reminder that we are not archeologists or museum curators - we've all got a great deal out of singing and listening to the songs as well as collecting and archiving them - (Mike Yates plays a mean banjo and Reg Hall has been known to knock out a few notes here and there in his time).
I have no doubt that the old songs will still be sung and played more or less in the way they came into this world all those centuries ago, long after Jim M and his friends have become bored and moved on to something else, pretty much in the way Steeleye, Pentangle, Mr Fox and The Bothy Band has, (I'll be seeing Paddy Keenan play in his old breathtaking style next month, and Tommy Peoples can still knock your eye out with his old Donegal fiddle style).
Regarding the Radio Ballads, old and new, despite having enjoyed some of them and finding all of them interesting and relevant in their way, it's The Travelling People, Singing the Fishing and The Big Hewer that spring to mind whenever they come up in conversation, despite them being 'museum pieces'. The Travelling People did much to help change Travellers lives for the better, or at least to make the rest of us aware of the criminal way they are treated by us 'buffers'. From a musical point of view, the songs that passed into the general conciousness were Freeborn Man, Shoals of Herring and The Moving On Song - they almost certainly would have become 'traditional' if we'd still had a tradition for them to take root in. As much as the new Radio Ballads did a job, I can't honestly think of a song from any of them that I would want to sing or that will be around in the forseeable future - maybe you can.
I think and hope that the old songs are resiliant enough to survive, no matter what is done to them. Last year the theme of our local West Clare Traditional Singing Festival was 'Families' and some of Ireland's best Sean Nós (Old Style) singers brought their children along to perform, and we watched as a bunch of yougsters brought the house down by singing beautifully - like vererans who sounded as if they had been doing it for centuries; "the plain, spare, unadorned readings" shone through like headlights on main beam thoughout the weekend (nicely put Pip).
The UK really could learn from what has happend during the last few years over here; it's the Irish Government that has been 'throwing money' at folk music to make sure it will be preserved and still be sung and played generations from now - all done through undertanding, respect, hard work and concentration by a bunch of people who realise what our music is and what it means to the Irish people rather than what can be done with it to make it 'modern'. It was modern when it came out of the womb and remains so centuries later without needing to be 'blinged up' and dressed up in the latest fashions.
Anyway, here's to the songs - that's what we're all here for as far as I'm concerned.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 06:42 AM

Pip said
> As far as I'm concerned, the songs don't need new arrangements - the plain, spare, unadorned readings of artists like Nic Jones, June Tabor and Tony Rose are all the adornment they need (and some would say we should eschew even that level of frippery and stick to the source singers). <

I'll go along with that. I would add that some of the recordings of source singers are pretty rough in one way or another, whether or not due to their ages at the times when they were recorded, so sometimes I think I prefer some measure of polish. Anyway that's a matter of taste. As Pip, Jim and others have said, it's the songs that matter. The more people who perform them, in styles close to or not so close to the tradition, the better the chance that future generations will acquire the taste.

State sponsorship, as in Ireland, would be wonderful if done right, but heaven help us from the Red Army Choir approach.

Pip also quoted Jim Moray's
"Young men are false and we seldom do prove true".
and asked
> Anyone else want to volunteer to sing that version? <

Presuming that "we" means young men, then those of us who aren't young men can't apply it to ourselves. And those of us (if any here) who are young men probably would claim that they will prove true.

Or does it mean that the human race in general seldom do prove true? That would be too cynical for me.

Richard


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 06:52 AM

the future of fok music hopefully will be this;
people making and singing tunes and songs for their own enjoyment,not solely for commercial gain,and on instruments that are available at very little money[the unaccompanied human voice].
this is where unaccompanied singing comes in to its own,it is truly the music of the people,it can be done by anyone [regardless of income] anywhere any time.
of course folk music can still be played on expensive instruments and can be used solely as a way of making money,but[imo]it will b emusic that can be sung unaccompanied ,whistled lilted etc that will survive because it is not exclusive,it can be done by anyone regardless of income.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 06:55 AM

to continue,why are ukeleles now popular in schools? becuase they are relatively cheap, and fun to play,and have the potential to make intersting music.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 06:56 AM

Jim.
Fair enough old fruit! (ripening gently!!)
You are obviously luckier in Eire, when it comes to funding (although with Greece going down the pan, and the Euro looking dodgy, that might change!)
We may disagree on a few points, but, I would happily raise a glass or two with you, if we ever had the chance to meet.
I think that on many subjects we agree.
The tradition, needs to be archived and preserved.
But, whatever we may think. The next generation will pick it up and run with it. There is nothing we can do about that,
We may not like it, but, that changes nothing.
I don't know how old you are (I'm 56), but in 20 years time, neither of us will be here....(OK lets hope for 30!)
Can we change the future?
Nope.
All we can do is leave our interpretations of "our" collective pasts, and cast them forward.
I'd love to comeback in 200 years (assuming that the bloody political powers haven't blown us all to bits!), and see what the musicians and singers of the future have made of all of this.
Seeing as how the internet is everlasting, and all this bollocks is still in existence, and is being read by someone in 2210.....What would they make of it all??
(Would probably think that their ancestors were mad!)

HELLO FUTURE....NOW ARE YOU DOING?
GREAT GRANDAD CALLING!!! Lol!

