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Folk Singer v Entertainer

Mr Happy 21 Jan 12 - 10:38 AM
RTim 21 Jan 12 - 11:10 AM
Morris-ey 21 Jan 12 - 11:34 AM
Elmore 21 Jan 12 - 11:43 AM
Leadfingers 21 Jan 12 - 12:19 PM
GUEST,kendall 21 Jan 12 - 12:28 PM
Joe Offer 22 Jan 12 - 01:47 AM
GUEST,SirCoughsalot 22 Jan 12 - 01:54 AM
Gibb Sahib 22 Jan 12 - 03:47 AM
Seamus Kennedy 22 Jan 12 - 06:26 AM
GUEST,matt milton 22 Jan 12 - 06:30 AM
Bert 22 Jan 12 - 06:39 AM
banjoman 22 Jan 12 - 06:41 AM
Howard Jones 22 Jan 12 - 07:48 AM
Vic Smith 22 Jan 12 - 08:04 AM
Johnny J 22 Jan 12 - 08:06 AM
GUEST,Paul Burke 22 Jan 12 - 08:10 AM
Bert 22 Jan 12 - 08:14 AM
Tigger the Tiger 22 Jan 12 - 08:37 AM
Leadfingers 22 Jan 12 - 11:00 AM
Howard Jones 22 Jan 12 - 11:29 AM
Big Al Whittle 22 Jan 12 - 12:31 PM
GUEST,SirCoughsalot 22 Jan 12 - 12:38 PM
stallion 22 Jan 12 - 01:38 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 22 Jan 12 - 01:47 PM
kendall 22 Jan 12 - 02:18 PM
Paul Burke 22 Jan 12 - 03:42 PM
Spleen Cringe 23 Jan 12 - 04:48 AM
Tigger the Tiger 23 Jan 12 - 06:26 AM
theleveller 23 Jan 12 - 07:00 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 23 Jan 12 - 08:03 AM
DMcG 23 Jan 12 - 08:12 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 23 Jan 12 - 08:20 AM
Lighter 23 Jan 12 - 09:55 AM
John P 23 Jan 12 - 10:37 AM
Lighter 23 Jan 12 - 01:16 PM
JedMarum 23 Jan 12 - 02:12 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 23 Jan 12 - 02:20 PM
John P 23 Jan 12 - 02:45 PM
Jeri 23 Jan 12 - 03:39 PM
Big Al Whittle 23 Jan 12 - 03:50 PM
GUEST,999 23 Jan 12 - 03:55 PM
Lighter 23 Jan 12 - 03:58 PM
Elmore 23 Jan 12 - 04:20 PM
Joe_F 23 Jan 12 - 06:09 PM
stallion 23 Jan 12 - 07:30 PM
Seamus Kennedy 23 Jan 12 - 09:04 PM
DebC 23 Jan 12 - 09:48 PM
Seamus Kennedy 24 Jan 12 - 12:03 AM
GUEST,SteveT 24 Jan 12 - 05:15 AM
Baz Bowdidge 24 Jan 12 - 07:04 AM
The Sandman 24 Jan 12 - 08:07 AM
stallion 24 Jan 12 - 12:10 PM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 10 Dec 12 - 02:30 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Dec 12 - 04:05 AM
The Sandman 10 Dec 12 - 05:31 PM
Stringsinger 10 Dec 12 - 06:37 PM
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Larry The Radio Guy 11 Dec 12 - 04:13 PM
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Don Firth 12 Dec 12 - 01:44 AM
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The Sandman 14 Dec 12 - 10:13 AM
GUEST,colin holt 14 Dec 12 - 10:28 AM
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sciencegeek 14 Dec 12 - 06:16 PM
Shimbo Darktree 14 Dec 12 - 06:34 PM
GUEST,michael gill 17 Dec 12 - 07:58 AM
GUEST,sciencegeek 17 Dec 12 - 10:04 AM
GUEST,michael gill 17 Dec 12 - 03:37 PM
Don Firth 17 Dec 12 - 05:55 PM
sciencegeek 17 Dec 12 - 06:47 PM
Steve Shaw 17 Dec 12 - 08:12 PM
GUEST,SirCoughsalot 18 Dec 12 - 03:05 AM
GUEST,michael gill 18 Dec 12 - 05:23 AM
GUEST,sciencegeek 18 Dec 12 - 01:43 PM
Shimbo Darktree 18 Dec 12 - 06:31 PM
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sciencegeek 19 Dec 12 - 04:38 PM
The Sandman 19 Dec 12 - 05:04 PM
GUEST,michael gill 19 Dec 12 - 06:05 PM
The Sandman 19 Dec 12 - 06:49 PM
GUEST,michael gill 19 Dec 12 - 07:11 PM
Steve Shaw 19 Dec 12 - 07:31 PM
GUEST 20 Dec 12 - 06:46 AM
sciencegeek 20 Dec 12 - 07:09 AM
GUEST,michael gill 20 Dec 12 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,sciencegeek 20 Dec 12 - 09:41 AM
John P 20 Dec 12 - 09:49 AM
GUEST 20 Dec 12 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,michael gill 20 Dec 12 - 10:25 AM
The Sandman 20 Dec 12 - 06:40 PM
Bobert 20 Dec 12 - 07:47 PM
GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler (Well-known pedant) 20 Dec 12 - 08:16 PM
The Sandman 21 Dec 12 - 04:52 AM
GUEST,michael gill 21 Dec 12 - 06:28 AM
The Sandman 21 Dec 12 - 07:08 AM
matt milton 21 Dec 12 - 08:01 AM
GUEST,Colin Holt 21 Dec 12 - 08:03 AM
GUEST,colin holt 21 Dec 12 - 08:05 AM
The Sandman 21 Dec 12 - 09:30 AM
ripov 21 Dec 12 - 11:14 AM
The Sandman 21 Dec 12 - 12:15 PM
GUEST,sciencegeek 21 Dec 12 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,CS 21 Dec 12 - 02:37 PM
GUEST,michael gill 21 Dec 12 - 06:45 PM
The Sandman 22 Dec 12 - 02:49 AM
GUEST,JHW(cookie on old computer) 22 Dec 12 - 07:27 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 22 Dec 12 - 09:35 AM
Steve Shaw 22 Dec 12 - 06:46 PM
The Sandman 22 Dec 12 - 07:06 PM
John P 23 Dec 12 - 10:29 AM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 23 Dec 12 - 11:37 AM
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GUEST,michael gill 23 Dec 12 - 03:44 PM
ripov 23 Dec 12 - 07:45 PM
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Betsy 24 Dec 12 - 08:25 PM
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sciencegeek 25 Dec 12 - 07:15 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Mr Happy
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 10:38 AM

IMO [but prepared to be persuaded otherwise] folk musicians/singers are people who perform the music purely for personal pleasure & are not usually paid for their endeavours.

What think you?

Discuss


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: RTim
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 11:10 AM

I think that what ever you do must be Entertaining.
Even, if like me, you are an unaccompanied singer, your set should contain a variety of songs, with appropriate patter, to show what you can do. This set will include some serious songs as well to counter balance the overall affect.
It is also "entertaining" just to sing well and be in tune, but it does also depend upon the audience you are singing for.
I equate it to selecting tracks for a CD, etc.. They should always be in balance, with not a bunch of similar songs together.
That is what sometimes annoys me - you spend hours deciding what order to put tracks on a CD - and then the buyer plays it in "random" mode. Aghhhhhh!!

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Morris-ey
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 11:34 AM

I suspect many folk performers do it for the pleasure it brings to them personally (I have heard many who provide no pleasure for the audience); There are those who are gifted performers who want nothing more than to be appreciated in their locale; there are others who manage to make a living from it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Elmore
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 11:43 AM

Our folk music club thought folk singers should be paid next to nothing. That's why I was unable to book Michael Cooney, Utah Phillips and Hedy West among others. Fortunately, some excellent folk singers were willing to work cheap. This was 25 years ago. Nobody who has spent years in perfecting their talents works without recompense there days, nor should they.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Leadfingers
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 12:19 PM

I thought the Folk / Entertainer dichotomy had been done away with last century !!

No one will ever convince me that Bob and Ron Copper's ancestors were establishing a Semi Religious art form when they were singing in the Village Pub in Rottindean ! They were being ENTERTAINMENT .

And getting paid for it , even if it was only a few beers !


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 12:28 PM

My main focus was to share the music I love with audiences. In other words, to entertain them.
At the same time, if I'm hired to perform in Scotland, California, Texas etc. I have to get paid.
When I did my tour of Scotland in 1990 I did the whole thing, 7 gigs for $600.00, the price of the plane ticket.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 01:47 AM

I would certainly hope that every singer would be an entertainer - and when we sing together, we should all be entertaining each other.

Leadfingers gave a perfect example - Bob and Ron Copper. I wish I could have seen them in person, but that's not to be. But I sure enjoy the heck out of their recordings.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,SirCoughsalot
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 01:54 AM

A folksinger is anyone who sings folk songs. Some folksingers are entertainers.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 03:47 AM

The problem, I suspect, is with the weird term "folk singer." Whether one sings non-professionally, for pay, for entertainment, or for other purposes...these are all variables among singers that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the type or quality of material they perform.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 06:26 AM

I'm not qualified to comment on this thread.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 06:30 AM

What people find entertaining goes a lot further than "varied sets", cracking jokes, a rapport with the audience etc etc.

I'm more likely to be entertained by a singer who exclusively performs long murder ballads with little variance in tone or instrumentation, no "patter" whatsoever, than the former example.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Bert
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 06:39 AM

...people who perform the music purely for personal pleasure & are not usually paid for their endeavours...

