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Folk - the latest incarnation

theleveller 06 Jun 10 - 09:52 AM
Rob Naylor 06 Jun 10 - 11:22 AM
Rob Naylor 06 Jun 10 - 06:25 PM
theleveller 07 Jun 10 - 03:24 AM
Bryn Pugh 07 Jun 10 - 04:42 AM
Bounty Hound 07 Jun 10 - 05:16 AM
mikesamwild 07 Jun 10 - 06:14 AM
GUEST,folky fan 07 Jun 10 - 06:27 AM
Rob Naylor 09 Jun 10 - 10:53 AM
matt milton 09 Jun 10 - 11:13 AM
autoharpbob 09 Jun 10 - 02:31 PM
Joe G 09 Jun 10 - 04:04 PM
Banjiman 10 Jun 10 - 07:54 AM
Art Thieme 10 Jun 10 - 03:42 PM
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Subject: Folk - the latest incarnation
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Jun 10 - 09:52 AM

Classical composers like Vaughan William, Delius and Percy Grainger did it. The Folk/Rockers did it. Now there seems to be a new generation of talented young (and sometimes not-so young) musicians who are combining folk influences with other styles including jazz, bluegrass, classical and pop to produce an unclassifiable style of music that's fresh, exciting, beautifully crafted and increasingly popular with a wide range of audiences.

I'm thinking here of Mumford & Sons, Bellowhead, Mawkin, Landermason, Kat Gilmore and Jamie Roberts, Duncan McFarlane, Gerry McNiece, Woomble, Drever and McCusker, and my own personal favourites of the moment, The Old Dance Scool.

Do you find this kind of music as exciting and stimulating as I do and who are your personal favourites?

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Subject: RE: Folk - the latest incarnation
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 06 Jun 10 - 11:22 AM

I wouldn't say Mumford and Sons were "unclassifiable". They mostly sound like a younger version of a "standard" folk-rock band to me. Still, I like them.

I love Katriona & Jamie. I've enjoyed Kat's fiddle playing since the day she joined Tiny Tin Lady, and watching Jamie's mad guitar playing is a sheer pleasure!

I think Tiny Tin Lady has become less folky and more "unclassifiable" since they added Sally on keyboards, lost Kat and then added Aimee on drums. Love their live gigs though...and enjoy drinking with them afterwards. For such small bodies they can't half put away the booze!

I like Tom Williams & The Boat, too...unclassifiable, with a slight folk-rock tinge plus jazzy overtones. But I have to declare an interest as their fiddler/ sax player, Geri, is my older daughter's best friend:

Tom Williams & The Boat

I love Laura Marling as a solo performer. Never thought much of Noah & The Whale but Laura alone is great...nice voice, and writes songs that appeal to my twisted mentality.

Also like the Carrivick Sisters...bluegrassy, definitely, rather than "pure" folk, but very talented.

Jenna Reid and Julie Fowlis go without saying, as does Flossie Malavialle.

There are loads of great young "pure indie" bands around. I particularly like Ipso Facto...the girl band quartet, not the other band of the same name. Worth seeing for their drummer alone...she really puts some energy into it. In fact, what surprises me about the small-venue gigs I go to is how many of the bands have a good proportion of women instrumentalists. There are quite a number of all-female bands and *most* of the others I see have female members, but to hear/ see what gets media play, you'd think that the only place for women in music is as solo vocalists or members of "manufactured" girls-groups.

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Subject: RE: Folk - the latest incarnation
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 06 Jun 10 - 06:25 PM

Oh, and another band that I find amusingly eccentric, and again unclassifiable, is Tabloid Vivant:

Tabloid Vivant

Again, the band's 50% female. The vocalist might appear to be of ambiguous orientation, but he's my older daughter's boyfriend! There are folk influences there, but I also detect a bit of Bonzo Dog.

