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May I ask a question . . .

clj 20 Aug 99 - 06:06 PM
bbelle 20 Aug 99 - 06:49 PM
katlaughing 20 Aug 99 - 06:49 PM
j0_77 20 Aug 99 - 07:14 PM
Barbara Shaw 20 Aug 99 - 08:08 PM
Rick Fielding 20 Aug 99 - 08:23 PM
Barry Finn 20 Aug 99 - 09:06 PM
Pelrad 20 Aug 99 - 10:12 PM
Sandy Paton 21 Aug 99 - 12:28 AM
Rick Fielding 21 Aug 99 - 12:38 AM
catspaw49 21 Aug 99 - 12:53 AM
JedMarum 21 Aug 99 - 01:00 AM
Joe Offer 21 Aug 99 - 03:44 AM
j0_77 21 Aug 99 - 05:03 AM
Legal Eagle 21 Aug 99 - 05:25 AM
Indy Lass 21 Aug 99 - 07:15 AM
Reiver 21 Aug 99 - 08:25 AM
Jeri 21 Aug 99 - 10:39 AM
Big Mick 21 Aug 99 - 10:56 AM
Peter T. 21 Aug 99 - 10:59 AM
katlaughing 21 Aug 99 - 04:01 PM
Sandy Paton 21 Aug 99 - 04:03 PM
McKnees 21 Aug 99 - 05:21 PM
JedMarum 21 Aug 99 - 06:03 PM
Frank Hamilton 21 Aug 99 - 06:35 PM
Barbara Shaw 21 Aug 99 - 11:40 PM
joeler 21 Aug 99 - 11:55 PM
katlaughing 22 Aug 99 - 12:22 AM
BK 22 Aug 99 - 01:00 AM
Peter T. 22 Aug 99 - 01:32 PM
MAG (inactive) 22 Aug 99 - 04:14 PM
dwditty 22 Aug 99 - 04:38 PM
Jeri 22 Aug 99 - 04:51 PM
Barbara Shaw 22 Aug 99 - 05:22 PM
MAG (inactive) 22 Aug 99 - 06:28 PM
Jeri 22 Aug 99 - 07:02 PM
MAG (inactive) 22 Aug 99 - 08:00 PM
clj 24 Aug 99 - 06:18 PM
katlaughing 24 Aug 99 - 06:54 PM
catspaw49 24 Aug 99 - 08:41 PM
T in Oklahoma 24 Aug 99 - 10:28 PM
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Subject: May I ask a question . . .
From: clj
Date: 20 Aug 99 - 06:06 PM

I read the "Demise of Folk Music" thread and would like to ask a question. What is the powerful effect Celtic music has on some people and leaves others untouched (apparently)? Van Morrison (if that is his real name) wrote: Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, and Wales, I can hear those ancient voices calling children..children.." I believe something big is happening out there and have several theories, but I just wanted to read what some of you think if you get time to reply. Thanks for putting up with this.clj


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: bbelle
Date: 20 Aug 99 - 06:49 PM

I'm one of those who has been untouched by Celtic music and have often found it annoying, but I'm not sure how my personal feelings would in any way detriment folk music. I don't think there is a demise of folk music and believe others would agree. Perhaps you need to be a bit clearer in what you are asking ... mc aka moonchild


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Aug 99 - 06:49 PM

Well, clj, I'll jump in. Good question and I am sure you'll get some great responses. First, some will tell you they loatht eh term Celtic and I will go on record saying I really can't stand most of V.Morrison's stuff.

For me, the music of the Ireland and Scotland, and some of England, go straight to my heart and I believe, for me, that it is because of past life connections. There are a lot of reasons I feel this way, some of which I've researched enough to convince me and to explain the seemingly unexplainable. Never having been to Scotland, I know, still, when I hear her music, that it is home to me. I've been healing from complications with a leaky heart valve the past two years. Part of my healing has come from understanding that home-like connection and allowing myself to cry and be sad about it, but also to let it go and help my heart to not be so overwhelmed with the grief I sometimes feel at not being there. I spent so much of my life thinking the depth of feeling was just unexplainable.

The other reason, which I know is controversial, but, again, I've believe it because of my studies and accounts from friends from Wales and elsewhere: I do believe there is an Atlantean connection and that we may be on the eve of gaining more knowledge of this ancient civilisation and its ancestry of the UK region.