That is often true, but it is completely irrelevant and has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they are folk singers AND entertainers.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: banjoman
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 06:41 AM

If you don't consider yourself as an entertainer then you have no business asking people to pay to come and see/hear you. There are some "Folk Singers" who give me the impression that I should feel priviledged to pay to see them. ( I wont name names here) and others who its great to be in the company of, and not just for their music.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Howard Jones
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 07:48 AM

"If you don't consider yourself as an entertainer then you have no business asking people to pay to come and see/hear you."

Or not pay, for that matter. Whether you are standing on a stage in front of a paying audience, or just singing or playing in the pub for whoever is there you should be aiming to entertain your audience. To do otherwise is just self-indulgence.

To imply that folk music is somehow too precious to be sullied with commerce demeans both the music and musicians. The idea that traditional musicians didn't sing or play for reward is nonsense - many of them were paid, in beer or in cash.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 08:04 AM

Joe Offer wrote:-
"Bob and Ron Copper. I wish I could have seen them in person,"


How lucky was I, therefore, to have seen them on so many, many occasions - to be the compere for years at their Coppersongs Folk Club, to book them so often at our own club in Lewes, to have them just turn up to give us a few songs as floor singers.

Were they Folk singers? Yes, very much so.
Were they Entertainers? Yes, very much so.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Johnny J
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 08:06 AM

I'll ignore the fact that this thread says "folk SINGER" but I daresay this is to be expected on a site such as this.

However, whether we are referring to "singer", "musician" or whatever, I'd like to make a few points.

There seems to an obsession with "performance" these days and everybody seems to want or are "encouraged", "manouvred" into wanting to sing or play in front of people or for people.

R Tim says " your set should contain a variety of songs, with appropriate patter, to show what you can do."

"TO SHOW WHAT YOU CAN DO..."!

Why do we need to *show* what we can do if we just wish to sing or play music for our own pleasure or enjoyment either at home or with family and/or friends?
"Entertainment" is a different beast altogether if we choose to go down that road. Most of us do find ourselves in situations where we "entertain" to greater or lesser extent if but it isn't an essential requirement for being a singer or musician.

Many of us play or sing to relax and, maybe, even in work situations. This was very common in the past and many of best traditional songs were originally "working songs", eg at the loom, on the farms, at sea, etc.
Instrumental music was often functional too. Could you describe a piper(s) leading an army to battle as "entertainment"?


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 08:10 AM

It's mainly a matter of who the audience is. In an Irish session, for example, the audience is mainly the other musicians- perhaps even a subset of them. In an English folk singaround, the audience is the other singers. If other people are present, they are usually there by choice, and know the musical framework. Unless it's one of those awful pubs where there's no separate space and the general punters resent the folkies because they'd rather watch Sky or play the jukebox/ fruit machine.

I generally find open mike and "acoustic" sessions unsatisfying for that reason: the punters are there to be entertained on their own terms. In other words, they want blues, country, pop nostalgia and easy listening. They don't want traditional stuff, it doesn't sound like the radio and they aren't familiar with it. All credit to those musicians who are happy to do that stuff, but don't ask me along.

If your main aim is to please the punters, don't do folk. You might slip a bit of Richard Thomson past them, because it sounds more like the stuff they want. But they'd have chucked Margaret Barry or Willie Clancy out.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Bert
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 08:14 AM

And don't forget that Folk Singers and Entertainers can also be Educators.

I often try to sing songs that the audience may not have heard before and try to give a little history of a song if it is appropriate.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Tigger the Tiger
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 08:37 AM

Remember in the sixties we had significant protest songs to move an audience;that was part of the education. Although I saw many professionals in the sixties and knew some,the best I ever saw was a fellow named Rick Curtis in Fort Wayne Indiana. He was a very bouncy,enthusiastic performer who played fantastic guitar.Like Seeger at his best. He could play Living in the country and do the whistling. The sheer joy of his love for the songs and the instrument came across. Exceptional.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Leadfingers
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 11:00 AM

Fortunately we are well past the point where a "Folk Singer" might get two songs in a half hour set and a whole string of (Often) bad jokes

These days , MOST audiences expect information about the songs and tunes they are going to hear , and appreciate it if the information is NOT Dry facts learned by rote , but does appear in an entertaining form .

Hence , a 'Good' Folk singer will also be an entertainer ! Nuf Said .


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Howard Jones
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 11:29 AM

Nothing wrong with singing just for your own pleasure. However if you're going to sing in public, whether in a formal performance or a more casual setting, then you should put a bit of work into it, in order to put in a decent performance.

The implication contained in the OP was that "proper" folksingers aren't entertainers. "Entertainment" doesn't necesarily mean cracking jokes or "giving the punters what they want", it's about giving a performance which others will want to listen to. That's what folksingers should aim to do.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 12:31 PM

'I'm more likely to be entertained by a singer who exclusively performs long murder ballads with little variance in tone or instrumentation'

Matt - that's plain weird! You ARE joking......? (I hope for your own sake.)


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,SirCoughsalot
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 12:38 PM

Matt Milton - I suppose we all have different tastes, but I think you'll find you're in the minority. That sounds really boring to me.

I think if a singer or musician wants to play or sing for his own pleasure and that's all, with no entertaining on his mind, that is all well and good. But he should stay home.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: stallion
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 01:38 PM

There is a big difference between enjoying oneself singing the songs and entertaining. For me it's like sitting around a table in the pub with your mates and enjoying the Craic when you are heavily involved or sitting on the bar stool peering into your drink and not particularly wanting company. Some people sit on their bar stool and think it is entertaining, well it is for them, but the trick is to make the audience feel part of the Craic like the gig is one big table in the pub.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 01:47 PM

I used to play music in West Cork, they used to pay me! One night in Annie May's in Skibbereen I played Leo Rowsome's lovely, quirky version of 'St Patrick's Day'. A local uillean piper called Hugh Quinn (I'd heard of him but had never met him) came up & said I was playing it wrong. I told him its origin, a 78 record by the 'King of the Pipers',but he didnt accept this & went back to his seat saying 'ah but you're not a traditional musician, you're an entertainer'. On rflection, what a lovely compliment- thats one of the best compliments I've ever had- thanks again, Hugh, I'll always treasure those few words


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: kendall
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 02:18 PM

Seamus Kennedy not qualified to offer an opinion here? SNORT!


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Paul Burke
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 03:42 PM

To me, the word "entertainer" brings to mind the legendary Saturday night at the Glasgow Empire- a boozed up hypercritical audience who know exactly what they want, and are pretty sure you're not providing it. Whereas a folk session is a sort of conspiracy between players, singers and listeners to pretend that the shite they are doing is the bees' feckin' knees. And I believe set 'B' have a more fruitful time of it than the other lot.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 04:48 AM

"If you don't consider yourself as an entertainer then you have no business asking people to pay to come and see/hear you"

Disagree totally. Some of the best gigs I've ever seen are by people who have made no attempts to build a rapport with the audience and have not pandered to what they think an imaginary average audience member might want. These gigs were of course entertaining insofar as they were brilliant, but not in the sense that the word is usually used and not self-consciously so. If you just give people what you think they want you never give them anything new. Music then ossifies and stagnates.

As for the OP - the distinction is surely them between people who want to make a living on some level from playing music and people who do it as a hobby? Neither folk singer nor entertainer come into it.

Matt - I'll have a ticket to that gig too please!


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Tigger the Tiger
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 06:26 AM

I have always felt that if you love to play your instrument and you sing songs you love,you will be very entertaining. In the sixties,it was very necessary to give a brief explanation of a song;we all had to learn from one another. This was not really an academic study;there were some great performances in the basket houses in the Village. If you ran into a performer backstage or in a bar,you could stop to discuss a song or technique.We learned from one another.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: theleveller
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 07:00 AM

For me, folk clubs went down the pan when they became more venues for comedians than musicians and people like Mike Harding and Jasper Carrot, who spent more time telling jokes than singing, became the sort of acts that pulled in the crowds, to the ultimate detriment of both the clubs and the musically-inclined audiences. If you want a laugh, go to a comedy club; if you want to be miserable, go to a folk club ;)


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 08:03 AM

To Spleen Cringe: but you were entertained. That's my point - if you're not aiming to please your audience - to entertain them - then why perform in public at all, unless it's for entirely selfish reasons? That can be achieved in a number of ways, and as in the cases you've decribed despite a lack of rapport.

It seems to be assumed that "entertainment" means telling jokes, but it's much more than that. People go to the theatre or cinema, or read novels, to experience a wide range of emotions, including fear and sadness - they're still being entertained.

To the leveller: I know what you mean but I think this is exagerrated. There weren't that many comedians on the folk club circuit (the comedy club circuit didn't exist), and despite the jokes music was still an important part of their acts. A club which had Mike Harding on one week might have Martin Carthy or Nic Jones the next - at least, the clubs I went to might. They covered a fairly broad spectrum, which included the comedy but also included more serious stuff.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: DMcG
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 08:12 AM

That's my point - if you're not aiming to please your audience - to entertain them - then why perform in public at all, unless it's for entirely selfish reasons

The main club I go to is about 70% singarounds to 30% guest+floor spots. I don't regard myself as a particurally good singer - I don't do the more formal floor spots when we have them, for example - and while I certainly hope that I don't displease the other people, my main motivation is that I regard singing something as a sort of 'fee' for attending, which contributes to the club keeping going. Whether that is 'entirely selfish' I will leave for others to decide.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 08:20 AM

folk musicians/singers are people who perform the music purely for personal pleasure & are not usually paid for their endeavours.