Have a good Sunday Jim.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 07:18 AM

"State sponsorship, as in Ireland, would be wonderful if done right, but heaven help us from the Red Army Choir approach."
Agreed absolutely Richard - but it really doesn't have to be like that.
Up to the present financial debacle performers and researchers have called the tune completely with no state interference (apart from having to be nice to the relevant minister on occasion).
We were told 18 months ago that to ask for money for legitimate projects was pushing at an open door - we pushed, the result being that we now have the groundwork for several publishing projects completed.
We are reaping the benefit of the hard work put in by Nicholas Carolan, Tom Munnelly, Paddy Glackin and all those dedicated enough to slog their way uphill while the music was still being referred to as "that diddley-di shit" by politicians and art aficionados alike.
And no Ralphie – it needs much more than to be archived and preserved. If it is to be treated as the performed art it is it needs to be more than an appendage to an unimaginative pop music industry and to be performed and seen at its best in all its manifestations. The breakthrough here was brought about by researchers, academics and performers who took the music deadly seriously while still enjoying it to the full – and they didn't go in for definition-bending in order to incorporate Daniel O'Donnell and Jedward into their terms of reference.
"I'd love to comeback in 200 years....."
Me too - hopefully they will find it as beautiful an inspiring as we did and not in too much need of 'improvement'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 08:02 AM

PS Cheers to you too Ralphie.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 08:04 AM

And congratuatons on the 200 you just didn't claim
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 08:11 AM

"the future of folk music hopefully will be this;
people making and singing tunes and songs for their own enjoyment,not solely for commercial gain,and on instruments that are available at very little money[the unaccompanied human voice].
this is where unaccompanied singing comes in to its own,it is truly the music of the people,it can be done by anyone [regardless of income] anywhere any time."

Nice post there GSS.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 10:57 AM

Richard M: Presuming that "we" means young men, then those of us who aren't young men can't apply it to ourselves.

That was my point! The now vanished Suibhne pointed out a few times that he found he was still the 'baby' of most song sessions, despite being born in 1961. I'm suggesting gently that it ill becomes gents of mature years like me (born 1960) to lay down the law to people young enough to be our children.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Callitfolk
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 11:12 AM

Hi Everyone, I'm new here but I had to chime in on this thread. I have a folk music audio blog, called Call it Folk (Music). The purpose of my blog is to introduce older fans, of which I certainly am, to the younger performers, and to expose the younger singer-songwriters to the folks who have laid the way for them.

After 40 years of knowing, listening, and performing in the folk medium, I'm now discovering a world of music out there, from the "kids", that I think will carry the torch. Sure, many of them have lousy voices, they can't write topical or accessible songs, and they can't play their instrument well enough to hold the audience solo....but...there are some real gems out there, too, and they are still in their 20s. A big change already taking place, is that solo performers are using monikers,,,,so it seems as if they are a band. And so many of them get lost on the older crowd, as we are prone to identify "folk-singers" as individuals with names, and we often disregard oddly named "bands".

The best of these younger performers, somehow, are able to write and deliver very good songs, in many cases, without the knowledge of 90% of the performers who've gone before them. They've never heard of Nic Jones, Gordon Bok, Stan Rogers, or the thousand other writers and singers we are familiar with. But for these younger performers, it's intuitive, to write with a strong voice, and to make their lyrics dynamic. Sometimes, the songs come across as a blend of folk and pop, yet compelling and evocative. There are examples of younger performers using nylon strung guitars (think Laura Gibson), or acoustics that are mic'd, without the twangy soundhole pickups, etc.

The best of these performers, having gained some notoriety with there own (good) songs, go on to "discover" the music that preceeded them, and, in turn, produce more great songs. I suspect Folk Music, both trad and contemporary, will outlive us and survive in about the same form as we know it today. But of course, it will be just as underappreciated and obscure as well. If you've read this far, I apologize for the rant. I love reading these posts. You folks know from where you speak! John O'Hara

Call it Folk Blog


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 01:02 PM

I know I gripe a lot on this forum - it's not because I'm a crabby old git, I'm not, but out of love for the music and the sheer frustration in seeing it work so well here in Ireland and not in my native UK.
So - a modest proposal - as the man from Christchurch once wrote.
In 1973 a local piper, Willie Clancy from here in Miltown Malbay died at quite an early age. Instead of putting up a statue or a plaque and then forgetting him, a handful of locals got together and organised a school, mainly for pipers, but other instruments included.
This year, on the first Monday in July the 38th annual week-long Willie Clancy Summer School will take place; thousands of people from all over the world will converge on this one-street town to play music, to sing, to attend lectures, recitals and the giant concert on the Saturday. Over a thousand of them will attend classes in all the traditional istruments given by some of the finest musicians in Ireland. In the early days it was possible to get a seat in the handful of bars where the action took place - nowadays you have to queue up to get into town and all the bars are packed solid. The Willie Clancy Summer School not only provides a wonderful week of music and song, but has been a major influence in the upturn in the fortunes of traditional music in Ireland (and of the town - whenever we are away and tell people where we live they invariably say "Oh yes, the home of traditional Irish music") It has also inspired several dozens of similar events throughout Ireland, some dedicated to local musicians and singers (Joe Heaney, The Russell family, Joe Cooley, Mrs Crotty, Mrs Galvin....)
It strikes me that it is not beyond the bounds of possibilty to organise similar events in the UK located in the home place of say Sam Larner (Winterton), Harry Cox, (Catfield/Potter Heigham), Walter Pardon (Knapton), Charlie Wills (Ryall, Dorset), Phil Tanner, (Llangennith), George Maynard, (Copthorn), Ned Adams/Johnny Doughty (Brighton and Hastings).... dozens of them well worth honouring for their contribution to folk song. It doesn't have to be a specific singer - a Brigg Fair festival/weekend, whatever sounds good to me; something that a town or village could identify with.
It doesn't have to be ambitious, just a handful of enthusiasts for a start would do it. Involve the locals, family members if possible ( a must in my opinion), try for some local sponsorship - give it some academic cred. with a couple of talks (nothing heavy) and you might even attract some arts council money.
I wouldn't dream of speaking for them but I'm sure that some of the national figures in folk music would donate their time to getting such a project started - the people I worked with in the UK would and often did for similar causes.
The main thing, I think would be not to try to please all of the people all of the time - specialise, if possible around the singer's repertoire.
The success of The Willie Clancy Summer School has been that in spite of pressures from all sides it has never compromised - result - 38 wonderful schools and wall-to-wall music in this area throughout the year (including a huge bunch of youngsters, many of whom were taught by pupils of the early Clancy Schools) and a knock-on effect throughout Ireland.
Worth considering I wonder? The very least you could acheive is a pleasant week-end in the company of fellow enthusiasts; in my experience, most folkies are social animals and make pleasant companions - even the ones with smelly feet and halitosis.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 03:19 PM

