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Is Folk Dead

GUEST,Gibsonboy 16 Oct 12 - 06:32 AM
Will Fly 16 Oct 12 - 06:50 AM
Leadfingers 16 Oct 12 - 06:57 AM
Will Fly 16 Oct 12 - 07:00 AM
John MacKenzie 16 Oct 12 - 07:08 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 16 Oct 12 - 07:27 AM
bubblyrat 16 Oct 12 - 07:35 AM
Richard from Liverpool 16 Oct 12 - 07:49 AM
Les in Chorlton 16 Oct 12 - 07:57 AM
GUEST 16 Oct 12 - 07:58 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 16 Oct 12 - 08:24 AM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 16 Oct 12 - 08:30 AM
Les in Chorlton 16 Oct 12 - 08:35 AM
theleveller 16 Oct 12 - 08:40 AM
GUEST,999 16 Oct 12 - 08:55 AM
Vic Smith 16 Oct 12 - 09:50 AM
SteveMansfield 16 Oct 12 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 16 Oct 12 - 12:04 PM
GUEST,mando-player-91 16 Oct 12 - 12:13 PM
Morris-ey 16 Oct 12 - 12:20 PM
GUEST,Desi C 16 Oct 12 - 12:35 PM
Ernest 16 Oct 12 - 12:42 PM
Spleen Cringe 16 Oct 12 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 16 Oct 12 - 01:01 PM
Spleen Cringe 16 Oct 12 - 01:03 PM
GUEST,Ron 16 Oct 12 - 02:38 PM
Steve Shaw 16 Oct 12 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,999 16 Oct 12 - 03:20 PM
Steve Shaw 16 Oct 12 - 03:32 PM
Waddon Pete 16 Oct 12 - 03:38 PM
Richard Bridge 16 Oct 12 - 03:44 PM
GUEST,muskrat 16 Oct 12 - 05:55 PM
GUEST,Tony Rath aka Tonyteach 16 Oct 12 - 06:50 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 17 Oct 12 - 04:42 AM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 17 Oct 12 - 04:57 AM
Richard Bridge 17 Oct 12 - 05:03 AM
Les in Chorlton 17 Oct 12 - 05:13 AM
Richard Bridge 17 Oct 12 - 06:04 AM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 17 Oct 12 - 06:05 AM
GUEST,Pete the Pirate 17 Oct 12 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,matt milt 17 Oct 12 - 06:50 AM
Spleen Cringe 17 Oct 12 - 06:55 AM
Spleen Cringe 17 Oct 12 - 07:02 AM
Dave Hanson 17 Oct 12 - 07:05 AM
GUEST,Murphy 17 Oct 12 - 07:36 AM
Dave Sutherland 17 Oct 12 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 17 Oct 12 - 09:35 AM
John P 17 Oct 12 - 10:00 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 17 Oct 12 - 10:22 AM
artbrooks 17 Oct 12 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,Big Al aka Archie Traddy Basher 17 Oct 12 - 11:04 AM
GUEST,999 17 Oct 12 - 12:18 PM
Spleen Cringe 17 Oct 12 - 12:28 PM
Ernest 17 Oct 12 - 12:42 PM
Stringsinger 17 Oct 12 - 12:43 PM
dick greenhaus 17 Oct 12 - 01:08 PM
MGM·Lion 17 Oct 12 - 01:16 PM
GUEST 17 Oct 12 - 02:10 PM
Will Fly 17 Oct 12 - 02:11 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 17 Oct 12 - 02:23 PM
MikeL2 17 Oct 12 - 02:42 PM
Richard Bridge 17 Oct 12 - 02:52 PM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 17 Oct 12 - 03:47 PM
GUEST 17 Oct 12 - 04:10 PM
Richard Bridge 17 Oct 12 - 04:18 PM
GUEST,Gibsonboy 17 Oct 12 - 05:14 PM
Spleen Cringe 17 Oct 12 - 06:43 PM
Janie 17 Oct 12 - 08:23 PM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 17 Oct 12 - 09:34 PM
GUEST,Bay City Roll Neck Sweater 17 Oct 12 - 10:03 PM
GUEST,999 17 Oct 12 - 10:38 PM
CarrieS 18 Oct 12 - 01:40 AM
Spleen Cringe 18 Oct 12 - 03:14 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 18 Oct 12 - 04:47 AM
bubblyrat 18 Oct 12 - 05:49 AM
Stringsinger 18 Oct 12 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 18 Oct 12 - 02:03 PM
Betsy 18 Oct 12 - 07:24 PM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 18 Oct 12 - 08:30 PM
Little Hawk 18 Oct 12 - 10:29 PM
GUEST 19 Oct 12 - 03:37 AM
theleveller 19 Oct 12 - 03:48 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 19 Oct 12 - 04:40 AM
Spleen Cringe 19 Oct 12 - 04:47 AM
Spleen Cringe 19 Oct 12 - 05:55 AM
Richard Bridge 19 Oct 12 - 06:45 AM
Spleen Cringe 19 Oct 12 - 06:56 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 19 Oct 12 - 07:45 AM
selby 19 Oct 12 - 07:49 AM
Snuffy 19 Oct 12 - 08:53 AM
theleveller 19 Oct 12 - 09:54 AM
Spleen Cringe 19 Oct 12 - 10:27 AM
GUEST,Erich 19 Oct 12 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,Sidewinder 26 Oct 12 - 07:23 AM
GUEST,matt milton 26 Oct 12 - 07:51 AM
cujimmy 28 Oct 12 - 11:13 AM
Stringsinger 28 Oct 12 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 28 Oct 12 - 12:54 PM
cujimmy 28 Oct 12 - 01:49 PM
Richard Bridge 28 Oct 12 - 03:10 PM
cujimmy 28 Oct 12 - 03:54 PM
Richard Bridge 28 Oct 12 - 04:52 PM
Allen in Oz 28 Oct 12 - 05:08 PM
cujimmy 28 Oct 12 - 05:51 PM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 29 Oct 12 - 04:21 AM
GUEST,PeterC 29 Oct 12 - 06:36 AM
MikeL2 29 Oct 12 - 07:31 AM
GUEST 29 Oct 12 - 11:10 AM
Mr Red 29 Oct 12 - 11:13 AM
Mr Red 29 Oct 12 - 11:19 AM
GUEST,Bay City Roll Neck Sweater 29 Oct 12 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,Billy Mill 30 Oct 12 - 04:05 AM
GUEST,Desi C 30 Oct 12 - 07:35 AM
Spleen Cringe 30 Oct 12 - 09:37 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Gibsonboy
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 06:32 AM

