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Secrets of a good singaround?

Desert Dancer 26 Jan 12 - 08:47 PM
Ian Fyvie 09 Mar 11 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,Seonaid 07 Mar 11 - 03:46 PM
GUEST,999 07 Mar 11 - 03:42 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 07 Mar 11 - 03:37 PM
TheSnail 07 Mar 11 - 03:23 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 07 Mar 11 - 01:58 PM
Les from Hull 07 Mar 11 - 10:05 AM
TheSnail 07 Mar 11 - 09:59 AM
Piers Cawley 07 Mar 11 - 08:19 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 07 Mar 11 - 06:56 AM
Acorn4 07 Mar 11 - 04:52 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 07 Mar 11 - 03:50 AM
TheSnail 06 Mar 11 - 03:55 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 06 Mar 11 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,Fred Folkmusic 06 Mar 11 - 05:38 AM
TheSnail 06 Mar 11 - 05:09 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Mar 11 - 05:04 AM
GUEST,Richard I 05 Mar 11 - 03:06 PM
GUEST,mg 05 Mar 11 - 02:47 PM
Tootler 05 Mar 11 - 02:31 PM
Diva 05 Mar 11 - 12:50 PM
Jim Carroll 05 Mar 11 - 11:44 AM
Phil Edwards 05 Mar 11 - 11:13 AM
TheSnail 05 Mar 11 - 09:37 AM
TheSnail 05 Mar 11 - 09:29 AM
Piers Cawley 04 Mar 11 - 07:13 PM
Les from Hull 04 Mar 11 - 07:02 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 04 Mar 11 - 03:47 PM
Les in Chorlton 04 Mar 11 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 04 Mar 11 - 12:16 PM
Joe Nicholson 04 Mar 11 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 04 Mar 11 - 09:45 AM
Les in Chorlton 04 Mar 11 - 09:13 AM
Piers Cawley 04 Mar 11 - 08:55 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 04 Mar 11 - 08:50 AM
Valmai Goodyear 04 Mar 11 - 08:23 AM
Tally Ho Man 04 Mar 11 - 08:02 AM
Piers Cawley 04 Mar 11 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 04 Mar 11 - 06:49 AM
Piers Cawley 04 Mar 11 - 04:53 AM
GUEST,FloraG 04 Mar 11 - 04:24 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 04 Mar 11 - 04:18 AM
Ian Fyvie 04 Mar 11 - 04:08 AM
Piers Cawley 04 Mar 11 - 01:08 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 03 Mar 11 - 02:51 PM
Les from Hull 03 Mar 11 - 02:14 PM
GUEST,Desi C 03 Mar 11 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,floraG 03 Mar 11 - 01:24 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 03 Mar 11 - 08:04 AM
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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 08:47 PM

Folk Sing Starter Kit, a resource on the website of the Country Dance and Song Society (U.S.).

This guide contains the following sections:

    What Is a Folk Sing? — What this guide covers, what makes group singing fun
    Envisioning Your Event — Questions to ask yourself to get started, event format ideas
    Finding a Venue — Public venues, private venues, accessibility & transportation
    Publicity — How are you going to get the word out?
    How Will Your Sing Work? — Possible structures/procedures, facilitating, group dynamics
    Song Resources — Web sites, sheet music, sound files, books & recordings, podcasts, history

You can also read Julia Friend's blog post about the "kit", here.

This info is certainly not exclusive to U.S. singers!

~ Becky in Hackettstown (lately)


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 09 Mar 11 - 03:24 PM

Words from an iPhone? We have a group of young profesional people coming to our singarounds in 2011.

Our singarounds have scope for discussing songs and quite often a song is mentioned to which someone says "does anyone know it?" To which one of our encouragingly knowlegable young singers says: I know the tune and some of the words, I'll find for you ...tap... tap... tap, and then sings it for them next go.

This is simply trying to please, and a world away from the lazy singer who reads from the exercise book 'coz they can't be bothered.

How many goes per duo/group? We've always operated more or less as Les said above: tow people - two songs, unless the second person is doing a really minor backing bit. Even then we'll offer the minor part person to do something on their own if appropriate. Three people? - two songs; four+? - three somgs in one hit, and then balance if necessary by giving them a song mid way round. Above groups of three, it realy is negotiation I think.

... and thanks Valmai!


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,Seonaid
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 03:46 PM

May I suggest that separate sessions be set up for certain contributors with huge axes to grind?
Call them what you will -- whine-around, cry-around, snit-around...
I can't imagine that these bloviators have any idea what makes a good gathering of any type. Get with the social skills, guys!