Jim, I think that's exactly the sort of thing that it would be nice to see more of. In Essex we have the villages of RVW's early collections to possibly work thematically with. I'm not experienced enough to try to organise such a thing, though I'd certainly be willing to help out someone that was.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 03:52 PM

The repertoire of Alva (Vivien Ellis & Giles Lewin) is based in part on the RVW collections. As natives of Essex they did a R4 (or 3) broadcast not long ago but don't gig all that much. They are, however, at the Isles of Scilly festival over Easter weekend if you fancied nipping down the A30. There are, however, a growing number of English country music weekends scattered around where the emphasis is rather more on instrumental sessions and workshops than on song.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Tootler
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 07:29 PM

I came across this from Mike Harding. It is pertinent to this thread and provides food for thought.

I'm writing this on the last day of a visit to the USA and writing it - what's more - in a bit of a state of shock.

I was at a children's party the other day in a room full of 5-7 year old children and a good time was had by all; plenty of running round and games like Pass the Parcel and Musical Statues. Lots of good fun.

What shocked me was that during one of the games, the children were asked to sing a nursery rhyme, and they didn't know one single song all the way through!

They could all tell me that the song played during Pass the Parcel was by Lady Gaga, but not one of them could sing something simple all the way through.

One or two of them managed half a verse of Baa Baa Black Sheep but that was it!

I have to say that my own two grandsons managed better - largely because I sing lots of songs with them including a naughty one about three black cats coming knocking on the door.

But for a generation of American (and I suspect British) children, the nursery rhyme seems to be a thing of the past...


You can read the rest here

I think it is not unrelated to the fact that people seem to have stopped singing as they go about their everyday activities, (something my grandmother and my mother both used to do, though my mother stopped in later years) and, as a result, don't sing to their children.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 04:28 AM

When we moved here a dozen years ago we were surprise on our first Boxing Day (St Stephen's Day here) to get a knock on the door and be greeted by bunches of children chanting a rhyme, or quite often a carol or a fragment of a chilren's song accompanied by a request for "a penny for the wren", this being the survival of the ancient ceremony where, way back, men of the locality wold go out, catch a wren, kill it and pin it to a stick, using it as a device for begging money to pay for refreshments for the 'wren supper' a week later (the barbarism of killing the bird disappeared sometime round the turn of the 19th-20th century and was replaced with the use of a piece of tinsel or coloured paper). I believe that the ceremony survived last in the UK in the Isle of Man.
The song the children sang here was often inappropriate to the ceremony, seldom complete and was never the custmary one;

The Wren, the Wren, the King of all birds,
St Stephen's day was caught in the furze,
Up with the kettle and down with the pan,
We need a penny to bury the wren.
etc,

Nowadays there has been a slow return of troups of skillful young musicians; fiddles, concertinas, whistles, flutes.. all vying to outplay each other... nice to see - and the wren song seems to be making a re-appearance.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 05:20 AM

"It strikes me that it is not beyond the bounds of possibilty to organise similar events in the UK located in the home place of say Sam Larner (Winterton), Harry Cox, (Catfield/Potter Heigham), Walter Pardon (Knapton), Charlie Wills (Ryall, Dorset), Phil Tanner, (Llangennith), George Maynard, (Copthorn), Ned Adams/Johnny Doughty (Brighton and Hastings).... dozens of them well worth honouring for their contribution to folk song."


Jim, that is a brilliant idea. I'm quite excited by it.

The only problem with the way that ACE is constructed is that it is hard to get money for "national" projects unless you are a recognised "national" organisation. Otherwise you have to apply for funding on a region-by-region basis, which is time-consuming and unpredictable (if not downright haphazard). However, there might be HLF and local money available for such a project.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 05:45 AM

Ruth,
I agree with the pooblems of raising money - especially state money.
When the WCSS started there was no state aid; that came later.
That it is why it is essential (a) to start small and not be too ambitious; (b)to make any such event a local one and not "them townies poncing off us again"; and (c) get local sponsorship and, if possible, revenue from advertising (breweries were always lucrative sources - the School here has had to fight off Guinness from turning it into 'the Guinness Willie Clancy....').
Ideally the idea should come from a local, or at least from someone not too far away and the involvement of a member of the singer's family (should you take that path) sets an indelible seal of approval on the whole thing. Don't know if Harry Cox's daughter is still around, but she was always very proud of her father's singing. Likewise, Walter Pardon's nephew Roger Dixon first introduced W to Peter Bellamy, and lives a couple of doors away from Walter's cottage. Knapton isn't really a viable venue - no pub or shops - but neighboring Trunch or North Walsham is, and it's only three miles from the coast (we'd be happy to help with anything to do with Walter, either in an advisory or practical capacity).
One of the effects of the recession here is that hotels are offering such staggering bargain breaks in order to stay open that it's almost more expensive to stay at home - we've seen more of Ireland in the last 18 months than we have over the last 30-odd years.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 06:02 AM

Sorry folks - what is wrong with this **** keyboard - try again - to finish.

