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Scots musicians deny claim that folk is fading out

Continuity Jones 16 Jul 10 - 04:53 AM
pavane 16 Jul 10 - 06:03 AM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 16 Jul 10 - 06:21 AM
Steve Gardham 16 Jul 10 - 12:58 PM
alex s 16 Jul 10 - 01:14 PM
alex s 16 Jul 10 - 01:15 PM
meself 16 Jul 10 - 01:22 PM
Desert Dancer 16 Jul 10 - 01:29 PM
Jack Campin 16 Jul 10 - 02:01 PM
Tootler 16 Jul 10 - 02:58 PM
Jack Campin 16 Jul 10 - 06:01 PM
meself 16 Jul 10 - 10:59 PM
mousethief 16 Jul 10 - 11:32 PM
LadyJean 17 Jul 10 - 12:06 AM
Richard Bridge 17 Jul 10 - 03:33 AM
Suegorgeous 17 Jul 10 - 07:03 AM
bubblyrat 17 Jul 10 - 07:43 AM
mauvepink 17 Jul 10 - 07:56 AM
Jack Campin 17 Jul 10 - 09:03 AM
Paul Burke 17 Jul 10 - 03:53 PM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 18 Jul 10 - 11:59 AM
Richard Bridge 18 Jul 10 - 03:41 PM
Gingerbeardman 18 Jul 10 - 04:36 PM
Lighter 18 Jul 10 - 05:09 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 19 Jul 10 - 05:05 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 19 Jul 10 - 06:43 AM
Richard Bridge 19 Jul 10 - 06:49 AM
Jack Campin 19 Jul 10 - 09:19 AM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 19 Jul 10 - 10:25 AM
Jack Campin 19 Jul 10 - 10:48 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 19 Jul 10 - 03:54 PM
Richard Bridge 19 Jul 10 - 04:36 PM
Jack Campin 19 Jul 10 - 04:55 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 19 Jul 10 - 05:36 PM
oggie 19 Jul 10 - 06:12 PM
Jack Campin 19 Jul 10 - 06:27 PM
EFDSS 20 Jul 10 - 04:52 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 20 Jul 10 - 05:12 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 20 Jul 10 - 05:26 AM
Tootler 20 Jul 10 - 06:32 PM
Jack Campin 20 Jul 10 - 07:39 PM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 21 Jul 10 - 04:07 AM
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Subject: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 04:53 AM

Scots musicians deny claim that folk is fading out

Ali Howard - The Herald newspaper, Scotland.
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15 Jul 2010

Folk music could soon be consigned to history if pop, rock and rap tunes continue to dominate television and radio, according to two academics.

It is claimed that over the past 20 years British teenagers have been increasingly exposed to restricted play-lists on radio stations, TV and websites – fuelling a interest in acts like Lady Gaga and N-Dubz.

Meanwhile, traditional instruments such as the violin, clarinet and flute are "endangered" because fewer children want to learn to play them, the researchers have claimed, putting folk, brass bands and even classical music at risk of slowly disappearing.

Professors Sue Hallam and Andrea Creech, from the Institute of Education at the University of London, said that even though there is now a wider choice of music available because of MP3 players and other technology, the playlists on TV and radio are far

narrower than 20 years ago.

They added: "Young people – unless they are introduced to a range of different musical traditions early when they are still open-eared – can refuse to engage with any music other than their preferred genre."

However, key players in the Scottish music industry cast doubt on the report, pointing to a surge in popularity for traditional music.

This year's Celtic Connections festival, featuring artists such as Orkney-based folk duo The Wrigley Sisters, saw audiences top 100,000, and T in the Park crowds warmed to folk rock band Mumford and Sons and folk singer-songwriter Laura Marling.

Scots singer-songwriter Karine Polwart believes the folk scene is stronger than it has been for 20 or 30 years and cited the Feis Movement (a group of Gaelic arts tuition festivals for young people), the "flourishing sessions scene" and the number of emerging young folk bands as proof.