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 03:42 PM

Winter's gettin' to all of us . . .


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 03:37 PM

Oh but, Snail, in your crusader-like quest to save the world from critici ... sorry, beastliness, you've created a MONSTER! Didn't expect that, did you? It's called the 'Law of Unexpected Consequences' ... And I'm on your case, Snail! Ah, ha, ha ,ha, haaaaa!!!!


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: TheSnail
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 03:23 PM

Well it's been lovely having this little chat but I've just remembered an urgent appointment in... um.... can't quite remember where but it's an awfully long way away. Must dash.






Phew!


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 01:58 PM

"I would have thought that ranting and raving and being gratuitously offensive on Mudcat was probably not a good start."

Oh, but I ENJOY ranting and raving and being gratuitously offensive on Mudcat! And as we've established (to your satisfaction, Snail) that I'm a moral defective there's nothing to stop me, is there? How liberating is that?!!

But in my degenerate and ethically dubious way I still think that we should be pushing for higher standards in all forums in which folk song/music is presented. I have actually got some ideas/previous experience about how this might be achieved - but I'm not sharing with you because you're a stuck up prat - naaa, na, nanaa, na! (note the gratuitous offence for which I am now fully licenced!).

And Piers:

"If you don't like what's happening where you are then go somewhere else. It's really that simple."

That is pathetic twatery if I ever heard it! Why should I be driven out of my favourite singarounds by selfish idiots?


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 10:05 AM

This all goes to show that there's not one solution that will fit every singaround. So maybe the watchword is - be adaptable!


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: TheSnail
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 09:59 AM

GUEST,Shimrod

That's exactly what goes on in my world, Snail! Where did I say it didn't?

Where did I say you didn't say it didn't? But I can't remember you saying that it did.

some lazy, selfish people who spoil it for everyone else

I know this will upset you, Shimmy, but I can honestly think of no one who fits that description.

I don't honestly know the best way to handle this problem

I would have thought that ranting and raving and being gratuitously offensive on Mudcat was probably not a good start.

but a first step is to acknowledge that the problem exists

Well I don't have the problem. Several others have said on this list that they don't have the problem. Looks as if it's yours alone.

I see Piers has posted since I started this giving you the obvious solution. If the other participants share your view then they will flood to your new session and then all you have to do is look the "crass no-hopers" in the eye and tell them they are not welcome.


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Piers Cawley
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 08:19 AM

If you don't like what's happening where you are then go somewhere else. It's really that simple. If there isn't somewhere else, then make somewhere. Again, it's not exactly rocket science.

When we lived in the northeast there were several singarounds, and we liked all of 'em. We still ended up hosting a monthly bash around our kitchen table because we wanted a singaround that had more time for chat as well as songs, flexible hours, room for a few tunes, "free" food and as much tea and coffee as the participants could stand. If you have the space, I can really recommend setting up a kitchen table or house session. Start with friends and friends of friends. Encourage them to setup their own, similar sessions and you'll be making the world a better place for everyone.

Which reminds me, I really should try and get something similar up and running now we're in Doncaster. I wonder how many Sheffield types we could tempt out of that city.


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 06:56 AM

Further to your most recent pious outpouring, Snail you tell me that:

"I don't know what goes on in your world, but in the one I live in, singarounds and tune sessions (which are more my thing) are opportunities to celebrate a shared enthusiasm. It's what you can contribute that matters, not demonstrating how superior you are to other performers."

That's exactly what goes on in my world, Snail! Where did I say it didn't? Contributions vary in quality (including my own) but that's OK and most people are obviously working at their craft and doing their best. But there are, in my flawed part of the world (but probably not in the virtuous paradise that you inhabit), some lazy, selfish people who spoil it for everyone else - I don't honestly know the best way to handle this problem - but a first step is to acknowledge that the problem exists (even though it may not exist in your shining virtuous paradise!).


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Acorn4
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 04:52 AM

I find we are perfectly happy with most singarounds around Leicester where we live. Occasionally you get one run by people who are up their own a***s, but these tend not to last long.

Sometimes it's just a case of "horses for courses".


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 03:50 AM

Again, Snail, I have expressed what I believe to be a valid opinion and I have expressed it robustly. You don't appear to agree with my opinion - although I suspect that you don't happen to have one yourself and are one of those people who sit there grinning benignly whilst all sorts of crap is heaped on them.