So my instinct would be to aim low, keep it local and give the locals something to identify with.
CS
"I'm not experienced enough to try to organise such a thing,"
I think you might surprise yourself - especially with a little help from your friends.
Good luck.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 06:12 AM

"I think you might surprise yourself"

Who knows. Well I'm certainly taking notes, and have been thinking about more experienced & learned contacts in the area who might be supportive.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 06:23 AM

Jim, I wouldn't even think of embarking on a project like this without working with people locally, and especially the local experts like EATMT (if we're looking at Harry Cox/Sam Larner/Walter Pardon, for example). I will bring the idea up with John Howson next time we speak.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 07:02 AM

Can I just add a couple of urther thoughts regarding money.
I don't know if the Vaughan Williams Society still exists, but they might lend a little clout with Arts Funding, similarly, there used to be a Grainger Society. EFDSS should be available in an advisory capacity.
Our local history group is heavily into song, music, lore and oral history to the extent that they published the excellent 'Dear Far-Voiced Veteran' - a festshcrift for song collector Tom Munnelly, with articles from Ireland, Britain and elsewhere a few years ago (copies still available).
Local groups like W.I might also be interested; even library and education committees.
Even local councils, especially in places where tourism is a feature, might help - but avoid the tourist season for these events like the plague.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 08:55 AM

Thoughts coming thick and fast here after some very encouraging pm's.
Can I add another suggestion.
Personally we are very happy with the local set-up of the Clancy School, but failing the chance of local involvement another idea occurs to me.
Another annual school here is dedicated to the 18th century poet Brian Merriman (of Midnight Court fame). It is run (I think) by a Dublin based group, but their annual schools are moveable feasts, selecting a venue for say two years then moving on to the next (invariably in Merriman's native Clare).
I see no reason why an organisation like EFDSS could not establish an annual 'Tribute to our Singers' festival and hold annual events in various locations related to singers or collectors; maybe having each start with an introductory talk on the loacal singers, repertoire, or previous work done (Hammond, Gardiner, Broadwood, Vaughan Williams, Sharp, Grainger, Greig and Duncan- the possibilities seem endless).
Again, full co-operation from local people would be vital to such projects - to avoid the 'bloody townies again' accusation and make it a local event, but involvement by bodies like EFDSS might just make Arts money available.
This does not have to be an either-or situation; I've seen both work equally well.
Apologies to Leveller - I hope he doesn't think his thread has been hi-jacked; if so, perhaps a new one should be started.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Rob Naylor
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 10:22 PM

I went to see Dave Swarbrick playing in our local pub a few nights ago. What he was playing was definitely folk music, even though the whole of his set included not one sung note, unaccompanied or otherwise. He was mainly playing tunes from the mid 1700s, and an interesting point he made was that some of them only existed today due to a concerted effort to write them down in the late 1700s, due to fears that they were dying out and being forgotten. Plus ca change!!!

It's also worth noting that a number of what Jim C and some other contributors see as "the old songs" were probably not in existence at the time some of Swarb's fiddle tunes were committed to paper...all songs were new at some time, after all.

I can see where Jim's coming from, but things change, and in much the same way as some songs and tunes written in the first half (or so) of the 20th century have become part of the "canon", I suspect that some were deprecated as "modern rubbish that won't stand the test of time" by "traditionalists" of the era. Where I really *do* take issue with Jim, though is:

"I have no doubt whatever that, apart from a tiny handful of 'custom songs' and those sung at sporting gatherings or in the schoolyard, the singing traditions of these islands are as dead as Monty Python's Norwegian Blue. They died when people stopped making songs that reflected their lives and events of their communities and passing them on to enable others to adapt them to serve the same purpose; they died when they/we sat back and let others make their/our culture for them/us, becoming passive recipients of a manufactured 'product' culture rather than relying on the innate talents we all posess."

The music scene as a whole has certainly evolved, and its evolution may not encompass folk traditions to the extent wished by some, but the above does a great disservice to the huge numbers of youngsters (and oldsters!) that are out there making music for little or no reward and not consuming "manufactured product". The manufactured product has been there in mainstream culture since recordings became possible...there was as much dross being manufactured for passive consumption 50-60 years ago as there is now. Our annual "Local and Live" festival in this modest-sized town in the SE of England can draw on at least 160 bands and artistes living within 30 minutes of the town, all of whom write and perform their own material, much of it in a "folky" tradition, if not exactly conforming to the strict demarcations some might wish for...but they're out there making it for themselves and probably represent at least as big a proportion of youngsters as those involved in the folk club scene of 50-60 years ago.

What *has* changed hugely is the types of song being created. And the reasons are nothing to do with the music scene per se, but with the way society has developed. In Ireland, for example, a large proportion of the population is only 1 generation removed from the land (virtually everyone I knew when I was working up and down the West Coast in the late 70s, supporting offshore survey operations on the Porcupine Bank, for instance, was from a farming family). The population is also more homogeneous than it is in England. Therefore, I suspect that the government funding and private bequests to encourage "real traditional" music amongst youngsters will fall on more fertile ground that it would in the more fragmented society we have in England. Nowadays, at the village and small town level, a tiny proportion of the population will be involved in working on the land, therefore it's unrealistic to expect much re-creation or new development in songs of the land or the seasons. Similarly, we no longer have the large areas of homogeneous industry that give birth to the songs of working life/ working people such as miners, weavers and the like. Where I grew up in Yorkshire, there were 5 mills in my small village and every single family had several members working in them, whether on the floor, or at supervisory/ managerial levels. So songs about weaving would have relevance to the whole village, owner or piece-worker.

The village now has no working mills and most people both work in the service sector *and* travel outside the area to widely-dispersed locations to do that work (rather than walking the 5 or 10 minutes from their terraces, all in the same direction, to work with the people they lived and socialised with, as in my youth). So songs that: "were created and re-created by working people to articulate their lives and feelings and aspirations" cannot realistically continue to be added to the "canon" given the social upheavals of the last half century. Naturally , therefore, many of the songs and tunes that are being created in the "folk tradition" today tend to be more concerned with *individual* hopes and aspirations, rather than collective ones, and some are quite introspective. But they're still being created, in large numbers, by "angry young men and women" who feel they have something to say abut their lives and conditions.

"Our culture got 'Barry Bucknalled', shifted up into the attic to make room for newer, disposable stuff that we no longer had a hand in creating. It is argued, here and elsewhere that this is a good thing, that the old songs no longer have a use simply because they are 'old'. If this is true....."

