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Moulettes - not folk say gatekeepers

GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Nov 10 - 09:46 AM
Ian Anderson 17 Nov 10 - 09:48 AM
GUEST,Adam Smith 17 Nov 10 - 10:04 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Nov 10 - 10:48 AM
GUEST,Adam Smith 17 Nov 10 - 11:28 AM
GUEST,cs 17 Nov 10 - 11:34 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Nov 10 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Nov 10 - 01:28 PM
GUEST,cs 17 Nov 10 - 01:38 PM
GUEST,gluey 17 Nov 10 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,Adam Smith 17 Nov 10 - 03:55 PM
GUEST,cs 17 Nov 10 - 04:03 PM
mousethief 17 Nov 10 - 04:22 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Nov 10 - 04:36 PM
TheSnail 17 Nov 10 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,Adam Smith 17 Nov 10 - 05:06 PM
Richard Bridge 17 Nov 10 - 05:12 PM
Jack Campin 17 Nov 10 - 05:15 PM
GUEST,cs 17 Nov 10 - 05:43 PM
GUEST,cs 17 Nov 10 - 05:52 PM
TheSnail 17 Nov 10 - 06:29 PM
Spleen Cringe 17 Nov 10 - 06:55 PM
Phil Edwards 17 Nov 10 - 07:17 PM
Phil Edwards 17 Nov 10 - 07:18 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 18 Nov 10 - 04:36 AM
GUEST,Adam Smith 18 Nov 10 - 05:03 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 18 Nov 10 - 06:05 AM
Spleen Cringe 18 Nov 10 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,erbert 18 Nov 10 - 08:59 AM
GUEST,Adam Smith 18 Nov 10 - 11:00 AM
Jack Campin 18 Nov 10 - 11:32 AM
Spleen Cringe 18 Nov 10 - 11:33 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 18 Nov 10 - 12:49 PM
TheSnail 18 Nov 10 - 12:54 PM
mousethief 18 Nov 10 - 02:19 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 18 Nov 10 - 02:31 PM
mousethief 18 Nov 10 - 03:20 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 18 Nov 10 - 03:50 PM
greg stephens 18 Nov 10 - 04:22 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Nov 10 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 18 Nov 10 - 05:56 PM
GUEST,CS 19 Nov 10 - 03:05 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Nov 10 - 04:22 AM
GUEST,CS 19 Nov 10 - 04:34 AM
GUEST,Banjiman 19 Nov 10 - 04:42 AM
GUEST,Banjiman 19 Nov 10 - 04:46 AM
Brian Peters 19 Nov 10 - 05:10 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 19 Nov 10 - 05:34 AM
Howard Jones 19 Nov 10 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 19 Nov 10 - 06:27 AM
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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 09:46 AM

Call what?


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: Ian Anderson
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 09:48 AM

Ian Anderson would be about the last person in the world to define 'folk', having invented the phrase 'roots music' specifically as an alternative to what he saw as a uselessly imprecise term

You're quite right on the first point, but wrong on the second. The phrase 'roots music' was already in common useage in the 70s. It fell into favour in the 80s and so got used quite often in our pages then, less so nowadays. I certainly didn't invent or even popularise it. The only thing I had a hand in was the 1987 campaign which created the 'world music' box in record shops, and that was never a definition of anything, just a marketing badge of convenience that took off far, far beyond the expectations of those involved.

As several people have already pointed out, the single only thing that fRoots tries - poorly - to define is the musical remit of fRoots. Because we can't possibly and don't want to include all kinds of music, many of which are thoroughly and better covered elsewhere so don't need us anyway. There's a FAQ on our web site and the single only (broad-brush, gut feeling, keeping the door open for fringe stuff we like but can't really explain why!) way it tries to define anything is as follows:

Q: Before I send you my CD, what sort of music will you actually review?
A: As a simple guide, what fRoots covers is music, however ancient or modern, that has some clear roots in a tradition. Neither the instruments or level of technology employed nor an artist's nationality are particularly relevant. For example, neither the act of playing an acoustic instrument or singing in a language other than English have a major significance either way. It ain't how you do it, it's what you do!


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Adam Smith
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 10:04 AM

Define what?


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 10:48 AM

World Music

World Music was a term used by certain jazz musicians in the 60s & 70s - the AACM people used it a lot, particularly The Art Ensemble of Chicago, whose Ancient to the Future philosophy was an acknowledgement of their explorations of their Great Black Music cultural continuty and their encouragement to others to do likewise. Scottish jazz drummer Ken Hyder cites the Art Ensemble as a crucial inspiration in his formation of Talisker, who explored various Scottish traditional idioms from a free-jazz perspective - diddling, waulking songs, folk songs, dance music, piobaireachd - in a series of very fine albums. Don Cherry spoke of both World Music and Folk Music, embodying a sense of both in his music which remained firmly rooted in the free-jazz ethic; Johnny Mbizo Dyani likewise regarded what he did as Folk, though I doubt many Folkies would appreciate his various renderings of his native Xhosa folk songs. Duke Ellington embodied a similar sense in his Cotton Club jungle-music which was always more than just random exotica for his white audiences; in later years it found expression on the masterpieces of The Far-East Suite (1966) and Afro-Eurasian Eclipse (1971).