Like a lot of people these days you have not actually addressed the issue that I have raised but have gleefully attacked me for being 'morally deficient' in some way. As I see it you are indulging in the tedious, but increasingly popular, game of 'competitive moral piety'. OK, Snail, you win - I am morally deficient (mea culpa) and you're a paragon of virtue. But having got that out of the way I still insist:

" ... 'Go All Ye' annoying, boring, tedious tw*ts who never practice, sing out of an exercise book (and still can't remember the f***ing words), can't sing in tune and yet still insist on hogging as much of the session as possible by 'learning' (or, rather, not bothering to learn) the longest and most tedious songs that you can possibly find!"


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: TheSnail
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 03:55 PM

Oh Shimmers, you can be fairly robust yourself. You are, of course, perfectly entitled to your opinion just as I am entitled to disagree although I would have thought that describing the bile that you poor out here as "opinion" was stretching the definition a little.

I don't know what goes on in your world, but in the one I live in, singarounds and tune sessions (which are more my thing) are opportunities to celebrate a shared enthusiasm. It's what you can contribute that matters, not demonstrating how superior you are to other performers. I ran a session this afternoon which included musicians who are able to take folk club bookings (We've booked several of them at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club) and those who... could do better. There was no one who I would have wished not to be there.

I have actually, when circumstances have allowed and it has seemed appropriate(it's often not wise or prudent to make head-on personal attacks), expressed my opinions on this subject - both to the individuals concerned and to certain organisers.

Ooooh! I wish I'd been a fly on the wall. Still got all your teeth?

I could elaborate further but I'm not answerable to you - just remember that.

You have chosen to express strong opinions here; are others not entitled to respond?

I still believe, and will go on stating my belief, that singers of traditional songs should aim high both out of respect for the songs and for their audiences; the attitude, "it's good enough for folk" is NOT good enough.

I don't think anyone has said otherwise but the trouble is, that isn't quite what you are stating. You come out with things like "But 'Go All Ye' annoying, boring, tedious tw*ts who never practice, sing out of an exercise book (and still can't remember the f***ing words), can't sing in tune and yet still insist on hogging as much of the session as possible by 'learning' (or, rather, not bothering to learn) the longest and most tedious songs that you can possibly find!!". Not quite the same thing.

You have heaped vitriolic abuse on those you consider to be inadequate and, by implication criticised singaround organisers for failing to maintain standards so I'm sorry, but yes, I do have the right to ask "What are you doing? What do you contribute?"


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 10:11 AM

Ah, Snail! The implication from your ... how shall I put this? ... rather robust and hectoring posts is that I am not allowed to express an opinion - especially if it differs from yours. I have actually, when circumstances have allowed and it has seemed appropriate(it's often not wise or prudent to make head-on personal attacks), expressed my opinions on this subject - both to the individuals concerned and to certain organisers. I could elaborate further but I'm not answerable to you - just remember that.

I still believe, and will go on stating my belief, that singers of traditional songs should aim high both out of respect for the songs and for their audiences; the attitude, "it's good enough for folk" is NOT good enough.


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,Fred Folkmusic
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 05:38 AM

Are the Coppers exempt from this act then?

Good singing has nothing to do with singing from a book or not rather it's about drinking enough good ale enough so that anything sounds good. In Folk pissed is best. If you don't believe me, record your next session the listen to it sober first thing the next day. You'll be reaching for that hair of the dog in no time!


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: TheSnail
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 05:09 AM

Controlled Cultural Resources (Folk And Vernacular) Act 1948

Don't be silly Pip. You know perfectly well "Folk" wasn't defined until 1954.


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 05:04 AM

Richard - it's an American thing. The reason we don't see them here is that they're actually a banned import under the Controlled Cultural Resources (Folk And Vernacular) Act 1948.


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,Richard I
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 03:06 PM

What is this "blue book" about which people in this thread have spoken?


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 02:47 PM

what many of us hate is not the singer herself having words..which I have to nowadays..but the group singing from words. If you have been involved with people singing from memory, or a leader singing from words..and then go somewhere they are singing laboriously from the blue book collectively, it is painful. Now, if they set it up that way and like it that way, great. More power to them. It is when they overtake a group that has started the other way and essentially impose this way that I do not like. They might not know they are imposing because no one has told them...the ones who don't like the blue book experience just don't show up past the tipping point. mg


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Tootler
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 02:31 PM

IMHO, far too much fuss is made about whether someone has words in front of them or not.