The fact that my daughter's best friend and her boyfriend are both in bands that get a lot of gigs on the small venue circuit, and that all my kids play instruments (synth, guitar, flute, cello) seems to bear out a discussion I was having some time ago with Jim C, who was arguing that the "youth of today" are largely passive consumers of music, whereas I was arguing that there's a huge undercurrent of youngsters out there making their own music and ignoring the big labels and presures to conform to what's "commercial". You'd be surprised how many songs there are out there in "youthland" slagging off the NME, Radio 1/ Radio 2, etc.You could argue they're cutting their own throats...after all, NME is never going to feature a band whose most requested song is "Fuck The NME", is it?

Virtually every under-25 year old I know is in a band, or associated with one in some way, so although they're not playing what we'd regard as "classic folk", they *are* out there making their own music.

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Subject: RE: Folk - the latest incarnation
From: theleveller
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 03:24 AM

Interesting stuff, Rob. I'd certainly agree with you about the 'passive consumer' thing. My 19-year old son plays drums (when he's home from uni) and my 10-year old daughter plays cello, fiddle, keyboard and anything else she can get her hands on and is an avid folkie who is really enthusistic about the young bands she sees at folk festivals. The 'fringe folk' scene (for want of a better classification) is certainly very vibrant at the moment.

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Subject: RE: Folk - the latest incarnation
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 04:42 AM

As a member of what was described in a Manchester based folk magazine of 50 odd years ago - "minuscule minded traddies" - I love Bellowhead ; and I think Jim Moray one of the best things that has happened to the "Folk Scene".

The Big Session, ditto.

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Subject: RE: Folk - the latest incarnation
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 05:16 AM

Playing devil's advocate here, there is a danger of dumbing down the tradition, both of folk music (whatever your definition) and of the music from other roots.

That said, most of the 'genres' in the Levellers original post can trace their roots back to the traditions of the British Isles, so a fusion works well in most cases. Love Bellowhead, and many of the other acts listed in this thread, but from a purely personal viewpoint, I don't like the fusion of english tradition with indian or afro carribian music. Went to see Edward11 once, but left during their third song, the combination of a reggae band and a squeezebox just didn't do it for me.

Can't be too precious about it though, as I am having the time of my life persuing a plan to grow old disgracefully fronting The Bounty Hounds folk/rock band, which does seem to be attracting the right sort of attention.


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Subject: RE: Folk - the latest incarnation
From: mikesamwild
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 06:14 AM

I'm very impressed by what's going on , there is a lot of energy and commitment and a respect for traditional singers and players and earler folkies.
I'm also very interested in what is driving it all. Just a few factors seem to be:
children of earlier folkies are young adults and have learned from an early age; networking is much easier as is access to earlier recordings and it is eclectic; sessions and festivals have opened it up from club rooms; Englishness and other 'nationalisms' or patriotisms are influential; lots of role models for youngsters and approachability; festivals, classes and Summer schools, concern about right wing takover, emerging FE and HE courses in all sorts of musicaal activity, good marketing,. The need to sell downloads necessitates good communication with 'fans' to attend gigs and sell merchandise.

My only personal concwern is the danger of a loss of satisfaction with amateur performance and appreciation of community and age profiles. I don't see too many working class youngsters getting into it but then again there is a new kind of political consciousness. I wonde which way labour will swing in Britain, towards community and self help and cooperation or towards hard left militancy again.

All in all as a child of the 50s revival I'm pretty happy that it's in good hands. I reckon my earlier worries about a lack of good young singers, as opposed to players, is less well founded. I just wish I could play faster as my old fingers stiffen up -and work out the smart chords on the bass end of a melodeon!

For my money there have been te following significant phases Antiquarinaaism and nationalism 1800s, reaction to industrialisation and the like ( early 1900s) protest and working class song following blues, skiffle and the like 1950s, 1960- 70s 'hippy' idealism and 'pastoralism, dance , ritual and instrumental development', present day a new surge in young adults seeking'England' and search for authenticity and a valid cultural identity and a decent world for their kids.