I remember well the World Music / Roots ethos of the 80s, one noxious upshot of which was the aberration of Paul Simon's Graceland dominating the Folk Roots charts for what seemed like an eternity, yet never a mention of Dudu Pukwana, Mongezi Feza, Johnny Dyani, Abdullah Ibrahim etc. whose truly World Music in exile was revolutionary in more ways than one.

*

Define what?

Define it!


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Adam Smith
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 11:28 AM

Define what?

Define it!



Ah Pardon my curiosity GUEST,Suibhne Astray, I was just wondering, since you appear to be fond of disseminating the term "folk" (to mean traditional based music), what you would replace it with, if anything?

Now, you'll have to excuse me, I'm no fan of debating and pedantry. I do believe you know what I mean by this question. I'm genuinely interested in what term you use.

Or to put it another way, Mudcat declares thus:

"The Mudcat Cafe and The Digital Tradition are dedicated to the preservation and appreciation of blues and folk music."

How would you put it? It's very easy to say "no" to everything without providing a "yes".


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,cs
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 11:34 AM

"Moulettes not 'it' - say magazine"

Might have a more appropriate thread title.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 12:12 PM

Well for a start I'm not saying no to anything, on the contrary - I'm saying a big yes to a more inclusive understanding based on what happens in the name of Folk be it in magazines, fora, festivals, clubs, singarounds & other Designated Folk Contexts the world over. I'm not too sure about the preservation aspect of it because, for me, it's about human individuals doing what they do anyway - bringing their passions to bear on things they care very deeply about - like (say) Dave Bishop's masterful singing & sourcing of English Traditional Folk Song in Chorlton; to me this is as much about Dave as a person as it is about the Tradition he's drawing upon, which in terms of a Living Music snuffed it long ago, but which remains nonetheless potent in a singer like Dave.

Given the breadth of music discussed on Mudcat I'd say the remit is just about right, although not all of that music is Folk Music, but all of it can be Folk Music in the right context. The example I might give is When The Saints Go Marching In. On YouTube you can watch a non-folk rendition by the old hoarse-whisperer himself (Louis Armstrong) which is Black Classical Music, as virtuosic and intricate as any Vivaldi sonata - OR you might seek out the version filmed at Matt Armour's club some years ago in Milton Keynes, which is very much Folk Music for reasons which should be self-evident. Both represent music of incredible warmth and humanity - but the former is utterly exclusive in terms of its mastery, whilst the latter utterly inclusive in terms of its come-all-ye ethos.

For more of my feelings on this, see the 1954 and All That thread, but remember I'm arguing a very big YES here in the face of a more orthodox view of things which I find as ill-conceived as it is stifling.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 01:28 PM

I suppose that all this comes down to whether or not there are really any 'gatekeepers' or 'folk policemen'. Obviously the instigator of this thread encountered, what he refers to as, 'gatekeepers' when he attempted to publicise the band that he manages in a couple of magazines. But I would say that if the editors of those mags felt that the Moulettes didn't fall within the remit of their magazines - well, tough! It's a tough old world out there in the music biz - or so I'm told.

But the, largely amateur world, that I move in is a somewhat different one, in which no-one has ever told me what I can or can't sing. And I've never told anyone else what they can or can't sing (and I would deserve a punch in the mouth if I did). I have been in a workshop situation in which I, and other participants, have asked the volunteer being 'workshopped' why they have learned a particular song (some people do seem to have peculiar tastes) but that's about as far as it goes.

Back in the dim and distant past I first attended a folk club in my home town. The club residents were a diverse bunch: one bloke did blues, another did comic and contemporary songs, a couple did American songs and another bloke did English trad. songs. It was the latter singer that blew me away and kept me going back for more. Through him I met such luminaries as Ewan MacColl, Bert Lloyd and several others. I was also introduced to recordings of trad singers such as Sam Larner, Harry Cox etc., etc. When I eventually encountered the '1954 definition' it made sense to me BUT it didn't necessarily fit all the stuff that was being performed in folk clubs then and it doesn't fit all of the stuff that is being performed in folk clubs 40 odd years later. That's cool (ish) BUT if all the others stuff drowned out all the trad stuff I would stop going to folk clubs - it's as simple as that!


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,cs
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 01:38 PM

"BUT if all the others stuff drowned out all the trad stuff I would stop going to folk clubs - it's as simple as that!"

It has in the main I believe, at least on any amateur level. And the folk word as it is understood in both 'popular usage' and commercial (the former basically being dictated by the latter), certainly acted as a barrier to me in regards discovering the very songs I now like to learn about and sing.