    Anyone who says folk music is dead in Scotland just isn't listening to modern music

Vic Galloway

She said: "People who haven't previously considered themselves folk musicians are becoming interested. There's now crossovers with folk and different genres like classical and jazz," said Polwart.

"Folk isn't only flourishing, but people outwith the scene have taken folk music and made it their own. People are hacked off with the commercial music they are getting fed. There's an interest out there for independent, grass-roots music with meaning and identity."

BBC Radio Scotland DJ Vic Galloway claims there has been an increase in folk music within modern indie pop in Scotland.

"Folk music is in the DNA of song-writing in our country," said Galloway, citing acts such as King Creosote, James Yorkston, Arab Strap, Zoey Van Goey and Emma Pollock.

"There's a new wave of bands who are taking the indie template and infusing it with folk. Anyone who says folk music is dead in Scotland just isn't listening to modern music."

Roddy Woomble, singer with Idlewild, said: "Music is an evolving language and the generation we live in now is one in which musical genres are redundant. Folk music can be defined by so many things and lots of music can be classed as folk music."

The Glasgow Gaelic School, where traditional instruments are encouraged from primary one, has reported a rise in the uptake of fiddle and accordion.

At the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, in Glasgow, there has also been an increase in applications for undergraduate Scottish Music courses – from 38 for the 2008-2009 term to 49 this year.

Johnny Lynch, who runs Fife-based Fence record label along with Kenny Anderson – otherwise known as musician King Creosote – believes folk music is thriving. "People aren't so limited by musical genres any more," said Lynch, who performs with The Pictish Trail and electro band Silver Columns. "There's less musical snobbery now. And there will be more genre crossovers as time passes.

"Bands like Mumford and Sons – who are one of the most popular bands in the country – use traditional instruments, inspiring bands up and down the country."


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: pavane
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 06:03 AM

And Scotland is not subject to the restrictions in Pub music that we now have in England & Wales - coincidence?


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 06:21 AM

I am about to go back to a shop I visited yesterday, in order to buy a new guitar. I didn't get around to making my mind up then as the shop was full of mainly young people all trying out and buying instruments. Ok, mainly guitars, but I was impressed with the general level of expertise when they were trying them out.

Not as scientific as these academics I suppose, but this was my third shop that day, and over two cities. (Sheffield and Doncaster to be precise.)

A lollipop for the first person to tell me Doncaster isn't a city. Ok then, try parking near a shop!


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 12:58 PM

Doncaster? Try parking full stop!


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: alex s
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 01:14 PM

Go up to Cleckheaton - 4 hours FREE, and the mighty Music Room next to the car park!


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: alex s
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 01:15 PM

Oops, think I "lost the thread" - Sorry, CJ


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: meself
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 01:22 PM

"people outwith the scene"

Is this an error, or is "outwith" a UKism? If so, meaning?


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 01:29 PM

More coverage in this thread. EFDSS has responded similarly.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 02:01 PM

"outwith" is Scots.


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Tootler
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 02:58 PM

Outwith is a Scots word meaning "outside" or "beyond" something as distinct from "without" which in Scotland just means that you do not possess something.

In England, of course, we use "without" for both meanings. Scots usage is better than English in this respect, IMO.


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 06:01 PM

Other useful Scots words are "haver" and "blather" which is what the people quoted in that article are doing. I don't think Scots actually has a verb for "to spout delusional wishful thinking in a tone combining smugness and outrage" but it really needs one.

I would like to see Polwart try to find her own CDs anywhere near the main entrance of any Scottish branch of HMV, and I can't see Woomble demanding to have all of Idlewild's tracks reclassified as traditional music by iTunes.

Scotland is not that different from everywhere else. In particular it's not that different from England.


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: meself
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 10:59 PM

Thanks for the word wisdom.

We use the word "blather" in Canada occasionally. Not "haver", though. Except in the following type of instance:

"Are you gonna eat the rest of that?"

"No, you can haver."

Ha, ha.


