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Steamfolk

GUEST,Suibhne Astray 03 Jul 11 - 06:33 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 03 Jul 11 - 06:47 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 03 Jul 11 - 06:51 PM
Bugsy 04 Jul 11 - 02:03 AM
Spleen Cringe 04 Jul 11 - 04:19 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 04 Jul 11 - 05:19 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 04 Jul 11 - 05:33 AM
Will Fly 04 Jul 11 - 06:58 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 04 Jul 11 - 07:25 AM
GUEST,matt milton 04 Jul 11 - 08:26 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 04 Jul 11 - 10:11 AM
SteveMansfield 04 Jul 11 - 10:43 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 04 Jul 11 - 10:50 AM
GUEST,matt milton 04 Jul 11 - 11:05 AM
GUEST,matt milton 04 Jul 11 - 11:22 AM
Charley Noble 04 Jul 11 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 04 Jul 11 - 11:50 AM
GUEST,matt milton 04 Jul 11 - 12:22 PM
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Subject: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Jul 11 - 06:33 PM

I've been fighting with this for a while, but the Mudcatter Formerly Known as Crow Sister unwittingly seeded my answer in a reference to Steampunk a few weeks back which had instant and familiar appeal. Those unfamiliar with the term, look it up. Now - Steamfolk - which I hatched whilst browsing the Steampunk Bible in Travelling Man in MCR yesterday.

It occurs to me that the only way of resolving the Innumerable Issues of Folk, is to view all Folk as being Steamfolk by default - i.e. a fantasy culture projected onto an era that never really existed via a select interpretation of so-called Folklore and certain aspects of so-called History - political, social or otherwise.

Either way it results in a perfect Folk Image - in FOP right now you can John Renbourn Band CDs for £3 a pop; Steamfolk classics; Shirley and Dolly likewise. So suddenly everything from Peter Bellamy's Kipling Albums, The Unthanks, Trembling Bells to the Damon Alburn Folk Opera on Dr Dee(on one songs he sings pushing an apple cart up Silbury Hill), The Transports, the John Barleycorn Reborn CDs make sense as Pure Steamfolk. Even the VOTP series, which masquarades as genuine scholarship, but is in reality Comfort Product for a whole bunch of Folk Myths. The important thing here is is - the music is great, and great fun besides.

Like Steampunks who dress the part & even evolve alternative personas, realities, technologies, folklore and traditions, the Folk Revival has been doing exactly that for over 60 years - and are still doing it now. Steamfolk sees all the cliches as Jolly Good Things to be Well and Truly Owned and Celebrated. On another thread I mentioned coming up with the name Wattle 'n' Daub as an alternative folk identity; some wag suggested The Macrame Owl Project which is pure Steamfolk, but the Owl Service do it for real! Shame we haven't got Woven Wheat Whispers anymore - apart from being the perfect name for a Breakfast Cereal, it was 100% pure Steamfolk - indeed Mark Coyle's steavenotes for the first John Barleycorn Reborn CD could be the Steamfolk Manifesto.

So - Steamfolk isn't a new thing, rather its a new way of looking at an old thing - it's accepting the image, culture and artefacts of the Colonial Folk Revival of the last 60 years (the so-called second revival) is, by and large, a projected collective fantasy reaction to the horrors of modern life. It's accepting this is a Very Good Thing, but in no way Real. Steamfolk accepts that the reality of Folk isn't in the slightest bit real, but has very real rewards for those who feel that warm homely glow as they peruse the various images and associations on the cover of (say) Liege and Lief or embedded in The Wicker Man or, or, or, or....

S O'P (tongue in cheek? partly!)


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Jul 11 - 06:47 PM

PS - Seen the new hand pressed 100% cotton card jewel case inserts on the new Gillian Welch album? Here's Gillian & David telling how to coffee-stain the for Antique Effect.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZigVLW09YY

Pure Steamfolk!


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Jul 11 - 06:51 PM

The Harrow and the Harvest.

What more can I say? I rest my case...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Bugsy
Date: 04 Jul 11 - 02:03 AM

Reading the title of this thread I thought it would be about "Steamfolk" the folk group from UK. But alas, no.


CHeers

Bugsy


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 04 Jul 11 - 04:19 AM

Of course, real Steamfolk would be automatically played on invented, steam powered instruments...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Jul 11 - 05:19 AM

No indeed, Bugsy, though if there is a group going by that name it shows the Steampunk idea is beginning to filter through into common consciousness - or maybe not. One fears the group Steamfolk to have missed the point entirely, certainly missed the inherent irony anyway, taking too literally the Folk Remit which compells us to mourn the past as a Real Country We Have (Somehow) Lost rather than a creation of our own. There is also (as a Google search will reveal) a SteamFolk site dealing in fantasy art of a Steampunkish Variety but with more Folkish elements. This is not what I'm talking about either, although it figures. Steamfolk is a way of accepting & celebrating the fact that Folk has been a fantasy construct from the off and continues to be so in perpetuation of its own carefully founded Myths, Orthodoxies, Assumptions, Attitudes and Aesthetics with respect of both The Tradition (that it first invents then claims to represent) or else the New Folk Idioms arising therefrom. These New Folk Idioms and artefacts are occuring all the time and are especially fashionable right now in any number of ways. We see Folk Tunics for sale in Women's Clothes Shops and Catalogues (try Marisota) and the very word Folk being used as noun, verb and adjective in common usage both by the intiated and uninitiated.

Steamfolk is about The Old as much as it is about The New. Indeed the very soul of Steamfolk would be those old Shirley and Dolly Collins albums they made for Harvest at a time when a (relatively) mainstream label would consider such a venture viable. Remember, they shared Harvest with 'pop' acts such as Pink Floyd, Third Ear Band, & The Edgar Broughton Band etc. In their original states Anthems in Eden and Love Death and the Lady have become definitive documents of an aesthetic which one might call Pure Steamfolk in terms of both its cultural viability and innate mythology & imagery - and that's not saying anything of the music! The CD reissues seem to miss the point rather (Staines Norris anyone?) although maybe only go so far as to confirm it after all*. Other re-issues of the Collins Canon, such as Adieu To Old England (which features a gawdy painting of the South Queensferry Burry Man - adieu to old England indeed!) and the erotic 'folk art' stylings of The Power of the True Love Knot (pert breasts but why the skirt?) seem to be the very essence of what I'm on about here. Then there's the very wonderful Snapshots CD of hitherto unreleased live material with its digipak vintage family photo album feel.

In any case, the status of Shirley and Dolly Collins to Folk Outsiders such as Current 93 and the old Woven Wheat Whispers 'community' (I ask you!) is something that, whilst not being fully understood by regular folkies, is par for the course to Steamfolk. And how nice to see the long overdue CD editions of Peter Bellamy's classic ARGO albums Oak Ash and Thorn and Merlin's Isle of Gramarye which confirms Rudyard Kipling to be the Godfather of Steamfolk, though at £15 a pop (in HMV MCR) I'll be making do with what's at hand in the unofficial stash a wee while longer yet. And yes, the Folk Police Oak, Ash, Thorn album is quintessential Steamfolk and very fine to boot. Anyway - I'll shut up about this soon, but not before preparing my Steamfolk t-shirt for this year's Fylde where our Bellamy: Kipling With the Tradition show will be Steamfolk par excellance, perhaps even more than the pevious years' Demdyke (who's grave has just been found so I hear... oo-er...). One of the things I miss most about the old Woven Wheat Whispers / Unbroken Circle / Harvest Home sites was the constant search on the part of the perpretator & self-styled Lord of Misrule for Convient Pidgeon Holes for the various aspects of Folk featured thereupon. No need now, Mr Coyle, for Steamfolk covers 'em all!

S O'P (in a waking dream...)

* I stumble upon seemingly inherent contradictions and dualities in the music all the time; I'll ponder this and come back to it later, or not, depending on how it goes, but in my experience Duality is A Very Good Thing.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Jul 11 - 05:33 AM

Of course, real Steamfolk would be automatically played on invented, steam powered instruments

Moot point; I reckon most Folkies think it already is. In their fondness for the Authentic Folk Instrument vintage Contertinas fetch sums way in excess of their actual value or musical usefulness. Why? Because Vintage Lachenals and Wheatstones are articles of a very particular sort of faith that insists on the genuine artefact, provenance and all. I think this is cool - I'm the same with the random ethnography that clutters up this place; exotic cargo cultism.

However, I note with as much interest as despair that Folkies invariably assume my Black Sea Fiddle (AKA Karadeniz Kemence) is either a) an Appalachian Dulcimer or b) a Bowed Psaltery. They never ask me what it is, they always ask Is that a BP / AD? - and look very puzzled when I tell them no, it is not..., and even more puzzled (afraid) when I go on to tell them what it is thus introducing them to a whole other realm of possibility. In folk there are Normal Stringed Instruments (guitars, violins, mandolin & bouzouki derivatives) and Unusual Stringed Instruments (Bowed Psaltery, Hurdy Gurdy, Hammered and Appalachian Dulcimer). If it's not one of these, then you must be dealing in some truly weird ju-ju!


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Jul 11 - 06:58 AM

Concertinas fetch sums way in excess of their actual value or musical usefulness.

Yummy - a whole can of musical and craft worms to chew on here! :-)

I've often pondered on the disparate attitudes that endow a musical instrument with a "value". If you're a concertina buff, there seems to be little middle way between a cheap Chinese instrument costing, say, around £80, and the next step up to an instrument costing, say £800. And, yes, the magic names 'Lachenal', 'Crabbe', 'Wheatstone' usually come with 4-figure sums attached to them. I can understand that the high number of, and high quality of the parts in a good quality concertina will represent excellent workmanship and hours of labour - hence the high price. In the end, however, the cost of all works of art and craft - including musical instruments - depends on the mysterious and ever-changing amalgam of factors such as "name", "desirability", "rarity", "collectors' word-of-mouth", "fashion", "investment", etc., etc.

All of which robs the word 'value' of any real meaning. When I compare guitars - about which I know far more than I do about concertinas - I care only for playability and sound. Nothing else matters - not the price, not the name, not the association. The Martin Carthy Limited Edition Martin with zero fret and 3 brass bridge pins ain't a patch on the second-hand instrument made by a local luthier which I bought just over a year ago. But that's just my own personal value-rating. Shall we talk about Designer Folk...

As for musical usefulness... a well-played duet concertina in the right hands is truly orchestral. In real terms, the guitar is by far the earlier instrument - hundreds of years earlier - but somehow doesn't fit into SteamFolk quite like the concertina does. Strange, eh?

More Black Sea fiddles, I say!


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Jul 11 - 07:25 AM

I'm just smarting because Ross lent me one of his precious vintage Lachenal Anglos and I can't make head nor tail of it at all. Most things I can make at least some sense of, but Melodeons, Anglos and Moothies are beyond me.

The beauty of the Guitar (another instrument I can't make sense of) is inherant in the Technical Tradition of Genre Trancendence. I know heavy-metal guitarists who drool over Martin Carthy and Nic Jones, and Folkies who worship at the the shrine of Frank Zappa and Steve Vai. I remember putting a link to a Derek Bailey YouTube up here once and one Folk Guitarist being intrigued by the technique of the man, if not the music, and every guitarist I've ever met acknowledges the Genius of Micky Jones. Say guitar - say - Scotty Moore, Sonny Sharrock, Steve Howe, Steve Hillage, Rory Gallagher, Tony (TS) McPhee, Alan Holdsworth, John McLaughlin* etc. and that's before you've touched Folk, Flamenco, Classical, Metal, etc. etc.