As such I have little personal interest in the term, considering it fairly useless for effectively describing my particular interests and as such Marling, the Mumfords, the Moulettes, and anyone else that wants it, are most welcome to it.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,gluey
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 01:47 PM

There are no grey areas in folk, it is or it ain't. No liminal, borderline or kinda. Just yea or nay.
Almost biblical really.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Adam Smith
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 03:55 PM

Hello GUEST,Suibhne Astray,

So, really I was asking what term you would use to describe folk music and your answer seems to imply Folk Music, so fair enough.

Now, on a different tack, your comment: The example I might give is When The Saints Go Marching In. On YouTube you can watch a non-folk rendition by the old hoarse-whisperer himself (Louis Armstrong) which is Black Classical Music, as virtuosic and intricate as any Vivaldi sonata

I find that patronising in the extreme. You seem to be saying "Look! These Blacks can somehow occasionally be as good as us!". I hugely doubt that you consider yourself a racist person, but for me, this school of thought (and I've heard it many times in different places) that somehow a strand of "black" music has scrambled to be the "equal" to what many would consider the most high-brow "white" music is the equivalent of saying "Oh, look at old Uncle Tom! He can read now as well as a white man! Well done boy!"

I'm sure you didn't mean it like that but really. It's got NOTHING to do with white classical music.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,cs
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 04:03 PM

"It's got NOTHING to do with white classical music."

I must say, I'm not quite following this 'Black v's White' Classical Music discussion. Don't know what Sweeney, or anyone else, means by the use of such terms.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: mousethief
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 04:22 PM

"Black classical music" would be classical music (e.g. Handel, Haydn, etc.) composed by a black person. It seems to me that using it any other way is condescending. "They aren't up to Beethoven's snuff, but boy can they sing 'Oh When the Saints'."


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 04:36 PM

That's cool (ish) BUT if all the others stuff drowned out all the trad stuff I would stop going to folk clubs - it's as simple as that!

Me too, Shimbo - as I have done on various occasions.

I find that patronising in the extreme.

You're way off. The term Black Classial Music comes from Louis Armstrong who also described Jazz as a Sacred Order. A quick search on-line reveals this quote fro Nina Simone: To most white people, jazz means black and jazz means dirt, and that's not what I play. I play black classical music. I personally regard Jazz as Black Classical Music. As I've said elsewhere my atheism is based on an inability to conceive of a higher divinity than Duke Ellington - whose music was described as Classical Music - so if Duke Ellington is God, then Lucifer is Sun Ra. Right now Miles Davis is the Holy Spirit: I'm listening to little else but his electric output from In a Silent Way to Big Fun, which I regard as supreme. Don't get me started on Art Tatum, John Coltrane and Rahsaan Roland Kirk who also spoke of Black Classical Music even recording the 20 minute Concerto for Saxophone (in one take without stopping for breath) on the aptly named Prepare Thyself to Deal with a Miracle.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: TheSnail
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 04:46 PM

GUEST,cs

"BUT if all the others stuff drowned out all the trad stuff I would stop going to folk clubs - it's as simple as that!"[Shimrod]

It has in the main I believe, at least on any amateur level.

I suppose we all live in our own little worlds and assume that the rest of the world is pretty much the same but the folk clubs and sessions where I spend a lot of my time are dominated by traditional and written-in-the-tradtion songs and music. Since the perpetrators come from all over the country, I assumed it was fairly widespread.

Where are these places where "the others stuff drowned out all the trad stuff"?


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Adam Smith
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 05:06 PM

GUEST,Suibhne Astray

So, do you regard classical music as White Jazz?


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 05:12 PM

Well, Sweeney, that tripe from Simone makes even less sense than your rantings. The vast preponderance of classical music is wholly fixed in arrangement and form (exceptions being the Sawkins style bass lines - see Sawkins -v- Hyperion - and certain aspects of organ music) whereas the core of jazz is improvisation.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 05:15 PM

From looking at the YouTube clips, they're a bit more interesting than I'd expect from a group of Rupert Murdoch whores ("Requiem", which takes off from Patrick Galvin's "James Connolly" played on the cello, starts very well). But they're way under-rehearsed on some numbers, their vocals are never properly audible, they carry on playing way past the point where they've run out of musical ideas, and if you compare their version of Victorian surreal punk with Emilie Autumn, you'd rather see Autumn any day.

The variety of sounds makes them more entertaining than the sort of singer-songwriter with a guitar who gets dragged out to do support at local folk clubs, but that's a genre fRoots wouldn't cover either. (And they are a LOT more interesting than the Mumfords).

I'd kinda like to be more encouraging but I can't quite get to the point of real enthusiasm. They are likely to get better, though.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,cs
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 05:43 PM

Where are these places where "the others stuff drowned out all the trad stuff"?