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: mousethief
Date: 16 Jul 10 - 11:32 PM

I would be interested in knowing some kind of number for people who, after a steady diet of Britney Spears and Lady Gaga and whatever-god-awful-act-is-next, finally say "enough" and cast about for some music that is more filling. They may discover classical, or trad folk, or bebop, or Gilbert and Sullivan, or some other brand of music that isn't as ephemeral as the pop/rock/rap they are force-fed by the mainstream media. I think there is a movement in that direction, even if it's only a trickle, but I would be interested in seeing it quantified somehow.


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: LadyJean
Date: 17 Jul 10 - 12:06 AM

I was at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games last weekend, where two young gentlemen, who might have been 14, were busking with their fiddles. A fried to youthful enterprise, I was happy to contribute.
By the way, they were NOT playing the Jonas Brothers Greatest Hits. It was traditional music.


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Jul 10 - 03:33 AM

"outwith" is often also used in English legal drafting.

It seems to me that much of the article's assertion that "folk" is everywhere depends on the assumption that "anything can be folk".

Nonetheless there also seems to be a case that some truly folk music of the squeezie and scrapie kind is experiencing an increase in interest, although I would need to see more indications to believe that the same is true of folk song.


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 17 Jul 10 - 07:03 AM

Tootler

You say "without" to mean "outside" or "beyond"? I'd just say "outside" or "beyond" (never "without").


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: bubblyrat
Date: 17 Jul 10 - 07:43 AM

Yes; as a child,I found it hard to understand "There is a green hill far away,without a city wall" when we were required ( alright then,forced) to sing that hymn. And none of the teachers ever explained it, either !! At least "Folk Music",or something quite close to it,was in the curriculum in those (1950s) days,as was Orchestral music & country dancing !! What primary schools are like that today,I wonder ??


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: mauvepink
Date: 17 Jul 10 - 07:56 AM

Of late I have been to several Folk Clubs outside my more usual regular ones (all in England). In one I came across three children (one female, two boys), the boys of whom are having terrible difficulties at school but who both play violin extremely well. One of them also improvised a mandolin to most tunes that were played that night. Pure talent for sure and a sign that these children need to have their 'differing needs' met within a school system that should actually nurture what are very obvious talents. I left there that night feeling elated that such young people can get so much out of the music they love but also saddened that the system may squash them and smother their obvious chance to do something great with thier talents. If their parents have anything to do with it they will succeed. But I think they should be given help to achieve that too. All children are special, but these children's needs are also special too and need support.

Another club I went to had several young men and women, mostly guitar playere, who were really talented when they sang the songs they had written themselves and played their instruments. This is a 'non-trad' type folk club, where all sorts of music is welcomed by everyone from anyone. Some of the songs I would have said were not really folkish at all, but they were good. They were 'home grown' songs and their writers certainly enthusiastic about what they were doing. I sat in some awe listening to it all and thinking "maybe the future of folk is assured more than we know".

There is a 15 year old girl in these parts that plays exquisite guitar and sings beautiful, mainly Irish, traditional songs. She plays flute and violin too. Her parenrs are always there with her and the pride on their faces is tangible.

So what am I saying? Well. What I am trying to say is that I believe there is great talent out there in youngsters. Some is being nurtured but much is being missed. The 'system' now does not seem to encourage the enthusiasm young ages to get to know and love music of all types. Music lessons are expensive but I really do thing that schools should have music on the agenda more than they have. It should be as equally important as exercise and sport. I am not saying this so we can breed 'folkies'. Children involved in ANY music has to be a good thing for their own futures. I think folk would certainly get their fair share of takers. Groups like FOLKUS do a lot too to encourage and nurture talent in youngsters.

For Folk to survive - and I still have no definition for what Folk is exactly - I can only suggest that we all need to be more open minded in our tastes and what we allow in our clubs. If we let the children come along and sing in front of us - a live audience - even a pop song, we will benefit and they certainly will. They will be being exposed to 'folkies' and I am sure that will wash over them and increase their enthusiam for the genre as they get imbibed with our offerings.