I get more pleasure if I'm getting a decent wedge. Unless it's a session, when that's something else altogether - and you leave the whole performance thing at home. Or when you're in a singaround - or running a singaround - and no one is better than anyone else, even if they think they are. No room for prima donnas, though there are plenty about...

Otherwise, I'm torn really. As a Storyteller you cruise the audience - and they cruise you - the energy is generated by the Shamanic vibe whereby the performer becomes a medium to another level of narrative healing & empowerment. As a Singer I feel the audience should really get over themselves and make some attempt to win you over. In either case you relate to a collective organism & you ride on the vibe of the whole, & it's always great fun, even if they hate you. It's totally democratic too - if three quarters of them hate you, it's the quarter who are most appreciative who you relate to. There's no sense of - oh, God - how do I win these people over? more a matter of it's their loss or pearls before swine. Fortunately, that seldom happens, but you still that old glass-half-empty thing from paternalistic organisers: Oh, half the audience didn't get it at all - as if that's some sort of a problem? As Ken Hyder once said we love you, you don't have to love us. Sometimes I feel folk just plummets to that lowest common denominator shit which I personally feel is best avoided. Life really is too short, you know? Hear no evil.

My favourite gigs are classical gigs; I go to hear music, like seeing Hesperion XXI with the late Montserrat Figueras in the choir of York Minster a few years back. That's my ideal really. Less Hot-pot; more Marmite. Or rock gigs; a few half muttered intros if you're lucky. The music's the thing. Shut up and play your guitar.

I still admire a decent MC though; I've tried MC-ing once and I hated it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Lighter
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 09:55 AM

Folksingers sing to please themselves and others.

Entertainers sing to advance themselves and captivate others.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: John P
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 10:37 AM

I'm wondering if we should substitute "performer" for "entertainer"? That seems to be the basic question, and the conversation keeps veering into trying to define what's entertaining, surely a purely subjective question.

I have to agree with those who have said that there isn't any real dichotomy present between being a folk musician and a performer of folk music. Everyone I know who performs folk music also plays folk music for purely personal entertainment and for a good rousing evening on the back porch with friends. I agree that performing in public requires the performer to perform. Whether or not there is pay involved is beside the question. So is whether or not anyone finds the performance entertaining.

I seem to find a connotation in the OP that playing folk music for fun is somehow more noble than playing folk music for performance and/or for pay. I don't buy it. Certainly the presence or lack of money doesn't have anything to do with it. Anyone who plays folk music in an effort to get rich has a screw loose somewhere.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Lighter
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 01:16 PM

The problem isn't about getting paid for performing, it's the observable fact that entertainers sometimes cavalierly modernize a song's lyrics and attitude - sometimes the whole feel of a song - just to pander to an audience's presumed taste and thus further their careers.

Worse, I suppose, for pedant like me, is that they often wind up misrepresenting the past - which is what "traditional song" is largely about.

I don't think that Celtic Woman, for example, actually claim to be performing "traditional music," but a lot of people think they are. Needless to say, CW's production values and performance style - as pleasing as they are by pop standards - have zilch to do with tradition.

One worries (if one is a pedant) that people are led to believe that traditional styles and performer/audience relationships of, say, the eighteenth century, were pretty much what they are now.

Though without the mikes, of course.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: JedMarum
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 02:12 PM

Why is it "Folk Singer v Entertainer?" Why are they presumed to be mutually exclusive? The best entertainers who sing folk music are indeed Folksingers who sing to please themselves and others. They are people who LOVE the music they sing, and that is the main reason they are seen as entertaining.

Seamus Kennedy, Kendall, Big Al from above (and I'm sure others) are good examples of people who've been successful entertainers, worthy of appreciative audiences and performance fees because of their love for the music and the folklore. I have to say "me too." I do this because I love it, NOT because I can make a living at it. And I see no reason to drive a wedge between the two terms; Folk Singer v Entertainer.

I am a folksinger. I love all kinds of music, but folk music is in my blood. It is my preferred style. I make my living at it (quite modestly, I might add) and I know that I have to be entertaining to do that ... I have no problem doing that, because I am entertained by it. I sing and present what I love and what I find entertaining.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 02:20 PM

Worse, I suppose, for pedant like me, is that they often wind up misrepresenting the past - which is what "traditional song" is largely about.

By pedant do you perchance mean 'purist'? Otherwise I heartily disagree. Traditional Song is about invigorating musical creativity in the here & now; each individual is free to do that exactly how they see fit. So-called 'traditional styles' are very much a post-modern orthodoxy derived from successive revivalists thinking they can improve on the old singers. The performer / audience relationship is a constant though. One performs, the other listens.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: John P
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 02:45 PM

the observable fact that entertainers sometimes cavalierly modernize a song's lyrics and attitude - sometimes the whole feel of a song - just to pander to an audience's presumed taste and thus further their careers.

Really? To further their careers? Are you sure they're not just playing music the way they like to play music? If we disallow any modernization, traditional music doesn't really exist, in that any different version from the past may well have been someone's attempt to modernize and make a song more immediately relevant to their audiences. Musicians who want to "further their careers" play pop music.

Worse, I suppose, for pedant like me, is that they often wind up misrepresenting the past - which is what "traditional song" is largely about.

I don't agree that the past is what traditional music is about. I think you may be talking about historical music. The only way to know about what music was like in the past is to engage in academic musicological research -- an activity which, for me, is almost the opposite of traditional music making. The tradition is here and now, and the way people play music here and now is the traditional way of playing (IMO). I agree that people often come up with ways of playing traditional music that is far outside anything most of would refer to as folk music, but anyone who likes what they do and tries to find out more about traditional music won't have any trouble finding different styles. Or, maybe they like the pop synth sound and they've found some cool music they like. So what?

The dreadful pop arrangements of traditional music that I hate as much as anyone are still traditional music -- they are just not played in a folk style.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Jeri
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 03:39 PM

How many threads like this have we had?

If you sing any song and expect people to listen, you'd better try to be at least a little entertaining. I think cheese may be the objectionable thing. I think people sometimes think the song itself will carry an apathetic, off pitch or otherwise sucky rendition... because, after all, they aren't entertainers.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 03:50 PM

Jed I love your work and feel honoured that you should place me in that august company.

I've already had a reply censored in this thread. so I'm not sure, I'm allowed to say this. But this dichotony between entertainer and folksinger is an English phenomenon. I look forward to a time in England when straightforward delivery of folksong - like you do yourself (something that every man in the street can at least understand) is the order of the day - but it is a long long way into the future in England.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,999
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 03:55 PM

"Seamus Kennedy not qualified to offer an opinion here? SNORT!"

I picked up on that one, too, Kendall. My response as I read it was, "Yeah, right." SNORT works better.

The title of the thread makes it seem like Folk Singers and Entertainers are mutually exclusive terms. Whatever one sings, it had better be entertaining for the audience or they likely won't be back.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Lighter
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 03:58 PM

> Whatever one sings, it had better be entertaining for the audience or they likely won't be back.

Exactly.

But most traditional singers wouldn't care.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Elmore
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 04:20 PM

This is beginning to sound like the tiresome debate over what is or is not folk music. It seems that we all have slightly differing, but very personal opinions over what is folk music and what is simply "show biz."I'm pretty sure we agree more than one might think, and that a good deal of this is a matter of semantics.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Joe_F
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 06:09 PM

If that were an event, I'd bet on the entertainer, but cheer for the folksinger.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: stallion
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 07:30 PM

There is a cultural difference twixt The US and Britain. What I noticed is that in the US there is an invisible line of excellence that one has to get past and the whole world loves you if you don't the crowd let you know. Witnessed it in a Greenwich village Bistro where one week a jaz trio played and they emptied the donation jug several times, the following week a pianist played (mediocre) and absolutely no money was put in the jar. In Britain an "Eddie . the Eagle" mentality prevails. I am not sure which I prefer, probably the later because on one level it needs to be inclusive and open to all, on the other hand, oh dear, enough said. Horses for courses. Also in the US there is more emphasis on the scholarship and history of the songs where here people need a little chortle, Vin Garbut packs them in cos he does precisely that. As to whether one or other ends of the spectrum is better only bums on seats will tell and do we really need to differentiate between whose bums are on the seats?


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 09:04 PM

Jed Marum said very concisely what I was attempting to say with my snarky little post earlier. Thanks, Jed, Big AL, Kendall, Bruce and everybody else who can do what they love, and entertain others while doing it.
Stallion, the folks here in the U.S. appreciate a little chortle too.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: DebC
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 09:48 PM

My good buddy Stallion said above:
"Also in the US there is more emphasis
on the scholarship and history of the songs where here people need a little chortle..."

I find the exact OPPOSITE to be true; here in the US, most folks have no clue about the history and scholarship of the songs, yet where ever I go in the UK, the resident audience at any folk club are a helluva lot more knowledgeable than I.

But I got to listen to Kendall and Jacqui on Sunday night and *I* was certainly entertained.

Deb Cowan.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 12:03 AM

DebC - now there's a lady who can sing folk songs AND entertain!


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,SteveT
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 05:15 AM

Obviously the two are not mutually exclusive but perhaps it's about where your priorities and duty lie. Is your first duty to do justice to the song or to entertain the audience? (I'm a singer rather than musician but I expect my argument works with tunes as well.)

I remember once (in a pub, not at a paid gig or even at a folk club singers' night) stopping a song (Francis Tolliver) after one verse. It wasn't because I wasn't entertaining the audience, it was because I shouldn't have started that song there – it wasn't fair to the song, its composer or the people who the song was about.