There seems to be a need for Folk to make it appeal as broad as possible in order to survive. You only have to look at the some of the artists appearing at folk festivals, Jools Holland, KT Tunstall, The Proclaimers etc etc, This trend must mean that eventually Folk will cease to exist as a enity. I would argue that this has already happened, evidence, Folk programmes on Radio being axed, Folk Clubs closing down, or at least being run on an ever decreasing budgets, the emergence of "open mic's" probably the new generation of Folk Clubs, pop music being performed albeit in an acoustic way. Folk as we knew it has almost gone, do I care, not really.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 06:50 AM

You seem to take a 'mass market' view of the music - but environment and form are everything.

As far as 'traditional' music (interpret that as you will) is concerned, I see no sign of its demise down here in Sussex, with several busy ceilidh bands, sessions galore, and singers and musicians delivering the music all over the place - plus several clubs in which traditional music is still sung and played.

I don't take any interest in many "folk" festivals, but the recent Lewes Festival - hugely successful, by the way - didn't have anyone of the ilk of Jools Holland or any of the others you mention. So, my view would be that, at grass roots level, the music is alive and well and healthy - and who cares about what's on the radio or the TV? At the last acoustic session at the Bull in Ditchling, we had around 20 musicians - almost too many for comfort at times - and they were a mix of all ages from old greybeards like me to kids in their teens. And the musical content was 99% traditional tunes with the odd song here and there.

Dead? No - just minding its own business and getting on with it as usual.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: Leadfingers
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 06:57 AM

This is a 'The Same Old Story' thread ! In 1965 an extra verse was added to the parody 'The Songs They Are A-changing' (1963 ish) with a line - "For Dylan is out and Donovan is in and the death of Folk Music's about to begin" - Over FORTY years ago , and its still not happened !


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 07:00 AM

I forgot to add that, by the end of the last Bull session, most of the punters drinking in the bar - including a punk in a black suit and boots with a bright yellow mohican haircut - were dancing their socks off.

And - as an aside - if you do mean Folk as we knew it has almost gone, do I care, not really, then why bother to post here anyway?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 07:08 AM

People have been writing the obituary of folk music for tens of years.
Still not dead yet though.

Reports of it's death have been greatly exaggerated, to paraphrase Mark Twain.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 07:27 AM

As John Maynard Keynes sagely pointed out "In the long run, we are all dead".

Astrophysicists assure us that our sun will eventually become a red giant, and evaporate the earth. Well before that happens, human beings will cease to be interested in what we call "folk", and find other ways to enjoy their leisure time.

But not quite yet, I think. Meanwhile, let's enjoy it while we can.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: bubblyrat
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 07:35 AM

It's alive and well here in Winchcombe, where a new club / session started up two months ago (at The White Hart) and it's been a great success ; plus we have our own Border Morris side ,"Happenstance" ,with whose band I am priveleged to play ,among such luminaries as folk-lorist Gwyllym Davis ,melodeonist and sometime collector of Gypsy tunes and songs .Plus a monthly trip down to the Coachmakers Arms in Wallingford to play in Bill McKinnon's session is always a great treat .Folk thrives , and life is good !


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: Richard from Liverpool
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 07:49 AM

I think that there's a certain kind of professionalisation of folk music - artists with well polished reworkings of traditional and pseudo-traditional material - that has been on a long decline. Obviously there is an aging population going to folk clubs, there#s a demise of many venues and radio shows, and although there's a new generation of professional performers coming through the Newcastle University course, they're probably going to need to look to other venues.

There's a bigger question, in my mind, of whether any of that was folk to begin with. When I listen to recordings of folk music (which I do VERY rarely, mainly when I'm listening to old tapes my dad has in the car, or when I'm researching different versions of songs) it sometimes seems like a subgenre of pop music more than something like the people singing and playing their own music.

There are still venues for traditional music (I like to hunt out places where I enjoy listening to people play and sing, and to find places where I can sing traditional songs myself), I think it's just becoming more disconnected from the limited commercialisation of folk that we saw in the 60s and 70s. It's becoming smaller, but in spite of that perhaps a little bit closer to what it once was - people of varied talents and abilities enjoying and passing on tunes and songs amongst themselves.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 07:57 AM

Judge as you find us:

Every Wednesday M21 9EG

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 07:58 AM

"When I listen to recordings of folk music (which I do VERY rarely, mainly when I'm listening to old tapes my dad has in the car, or when I'm researching different versions of songs) it sometimes seems like a subgenre of pop music more than something like the people singing and playing their own music."

yep, and that's a whole different discussion again!

Folk as a live music scene – people standing up and singing traditional songs with other people joining in, or musicians playing at sessions - still seems alive and well.