All that matters is how well the song is sung. If the song is sung well, it really doesn't matter whether the singer has the words in front of them or not. Saying that someone who sings with words in front of them is showing disrespect for the song is load of nonsense.


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Diva
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 12:50 PM

Beat me to it Jim ****BG***


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 11:44 AM

Good singing!!!
Everything else is a bonus.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 11:13 AM

Are we not supposed to tell Piers Sedayne's name, by the way?

I don't even know Piers Sedayne's name!

How old Nigel Spencer?


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: TheSnail
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 09:37 AM

Ooops. Pressed send to soon.

Are you approaching these "gits" to give them the benefit of your superior skills, experience and sensitivity or, since they are "crass no-hopers" telling them to asbsent themselves forthwith and to stop making your life miserable?

Are you telling the organisers that you are dissatisfied with the way they are running their sessions and to start enforcing the standards you require?

Or are you, by any chance, considering starting up your own session where you can ensure that things are done your way?


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: TheSnail
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 09:29 AM

GUEST,Shimrod

I have to say, though, that I've kept doggedly to this track because I think it's important.

So tell me, Shimrod, what are you actually doing about this intolerable (to you) situation apart from whingeing on Mudcat?


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Piers Cawley
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 07:13 PM

Ah, of course!

I have sung from an iPhone on one occasion. It was in the bar of the Half Moon in Oxford and someone asked for 'Lady of Autumn', which I'd never quite learned properly. Nipped outside to grab a signal and the lyrics, paced up and down the street singing it through in double time, then back into the bar and went for it. Only had to refer to the crib once.

I'll only use it as an aide memoire for songs I half know and only if there's a request and nobody else knows it. Ideally only if I've got time to do the pacing up and down outside running through the song a couple of times thing beforehand too.


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 07:02 PM

On the subject of two or more people accompanying each other. Our general rule is that if it's just one singer then the one singer - one song rule applies. If it's a harmony duo or they take turns turns in singing lead they it's a song each. A trio might get two songs even if the same person sang lead.

In a mixed tune/song session you have to be careful 'cos the singers'll sit together and so will the tunies. So you might have to move it about. Not every tune player wants to lead on tunes, but as long as people get a fair share based on numbers in the room it should be OK. Tune players and singers usually hate each other anyway so they are not often in the same room/pub/town.

As someone who attempts both singing and tunes, I do love a mixed session. But bare in mind that many tune players aren't much cop at accompanying songs, and think it means playing the same tune as the singer, only louder, or playing exactly the same guitar chords as the singer. In that case it might be better to say something like 'I think that might have worked better with less accompaniment' or if the singer is grimacing making cut it out signs to the players. You have to be dead hard sometimes!

But the times when good singers and good musicians get together can be absolutely magic!


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 03:47 PM

The annoying thing is, for the life of me I can't work out who Suibhne Astray is

Sean & Rachel / Rapunzel & Sedayne. The night I remember was one of Joe's Come All Ye nights back in the summer of 2005 - Gala Day as I recall & maybe the first time I basked in the golden Cawley tenor. I always think of that room as a back room-cum-general thoroughfare from way back in 1984/5 when I used to play with Rhombus ov Dooom upstairs with Generic & Seize the Infidels before they extended it to its present size. I think it was 1993 when I started going to the Bit Crack storytelling nights which had a real vibe back then, as did Joe's Come All Ye nights which I gather are also no more.


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 12:39 PM

No.

A singer turned up at Chorlton Folk Club about 6 years ago and sang from a lap top. He hasn't been back much.

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 12:16 PM

"in my part of the world, the lazy, exercise book singers always seem to sing veeeerrrrryyyy llllloooonnnggg songs"

...or do they just seem very long?

I have noticed people with books in front of them who barely glance at them - if at all. I suspect this is book as security blanket rather than book as, um, book. Wait till you get people turning up with iPads...

*****

Are we not supposed to tell Piers Sedayne's name, by the way?


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Joe Nicholson
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 11:29 AM

To Flora G when Mo and I run singarounds we always work on the basis that when two or more people sing together or one accompanies the other two get two.The real secret of a good singaround is that know one should leave feeling that thy have left out.

Joe Nicholson


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 09:45 AM

A person of singular talent - but my lips are sealed!


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 09:13 AM

The Sublime Ash Tray is clearly that famous singer, instrumentalist and ......................... virus monger ..................