I'm only an average "floor singer" and certainly no entertainer but I do feel I have a duty to my songs to sing them as well as I can, to keep them alive and pass them on so that, hopefully, someone with real talent will take them away and do the same. That won't happen if the songs and my singing aren't good enough to merit some attention, so I try to choose songs that match the venue/audience – but I do it for the songs and not the audience.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 07:04 AM

Folk Singer v Entertainer?
Whenever the twain should meet that's a good thing isn't it?
In my opinion as any other medium entertainment value of folk songs and people who sing them is purely subjective.
To paraphrase 'I know nothing about folk music but I know what I like'.

~Baz~


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 08:07 AM

Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge - PM
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 01:47 PM

I used to play music in West Cork, they used to pay me! One night in Annie May's in Skibbereen I played Leo Rowsome's lovely, quirky version of 'St Patrick's Day'. A local uillean piper called Hugh Quinn (I'd heard of him but had never met him) came up & said I was playing it wrong. I told him its origin, a 78 record by the 'King of the Pipers',but he didnt accept this & went back to his seat saying 'ah but you're not a traditional musician, you're an entertainer'. On rflection, what a lovely compliment- thats one of the best compliments I've ever had- thanks again, Hugh, I'll always treasure those few words"
hi jim,
i have played with Jim and Hugh Quinn, i would rather play with Jim, Hugh is a good player too, HOWEVER I find that comment fairly rich coming from a piper who does nOt even play a full set,but plays a practice set.
jim is a great player but also an entertainer, why is it not possible to be both of course it is
Anyway there is no correct version of a tune just different versions, the only incorrect way to play a tune is if you go out of rhythym.
Jim we miss you in West Cork


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: stallion
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 12:10 PM

Hiya Deb,

funny isn't it how we have both been impressed by others knowledge wherever we are, maybe says more about me, I suppose what I found humbling and maybe even intimidated by was the the depth of knowledge people had of my cultural past that I didn't have. I find it interesting, fascinating and impressive to have done the work required, makes me feel like a bit of a laggard! When it happens in the UK I expect it where I wouldn't necessarily expect it in the US which brings that to prominence.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Dec 12 - 02:30 AM

Folk Singers v Entertainers!

Fight....!


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Dec 12 - 04:05 AM

Tut, tut Al, is your Christmas that boring?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Dec 12 - 05:31 PM

christmas has not arrived yet


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Stringsinger
Date: 10 Dec 12 - 06:37 PM

Entertainment for most people is showy. Entertainment can be quietly listening to a nice voice sing an old song without having to "push" it on the audience or babble corny
patter.

Entertainment is in the ear of the beholder.

Sometimes a singer just singing for themselves can be very entertaining.

We have a skewed view of entertainment which comes from the commercial show
business world.

Entertaining is what entertains which seems like a tautology but when you think about
what entertains you personally, I bet you find that it's different from someone else's
idea of entertainment.

If you're not bored, you're entertained. Someone who is really into the music they are doing can be very entertaining on a deeper level, ie: not boring but fascinating.

Many so-called folk entertainers can be boring as hell if they try too hard to please a monolithic audience (which doesn't exist really).

I personally find entertainment value in jazz, old anglo-American ballads, blues,
any improvisation on an instrument, a beautiful voice, a story-song or any number of ways other than the commercial razz-a-ma-tazz of show biz.

I probably would go to see someone who others might find uninteresting if I find value in what they are doing.

A "folk singer" by modern definition is in the coffee houses and house concerts, a show bizzy type performer with patter, pacing of song material, planned sets, or other
preconceived ideas to share with an audience.

I think it was Carl Sandburg who coined the term "folk singer" although in German, you have Volksleider and minnesingers.

The "Mighty Wind" satirized the attempt of performers trying to be showy "folk singers" and many of them opened themselves up to this sendup because they tried so hard
to please their audiences whether it was a bar crowd, or college frat crowd, or even
in a full scale concert.

Some, like Pete Seeger educate their audiences while entertaining them.

Entertainment is an ambiguous term that is different strokes for different folks.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 11 Dec 12 - 10:27 AM

That'a a good post Stringsinger.

There's a good deal of illogical stuff posted on this thread and you have successfully homed in on the all important subjectivity of it all.

For example, just because someone is deliberately setting out to entertain me does not mean that I would be entertained by them. And vice versa, I could be propping up the corner of a bar and be hugely entertained by a couple of folk in the corner playing tunes just for themselves.

And whether any renumeration changes hands in either of these cases is utterly irrelevant.

However, there is another level of mere politeness that one should adhere to. For example, if I'd payed to go to a gig and I was sat right at the front, whether I was being entertained or not, I'd clap after each song (though maybe not so vociferously if I thought they stank). And I certainly wouldn't clap for the couple of folk in the corner playing tunes just for themselves. That would be very rude indeed.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 11 Dec 12 - 04:13 PM

Any form of communication.....whether we're trying to 'teach' something, put forth a song or story we really like, or just communicate a part of our (or somebody else's) 'essence' requires that we are sensitive to how it can best be received.

Any 'folk singer' without that sensitivity probably isn't doing him/herself or the 'audience' any big favour.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,Banjo Tom
Date: 11 Dec 12 - 08:34 PM

I love it when folk artists entertain on their instruments, including the human voice, and offer well-done material, patter, stagecraft, a good story, and the like. It's a bonus, all of it. I like people who have pounded the pavement, done their homework, listened to others, picked themselves up, and have something interesting or positive or negative to say. Something.

I find this v-thing a false dichotomy, a red herring of sorts. The terms on either side of it are not mutually exclusive, and to try to fit artists into one category or another is presumptuous.

The prison-house of ideas, of dualisms, of taking sides, is of no concern to artists, who maybe play for money or no money, at home for friends, on the street, street-level pubs, club-dates, concerts, festivals, stadiums, or just around the camp fire, and wherever they're happy playing.

One's voice as a folk entertainer is personal, and if it sings and touches people, well, that's good enough for me!

I can think of a filk or two about Druids running wildly through the woo-ids. But that's just ego.

So, which side are you on?

Best ~ Tom Hanway


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 12 - 12:21 AM

I'm up late, so let's get to the point. Folk singer


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Don Firth
Date: 12 Dec 12 - 01:44 AM

Although I had heard Burl Ives on the radio and had seen Susan Reed in a movie, my first experience with live folk singing was in the very early 1950s when the girl I was "going steady" with at the University of Washington developed an active interest in folk songs, got herself a copy of A Treasury of Folk Songs compiled by John and Sylvia Kolb, was given a marvelous old parlor guitar by her grandmother who no longer played, and set about teaching herself. I bought myself a cheap guitar and just for the casual fun of it, joined in her endeavors.

One evening the two of us heard Walt Roberson in an informal concert in a basement restaurant in Seattle's University District. Walt held forth for close to three hours, like a minstrel of days gone by, singing songs and ballads and spinning tales, and generally held Claire and me, and the rest of the audience of maybe seventy-five people, completely enthralled for nearly three hours!

I was so taken by this experience that someplace during that evening I decided "I want to do that!" To sing songs like the ones Walt was singing, and that Claire and I were both learning—and to hold an audience as enthralled as the two of us, and the rest of the audience that night, had been.

I seem to have been fairly successful at it because even if I didn't get rich and famous, I did manage to make a living at it.

Folk Singer versus Entertainer?

I have never separated the two ideas.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 12 Dec 12 - 06:55 AM

I think the "v" is important.

And I think that those who don't hold some sort of separation between musician/artist and entertainer in their minds, those who hold it as a false dichotomy, are missing something of the complications and differing definitions of the word performance.

Some artists are drawn merely by a desire to entertain, to enthral, and others merely have a very private and inescapable urge to create. And while both these artists are thankfully rare, as, of course, most have a bit of both in them, I think it's important for any artist to try to assess for themselves how much of each of these very different motivations they themselves hold.

There is a great deal of ego involved and I think it important that artists deal with these conflicts. One could say that the pinnacle of egotism is to hold a desire to get on a stage and entertain people. But isn't it even more egotistical to get on a stage and practice one's art despite the audience? Or taking it to its logical conclusion, to hold a view that an audience would be a distraction to one's creativity? Or to even eschew the concept of audience altogether?

But such arguments ignore subjectivity and the concept of ego doesn't have to descend into the concept of egotism. If we take one's ego to be merely that part of one's self that experiences and reacts to the outside world then we can conclude that our ego is our art. And this, quite simply, is the beauty of art. It is one's experiences and reactions to human traditions.

And the quality of any art can be defined by the depth of the tradition and the level of the artist's respect for that tradition.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 13 Dec 12 - 05:17 AM

... thinking about it, I'll re-phrase those last two paragraphs:


But such arguments ignore subjectivity and the concept of ego doesn't have to descend into the concept of egotism. If we take one's ego to be merely that part of one's self that experiences and reacts to the outside world then we can conclude that our ego is our art. And this, quite simply, is the beauty of art. It is one's experiences and reactions to the human condition, expressed through its traditions.

And the quality of any art can be defined by a combination of the depth of the tradition, the level of the artist's respect for that tradition and the level of the artist's ability to communicate their experiences and reactions to the human condition.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 Dec 12 - 04:14 PM

There is a great deal of ego-satisfaction in getting up in front of a group of people, being the center of attention, and having them enjoy what you are doing.

But that's not the whole of it, by any means. If you love the songs you do, especially to the extent of learning about the events and circumstances surrounding a song so that YOU understand the song and what it's about, then strive to convey the spirit of that to the audience, there's a bit more to it than ego.