And that aspect of the folk scene is different enough from other contemporary templates for music-making (most of which have an ideal of pecuniary success as their driver) for me to remain convinced that folk is still more than just the sum of its generic parts.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 08:24 AM

folk is still more than just the sum of its generic parts.

Hear, hear!

And yes, Folk is alive & well & thriving - no longer a derided specialism, it's an integral multi-facted essential aspect of popular music internationally. Here in the UK I'd have to say it was never better really.

I might even say that FOLK is an idea whose time has well & truly arrived.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 08:30 AM

Some folk is dead. Some folk is alive.

Very hard to tell with others.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 08:35 AM

Here is some excellent live music - familiar yet strange:


R & S


L in C#


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: theleveller
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 08:40 AM

"Some folk is dead. Some folk is alive.

Very hard to tell with others."

LOL! Best summary of the folk scene I've heard in years.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,999
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 08:55 AM

I think the OP's thought has to do with wishful perception rather than a well-considered reality.

Some songs do fine in a local area but don't spread much beyond that for various reasons.

In very broad strokes: I love the sound of an erhu played by someone who knows what s/he's about.

Moon Reflected on Erquan Pond - Erhu solo by Zhou Wei

I know that that sound and music affects me at a different place in my head than most country songs, but I'd bet that the erhu played as an accompanying instrument with a guitar and vocal duet/trio on Foster's "Hard Times" would kick ass and take names.

Often, the sound of fifty voices on the same song is awesome. However, I find that too many choirs have little room for a soloist to take off and stretch his or her pipes. When community singing becomes trapped in a lowest common denominator, the music tends to deaden a bit.

Music boils down to understanding and interpretation--although maybe not in that order. Songs (music with lyrics) even more so. Good music is too important to die on the altars of our vanities. That is fortunately being handled by keepers of tradition, and we owe them a debt we may never be able to repay, or even know how to.

Folk music will die when there's no one left to sing the songs, and imo as long as music continues to be important in our daily lives it will remain important in our cultures and there will have to be people to sing the songs.

I have no idea about the OP's intent in starting this thread, but thanks. Gave me some food for thought. And I think you need to consider more completely. No offence intended.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Folk Dead
From: Vic Smith
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 09:50 AM

Unlike Gibson Boy, I am very sorry that folk dead.

However, I am glad that nobody informed the 2000+ people that packed out the 28 events - many sold out - at Lewes Folk Festival this weekend that folk is dead.

I am also very pleased that none of the 200-odd morris dancers and musicians that took part in the festival plus goodness knows how many people watched those 16 sides dancing in four sites continuously for five hours were aware of the fact.

Did I mention that more than 100 singers that contributed either paid performances or took part in singarounds had not been informed?

Neither were the band, caller and a mass of dancers - a record number at this year's ceilidh - in receipt of this knowledge.

Nor were the visitors who came from five European countries told.... the many young performers....

Would you like me to go on, or have I made my point?

In fact, I would prefer it if Gibsonboy kept this a secret or a lot of people might be confused and wondering what they have enjoyed this weekend.


*********************
Right, I have only been taking a break. Now back to the slog of the final festival accounts.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 11:57 AM

Whenever one of these discussions start I'm always reminded of something John McCusker said, back when he had his Mohican ... (I paraphrase, obviously)

Every few years the media rediscovers folk music, decides it's trendy, and then after a while loses interest and moves on, declaring folk 'dead' in the process. Then a few years later it rediscovers it and the cycle begins again. Meanwhile ... we're here all the time!


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 12:04 PM

Further signs of life...

http://www.facebook.com/bobsfolkshow


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,mando-player-91
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 12:13 PM

Nah as long as their is a human race still singing it even a small amount it's not dead.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Morris-ey
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 12:20 PM

No


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 12:35 PM

You're possibly right that open mic'ss are the way of the future. But I see that as a good thing, and a very good thing for Folk music. Why? because open mics welcome with open arms the increasing number of people who want to play real instruments and 'live' music. Folk radio and trad Folk clubs are perhaps dying. Radio because it's obsessed with playing the same old artists and largely ignoring the new, anyone who saw the BB folk awrds last year must agree it resembled a ninosaurs graveyard!

Folk Clubs especially the very trad ones, all I hear from young and even old performers is that they feel very unwelcome there as they get dirty looks if they try anything but trad English. Which is fine but nobody seems to want to help newcomers to learn the genre, on top of that most trad booking clubs book the same old faces. Folk has always survived because it changed with the times, it's thriving in the festivals for the very reason you see as killing it. It's welcomed in other genres who in turn can only do Folk good. I.E have you noticed how many Folk acts (largely new ones) have been featured on Jools Holland's show in recent years?
Trad Folk music and an ever ageing BBC radio need to embrace modernity or they will die out, simple as that


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Ernest
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 12:42 PM

Random thoughts:

#1: Some folks are dead. Still their music is very much alive.


#2: If Folk is dead we are playing dead music. And we play it "live". Can music being played live be dead at the same time? Sounds absurd to me.

#3: Therefore the statement "folk is dead" can only mean the writer doesn`t consider it relevant for him or his peer group or the music industry. Irrelevant for the industry means that there is no big market, but maybe just a small niche for a kind of cottage industry. From that point you could just as well state that organic food is dead. And fast food is relevant.
Irrelevant for himself or his peer group? Lots of things are irrelevant to me and my peer group. Techno or rap music or soccer. Logically they all must be dead too.

#4: Statements like "folk is dead" themselves are deadLY BORING.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 12:43 PM

If it's not we can always kill it.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 01:01 PM

There were three men came out of the west
Their fortunes for try
And these three men swore a solemn oath
That folk music would die
Thet bashed it with a bodhran
They sang it, just to bore
But the BBC served it worst of all
With a series of programmes on folk music
First shown on BBC4


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 01:03 PM

Desi C, sorry if it seems like I'm picking on you below. I'm not, but I hear the sort of things you're saying quite a bit so I'm kind of hijacking your post to make a few points. No offence intended!