Lots of people already have this attitude, I know, but I have also heard some anti-children type comments too from some 'folkies'. We need to make them feel valued and welcomed. I think the rest will take care of itself. Let's just give the children a srage to stand on and allow them to be involved. It's a start.

What do you think? Wide of the mark or are others of my mind?

Once upon a time we were all young...

Sitting in a music lesson, waiting maybe 15 minutes for that part in the music that was mine (a single tap on the triangle), and loving every minute of being in the class 'orchestra'. Remeber such things? I do :-)

Lets give the youngsters more stages to stand proud upon :-)

mp


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Jul 10 - 09:03 AM

Most posters have missed the main point. The original article:

It is claimed that over the past 20 years British teenagers have been increasingly exposed to restricted play-lists on radio stations, TV and websites – fuelling a interest in acts like Lady Gaga and N-Dubz.

and the grotesque response from a pop/rock DJ:

"Folk music is in the DNA of song-writing in our country," said Galloway, citing acts such as King Creosote, James Yorkston, Arab Strap, Zoey Van Goey and Emma Pollock.

And the equally crappy "here comes the horse" response from an indie-pop singer:

Music is an evolving language and the generation we live in now is one in which musical genres are redundant. Folk music can be defined by so many things and lots of music can be classed as folk music.

Yeah. Folk music is doing brilliantly because we can call anything we like folk music.

The main thing this shows is that music journalism in Scotland is just as slapdash and braindead as anything London can come up with.


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Paul Burke
Date: 17 Jul 10 - 03:53 PM

Spot on Jack. Folk music could well take over the commercial world (it threatened a bit in 1950- something), but still none of the music we like would get played.


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 18 Jul 10 - 11:59 AM

Yeah but...

Paul and Jack;

I am sure you have an idea of what is folk and what isn't. (iTunes does interesting things to your collection if you let it decide the genre, especially music you purchase on it!)

But you know, my take on what is folk may be different to what you reckon is folk. or the person reading this may have yet a different take.

I was at a festival in California the other year and a couple of weeks later was at a folk festival in Yorkshire. I didn't see the Morris dancers in California and certainly didn't see the kids rapping about their take on life when in Yorkshire.

Are they both folk?

Be careful. These threads can get into all sorts of corners and we all end up none the wiser. At some point, somebody will point out a date in, i think it is the '50s and say that was the definition of folk so everything else is false.

Rubbish. Folk is anything that a folk audience wants to put up with. Difficult to argue with, that. Don't get too upset, I used to argue otherwise till I realised the truth of it.

I just bought a carbon fibre guitar. I will still be hammering out traditional music with it though. The lack of spruce, mahogany and heritage doesn't change the songs. I write songs, just that. I choose to play them in folk clubs for all sorts of reasons. I am classed by others as a folk act.

Beauty is, as they say, in the eye of the beholder.

I love the idea of young people coming through. Folk is in the DNA of popular music, mainly because I say it is, so there. Rod Stewart's finest patch was his "folk" patch. Led Zeppelin weave folk themes through their unique sound... Oh, and my wedding the other year.. We came down the aisle, (hotel not church) to McColl's "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." Sang by... The Stereophonics with Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra. (CD, not live!) Was that a folk song? Discuss.

When I mentioned on this forum a long time ago about the exciting younger sounds in folk, some contributors dismissed them as "oh, the so called young turks."   Those comments saddened me, really did.   If folk music can be said to harness one thing, it is evolution. Music of the people includes music of the people today, not just nostalgic or historical concerns. Martin Carthy being the ideal example; the Carthy of when I were a lad and the Carthy of Imagined Village are the same thing, but both relevant to the broad interest of the day.

You don't own a genre by growing a beard.....


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Jul 10 - 03:41 PM

Stupidity is largely heritable. Ignorance is voluntary.