Sorry, my previous post was a typo. Please substitute 'any' with 'an'. I have voyaged Northward and found a different kind of folk to the kind I've found in East Anglia. No doubt each region has it's differences.. I hope so.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,cs
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 05:52 PM

"Right now Miles Davis is the Holy Spirit: I'm listening to little else but his electric output from In a Silent Way to Big Fun,"

"classical music" B or W be fecked, Miles Davis Electric Period is indeed 'IT'.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: TheSnail
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 06:29 PM

GUEST,cs

Sorry, my previous post was a typo. Please substitute 'any' with 'an'. I have voyaged Northward and found a different kind of folk to the kind I've found in East Anglia. No doubt each region has it's differences.. I hope so.

Not sure what difference that makes.

Sorry if I'm being oversensitive, but I spend a lot of my time immersed in traditional music. A lot of people who should know better seem to deny that this is happening. I know people in East Anglia, the West Country and the north of England who share my experience down here in Sussex. It is hard to believe that similar things aren't going on in the rest of the country so what is the logic behind your statement that - It has in the main I believe [the other stuff drowned out all the trad stuff], at least on AN amateur level?


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 06:55 PM

The Snail, I was in Lewes a few weeks ago to visit relatives and for the Neville Juvenile Bonfire and to have a pint or two in the Lewes Arms with a folksinging friend. You have to admit, deeply lovely though it is, your home town is far from normal. No wonder it has two trad-tastic folk clubs...


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 07:17 PM

Snail - I've just come in from a truly wonderful, life-affirming evening of song; I reckon 2/3 of it at the very most was traditional (including, you won't be surprised to hear, all the high points of the evening (in my view)). Tomorrow night, about half a mile up the road from where I was this evening, this will take place - a weekly Folk Club offering "a mix of young singer-songwriters and life-hardened old-timers" and a TQ (traditional quotient) of approximately bugger-all. And it's massively popular - the days when a floor-singer could expect to get as many as two songs are long gone.

I wouldn't dream of denying that you spend a fair amount of your time immersed in traditional music - I do myself, if only working on my whistle at home. But I'm primarily a singer, and I'm only too aware that the number of venues where I could expect to hear & sing traditional songs is tiny - far, far smaller than the number of venues flying the "folk" flag.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 Nov 10 - 07:18 PM

And Spleen - where were you? You missed a good one.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 04:36 AM

"Black classical music" would be classical music (e.g. Handel, Haydn, etc.) composed by a black person. It seems to me that using it any other way is condescending. "They aren't up to Beethoven's snuff, but boy can they sing 'Oh When the Saints'."

So, do you regard classical music as White Jazz?

Well, Sweeney, that tripe from Simone makes even less sense than your rantings. The vast preponderance of classical music is wholly fixed in arrangement and form (exceptions being the Sawkins style bass lines - see Sawkins -v- Hyperion - and certain aspects of organ music) whereas the core of jazz is improvisation.

How depressingly Eurocentric your concepts of classical music, but even Piobaireachd (the Classical music of the Highland Bagpipe) has elements of improvisation and the classical traditions of Iraq, Iran and India are famously improvised. Classical composers such as John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen regularly used improvisation as a means to Spontaneous Composition whilst, conversely, the Big Band orchestrations of Fletcher Henderson, Chick Webb, Duke Ellington et al are very tightly scored often down to the solos.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Adam Smith
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 05:03 AM

Well, GSA, as you had used Vivaldi as your example of classical music, it's no surprise that I presumed you meant "Eurocentric classical music".

However, I can see now that you use the term Classical to mean anything you like it to mean, in the same way you use Folk to mean whatever you want it to mean. Fair enough, each to their own, but it makes for a depressingly lame conversation, so I'm Out.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 06:05 AM

I can see now that you use the term Classical to mean anything you like it to mean

I'm not making these things up, Adam - all the examples I've given of Classical Music - be they Scottish, Indian, African-American or otherwise - are well known, and well documented. The same for Folk Music - be it the keening Kaba laments & vocal polyphony of Albanian collective farm workers or the Lancastrian comedy stylings of Gary & Vera Aspey. I'm just reporting on the facts of the case in hope of a more pragmatic evidence-based approach to such matters - and a civilised discussion of same.

Back to Folk Roots - the last issue I remember buying (certainly the only one still in my keeping) is the January/February double issue from 1991 (nos. 91/92), in the letters page of which you may read my literary debut as Suibhne O'Piobaireachd (likened by the editor to James Joyce OD'd on British Rail tea, but the effect I was going for was more Mark E. Smith). In the light of the current discussion with respect of Moulettes, it's worth noting that the grinning mug on the cover of this edition is that of Mike Scott of Waterboys fame. Cor! 20-years, eh? I see Graceland was up to #21 from #30, though Paul Simon still held the top-slot with Rhythm of the Saints.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 07:30 AM

Oh dear, Guest Adam Smith. First you think its somehow alright to imply - on a public forum, no less - that Suibhne is some sort of closet white supremacist. Then you take your ball away when he gently reminds you that there is far more to classical music than the narrow Euro-centric definition that you do not seem to have thought beyond. If calling Indian classical music "classical music" is twisting words to mean anything you want them to, as you accuse Suibhne of, you'd better let a few million Indians in on the news... in the meanwhile I heartily suggest that you enhance your enjoyment of life by exploring the world of Indian classical music. I'm happy to provide you with a list of great albums to get you started if you pm me.