Open mics welcome with open arms the increasing number of people who want to play real instruments and 'live' music.

The ones I've been to are either endless covers of Don McLean, Bob Marley and so on or generally not very good (with a few notable exceptions) acoustic singer songwriters. I didn't hear much folk, even in the broadest sense of the word. Of course, anywhere with live music is a good thing, but I don't necessarily see much relationship between open mics and folk music. Especially the open mics that are more like acoustic karaoke nights...

Anyone who saw the BB folk awards last year must agree it resembled a dinosaurs graveyard!

Far be it from me etc, etc, but I wouldn't call The Unthanks, The Young Folk Awards entrants, Tim Edey and so on dinosaurs. Don McLean, yes, but he was there to appease the R2 demographic. And any ceremony that gives a Lifetime Acheivement Award to the great Bill Leader can't be all bad. He may be in his 80s but he's no dinosaur!

Folk Clubs especially the very trad ones, all I hear from young and even old performers is that they feel very unwelcome there as they get dirty looks if they try anything but trad English.

I've found the trad ones to be extremely welcoming. More so than the anything goes ones, certainly. The traddish singaround I mainly go to always has someone or other who insists on playing something that isn't trad, but they always get a polite smattering of applause. I also think if a folk club describes itself as 'trad' there's a bit of a clue on the tin. You wouldn't go to a jazz worshop and play death metal. Or would you? :-)

Which is fine but nobody seems to want to help newcomers to learn the genre

Beginners tunes sessions at the Beech in Chorlton. That's helping. I'm sure there's plenty of other examples.

Trad Folk music and an ever ageing BBC radio need to embrace modernity or they will die out, simple as that

Have you not noticed all the trad singers and players under 30? I persoanlly find a lot of it a bit bland, but it's definitely out there. And Mike Harding has played stuff I've put out on Folk Police that certainly isn't old stuff by old people. Though a bit of old stuff by old people isn't necessarily a bad thing. Have you heard Tom Paley's new album?


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Ron
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 02:38 PM

Predictions of the death of folk music have been going on for so long they are almost traditional.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 03:16 PM

Shouldn't the title of this thread be "Are folk dead?"


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,999
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 03:20 PM

Gotta pluralize the word folk then. Howz about

"Is/Are Folk/Folks Dead?"

I'm just tryna help out here . . .


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 03:32 PM

No folk 'n' good?


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 03:38 PM

The horse chestnut season is here, but the sweet chestnuts are not yet ready in these parts.

....as long as I've been in folk this particular chestnut has always re-surfaced!

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 03:44 PM

I posted earlier but it has vanished. Folk is not a matter of form but of derivation. And it is not dead.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,muskrat
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 05:55 PM

It's very much alive here in North Elmham as our regular Sunday night club shows!


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Tony Rath aka Tonyteach
Date: 16 Oct 12 - 06:50 PM

I hate the modern commercial aspects of folk music - you know learning your words properly singing in tune - remembering to relate to the audience and staying relatively sober while performing. Twill be the death a of vibrant living art form to to be sure, I mean people will start rehearsing next and thats just the end of everything as we know folk

Our local club thanks to Kevin Sheils and colleagues seems to be thriving at the Olde Rose and Crown


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 04:42 AM

Folk is not a matter of form but of derivation.

I think this sort of 1954 thing is long dead though, assuming it had any life in it in the first place outside of a shrinking cell of fundamentalist pseudo-academic reactionaries. There's no longer any point in asking What is folk? because everyone knows what it is - and what it does. It's right there on the tin & it's alive and well because of that. These days Folk is all about form - and the derivation is immaterial to the overall aesthetic which determines that form.

On Mudcat you often hear Folk referred to as The sort of music we like which sums it up pretty neatly. And you're hardly going to call other genres of music Folk Music because their derivation fits in with the Patronisining Colonial Prescriptiveness of the 1954 Definition, are you? Or are you?


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 04:57 AM

Poem

Folk is not a matter of form, but one of derivation.
There is a term for that, my friend, call it:-
verbal masturbation.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 05:03 AM

The problem for you Blan-whoever-you-used-to-be is that the 1954 definition is basically right (could do with a little fine tuning) and culturally neutral. Your "definition" if that is the word for it would leave Peruvian nose flutes (or aborigine chant or whatever) as not folk music which is plainly ridiculous while admitting Mumford and Sons which is equally ridiculous.

And while I hate Sweeney O'Pibroch's pretentious use of things like a kaossilator on (say) the ballad of Sir Patrick Spens - by your "definition" it would not be folk whereas it obviously is.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 05:13 AM

You put you left leg in, your left leg out .............

L in C#
Beech Singaround tonight M21 9EG


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 06:04 AM

That's a folk dance!


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 06:05 AM

And the problem with your definition is that the chances of a chanting aborigine or a Peruvian Nose Flautist turning up to do a floorspot are extremely remote.

Whereas the chances are some misguided soul, with the potential to become a folksinger, might turn up and do a Damien Rice or a Mumford and sons song.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Pete the Pirate
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 06:32 AM

I tend to agree that Folk by the people, for the people, amongst the people, is alive and well. On the other hand you have the concert based, guest booking Folk where we are under seige from armies of singer songwriters who use folk as a platform to perform their introspective ramblings. This area of alleged folk is in my view slowly dying and a good thing to.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,matt milt
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 06:50 AM

"I've found the trad ones to be extremely welcoming. More so than the anything goes ones, certainly. The traddish singaround I mainly go to always has someone or other who insists on playing something that isn't trad, but they always get a polite smattering of applause. I also think if a folk club describes itself as 'trad' there's a bit of a clue on the tin."