Well, there I've done it. Now, in case there was any doubt, everyone here will know I'm a far-out softie!**Big Grin**

By the way, if you are new here, Welcome to the Mudcat and keep it up with the good questions!

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: j0_77
Date: 20 Aug 99 - 07:14 PM

Any good music is going to have an effect on a person - though brought up on Celtic I enjoy everything and play lots of Blues which I cannot do very well but I try my best :)

Celtic when well played will stay in your head :) But if you listen to Charlie Parker (Jazz Saxophonist) that too will stay with you for a long time.

I think itz because there is a lot of celtic being played these days.


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 20 Aug 99 - 08:08 PM

I think Celtic music has a powerful effect on people especially when combined with a Celtic heritage. The sounds of a culture that have been handed down through what I call your "genetic memory" have got to be powerful and deeply intimate on some unconscious level as well as superficially. When the listener is consciously aware of this cultural connection, the music has even more impact. I'm sure this is true of all cultures and all music.

On the other hand, the music itself, when it's good, will affect anyone. I'm not Celtic but am still very moved by O'Carolan, and unmoved by some of the less imaginative and repetitious jigs and reels.


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 20 Aug 99 - 08:23 PM

celtic(whatever that means)music is great fun to play and can be tedious to listen to if you've heard alltogether too much of it. Exactly the same thing can be said about bluegrass (which I love with a passion)


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: Barry Finn
Date: 20 Aug 99 - 09:06 PM

Oh no, here comes my dimes worth. I believe that when you're nearer to the source of a traditional music & it's musicians/singers that you have a music that's more affecting than you would if the music is further removed. In the Irish & Scottish & Cape Breton & to some extent English music circles you still have some young musicians & singers that were raised in a community where trad music was what was heard & played & sung. I believe that this is the same attaction behind the blues, there not far removed from their sources. There was an appeal to that music otherwise it wouldn't have lasted as long as it did. So today you find that a fair amount of this same music once or twice remove & revitalized or updated or mordenized is still packing the appeal it always had only with the Steel Eye Spans & Fairport Conventions & the Sweeny's Men & the DeDannans & the Ossians & Silly Wizards & the Barra McNeils & the Junior Wells & Buddy Guys they've all added a bit more spice to the new stew. In the same way I feel here in the states (exculding the blues) we're more towards a singer/songwritter (no comment here just a theory) in part, I think, because we've been more removed from our trad roots than most of these other places. Sure there are pockets but on the whole tell me if there are any surviving communities were you can still hear today songs of the westward movement, or the gold rush or maybe a few spots were they're still carrying on a live musical tradition. I first started to lean towards music of the Brittish Isles & Ireland when I wanted to find older sources for some of the American stuff I was doing & in the process found that some of the the friends I had, had lived near & sang with the likes of Tom Phaidin Tom & Joe Heaney, how I would've loved to have been as close to trad sources here as they were there, the closer to the sources the more alive & exciting the music, at least that's my take on it. How I'd love to have had Sandy & Caroline's eyes & ears (Sandy, when you were younger that is, *grin*). Barry


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: Pelrad
Date: 20 Aug 99 - 10:12 PM

I am not a huge fan of Celtic music, and yet I consider myself among the affected population. Jigs and reels all sound the same to me. Yet, the first time I heard a bombarde (a shaum-type instrument that sounds a hell of a lot like a bagpipe) it was like I was following the pied piper, and the sound of the fiddle can put me into raptures. The only instruments that have ever "spoken" to me (I've fallen in love with their sounds and playing them has been instinctual) are "Celtic" instruments. Anyone who knows what a bombarde is will say I'm full of shit, because it's an Arab instrument that found its way to Brittany in the 12th century, but it sounds like a bagpipe and the fingering is that of a pennywhistle.

I wonder about the genetic memory; I know my family's origins are in Wales, England and Scotland...and France (lol).

I was raised in the tradition of American and British maritime music, and Celtic music was never big in our house, so I know I can't blame this on my parents.


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 12:28 AM

Caroline and I have produced one totally dedicated "Celtic" musician, and one who plays both "Celtic" and American. Curiously, the total Celtoid was in utero when we would walk over to the Bedford Arms pub in Camden Town to hear Margaret Barry sing. Must have had some pre-natal effect. Does that confirm some kind of L. Ron Hubbard theory? (Yes, folks, we had a free baby in London on the National Health. Thanks a lot!)