This is one of the reasons I prefer small venues. I've sung in some sizable concert halls and on one occasion for an audience of 6,000 people. This is a pretty heady experience. But—I much prefer singing for much smaller, more intimate audiences, such as coffee houses and house concerts.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Dec 12 - 05:40 PM

And the quality of any art can be defined by a combination of the depth of the tradition, the level of the artist's respect for that tradition and the level of the artist's ability to communicate their experiences and reactions to the human condition.
this statement is true up to a point, but it does not take into account contemporary singer song writers, who can do all of the above without having any connection to any specific folk tradition.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 01:52 AM

example of above. leon rosselson, ian dury, peter bond. the first is a folk singer and entertainer, and in my opinion so is ian dury, and peter bond


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 01:55 AM

for those who have not come across him,this was the only peter bond song i could find http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6E-jJg0QwE&noredirect=1


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 05:29 AM

Don, you are confusing "ego" with "egotism". The two are very different. Look them up.

Dick, my statement does take into account contemporary singer song writers. In that their art is compromised by the shallowness of their tradition. Just as, conversely, a traditional musician's art is often compromised by their lack of ability to communicate their experiences and reactions to the human condition. (Though the best of them can, of course)

However, Ian Dury's consummate ability to sharply and wittily cut to the heart of the human condition raises him head and shoulders above the usual dross of contemporary pop. But also, his tradition is very strong. He was from a long line of populist commentators using whatever medium fell within the contemporary fashions of the day. And attracting the intelligent, skillful contemporary artists of that day with which to interpret, arrange and create.

And the modern tradition of the solo, folk singer songwriter guitarist, is, by comparison, wanting.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,colin holt
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 06:42 AM

re.. my statement does take into account contemporary singer song writers. In that their art is compromised by the shallowness of their tradition..

Bit sweeping don't you think ????


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: sciencegeek
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 07:17 AM

I think that the very title of this thread illustrates the strong influence of the modern recording industry more than it does any actual required differences between the two.

Go into the current version of the original "record store" or online to find music and everything is arranged by categories that are derived from marketing efforts of the major recording companies to pigeonhole their artists.

Call them folk singers, traditional musicians, entertainers, pop stars the one common thing about them is that they are PEOPLE, not some commodity... despite the efforts of some to turn them into little pieces to fit into some grand picture puzzle. I prefer to regard them as amateur ( by the original intent of the term), semi-professional ( they have a day job) and professional (this IS their day job).

I know one Irish born performer, singer-songwriter who in a house concert shared his tradition of the ceilidh and the next day for his concert, put on his stage personna. I prefer the former style while the hubby was blown away by the latter. He's still the same guy.

If you wanted to find his recordings in the past, you would have to search the International section and then Irish.... now I think he'd be put into the Indie section.

Maybe Dick could shed some light into how CAMSCO handles the issue.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 07:25 AM

Yes, it is sweeping, but that's the way it is. Some overcome this admirably however.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 07:44 AM

As you say, categorising doesn't help. But it's not a new phenomenon. Mozart had to deal with the differences (or lack of) between music hall and opera. And the categories of church music and lay music has been with us for many centuries.

And whether you make any money at it is entirely irrelevant as this marginalises the independently wealthy (17 century string players were largely amateurs and the wind players were largely pros) and stigmatises the poor (poor musicians are oft regarded as beggars).

However, traditions are their own defining categories.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 08:05 AM

i regard ian dury as a contemporary folk singer , if he had rung me up, when he was alive to do a gig i would have gladly put him on


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 08:42 AM

I'm not convinced he (and his band) would have been interested in performing in a venue so for out with the "contemporary fashions of the day".


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 09:20 AM

sorry:

far out-with the "contemporary fashions of the day".


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 10:07 AM

no that's still not right: (had to look it up, it's one word)

far outwith the "contemporary fashions of the day".


Fashions and trends should be of interest to artists as there is a tendency among those who consider themselves serious to eschew trends deliberately as they consider them anti intellectual. But the best of artists, of course, are able to fashion fashion towards their own ends. i.e. they are not passive consumers of fashions, they fashion ... the verb ... to fashion.

What is new though, is the gathering existence of loads of opposing fashions. Everything from mods and rockers to punks and hippies ... to young wiz kid instrumentalists to old beardy nasal voiced fokies.

I'd say it's impossible to really eschew fashion. And I'd say that if we view fashions as merely traditions - shallow or with depth - then we should be more comfortable with them.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 10:13 AM

ray davies, is another i would be happy to book


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,colin holt
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 10:28 AM

Micheal.. I think you think too much !!


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 11:45 AM

You mean you think I think too much for you


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: sciencegeek
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 06:16 PM

If someone puts themselves in front of a group and performs to provide entertainment for the rest... as opposed to being part of gathering of singers, players and listeners making music together... then I think it's fair to say that they are a performer or entertainer.

That's what I was referring to when I said... "Call them folk singers, traditional musicians, entertainers, pop stars the one common thing about them is that they are PEOPLE, not some commodity... despite the efforts of some to turn them into little pieces to fit into some grand picture puzzle. I prefer to regard them as amateur ( by the original intent of the term), semi-professional ( they have a day job) and professional (this IS their day job)."


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Shimbo Darktree
Date: 14 Dec 12 - 06:34 PM

Goodness me! Talk about a dust storm! I like Matt Milton's comment, although I am sure he had his tongue planted firmly in his cheek. I like, and sing, murder ballads and other wrist-slashers, and my audience (both of them) love them. That is my belief, anyway.

Entertainment, like good singing or music, is in the eye/ear of the beholder/listener, is it not?

Shimbo


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 07:58 AM

"Entertainment, like good singing or music, is in the eye/ear of the beholder/listener, is it not?"

Yes. That's why I said, "Just because someone is deliberately setting out to entertain me does not mean that I would be entertained by them. And vice versa, I could be propping up the corner of a bar and be hugely entertained by a couple of folk in the corner playing tunes just for themselves."

But it interests me how beholders of specific ears form fashion cliques. Such people club together and begin to sound the same and wear the same clothes. It interests me because I'd like to understand where or when a fashion clique can become regarded as a tradition

And I still don't understand the relevance of amateur, semi-professional and professional?


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,sciencegeek
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 10:04 AM

And I still don't understand the relevance of amateur, semi-professional and professional?

only in relation to being defined as an entertainer/performer... as posed in the opening post:

"IMO [but prepared to be persuaded otherwise] folk musicians/singers are people who perform the music purely for personal pleasure & are not usually paid for their endeavours.

What think you?

Discuss "

Would you NOT call Pete Seeger a "folk singer" because he would get paid gigs? Or Woodie Guthrie?   

Belle Stewart ( Stewarts of Blair) performed around the world in her later life... we booked her and the family more than once. I still consider her a traditional singer, that happened to be able to share her tradition with us.

Some folk/traditional singers/musicians have gone on to also become performers/entertainers/educators... they are not mutually exclusive.

My opinion is that there always seems to be an urge to define or label one another and the terms that came into the discussion seemed to be more relevent to marketing than reality.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 03:37 PM

I agree with that opinion. And even those who are widely regarded as professional entertainers can sit and just make music for it's own sake when the fancy takes them.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Don Firth
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 05:55 PM

I think we are confusing a number of issues, here.

A singer is, more often than not, labeled by the kind of songs that he or she sings. If a person sings traditional songs, people will call him a "traditional singer"—even if he was born in a big city and his father and mother were well-paid professionals of some kind. But in most people's minds, since he sings folk songs, people call him a folk singer.

Or a girl who lives in the country whose father is a share-cropper and who goes to a country school is spotted by a sharp-eared teacher as having a particularly nice singing voice. The teacher goes to bat for the girl and she winds up at Juilliard studying voice, and eventually becomes a much-in-demand opera singer.

So the city boy is a folk singer and the country girl is an operatic diva.

Confusin' world, ain't it?

As to amateur, semi-professional and professional, each of the above singers could be any of the three. If they sing simply because they enjoy singing, sing for their friends and family, and don't get paid for it, they're amateur (which is not a judgment on how good they are; some amateurs can be very good indeed!). If they sing for pay every now and then, but don't really depend on it for living expenses, they're semi-professional. And if they derive all of their income from singing, they're professional. Pretty straightforeward, really.

Contrasts:

Jean Ritchie was born and raised in Viper County, Kentucky, and learned her initial songs from family and relatives. A traditional singer, both by what she sings and by birth.   I don't know how much of her income came from her singing, but I tend to think she's professional, or at least semi-professional.

Richard Dyer-Bennet's father was an English peer. He was educated in Canada, Germany, and the United States. He was managed by Sol Hurok, did concert tours and recitals, and many records. He was definitely professional. Because most of the songs he sang were folk songs, most people refer to him as a "folk singer." But HE didn't.

He was a classically trained tenor, a classically trained guitarist, and he considered himself to be, not a "folk singer," but a modern day minstrel, singing a whole range of songs, most of which happened to be folk songs. So--most people call him a "folk singer."

Most of the "folk" or "traditional" singers that I know personally are city-bred and learned their folk songs from song books (Lomax, Sharp, et al) and recordings, or from each other (the others having learned most of their songs from song books and recordings). Most of them sing just for fun, some sing for fun but get paid now and then, and a few earned their living that way, singing in coffee houses, house concerts, and other venues.

One assumes that those who got paid for their singing (semi-professional or professional) were entertaining enough to draw a paying audience.

So it's not real neat and tidy.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: sciencegeek
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 06:47 PM

LOL... Don... by Jove, I think you've got it!... :P

Earlier I was thinking about where Jeff Warner would get pigeonholed...

how do you figure someone whose parents introduced him to so many traditional singers around the country as they collected songs? I do love that photo of him as a little kid with Frank Profitt...

now he performs around the world, does school programs and keeps alive the legacy of his parents, Frank & Ann Warner.

