Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


'What about England?'

Desert Dancer 13 Jul 10 - 01:13 PM
Richard Bridge 13 Jul 10 - 07:18 PM
Jack Campin 13 Jul 10 - 08:32 PM
Leadfingers 13 Jul 10 - 08:46 PM
Jack Campin 13 Jul 10 - 09:11 PM
Tradsinger 14 Jul 10 - 04:58 AM
Will Fly 14 Jul 10 - 05:23 AM
Richard Bridge 14 Jul 10 - 06:03 AM
GUEST,Ed 14 Jul 10 - 06:13 AM
Will Fly 14 Jul 10 - 06:38 AM
Richard Bridge 14 Jul 10 - 06:41 AM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Jul 10 - 07:05 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 14 Jul 10 - 07:21 AM
Rumncoke 14 Jul 10 - 09:02 AM
Will Fly 14 Jul 10 - 09:06 AM
Richard Bridge 14 Jul 10 - 09:40 AM
Will Fly 14 Jul 10 - 10:07 AM
The Sandman 14 Jul 10 - 10:24 AM
Richard Bridge 14 Jul 10 - 11:33 AM
Desert Dancer 14 Jul 10 - 01:29 PM
Desert Dancer 14 Jul 10 - 01:32 PM
Desert Dancer 15 Jul 10 - 12:12 PM
Richard Bridge 15 Jul 10 - 12:25 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: 'What about England?'
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 13 Jul 10 - 01:13 PM

EFDSS on Facebook points toward this essay: "What about England?", by Toner Quinn, in the Journal of Music and says it's publicly available for a limited time.

(The Music Journal is published bimonthly in Ireland. They state, "The world of music is full of ideas and debates, though rarely are they given the space and time to develop. In our magazine, we aim to provide that space.

"We ask leading musicians, composers and writers – across all genres – to connect the ideas, thoughts and views on music that surround us. Our editorial staff work closely with contributors to produce articles that are engaging, stimulating, accessible and full of new thinking.")

I'm pasting the whole essay here, knowing this is not without precedent at the Mudcat.

~ Becky in Long Beach

What about England?
Toner Quinn

A new generation of musicians and singers is pulling the English folk scene alongside its Irish and Scottish neighbours, pointing to a new era of collaboration – and perhaps even the healing of old wounds, writes Toner Quinn

I am supporting England in the World Cup this summer. As an Irishman, that is easier to write than it will be to act upon. There is history, and the Irish are traditionally sensitive to the English imperiousness that tends to appear on football occasions. But I want to think about our two islands differently. England is our close, island-dwelling neighbour. In the new peacetime that has been created, can the Irish learn to love it? Sporting and cultural events may offer us that chance.

In July, it will be five years since the IRA announced an end to its paramilitary activities, closing a chapter on hundreds of years of violence between these two islands. There has been just one cultural occasion which has marked this new era: in 2007, at an Ireland–England rugby international in Croke Park in Dublin, 'God Save the Queen' was sung to a respectful and touching Irish silence. During the subsequent passionate singing of the Irish anthem, one Irish player openly wept.

The Croke Park moment was significant because the ground was the site of a massacre in 1920, when British forces opened fire in retaliation to the earlier killing of British agents by the IRA. The rugby match in 2007 was seen as a milestone for Irish and English people, the beginning of a better relationship between the two nations, but as is natural, a deep pause has followed, allowing the dust to settle. Nonetheless, Croke Park showed us how the amorphousness of music can point us a way past our man-made boundaries. Where can we look to for other gaps in the political hedge?

In 1997, I attended a concert in the Irish World Music Centre in Limerick that featured Irish traditional musicians based in England, but that also took the innovative step of including English folk artists. A then relatively unknown Chris Wood bewildered the audience by singing in 5/4 time while accompanying himself on fiddle. A twenty-something Eliza Carthy silenced the room with her tender and honest singing, and then joined in on Irish fiddle tunes with vim. I interviewed Carthy a year later, and I can recall her determination to bring English folk to a much wider public than it was then receiving. She commented on the folk festivals up and down England, which consisted mainly of traditional groups from other countries – Irish artists were a heavy presence. Fine, she said, but what about England? What about English music?