Son number two was born in the Chicago area. He does blues and Appalachian music, and plays Celtic, too. Well, there have long been lots of Irish in Chicago, lots of blues players, too, and plenty of folk from Appalachia escaping joblessness down there by coming to the factories on the south shore of Lake Michigan.

I dunno. Maybe Jung had hold of a good thing when he talked about the "collective unconscious." His ideas, however, seem to have been less region-specific, and more universal. Food for thought.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 12:38 AM

Sandy, the "Collective Unconscious" is us here at Mudcat on a Sunday afternoon. Not for me THIS Sunday though. I'm going to Mose Scarlett's daughter's wedding!


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: catspaw49
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 12:53 AM

I ain't bitin' here Sandy.......I read this and was about to get into something, but as one of the main suppliers of thread creep around here, for once I'm not going to zoom off elsewhere........no matter how tempting.......I don't think.........

I'm ready for a new term, but for now--celtic. Celtic music has never had a particular draw to me for many of the reasons to which Barry alluded, but additionally my musical roots are in American "Kitchen" Music and the Southern Mountains. I've come to enjoy it more because I hear the genesis of what I love.

Can't anyone think of a new term for CELTIC-----it's become as useless as "many others"......he said diplomatically.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: JedMarum
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 01:00 AM

cultural momentum ... one's genetics may have little affect on one's affinity for music, Celtic or otherwise (beyond the obvious baseline musical abilities), but one's 'cultural momentum' could include the intellectual and educational capacities to comprehend such music, and develop a taste for it - open mindedness and the positive attitudes toward accepting 'aside of mainstream' musical interests - interests in heritage, culture and history - love for music - and the obvious 'grew up hearing the stuff'

All of these things can be summed into a common sense explantion, and can make possible what seems like magical attractions to the music. I was convinced I heard Roddy McCorley growing up as a child, and learned the song to play for my father (the main source of musical interests) I played it for him recently and he said he'd never heard it! I don't know where I did if he didn;t sing it ... somehow, the tune and vague recollection of lyrics had been built up in my mind over the years spent in my Irish catholic environs.

By the way; I too have a love for Celtic music, even more than the Irish Repubilcan songs, which are more likely a better match to my heritage ... so go figure!


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Subject: Popularity of Celtic Music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 03:44 AM

I get real nervous when people assign some sort of supernatural power to Celtic music. Same for Gregorian chant, for that matter - but I like both kinds of music very much. What worries me is that there are people who listen to this stuff and find power in it - but they have no interest at all in understanding the meaning and context of the music and lyrics. I like the sound of songs sung in Gaelic, but I can't say I'm particularly inspired by it, since I don't understand the words. I do get inspiration from Gregorian chant because I understand Latin and the words are the sacred words of my religious tradition. But to be inspired without understanding - that's another story.
I picked up a $2 audio book on Gregorian Chant in Los Angeles last week. The book went on and on about the mystical quality of the 7 intervals in a musical octave, and the 7 parts of the Mass, and a bunch of other 7's, and how all this number stuff has some sort of healing power (and I've heard similar things about the healing power of Celtic music, and I don't buy that, either). The guy who read the book supposedly has a PhD, but he slaughtered the pronunciation of the Latin words; and the book was pretty flawed on the facts in a number of areas.
Still, there is real power in many kinds of music. Music may well be the most powerful tool people can use to express their ideas and feelings. Music can cross the ages, and tie us us to the hearts of people who lived centuries ago. Yes, there is a mystical aspect to the power of music, but the I think there are serious flaws in the current trendy pseudomystical view of Celtic music and Gregorian chant.
Another thing that really bugs me is when they put Celtic music and Gregorian chant in the "New Age" box at music stores, but maybe I'd better not get into that....
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: j0_77
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 05:03 AM

Hi diddle diddle the cat and the fiddle the cow jumped over the moon, and how the cat laughed to see such fun as the dog ran away with the spoon.

:)


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: Legal Eagle
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 05:25 AM

I thought the current wisdom was that the theory of celtic collective ethnicity was an ex post facto rationalisation of no value.