But his virus stops me typing his/her name

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Piers Cawley
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 08:55 AM

The annoying thing is, for the life of me I can't work out who Suibhne Astray is and I've been one of only four people in the Cumberland's music side (it's not a back room as such, it may even be bigger than the 'main' bar, and I miss it terribly since I moved to Doncaster) with them.


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 08:50 AM

" ... but I swear, if he had sung the same, self-composed, pile of indulgence one more time in my hearing, I wouldn't have been responsible for my actions."

Well, there you go, Piers, you do understand the reasons for my splenetic outbursts!" Trouble is, I can think of more than one such person.

I have to say, though, that I've kept doggedly to this track because I think it's important. Nevertheless, I don't want to give the impression that I 'have it in ' for ALL singaround participants. Far from it. At my local singaround, the other night, there were several excellent performances - and at least a couple of very high standard indeed.


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 08:23 AM

Sterling good sense from Piers Cawley, Ian Fyvie, both Leses and TheSnail.

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Tally Ho Man
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 08:02 AM

Don: Sing songs in languages understood by the people around you

The current Mrs Tally Ho sings beautifully in Welsh to the non-Welsh on occasions and even gets requests. (To sing)!


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Piers Cawley
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 07:45 AM

Possibly. I reckon it's worse to bar said 'git' from the singaround, but your circle, your rules.

Then again, there have been singarounds I've been involved in that eventually died because of the persistence of one particular chap (who was, apparently, told in no uncertain terms to stop coming to another club in the district). The singaround slowly haemorrhaged participants, who snuck off to other sessions he didn't know about.

By the time I finally gave up he could at least hold a tune, but I swear, if he had sung the same, self-composed, pile of indulgence one more time in my hearing, I wouldn't have been responsible for my actions.

There will always be bad singarounds, and we all have our own measure of what constitutes bad, but if it's not yours and you don't like it then either grit your teeth, put up with it and maybe lead by example, or go find, or make, a better one.


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 06:49 AM

Dear Piers Cawley,

I have to say that I'm always suspicious of people who counter my arguments by suggesting that I am morally deficient in some way - I like to think that I'm as compassionate as the next person (I just don't believe in giving selfish idiots an easy ride!). I'm sorry to hear about your acquaintance's medical problem but doubt that he is typical. Anyway, I would hope that most people in the circle would have at least some inkling of such a persons problems and would make allowances.

I do believe, though, that the songs are important and should be treated with respect. I also think that other members of the session are important too - as well as any non-singing audience. If the majority of the participants have put a lot of effort into their performances it's not fair for them to be bored, and even embarrassed, by some git who can't be bothered to work at his/her craft - but still expects to be listened to.


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Piers Cawley
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 04:53 AM

Shimrod: Well, my choice is generally to avoid exercise book singarounds, and I prefer to go to sessions that are, for want of a better word, "In public", but that's my taste. That doesn't mean that the people taking part in other sorts of session aren't having a great time and doing what is, for me, the most important thing, which is singing the songs.

I may think they'd enjoy themselves more if they got off the page and sang to others rather than the exercise book, but that's me putting my own interpretation on their motives. I was somewhat chastened in this regard when I was chatting with one of the regulars at The Bridge folk club, who's a great singer and songwriter, but who always sings off the page. Without my asking, he mentioned that he used to sing from memory, but he'd had a stroke and had lost that knack as a result. That brought me up short. Better to be singing from the page than not at all.

It's terribly easy to assume the worst of intentions on the part of others based on absolutely no evidence. We might think that so and so is just singing a long song to grab more of the session time, but, in all likelihood it's being done from a genuine love of the song. Isn't it better to assume that than to ascribe petty motivations to others (especially in a public forum)? After all, a listener might well think we too have similarly petty motivations if we think in those terms.


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 04:24 AM

What are your traditions when 2 or 3 perform together? I often accompany my husband and then get missed out by the organiser.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 04:18 AM

"Chris Cole said: I'm sure the average punter doesn't want to hear a twenty five verse Child ballad"

It all depends on the quality of the singer, doesn't it? A finely judged, skilful performance of a ballad can be mesmerising - and, as Piers Cawley says above, can hold even a non-folk audience.

But if the singer can't hold a tune, hasn't bothered to practice, depends on an exercise book for the words and has only learned the damn thing so that he/she can hog as much of the session as possible it can be excrutiating!


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 04:08 AM

What works for us:
*light touch MC - others who can cover whenever needed (rarely)
* no heavy restrictions on what people sing/play
*space for unready guitarists to come back in soon (maintains fairness)
*have fun!