Over the last ten years, Carthy's question has received its reply. Through the work of a new generation, with her own extraordinary output at the helm, English folk has broken through to the mainstream. The result of a new energy and creativity in recordings and performances, it is augmented by a grassroots movement of folk clubs and festivals accommodating the new audiences being created. Carthy's output of over twenty albums since 1993, when she was eighteen, not only illustrates her own musical development, but practically provides a narrative to the entire movement, climaxing with Rough Music (2004), which magnificently stretches the aesthetics of English folk. So too do Chris Wood's eighteen recordings since 1990, with Anthology and Handmade Life (both 2009) containing an astonishing balance between tradition and invention. Exceptional artists and groups such as Kate Rusby, John Spiers and Jon Boden, Bellowhead, Nancy Kerr, Spiro, the Unthanks, Bella Hardy and Andy Cutting are creating music and song as diverse as England's population while at the same time maintaining an unmistakeable Englishness.

The state is now beginning to get behind them: the Arts Council of England has in the last year allocated £400,000 to the English Folk Dance and Song Society (founded 1932), allowing it to become a national development agency for folk music. In May, it ran a campaign to increase the amount of English folk on BBC radio. In October 2009 the Arts Council and fRoots magazine produced a CD showcase, Looking for a New England, which was promoted at the Womex music fair in Denmark. In March 2010, the first ever English folk showcase appeared at the South by Southwest music event in Texas.

English folk music's resurgence is partly a response to the devolving of political powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in 1998, and also, arguably, increased immigration. At the turn of the millennium, the English were forced to consider their identity beyond the traditional notion of the United Kingdom. The folk resurgence was already under way but it subsequently grew in popularity. From 1998, BBC Radio 3 began to play more world music, with Late Junction a particular champion of English folk, while Mike Harding's programme on BBC Radio 2 also drew attention to the new strength of the genre. In 2000, the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards were established and English artists have cleaned up regularly. In 2006, BBC Four television produced Folk Britannia, a major three-part series tracing the evolution of British folk from the end of World War II to the present day. And a twisted compliment came with the rise of the far-right British National Party from 2005, which encouraged its members to to become more involved in the English folk scene. This in turn led to the establishment of Folk Against Fascism in 2009, a movement that aims to repel the BNP's manipulation of the music for racist, political means.

Yet for all its current vitality, English folk still remains apart from the Scottish and Irish scenes. One explanation is the still relatively small number (in comparison to Ireland and Scotland) of recordings and contemporary editions of music collections that non-English traditional musicians can tap into. While Ireland and Scotland can draw on hundreds of publications and thousands of widely available recordings, as well as a range of online resources, England, despite the size of its population, has not reached that level of publication and dissemination.

But there is a political dimension to it also. Irish traditional musicians have for decades been exploring the folk musics of the world, collaborating with musicians from Galicia, South America, Appalachia, Norway, Cape Breton, Sweden, Bulgaria, Romania and North Africa – anywhere but England. Collaborations between Ireland and Scotland have always been pursued, and the connections between them in repertoire and style are emphasised in the album titles: Andy Irvine and Dick Gaughan's Parallel Lines (1982), Kevin Burke and Johnny Cunningham's Celtic Fiddle Festival (1993) and Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh and Julie Fowlis' Dual (2009). ('Dual' in both Scots Gaelic and Irish means to twine, braid or interlace.) In Northern Ireland, there are often efforts to bring together musical representations of unionist and nationalist communities, but there it ends.

The traditional music scene on the two islands has developed more or less as if England wasn't there. Celtic Connections, the international folk festival in Glasgow, implicitly overlooks England in its title (because it is not 'Celtic'). The major television programme, Transatlantic Sessions (1994–) regularly brings together Ireland, Scotland and America, but ignores England. English singers and musicians can be regularly found in these festivals and shows of course, but the genre does not receive the same prominence. Its lack of a diasporic identity plays against it. Wales too is missing, but the reasons for its absence are different – an emphasis on religious choral singing over folk music through Welsh history has meant that its traditional music is still developing, and its artists have yet to impact on the international scene. That too, however, is changing, driven by organisations such as Trac and the record label Sain.

An interview in April of this year with Eliza Carthy on BBC Radio 3's Music Matters illustrated how the battle for recognition goes on. As she explained her research on English folk music, the presenter overly complimented her on doing such valuable archival work, stressing how important it was. But Carthy could read between the lines. Her voice tensed up: 'It's not research for the sake of it, you know. It's also good music.'