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: Indy Lass
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 07:15 AM

This is an interesting question. I think 'celtic' music (which I'll term as traditional music from countries with a celtic history-Spain, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Brittany...) is where our american folk music originated--where else? I've listenend to american folk all my life and now I enjoy discovering new genres of music. I'm a history-geography-music-folklore buff and thanks to bands like The Chieftans and others popularising this traditional music of Spain, Ireland, Scotland, etc., I have a new collection of music to discover. I like the combination of instruments--particularly pipes and harp; the cadence of the music and lyrics; the history, lore and stories in the ballads...I also like the contemporary music coming out of this part of the world. And I'm gaining an appreciation of 'world music' in general.


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: Reiver
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 08:25 AM

As a Scot, living in Edinburgh, I'm a bit suspicious of attempts to give celtic music some special significance. I grew up with the music, not least because my grandfather was a piper but also because its on the radio and on the streets. You cannot walk through central Edinburgh without hearing bagpipes. Its music about which I am passionate-but I suspect that if I had been born in another culture, other sorts of music would have been important to me.

"Celtic" is descriptive. It refers to a style of traditional music which is common to Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Brittany and to communities descended from emigrants from those places. Surely the only problem with the word is that it has been taken over by marketing people and applied to music which is sometimes pretty insipid. Great Scottish fiddlers and composers like Gow, Marshall and Skinner were their own fiercest critics and discarded anything which didn't reach their high standards. It sometimes seems that this approach has been lost. But when the commerical world has moved onto something else, we'll still be sitting in bars playing the music which moves us.

Andrew Reiver


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: Jeri
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 10:39 AM

Legal Eagle, I agree. It's a marketing ploy. It's more productive to sell magic and mysticism than music. (Not slamming magic, mysticism, religion or anything else -just the selling of it.)

I play tunes from Scotland and Ireland, and would like to learn some from Wales. I also play tunes from other places, including the North American continent, where the influence of the previously mentioned nations has been great. I grew to love the music from going to contra dances and concerts. I don't use the word 'Celtic' to describe the music, but don't feel compelled to argue with others when they use it, since I usually know what they mean and resistance is futile.

There is danger in thinking a person's musical taste has anything to do with genetics. On one side, it gives people a sense of identity and 'roots,' which IMO has more to do with cultural identification rather than heredity. On the other darker side, it can give people an excuse to feel racially superior and exclude others from the music. The belief that it's 'in the blood' implies that choice is insigificant. From some things I've read, the KKK seem to have jumped on the Celtic bandwagon. I'm not saying any mention of genetics or race is automatically evil, but when such a group of supremicists is riding the same wagon as me, I'm going to take a good long look at where we're headed.

Jeri, stepping off the soapbox to give someone else a turn.


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: Big Mick
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 10:56 AM

And it is not just the music. I am at the point where the term is only used by me among people who understand what is meant by it instead of what people with an agenda want it to mean. I class these into two groups. The first is the bunch who are striving for identity but who don't want to be bothered with the details of that identity. They take something that they think looks cool, like a celtic cross or some of the old druidic symbols, and they build this whole lifestyle around it and call it Celtic. They create druids, or live by precepts as they would like them to be instead of how they were. The same is often done with the music. Instead of taking the time and effort to listen to Donegal Fiddlers and learn, they just create their own that sounds vaguely familiar and call it Celtic. And the second group is the one that seeks to profit from this.

It doesn't really bother me, but I get weary of the generalization of a series of cultures that were fascinating, and are worthwhile to study.

Mick


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 10:59 AM

I didn't know Charlie Parker was Celtic, which would explain a lot. I thought his version of "Galway Bay" was outstanding, though you can only hear it in the 1944 bootleg tapes with the early Gillespie Band. I gave up on the Atlantis, the Lost Continent theory after seeing the movie. ("Come up here, my son, away from these false gods, to where the one true god lives"). But I can see where it would hold water.
Probably the most powerful draw in these musics has something to do with the modes they are in, as compared to the well-tempered Western system -- it gives them that "beyond the borders" oddness that insinuates distance, foreigness, mystery to them. They also seem initially like mistakes, which then rapidly cohere into an alternative system, undermining "normal" tonality, and presenting the prospect of vast other realms of normality. This is very Romantic, and is part of their appeal. It wears off after awhile, which may be why unless you get hooked onto that other modality, it gets tedious. Just making this up, but....!!
yours, Peter T>


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: katlaughing
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 04:01 PM

Well, I guess one has to believe to some degree in metaphysics to be where I am coming from re music and its effects. The so-called New Age co-opted some very ancient mystical principles, which because I've studied the scientific basis for them, to me have significance and meaning.