I just don't think it is true, at all. What does happen, though, is that as the total number of songs increases with time, some will wax and wane in popularity. Old songs that are very good will *not* die out (though some that are merely "good" may not get dusted down very frequently!). While I appreciate what Jim C says about categorising, definition, documentation and research, I think too much of this can detract from the actual process of making music *now*. I'm sure the farmers gathered in barns in the 1700s for a good sing and a dance weren't worried about whether what they were doing fitted neatly into some category approved by a researcher. They were just having a good time making and sharing music...pretty much as a lot of people are still doing. To me, someone like Kat Gilmore is making music in a "folky" tradition whether she's partnering Jamie Roberts or accompanying Danni Gibbins' (admittedly often introspective, but she's still young) songs in her previous band "Tiny Tin Lady". And is local fiddler Geri Holden any less "folky" because she also plays a mean jazz saxophone? And am I any less "into" the folk tradition because I (gasp!) also like quite a lot of rock music?

One of the things that puts some of my younger musician friends *off* folk venues is the perception they have of them being stuffed full of old people gazing wistfully back to a golden age and sucking their teeth at anything that doesn't fit their own prejudices. I've recently being going to 2 different venues locally. One is dying on its feet...it's a hotbed of factionalism, with the "unaccompanieds" ostentatiously going to get drinks when a guitar comes out, or a guitarist phoning up to ask if "there are any accordian players in tonight...I won't bother coming down if there are". I won't be going back to it. The other one is completely inclusive, and thriving, though Jim C might baulk at the idea of it being called a "folk" event at all. However, when I was there last week, we had a variety of ancient songs, unaccompanied and accompanied by guitars, mandolins, accordians and concertinas, plus some 60s and 70s "standards" (including a slightly updated "Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag"!) and the odd song written in the last few years that's become "viral" in local pubs and clubs. I played Russ Barenberg's "Drummers of England", learned off YouTube from Will Fly's rendition (thanks, Will!) and some of the participants refused to believe how recently it was written. I've now taught it to 2 other guitarists who were at that evening, and I suspect that it will also become "viral" locally, as it's just a nice, memorable tune.

So to summarise this long post....IMO the "future of folk music" is safe in the hands of a much bigger group of young singers, musicians and listeners than some people appear to believe. The direction in which it's evolving may not be to the taste of some, but that was the case 50 years go, and probably 100 years ago, too. It's easy to believe, from the ceaseless media output of manufactured dross, that we've become passive consumers, particularly youngsters, but it simply isn't true across society (though ti may be for some sections). Youngsters are making their own music as much as they ever did and a fair bit of it falls (albeit not as narrowly as some might wish for) into the "folk" category.

Rob


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 04:52 AM

Sorry Rob; haven't got time to go through fully or respong to your interesting posting but a quickie.
"I think too much of this can detract from the actual process of making music"
Totally disagree - quite apart from the fact that if somebody hadn't taken the time and trouble to 'documentat and research' we would not have had any folk songs to sing in the first place and it is the result of this that has ascertained that future generations will have the same opportunities we had to listen to and sing them. Some people want to do one thing, some the other, some of us want do do both - and do. Please don't separate these activities into opposites - they complement each other, not canncel each other out.
One of the finest singers in Ireland, Len Graham, is also a prolific collector and archivist - he has just completed a sizeable biography on his friend and mentor the late traditional singer Joe Holmes.
The same type of work was carried out by Dublin singer Frank Harte, and there are plenty more where these come from.
Virtually all the folk songs we sing have been passed to us by researchers and collectors.
Swarb;
A song being 'old' doesn't make it a folk song; it has nothing to do with age nor type of song - it's a process the songs once passed through which now no longer exists thanks to 'progress'. We were recording folk songs no more than ten years old from Travellers , if that, when they had a tradition to filter and refine them - that stopped when they all bought portable televisions, virtually overnight.
One of the effects of 'progress' is that songs now emerge into the world stillborn - they belong to the author and come with a name attached and a little (c).
The folk club isn't a community and folkies aren't 'the folk'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 05:53 AM

I agree with Jim. Most of us no longer live in communities which all live and work together and share the same experiences - our lives are more fragmented. Without those shared community experiences, folk music in the proper sense is unlikely to thrive. Add to it that most people today are now divorced from the idea of creating music for themselves, and the prospects of a true folk tradition continuing seem bleak. Modern communities don't need to entertain or express themselves in that way. Having said that, there are still local traditions which bring communities together - Padstow May Day and the Sheffield carols, for example - but these are relatively few and far between.

That's not to say that there aren't plenty of people making music. Some of it is folk, some of it sounds like folk, some of it sounds different but expresses similar sentiments. Folk song will not die, but it will remain in the hands of a relatively small group of enthusiasts. Perhaps this is a "community", but if so it is a one-dimensional one, united only by a shared interest in the music.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 06:33 AM

Thanks Howard - wish I'd said that?
Did I really write 'respong' in my last postings - The Goons are coming back to haunt me!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 06:37 AM

Rob - you very kindly mentioned my playing of Russ Barenberg's "Drummers of England" - not a patch on Russ's playing which you can see also see on YouTube, by the way - and I have to say that when I first saw and heard this on the Transatlantic Sessions 3 series, I also thought it was a traditional tune! I only found out when I bought the 2-DVD set that he had written it.

It illustrates a point that I've been hammering away at for ages - to the edge of boredom for other people, I'm sure - that tunes, which carry little social baggage on the whole, seem to slip more seamlessly and acceptably into the sessions and the singarounds and the clubs than songs. There are whole books of Scottish and Cape Breton fiddle tunes - reels, strathspeys, etc. - of which the contents have been written over the last 30-40 years, and they're accepted as part of the repertoire because they fit beautifully into the genre. Just listen to the playing of Jerry Holland. Add to that mix the improvisatory part of fiddle playing - the rolls, shuffles, decorations, slurs, drones, etc. - and even modern-ish tunes like these can morph into strange and wonderful variations.

If we can't add to the old songs and change the old songs in the same way, while respecting what we know of the originals, then that particular song tradition will become an exhibit in a museum case. All communities change, eventually, and in odd ways. Let's remember that the Duke of Edinburgh is worshipped as part of the "cargo cult" in the remote Pacific island of Tanna!