One of the ironies is that English folk musicians pay staunch homage to the music of its neighbours. At a festival concert in Dublin in 2008, which I programmed, the English duo John Spiers and Jon Boden seemed genuinely humbled to be on the same bill as Irish fiddle-player Paddy Glackin. Similarly, the British Folk Awards have handed out lifetime achievement awards to Christy Moore, Paul Brady and the Chieftains, Best Group awards to Altan and Danú, and best instrumentalist to fiddle-player Martin Hayes (eight years before he received a similar award in Ireland). A reciprocal award for an English act by the national traditional music awards of Ireland – the TG4 Gradam Ceoil – would be almost unthinkable.

We have arrived at a moment in which the stunning music of the English folk scene cannot be ignored any longer. Its strength and depth means collaborations between new young generations of English, Scottish and Irish musicians are surely around the corner, a cultural development that can only bring the traditionally acrimonious divisions between the peoples of these two islands forward. It hasn't happened yet in any high-profile performance, nor is it evident in recordings, but for how long can the major festivals in Ireland ignore the English group Bellowhead, which has consistently won best live act at the British Folk Awards? And for how long can the programmers and promoters of major state venues in London, Edinburgh, Dublin and Belfast ignore the potential of a major, peacetime celebration of the folk musics of all of the peoples of these two islands?

Toner Quinn is Editor of The Journal of Music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Jul 10 - 07:18 PM

I am not sure I buy into this. The activities of the mediaeval church have left the records of English folk music and song limited, so the richness of the English heritage is indeed limited in comparison with Scottish and Irish. What is more it is different in type. You can hear the difference between English on the one hand and Scottish and Irish on the other. I daresay if your ear is attuned and you care that you can hear the difference between Irish and Scottish too.

It is admirable if there are new interpretations of English folk music and song (and I don't care what roots they draw on, my interpretations are "folk and roll" which means Afro-American corruption of the English wellspring, but it's what I do) but I am not at all clear that this implies cross-fertilisation between "Celtic" and English.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jul 10 - 08:32 PM

If you look at the sources for instrumental dance music, there is FAR more English music known from before 1800 (Playford to Rutherford, say) than there is Irish. And it was extremely influential - look at Alois Fleischmann's "Sources of Irish Traditional Music" to see how many English tunes the Irish adopted (a similar story could be told about Scottish music, though we were always the most productive nation of the British Isles for folk music on paper).

God knows what you think the mediaeval church had to do with it. It was entirely irrelevant to secular folk music everywhere in Western Europe, the British Isles included.

Waffly crap about being able to hear distinctions between English and "Celtic" music just make you part of the problem. You don't need your ears attuned, you need better information.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: Leadfingers
Date: 13 Jul 10 - 08:46 PM

The WORST Church influence on traditional music was in Ireland , where there were bonfires outside churches for violins and other instruments before WW1 , if my memory is correct !
A HELL of a lot of 'Traditional' Irish music was Re Imported (Mostly from America) in the Twenties !
I am pretty sure thats when The Bodhran became a 'Trad' instrument .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jul 10 - 09:11 PM

WW1 was a good bit later than the Middle Ages. So was the point in time when the Kirk in Scotland and the Methodists in Wales tried to discourage secular music (pretty thoroughly in isolated places like St Kilda).

None of that begins to compare with the level of repression imposed by the Orthodox church in Russia and the Ukraine (which did start in the Middle Ages).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: Tradsinger
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 04:58 AM

The above posts don't address the issue that the word Celtic has come to mean practically any folk music except English, and so the English have been more or less cut out of the process. Toner Quinn made a good point when he mentioned the Transatlantic Sessions - great music but reinforcing the myth that all American folk music is Irish or Scottish-derived. A lot is, a lot isn't, and now we English would like our contribution to be acknowledged and to be invited to the party, please. What we have lacked in England is of course media and public support, coupled with incredulity that England does in fact have any folk music. We all know that it does but it has not been cherished and marketed like Irish, Scottish or American music. I hope and feel that the tide is turning in favour of acceptance, but we still have to convince a lot of sceptics and denialists. As EC says "it's also good music". It's more than that, it's our cultural heritage.