IMHO... labels belong on merchandise, not people.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 08:12 PM

Meself and the blokes I play with every week, five or six of us max, appear to give a lot of people a lot of pleasure in the two pubs we play in. But my feelings, much as I enjoy every minute of it (they are, without exception, the bloody salts of the earth, those blokes I play with), are utterly ambivalent. I love it when a tune or two gets whooping and clapping, but I am also acutely aware of our very many limitations (I won't bother listing them). We often get clapped for stuff that had me clenching me buttocks as we were playing it. Some sets of tunes we play have me cringeing at the very thought of how we are just about to murder 'em any minute now. But, overall, I don't really give a stuff. My mates and I could leave our instruments at home and still have a great night in the boozer, but instead we choose to convey much of our appreciation for each other via our tunes. There is no excess of ego, no boss, no technical criticism. We do it for ourselves and for each other. In both pubs we know most of the locals and it would be stupid for me to say we ignore them, but the obstinate point is that we are not performing for them, we are playing for our own amusement, and the pleasure they derive is their bonus, and we do not court it in any conscious way. Naturally, it's different if we are getting a bob or two for paying at a party or wedding, but not that different. I suppose we have to be be a bit more ready to play without too many big gaps full of banter. I love what I do, I don't think I'm too bad at it (I'll never make Carnegie Hall), but it's for me and my mates first and foremost. And Jeez, it's a ton of fun.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,SirCoughsalot
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 03:05 AM

A folksinger is anyone who sings primarily folk songs, and if you want to sing for people, you'd better make an effort to entertain them or it's just pure self indulgence. No one is going to listen to someone they don't find entertaining. Of course, we all have our own tastes... I think this quote from Cisco Houston is a good one:

"There's always a form of theater that things take; even back in the Ozarks, as far as you want to go. People gravitate to the best singer...We have people today who go just the other way, and I don't agree with them. Some of our folksong exponents seem to think you have to go way back in the hills and drag out the worst singer in the world before it's authentic. Now, this is nonsense...Just because he's old and got three arthritic fingers and two strings left on the banjo doesn't prove anything."


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 05:23 AM

The fact that the differentiation between amateur, semi-pro and pro is neither neat nor tidy is irrelevant. As I said, it marginalises the independently wealthy and and stigmatises the poor. But more than that, it bears no relevance what so ever to the quality of the art. It's a complete red herring.

What is of more interest is whether the artist/performer comes from a tradition or a fashion clique. And what's the difference?


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,sciencegeek
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 01:43 PM

michael... I'm still perplexed by your idea that somehow identifiying a performer by as amateur, semi-pro or pro is a slur.

As I originally stated, amateur in its original context - history lesson here, was applied to those individuals - often highly talented- who by virtue of their aristocratic position or independent wealth, were able to pursue their area of interest without having to seek a paying position. How does that marginalize anyone? There are plenty of talented people who belong to musical groups and work very hard on their volunteer performances. Amateur is NOT an insult or slur on one's ability... in horse shows we have amateur owner classes, it just means they don't show against the pros... unless they decide to show in an open class.

As someone who has been involved in booking concerts, setting up festivals, running workshops and picking parties... I deal with people who run the gamut. I select for talent and ability to get the job done, bearing in mind that I usually have a budget to meet... and we need to at least break even by the end of the year to keep the organization running.

As for the pros... some are very generous in making themselves available and join in the after concerts sings... and others do their gigs and that's it.

As I said before... performers and all the rest are people. In another thread I had talked about Ed Keeney, a wonderful fiddler from Donegal that I knew back in the 1980's. His day job was driving a bus and he had also been a member of various bands - swing and popular music of the 40's - 60's. I think of him as a wonderful and modest fellow who loved to share his music.

Try and get him to do anything other than a private house concert or join a session, forget it. But he'd donate his time & talent for seniors or benefits.

Going pro is a tough thing to do... mentally, physically and financially. Not everyone wants to go that route. For those that do, give them all the support you can.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Shimbo Darktree
Date: 18 Dec 12 - 06:31 PM

Well said, Sciencegeek. If anyone supports my "going pro", and has large amounts of disposable cash not already committed to Mudcat, I could be easily persuaded. I will learn to cope with the "commercial" label, and wealth is a great buffer to those who wish to look down their noses upon one. I may even buy a banjo (insert favourite banjo joke here).

Just let me know, and ensure the cash is in an easily negotiated form.

Shimbo


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 05:06 AM

I never suggested that identifying a performer as an amateur, semi-pro or pro is a slur. I said it is a distracting irrelevance. It conjures up such irrelevancies as "Ooh, yes, very good for an amateur, but they'll never cut it as a pro." Or "Quite nice down the pub, but I'd never pay to see them". Or "I saw them busking in the town centre the other day, it was a bit sad." Or, "Yeah, they could afford to take a year off just to practice ... and that violin that daddy bought them didn't do any harm either."

So what that some fiddle player drives a bus. It's irrelevant.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: sciencegeek
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 07:04 AM

WTF?!? Not a slur? Every example that you just gave is negative and comes from within you, not from anything I said or implied. How sad.

I don't know what's made you so bitter, but you really need to lighten up... because the original post in this thread implied that to be a folk singer, you had to be an amateur... as in doing it not for pay...   and then requested other viewpoints... which then included a differentiation between performers, entertainers, etc.

As for that bus driving fiddle player... any mudcatter that had the good fortune to hear Eddie play would treasure that memory and wish they possessed a measure of his talent.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 07:21 AM

I'm sorry, you misunderstand me. I'm not bitter at all.

The examples are not from within me. And nor are they from anything you said or implied.

Yes, those examples are all sad. But they are sad because they are born of reactions to the differentiations between ammeter and professional. If we stop differentiating then such negativity melts away.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: sciencegeek
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 08:30 AM

WOW... I am floored.... of the 90 plus posts by 30 to 40 different posters, there is only one poster bent out of shape by the term amateur. And you're the one.

I looked at the initial post as the proposition that to be a bona fide folksinger you had to take a musical vow of poverty - you couldn't make it your livelihood. I do not find myself in agreement with that notion & presented reasons why I feel that the need to label people is counterproductive... especially for those folks who are involved in many different musical forms and also that people have different goals in their lives...

To survive as a professional, very few locations can support you, you have to "hit the road" and maybe do different types of gigs to make it work.   

I've done the occasional paid gig... but consider myself to be an amateur... so I definitely DO NOT regard the term as a negative. And am more than little irked by your negativity.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 09:00 AM

You still misunderstand me. I'm not asking you to regard the terms amateur and professional as either positive or negative. I'm asking you to simply disregard the terms all together. They are irrelevant at best, divisive (as you've shown) at worst.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: sciencegeek
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 10:03 AM

only in your mind does there seem to be this issue.... period.

I see no reason to adhere to your unique brand of political correctness in reference to PERFORMERS. I also object to the decline of live venues for performers accompanied by low booking fees making it that much harder for them to make a living .

It made me grit my teeth every time I passed a place advertizing "Live DJ", knowing that talented "Live Musicians" were paid a fraction of those fees.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 02:20 PM

No. The prejudice for or against amateurs or professionals is rife.

"Professionals are hard working and deserve respect."
"Amateurs are hobbyists"

"Professionals are mere entertainers"
"Amateurs are the salt of the earth"

Are these are the issues that you are saying are "only in my mind"?


You still don't understand that to musicians/artists, the issue is irrelevant.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: sciencegeek
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 04:38 PM

you do realize that it is you who insists on bringing up what you say is irrelevant... so move on..


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 05:04 PM

sciencegeek, talking to micheal gill is like talking to a politician, you end up going round in circles, however I have an admiration for his dogged persistence, it is rather like watching Trevor Bailey or GEOFFbOYCOTT bat at creeeecket


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 06:05 PM

I brought it up? Then why did you say, "the original post in this thread implied that to be a folk singer, you had to be an amateur."?

However, I'm more than happy to move on ...

What is of more interest is whether the artist/performer comes from a tradition or a fashion clique. And what's the difference?


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 06:49 PM

hows it going michael, havent heard much from you on the session, what do you make of jeremys new cock ups


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 07:11 PM

Dick, I'm not interested


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 07:31 PM

Why don't you tell Jeremy yourself what you think, Dick? I'm sure he'd appreciate your constructive input. And stop bloody trolling just for once while you're at it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 06:46 AM

Re What is of more interest is whether the artist/performer comes from a tradition or a fashion clique. And what's the difference?

Isn't the main point of interest whether the artist/ performer is performing something that you like/ enjoy/ relate to/ feel educated by/ get turned on by .... ????

The rest is anal gazing !!!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: sciencegeek
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 07:09 AM

LOL... we are talking about people here... both those making music and those listening.

People are multi-faceted not little cardboard cutouts. Each brings their interest, background and experience with them. We can't help it- it's who and what we are.

What may entertain one person, bores another to death. So it you try to come up with definitions, you need to find ones that work across the board, and there needs to be agreement about the meaning of the definitions... otherwise it's an exercise in futility.

Add to that the lumpers and splitters... LOL.. I grew up listening to "classical music"... in reality, I was listening to music from the baroque, classical, romantic and modern periods. But the convention is to lump them all together into the generic term "classical music". As long as you know the "rule" of the definition.. no problem.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 09:03 AM

I agree with all of that Geek.

And yes GUEST, it may well be anal gazing, but the reasons I like/ enjoy/ relate to/ feel educated by/ get turned on by stuff interests me. If nothing else, it makes it easier to sift through the dross to find stuff new to me that I can like/ enjoy/ relate to ... etc.

And whether something could be regarded as a tradition or a fashion clique is directly relevant to the above. And I would say it should have relevance to anyone who likes any of the traditional musics of the world.