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 07:10 AM

As usual, I find myself agreeing with Mr Fly.
In English tune sessions, I find that people are much more tolerant of others playing abilities, by and large.
If it's a good tune, well played, then it will be greeted with great interest, even if it was written last week.
Notice, I'm specific at mentioning "English" sessions. I wouldn't dare get my Duet out in a hard core Irish session. (Not an Anglo you see?).
Maybe the fact that the music of England was essentially broken by various wars, and the breakdown of communities, and was then rediscovered in the 60's and 70's, makes us far more forgiving (and welcoming) of newly written tunes. That arrive with no baggage, none of this "You're not playing it properly, like in the old days" attitude.
In a way, English musos have been creating a new tradition over the last 40 odd years. Absorbing other influences from far flung countries and cultures, whilst still maintaining what we can glean from old manuscripts.
(John Adams Village project, and the Hardcore English book/CD, and many others).
Actually, I'm glad I don't sing. I can find like minded musicians virtually anywhere in the country, and within minutes be playing and listening in an all inclusive way.
Without having pedants pouring scorn on my abilities.
I assume that it was like that pre 20th century? nobody judged anyone else.
The nearest that I've come to that is "The Old Hat Concert parties" in Suffolk, and "Elsies" in Edenbridge.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: mattkeen
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 07:20 AM

Great posts from Ralphie and WF

This is the music and the process that I recognise


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 07:52 AM

Thanks matt.
I will plough my own furrow (musically that is, not being a farmer!) and it's glad to know that there are some fellow travellers who are of like mind.
I wish I'd met Jinky Wells, Sam Larner et all. Did meet The Rev Ken Loveless. (didn't work for me sadly).
I did meet George Spicer, Font Watling, etc. Still know Packie Byrne. All I have of Cecilia Costello, Joseph Taylor, etc, are the archive recordings. And lovely they are too.
But, just as brilliant are the more contemporary versions of the songs and tunes that where luckily recorded before they passed over.
Chris Fosters version of Costellos Grey Cock, is spine tingling, and made me seek out the Costello original.
And that is the point.
Was Cecilia described as a revival singer? Tut Tut...How dare she?
Probably drummed out of the pub for singing such a satanic song!
Sorry. But for me. The Trad / Contemporary date is 1890.
Before that. Only various scratchings of tunes/words done in a very haphazard way. (Am not referring to Art/Classical music here)
After 1890. with the advent of cylinder recordings. Then the tradition died.
End


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 08:06 AM

RALPHIE, has a good point about certain trad tunes sessions,there is alot of snobbery attached to some irish tune music sessions[very often in my experience this is notthe case with irish people]but very often people in the uk,who have a very narrow idea of how irish music pshould be played.
a visit to the session .org ,illustrates this quickly,where there are some self importantpontificators harping on about how the music has to be played in a particular way.
mind you I have found singers much more tolerant,most people are happy to encourage other singers
furthermore whatever opinions I may have expressed on this fourm ,I would never dream of saying if i was in a public singaround,I keep my thoughts to myself and try and be as encouraging as possible,if somebody asked my advice then that is different,however if they did so, I would try and say something positive about their singing,I strongly believe that all criticism should be mixed with praise.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 09:07 AM

"Probably drummed out of the pub for singing such a satanic song!"
I do wish we could get rid of this value thing - nobody has said that the songs shouldn't be sung in any way the singer chooses - if they have, please tell me where.
"After 1890. with the advent of cylinder recordings."
Ballad singer Mrs Hogg was accusing Sir Walter Scott's writing them down as 'killing them off" a long time before that Ralphie.
The tradition died when we all sat back and let others make our culture for us and became passive recipients of our songs rather than makers and interpreters (as a race - not as individuals).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Working Radish
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 09:28 AM

they're accepted as part of the repertoire because they fit beautifully into the genre

The two phrases I've highlighted are precisely the difference between playing and singing. At most of the FCs I've been to there is no "repertoire" as far as songs are concerned; people don't sing together, the odd chorus apart, and people don't swap songs - in fact it's bad form to sing someone else's song. Everyone has their own repertoire - Bert plays Donovan, Simon specialises in Jacques Brel, Bob sings Hank Williams and everyone does some of their own songs.

And as for the genre - what genre? There was a genre of thoughtful acoustic balladry which flourished in the clubs for a while (Jez Lowe, Harvey Andrews, Tom Yates et al) but the relation between that style and traditional song was always a bit complicated: a few songs from that scene do sound like long-lost broadside ballads, but most of them just sound like contemporary songs. These days, in a lot of clubs, folk isn't a genre at all, but a way of making & listening to music - high on enthusiasm and variety, low on skill and consistency. I agree with Rob N and with Suibhne (departed), up to a point - an 'open mic'/'open stage' evening can be a great source of popular creativity, a real folk art form in the broad sense. BUT

(it's a big but)

it hasn't necessarily got anything to do with the old songs. Genre gone.

At the mostly-trad singaround I go to, on the other hand, people can and do sing a bit of MacColl or Lal Waterson or Peter Bellamy, and they do fit right in. But there has to be something there for them to fit into - and that's ensured by the expectation that the evening will be mostly (although not exclusively) trad.

In short, the fact that I want to roll back the process you describe doesn't mean I'm against it! I'm in favour of it happening, but I think it's gone far too far.

Add to that mix the improvisatory part of fiddle playing - the rolls, shuffles, decorations, slurs, drones, etc. - and even modern-ish tunes like these can morph into strange and wonderful variations.

That's another difference - this is just the kind of liberty that singers don't feel able to take, except in the case of traditional songs; ironically, this is one of the reasons people like me keep banging on about the need for trad. When I sing Musgrave or Lord Allenwater, the words I sing aren't exactly the same as anyone else's version, but they're still recognisably the same song. Do that to Mr Tambourine Man and you'd get looks.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Tootler
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 11:08 AM

The tradition died when we all sat back and let others make our culture for us and became passive recipients of our songs rather than makers and interpreters (as a race - not as individuals).