Does it not occur to you that someone can consider Louis Armstrong, Vivaldi and, say, Nikhil Banerjee as absolute geniuses on an equal musical footing with each other without any hint of patronisation or closet racism? Such things, it seems, are often in the eye of the beholder - especially when the beholder appears to want to pick a fight for the sheer devilment of it...

Time for a little gentle reflection at Smith Towers, maybe?


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,erbert
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 08:59 AM

Just wondering what the members of the band this thread was initially concerned with make of all this;
..that is if their manager is keeping them adequately informed
of his 'inspired' machinations

"..to get The Moulettes the rewards their talents so richly deserve."

http://www.myspace.com/joecushley




[By the by, a long long time ago, the manager of the youthful band I was in
was found out to be furtively trying to persuade
our teenage female backing singers
to let him advance their solo careers in show business
by posing nude for his ahem.. 'model agency'.......

managers eh... ah bless 'em...]


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Adam Smith
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 11:00 AM

Oh dear, Guest Adam Smith. First you think its somehow alright to imply - on a public forum, no less - that Suibhne is some sort of closet white supremacist.

No, I didn't.

Then you take your ball away when he gently reminds you that there is far more to classical music than the narrow Euro-centric definition that you do not seem to have thought beyond. If calling Indian classical music "classical music" is twisting words to mean anything you want them to, as you accuse Suibhne of, you'd better let a few million Indians in on the news... in the meanwhile I heartily suggest that you enhance your enjoyment of life by exploring the world of Indian classical music. I'm happy to provide you with a list of great albums to get you started if you pm me.

Ha! Not on your nelly. I wouldn't PM somebody as rude as you. GSA didn't mention Indian classical music until after the event. He mentioned Vivaldi. Is Vivaldi Indian classical music? You'd better let a few million Indians in on the news...

Does it not occur to you that someone can consider Louis Armstrong, Vivaldi and, say, Nikhil Banerjee as absolute geniuses on an equal musical footing with each other without any hint of patronisation or closet racism?

Not at all. That wasn't the issue. You've picked up the wrong end of the stick entirely. The way GSA worded his original paragraph implied, to me at least, that he was somehow deigning to lift one strand of black music up to the mighty heights of white classical music. As, at that stage, he'd only mentioned Vivaldi, I think it was reasonable of me to presume he meant European classical music. I found this patronising and condescending. He has since replied in a polite manner and explained what he meant with his use of the phrase 'classical music'. That's fine. I don't agree with all he said, but that's that. I can see what he's getting at and have no real reason to argue with him over semantics or pedantry. That wasn't the reason I was communicating with him in anyway and it's not a hobby I particularly enjoy pursuing.



Such things, it seems, are often in the eye of the beholder - especially when the beholder appears to want to pick a fight for the sheer devilment of it...


And what exactly, Spleen Cringe, have you just done?



Time for a little gentle reflection at Smith Towers, maybe?


Yes, perhaps.

And

Perhaps not.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 11:32 AM

Classical composers such as John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen regularly used improvisation as a means to Spontaneous Composition

Stockhausen yes, Cage no. Cage used randomness, which is entirely different (what the performers might want to do doesn't come into it).

Cage was supposedly a pretty mellow character almost all the time (and comes across that way in his writings) but the one time I heard him talk, he was spitting tacks because a group performing one of his pieces in Glasgow had thrown in improvisational stuff of their own. He was very clear about what improvisation was, and wanted no part of it.

The Moulettes are obviously aiming at fully-composed arrangements. Their performances at the moment sometimes sound partly made up on the spot, and are not the better for it. For that kind of music, slick is good.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 11:33 AM

No, Adam, not picking a fight, but sticking up for a "real world" friend. Because the tone and content of your posts appeared to warrant it. Glad you seem to have subsequently mellowed out, though.

Rude? You should have seen the post before I edited it ;-)


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 12:49 PM

Cage no.

Cage yes, but with reservations - he had a lot to say on the subject and is supposed anti-improv but the randomness he espoused is essential to various aspects of improvisation in which Cage's inspiration is crucial. Either way, I've got various examples of Cage improvising, including John Cage meets Sun Ra, where they alternate improvisations.

Watch this anyway:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUYtlMuN_V4


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 12:54 PM

Spleen Cringe

The Snail, I was in Lewes a few weeks ago to visit relatives and for the Neville Juvenile Bonfire and to have a pint or two in the Lewes Arms with a folksinging friend.

I think I have enough circumstantial evidence to work out who that might be. The night we booked her (if I'm right) a few months ago was a great success. Congratulations, by the way, on the Woodbine and Ivy launch. We've booked quite a few of those people over the years and have our eyes on a few others. We gave couple of them their first ever folk club bookings.