And there is a sound reason to refer to the baroque, classical, romantic and modern periods of "western art music" by a generic term. It's because they were all strong, deep and brilliant traditions that morphed into one another.

For example, the quality of Mozart's "classical" music can be defined by the combination of the depth of the classical and baroque traditions , the level of the his respect for those traditions and the level of his ability to communicate his experiences and reactions to the human condition.

And this is why, for example, a modern singer/songwriter can never be as good an artist. The very best of them may well have extraordinary abilities in communicating their experiences and reactions to the human condition, but their art will alway be let down by the shallowness of their chosen traditional medium. I traditional medium that could easily be described as a mere fashion clique


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,sciencegeek
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 09:41 AM

twilight zone post earlier... ??? try two

thread drift alert:

A favorite Sunday afternoon treat in my youth was watching Leonard Bernstein's Young Peoples Concerts broadcasts. And later my mom found rebroadcasts of Howard Goodall's BBC shows which I enjoyed greatly and recommend to anyone interested in gaining perpectives in Western musical history. Many of Goodall's stuff in on youtube & Bernstein's is on DVD.

One thing I always seemed to strongly respond to in "classical" music has been the use of traditional tunes and motiffs within the larger musical form. And this even before I knew where the melodies came from.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: John P
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 09:49 AM

I don't think people should denigrate others because of the music they like to play. I also am not a fan of most singer-songwriters, but I understand that they play the music they are called to play in the way they are called to play it.

Michael Gill, your rude comments tell me a lot more about you than about singer-songwriters. You are anti-music. Since this is a music site, perhaps you'd like to go find somewhere else to talk your trash.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 09:58 AM

re: your rude comments tell me a lot more about you than about singer-songwriters. You are anti-music..

Whether Micheal is anti music or not is irrelevant. The issue of importance is whether he can be regarded as a tradition or a fashion clique... me I'm just a lawnmower... you can tell me by the way I walk


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 10:25 AM

ha, Well I certainly am anti most music. Or at least, what seems to pass for music these days. For the vast majority of it is mere shallow commercialised commodity. And even the vast majority of what is left, after one discounts the shallow commercialised commodities, is either the shallow self-indulgent ramblings of rootless worthy deaf wannabes or the aimless fidgeting of lazy rootless fashion cliques.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 06:40 PM

steve shaw, I have.
hows the oboe


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Bobert
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 07:47 PM

Me??? If I don't entertain then guess what??? The phone doesn't ring... Entertain first and foremost or risk sittin' around playing for yourself... Now if you are that talented you might get by on strictly on your music but I wouldn't bank on it...

I'm a blues player and I talk a lot of shit between songs... I mean, stories, jokes, anything that will engage the audience...

"After tonight I ain't gonna drink no more... (PAUSE)... Unless I'm by myself or with someone"...

Next song...

B~

p.s. stole that one off R.L.Burnside...


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler (Well-known pedant)
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 08:16 PM

Well - I never thoughtI'd be in full agreement with Lord Gill, but I agree with every word in his last comment> I must be getting soft in my old age ...


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 04:52 AM

i do not agree with Gill, There is some music thats not to my taste, i do not particularly like some of the music made by a couple ofthe contributors to this thread, it is competent but in my opinion lacks feeling, but that is a matter of taste
   but there is a lot of classical music i hear that is very good, and a number of musicians on the uk folk scene, nic jones, martin carthy, Tom Paley TO NME A FEW.
anyone that tries to make home made music needs to be encouraged, perhaps we need another skiffle revival


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 06:28 AM

I agree that anyone that tries to make home made music needs to be encouraged. However, they also need to be told that unless their music is rooted in a strong tradition with depth, unless they learn and respect that tradition, it will more than likely end up as mere aimless fidgeting.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 07:08 AM

I agree to some extent, however if a player performs a traditional piece to an audience who are not particularly concerned with the player playing in an approved traditional style,it can be performed well. Dave Swarbrick springs t mind with fairport convention, fairport are not particully my cup of tea, but audiences who could not care a toss about a proscribed style loved them.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: matt milton
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 08:01 AM

"However, they also need to be told that unless their music is rooted in a strong tradition with depth, unless they learn and respect that tradition, it will more than likely end up as mere aimless fidgeting."

To my mind, saying that implies an idea of authenticity that is belied by really good pop music. There are plenty of people that enjoy listening to both Pierre Boulez and AC/DC, both John Coltrane and the Beach Boys, both Leonard Cohen and Stockhausen, both Beethoven and Nick Drake, both Giacinto Scelsi and Frank Sinatra, both Bob Dylan and Beethoven.

This year I've mostly listened to music by Micachu, C Joynes & Stephanie Hladowski, Gerald Barry, Harrison Birtwistle, Roy Harris and Aldo Clementi. In other words, high-concept 20th century classical music, joyous arty dance-pop and stripped-down English folk. Some of that comes from a tradition, some of that comes from an "anti-tradition", some of it is much more intuitive and eclectic.

Fact is, classical music is just as "commodified" as pop, only in a different way (it owes a lot more to public-sector funding and big-business sponsorship). Fact is, self-consciously commercial music can still produce great art (eg Beatles, Motown, hip-hop). Worth remembering that Mozart had patrons; he needed his operas to be hits just as much as Stock, Aitken & Waterman needed their 80s dance singles to be.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,Colin Holt
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 08:03 AM

Mr Gill & GSS
Lets make a New Year resolution.. Lets respect our roots and not forget them....BUT Lets un learn the tradition....just let it sweep across us like a gentle breeze. Lets UN approve the traditional style in favour of creativity....Y'know what ??... I aim to fidget loads in 2013 !!!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,colin holt
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 08:05 AM

I agree Matt... nice one !!


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 09:30 AM

colin holt have youread my post properly, i am only partly agreeing with gill


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: ripov
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 11:14 AM

Without getting involved in long-winded arguments (ie I'm sitting on the fence here), I can only say that I have the greatest respect for musicians and entertainers like the Levellers and Kath Tickell, who not only play and entertain on stage but also join in the session with the "folkies" in the pub.

Regarding amateurs, the original, and main, meaning is someone who does something for the love of it. Unfortunately several dictionaries miss this, and only refer to its derogatory sense, as someone not good enough to make money out of their "hobby" (as though money were the only worthwhile goal!).

Borodin was a chemist, Elgar a shop assistant. Amateurs!


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 12:15 PM

good points, Ripov.i rememb er some very good amateurs the northumbrian shepherds wille taylor and co, the singer willie scott, bob roberts, walter pardon


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,sciencegeek
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 12:58 PM

I first encountered the correct usage of amateur in the academic fields of paleontology and "natural history", where social status had quite an influence over who could become professors ... but still submit articles to scientific journals.

For that matter, Albert Einstein was relegated to the Swiss Patent Office due to his heritage and lack of patronage... until his papers on physics were published and doors opened for him around the world.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 02:37 PM

Matt Milton: " joyous arty dance-pop"

Throw some names about Matt, I love euphoric dancey pop!

Listening to R4 the other day discussing the hey day of Smash Hits and someone (Toyah I think) commented that the innocent excitement of the music of that period has been lost, I would say it's most definitely out there now. I'm fond of The Go! Team and Handsomeboy Technique, both of whom have been with us for several years now and there must be lots more where that came from.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 06:45 PM

I'm losing the will to live


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Dec 12 - 02:49 AM

then go away.
classical music has used sponsors or patrons for centuries, so the commercialisation of classical music is not new.
tradition musicians who are not being paid meet up in each others houses and play exactly what they want, it is only when you start playing in pubs and getting paid that you have to start entertaining or pleasing the drinkers, then the performer has to compromise


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,JHW(cookie on old computer)
Date: 22 Dec 12 - 07:27 AM

Folk is a niche market; we might expect to be appreciated by an audience who has deliberately gone to a Folk Club, without having to be a standup comedian who sings songs. I'll take longer to choose a set than it takes to sing them but I wouldn't go out to sing to a non-folk audience because I expect I would not entertain them.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 22 Dec 12 - 09:35 AM

I was once playing in Caseys cabin, Baltimore (about 15 years ago) when a man came up to me and said i had the tune of St Patricks day wrong. I said I realised it was a slightly quirky version, but I got it from an LP of Leo Rowsome's 78 recordings. He was a piper and we had a perfectly civil conversation about it- however at the end he said 'Ah well, but you're an entertainer, not a traditional musician'.
I took it as a compliment, but had no idea that you couldn't be both?
I think the Good soldier is right in that if you are being paid by a pub or folk club, you have a DUTY to enertain in the sense that you CAN'T do anything BUT just that, on your own terms- they won't ask you back if you don't realise that


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Dec 12 - 06:46 PM

Folk is a niche market

I can't begin to tell you how depressing I find this comment.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Dec 12 - 07:06 PM

steve shaw, why dont you go away and play, you clearly have not got anything to get seriously depressed about.
i mean if you were seriously ill, for example i have a neice with ms that is something to get depressed about, for goodness sake


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: John P
Date: 23 Dec 12 - 10:29 AM

Getting back to the topic, I would say that people who play music are musicians. People who perform music are musicians and performers. This is true for all genres of music. Within folk music, it is much more common for non-musicians to take part in the music making, or rather I should say that a greater percentage of the people within the genre are musicians (in that they play music) than with other genres of music. This is great, but it doesn't mean that a performer of folk music isn't also a folk musician. They're just usually technically better at it and are willing to get up on stage and offer performances of it. The thread title and many of the posts seem to assume it's an either/or question. I strongly disagree.