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Gingerbeardman
Date: 18 Jul 10 - 04:36 PM

I don't see how you can characterise Vic Galloway's response as "grotesque", Jack. The musicians he cites all have obvious folk influences in their work (I'm not familiar with Zoey Van Goey), and whilst none are trad folk, I'd argue that artists like these are vital to introducing folk to people outside the 'scene'. I doubt I'd ever have ended up listening to, and playing, trad folk if I'd not first been a fan of acts like King Creosote.

"I would like to see Polwart try to find her own CDs anywhere near the main entrance of any Scottish branch of HMV, and I can't see Woomble demanding to have all of Idlewild's tracks reclassified as traditional music by iTunes."
-Neither of these things need to happen to demonstrate that folk is thriving. Karine Polwart is a great example of someone coming through grass-roots folk to find real commercial success, and Woomble's solo stuff since Idlewild is folk tinged with indie (not the other way around).

Acts like Lady Gaga are, sadly, always going to be more heavily promoted than anything coming from folk music, because, well, that's capitalism! But that doesn't mean people (even teenagers!) aren't hearing folk in various different forms, from crossover acts to new takes on trad folk (eg Kris Drever). Of course mainstream commercial media are dominated by trend-driven MOR mediocrity, but just like I don't expect to get offered arbroath smokies in a McDonalds, I don't look to HMV to represent the best of what's current in music. Folk is reaching new audiences, and I personally don't want it rammed down my throat on car adverts, blockbuster film soundtracks, or other accessories of big mainstream promotion. Careful what you wish for.


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Jul 10 - 05:09 PM

The point of identifying something as "folk music," back in the 19th C. even before Baring-Gould, was to emphasize two ideas:

1. uneducated, provincial people were capable of producing - or at least modifying in artistic ways - music and song that was, by the stanards of the Romantic era, as moving as anything created by trained, educated musicians

2. this music was part of an independent tradition that began in the very dim past and was being carried on, with little notice by the upper classes.

Slowly, over decades, and for various reasons, collectors of "folk music" began to interest themselves in other kinds of old-time music as well, notably broadsides printed by urban entrepeneurs and music-hall songs sung by professionals. Some of this music was related to traditional amateur music and some wasn't.

Jump ahead. By the late '50s,big record companies discovered that modern arrangements of trad songs would move LPs. Within a few years, many of the performers who'd made a success with their arrangements began to sing more and more "pop" material, partly because the "folk boom" was fading. Pretty soon, "folk music" was just a marketing category meaning "pop music sung to a guitar by somebody who used to sing souped-up folk songs."

Big changes, and why definitions of "folk music" vary so widely.

But "Will trad survive?" Depends. Certain trad songs, now far more popular than they were before recordings ("Farewell to Liverpool" is a perfect ex.) will continue to be performed for a very long time. On the other hand, they don't seem to be changing much (a little, but overall not much) from the most commercially influential versions. Also, as audiences become more passive, the "traditional" sources shrink down to people who get up on a stage to perform. That narrows the idea of a widespread and vigorous "tradition" way down from the days when it was nice to think, "Most everybody outside the big city can sing 'Barbara Allen' but not many inside. That kind of music that's special because it's hard to find!"

Of course, now it's as easy to find, esp. online, as any other kind of music.

The real issue might be, "How far does trad have to change before it doesn't make sense to call it 'trad' anymore because now it's just another genre of pop music?" The properties of the category have changed hugely since the 19th Century.

Just my two cents.


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Jul 10 - 05:05 AM

Ignorance is voluntary.

With respect of much that I've read on this thread I'd say you've hit the nail on the head there, Richard! Otherwise go back to the 1954 Definition and then tell me what is so wrong with Music is an evolving language and the generation we live in now is one in which musical genres are redundant. Folk music can be defined by so many things and lots of music can be classed as folk music.


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Jul 10 - 06:43 AM

Foithermore...