Tradsinger


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 05:23 AM

The term "Celtic" as applied to music is meaningless - a simplistic marketing label. I commend an excellent article by guitarist Duck Baker (who was one of the first acoustic guitarists to record Irish and Scottish music in his "The Kid On The Mountain" album):

The Term "Celtic"

Proponents of the Celtic idea should also read up on modern scientific DNA-based research, which shatters the old ideas of Celtic peoples being driven into strongholds in Wales, Cornwall, Ireland, etc., by the Roman invaders.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 06:03 AM

1. Can't find it right now but there was a discussion on this very board about the prevalence or otherwise of English fiddle tunes and on it it was postulated (convincingly, I thought) and not contradicted that the early church in England was insistent that music should only be performed to the glory of God (not a quote, but a summary) and so a lot of music was suppressed and lost. If anyone can find it it would be appreciated.

2. It was precisely to avoid a discussion of the validity of the label "Celtic" that I used the work in inverted commas. I'm not sure that Duck Baker, an American, adds greatly to that discussion in the article given.

3. Article on DNA evidence    If I read it correctly the DNA evidence depends on carriage of the Y chromosome down "the male line". So a man will carry the "Celtic" Y chromosome if his father did - if one of his grandfathers did - if one of his great grandfathers did, and so on. Therefore a "substantial" finding of the "Celtic" chromosome in England does not invalidate the "mass flight" theory, and indeed the 90% or more prevalence of the "Celtic" chromosome in Wales rather tends to support it - IMHO.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 06:13 AM

Richard,

Is this the thread that you meant?

Take a deep breath anyhow...

Ed


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 06:38 AM

Richard, the DNA article you've quoted, from 2001 is now quite out of date. Very recent - and very large scale - DNA studies are postulating post ice age movements of Celtic peoples up from Spain, many thousands of years ago, through the western side of the islands. Other populations moved in laterally from the east, from what we now call Germany, France, Flanders, etc., to populate the broadly eastern half of the island. The thesis is that, far from there being a universal distribution of Celtic people throughout the isles - a population which was partially driven west by Roman occupation, and then exterminated by invading Angles, Saxons, etc - there was, from very ancient times, a genetic difference between western and eastern England - a difference which was altered very little by the Romans or anyone else. The evidence is not only based on DNA research but on, say, the variations in the frequency of Celtic-type inscriptions in differing parts of the country.

I mention all this at, I dare say, tedious length, because there is so much misinformed insistence on the nature of so-called Celtic culture and music. To denigrate an article by Duck Baker because he is an American, by the way, is not an argument of any validity. I happen to know, as many other people do, that Duck has a tremendous knowledge of the folk music of Ireland and Scotland, among other musical genres, and is an extremely intelligent, analytical and experienced musicologist. Whether you agree with him or not is another matter.

There is Irish, Scottish, English, French music of many types. To put a brand name such as Celtic on some of it is meaningless. Unfortunately, it's that imposition of the term on some of the music - and the thinking that goes with it - that prevents superb musicians from England being included, for example, in the Transatlantic Sessions.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 06:41 AM

No, it wasn't that one, but thanks anyway.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 07:05 AM

The activities of the mediaeval church have left the records of English folk music and song limited, so the richness of the English heritage is indeed limited in comparison with Scottish and Irish.

How so? For one thing "the activities of the mediaeval church" in Scotland and Ireland were much the same as in England or in other parts of Europe. For another it's highly questionable whether much of the living musical heritage in any of those countries dates back half a millennium to mediaeval times.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 07:21 AM

Sorry to blow my own trumpet,but I did write an article on this topic for the Musical Traditons web magazine, about ten years ago. (And I'd still stand by most of it today.) Here it is - if the blue click-maker works.

http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/england.htm

Wassail!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: Rumncoke
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 09:02 AM

Richard, your interpretation of DNA evidence is not correct - the Y chromosome can only be transmitted on the male line - not if ONE of his grandfathers nor ONE of his great grandfathers, the line is always and only from father to son, so each line can be traced way back to some Ancestral Adam by analysing the small alterations which have occured over time.

There were some interesting little occurences on the way - like the number of men who's Y chromosome links their ancestry to Attila the Hun numbering in the many millions - which explains a lot really.