* Just discovered this on YouTube recently. I saw this lot on the same bill as Kevin Coyne at Newcastle City Hall circa 1976 and was suitably impressed. Those were the daze!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AzovMu-2LY


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 04 Jul 11 - 08:26 AM

" it's accepting the image, culture and artefacts of the Colonial Folk Revival of the last 60 years (the so-called second revival) is, by and large, a projected collective fantasy reaction to the horrors of modern life"

yes, this does more or less accurately sum-up the aesthetic of most of it.

But it also explains why Alasdair Roberts' songs are so great. Because, while he is undoubtedly a man who relishes anachronisms and antiquity, his own songs have little to do with fantasy, using clear-eyed folk idioms to address "the horrors of modern life" square on. (The fact that he's a writer comparable to Wallace Stevens or Basil Bunting certainly helps too.) He even has a knack for picking traditional songs that seem to end up sounding like comments on fundamentalism, or the alienating effects of technology on labour. There's nothing twee or 'transcendent' or even nostalgic there.

I also don't buy the idea that "all" folk is steamfolk. There are plenty of current acts that present folk as acoustic pop - Seth Lakeman, Jim Moray, Bella Hardy, a lot of the graduates of the Newcastle Uni folk degree - for example. (Note, I'm not dismissing their music, merely pointing out the face that that they present to the world.) In America, they have their counterparts in Sarah Jarosz and others.

It might not be your cup of tea, but it is folk, and it is is worlds away from any self-conscious wrangling with an imagined, idealised past.

If anything, they are just as programmatic as your 'steamfolkers' but in the opposite direction: presenting folk as one popular-genre-choice of the 21st Century among many, like any other. They play folk for the same circumstanctal reasons their friends play R&B or nu-metal. They even wear the same jeans and trainers as those friends.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Jul 11 - 10:11 AM

I think the Folk Degree Course is one of the ultimate conceits of The Folk Revival, and is essential Steamfolk. How can it be otherwise? This doesn't mean the results aren't amazing - I've been to performances by Folk Degree students and just basked in the glory of it all, but it's total Steamfolk, whatever the underlying academic / cultural gloss might be. These days that become increasingly evident as Universities become even less of an option for people on the whole, let alone the population of Tyneside. After all, all you need to play nu-metal is the chops; folk was never just chops and the same is true today. Folk is a myth predicated on a Bourgeouis Fantasy of working class culture; most Folk music is still couched in these terms even unto today. I call it psuedo academic because it is a very closed unit, and their methods are far from falsifiable, much less their conclusions, which are more akin to Religion than Science.

I'm not complaing BTW - that's just the way it is - the Folk Reality - which has given us so much truly amazing music over the years & continues to do so, but then again so has Roman Catholicism, but one doesn't have to become a Roman Catholic Covert or agree with one word of the inane Theology of same to appreciate the mastery of the first Vivaldi Gloria (much better than the second), much less the transcedent beauty of the Allegri Miserere. In fact it probably helps if you don't, which is what Steamfolk is about - being able to see this stuff for what it is without throwing out the babies with the bathwater. In fact, it keeps the bathwater too (whiter than the whitewash on the wall!) as an essential component of a very modern cultural phenomenon which is still expressing itself in those terms - as it does in the new (very excellent!) CDs by Jim Causley and John Kirkpatrick, both of which are unashamedly Steamfolk in that sense.

As I suggested in my review of the former for Stirrings: ...there is a sense here that the new generation of Folkies (of whom Jim Causley is particularly bright star) are using the idiom in a way which post-modern irony serves as a more genuine sort of subversion, however so innocently innocuous this music might otherwise sound. Hey, maybe that's the nub of Steamfolk right there?


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 04 Jul 11 - 10:43 AM

I've no idea what most of this thread is talking about - but (as a concertina player) I've often been struck before by the idea that a concertina is a very steampunk instrument - all those levers and buttons and pads and arched springs and hinges and gawd-only-knows what else, like some musical difference engine ...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Jul 11 - 10:50 AM

And yet in the hands of a skilled player it all - works. A truly wondrous machine...

And talking about concertinas, remember this?

Folklore: Concertina Weasels


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 04 Jul 11 - 11:05 AM

"I've been to performances by Folk Degree students and just basked in the glory of it all, but it's total Steamfolk, whatever the underlying academic / cultural gloss might be"

yeah? you really think so? so are The Corrs steamfolk?

(because many of the musicians I'm thinking of sound like The Corrs. They don't sound anything like Peter Bellamy)


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 04 Jul 11 - 11:22 AM

"After all, all you need to play nu-metal is the chops; folk was never just chops and the same is true today."

see this is totally where I disagree with you about the 'reality' of folk.

I would say 99% of what I hear released on folk record labels is "just chops", particularly from younger musicians.

I'm probably more sympathetic to the Woven Wheat Whispers/CDR label type stuff, which tends to be a lot less "chopsy" and which does tend to fit your 'feral folk' or 'steamfolk' tags. (except when it's ninnyish goth like Current 93, or insufferably twee)

but I don't see the point in trying to fit that cap on heads that clearly don't suit it.

If something sounds like James Blunt and dresses like him too, what's the point in pretending that that is in any way as interesting or quirky a cultural by-product as steampunk (or psych-folk, or free improvisation, or Grime, or whatever)?


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Jul 11 - 11:47 AM

Shovel in the coal and let 'er fly!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Jul 11 - 11:50 AM

I'm not posulating a new musical movement here, or even a category, just seeing Folk in terms of it being a Cultural Construct and trying to put a positive spin on why that should be. I too have my preferences, but regardless of them I may extend the concept of Steamfolk to stuff I don't like as much as that which I do. Pentagle's Cruel Sister album is a Steamfolk Icon, but you won't find it in the Sedayne household, much less The John Renborn Band albums even at £3 a pop in Fopp (as they are in MCR right now) but that's personal taste. I don't say it's crap, I say I don't much care for it. Like Steeleye Span and Fairport; I don't like them personally, but I know what they mean in a general sense.

*

Hopefully by Chops I mean a lot more than mere Technique which doesn't do too much for me either, but I'm not knocking it. Culturally my Mother is Folk, but my Father is Free Improvisation; how they ever came to have an experimental bastard like me I'll never know but I love them both very dearly, just my Mother's always been overly precious & prissy, whilst Daddy's prone to too much politics and philosophy. In the old days I found it very exciting the LMC was on Gloucester Avenue just up the road from the Cecil Sharp House. In my heart it's still just a hop between the two!


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 04 Jul 11 - 12:22 PM

Did you go to this year's Freedom of the City festival? (programmed by Eddie Prevost, Evan Parker and Martin Davidson). It was held in Cecil Sharp House!

There are some commonalities between free improv and folk.

For instance, have you ever heard Sue Ferrar's album 'A Boy Leaves Home'? If not, beg, borrow or steal a copy. It's a beautiful album, and features, among other things, Lol Coxhill singing 'Shenandoah'.

http://www.jazzloft.com/p-44906-a-boy-leaves-home.aspx


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Jul 11 - 12:35 PM

London is a long way away these days, but that makes me smile & I'll be sure to follow that link...

*

Following the inevitable Divorce neither of my parents gained full custody of me; too folky for Dad, too free for Mum, but at least Dad was more tolerant of Folk and was always happy to listen. In Mum's house there was a lot of hostility to other ways of doing things, much less improvising whilst singing a ballad. For example, Dad liked the Dick Gaughan / Ken Hyder duo album; Mum hated it. Naturally I loved it, but then I loved Talisker and Sun Ra and Don Cherry and Johnny Mbizo Dyani and The Art Ensemble of Chicago who were all about Folk Music anyway. Dad loved them; Mum hated them. Weirdly I loved both my parents equally, and happy they got together to have me. I suppose their marriage was the Third Ear Band...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: glueman
Date: 04 Jul 11 - 12:58 PM

Steamfolk sounds compelling but it's worth remembering that the first tenet in the catechism of folk music is that it is part of an unbroken line. Dogmatists/purists do not complain, by and large, that you can't hear a good night's folk revival any more. Like opposing poles of a magnet, the closer one moves to its mysteries, the further the other magnet moves away. Folk does not want to be bridged to anything, which is tenet number two.

The steam analogy is interesting. I've often pondered on the reality that some steam locomotives have run three or four times longer in preservation than they ever did on the rail network and with infinitely larger passenger numbers on the train. It's only a short analogy away to suggest steam punk (or whatever one might call the tail that's wagged the dog for the last 40+ years) has become the thing itself.

Steam punk would have to encompass 'normal people' under its umbrella and not just the equivalent of engine drivers in their blue overalls, polka dotted neckachief and oiltop cap for it to be more than a folkmania branchline, but if it manage to Come All Ye I'd sign up for a season ticket.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 04:01 AM

Oooh, don't hold with this new-fangled Steamfolk stuff. What we do is good old-fashioned Horsefolk (although we call it Ruffian Music).

http://www.whipstaff.co.uk/www.whipstaff.co.uk.htm


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 04:10 AM

...actually, Horseshit might be a better term - even the website's donkey-powered and was built by the local blacksmith.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 04:40 AM

Horsefolk might be a better term for it actually, but (get this) Horsefolk is one of the essences of Steamfolk, which has nothing to do with Steam per se, much less Horses, although it's mostly a matter of Cultural Evaporation resulting in the sort of twisted fundamentalism we know (and love) to be an integral aspect of The Colonial Folk Revival.

When I was a lad, we got all our genuine coal-steam powered electricity from Blyth Power Station which looked like either heaven or hell, or both simultaneously, depending where your head was at. Long demolished, it remains iconic in my dreams but has no place in Steamfolk, despite childhood memories of queueing in the rain on dark rainy mornings with our buckets to get our weekly electricty allowance. Grandma would make a tasty ice-cream-style dish from the used electricity as an end of the week treat. Hard times, but we were happy. Nuclear-steam electricity just doesn't taste the same somehow. I'm off to write a song about it.

Note: Actually, come to think of it, Ewan McColl did write a song about the building of Blyth Power Station, or at least the Irish workers who did the graft. It features here at around 1.30:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5xwK6dNhtw

And I climb the narrow ladder where the stack looks out the sea,
I'm building power stations now for electricity...


So Steamfolk in the literal sense...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 05:09 AM

Ah, happy days! We live just down the road from Drax. In winter everyone in the local villages is given a supply of beans, then we have to queue up at the boiler room in alphabetical order on set days so that they can light our farts to boost production (it's Drax's concession to gas-power).

My elder son used to have a job cleaning the insides of the cooling towers at Ferrybridge, Eggborough and Drax. Crap job but well-paid.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 05:18 AM

I love those mighty power stations; you used to get a good look at Ferrybridge from the A1 before they re-routed it around the back which is still impressive, but not as impressive, much less traditional... Drax sounds (and looks) like a God.

That must have been one hell of a job!


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 05:32 AM

Renewable energy has its mighty power stations too, complete with evocative names and inspirational mechanisms.