You have to admit, deeply lovely though it is, your home town is far from normal. No wonder it has two trad-tastic folk clubs...

I think the two clubs and the many local pub sessions are probably more to do with the enthusiasm and energy of a few individuals over the last forty years than any of the, admittedly strange, characteristics of the town. We are also possibly helped by good communications; railway lines and two digit A roads in four directions.

If the Royal Oak Folk Club and the Lewes Saturday Folk Club are some sort of aberration, I wonder what all the traditional performers we book do the rest of the time.

Pip Radish

I've just come in from a truly wonderful, life-affirming evening of song; I reckon 2/3 of it at the very most was traditional

Sounds good. Not a case where "the other stuff drowned out all the trad stuff".

Reading the blurb and looking at the pictures it sounds as if the Chorlton Folk Club is working to a singer/songwriter/guitarist definition of "folk" which, essentially, is a USA idea and predates the 1954 definition by quite some time. Just because they call themselves a folk club doesn't mean that they have to put on purely traditional material. They've probably never heard of the 1954 definition. I hadn't until I joined Mudcat and I've been around traditional music for getting on for forty years.

I wouldn't dream of denying that you spend a fair amount of your time immersed in traditional music - I do myself, if only working on my whistle at home. But I'm primarily a singer

Sorry, linguistic ambiguity. My "traditional music" was intended to include song. The LSFC is principally a singers' club; I'm sure you'd like it. By "immersed", I mean at folk clubs and sessions several nights a week.

I'm only too aware that the number of venues where I could expect to hear & sing traditional songs is tiny - far, far smaller than the number of venues flying the "folk" flag.

And I am aware of nothing of the sort. As I said earlier, I suppose we all live in our own little worlds and assume that the rest of the world is pretty much the same. Just because things are a bit thin in Manchester, doesn't mean that the world I know doesn't exist.

You seem to talk as if folk clubs are just features in the landscape like hills or lakes or trees. They are not. They are there because someone is prepared to put in the effort to make them happen.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: mousethief
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 02:19 PM

The vast preponderance of classical music is wholly fixed in arrangement and form (exceptions being the Sawkins style bass lines - see Sawkins -v- Hyperion - and certain aspects of organ music) whereas the core of jazz is improvisation.

As opposed to, say, trad folk.

Does it not occur to you that someone can consider Louis Armstrong, Vivaldi and, say, Nikhil Banerjee as absolute geniuses on an equal musical footing with each other without any hint of patronisation or closet racism?

I can't speak for Adam Smith, but this has nothing to do with the term "black classical music". The question is not how genius these guys are. It's how the term "classical" is being (ab)used.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 02:31 PM

As opposed to, say, trad folk.

I think if you opened your ears you'd hear a lot of living Traditional Folk musics in which improvisation plays a signifant role; probably less so in the UK revival which is hardly a living culture.

It's how the term "classical" is being (ab)used.

I suggest you read the previous posts from myself & Spleen and maybe do a little rooting around on line with respect of the classical musics of different cultures.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: mousethief
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 03:20 PM

I suggest you read the previous posts from myself & Spleen and maybe do a little rooting around on line with respect of the classical musics of different cultures.

Well since I just made a big stink about meaning=use, I suppose I can't complain.

But if you think that improvisation is as integral to trad folk as it is to jazz, I don't know what to say.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 03:50 PM

But if you think that improvisation is as integral to trad folk as it is to jazz, I don't know what to say.

Once again it all depends what you mean by Trad Folk; on the UK Folk Revival Scene, from experience, I'd say it's pretty much anathema, although there's bound to be exceptions. In other parts of the world (especially where improvisation is integral to their classical musics) then you'll find improvisation in their folk traditions, though once again there's bound to be exceptions, often down to individual preference.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 04:22 PM

This is an interesting point, re improvisation. The Boat Band that I play with certainly plays 99% trad folk, English and some American. We all improvise freely, always have. Not to excess I like to think, not around jig tunes for example. but certainly with song and tune backing. Folk musicians I have known(from many cultures) tend to be impovisers to some extent. It is the classsical people who tend to stick to the hard line.
As to the English folk revival, I never know what to think. Is it folk? Is it folk -related? Who knows what to call it.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 05:22 PM

AFAIK the Irish traditional tunes are VERY set. Many assert that they should be played in unison.