As for what defines a performance of folk music, that is entirely subjective. The only thing we can say about it is whether or not we like patter between the songs, whether or not we like highly arranged music or simple statements of the tune or song, or if we like it when performers change the songs to suit one's fancy or ones idea of what the audience might like. None of this has anything to do with whether or not a someone is a folk musician or a performer. It's just about our personal tastes. It seems obvious that anyone who plays music for other people to listen to is a performer. How they conduct themselves within that is beside the point.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Dec 12 - 11:37 AM

I think you are giving too little importance to the intelligence and critical faculy of the consumer/auditor/receptor/audience member.

Henry Moore, the sculptor said that someone who picks up an interesting pebble from a beach is making a creative decision, committing a creative act.

When I'm at singarounds, I often see people disengage when they think a performer has nothing to offer, and in my opinion - more often than not - they are missing out. They don't pick up the pebble.

Its possible that something may be entertaining and have substance - but just be in the wrong place. Anyway that's what I think.

This doesn't mean you can't have strong opinions about the nature of folk music. It just means we all need to expand our horizons.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: John P
Date: 23 Dec 12 - 12:30 PM

Sorry, Al, I'm not sure what you are saying or who you are saying it to. Can you elucidate? As an inveterate pebble picker-upper (literally and figuratively), I agree with the sentiment but am not clear on how it relates to the conversation. If you are saying that we shouldn't be quick to tune out performances that are not in our preferred style, I couldn't agree more.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 23 Dec 12 - 03:44 PM

"Within folk music, it is much more common for non-musicians to take part in the music making"

Crikey, you can say that again. There's a moment of sanity in a thread gone mad.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: ripov
Date: 23 Dec 12 - 07:45 PM

Could this be the basis of a new definition?


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 24 Dec 12 - 07:20 AM

Ha, yeah, priceless.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Betsy
Date: 24 Dec 12 - 08:25 PM

Folksinging is like making love - if the other party has been fulfilled by the performer then happiness prevails. Extend this premise as you wish e.g. if the other party has not been fulfilled them might it be construed that the performer has been thinking purely about his/her own satisfaction.
Alternatively if the party had been expecting a more "interesting" performance , then then the folksinging / folksinger may have turned out to be disappointing. 'Tis a difficult one indeed.
Not something to dwell on too much on the Christmas day, and I wish you all which you wish yourselves, and have a peaceful day.
Betsy


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Dec 12 - 04:17 AM

have agood new year, betsy


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: sciencegeek
Date: 25 Dec 12 - 07:15 AM

Labels... even the bible acknowledges the human need to put a name to things... LOL

Is this person a traditional singer according to these attributes? Or is that one more a singer-songwriter than a folk singer?

Is this song or tune traditional or was it "composed"... as if any song didn't get its start from a single source. What happened to it over time, well... there's a tale in itself.

I know people of moderate skill who are able to engage their audiences and put on a good show. I know others of consummate skill who "hide" behind their instrument on stage. And we all know those individuals who love the limelight, but who make you cringe to be in the same room when they try to play or sing.

Is it possible in this day & age to "legitimately" continue a musical tradition when so much of our way of life has been altered? Or do we preserve as much as we can and move forward on a new path?

These are questions, no answers... points to ponder. Music is a form of communication... there are many messages.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 29 Dec 12 - 07:43 PM

"Is it possible in this day & age to "legitimately" continue a musical tradition when so much of our way of life has been altered? Or do we preserve as much as we can and move forward on a new path?"

If any part of a tradition is being "preserved", then it is no more of a tradition than a mining museum is an industry (with the exception, of course, of the tourist industry).

Real traditions are learned, respected and built upon. And this is true of any day & age.


(As for "performing" in bed, I can't think of anything that could possibly be less "fulfilling" .. .. BRRRRR, I shudder to think of it)


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Dec 12 - 08:00 PM

'we all know those individuals who love the limelight, but who make you cringe to be in the same room when they try to play or sing.'

I wonder where he caught my act.....


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,michael gill
Date: 29 Dec 12 - 08:18 PM

... not in the bedroom I hope


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Dec 12 - 08:36 PM

:-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Sep 17 - 05:18 PM

wheres jed seagar?


https://www.facebook.com/events/836095416481572/?ref=3


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,DTM
Date: 23 Sep 17 - 11:40 AM

The minute you turn professional, you cease to become a folk singer. You are now an entertainer. (Said with tongue in cheek, btw).


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Jeri
Date: 23 Sep 17 - 12:41 PM

The line between performer and an average, competent session player is blurry. Some of the session folks think they're due an audience because someone has said "I like your song". Sometimes they ARE that good, and sometimes they aren't. Personally, I find it hard to trust my own opinion of myself. I suppose if you can keep an audience who will give you money for your music, you should keep gigging. You're getting paid to entertain, no matter how erudite or esoteric your songs are, or how silly. People want to hear them.

The average "folk singer" gets to sing, whether anyone wants to hear them, or not. And that's how it's SUPPOSED to work. You get a turn. You get a chance. If everyone's lucky everybody will find something to enjoy about it.

Opinions-Я-Us


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Sep 17 - 01:10 PM

Why can't folk singers be entertainers- is it so difficult?


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,Ebor Fiddler
Date: 23 Sep 17 - 03:18 PM

I suppose I've been singing for about 50 years now, man and dog, but I don't consider myself a "folk singer". That label is best applied to people like the Stewarts of Scotland, Harry Cox or the Copper family, who learned their songs by family osmosis. On the other hand, I learned most of my stuff either from books or recordings - not a traditional learning method. The only stuff I learned through the folk process are the ragbag of bits and pieces I learned on the school yard.
Not only that, I tend to slip in modern(ish) pop stuff like Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz" and the theme song for the Robin Hood TV series - definitely not trad. But people like them, even in today's folk club equivalents - does that make me an entertainer, or what?

Chris B.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 23 Sep 17 - 05:46 PM

That whole first page of comments... oy.

"Meyer has pointed out that condition, that contradiction, which afflicts everyone who thinks at all: the more you strive to be sensible and serious and meaningful, the less chance you have of becoming so. The primary objective is to laugh." - Freefall in Crimson, John D. MacDonald

To Don Firth's 17 Dec 2012 post I would add:

entertain late Middle English: from French entretenir, based on Latin inter 'among' + tenere 'to hold.' The word originally meant 'maintain, continue,' later 'maintain in a certain condition, treat in a certain way,' also 'show hospitality' (late 15th century). - Webster's New World

entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and interest of an audience, or gives pleasure and delight. - wiki

"An Old Testament Cantor, the chanteyman and Harry Belafonte all seek the same goal… enchantment. They want to harness the energies of the audience to get something done – Praise the Lord; haul the bowline; pay the rent." - Phil d'Conch to Gibb Sahib

I was being flip about Belafonte but one cannot seriously deny the man's ability to enchant and entertain a live audience. He still does.

The standard definition of "recreation" is based on "leisure" however this ignores the well documented history of the shanty, cadence &c as a form of recreation part & parcel to a work environment. They "recreate" and "renew" our "spirits" as we work. (see Capt Forrest's remarks on the celeusma & fatigued crew.)

It's as basic as sleep, water & food. Go too long without recreation and your brain will shut down. The "second wind" a shanty or cadence provides is something science still struggles to explain

Don't forget to breath... & laugh.


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Sep 17 - 07:30 PM

'does that make me an entertainer, or what?'

what....?


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Sep 17 - 09:28 PM

I've seen a lot of folk singers who were not very entertaining , also seen a lot of very good entertainers who were not folky at all! Why does it matter ? And why is it asked in the terms of one vs the other ? Nonsense really, more holier than thou folkie bollocks !


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: r.padgett
Date: 24 Sep 17 - 04:00 AM

Folk song should be educational tell a story and in such a way be capable of getting to the feelings of the song ~ a Folk singer should be singing to empathetic (or those capable of empathy) or at least be able to understand what and why the singer is singing it (might simply be a nice tune of course) ~ not sure why anyone would learn a tune or song that didn't say or impart something that is NOT worth hearing

Entertaining well! ~ folk singers could fall into at least two sorts those singing funny songs and those singing serious songs ~ the likes of Tony Capstick whose introductions and jokes were the funny ones and the songs by and large serious often traditional

Well I subscribe to the traditional side of course! Entertainers not singing traditional/or contemporary could find an audience anywhere maybe ~ traddies of course need a specialist following who understand their roots ~ now professional singers (singing for money) is a whole new ball game

Ray


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 24 Sep 17 - 06:31 AM

Agree with most of that, Ray- I don't do many folk clubs these days, but I knew many of the 'source' singers and musicians and absorbed a lot from them. Over the years, I've developed a fairly eclectic repertoire, increasingly outside folk clubs, which are still mostly attended by people who have the background to be 'entertained' by predominantly 'serious' material with often a long history.
Humour is a great thing, but it is quite possible to be entertained and absorbed by a quality singer where humour is not the main aim of the evening.

   I make no claim to be 'traditional' 'folksinger' 'entertainer' or any of those terms, although others have applied all three terms *and others! to my music.

I once read with interest a review of a CD I did some years ago. One of the reviewers' comments was...
'Jim just sings the songs he likes'- now I think that was meant to reflect my approach to the music, but if you take it literally, you have to wonder- what is the alternative to that?


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Subject: RE: Folk Singer v Entertainer
From: JHW
Date: 24 Sep 17 - 07:05 AM

One night at Robin Hood's Bay FC (North Yorkshire) Johnny Silvo was the guest. He weighed up an audience of folkies and holidaymakers and gave us a wonderful evening of mostly folk songs. I've never seen at any other occasion quite the whole roomful queuing up to buy a CD or perhaps just to speak to the man. A folk singer and an entertainer. RIP.
Independent


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