Anne Croucher


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 09:06 AM

Fascinating article, Mike. I recall reading it some time ago, but it was still an interesting re-read today. You say you'd stand by most of it - what do you think are the significant differences between the scene as you described it then, and now?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 09:40 AM

I think you misread my words, rumncoke. The male line must be uninterrupted. So only one male ascendant is marked as carrier of the relevant chromosome - one of two male grandparents, one of four male great-grandparents, one of eight male great-great grandparents and so on.

Will, what you say, if correct, supports rather than diminishes the possibility that there is a heritable Celtic music culture. You are happy enough to refer to Celtic peoples, and happy enough to say that they were more frequently found on the western side of these islands. The people of these islands were not homogeneous. Whether that is a consequence of unforced migration from another place (in the south and west) as you assert, or as a result of forced migration driven from the east makes no difference to the fact that you assert of non-homogeneity. Why presuppose that the music of these islands was homogeneous?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 10:07 AM

Richard, I think the problem is that we force a "Celtic" cultural label on to some types of music, when we have absolutely no idea whatsoever what actual "Celtic" music was. We're talking thousands of years ago, and the point I'm trying to make is that there is a whole array of misconceptions about Celtic origins, history and culture which, when applied to music and the categorisation of music, makes no sense whatsoever. This wouldn't matter a hoot but for the fact that English traditional tunes often get ignored in some corners - as in the Transatlantic Sessions - because they're not "Celtic". Not Celtic therefore not true folk or worth considering.

I've lost count of the number of the times our ceilidh band has been booked with the proviso that the music has to be Irish or Scottish - this from people who have very little knowledge of the music. We play the gigs - and we certainly include some Irish and Scottish tunes in our set - but we also include several English tunes. No-one ever knows the difference and we always go down extremely well. If I played you the A part to the "Dargason" (in Playford) and the A part to the "Irish Washerwoman", you'd be hard put to tell them apart at first. Is one "Celtic" and the other not - or is it that they probably come from similar roots? Who knows - and what does it matter if it's a good tune?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 10:24 AM

some of us have been playing English and Irish and Scottish music in folk cubs and festivals for the last 35 years, we have been presenting the music in a professional manner, we have spent years learning the art of performing and years practising the music.
The music does not need this sort of Pseuds Corner journalism, it smacks of the commercial pop scene.
the best music[ imo] is being performed by many unsung heroes, who have learned their performance techniques in the folk clubs and festivals, and whose genuine love of musicis reflected in their performances, most of these musicians dont get their gigs written up , often because they are not the latest flavour of the folk press


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 11:33 AM

I am much more inclined to agree with that, Will.

Er - Dick, what are you on today?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 01:29 PM

Well, Dick is actually responding to the article, which is more than I can see in most of these posts. To translate, he's presented a variation on his usual theme of "who cares if it's traditional, as long as it's good", to make it "who cares where it comes from as long as it's good".

I think that's not entirely in disagreement with the essay, although clearly Quinn (and many of us) is arguing that if you're going to celebrate music in the family of "reels, jigs, and old songs sung in English" (to greatly simplify it) and you're going to name the countries of origin, then there's a lot to celebrate in the music of England, as well as Scotland and Ireland and America, and justifying the exclusion of English music and musicians in the year 2010 seems pretty difficult.

That's my take on it, anyway.

I'd like to hear from the Irish and Scots, who unfortunately aren't well represented here at Mudcat... and from other non-English music players/singers. Certainly any individual can have a preference for one style of music or another, but I think Dick has it spot on (if an American can say that) that "it [the essay] smacks of the commercial pop scene" -- what Quinn is talking about are major festivals outside of England, and the awards shows. These are the trickle-down venues that not only show acknowledgment by the musical community, but then eventually could get the punters to get over assuming that if it's music on a fiddle (and not on the symphony stage), then it is not necessarily "Irish music" or even "'Celtic'" (whatever that is).

Where there's a public presentation of "reels, jigs, and old songs in English" of more than one country of origin, it's time to include the English.

~ Becky in Long Beach
gotta go, heading for Tucson today


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 01:32 PM

(Plus, Dick was agreeing with Will's concluding note.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 12:12 PM

rfrsh


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'What about England?'
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 12:25 PM

Did anyone find that other old thread?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 18 July 7:00 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.