There is nothing in the 1954 Definition stipulating genre; what defines folk is its context, not its content. Thus, as far as Folk Music is concerned genres are indeed redundant as what we're looking at is the function, development & process of popular musical idioms and traditions in relation to the communities who create and consume them. And whilst I'm never happier than when I'm sharing a few Old English (language) Popular Songs with a few likeminded souls over a pint or three in the dirty backroom of a suitably decrepid public house, I don't think this is any more folk-worthy than the local rock band essaying Smokey Robinson covers at a funeral bash at the British Legion - in fact, I'd argue that it was a good deal less so.

Folk is in the DNA of popular music

Amen to that!


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Jul 10 - 06:49 AM

You'd be right, Sweeney, if you stopped after "language".


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Jul 10 - 09:19 AM

Here is a link to the original press release, about the book:

Music Education in the 21st Century in the United Kingdom

Their main theme is the way children get to experience a variety of music (or, increasingly, don't). When was there last a radio or TV programme that did an effective job of widening kids' musical horizons?


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 19 Jul 10 - 10:25 AM

See? I told you the 1954 definition would rear its head.....

Look at the 2010 definition, as expressed in Imagined Village's Empire & Love album. Lots of both early English and Asian English blending in the cadences and styles. An excellent show of keeping music evolving and relevant to a changing audience.


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Jul 10 - 10:48 AM

Fine. Now tell us how the average British kid is every going to hear of the existence of the Imagined Village album.


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Jul 10 - 03:54 PM

Popular music evolves as popular music evolves; there's no saying what'll happen next because it's in a state of constant flux. The Popular Tradition is healthy, although I wish Eminem would get back to telling stories rather than mithering on about his family & addictions, but the punters love it and he's still well on top of his game.

The 1954 Definition simply clarifies musical process with respect of community and tradition; I don't think it concerns the Folk Scene per se, rather the broader condition of Traditional Musics.


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Jul 10 - 04:36 PM

"Scene"

?


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Jul 10 - 04:55 PM

You are obliviously ignoring the central point in the pursuit of your dull obsessive resentments. This isn't about how music has evolved, it's about how its representation in the mass media has evolved.

A lot of music can't evolve because it only lives on recordings. 20 years ago you had a much better chance of somebody playing a Toscanini LP or an Ellington 78 at you than you do now. Archives of much more varied stuff are now available. Go to a site like Excavated Shellac, or the BBC sound archive, and you can see vast resources of stuff that ought to blow the minds of kids the world over and fire off all kinds of new developments, dead as it may be - there's stuff out there NOTHING like any music anybody living has ever heard.

So how is a kid of the X-Factor-viewing generation ever going to hear about it?


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Jul 10 - 05:36 PM

There's equal diversity on MySpace & YouTube. It's out there - so what?


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: oggie
Date: 19 Jul 10 - 06:12 PM

"So how is a kid of the X-Factor-viewing generation ever going to hear about it? "

By being different, by being curious, the same way we got into it. I was the only kid at my school into folk music, it was a happy chance encouraged by a family friend. Traditional folk was no more mainstream at the end of the sixties and early seventies than it is now. It was there if you tried to find it (it's a lot easier now) but it was down to you and us. We found it, some kids still find it, they are the "us" of tomorrow.
Steve


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Jul 10 - 06:27 PM

There appears to be vast diversity on YouTube - until you look at the view counts.

iTunes and other web music distribution services have the same sort of statistics. The vast preponderance of downloads are due to a small and ever less varied choice of genres.


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: EFDSS
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 04:52 AM

I see someone linked to our press release on this topic earlier in the thread - I hope no-one will mind if I add the link again, and a brief comment. As you'll read in our news story, the EFDSS can see that the young folk scene is stronger than it has been for perhaps decades, and we don't recognise the situation described in the University of London research at all - folk music is thriving in the hands of young and old(er) musicians alike. Malcolm Taylor, our Library Director, makes the point that the age profile of users of the VWML has noticeably dropped; this is young singers and musicians making a point of seeking out source material (not just 60s revival recordings), learning from it and developing it.