Dinorwig, also known by the nickname of 'Electric Mountain' (now there's a name for a 70s metal band), is a beauty. The only low-carbon power station in the UK capable of a "black start" - a re-firing of the National Grid in the event of a total blackout.

It uses nothing but discrepancies in height (helpfully provided by that old Welsh standby: a mountain) and kinetic energy (helpfully provided by that old Welsh standby: water) to do so. Earth magic indeed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:DinorwigPowerStation01.jpg


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 05:41 AM

Awesome.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 07:19 AM

SA-

Will I have to do an upgrade to my 5-string banjo so that it is steam-powered? It's currently not functioning well on it's solar-powered batteries, especially during late-night sets.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 08:12 AM

Actually, Charley, it's worth checking out some of the Steampunk modifications to instruments on line; my wife was thinking the other day of ways of Steampunking her 5-string Deering. Like here, where they put Skeleton keys on a guitar for tuners:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfS-lOf94OM

There's some amazing stuff being done by way of Steampunk, but I think Steamfolk already has the look!


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 08:39 AM

"But it also explains why Alasdair Roberts' songs are so great. Because, while he is undoubtedly a man who relishes anachronisms and antiquity, his own songs have little to do with fantasy, using clear-eyed folk idioms to address "the horrors of modern life" square on."

I've always felt that he draws heavily on The White Goddess and The Golden Bough - with a liberal smattering of Jungian archetypes. Quite often the result sounds like something W B Yeats might have created. Whatever, there's a hypnotic quality that means The Amber Gatherers and Spoils are seldom off my CD player for long.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 09:16 AM

The White Goddess and The Golden Bough rest at the heart of Steamfolk; both are cherished source for material which is founded a notion which is thankfully long since discredited, The Golden Bough especially, but the Folklore Myth still persists, much as does The Pagan Green Man, in many ways the face of Steamfolk - embraced as an Ancient Archetype, but an entirely Modern Invention (likewise Jung's fanciful notions of Archetypes become the bedrock of the so-called New Age). Put simply, Folk is default Steamfolk on account of such rabidly reactionary anti-Modernism, but the world it creates and celebrates is a modern fantasy (or construct at best) none of the elements of which bare up to anything like close scrutiny, and yet the credos of which are couched in such absolutist and simplistic terms regarding the significances of things and their hidden / symbolic / occult meaning.

The Wicker Man is an expression of this and a warning of its dangers, yet remains a cracking film with a splendid musical score. To some however, it remains a Pagan Film. All these things - these fantasies, these yearnings, these myths, these absolutes - are integral to what Folk is, and yet, as I say, look for any of it in the real world and you'll be looking for a very long time!


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 09:33 AM

"a projected collective fantasy reaction to the horrors of modern life"

Dammit, and there was me thinking I liked it because of the noise it made...

"the VOTP series, which masquarades as genuine scholarship, but is in reality Comfort Product for a whole bunch of Folk Myths"

Got me again. I'd been labouring under the impression that VOTP was a bunch of recordings of people singing songs that were important to them, and which sound great.

Just because we don't buy the myth of an idyllic rural England, doesn't mean that those songs didn't get sung.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 09:50 AM

"The White Goddess and The Golden Bough rest at the heart of Steamfolk"

I'd agree about The Golden Bough but The White Goddess is an exploration of the origins of the poetic muse - it's also an excellent treatise on comparative mythology.


"Quite often the result sounds like something W B Yeats might have created."

Swear by what the sages spoke
Round the Mareotic Lake
That the Witch of Atlas knew,
Spoke and set the cocks a-crow.

Swear by those horsemen, by those women
Complexion and form prove superhuman,
That pale, long-visaged company
That air in immortality
Completeness of their passions won;
Now they ride the wintry dawn
Where Ben Bulben sets the scene.

See what I mean?


Tell you what, this is getting pretty scary - I've just realised that I'm sat here dressed like a bloody Steampunk (except for the goggles); now that is very scary!


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 09:58 AM

It's not the songs, but the product itself, and the manipulation of the songs by way of creating a new context for the recycling of old recordings, rather than an open archive accessible to all. Not to mention the edits (well, one that I find particularly irksome where they lose the spoken intro to Felix Doran's Fox Hunt which really sets the scene).

Does anyone like folk purely for the noise it makes? I know I don't; it's always more than that, by way seance, communion, reverence, same as I get when faced with anything hoary I suppose. Still, as I said at the outset of this thread, Steamfolk is a personal solution to an ongoing personal crisis! A veritable epiphany indeed...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 10:09 AM

"Steamfolk is a personal solution to an ongoing personal crisis"

Isn't that something like what Frankenstein said? You've created a monster out of bits of Van Helsing and Ewan MacColl - how are you going to stop it running amock now?

Well I'm enjoying it anyway.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 10:11 AM

In their fondness for the Authentic Folk Instrument vintage Contertinas fetch sums way in excess of their actual value or musical usefulness. Why? Because Vintage Lachenals and Wheatstones are articles of a very particular sort of faith that insists on the genuine artefact, provenance and all.

The prices of vintage concertinas have certainly gone bonkers, but that's because the best old ones play faster and sound nicer, and there are a lot of musicians in Ireland and the USA Irish diaspora who want to own one. Market Forces, old chap. Colin Dipper's concertinas have no provenance as traditional artefacts, but they cost a fortune too, because they're bloody good. And a significant number of players are now turning to newly-made mid-priced instruments with accordion reeds (frowned upon by concertina purists, of course), which don't sound quite so sweet but go like the clappers.

It's all very well setting out to debunk myths, but this thread seems to be creating new and ever more far-fetched ones with every posting by the OP.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 10:32 AM

Does anyone like folk purely for the noise it makes? I know I don't; it's always more than that, by way seance, communion, reverence, same as I get when faced with anything hoary I suppose.

Many people attracted by the noise it made chose to take their interest further into all kinds of different realms, be they musicological, historical, mystical, or simply the crap dress sense. I confess to a certain sense of awe in the presence of a 600 year old Devil ballad, but 'seance and reverence'? No thanks.

There is a grain of truth in what you say about 'reaction to the horrors of modern life': I remember finding Bob Copper's memoir of life in rural Sussex on A Song for Every Season heartwarming precisely for its contrast with the turmoil of my own late teenage years. It's just too bad Bob isn't here now so that you could tell him that his reminscences were nothing more than some kind of mythic comfort blanket.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 11:35 AM

It's all very well setting out to debunk myths,

Who said that? It's about owning myths and celebrating them. As for concertinas, as I think I said above I'm smarting because Ross lent me of of his vintage Anglos (Lachenal) and it makes no sense to me at all - thus far!

A Song for Every Season

Well, it might have been inteded as a mythic comfort blanket, but it's certainly become one - one of mine certainly, along with any number of others. After years of nursing an old autumnal (to say the least) Paladin paperback edition I found an old copy of the Country Book Club edition in tha second-hand bookshop in back of the Arndale in MCR last year and my life was complete. See HERE for the very happy bunny in Subway pic.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 11:36 AM

Might NOT have been intended that is!


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: glueman
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 11:36 AM

Any folk without introductions is alright by me.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 11:54 AM

"I remember finding Bob Copper's memoir of life in rural Sussex on A Song for Every Season heartwarming precisely for its contrast with the turmoil of my own late teenage years."

I'm finding a similar thing with H V Morton's In Search of England which I'm reading again after many years. Astonishing how quickly things have changed.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 12:14 PM

My copy of ASFES sits alongside my cherished George Ewart Evans books - old Faber paperbacks, beautiful, durable, and essential. One of my old bibles was The Leaping Hare (Ewart Evans and David Thompson, who wrote The People of the Sea)- I still love it as much as I do The White Goddess, but, like The Bible itself, although very beautiful in places, but not to be taken too literally these days. That said I was riding on a considerable high when a hardback copy turned up in one of my favourite antiquarian booksellers in Southport earlier this year.

So, owning myths, accepting them, delighting in them; you should see my collection of book on the Green Man, maybe everything ever published on the subject after Basford's seminal study of 1978, and only three of them I actually agree with. All highly cherished though.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 12:20 PM

"But it also explains why Alasdair Roberts' songs are so great. Because, while he is undoubtedly a man who relishes anachronisms and antiquity, his own songs have little to do with fantasy, using clear-eyed folk idioms to address "the horrors of modern life" square on."

"I've always felt that he draws heavily on The White Goddess and The Golden Bough - with a liberal smattering of Jungian archetypes. Quite often the result sounds like something W B Yeats might have created. Whatever, there's a hypnotic quality that means The Amber Gatherers and Spoils are seldom off my CD player for long"

Yes, I agree on the Jung. Never read 'the white goddess' or 'the golden bough' and never wanted to, so can't say.

it might sound like hyperbole, but I think Alasdair Roberts is a much better versifier than Yeats. He's more of a modernist. He might *use* mystical elements, but the end result isn't mystical.

As you can probably tell, I rate him highly - I think Spoils is one of the best albums ever made, in any genre.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 12:22 PM

Well I'm enjoying it anyway.

That is all that matters - the love of IT in all its gloriously wonky totality.

I'll think about the bits of Van Helsing and Ewan MacColl without wishing to be too obvious about it...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Big Ballad Singer
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 12:35 PM

I've always enjoyed folk music, at least what I consider to be more trad-leaning folk music, not only for the 'noise' it makes, but also for the statements the songs make about our modern society, whether for good or for ill.

I do admit a certain penchant for dressing the part when I perform (at least some of the time). When I was WAY into Woody Guthrie, and then, by association, the Carter Family, et al, it was the canvas work pants and a flannel shirt and old boots and tousled hair and a beaten-up guitar. All specifically BECAUSE I was playing at open mic nights at very college-town, trendy bars where I would never have been hip enough for the room anyway. I walked in and looked and sang like someone who had stepped out of a History Channel documentary about migrant farm workers, and more often than not, the whole vibe just mesmerized people.

I think even the choice to SING folk music in the first place is already itself a commentary on the so-called 'modern' world around us, so I definitely see the value in presenting what others would see as 'anachronistic' as anything BUT... in other words, as I and others have said in other threads, why not just OWN what you sing and where it comes from and its whole vibe and aesthetic and everything and just allow yourself and others to step out of time and place and experience somewhat of a different world?

That's always been the value of folk music to me... 'steamfolk' just seems to be a wonderful and most logical extension of same.

Did I make a bit of sense? I sure hope so.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Brian Peters
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 12:41 PM

It's about owning myths and celebrating them

Celebrating? "Folk is a myth predicated on a Bourgeouis Fantasy of working class culture" doesn't sound very celebratory to me.

I accept happily that the folk revival is an artificial construct, and that doesn't affect my enjoyment of it any more than it does yours. However, when you get to:
"Folk has been a fantasy construct from the off... with respect of The Tradition (that it first invents then claims to represent)..." then we part company. Just because one academic with an agenda a mile wide chose to call his book Fakesong doesn't actually make it all a fake. Too much evidence there for that.