And Ralphie's date of 1890 fits with the start of that process. Before that people had to make their own entertainment, after that time ready made entertainment began to become more widely available. It did not all happen at once and in the cities there was the music hall before that, but the inventions that led to the electronic media started to be made at about that time.

Mind you, Jim, you strike me as a modern day version of Mrs Hogg at times.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 11:19 AM

Just out of curiosity, why 1890? Popular entertainments for the masses existed long before that, and you might as well mark the date of 1830 - the rise of supper rooms and pleasure gardens, or the 1850s, when such entertainments moved into purpose-built halls. Or 1877, when Edison invented the wax cylinder recorder.

Ready-made entertainment's been around a long time - but certainly not in the pervasive way of today, I grant you.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: mattkeen
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 11:42 AM

Ok its 1891 (June)


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 11:44 AM

the 15th?


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 11:47 AM

11am?


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 12:31 PM

Having done extensive research...
I can conclusively confirm that the "TRADITION" died in 1888. (can't pin it down to a specific day/time. Sorry.
"Mary had a Little Lamb" apparently (the first recording)....Not very traditional I'll admit, but a pithy version nonetheless.
You lot are just a bunch of PEDANTS!!!
Who actually cares?
It's just people making music, song and dance....
Navel gazing I'll leave to the Admiralty....(presumably hauling on their bowlines....Down in the lonesome low... somewhere near Cape Horn, or maybe bound for South Australia.)
I'll just carry on playing the tunes I like.
And do you know what?
I don't care, if it's not appreciated by anyone else.
I know what I like, and I know how to find it.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 12:31 PM

"after that time ready made entertainment began to become more widely available"
And yet people still continued to record their outlook on life and their experiences right into the 20th century - up to the 70's in the cases of some more isolated communities - they did so because they felt it more important to do it themselves rather than 'get a man in' to do it for them.
There's a story we got from a man named Jim Larner in Sam Larner's home village of Winterton.
Sam and his mates sang in the local pub, The Fisherman's Return all their lives, meeting in the back room every Saturday night in order to do so.
One afternoon a retired fisherman went into the pub to find a brand new bakelite wireless playing behind the bar. When he asked what it was he was told that it was a new-fangled device that brought news and all the latest tunes from London through wires.
The old man reached behind the bar with his walking stick and hooked the wireless off the shelf bringing it down tothe floor, smashed to pieces.
It was never replaced and Sam and his mates went on singing for another twenty years.
At Vauxhall Gardens and, I'm sure, other such places there were 'fringe groups' of people who would ignore the laid-on entertainment and sing to each other rather than be entertained.
Blind Traveller woman, Mary Delaney, as late as the mid-seventies would sit round an open fire with her family and friends and sing all night rather than go to the pub and hear the booked acts - usually C&W. When it finally died out she told us "The new stuff has the old songs ruined".
The saddest account we heard was of the magnificent blind epic storyteller Henry Blake of Kilbaha, in South Clare. He was in the middle of telling a story to our friend, Tom Munnelly in the local bar when somebody switched the television set on.
Henry stopped mid-tale, walked out of the bar and could never be persuaded to tell another story.
Traveller storyteller and singer, Mikeen McCarthy told us that the old men were "dying of loneliness" because they had lost not only their audiences, but also the desire to converse had disappeared; the youngsters either watched the match on the tele or played pool.
Or maybe I'm making it all up?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 12:40 PM

You're still doing it Ralphie - nobody has suggested you shouldn't like anything - nobody has told you what and what not to perform, or listen to, or like. I don't care what you like or dislike - it's none of my ****** business.
What I care about is your giving something a definition simply because you like it and accusing me of trying to prevent you from listening to it or playing it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 12:45 PM

i think we need to start a campaign to bring back singing while you do your everyday chores,plus singing when you are on the job,singing when you are having a crap[halelujah i am a bum],singing when youare on the computer ,etc etc


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 01:32 PM

plus singing when you are on the job

Mmm... I think Mrs. F. would have something to say about that...


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: mattkeen
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 01:50 PM

Have PM'd you Ralphie


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 30 Mar 10 - 02:06 PM

Au Clair De La Lune was recorded in 1860, preceding Edison by 17 years. Neither recording ended the tradition though, just changed for ever the means of passing it on.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 03:32 AM

Jim,

Quote
RN:"I think too much of this can detract from the actual process of making music"
JC:Totally disagree - quite apart from the fact that if somebody hadn't taken the time and trouble to 'documentat and research' we would not have had any folk songs to sing in the first place and it is the result of this that has ascertained that future generations will have the same opportunities we had to listen to and sing them. Some people want to do one thing, some the other, some of us want do do both - and do. Please don't separate these activities into opposites - they complement each other, not canncel each other out.
Unquote

I wasn't saying that documentation and research were unimportant. They obviously are. My point was that *only* concentrating on the past can give a skewed viewpoint of what's going on in the present.

And:
JC: "One of the effects of 'progress' is that songs now emerge into the world stillborn - they belong to the author and come with a name attached and a little (c).
The folk club isn't a community and folkies aren't 'the folk'. "

I appreciate that the clubs aren't "the folk". But my point was that *society* has evolved, to the point, in England at least, where there *aren't* local communities, or homogenous groups in an area largely engaged in the same trades. What constitutes a "folk" song therefore has to evolve to accommodate this change. And there are still songs that appear and propagate without the (c).


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Rob Naylor
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 03:48 AM

Will

(Jim C: it's my post above, too)

I definitely agree with you that it's easier for modern tunes than for modern songs to become part of the "canon"....and to be adapted and to morph with usage. My version of "Drummers" for instance, is very different to Russ's original, though it bears a strong resemblance to yours.

Incidentally, although the Russ B clip seems to have disappeared from YouTube, I do have the Transatlantic Sessions DVD set. However, Russ's guitar playing is beyond my skills to emulate, and with the other instruments adding to the mix, I found it much easier to pick up the tune from your own version. In fact, I've used your YouTube clips to pick up several tunes, for which you have my thanks again.