But that reminds me of a curious unwritten rule about quite a few trad folk clubs: that certain singer-songwriter repertoire is allowed and positively welcomed. As if it were traditional. Richard Thompson songs, Les Barker songs, Ralph McTell songs, Jake Thackray songs etc.

...Or alternatively that other rather arcane aspect of trad folk clubs: the old spoken music-hall monologue/routine. You only tend to get that, ironically, at the more trad clubs - not the "anything goes" ones. Ironically, because were someone to go to a trad folk club and launch into a Bill Hicks or Eddie Izzard standup routine, audiences would presumably regard that as inappropriate.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 06:55 AM

Richard Bridge: And while I hate Sweeney O'Pibroch's pretentious use of things like a kaossilator on (say) the ballad of Sir Patrick Spens...

How can a small electronic drone generator (or it's use) be pretentious? Would it be ok if it was a shruti box? It's just a drone, man!

'Big' Al Whittle: And the problem with your definition is that the chances of a chanting aborigine or a Peruvian Nose Flautist turning up to do a floorspot are extremely remote.

Whereas the chances are some misguided soul, with the potential to become a folksinger, might turn up and do a Damien Rice or a Mumford and sons song


The former are unlikely to turn up at a folk club in (f'rinstance)Northamptonshire. They are however highly likely to play the folk music of their own culture in the places where they live. The chances of a person covering a Mumford and Son song turning up at a remote mountain settlement in Peru or an Aboriginal settlement in the outback is also pretty slim. Or are you assuming folk music only exists in white English speaking cultures and only takes one form? And that Peruvian folk music is not folk music?


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 07:02 AM

the old spoken music-hall monologue/routine

Phew. We don't tend to get this...


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 07:05 AM

Gibsonboy just wanted to start an argument, I love a good argument but Gibsonboy just talks bollocks.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Murphy
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 07:36 AM

Sorry to mention Country Music in this thread. It seems to me that since that Brokeback Mountain movie it is now obligatory for male country singers to reach higher pitch than the females. I haven't heard a good country song for over ten years. That "sreech factor" which has permeated all genres must be due to the evolution of the human ear which can no longer tolerate "normal" pitch. Us old fogies are the losers.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 07:48 AM

I would love to know who the "same old faces" who get booked around the trad clubs are; considering that the club that I have helped run for the last 21 years, and which has been described as being "too traditional" (a bit like saying that the BNP is too right wing I always think) usually has a gap of around three to five years before a guest returns. As for not encouraging the younger generation we have had among our guests over the last couple of years Jon Boden and Fay Heild, The Askew Sisters, Sam Lee, Gren Bartley and Tom Kitching (we have Pilgrim's Way next year), Sam Sweeney & Hannah James and Jim Causley many of whom have featured on the television programmes mentioned above. We have even been described as "welcoming" by none other than arch traddie –basher Big Al himself (:-))
Yes I'm sure that Gibsonboy just popped in to stir the shit but it did open the floodgates for some of the ill informed comments that have ensued


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 09:35 AM

Dead? How can it be be dead when Mark Ratcliffe is presenting a new Folk show on Radio 2? Shame he's not doing it with The Boy Lard though - well I remember the Folkier aspects of their Radio 1 show with Bernard Wrigley, the History of the Strawbs and features on Morris Dancer of the Week. Anyway, check it out...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2012/mark-radcliffe-adds-folk-to-radio-2-roster.html

*

The problem for you Blan-whoever-you-used-to-be is that the 1954 definition is basically right (could do with a little fine tuning) and culturally neutral.

Balls. It's born of Upper Class English Colonialism. How on earth is that Culturally Neutral? It's as biased as it is patronising & condescending.

Your "definition" if that is the word for it would leave Peruvian nose flutes (or aborigine chant or whatever) as not folk music

Do I have a definition? Not sure if I do. Music is what it is - it doesn't need defining, just observing & respecting. Peruvian Nose Flute music is Peruvian Nose Flute music - why does it have to be folk as well? I've got shelves of ethnomusicological field recordings and very few of them use the term folk. Some do, granted, but it really is quite irrelavant to (say) Ritual New Guinea Flute Music or Mauritanian Griots or Madagascan Fiddle Music or Albanian Kaba laments. To say these musics are somehow folk because of some ghastly set of prescriptions hatched as Holy Writ in some ivory tower by a bunch of quasi-religious aristocrats and clung onto zealously by the fundamentalist faithful ever since is utter nonsense.

which is plainly ridiculous while admitting Mumford and Sons which is equally ridiculous.

Having never knowingly heard Mumford & Sons I couldn't possibly say.

And while I hate Sweeney O'Pibroch's pretentious use of things like a kaossilator on (say) the ballad of Sir Patrick Spens

Never sung Sir Patrick Spens in my entire life, though earlier on today I was using the Kaossilator for looping drones, Jew's Harp and pocket trumpet on King Orfeo. How on earth is that pretentious, Richard? Untypical maybe, I grant, in Folk circles anyway, but it's just what comes naturally to me, just as plagiarising Martin Carthy ballads comes naturally to you.

by your "definition" it would not be folk whereas it obviously is.

I've no problem calling it folk because folk is nothing if it isn't FORM and IDIOM. Amongst tons of other things Folk Form & Idiom consists of drones, modes and a studied unnatural obsession with traditional balladry - all of which I have in spades. Any accompaniment of such balladry is entirely relevant - be it an English Concertina or a fiddle or a banjo or guitar or a laptop computer or an Indian pocket trumpet looped through a Korg Kaossilator with mountains of FX thrown in for good measure.