Young folk fans keep the music thriving


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 05:12 AM

The evolution of popular music is to a large extent determined by the media of the time - mass, or otherwise; I don't think there's any sort of conspiracy going down here, any more than there was in the days when the printed broadsides impacted on popular song - just a matter of what works and what doesn't.

If it's not relevant then people won't be interested - kids especially, whose natural curiosity is nevertheless culturally predisposed to what actually means something to them. My own kids were brought up on a musical diet of everything from Balinese Gamelan to Piobaireachd but now they just listen to hip-hop - and why not?

The low hits on YouTube is indictactive on how big it's got over the years, but taken as a whole it presents a quite staggering diversity of unpoliced cultural activity - Myspace likewise. But whilst I get excited about being able to watch Albanian vocal polyphony being sung socially by very real human beings (rather than Professional Folk Musicians) (see HERE) it's not going to have that broad an appeal, although at 10,698 hits isn't doing too bad.

Culture is what people do; if people want to listen then they will, if they don't then they won't. There is no conspiracy, just culture evolving as culture does. Listen, rejoice and be thankful! And where else but YouTube could you watch the old Snader Telescription film of Duke Ellington and His Orchestra essaying Tizol's Caravan with Tizol on valve trombone and Louis Bellson on drums? Whilst this sort of thing I regard as the very stuff of life, it's archeaological status is pretty much assured, although at 127,122 hits it's still hanging in there!


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 05:26 AM

As you'll read in our news story, the EFDSS can see that the young folk scene is stronger than it has been for perhaps decades,

Relative of itself maybe, but what relation does that have to popular music & culture as a whole?


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Tootler
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 06:32 PM

There appears to be vast diversity on YouTube - until you look at the view counts.

The view counts don't affect the diversity, they simply indicate what most people watch. What you get on You Tube and other sites where you can host your music is a small number of very popular items which have huge viewing figures and a very long tail of less popular items. The benefit of You Tube is that these items are there - and from all over the world - so that anyone who cares to go looking can find it. In fact there is a much greater diversity of musical material available through You Tube than ever there used to be from the combination of record shops and broadcast media that was available to us in the past. In fact I begin to wonder whether it is all that important that the BBC only has one [so called] "folk music" programme when a combination of You Tube, My Space and others makes so much available if you are prepared to look for it.

iTunes and other web music distribution services have the same sort of statistics. The vast preponderance of downloads are due to a small and ever less varied choice of genres.

So what! If the less popular material is available for those who want it, then that's all to the good. The cost of maintaining less popular items is minimal, so download services can afford to include them in their catalogues and the few downloads this material generates still contributes to the total sales figures and contributes to profits. As long as that is the case, then those with minority interests benefit. To use a saying appropriated by a well known (UK) supermarket chain; "Every little helps"


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 07:39 PM

So what! If the less popular material is available for those who want it, then that's all to the good.

The point is that hardly anybody DOES want it, and the number who want it is rapidly declining. Do you not see that as a problem?


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 04:07 AM

Jack,

You asked how every kid was going to hear the Imagined Village albums.

Well, my son's girlfriend thought I was "cool" because I had it, as she has it too. (My son had downloaded it for that matter, not realising she had bought the CD.)

I then checked and the Empire and Love album was in the top 50 iTunes downloads for that week, (that's top fifty worldwide...) I have a sneaking suspicion that it is not just weird beards and real ale bores that are doing all the downloads.

Further, tracks keep getting played on the BBC, not just by Mike Harding, but prime time by Chris Evans, Simon Mayo, Steve Wright... The ones listened to by a few million people, so no wonder they sell so many.

Could it be that the usual suspects don't own Carthy & co after all? Could it the that music we like to think of as folk appeals to a wider audience after all? I get a hell of a lot out of going to mainstream music festivals because the kids are doing good music, real good music and can relate to "roots." Mind you, call it "folk" rather than "roots" and the image of the sandals and saving a world that disappeared forty years ago springs to mind for them. It does for me for that matter, and I have been playing in folk clubs now for over thirty years....