Knowing a language or not makes no difference to me, what I hear and feel in my heart, are the tones of the music, whether it is that of Sctland, ireland, Wales, or England, Venezuela, Japan, etc. If one lets their intellect take over, analyzing, instead of listening in an opne uncritical manner, one can miss out on some of the most beneficial effects of the music itself.

It is important, to me at least, that we not generalise, not only in music, but also when speaking of mysticism or spirituality.

As for inspiration without understanding: do we have to know the intricacies of fine painting in order to be inspired by the paintings of the Sistine Chapel? Must we understand the words or the theory that goes into composing a great opera such as Mozart's The Magic Flute to be inspired by it gracious and transcendent tones?

Pythagoras wrote much about the seven intervals and power of music. The ancient civilisations of China believed and taught about the power of music, even decreeing certain tunings from year to year in order to be in harmony with the natural and divine world.

While I would never say one type of music over another had specific power for any one person, I would say that for myself and those I know well and love, who are close to me. Great healing can come with music as a facilitator; helping the patient to focus, be calm, uplifting their consciousness. If many people are now turning to "Celtic" music for this kind of positive feeling, why be so cynical or paranoid about it? The only reason I could see for alarm is in the instance Jeri cited re' the KKK.

I am surprised at some of the reactions in this thread. Being phoakies, I thought, most everyone would appreciate, from first-hand experience, how powerful music can be. I understand the derision about marketing and the traditional being overrun by the pseudo-Celtic, but that should not preclude the real effects of the music itself.

I know we are all mature enough to agree to disagree. Just thought there were some broad-based generalisations and assumptions made about us mystics/metaphysicians. We are not all "new age" and some of our traditions are ancient.

Thanks for listening.

katlaughingunabashedly


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 04:03 PM

My tongue was in my cheek when I talked about pre-natal influneces on my kids. But we must remember that a lot of musical cultures combined to create "American" music. We mustn't ignore the powerful influences on our music that came from Africa, from Northern Europe (Germany, Scandinavia, etc.), from Spain and Mexico, and all the rest. Some of the most important ballad singers I recorded in the Appalachians insisted that their heritage was German, and certainly the tales that I collected down there had similarities to those published by the brothers Grimm. The Scots-Irish influence in the region was profound, of course, but not exclusive.

Pete Seeger once observed that folks came from all over the world to enter the great "melting-pot" in the United States, but all were expected to come out WASPS. Our music, however, really did achieve some "melting-pot" magic. Let's enjoy it all. Sandy


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: McKnees
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 05:21 PM

I always thought that the apreciation and need to hear and be part of Celtic music was genetically inbuilt into us. I am unable to listen without tapping my feet, or to stop the hairs on my arms and the surge within my chest when I hear the bagpipes starting to play. Knock Knee'd one, *big smile*


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: JedMarum
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 06:03 PM

I don't really care if the sun is pulled across the sky by a magnificient god in his horse drawn chariot, set in motion around the world by our heavenly father, or a ball of flaming gas at the center our our solar system, set in motion by the big bang. I simply rejoice in the fact that it warms my face every day when it rises, and showers the living world around me with light and energy.

I don't know if my love for music, celtic or otherwise, is the result of an invisible magical link to a mystical past, a sympathetic resonance with the molecular structure in my genetic program, or the positive result of where my cultural preparedness has met with musical opportunity - I know simply that the music brings me much joy and makes my spirit soar!

I don't look the gift horse in the mouth!


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 06:35 PM

My wife and I have been to Ireland twice and have fallen in love with the country. Of course this enhances our appreciation for the music.

I had a nice talk with Tommy Makem recently and we agreed that the instrumental music has taken over the songs in popularity at folk festivals and coffeehouses these days. Tommy is one of the great bards of Ireland and knows so many songs that need to be recorded. His repitiore is incredible.

I believe that it's impossible to separate the instrumental music from a culture from it songs. Irish lyrics are monumental. The gift of language runs deep in the culture and informs the music. The gift of melody is obvious as well. Much of it is inpired by the lore.