Would I do this in Folk Club? No. But I do it at home & on-line & in more 'experimental' performance contexts where a ballad or two goes down a lot warmer than even an electronic shruti box does at a folk club. It's more than once I've had some mithering folkie coming up to me saying 'As a purist I find your use of electronic drones deeply offensive' or how dare you use a Turkish fiddle and Indian harmonium to accompany English Folk Song. Of course self confessed purists know fuck all about musical realities. Fact. If they did, they wouldn't be purists.

I wonder - are you a purist too Richard? Or just a Righteous Folk Puritan? WAV-like in your wonky prescriptions of how it ought to be, rather than just out there delighting in how it is...

1954 Folk isn't dead because it never existed in the first place. The Revival Continuum, OTOH, does exist. It stetches from the night of August 22nd 1903 when Cecil Sharp performed his parlour arrangement of Seeds of Love right through Fairport, Pentangle, Mr Fox, The Wicker Man Soundtrack to the myriad folk musicians & singers both great & small, straight & weird, out there doing their own thing in their own way today.

2012 Folk is alive & well & amazing; 2013 Folk will be even better.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: John P
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 10:00 AM

It's interesting that all the examples given so far for both folk being dead and for folk being alive and well are about folk music taking place in public venues: concerts, clubs, sessions, open mics, festivals. Even those who talk about folk music being non-commercial and home-grown only talk about going out somewhere, usually to a commercial establishment, to see or take part in it. Most of the folk music I play takes place in people's homes.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 10:22 AM

Most of the folk music I play takes place in people's homes.

Testify, brother! We need to know...

In our home there's lots of it too, sessions, recording, rehearsals but mostly for the pure unadulterated joy of it. Some nights we're too engrossed doing music we forget about going to the folk club. I suspect that's true of most Folkie Homes... and Musicianly Homes in general. Music is a domestic joy, like making love, raising kids, making up flat-pack IKEA* bookcases and baking bread - ancient things done eternally by way of renewal of our very humanity.

By my own fireside with my wife I do sing -
& I wouldn't change that with a high-crowned king!


* I've heard much Viking furniture was flat-packed, to be carried o'er seas and erected in foreign lands. Then you drive out where the storms clouds follow, and the sound of your hex key grinding hollow, is all you will hear in the months to follow...


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: artbrooks
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 10:44 AM

Just a reset for those who haven't sat through multiple iterations of people (mostly Brits, I think) discussing "what is (and isn't) folk...The International Folk Music Council in 1954 defined folk music as "the product of a musical tradition that has been evolved through the process of oral transmission." That organization is part of the International Music Council which is, in turn, part of UNESCO.

IMHO, "oral" includes recordings and playing/singing from written notation, as well as sitting at the knee of someone who learned material from multiple generations of knee sitters. Others are free to disagree.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Big Al aka Archie Traddy Basher
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 11:04 AM

For all we know the peruvian nose flautist might be singing the equivqlent of the Birdie Song and the Aborigine might be chanting an add from the telly about the new MacDonald's cheeseburger.

Why do you assume they are more ethnic and pure than the poor sod trying to tell his eternal truth with a Mumford song.

Its just a bloody excuse to turn away from humanity in all its grossness. And without that two fisted bash at life that is in all the best folk music, you're left with something rather anaemic.

Still you know that.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,999
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 12:18 PM

As what I hope is my last post to this seemingly endless thread--perhaps I think so because there have been so many seemingly endless threads about essentially the same topic--I would like to say that 'folk' isn't dead, but the interminable same-same over the years makes me wonder why so many people want to kill it with arguments few read, think about or respond to.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 12:28 PM

Why do you assume they are more ethnic and pure than the poor sod trying to tell his eternal truth with a Mumford song

No-one is. It's not about 'ethnic' or 'pure'. It's just that you always seem to have a problem with foreign music, Al - you go on and on about it and seem to think the fact fRoots covers it has singlehandedly destroyed the folk scene, as you've implied on another thread. You seem not to accept that there are types of folk music all over the world, not just in the UK and America. You also seem to think that if someone has broad enough tastes to like some folk music (and other music - about McDonalds or whatever) from overseas this is somehow to the detriment of Britsish folk singers and singer songwriters. Can't someone like both?

Personally I think the Mumfords are as dull as fuck, so they are a bad example for me. Though if someone else enjoys them good luck to them. But taking some artists I do like - Michael Chapman, Bill Fay, Roy Harper, Hiss Golden Messenger, Adam Leonard, for example, they're great songwriters all. I have no need to worry if they are folk or not, I just like their music, and if someone wants to cover their songs,that's their business - though I'd rather hear the originals. I also have no need to disparage foreign folk music because I like their music.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Ernest
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 12:42 PM

We wouldn`t have to discuss the 54-definition over and over again if somebody had come up with something better.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Stringsinger
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 12:43 PM

The bearer of this thread has a limited and ignorant view of folk music, is not a branch of show business featuring pop artists turned acoustic but a vital and living tradition outside the commercialization of the music on stages, concert halls or "folk clubs".

Actually the genuine folk process has little to do with certain folkie individuals who are selling the wares on commercial ads. The genuine folk process has always been an underground river seen only by those who understand the significance of folk music as a cultural process, always in motion, never static and is continuing unobserved by many who attribute folk music to someone onstage with an acoustic guitar.

The process includes many who play and sing or just sing folk music for their own enjoyment away from the microphones and spotlights or on certain radio stations. These people may one day be collected by folklorists who use their material as a gauge of history and society.

It does not represent a star system. There is no American folk idol program nor will there ever be. Many young people just don't get it because they have sucked at the tit of the commercial music industry for so many years, indoctrinated by playlists and star worship and are futile in their "hipness".