Music is what you want it to be. Full stop. My wife, (a hell of a lot younger than me) thought my interest in folk was, to put it mildly, quaint. (When we met seven years ago.)   I went though her collection and found, as she studied at Edinburgh there were a lot of Scottish bands, over a hundred CDs of bands I (and the bands themselves) would class as folk, play in folk clubs and (just to wind her up fully) three different CDs acknowledging me as either a song writer or a session musician on the album.

And she said there is no folk music in the Edinburgh scene......

Reminds me of Sir Thomas Beecham, the conductor and one of the wonderful quotes attributed to him. "The British don't understand music, but they love the noise it makes."


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 05:05 AM

Bubblyrat: Yes; as a child,I found it hard to understand "There is a green hill far away,without a city wall" when we were required ( alright then,forced) to sing that hymn. And none of the teachers ever explained it, either !!

I must have been to a good school then (a normal village school), as I remember having stuff like that explained to us in detail, along with the correct way to punctuate "God rest ye merry, gentlemen" and other ambiguous hymn phrasing.

In fact, looking back at my maths book for final year primary, parts of what I was doing were easily at the standard of some GCSE stuff today.


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Jorrox
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 06:32 AM

Steamin' Willie - I like your thought process. Good points, well made.


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Connacht Rambler
Date: 03 Aug 10 - 07:05 AM

So, eh,
what about the assertion in the article that "Folk music could soon be consigned to history ..." and the tendency of modern communications to cluster vast numbers and consign the rest to the margins.
One simple test: key "Irish music" into Google Trends and observe the decline. http://www.google.com/trends


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 03 Aug 10 - 08:42 AM

"You don't own a genre by growing a beard..... "
I want that on a t-shirt or a badge. lol!

Can I speak as and Essex girl who fits the bill of one of the british teenagers who over 20 years "have been increasingly exposed to restricted play-lists on radio stations, TV and websites – fuelling a interest in acts like Lady Gaga and N-Dubz."

Only folk music I was ever introduced to was nursary rhymes (which I enjoyed in a way no one else seemed to I loved looking them up in books and finding extra verses no one else knew). Other than that it was pure 'pop' diet for me. I even bought 'smash hits' and 'CD:UK' magazines to keep up with the pop gossip. I own Spice girls/steps/sclub7/britney spiers albums.

I have tried every genre trying to find music I 'liked' feeling unfulfilled by mainstream pop. Particularly in my late teenage years. (Used to watch the festivals like glastonbury on TV hoping to hear a new band I like so I could go find their album)

It was quite a fluke I 'stumbled' on folk music through the what I would call 'pop folk' stuff. (Like Bob Dylan etc.)
I've started with that kinda not really 'strictly' folk stuff and kinda worked my way towards the Trad end of the genre.

I play anglo concertina, melodeon and just taken up the fiddle.

Before this I had no musical experience except making a racket on a recorder in infants school. I'm really annoyed by this I WISH I had had some exposure to traditional music and instruments earlier as I feel like I'm constantly having to catch up.


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: Scabby Douglas
Date: 03 Aug 10 - 10:29 AM

"From: Connacht Rambler - PM
Date: 03 Aug 10 - 07:05 AM

So, eh,
what about the assertion in the article that "Folk music could soon be consigned to history ..." and the tendency of modern communications to cluster vast numbers and consign the rest to the margins.
One simple test: key "Irish music" into Google Trends and observe the decline. http://www.google.com/trends "


Yeah, but I searched for "rock music" and found a decline there, too.

And "American music".

I think that particular test needs refined a bit more


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Subject: RE: Scots musicians deny claim that folk is
From: maple_leaf_boy
Date: 03 Aug 10 - 07:59 PM

Folk music will never fade out. There certainly are young people
learning folk music. Where I live, there is a diverse range of local
musicians, and some of them are young and play folk music. I've seen other young people enjoy it who wanted to learn folk music too. I
don't think folk will ever fade out.


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