In the revival certainly shanties and chorus songs depended heavily on participative improvised harmony - that's actually how "The Young Tradition" got formed.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 05:56 PM

On the contrary. Unison playing, yes, but there is a strong tradition of 'variation' in Irish music, and I know at least one banjo player who is a recognised master of it. This is not the same thing as free improvisation, but it does involve adapting melodies on the hoof, employing very few of the notes that you'd commit to paper if you were writing down the tune, but while maintaining the spirit of the melody. Done properly, the tune is still completely recognisable, and will fit with anyone else who is playing the 'unison' line - or other variations. It's what makes Irish music so intoxicatingly dangerous and uplifting when it's done properly. This skill is considered to be a high art in Irish tune playing. Scottish music, by contrast, must be played strictly as written. There is just room for the occasional snap or other ornamentation (not the same thing at all as variation), but if you vary the A pert of a Scottish tune you are in danger of finding you have already played the B or C part.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 19 Nov 10 - 03:05 AM

"I suppose we all live in our own little worlds and assume that the rest of the world is pretty much the same. Just because things are a bit thin in Manchester, doesn't mean that the world I know doesn't exist."

Well, inspired by this discussion, I thought I'd ask:

Mostly TRAD near you?

Please all, feel free to contribute.
I think I'll ask a Mod to alter the title to something like "Mainly TRAD FOLK: Sessions, Clubs & Singarounds (England)" though.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Nov 10 - 04:22 AM

I have shared this before but it may be useful to post it again (figures may differ slightly - I don't have my survey figures to hand).

Based on my experience of visiting about half the 'folk clubs' in the UK (not all of whom use the word 'folk' or 'club' in their title, but who are generally accepted to be FCs), and my notes from phone conversations and web discussions with the organisers of the remainder, I'd hazard an educated guess that the number of places which major specifically on traditional song (where you'd hear perhaps more than 80% trad through the year) to be only about 30% of clubs. (Note that I'm using trad to mean proper, old, public domain material, not popular newer 'falk' songs [falk = fakefolk ok?]

In perhaps 25% of clubs nation-wide you'll encounter almost no traditional material at all.

I should say again that during the years when I used to offer a choice between trad, contemporary or original 'folk' material, I was only twice asked by the organisers to major on trad - and on both those occasions when I asked the same question at the start of the show the audience voted against trad. Even when playing in specialist trad clubs (which I often was), where the organisers anticipated a vote for trad, people voted for original material or whatever I fancied doing. I only did my trad-only set one single time (I can't remember where, now).

My personal experience of the much-more-difficult-to-quantify open mic/unplugged/song-session type of gathering would be that trad material would be less than 10%. Proabably a lot less.

I think we all know that tune sessions, by contrast, would pan out at well over 90% trad.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 19 Nov 10 - 04:34 AM

TomB: "I'd hazard an educated guess that the number of places which major specifically on traditional song (where you'd hear perhaps more than 80% trad through the year) to be only about 30% of clubs. (Note that I'm using trad to mean proper, old, public domain material, not popular newer 'falk' songs [falk = fakefolk ok?]"
...
"My personal experience of the much-more-difficult-to-quantify open mic/unplugged/song-session type of gathering would be that trad material would be less than 10%. Proabably a lot less."

Very interesting Tom.
30% for more formal venues actually seems a pretty decent percentage to me.
As for the other 10% in less formal groups, my personal experience would tend to match that estimate. With me virtually being that 10% *smile*.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes � not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 19 Nov 10 - 04:42 AM

Of the 3 very local (within 5 miles, who'd have thought we'd have so many in the middle of rural North Yorks!) "singaround" type clubs. We have one with less than 20% trad, one that is about 50:50 and a new one that is going to be mainly trad.... too early to say what % but the organiser sings 90+% trad himself (Zeke Deighton.... he sings them very well too).

Our "performance" club is non denominational and I tend to book a lot of acts who do some trad a few who don't do any and a few who do exclusively trad.

The mainly trad singaround club is at The Green Dragon in Exelby near Bedale (just off the A1 if you're passing!) on Monday nights.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes � not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 19 Nov 10 - 04:46 AM

I guess that answer should really be on your thread CS....


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: Brian Peters
Date: 19 Nov 10 - 05:10 AM

"on the UK Folk Revival Scene, from experience, I'd say [improvisation] is pretty much anathema, although there's bound to be exceptions."

If you're talking about spontaneous variation (see Tom B's post above) then you could include not only Irish instrumental music but many English practitioners of fiddle (Swarbrick, anyone?), box, etc., and an awful lot of modern ceilidh bands. Many singers from Sam Larner through Bert Lloyd to Peter Bellamy and Nic Jones have varied the vocal melody significantly and unpredictably. The Devil's Interval, for one, improvised their harmonies on the spot, varying from one verse to the next. Quite a few exceptions!


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Subject: RE: Moulettes – not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Nov 10 - 05:34 AM

Giving this one some though and I'm surprised by my conclusions given my proclivities, but here goes...

Idiomatic Trad is always a matter of approach than anything else. Mostly these days I'm happy in the corner of an open sesh where the participants are relaxed enough to do what they want when they want. Someone starts a tune, others follow, a bit of chat; someone sings a song, others join in the chorus or contribute instrumentally and so it goes. Not all the material is trad by any means - last week Alan Bell's Pack Man became the vehicle for a bucolic symphony of uplifting delights on which I percussed a bouncing drone on my fiddle strings, having never heard the song before. The crack, as they say, is all that matters.