In the meantime, folk music survives throughout the world on as an undercurrent despite technology or in some cases because of it, as collecting techniques become easier, and there is more of an interest today in folk music that is authentic than at any other time in our history.

Folk music is not a fad like the newest wave of pop music engendered by corporate music moguls who get rich off it at the expense often of the artists they purport to serve.

To paraphrase Mark Twain: "The death of our folk music is greatly exaggerated".


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 01:08 PM

Frank-
Amen


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 01:16 PM

I think there is confusion as to whether folk music is no longer sung anywhere [it always will be, somewhere?], or simply whether it has ceased to be commercially viable, as it was from about the 50s-90s as part of a wider popular-music/country &c scene.

No particular opinion on this myself ~~ haven't been active on the folk scene for years now, though still enjoy singing for myself and have put some videos up on youtube. But I think that those contributing in good faith to the discussion of the thread title would do well to separate out these two strands in their minds before deciding what their answer to the question is.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 02:10 PM

Folk is not dead - it just smells funny.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Will Fly
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 02:11 PM

Well, that's droll isn't it?


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 02:23 PM

Sorry, that was me below, paraphrasing Frank Zappa (from The Be-Bop Tango on Roxy & Elsewhere) : Jazz is not dead - it just smells funny.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: MikeL2
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 02:42 PM

Hi

Some think that folk is dead - but it is definitely not lying down.
Sometimes it is just sleeping occasionally.

Cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 02:52 PM

Artbrooks, I agree. Maybe a bit of fine tuning, but I agree. Good enough for folk.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 03:47 PM

Yes I admit the eskimos, and the gallant zulus and hottentots all have their folk music - probably the Martians as well.

The thing is, I'm not sure it should be our top concern - now that the world map is no longer coloured red, and our dreams of empire have faded.

course its a bit of a bugger - you'll have to bother with those nasty working class types who create our folk music, and listen and are influenced by musicians like the Bay City Wankers and Mumford and his family - rather than Sam Larner, Harry Cox, Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all- and those Zulu lyrics, which are SO telling.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 04:10 PM

Please, Al, the Bay Shitties were fuckers and buggerers, but not wankers.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 04:18 PM

That guest was me. Deletions of posts are bad enough, but deletions of cookies is worse.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Gibsonboy
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 05:14 PM

Dave Hanson is right I just wanted to start an argument, and it seems I have. However, since none of you lot seem to be able to agree on anything, maybe my point is proved.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 06:43 PM

Al. You prove my point. I think.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Janie
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 08:23 PM

Folk will die when humans are extinct. When the last person standing doesn't hear or sing, if only in their mind, some song that expresses their condition or sorrow, or longing for final rest.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 09:34 PM

went to Weymouth folk club tonight. My own in Dorchester tomorrow.

If it helps to see me as the root of all problems, okay SC. You are right. I am wrong. If that affords you any satisfaction - good on ya - glad to be of service.

However it still makes no difference to the fact that the great mass of English people have seen your tradition - and run a mile in the opposite direction.

I rather like it that people are coming to folk clubs and open mics and writing in traditions and genres that they are comfortable with.

Amd if it is introspective and rambling occasionally. well the old tradition was not without its faults.

As that great folk artist jesse j said - its not about the money, money, money...
Its about things having changed.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Bay City Roll Neck Sweater
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 10:03 PM

Folk is Undead !!!

Folk creeps out of dank darkness
to prey on and devour the flesh and souls
of young pop music fans........


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,999
Date: 17 Oct 12 - 10:38 PM

...and with the wind comes the regenerative pieces of wha. So spake Jake the Dubious Gentleman in the whack coat. Pleased to meet you.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: CarrieS
Date: 18 Oct 12 - 01:40 AM

Doesn't it all depend on your definition of folk?

Carrie (newbie)


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Oct 12 - 03:14 AM

Al, I don't see you as the root of all problems. I see you as someone who generally comes across as a decent bloke, but who sometimes talks some right old utter toss. Okay?


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 18 Oct 12 - 04:47 AM

someone who generally comes across as a decent bloke, but who sometimes talks some right old utter toss.

Isn't that the standard OED definition of Mudcatter?


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: bubblyrat
Date: 18 Oct 12 - 05:49 AM

Hi ,Big Al ! ; I used to play at Dorchester Folk Club a lot back in the 1960s .It was upstairs in a pub called "The Chequers" in the High Street . Where's it to nowadays ?


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Stringsinger
Date: 18 Oct 12 - 12:49 PM

Carrie, you are about to stir up a hornet's nest on a topic that is unsolvable.

Dick, we are on the same page. I remember that you are a good old time clawhammer banjo picker. We both have had interesting experiences with Bascom Lunsford who I consider to be a great folk musician despite his personal ideology.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Oct 12 - 02:03 PM

Well I'm Johnny Come Lately to the scene. I wouldn't dignify what I do as calling it THE Dorchester Folk Club.

James Findlay and and Jerry Bird do a scene at Martinstown and at The Blue Raddle in town.

I'm at The Cornwall Hotel - every Thursday - for a while at least. theres another opn mic at Tom Brown's - also on a Thursday.

Bob Kirkpatrick has two folk clubs round the Broadmayne area.

theres loads of other stuff going on at Weymouth and Bridport.

Not to mention Morris related stuff.