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Subject: RE: Folk - the latest incarnation
From: GUEST,folky fan
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 06:27 AM

I think it is an exciting time for the folk scene as artists driven less by commercial success and more by creativity, community and an open minded audience can find a voice on this scene. It seems a welcoming place for artists that may not conform to the conventional stereotypes of the larger label lead music scene. This includes performers that appeared at the "Nowt as Queer as Folk" event on May 3rd at Cecil Sharp House. Trans performers - Gina Le Faux and Louisa Killen both contributed beautiful music and song to this important event and were able to feel safe and accepted by our folk community.

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Subject: RE: Folk - the latest incarnation
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 10:53 AM

I agree that the folk "label" seems to becoming a repository for a wider variety of artistes than would traditionally come under the "folk" genre. And I don't think that's a bad thing.

Inclusivity is good, and if it attracts those less driven by commercial success, and artistes whose mindset is the antithesis of "Cowell Clones" then that's excellent, IMO. That level of community involvement belongs to "the folk" IMO.

I'm a bit disappointed that there's not more crossover at small session and singaround type venues, though. Locally, the 3 "more traddy" singaround venues that I go to rarely see anyone under 30 there, with the majority in their 50s or older, while the 2 more "indie/ nu-folk" venues I go to rarely have anyone there over 30 (except me :-) ). Which is odd, since, going to both types, I can see aspects of each that those attending the other sort of venue would enjoy.

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Subject: RE: Folk - the latest incarnation
From: matt milton
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 11:13 AM

I find the majority of those mentioned thus far dull as dishwater. There's a really unappealing cosiness to it all; I find them all very middle of the road. The singer-songwritery ones sound like drippy wimp-rock, Coldplay played on banjos. The more traditional music ones sound square and proficient: well-meaning music students.

But instead of being wholly negative, here's an alternative list of youngish (well, 30something or less) guys & gals I actually rate:
Alasdair Roberts, Nancy Wallace, Mary Hampton, Jason Steel, Michael Rossiter, Ewan McLennan, James Yorkston (his latest, trad-material one, not his boring other stuff), Flake Brown, Boycott Coca Cola Experience, David Broad, Trent Miller, Pepe Belmonte,

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Subject: RE: Folk - the latest incarnation
From: autoharpbob
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 02:31 PM

A few more to add if we are talking youngsters - Devils Interval were innovative and incredibly musical, though they seem to have split and Emily Portman and Jim Causley have gone on to greater things. Isombarde have the distinction of including an oboe in a folk (whatever that means) trio. Uiscedwr - Cormac Byrne and Anna Esslemont with friends - have incredible energy. And here is a group labelled as "nu-folk" - horrible term - that I came across because of my daughter who keeps me up to date with wats appnin - Stornaway -

I was also at an autoharp event last Saturday and was extremely pleased to see a young lady who sings with several groups starting to learn the AH - one of a couple of youngsters that we have dragged in lately.

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Subject: RE: Folk - the latest incarnation
From: Joe G
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 04:04 PM

well Pete not suprisingly I'd sign up to most of those you mentioned - I've just realised Old Dance School are at Shrewsbury so will see them again soon - enjoyyed listening to their 2 CDs at the weekend.

The jazz influenced music of Blowzabella was for a long time my favourite music to dance to (and probably would still be along with Tickled Pink & Glorystrokes)

Can I add to the list Wilful Missing and Jenny Mccormick

Also of course Rebekah Findlay's music has many influences which make her new CD an utter treasure

Sorry no time to make blue clicky's


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Subject: RE: Folk - the latest incarnation
From: Banjiman
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 07:54 AM


Just looking at your original list, I'm not sure what influences you feel that Gerry M, Dunc McF, Mawkin amd Old Dance School are bringing that is different and new?

Don't get me wrong, I rate all of these acts very highly and have enjoyed them live and recorded.

I'm just not sure that they belong in some kind of "new" category. To me they just produce good music but I don't hear any especially strong non folk influences.

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Subject: RE: Folk - the latest incarnation
From: Art Thieme
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 03:42 PM

Anybody remember the craze for pink Cadillacs??

If everyone had one, the USA would be a pink-car-nation.

Oh, the humanity...

       (It's not the heat; it's the humanity!)


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