As a result of attending this particular club, I've even come to find certain Mostly Trad singarounds quite restricting to the sort of all-inclusive collective session vibe which engenders, for me, the heart and soul of the music. The room has to be right, the numbers too, egos left at the door, sense of humour essential, prima donnas (of any abilty) to be roundly abused etc. etc. Even in the two-song-floor-spot sort of folk clubs I doubt it would bother me if none of the songs were trad. if the overall vibe was right. One of my first & favourite folk clubs operate a three-song floor spoot policy which was I'd guess 30% trad and it was a blast. Conversely I've been to 100% trad floorspot clubs, especially those heavy on ballads, and have rapidly lost the will to live. Same goes for storytelling clubs actually, but that's another - er - story! I admit suffering from ADD is not good for ballads and storytelling - I hear them in fragments & images, seldom in terms of complete narratives. In a sesh, I'll only tell a story if asked, and longer ballads become vehicles for collective improvisation and chorus mantra. I find it a little strange to sing a ballad to complete silence to a listening audience if I'm not actuially doing a gig; I don't exprect gig conditions in a folk club, so I tend not to perform if you see what I mean: ego at the door.

I don't equate Folk with Trad - Folk is something else, it's a liminal thing, diffuicult to pin down, something that lives and breathes according to more factors than just music. With few exceptions I only sing Trad. songs but I don't think of them necessarily as Folk Songs because a Folk Song can be anything that works to enhance a particular collective experience, be it club, sesh or singaround. I've seen many a well-sung Trad Song kill a sesh stone dead, only to have it revived by a heart-felt rough and ready rendition of Sloop John B. In fact, one of my fondest memories of any folk club was a 19 person jam on Sloop John B involving hurdy-hurdies, fiddles, bagpipes and harmonising voices one New Year in the Colpitts in Durham, circa 1991; it doesn't get any better than that because everyone in the pub was involved, smiling, unified, delighted, and we came away flying; my soul soars yet to think of it and it lives on in the hearts of those who were there.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes - not folk say gatekeepers
From: Howard Jones
Date: 19 Nov 10 - 06:27 AM

"I've seen many a well-sung Trad Song kill a sesh stone dead, only to have it revived by a heart-felt rough and ready rendition of Sloop John B. In fact, one of my fondest memories of any folk club was a 19 person jam on Sloop John B involving hurdy-hurdies, fiddles, bagpipes and harmonising voices one New Year in the Colpitts in Durham, circa 1991; it doesn't get any better than that because everyone in the pub was involved, smiling, unified, delighted, and we came away flying; my soul soars yet to think of it and it lives on in the hearts of those who were there."

I don't doubt that you're right, but I have also seen the exact reverse happen. It all depends on the context and expectations of the individual session - you can't generalise.

Brian beat me to the draw about improvisation. The tendency for traditional singers to throw in variations is well recorded, and most revival instrumentalists won't play a tune the same way twice. That's possibly less common amongst revival singers, especially those who accompany themselves (since improvising variations to both song and accompaniment may be a challenge too far), but there are plenty who do.

As for the percentage of trad/non-trad in folk clubs, I'd say that was always the case. The number of clubs which insisted on 100% trad was I believe very small, in most clubs it was possible to include other songs, especially if done in an acceptably traddy style. It is worth remembering that even performers who are considered to substantially "trad", including Martin Carthy and especially Nic Jones, have always included more recently composes songs in their repertoires.


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Subject: RE: Moulettes - not folk say gatekeepers
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Nov 10 - 06:27 AM

Quite a few exceptions!

Only if you accept spontaneous variation as improvisation. Many singers, traditional & otherwise, never sing/sang the same song the same way twice - and random factors abound in sessions and singarounds which always make you think about a song differently to how you might have thought about it last time you sang it. To what extent did such factors effect The Folk Process? which many see in terms of it being purely random (mondegreens, Chinese Whispers, memory loss etc.) rather that the consequence of deliberate changes made to a song by a particular singer by way of making it their own either as something they purposefully rehearsed to do, or else free-styled in a given performance.

Whilst such things intrigue, folk hasn't given us anything in which improvisation is the determining factor of the music, or yet absorbed the aesthetics of noise, atonality, dissonance etc. in the same way rock & jazz have. Whilst certain early musicians have explored these sonic possibilities, and saving Felix Doran's farmyard sounds in his rendering of The Fox Hunt, what you hear in folk is determined by an abiding obediance to a fundamental harmonic orthodoxy. However so stridently spontaneous this can be at times (see previous post), I think I might have difficulty in accepting such as improvisation in the purest sense (though there are times...) much in the same way many here might have difficulty in accepting Derek Bailey's playing as being in any way traditional, which I do, of course.

Maybe at the sesh tonight I'll just start improvising and see what happens, sure as hell my partners in crime would go for it after a pint or three... Watch this space!


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