I think there is too much emphasis on technical instrumental playing now. The playing level has never been more skilled but this is what the public is clamoring for IMHO. The tradition of the Sean Nos and the affect of Irish balladry on American folk music is much more profound than scholars have given it credit for.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 11:40 PM

liam devlin,

What a GREAT gift of words you have. Your "paraphrasing" of some of the theories is poetical, and I think all three possibilities you mention are part of the mystery of our love of music.


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: joeler
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 11:55 PM

Let me sum it all up my friends. All music is beautiful. No matter what country it comes from, or who sings it. If you don't like the music, someone who listens to it will. My God, I still get misty when I hear Eddie fisher sing, "Oh My Papa". Joel, signing off. (possibly for the last time.)


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 12:22 AM

I agree, Liam, well said!

Joel: was it something specific or are you done with cyberland in general???? I thought you just got here.


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: BK
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 01:00 AM

While there have been many great points made on this fascinating thread, the comments of Frank Hamilton strike a particular resonance with me. Of course, I am a ballad nut, so I guess that influences my opinion.

On the other hand, the right bit of Vivaldi can put me into rapture, so my possibilities are wider than just ballads, but I have to say Frank, and Tommy Makem, seemed quite correct to me. I kind of get the notion that show-offs with fast fingers try to drown out the feeling with arrogant technical wizardry (at least they think they are wizards - IMHO)

That's why I hardly bother with "sessions."

Cheers, BK


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: Peter T.
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 01:32 PM

Serious thread creep: is the obsession with technical speed and perfection in this music (and the Bluegrass machine) partly a guy thing? I was wondering because I notice in a completely different field -- birdwatching -- that the guys all seem obsessed with getting every bird who ever lived, like some postage stamp album, while the women can by and large take it or leave it. A bit like video games: you get locked into tiny incremental improvements, conquest, numbers games and so on. This is of course essential for practicing and so on, but when it takes over???
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 04:14 PM

Before the thread creeps too far: I strongly third what Frank H. had to say.

As a storyteller I love the story songs, while the meditator in me can't get enough Metamora (in all its forms.)

Years ago Boys of the Lough did a workshop at OTSFM and Cathal Connell taught me "Ghost of William-O" because I specifically requested vocal. I was the only one in that room. Not that I'm complaining but I think it's a shame.

It's all fashion, and the personal human things will come around again; in the meantime, couldn't somebody please tape Tommy for hours and hours and hours?? Joe Heaney is gone; so is Hickerson I think. Please, please.


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: dwditty
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 04:38 PM

When I listen to music, I usually come to some conclusion about it - either I like, don't like, or don't really care one way or the other. I have never really stopped to understand why I reach the conclusion I do, it just happens - the same way I decide about how food tastes, how a picture looks to me, etc. I think Bill Murray said it best in "What About Bob" - "There are two kinds of people in the world. Those that love Neil Diamond and those that hate him." That seems to sum it up for me.


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: Jeri
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 04:51 PM

I think these things may come in phases, but I haven't been around long enough to know if I'm right. It may be a fascination with technical expertise. Almost anyone can sing, but playing an instrument takes a bit of work. It's a shame, really, because for me, that's what folk music is - something just about anyone can do, even if some of us aren't all that good at it.

Tommy Makem appears to have passed the love of the music on to his kids. I think his songs will continue.

MAG - I could listen to Cathal McConnell sing all day long.


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 05:22 PM

Please don't assume that all bluegrassers are caught up in an obsession with technical speed. I play bluegrass music a lot (along with other things), and most of it is not fast. Nor is instrumental music only about speed or melody.

The joy of a good instrumental with lead breaks by the various performers (as found in bluegrass) is wonderful in many ways. The creativity of improvisation, the beautiful leaps and subtleties as the musicians pour their imagination and feelings into a break can be breathtaking. The magical moments when the various instruments blend and interweave with one voice and a unified sound are not just about melody and speed. I don't have the skill to knock 'em down with any technical wizardry, but when I do take the rare break, it's about the music in my head. It's an expression of where I've been, what I hear and what I can translate to my instrument. This may explain my short attention span with old-timey (and Celtic?) jams, where everyone plays the same thing at the same time.