I recently came across Carrie Grover's collection of songs from a family of mixed British and Irish ancestry in Nova Scotia, written down when she lived in Maine in the 1950s. It's the book where Paul Brady found Arthur McBride, incidentally. Mrs Grover provided a vivid and moving introduction about the role of singing in that small rural community. She did this without any prompting from, or indeed knowledge of, Cecil Sharp, Bert Lloyd or any of the usual suspects. Just an ordinary woman in an ordinary place. When you've read these extracts, perhaps you can tell me which bits are 'Bourgeois Fantasy'...

'The singing of songs played a large part in the daily lives of my family as no doubt it did in the lives of other families of that time. My grand-mother sang at her spinning wheel and at her loom, for she spun and wove both wool and flax. My father's older sister used to spin for my grandmother Long and I have heard my oldest brother say that she would spin and sing all day and never sing the same song twice. He said she knew more songs than anyone he ever knew.

In my home the singing of songs and ballads seemed a part of our daily lives. Mother always sang at her work, melancholy songs or gay songs according to her mood, or just a humming of the tune without any words. Often in the evening before the lamp was lighted, as father sat with his elbows on his knees, his pipe held between his hands after his evening smoke, he would start singing and mother would join him, the steady click of her knitting needles sounding like a sort of accompaniment...

We lived at the foot of a pond called Sunken Lake, which was nearly a mile long. The road seemed to wind around this pond, never far from the shore. A voice would carry a long way across the water and when father would be on his way home after delivering a load of wood or lumber, he would begin to sing when within a mile of home and mother, who would go out and listen when she thought it was about time for him to be coming, would hear him and have his supper ready when he got there.

Almost everyone sang or tried to sing these old songs and ballads. Neighbors were few and far between, books and magazines were scarce and we had to make the best of what we had. In all our little neighborhood gatherings the singing of a few songs was a part of every evening's entertainment. If a stranger came to the house or to one of our neighborhood gatherings, it was considered a breach of good manners not to ask him to sing.

Sometimes when two good singers got together they would have a friendly contest and first one would sing a song and then the other, till one or the other had run out of songs or they had both sung till they could sing no more. I have heard of these singing matches lasting until two o'clock in the morning.

It was a real grief to my parents to realize that the time was fast coming when these old songs would no longer be sung, and with the passing of their generation the songs that been kept alive through so many generations of singers would pass away with the people who sang them. I once overheard my father say to mother, "Liza, when we die our old songs will die with us. There will be no one left to sing them."

As I began to grow old myself, I came to a better realization of what these old songs meant to my parents, and began working on my collection in real earnest... I hoped that this collection of songs and ballads with the notes that accompany them rnight give my children and grand-children an insight into the lives of their ancestors, who lived at a time when the singing of these old songs was almost their only recreation and helped, I believe, more than anyone thing to lighten the burden of their hard working lives.'


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Jul 11 - 01:41 PM

Celebrating? "Folk is a myth predicated on a Bourgeouis Fantasy of working class culture" doesn't sound very celebratory to me.

It's the truth though, and as such it needs facing up to, accepting and celebrating. I'm still hovering over my (borrowed) copy of Fakesong (even though so far it seems entirely reasonable and not at all as I was expecting) but having recently read Georgina Boyes' The Imagine Village then the case seems to be pretty conclusive. Now, that's the facts of the case which gives us what we know and love today, even in this class-ridden shit-hole of a country of ours, but as one who was most definately born on the wrong side of the tracks, one of the points of this thread is by way of acknowledging that with good grace rather than hurling Molotov Cocktails through the windows of The Cecil Sharp House.

Just off out now, but I'll come back tomorrow and answer the rest of what you say here with respect of the Bourgeois Fantasy. Meanwhile:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuqhEix8lGY


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Jul 11 - 05:56 AM

I'm still waiting to hear which bit of Carrie Grover's testimony (or, for that matter, Bob Copper's, Walter Pardon's or many of the other singers whom collectors took the trouble to ask) you think is "Bourgeois Fantasy". Here is a first-hand account of the vital role of active singing in every aspect of life, private and social, work and play. That's what folksong is - or was. Come down from the ivory tower and listen to the people who were there.

If you want to make blithe statements like "Folk has been a fantasy construct from the off" (in a tone suggesting that this is established fact which only those with very little brains have failed so far to grasp), you're presumably going to be telling us that Broadwood, Sharp, Greig, Frank & Anne Warner, Mike Yates and all the others made up the songs they claimed to have collected? Or that Carrie Grover and Bob Copper were lying through their teeth? That those recordings on Voice of the People you so despise have been cleverly faked in a state-of-the-art studio? If not, what is your point?

"having recently read Georgina Boyes' The Imagine Village then the case seems to be pretty conclusive"

What case is conclusive? The Imagined Village has plenty of interesting stuff to say about Sharp's attempts to exert hegemony over the Folk Revival, but what it does not do is to demonstrate that the concept of folksong is a myth. Sharp's findings and theories were doubtless interesting to those seeking to create their own myth of Englishness, but to acknowledge that is not to disavow the entirety of folksong research, which of course goes far wider than Sharp.

And of course you'll be aware that Harker's academic rigour in analysing Sharp's account of his collecting in Somerset has been, shall we say, questioned.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: SomersetLee
Date: 06 Jul 11 - 07:32 AM

So is a new song played by a folk muscian about the modern era steamfolk? Say someone like Chris Wood?


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jul 11 - 07:53 AM

That's what folksong is - or was. Come down from the ivory tower and listen to the people who were there.

Thing is, music still has exactly that role in people's lives today but I don't see many Folkies taking much of an interest in it by dint of its context alone, much less its content or else the purity of the folk experience. Knock on any door, any where, and you'll be able to talk to someone - anyone - who'll be able to give the same sort of impassioned & moving testimony about the music of their life and times. Now, whilst that sort of experience is not uncommon, it is far from objective, but to use it as some sort of Exhibit A (as you have done here) turns it into a fantasy. Both mawkish and voyeuristic, it becomes a myth.

See my earlier post regarding my feelings about The Bob Copper book.

If not, what is your point?

That the evidence is incomplete, selective, agenda driven and motivated by means of cultural condescension, as indeed most so-called folkloric studies were back then. It's a legacy that endures today - one of the pure-blood Passive Carrier, or Tradition Bearer. After all, how can these grubby so-and-sos possibly understand the significance of their own songs, much less their modal structures, analogues, origins, processes or even the purity (or otherwise) of their traditions? It's a pure Paternalistic Colonialism visited upon the grubbier members of one's own society who have failed to appreciate their own culture by letting it go to wreck and ruin. The very necessity of the revival is evidence enough of that, much less the Moral Visions of Sharp et al that underwrote the whole thing, and continue to do so despite the very obvious fact that Popular Culture still has real and vivid meaning to The Folk and always has, and always will.

but to acknowledge that is not to disavow the entirety of folksong research,

I'm not disavowing anything, just seeing it for what it is / was. The songs are real*, the testimonies likewise, the dances, rites, riots, etc. etc. But once they are collected and revived they become something else entirely, and it's that something else which gives rise to the various idioms, conventions and orthodoxies we're dealing with in the revival to this day. Kipling was aware of this; in his more obvious Folk poetry he demonstrates a yearning for the clack of the common tongue (however so contrived) or else the structures of the old songs themselves (False Night = Danny Deever etc.); even his mawkish celebrations of conservative colonialism, such as his Ralph & Ted fantasy of The Land which only seeks to confirm the golden rule of The Rich Man in his castle and the Poor Man at his gate. That later generations (but not PB!) choose to see The Land as some sort of Socialist Pamphlet is one of the supreme ironies of the innate reactionary conservatism of Folk; that Kipling could write the supreme Humanist Hymn (A Pilgrim's Way) is not.

This might sound harsh, but I personally find it deeply appealing and worthy of my attention and passion for what it tells me about the race of which I am but one miniscule fragment, and yet we, each & every one of us, contain the entire world within us as a subjective cherished treasure.

And of course you'll be aware that Harker's academic rigour in analysing Sharp's account of his collecting in Somerset has been, shall we say, questioned.

One would hope so; it's in the nature of academia to be under constant peer-review and questioning, which is no doubt why the 1954 Definition is still quoted chapter and verse.

*

Leave then...

England is my home; much as Folk is my home. Indeed, it is my country; and in embracing it, we must not only own both the good and the bad, but also accept that one man's bad is at least going to be good to someone. My Atheism is all-consuming, and the dragon will always have more than the one tongue, and dialogue (and above all Freedom of Speech) is an inherent birthright with respect of ones own country and the culture thereof which is never to exclude the experiences of others. I despair of England as much as I love it; I despair of its governments, its councils, its developers, its art councils, its middle-class media dominance, its elites and its housing schemes. I love its multi-cultural and multi-ethnic diversity; I love the vibrancy of cities as much as I hate the blandness of what has come to pass as Countryside. I also love Kipling, but I'm aware of his racism; and the reasons for that racism (which is never to excuse it); I love the old songs and the new; the vibrancy of UK hip-hop and... and...

S O'P

PS - This is still a Fun Thread BTW...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: matt milton
Date: 06 Jul 11 - 08:01 AM

""Folk is a myth predicated on a Bourgeouis Fantasy of working class culture"

There's another point to be raised with regard to this assertion: a lot of folk songs voice working-class fantasies about bourgeois culture. Especially in their details: all those down-soft pillows, milk-white skins, pure-breed horses, fine silk clothes etc etc.

A.L. Lloyd's writing is great on this in 'Folk Song in England'. In fact, really, Suibhne - if you haven't read this book then you should - as it's a very class-conscious analysis.

It strikes me that there's a risk here of losing sight of the actual CONTENT of folk songs: the words and the tunes. The way folk was presented and disseminated and collected (and the people that did that collecting) is by no means the same thing as the songs themselves.

So much of the content of so many folk songs rings very true to me precisely because it actually seems very contemporary, not of the past. That's why I mentioned Alasdair Roberts. The aforementioned working-class fantasies about luxury goods and romantic lives of the super-rich have a direct counterpart in today's Hello-magazine style culture of gawping. That is but one aspect of folk-song content which doesn't seem remotely compromised by any prissy mediation by any middle-class folksong collectors.

The Bothy ballads would be another excellent example: the sarcasm, wit and boss-hatred in them exists in an entirely different atmosphere to the William Morris-JRR Tolkien-waistcoat'n'ale breed of psych-folker. I hear 'The Day We Went to Rothesay' and Arab Strap's "First Big Weekend' as near-identical twins.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jul 11 - 08:33 AM

Nice one, Matt. I agree, broadly, with what you're saying here although remain wary of the class-consciousness of of Lloyd, MacColl et al, as much as I would of (say) Henry Cow claiming to be a Peoples' Band. But hey, that's just me... I do have the book you speak of, but as with Fakesong and a dozen others, it awaits my attentions - largely on account of a recent obsession with Graves's Claudius books, though once I'm done with Claudius the God I'll be going back to The Broons for a while to clear my head.

I wonder, would any folklorist or Ballad Fan see the parallels between the old songs and the celebrity worship of today, or even see that as being in any way folkloric, much less significant or directly analagous on more than the one level? It also exists at the trashier end of fiction, as do the Ballads themselves in a way, though their evident appeal was evidently widespread and fluid with respect of things which later became extraneous thus reducing them to their consummate essence.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Jul 11 - 08:42 AM

Knock on any door, any where, and you'll be able to talk to someone - anyone - who'll be able to give the same sort of impassioned & moving testimony about the music of their life and times.