Some vocal stuff does mutate, though. For example, Tom Paxton's "Lyndon Johnson Told The Nation" has become "George W Told The Nation", and the 3 versions I've heard are all quite different....some different words in some verses, and in one case an entirely new verse added by someone English, but unknown.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 03:54 AM

Ralph's mention of not playing the duet at Irish sessions reminded me of a session in the very early years at Whitby festival in the the Elsinore. There was a morning session going (They opened the bar at 10:30!) and a few 'clever dicks' decided to change to keys that some others could not play in. There was an English concertina player, and I think it was Ian Goodyear but I could be mistaken, who spotted this and took the same tune to another key, and another, and another... After the 5th or 6th key change he was on his own, with said clever dicks glowering and everyone else in the room grinning from ear to ear. He stopped with the phrase 'Why has everyone else stopped?' and to a huge round of applause.

Nowt to do with the thread but it was a good memory:-)

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 04:18 AM

Hey El Gnomo...!!
I think I was there at that session in Whitby!
Haven't seen Ian Goodyear for ages!


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Rob Naylor
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 04:19 AM

"Working Radish",

I agree with your points, broadly, but the sessions I was describing in my original (very long) post were of the "singaround" variety rather than "open mic/ open stage". Acoustic, with everyone contributing (or not!) in turn.

There *is* a lot of creativity at open mic sessions...I go to one in Axminster when I occasionally have to visit Devon for work, and the standard of musucianship, singing and creativity there is very high. But the format is one person or group getting up at a time and playing through a PA from a "stage area". Usually a set of several songs. I make a big distinction between those sessions and the singarounds I go to locally, though there is creativity at both of them.

I think that we're pretty much arguing the same thing, though: society has moved on and while it's great to have so much preserved from the past, some "good things" are still happening in the present.

This is where I take issue with Jim C, who seems to believe that almost *all* our current musical culture is predicated on manufactured stuff, passively consumed. "The kids" I know today are largely just as scornful of commercial radio playlist stuff as my generation were when we scorned Freddie & The Dreamers and Herman's Hermits and are just as active in creating their own music scene in pubs, clubs and small venues as we were. Most of my children's friends play and/or sing, and none of them would dream of auditioning for one of the TV "talent" shows, or expect to make money from it.

Whether it's "folk" or not is irrelevant in countering Jim's point that we're all passive consumers now.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 05:20 AM

society has moved on and while it's great to have so much preserved from the past, some "good things" are still happening in the present.

I do think some good stuff is going on now, but I still agree (mostly) with Jim - traditional singing is (or was) something very different & very valuable, & very well worth preserving - particularly in ways which, however briefly, bring it back to life.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 05:26 AM

"What constitutes a "folk" song therefore has to evolve to accommodate this change."
This implies an alternative definition - which is....?
"The kids" I know today are largely just as scornful of commercial radio playlist stuff "
While this may be true to an extent, the kids I know want to be part of the machine AND do their own thing too (if that were in any way possible, never happened so far as far as I can see) "I want to be a op star" rather than "I have something to say and want to sing".
Most of them, in this town anyway are still passive consumers in the sense that they cram into the pubs that cater for their particular tastes and shout at each other over the band or the music provided through he speakers (I seem to remember a slogan that went something like "Pump up the volume - not much room for self-expression if that's your critereon).
Anyway, my opinion was based on the understanding that everybody on the planet isn't aged between 14 and 20 - we all have something worth saying, crumblies or not.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 05:29 AM

"we all have something worth saying, crumblies or not."

Sorry, can you speak up a bit? LoL


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: GUEST,Rob Naylor
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 05:31 AM

I certainly DO agree that traditional singing is worth preserving...not just "preserving", either (as "in aspic") but keeping alive.

However, the context of my "society has moved on" comment was Jim's repeated assertion/ assumption that our music culture now is almost entirely commercial, with youngsters beinf exposed only to manufactured output and indulging in passive consumption. It's just not true, IMO.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: theleveller
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 06:18 AM

I just came across this quotation: "A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under which they will never sit."

I think I'd add: "A civilization flourishes when people write songs that others will sing."


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 06:33 AM

But for folk music to flourish those songs have to be able to be performed without expensive equipment,the unaccompanied voice is an instrument that is available to everyone regardless of income.
if a song can work when sung unaccompanied,it becomes a folk song,it is available then to everyone regardless of wealth or income


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 07:01 AM

Progress is a terrible thing!

We wuz 'appy 'coz we 'ad a sense of community and made our own entertainment.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: theleveller
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 07:12 AM

That was the great thing about cholera - it was something everyone could share.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 09:04 AM

"We wuz 'appy 'coz we 'ad a sense of community and made our own entertainment."
Sorry Bryan - don't get your point.
These songs are important because they express all aspects of human experience from the ground up - the good old days of evictions, tranportation, enclosures, press gangs, witchcraft trials, international and civil wars, strikes, shitty jobs like whaling, millwork, mining.... they're all there in the songs, which function far beyond entertainment.
There's an element of nostalgia in all of us; "It never rained when I was young" is as much a part of us as are the days we remember it pissing down.
It is the fact that these songs reflect life from a grass roots point of view that make them so important; it also makes the term 'folk' important as a reminder of where they came from and who made and passed them on.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 09:14 AM

Sorry Jim - you seem to have got my point exactly.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 10:11 AM

Cholera (gr: Bile vomiting and diarrhea) is a severe bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, which primarily affects the small intestine. Transmission is primarily by the acquisition of the pathogen through contaminated drinking water or infected food. The bacteria can cause extreme diarrhea and severe vomiting, which can lead to rapid dehydration (hypohydration) and electrolyte loss. Although most infections are asymptomatic () about 85% whereas the mortality rate at the outbreak of the disease untreated, 20 to 70%.
yes. but the rich Were likely to be affected less,as they could afford to pay for better hygiene.


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Subject: RE: What is the future of folk music?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 01:12 PM

Just what I wanted to read a few minutes before my dinner Cap'n - thanks a bunch!
Jim Carroll


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