I prefer songs with both instruments and vocalists singing lyrics. Not too slow, not too fast, good melody and good lyrics. I don't know about speed being a "guy" thing. Maybe it's an age thing. Or a skill thing. Or a taste thing. Or a non-thing.


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 06:28 PM

Ahem! Jeri my friend, I have always had a GOOD voice. Taking lessons at OTSFM (thank you, Elizabeth Staffen) gave me what people kindly tell me is a superior voice. E. extended my range almost an octave with technique, and I just plain sound better, stronger, and more connected.

Most everybody CAN sing; many folksingers make good voice sound natural and easy. It isn't.

You know the one about the band:

"They've got three musicians and a singer."

Oh ouch, I'm doing thread creep. MA


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: Jeri
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 07:02 PM

More creep coming. Ask a group of extroverted 10 year old kids to sing a song. When they're done, give them some fiddles, flutes and banjos and ask them to play a tune. They can sing, but unless you've got an unusual bunch of kids, they probably can't play together. A singer does the same thing they can do, but better. An instrumentalist does something they can't do at all, and the 'awe' factor is higher.


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 08:00 PM

Kids start out life hearing people sing; they reciprocate naturally as soon as they can.

Suzuki had kids playing violin by age 3.

And I teach rhythm in preschool storytime. Ella Jenkins gets kids to do some amazing things with rhythm.

Luv ya!


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: clj
Date: 24 Aug 99 - 06:18 PM

I wanted to get back to this earlier but Life intruded on my good intentions. Thanks for taking the time. I understood or agreed with some more than others and say 'AMEN' to Knock Kneed'. Also, I agree with katlaughing that the historic Celtic peoples have had a more glorious past than they realize and have a great destiny to fulfill in the near future. I feel like a great gathering is happening as we speak ...One thing I did not mention in my question is why, for me, Celtic music sounds so familiar. Like Williams' "Dives and Lazarus" I feel I have heard it before somewhere or sometime. It just sounds like it is supposed to sound. I get the same feeling with most of the older songs. This is what I really think: I believe we lived in another form before we came here and will go back. Of course, many have gone before i.e. our ancestors and I believe we associated with them. I think they taught us some things we needed to know. It is no stretch to think of Grandfathers and Grandmothers teaching us their favorite songs. I think they wanted us to look at the rolling hills and feel something familiar. I believe they wanted us to hear them in the music and remember. They want us to know we are not alone. For some people this may be overly sentimental or even preposterous, but I knew some of mine and I know they would do this if they had the power. This is why I think Celtic music has such power for some of us-it is probably the same for others and different types of music. Spirituals come readily to mind. Thanks again. "While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart's core."


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Aug 99 - 06:54 PM

Thanks to you, clj, for coming back to share. I agree with KKOne, too, nothing gets to me, emotionally, faster than to hear bagpipes. There is no logical explanation in the mundane world.

I do feel a contact with my paternal grandfather, esp. and can easily understand what you mean. My belief in reincarnation has a lot to do wiht all of this, too.

You've certainly given us all a lot to think about and started a fairly lively conversation. Tell LIFE to ease up a bit and come join us some more.

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: catspaw49
Date: 24 Aug 99 - 08:41 PM

Kat, perhaps your fascination with bagpipes comes from the smell. Not that the pipes smell or anything, but that aroma of dying thistle and heather in the fall of the year. A haunting breeze in the early evening stirs the drying folisge of the plants and grasses and ripples the surface of an otherwise still pond where the frogs have recently graced the late summer's stillness with their song. Bagpipes are known to bring these scents and sentiments to all who listen......including the frogs, where pipes have been known to cause sterilization and death. This is what you are smelling.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: May I ask a question . . .
From: T in Oklahoma
Date: 24 Aug 99 - 10:28 PM

In the USA, Irish culture is an individual accomplishment which is acquired, usually as a result of an investment of time and money. It has no necessary relationship to one's ancestry. The Irish-culture-in-a-can that we enjoy here includes Irish music that (I suspect) my Irish ancestors wouldn't have been caught dead listening to, Irish dances that my Irish ancestors wouldn't have been caught dead dancing, and Irish clothes that my Irish ancestors wouldn't have been caught dead wearing. Their emigration here has had the effect of freeing me from their Irish prejudices, thereby allowing me to appreciate some genres of Irish music and dance as I suspect they would not have.


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