I could turn on Desert Island Discs every week and get that, too. What I don't think you or I could do is to knock on any door and find anything resembling the ubiquitous culture of participatory music-making that Mrs. Grover describes.

to use it as some sort of Exhibit A (as you have done here) turns it into a fantasy. Both mawkish and voyeuristic, it becomes a myth.

If you're suggesting that quoting those words in the present context somehow devalues their content, then you've lost me, I'm afraid. Bringing words like "mawkish and voyeuristic" into a discussion of one woman's account of real life in a relatively impoverished society smacks of the very patronization that you accuse Sharp et al of, even though I suspect you aimed them my way. They're her words - she wanted others to read them and to understand the role of songs in the "hard-working lives" of the people around her. And it was her own parents, not some prissy middle-class collector, who lamented the passing of their songs from that culture.

After all, how can these grubby so-and-sos possibly understand the significance of their own songs, much less their modal structures, analogues, origins, processes or even the purity (or otherwise) of their traditions?

That was a quote from which cultural colonialist exactly...? Even Sharp doesn't come over like that when you read his diaries (opinionated though they often are).

Liked what you said about England, though. And what matt milton said about the actual content of the songs.

PS - This is still a Fun Thread BTW...

Not sure if that means that you find the present argument fun, or that this was supposed to be a Fun Thread until the 'Bourgeois Fantasy' argument spoilt it. I'll leave you to the fun bit for now. Though I can't help wondering what that other arch contrarian Mr Bellamy might have added to the discussion...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jul 11 - 08:42 AM

...unlike trash fiction, though one may always skim.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jul 11 - 09:22 AM

What I don't think you or I could do is to knock on any door and find anything resembling the ubiquitous culture of participatory music-making that Mrs. Grover describes.

Then it's hardly ubiquitous is it? But I would argue that it is, just that Folk has selected not to acknowledge the commonality - indeed the very ubiquity - of that experience. Instead, it selects the exceptions and creates a conditional agenda whereby it can only be the experience of a select few whose life experience is somehow more authentic than others.

It still remains a fantasy, though more widespread now of course. We're working hard on our new Kipling Bellamy show for the Fylde this year - it's a repertoir which I love dearly, but which is quinessential Steamfolk on all counts. As I said in my wee note for last night's rendering of A Tree Song on Soundcloud, I've often heard the song sung as a Traditional Song by very earnest pagans. If that isn't fantasy, then what is? But that isn't to devalue its meaning, subjective or otherwise, just appreciate that, like everything from The Wicker Man to Freeborn Man of the Travelling People (which may be questioned on any amount of counts) it still carries and signifies very real potency. God, I recall when we saw Robin Williamson singing Free Born Man at Glastonbury after the Battle of the Beanfield and people were sobbing; I know I was...

One time in one of Joe & Maureen's Fylde singarounds someone sang an impassioned rendering of Shoals of Herring that actually made me feel sea-sick; and recently in Newcastle I listened as a passerby of a certain age asked a young guitarist to accompany him on All Right Now and then proceeded to sing what might well have been the definitive version. The weight of meaning and human experience hung heavy in every word irrespective of the song; it was common lore, and the crowd that gathered to watch went mental when he'd finished. Such expieriences aren't uncommon, nor yet are they Folk Music, but they are unbiquitous. If they weren't, I doubt I'd bother to be honest.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Jul 11 - 09:44 AM

For one brief but beautiful period there, I was having a great time in Steamfolk Fantasy Land. Now I've been brought back down to earth by the inevitable realities of hard-nosed debate. I'm off somewhere else for some alternative musical flagellation.....(puts on headphones and cues up Venus In Furs).


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jul 11 - 11:24 AM

Don't be put off, theleveller - it's all in good humoured passion for much the same thing on various levels of Devil's Advocacy which was ever the Platonic way (or something) - or was it Zen? Either way, whatever differences any of us have here, they are outweighed by the similarities - or am I being overly optimistic?

As for Venus in Furs, did you know John Cale flattened the bridge of his viola so it would sound like he imagined the old crwths would have sounded? These days we have the modern Crwth Revival to show us that he was more or less right of course, but even so I've had Crwth Purists telling me my Welsh Pattern crwth isn't a crwth at all, even though it was made for me by Tim Hobrough in 1987 thus predating the Modern Crwth revival by several years - and my Medieval Round Crwth was made for me (again by Tim) in 1983! Ho hum. Revivalist Fantasy? Makes you think, eh? But what dies as one thing, is reborn as something else entirely. In fact, it might be said, it might not be reborn at all because the main thing that defined it in the first place is irretrievably lost to us, so all that remains is the ghosts. That's okay by me, BTW, nothing like a good old seance, is there?


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Jul 11 - 11:47 AM

Damn, caught out again... I thought I liked John Cale because he was a drug-crazed lunatic who made great rock music whilst banging the piano lid on his head, or rubbing the vocal mike across the grill of the fencing mask he wore over the welder's goggles and black stocking that constituted the remainder of his headgear. And now you're telling me he was a folkie all along. Woe!

I'm reassured to hear that there are Crwth Purists around, though. Thank God!


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 06 Jul 11 - 11:54 AM

Brian Peters wrote:

"There is a grain of truth in what you say about 'reaction to the horrors of modern life': I remember finding Bob Copper's memoir of life in rural Sussex on A Song for Every Season heartwarming precisely for its contrast with the turmoil of my own late teenage years. It's just too bad Bob isn't here now so that you could tell him that his reminscences were nothing more than some kind of mythic comfort blanket."

How true! I remember an earnest young fellow, whom, after hearing Bob speak somewhere describing the (only occasionally) idyllic life in Rottingdean and saying that his father and contemporaries were 'happy', said that "they only only thought they were happy, and were in fact victims of, etc.etc" - to which Bob replied, "you know what? I'll settle for thinking I'm happy, it seemed to work for them".

Oh yes, I don't know if there's such a thing as SteamFolk, but SteamPunk looks like a right good old laugh, what with all those computer keyboards made of redundant typewriter keys, funny old stovepipe hats and swirly Victorian graphics. If you want a pure unadulterated SteamPunk novel and possibly the first of the genre (although not bearing that appellation) I recommend Keith Roberts' 'Pavane'


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: theleveller
Date: 06 Jul 11 - 12:19 PM

LOL!

Didn't know that about Cale's viola, though I have remarked before somewhere that it does sound very "folkie". I'm still planning to build a crwth myself when I get round to it (probably when we've finished making the gothic garden) and pop into Beverley Minster from time to time to have a look at the carving.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 06 Jul 11 - 12:46 PM

Oh yes, I don't know if there's such a thing as SteamFolk, but SteamPunk looks like a right good old laugh, what with all those computer keyboards made of redundant typewriter keys, funny old stovepipe hats and swirly Victorian graphics. If you want a pure unadulterated SteamPunk novel and possibly the first of the genre (although not bearing that appellation) I recommend Keith Roberts' 'Pavane'.

I think Steamfolk is whatever the heck you want it to be, as AFAICGIS it doesn't exist outside of this thread and there's only about 3 people arguing about it here.

Swerving the thread towards 'Which was the first steampunk novel' would, from what I've seen elsewhere, take it into hitherto unimagined realms of bitterness and entrenched positions!


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Jul 11 - 01:06 PM

Here's a corker of a crwth I stumbled on whilst scrambling through the misericords of Worcester Cathedral a couple of weeks back:

Worcester Crwth

Look at that whilst listening to Venus in Furs...

Yeah, I like the Crwth Purists too. I've had them question my authenticity because both of my crwths have ever-so-slightly curved bridges to faciliate a more subtle style of playing (!?) than the all-strings-at-once approach that sounds like a bad hurdy-gurdy to my ears, but there you go (not that I've any objection to bad hurdy-gurdies in the wild). My interest is in playing music rather than historical musical pedantry, though I think some of the new Talharp & Jouhikko stuff (Pekko Kappi especially) is pretty amazing. Those horse-hair strings, man! I made a Jouhikko myself once back in 82 which doesn't sound too bad actually, considering, horse-hair strings and all, but Pekko's something else... One of the crwth highlights of my life was an impromtu duet with Susan George back in 1999 at the Aust Festival - just a wee sesh in the graveyard but it felt real enough.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: ripov
Date: 06 Jul 11 - 05:33 PM

Lovely carving, but it must be very hard to play with his hand that way round; or else with the crwth held that way, sitting on the lap. Maybe artistic licence?
Do you play it like a viola da braccia, or like a key-less nyckelharpa? (pics at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyckelharpa)


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: theleveller
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 03:26 AM

D'ya' know I've got a sudden urge to pop up the road to the Early Music Shop at Salt's Mill for a bit of a plunk around if I get the time at lunchtime - has to be a temple of Steamfolk (and it's a nice walk along the canal side)..


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 04:30 AM

Oh wow. Just discovered the thread and can't properly read on galaxy tab and at work. As an infant steampunker and toddling folker I love the idea of blending my 2 most keen intersts.

Google Thomas Truax for look at some weird steam musical instrument inventions. Listen to Professor Elemental, Abney Park, Ghost in the Static and others for some other ideas of the different ideas that steampunk music takes.

I am in the market for a working gramophone with horn.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 04:45 AM

Haven't been to the EMS in years - not since one very snowy day in early 2005 when I needed some odds ands for my newly acquired citera. It was still in Bradford back then. Still, my darling mother-in-law is forever pushing for a family jaunt to Saltaire so maybe soon, eh? Thing is, I've reached a stage in life (get this) where I'm actually happy with my instruments and am actually looking to simplifying things on account of having too many! What's happened, in fact, is that since getting into playing Normal Violin (in a Normal Tuning, though occasisionall I'll use a cross-A) (very cross) I seldom bother with anything else right now other than the Kemence (Black Sea Fiddle) and my sqare crwth. Indeed, on one of my recent recordings someone pointed out that my violin playing is more crwth-like than my crwth, and vice versa! I still hanker for an electric 5-string, just so I can record Weird Stuff without hacking off the neighbours, but I doubt the EMS can help me there. Still - no harm in looking is there?

As for the Worcester Crwth, I reckon that position looks okay; all depends on the ergomonics of the beast itself really, and it's not a million miles away both from modern revival styles of playing and the ways you see these things depicted in medieval iconography. Another piece of Steamfolk Trivia (but not as good as the John Cale one) is that the CRWTH or CROWD (in which one might so easily lose oneself) is the first instrument we see in Medieval Iconography being played with a BOW. In fact, one theory is that the bow developed from increasingly long Lyre Plectra which (as with the Korean Kayagum which is occaisionaly played with a resined stick akin to con sordino* techniques of the modern violin) could be used to rub the strings, or bow them. Just a theory, but when you look at the length of plectra anciently depicted on the Semitic Lyre from the tomb of Khnumhotep III (which is very square & crwth-like!) it doesn't seem too far fetched.

One question remains though - a Nykelharpa without a keyboard is what exactly?