We typically have a singer base of 8-15 a night. Bigger singer bases and it can change character - depends on what your happy with - and how many songs people expectt from youir singaround. Smaller? Still normally a good time - more chance to chat and learn about songs.

We are Brighton Singers Folk Club, set up Day 1 as a singaround in 1980 (founders inspired by Fred Baxters's original "singaround" Lewes, Sussex, England - mid 1970s).

Come and join us - main weekly session, Wednesdays, The Pond pub, Gloucester Road, near Brighton main railway station (9pm ish)


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Piers Cawley
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 01:08 AM

Chris Cole said: I'm sure the average punter doesn't want to hear a twenty five verse Child ballad

Have you ever tried it? i've been in public bar singarounds with a large proportion of non-singers who didn't even know there was going to be a singaround that night and seen the audience held rapt by a big ballad. I wouldn't suggest starting with Tamlyn or whatever, but I would certainly suggest trying one or two once things are warmed up.


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 02:51 PM

I feel its a shame you ended up in a back room

I've got a certain romance about dirty old back rooms of a certain size which become a part of the overall sound; sort of a snug maybe - comfortable with seven or eight but it really gets going with twenty or more stuffed in there. And that's before the rapper tean come in and everyone jumps up on the chairs in the vain hope of making space. Side room might be a better description of my ideal folk space, but I don't trouble over connecting with other punters as - generally speaking - they get involved anyway.


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 02:14 PM

Another advantage of having a singaround organiser is you can say to the unready guitar player 'We'll come back to you. In the meantime...'. Or 'Do you want to get your guitar out? We'll be round to you in a minute.'

And the comment about banning melodeons - once you start banning any instrument or kind of song you are on a slippery slope. If a singer is being accompanied inappropriately by others in the singaround it's ok to ask for the culprit to shut up.


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 01:47 PM

At our club on Singaround nights we average 15 performers, 18 last night. We never set any rules as to what music do do or what is welcome, and I think our Singarounds have become more popular for that i.e had some Folk, Country, rock, Blues, poetry and humour last night. I know of the odd club where anything but Folk is frowned upon, as is their privilidge but they tend to get a small number of regulars and rarely see newbies. I have my own likes, but I enjoy hearig all the varying genres and styles, and a good Singaround is a gret way to both learn and appreciate stuff you may have thought you'd not like but are surprised when you do


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,floraG
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 01:24 PM

Suibhine
I feel its a shame you ended up in a back room. With the morris we often got comments like ' its nice to see you lot back again' when we played/ sung in the main bar. Some customers would bring their own instruments along for their annual outing knowing we were going to be there. I was given some advice by an elderly relative - when playing for a non folk audience try to do 1/3 songs or tunes they will know. Seems to work for this sort of audience.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: Secrets of a good singaround?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 08:04 AM

not likely to draw a non folk audience

If people like folk, then fine - if not (which is true for the vast majority) then that's fine too. On one level, I'm often puzzled by the folkie tendancy to religiosity with respect of conviction, zeal & the need to win coverts - on another level of course I understand it, accept it, accomodate it as par for the course given the religious nature of folk, specifically in the context of a broader cultural non-folk secularism in which folk music is about as relevant as churning butter by hand or darning socks. I respect the butter churners and the sock-darners, but might be wary of their increasingly singular world-view.

I have no missiory zeal with respect of folk - people can & do live very happily without it and in no way shape or form does it constitute our natural culture. Folk is as Folk does - it's a minority conceit, mostly made up over the last 55 years or so, and of appeal to very limited numbers of a certain age. That said, in the sort of Jump In Sesh I've accounted for above it does intersect with the Real World with often astonishing results, but culture is always so much bigger than we (folkies) think it is.

A few years back a folky fiddling friend of mine was astonished when a working-class 7-year-old ran up to her and asked her if the tune she was playing was Cotton Eye Joe. She was impressed that a member of the lower social orders would be privvy to such elite information - until, that is, I pointed out that a dance version of Cotton Eye Joe was currently riding high in the charts and likely to be a staple at every proletarian wedding, funeral, barbeque & disco. This was something that, as a folkie, she was blissfully unaware of and even poured scorn that her sacred cause should be trivialised by being made into Pop Music.

Another secret if a good singaround - Less is More. I remember a fine evening at The Cumberland Arms where there was just four of us in the back room (Rapunzel, myself, Joe Crane & Piers Cawley) and that was a rare magic typical of something trancendent in the very nature of Traditional Song which remains potent irrespective of Folk, which is, I think, something quite different.


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