* Con Sordino these days seems to mean simply to play with the mute; maybe I've got the wrong term, but I recall chatting with a very dazzling posh young girl from Central High on the train once when I was 15 (and she was 14) who old me Con Sordino meant to play the strings with the wood of the bow which gives a weird muted sound but quite different to a mute. A google search proves fruitless. Anyone know? As for the girl, I met her again five years or so later when she was fairly embarked on her Physics degree having kicked the fiddle altogether. I remember having lots of fun with her beside a huge convex mirror in the physics building of Newcastle University and roaming around the old Museum of Antiquities but we never saw each other again. In fact, when I told her I was married she slapped my face and that was that, even though there wasn't a hint of romance in any of it. Sad really, but whever I play with the back of my bow I think of dear Melissa - or was it Clarissa?


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 04:53 AM

a Nykelharpa without a keyboard is what exactly?

A psaltery?
A longship?


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 04:53 AM

I am in the market for a working gramophone with horn.

I'm sure I'm not the first to do it, but I recently wrote a passage in which one Bright Young Thing is using Two Gramophones to keep the music going continuously and scratching between the two with free-styled vocal accompaniment to accompany the debauched drug-fuelled antics of his upper-crust young chums in a remote Northumbrian Country House circa 1929... That's almost steampunk I guess!

It was CS that first mentioned it (who else?) and it chimed in my fondness for creaky Victorian technology (Santos Dumont was a childhood hero), HG Wells and Studio Ghibli cartoons (Howl's Moving Castle being a case in point).


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: theleveller
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 05:24 AM

"Still - no harm in looking is there?"

That's all I ever do at Salt's Mill - Hockneys, hand-made suits and celtic harps (no matter how desirable) are out of my price range. Anyway, I'm saving up for a frock coat.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 08:24 AM

"Knock on any door, any where, and you'll be able to talk to someone - anyone - who'll be able to give the same sort of impassioned & moving testimony about the music of their life and times."

Really? I'm not denying the importance of music in people's lives now, but for the majority of people I know outside folk circles it's music they listen to rather than perform themselves. These days people are permanently plugged into their mp3 players, but I don't know many who could sing a song all the way through.

I'm sure there are still families or other groups for whom a good old sing-song is still an important part of their lives, but I believe they're now a minority.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 08:48 AM

Really? I'm not denying the importance of music in people's lives now, but for the majority of people I know outside folk circles it's music they listen to rather than perform themselves.

People only sang back then because they didn't have better ways of hearing music; these days they do. No matter how one experiences music - any music - it still has supreme personal meaning to the life and culture of the listener. Even a performing Folky (like me) experiences more recorded music than any other, and the music that means most to me personally, culturally, exists on records, including CDs & MP3s. Right now it's Caravan's live version of For Richard recorded at The Fairfield Hall in 1974. Previously available on the long vanished (from my archives anyway) Canturbury Tales album, I found a copy of the live CD in Fopp in MCR the other day for £3. I could write pages of what this recording means to me, my life, my culture, my people, my spirtuality and general sense of joy (certainly a good deal more than any Folk Song ever will) but this is neither the time nor the place.

What I will say is that your post is the worst of the Fundamentalist Folk Myth writ in tones so condescending I would sooner there was no Folk that to hear such talk. For shame. Think on this, when they play someone's favourite music at their funeral, what your hearing is the story of their lives, be it Barry Manilow, Frank Sinatra, Lieutenant Pigeon, Blondie, Enya, Bowie, Free, whatever. But still, no doubt the Folkies know better, eh?

*

And regarding my earlier post - the mirror was concave.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 09:36 AM

It was me who introduced CrowSister to steampunk. Wish I could brwse 2 sites at same time so to copy links to some steam stuff here. I am currently looking at music hall and burlesque music to folkify and folk music to steam up.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 09:45 AM

Nice on VT, though if you go from the OP my idea here is that Folk is already on the same sort of cultural level as Steampunk - i.e. Eccentric Minority Life Fantasy, and a lot of fun to boot.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Brian Peters
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 10:20 AM

People only sang back then because they didn't have better ways of hearing music; these days they do.

So listening is 'better' than singing, eh? What about the beneficial physical effects on the singer, that we're learning more about all the time? Or the fact that sharing songs in a social context is a completely different kind of transaction from hearing them on a phonograph or mp3 player?

the worst of the Fundamentalist Folk Myth writ in tones so condescending...

Be of good cheer, Howard, those who defy the Holy Writ of Suibhne are invariably cast as 'condescending' and 'fundamentalist'. If the 'condescending' bit was the "jolly old sing-song", that's no more than the kind of phrase Bob Copper would have used. If it was the claim that not many people these days can sing a song all the way through, I wouldn't have thought that was a matter of doubt. After all, there are 'better' ways of hearing music these days.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 10:34 AM

The Gospel according to Saint Suibhne eh ?

I don't think so.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 10:51 AM

So listening is 'better' than singing, eh?

Of course it is; most people would rather hear music than try and do it themselves. Most people do listen more than they play anyway. If I played more than I listen I'd be a physical & nervous wreck. Right now I'm back on the Purcell Sonatas in Four Parts. No way I could play them myself. Same goes for pretty much anything else really, be it old recordings of Harry Cox & Sam Larner (better still, The Video) or old recordings of Bird & Birks, or the new Kanye West album...

social context

Oh come on - even sitting here typing this is a social context; I get MP3 downloads and all sorts of stuff like this - sharing music with people of similar passions which might never happen otherwise. Then you have church, choirs, discos, night clubs, raves, parties, fun fairs, shopping centres, like the Trafford Centre where even I might shead a tear for Karen Carpenter in the food hall for all sorts of reasons, social, personal, cultural, which is what music is.

Holy Writ of Suibhne

I'm thinking of real lives here - not fantasy folk lives authenticated by Cecil Sharp as genuine. Musical experience lives and breathes in each and every single human heart that's ever lived as Sacred. To me that's about as Holy as it gets really.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Tootler
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 02:10 PM

So listening is 'better' than singing, eh?

Of course it is; most people would rather hear music than try and do it themselves.


What rubbish!

It's far better to take part than to be a passive spectator. Listening, at least to recorded music, is fundamentally a passive activity whereas playing, even for yourself, makes active use of the brain and keeps it alive. I find playing therapeutic and I play more than I listen these days.

The second part of your statement is a non-sequitur. The fact that most people listen rather than play does not automatically make it better.

We have become a nation of spectators rather than participants and that is to the detriment of the social fabric of the country.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 02:22 PM

What Tootler said, with a side order of Brian's viewpoint as well thanks.

As the editor a certain monthly magazine is occasionally fond of saying, IAFWAFIAWMWQ ...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 02:29 PM

"So listening is 'better' than singing, eh?"

Maybe, maybe not. What cannot be denied (although I'm sure Suibhne will find some way) is that they are different ways of relating to music. I happen to think that directly participating in something is always going to be more rewarding than passively experiencing it.

I don't why I am accused of being condescending. I fully recognise the importance of music in people's lives today, and I'm not suggesting that their response to it is in any way inferior. It is however different from the way the people Brian was talking about related to their music, and part of that difference is the direct influence those people had on shaping and changing the music they performed.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 04:55 PM

The fact that most people listen rather than play does not automatically make it better.

Of course it does; you can hear far more different musics that you can ever play. It's part and parcel of our whole musical culture.

We have become a nation of spectators rather than participants and that is to the detriment of the social fabric of the country.

In your own words mind, Tootler - what rubbish!

*

What cannot be denied (although I'm sure Suibhne will find some way) is that they are different ways of relating to music.

Well, everyone has their own unique experience of music, as they do of life, so there's billions of ways potentially.

I happen to think that directly participating in something is always going to be more rewarding than passively experiencing it.

Can experiencing music ever be passive? I don't think so - as long as you're experiencing it then you're far from passive. And it's not always more rewarding - I've been involved in live shows and was bored shitless for hours on end (despite the enthusiasm of the audience); these days I'm happiest with my record collection which always rewards me. I love my Folk Club too, where some nights I just sit back and bask in the beauty of it all (unless it gets too diddlededee then I'll hit back with a ballad or two).

and part of that difference is the direct influence those people had on shaping and changing the music they performed.

You see this is where the Collective Process does come into play otherwise musical styles wouldn't change and evolve, which they do, and at some condiderable pace. Indeed, Traditional to some is synonymous with Old Fashioned (as in Traditional Fish & Chips) and Unchanging, which runs contrary to the cultural dymanics that gave rise to the idioms of Traditional Song. Get up close enough though, and it's human individuals doing this stuff; trending with glorious chaos & creative unpredictability.

The great thing is though NO MUSIC EVER COMES OUT OF NOTHING.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 04:57 PM

IAFWAFIAWMWQ

Not long before the insults start here is it?


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 05:09 PM

I'm not a musician and can't really sing. Yet I am passionately engaged with music and have been since my early teens. There's absolutely nowt wrong with music as a spectator sport. As long as there have been performers there have been spectators - even in the 'good old days' of rural poverty and making your own entertainment, I would wager that there were as many, if not more, people listening as playing and singing: not everyone has it in them, just as not everyone can be a blacksmith or a carpenter. And of course, for most rural people up until the invention and mass production of radios and the introduction of improved public transport links (if you had the money or inclination to go to town to see a show, that is) their main experience of music would have been church, pub or family home - I can't imagine people had much choice but to make their own music or listen to music made by those around them. That's one of the reasons why I kind of agree with SO'P's comments that the 'tradition' is a retrospectively invented concept to describe an everyday activity of agrarian life that was born out of necessity (at least I think that was the gist). I think we have a tendency to hold this state of affairs up as some grand ideal and try to replicate it with our sessions and singarounds - which can never be anything but a fleeting re-enactment of the real thing, minus, of course, the grinding poverty, high infant mortality rates, rickets, limited diet, lack of education and healthcare and so on.

One of the downsides of the folk scene's insistence on participation as a core element of what the music is about, is that it can sometimes lead to some excruciating listening experiences - whatever the therapeutic value may be to the perpetrator! I don't think any other music scene overvalues participation to the same extent - though I tend to avoid open-mic nights and karaoke bars if I can... That's not to say I don't enjoy a good singaround - I was at one last night - but if that was my only choice, my musical life would be deeply diminished.

And finally, I'm not convinced that my appreciation of music is compromised because I'm not musically talented. To imply such a thing would be condescending, but sadly it is something I've heard many times over the years. In fact, it was the sort of crap my school music teacher used to come out with years back - as he busily attempted to turn the children in his class off music for life. But that's another story...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 07:12 PM

I am absolutley not saying that anyone's appreciation of music is compromised because they are not themselves musicians or singers, nor am I saying it's inferior. All I am saying is that it is a different way of engaging with music. Moreover, it is one which allows the individual to play a part in shaping and forming the music itself, which a listener, no matter how passionate, is unable to do.

I must confess that I went through a brief period of believing I was continuing the tradition, but I soon realised that was nonsense. I very much doubt that "traditional" singers and musicians thought of "the tradition" in those terms (although there is evidence that some at least distinguished between these songs and those from other sources), and that the idea of "the tradition" is a retrospectively invented term. However the thing it attempts to describe was real enough. We may argue over definitions, boundaries and processes, but somehow out of this has come a body of music with characteristics which are recognisably different from other genres, sufficiently different in my opinion to be worth continuing.

Continuing to perform old music because you recognise and enjoy its qualities is not the same as continuing "the tradition". I also cringe at the notion that our singarounds and folk clubs are somehow perpetuating and replicating some golden age, although I don't think this view is as widely held as is sometimes suggested. And whilst I recognise the value of participation, I also agree that it is often over-valued, as if participation alone is enough and quality is not also important. However sometimes sitting through a ropy performance is the price you pay for music being something a community is actively involved with, rather than it simply being entertainment. Being part of a group of people making music together is undoubtedly a different experience from sitting in an audience, which is not to say that both cannot be electrifying.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 05:46 AM

Damn right too.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 07:48 AM

Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray - PM
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 04:57 PM

IAFWAFIAWMWQ

Not long before the insults start here is it?


Oh, indeed not - looking back through the thread I make it post #6 :

Steamfolk is a way of accepting & celebrating the fact that Folk has been a fantasy construct from the off and continues to be so in perpetuation of its own carefully founded Myths, Orthodoxies, Assumptions, Attitudes and Aesthetics with respect of both The Tradition (that it first invents then claims to represent) or else the New Folk Idioms arising therefrom.

Straight after that there's

I reckon most Folkies think it already is. In their fondness for the Authentic Folk Instrument vintage Contertinas fetch sums way in excess of their actual value or musical usefulness. Why? Because Vintage Lachenals and Wheatstones are articles of a very particular sort of faith that insists on the genuine artefact, provenance and all. I think this is cool - I'm the same with the random ethnography that clutters up this place; exotic cargo cultism.

and so on

Folk is a myth predicated on a Bourgeouis Fantasy of working class culture;

and so on

a projected collective fantasy reaction to the horrors of modern life

and so on

Both mawkish and voyeuristic, it becomes a myth.

and so on

It's a pure Paternalistic Colonialism visited upon the grubbier members of one's own society who have failed to appreciate their own culture by letting it go to wreck and ruin.

and so on

this class-ridden shit-hole of a country of ours

and so on. I was just joining in the spirit of this
fun thread and good humoured passion.

But now, I'm going to take my own advice and quit this particular argument. One more thing though - really like the Oak Ash and Thorn song you posted the link to BTW, good luck with the project.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 08:44 AM

I don't think the notion of folk as a fantasy construct is insulting. It makes me like it even more, personally. Authenticity was always overrated...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 09:10 AM

Steve - nothing I have written here (much less the bits you have seen fit to use as examples) has been a personal insult against anyone, rather, purely and simply, a discussion (however so polemical at times) of the facts of the case and my feelings arising from them. To call me a Fool for saying so (much less imply that you are somehow wise in making this observation) IS a personal insult and runs contrary to the spirit of both this discussion, and of Mudcat itself. It also runs contrary to the spirit of Free Speech, which does not extend so far as insulting, or indeed censuring, others.

I am prepared to accept your (cringing) apology with the same good grace in which I feel you are now obliged to offer it.

S O'P (feeling thoroughly & joyfully invigorated after rehearsing Frankie's Trade all morning, though I bet the neighbours might not be so happy...)


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 09:17 AM

I don't think the notion of folk as a fantasy construct is insulting. It makes me like it even more, personally

Me too. Steamfolk is the epiphany that enables me to love this stuff even more than I do already. Just I'd bought those John Renborn / Nick Drake / Bert Jansch / Pentagle CDs at Fopp the other day... Still, we did come away with a tidy hawl of Caravan, Miles Davis, Gillian Welsh and Kanye West. Maybe next time, should they still be there...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: AlexB
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 09:52 AM

I get MP3 downloads and all sorts of stuff like this - sharing music with people of similar passions which might never happen otherwise

I'm pretty sure that singing together involves more actual interaction.

I spend half my time on the computer. I have a lot of good friends I rarely or never see offline. I interact with them through text based media. I have a sibling who talks to a community of friends over Skype. Occasionally, music gets shared, but it is no big thing. When music sharing is a big thing, it doesn't have much of a community aspect. YMMV, but from what I see of music sharing on the internet, I fail to see any social context.

If I go to a pub and we have a sing and share songs, that is instant social. Even the people who don't sing are involved. Listening to cds and mp3s is not the same, even if you are listening in a group. On my own I might just listen to a cd and focus on nothing else, in a group setting is is usually background.

Do I think one way is better than the other? Of course not. And perhaps in Brian's example people sang because they actually liked to sing, and when working it helped them focus better? I don't know, and unless you were there or knew someone who was, you don't either. I certainly find I get through work faster and more happily if I sing than if I have music in the background. The latter distracts me. I know that isn't the same for everyone, but it does invalidate the idea that singing is a substitute for better forms of musical delivery. And to impose your own modern view on people from a different generation is no different to what you are accusing others of doing when you claim they are fantasising about a fictional past.

As for the music itself... I like it. My reason for liking it has nothing to do with some idealised notion of the past, although I do find it interesting how songs were collected and have changed over time. I just like it for reasons that cannot be pinned down. Although strangely, the sound of it does play a large part.

Suibhne, I'm sorry, but this thread reads like you are trying to start a new religion, but claiming your new religion is the old religion, and that it follows your arbitrary notions. There are several people here who have said it isn't so cut and dried, and you tried to shoehorn their views to fit what you are saying. This may not be your intention, but you are pretty much telling people you understand their interests better than they do. Never a wise move.

Actually... I just refreshed before sending. I think that is exactly your goal. You insult people's interests, and then tell them that they should be cringingly apologetic just because you feel you are right. No facts are mentioned, only conjecture based on your own understanding of other people, an understanding which originates from your own biases on the subject. Your concertina comments were bogus and you claim yourself it was because you don't 'get' the instrument. Likewise you don't 'get' the rest of the things you are talking about. It does make those comments insulting. You are not debating. You are trolling.

View folk as you wish, especially if it allows you to get more enjoyment out of it, but don't start treating your view as gospel and those who disagree as the unenlightened masses.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 10:01 AM

more actual interaction

Sorry, but seeing stuff like that just makes me stop reading. I've been collaborating now for 10 years with musicians from all over the world and have come to regard them as dear friends & crucial colleagues even though I've NEVER MET THEM FACE TO FACE. The MUSICA FIUTO album (Hic Sunt Leones 2008) I did with Italian film-maker Francesco Paladino is a case in point. This is the reality of modern life & music-making - it is no more or less ACTUAL than any other sort.

Now, I'll start reading the rest of your post.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 10:16 AM

You insult people's interests, and then tell them that they should be cringingly apologetic just because you feel you are right.

If you think that then you've misundertood it completely - what I'm asking for is for Steve to apologise for insulting me personally. As for the insulting of interests - you're coming across dangerously fundamentalist there yourself. Indeed, by turning this into some sort of personal analysis of my motives you're making it into something it really ought not to be. And you missed the concertina stuff by miles. Still, that's fair enough - just don't do in the same sanctimonius tones you assume I'm using - because I'm not, and, unlike you, I'm not addressing anything I say here to any one person (unless answering the points they themselves have raised). So, stick to the objective facts and enter into to the spirit of the debate without resorting to personal attacks, then we might talk, eh?

You are not debating. You are trolling.

Now I really have stopped reading.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 10:52 AM

Furthermore - if you think that by arguing that Folk Song is the consequence of the living creativity of the individual working-class men and women who made the songs in the first place (rather than the well-heeled enthusiasts who collected and fantatised over it) is being INSULTING then - well - what is there to say?


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 08:53 PM

SA-

I'm actually finding this thread educational, a window into how another generation is thinking through the stuff we play. Thanks!

May this thread live long and prosper, until the next generation tears it down.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 04:05 AM

My generation was the one that folk music skipped, Charlie. In folk I'm either feeling (at least) ten years youthful or twenty-years decrepid depending on which generation I happen to mix with. In any case I very much doubt I'm speaking for anyone but myself here, which was the point all along.

Still, folk remains both a reconstruction of a thing and a thing in itself; in moves in the hearts of those of us for whom knocking old hand-forged nails out of a rotting wooden hulk of an old fishing smack is to touch the very lives of those who went before...

Holy relics indeed!

S O'P


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 10:12 AM

S O'P-

"old hand-forged nails" and rusty at that!

They're keeping some treenails company from the abandoned 5-masted schooner Mary F. Barrett here in my studio.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Tootler
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 05:37 PM

Here I am with other steamfolk in the Harz Mountains in Northern Germany a couple of weeks ago.

We did sell out and went diesel but we saw the light and quickly returned to fold as pure unadulterated steamfolk.

I thought this video might appeal to other steamfolkies :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOnHd84yVZ4

This was strictly participant with spectators.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 06:04 AM

What a waste of time. I'd call it ALL a waste of time but Brian Peters says many sensible things.

I won't be back on this thread, it was as bad as I expected, maybe more so.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 02:17 PM

I don't see how a few people slapping an arbitrary label (or, er, "construct") on something makes that label valid. I've seen exactly the same thing happening with science fiction (oops, another label)- starting with H G Wells, moving along through Keith Roberts and arriving at China Miéville. And of COURSE there is the supreme arbitrary label, "World Music".

I must admit that NOBODY is better at labels than yer average folkie. Look at the way Cecil Sharp is becoming nearly as persona non grata as Ewan MacColl. I've just been watching the new "Barley Mow" DVD which includes pre WW1 clips of Sharp, Maud and Helen Karpeles, and George Butterworth performing morris dances. How disgraceful. Rich people corrupting the innocent diversions of the working class and creating a construct bearing no relation to the original pristine article. I just found it charming, sad (George was killed in WW1 before he write much music) and a nice picture of female emancipation (Maud and Helen are wearing rather short outfits and bell pads at the KNEE).   

Look, the damn thing's supposed to be FUN. That's why we sing, dance, listen, and argue innit? Oh dear, another label - "Fun". B*gger.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 04:19 PM

Folk's as much a label as anything; but Tootler's train's a beauty.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 04:20 PM

PS - 100!


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 06:41 PM

Lots of angles to go on in this thread!

I've skimmed virtually every posting and would highlight Brian Peters as taking some sensibles lines. I'll pick up on the class angle.

If the 'Folk' we participate in is a middle class construct, then that helps explain some other features of folk, clubs; and many people who run them - they carry baggage!

That baggage is the relationship between themselves at leisure, and the working classes. They don't really want the working classes there!

Most horrific of all for these middle classes is when a working class person wannts a floor spot!. You can almost read their minds; "Gosh - what an uncouth accent" "Will he swear on stage?" "Will she make lewd references?""Will they fart between verses?"

The idyllic construct of course would have no place for such things, but they have this percieved fear of workng class behavior. The Subjects of their songs may be fresh off the trawler, the farm or the factory floor; but they can only trust their own middle class kind to portray 'The Workies' on stage.

Yes I know there are tangents here I should have rounded, but if anyone reading this comes along to one of our singarounds, I'll sing them a song called "Guy with the Golden Finger in his Ear" which makes the main point better than here where I'm trying to be brief..

Ian Fyvie.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 08:14 AM

Oh blimey Ian. How precisely do I identify a "working class person"? Burberry baseball cap? Battered Vauxhall Corsa? Reads the News of the World? And where, these days, are these working class types, gagging for a floor spot? In the downstairs bar drinking Stella and watching Ingerland lose again. There you go, another few arbitrary labels. I enjoyed that.

The problem isn't "middle class folkies" worrying about some horny handed son or daughter of toil hawking coaldust and mucus onto the front row. It's folkies, full stop. Heaven knows how younger people ever become interested in their own music, given some of the attitudes they meet from the old farts. Thank God for those who do get past the Folk Police though. Lucy Ward, anyone?

As for the middle class portraying the working class, I thought all that went out with Terence Rattigan. Ladeez'n'gennelmen, I give you Albert Finney as Arthur Seaton. Bookie's son portrays lathe operator...

Sorry Suibhne, thread creep alert.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 08:33 AM

Creep away (threadwise that is) the remit of Steamfolk is as broad as Folk itself. Funny, in Lancashire, Folk Clubs are predominately working class and very contemporary in their tastes. I must admit I haven't met many working-class Traddies in my time...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: theleveller
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 08:55 AM

I find class definitions even more difficult and imprecise than folk definitions. I know a former steel-worker with a Masters in English and someone with an engineering degree who is a very successful plumber. Many people who might be considered middle class themselves have distinct working class antecendents just one or two generations back. It's all about roots, innit?

On a totally different tack - I was watching a Harry Potter DVD yesterday with my kids, in a rare moment of repose after a hectic festival weekend, when it occured to me that here is a bastion of Steamfolk and Steampunk. Some wonderful outfits!


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Tootler
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 09:08 AM

Folk's as much a label as anything; but Tootler's train's a beauty.

Yes. Those 2-10-2 tank engines were superb. Beautifully maintained, immaculately turned out and well up to the job. The route up the Brocken, the highest mountain in the region is a star. 1100 metres at the summit and all adhesion - no use of rack at all. Pity about the weather on the day we went up, though :-(

Definitely steamfolk heaven :-)


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 09:53 AM

The steaming landscapes of my childhood I still might visit in my dreams:

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

*

I don't think having academic qualifications has anything to do with class; I know plenty of working-class people with all manner of MAs and PhDs, and I know plenty of middle-class people with none. It's cultural, and residual, and probably more obvious in my native Northumberland / Durham than it is over here where I'm often (mis)taken for being middle-class on account of my noble bearing, my airs and graces, my love of Traditional (as oppose to contemporary) Folk Song, and my general disregard for authority, convention and political laziness. My rabid anti-racism and opposition to all forms of Homophobia often upsets the local folkies too, where such things are entenched by way of their non-PC view of their very small universe - ideas with are complete anathema in every other area of folk I've ever been part of, though last year in Durham they allowed a side of so-called Morris Dancers to dance with black faces, no doubt by way of so-called Tradition.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: theleveller
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 10:05 AM

In the village where I live I'm considred a peasant because I don't own a castle. As only one person does, we're all peasants of one sort or an other.

Oh, and I'm well down the list because my 4x4 is 9 years old.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 10:52 AM

my noble bearing...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 11:14 AM

To which I might add my all consuming sense of high-born dignity and composure is any crisis, great or small; my cheerful disposition and my detachment in all matters emotional is legendary; likewise my stiff upper lip. I'm also noted for my open indulgence in such traditional blood-sports as huntin', shootin' and fishin', and my fondness for all the little Hobdens of this world. You may add to this my professed enthusiasm for the Indeterminable Beige Thing worn by the very lovely Princess Beatrice at the recent Royal Wedding which I now see has fetched - How much on ebay???? I trust it's all going to a good cause.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 08:17 PM

second try.... think I pressed the wrong button.....

There's much confusion over Class.

Folk context? Definitions are dictated by the middle class types who often control folk clubs.

Over simplified I know, but I suggest they judge a singer on which way they associate the person sitting in the classroom!

Ian Fyvie BA(hons), and still working class.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 05:11 AM

Steamfolk is predicated on the notion that Folk is essentially a bourgeois / middle-class fantasy based on various selected high-lights of working-class culture that have been dismanted and reconstructed / reinvented elsewhere for ease of consumption, though seldom by the lumpen proletariat themselves for whom the whole Trad/Folk thing tends to be pretty much anathema. I love it myself, but then again I love libraries, galleries, museums, antique shops and hoary academic contexts as much as I love hedges, ditches, and the filthy old public houses which are now vanishing fast before a wave of creeping cultural blandness. Real Working Class Folk culture these days (i.e. Blackpool) is of little interest to the middle-classes except in terms of patronising irony. Plus ca change!

Here's a thing, in the freezing sleeting rain of Blackpool yesterday we passed a side of rudely liveried hens arm in arm in sisterly unity as they kicked through the puddles singing Didn't we have a lovely time the day we went to Blackpool in perfect approximation of the Macrame Beat classic which was a hit for Fiddler's Dram in 1979 (same year as THIS, BTW, just to give it further contextual consideration). Didn't catch much more of it, but it struck me as oddly relevant to the various conundrums going down here (& elsewhere) as cultures clash and such elements are adopted / discarded / debased along the way.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 05:31 AM

PS - Interesting therefore that Fiddler's Dram later went on to become the Oyster Band who would folk process New Order's Love Vigilantes - which I once heard sung by a floorsinger who'd never heard the original. Here they are doing it live in '85:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vPt8LnkQ3g


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,guest Jim Younger
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 07:55 AM

Coming rather late to this entertaining and provocative thread I note references to Harker's Fakesong. Brian Peters wrote on 5 July: "Just because one academic with an agenda a mile wide chose to call his book Fakesong doesn't actually make it all a fake." You can say that again! One memory of that book that I cherish is Harker's seeming delight in Alfred Williams's sad latter days:if only Mr Williams had been a member of the Socialist Workers' party ... (Ironic smiley face, winking.)


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 08:46 AM

Still haven't got into Harker's Fakesong yet, but from what I've read so far the most provocative thing about it is the title. I would say the whole notion of Folk is Fake by default - from the aloof academic gloss, the imperfect science, the taxonomy, the taxidermy, the deference, the reverance, the pure blood-lines - all of which are a million miles away from whatever their natural habitats might have been. What remains, however is an astonishing canon of songs and latter day saintly singers of same that have created something very wonderful as a result. I choose to see this as Steamfolk because it remains a fantasy construct arising from the ghosts of an earlier romance, itself operating at a significant remove from the source of the thing. Not sure how any of that relates to Harker's thesis at all, but then again I'm an artist, and not an academic.

As I said on another thread, the only way Folksong Study can ever become a science is when the technology exists to send a team of crack invisible musicologist back in time to record every single utterance of of every single song and every single singer and subject the results to intense metaanalysis so we might understand just how these things existed in the wild and with respect of their wider cultural context. As it is, the very best we can do is taxonomise the taxidermy of long extinct species and speculate on why one version of any given song type is different for another.

Like Race, there is only one sort of Music; like Race, that Music exists in a myriad of near infinite possibilities. To call some of these musics Folk is an afterthought from on high born of a theory, or a theology, all of which is natural enough in the way human impulse to contain and theorise and believe in stuff real or imagined. I keep coming back to the remit of The International Society for Traditional Music which includes popular, classical and folk forms. There are many musics called Classical - from Ragas to Piobaireachds - and Popular Music lives and thrives on its traditional idioms from R&B to - er R&B. Folk, in this context, becomes the more purposeful visions of those individuals moved to seek amongst their cultural roots, be it of the Old Songs or the vestiges of an older music altogether in drones, modes and monophonies, or else the pure aesthetic of the arcane and archaic which then becomes the creative springboard to something else altogether. Bellamy did this with Kipling Songs; The Unthanks do it with songs Old & New; Brian Peters does it with the Child Ballads. People do it as a matter of course. As individuals though, and always without concensus...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Sep 11 - 02:10 PM

With reference to the other thread (ominously closed without explanation; what a crock of shit Mudcat can be at times!) all of the Stirrings article can be found in my above posts. The complete selection of collected musings & responses on Steamfolk will be hosted by Evening of Light at a future date. I'll post here when that happens in case anyone wishes to have a look - unless this thread is closed too of course. Meanwhile for an interview with the author on Evening of Light from 2008 see:

Interview: Sean Breadin (Sedayne)


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: mikesamwild
Date: 07 Sep 11 - 08:11 AM

I think a musician or singer with an open mind will pillage all sorts of sources to express themselves. Fusions have alwys moved the music onwards and sometimes new genres have emerged.

I choose mainly 'folk' idioms and work within them.. It is not a constrictive form and gives a disciplibe within which to learn how to sing and play but once adopted you have the freedom to move in your own way. I recon most artists go through a period of imitation and assimilation and , if lucky, learn from experienced musicians and others in their community to express the aspirations of that community.

All song and music expresses a world of imagination and we all dwell within an imagined mental world. It's when it becomes forced on people as a norm that it can become a vehicle for social control.

You are as free to become a Steamfolky as much as a Goth a Jazzer or a Rocker and your lifestyle may reflect that strongly and the genre will be as phony as Fakemusic but probably as valid..


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Sep 11 - 03:51 PM

We are free to dream; we have the Means, Motive and Opportunity...


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: mikesamwild
Date: 13 Sep 11 - 11:09 AM

So is traditional 'folk' muisci strongest where people are constrained by various forces and limited in mobility or opportunity. Traveller culture is pretty strong it appears.
We can pick and choose and live in our own little worlds and live in our own little enclaves in upstairs rooms in pubs.


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 14 Sep 11 - 04:35 AM

I think 'traditional folk' is best expressed in a recent post from Jim Causely on Facebook where he speaks of a tendancy for folkies to refer to non-folkies as 'Muggles'. I suggested that in such a context hard-line Traddy Purists might be considered Death Eaters, with the much feared 'folk police' (not the label!) as Dementors. We see (very occasional) instances of that here on Mudcat with persons being readily (and religiously) equipped to denounce this-or-that music as Not Being Folk because they have elected to abide by a very orthodox reading of something as archaic (and irrelevant*) as the 1954 Definition. The psychology of salvation is a strange one - but hardly a matter of social or economic constraint; on the contrary, the only limits on the mobility of the Folk Class are the creaking limbs of Generation One.

* Irrelevant? For sure most Folkies I know have never even heard of it and refuse to be drawn on the issue of 'What Is Folk?'. They just get on and do it. From hard-line Traddies to experimental Neofolkers - they follow their instincts with respect of their particular calling, as we all must... Like me the other day when I found a very fine first edition paperback copy of The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs in an antiquarian bookshop in Southport for £6. My heart leaped with pure joy; the same joy with which I persue my folkish passions...

When we did our Kipling:Bellamy show at Fylde this year for the poster I used the stap line: The Folk Songs of Rudyard Kipling and Peter Bellamy: from Oak, Ash & Thorn to the Road to Mandalay. One person quizzed me on how such songs could be considered Folk Songs; needless to say I gave them a full and unabridged answer thus outing Rudyard Kipling as the Godfather of Steamfolk, and Bellamy's settings as icons of the revival now every bit as Traditional (with respect of both faith & process) as anything else co-opted by both cause and community.

http://soundcloud.com/earthboundkiplingbellamy


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Subject: RE: Steamfolk
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 09:27 AM

Talking of steam, I passed by Coulsdon South station yesterday morning at about the same time that "Tornado" went through pulling The Cathedrals Express, wish that I had looked at the steam tours website this week - would have been a good test of my new Raynox teleconverter lens. It was dark for the return journey unfortunately.


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Mudcat time: 19 June 4:41 AM EDT

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