Not the stuff that gets on BBC4 - probably not folk music according to some people. No wonder they think its dead. their view of folk music is SO exclusive.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Betsy
Date: 18 Oct 12 - 07:24 PM

Not quite - but let's be realistic about this - The demography which which started / supported this genre will all "fall" over in the next ten to twenty years time (including me - I suppose). Will a more curious generation take up the interst in years to come ?? unlikely in a multicultural society.
I'm not totally sure why we did it , but I thought it was to re-discover or ,understand our ancestry ,understand social (and political) conditions.
We needed to know our history through song, and to a certain extent through dance. I'm afraid that future generations will not have our unified heritage upon which the "Folk Scene" was based , and possibly our genre will be consigned to the dustbin of time. One thing for certin is was great fun , intellectually stimulating, a wealth of knowledge, fabulous social value, and a lovely means of Social intercourse and meeting new friends , whilst it lasted. And ...great great music
Long Live Folk
Betsy.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Oct 12 - 08:30 PM

Frankly Betty, if folksong can survive what the traddies have been doing to it these forty years, it can survive anything.

The whole point of it was that it was passed on for fun by generation after generation, each generation adding their twist and accomplishments and beliefs - and that it is why it survived - it lived in the hands of those who used it.

The idea of replicating the voice of an 18th century farmer evicted cos of the land enclosures, or using a wayward rhythm, or a modal scale as the basis for English folksong. All guarnateed to drive the average listener away and conceal the inherent strength and beauty of the music from a modern listener - that has been the contribution of our generation.

Some of us disagreed with the approach, but louder more arrogant voices prevailed.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Oct 12 - 10:29 PM

It's not half as dead as the question being asked in the thread title.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Oct 12 - 03:37 AM

"The demography which which started / supported this genre will all "fall" over in the next ten to twenty years time (including me - I suppose). Will a more curious generation take up the interst in years to come ?? unlikely in a multicultural society.
I'm not totally sure why we did it , but I thought it was to re-discover or ,understand our ancestry ,understand social (and political) conditions.
We needed to know our history through song, and to a certain extent through dance. I'm afraid that future generations will not have our unified heritage upon which the "Folk Scene" was based"

Well, maybe you can take some solace in that I didn't get into folk for any such reason, and neither did any of the other people I know. A lot of younger people get into folk simply cos they like the tunes.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: theleveller
Date: 19 Oct 12 - 03:48 AM

With you there, Big Al. We need a bit of folk Darwinism - adapt and survive.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 19 Oct 12 - 04:40 AM

unlikely in a multicultural society.

If that's the case then it can't die quick enough as far as I'm concerned, nor yet those who choose to cling to such fallacious racist nonsense.

Happily, however, it's not the case at all. Indeed, it has been suggested that the 2nd wave of the UK Folk Revival was moved by radical Baby Boomers encouraged to look at their own culture in the light of emerging multiculturalism - not as some reaction to cultural diversity, but so as to make a more positive contribution to it.

Sadly, it's not just the BNP who have hitched their rancid cause to the name of Folk over the years, and many otherwise sensible folkies I meet feel that they are making a stand for 'our own good culture' (or somesuch claptrap) in the face of 'threats' from immigrant communities who, naturally, aren't too impressed at the English scheme overall. God knows they are not alone in that! Thus does Folk take its place as part of the ongoing movement of alternative & radical action which embraces all music dedicated to human interest. We have a long & proud tradition of that in the West - and an awareness of World Music is its natural & glorious outcome.

But still I meet the odd grizzled old folky muttering in their pewter tankard that FRoots has somehow betrayed the cause. Thankfully, such people are few & far between; getting fewer and further by the day.

To call Folk 'Our Own Good Culture' is, frankly, bullshit. Folk is a modern fabrication of a tiny minority which, at its post creative and positive seeks to takes its place in a culturally diverse world. As Hamish Henderson said : before we can ever be national, we must first be international. In a multicultural society such as our own that internationalism is part of our cosmopolitan national consciousness. Folk evolved to be a part of that: it exists because of multiculturalism, not to spite it. In short, without Multiculturalism there would be no Folk.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 19 Oct 12 - 04:47 AM

Will a more curious generation take up the interst in years to come ?? unlikely in a multicultural society.

With all due respect (i.e. none): utter bollocks.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 19 Oct 12 - 05:55 AM

To expand on the above.

We live in a multi-cultural society. We also live in a society where there are loads of folk festivals, folk gigs at art centres and pubs and clubs up and down the country, loads of young musicians playing folk music as performers, at sessions and so on. Despite the BBC changes, we have more folk music on the radio than ever before - whether it be BBC local radio, community radio or internet radio. The folk awards are a televised national event. Labels and promoters proliferate. And you can't nmve for morris dancers, mummers and assorted lovable lunatics! We should probably even celebrate the fact that folk influenced indie pop musicians like Mumford and Sons are incredibly popular.

What has changed - and this has nothing to do with multiculturalism - is that the old model of the folk club as the main place for hearing folk music is declining. With a few notable exceptions it is probably in terminal decline and will probably die off with the last of the diehard 60s/70s folkies. But what that really means is that things have moved on and that the standard-issue folk club is not necessarily the model that many people want now.

Our multicultural society means we are exposed to all sorts of culture and music and arts we might not have been otherwise, and make no mistake, every culture has its own folk and traditional music. I love the fact that as well as going to listen to traditional English folk, in my city I can also hear sitar recitals, Balkan gypsy music and so on - it's a real pleasure and privilege. People with different cultural backgrounds living side by side also presents fantastic opportunities for artists and musicians to do cross-cultural collaborations and I hope we see more of this (though this is nothing new - you only have to check out some of the stuff the Jon Renbourn Group put out in the early 1970s to see that).

If we have a folk music that is scared of and threatened by multiculturalism we have a folk music that deserves to die. An interest in the musical heritage of these islands does not depend on a paranoid seige mentality. If anything will kill it, that will.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Oct 12 - 06:45 AM

If however, Al, a tune is defined by pitch and timing then taking a modal tune and replacing the melody with one that is not modal (if there is any such thing as a mode) is to make a different tune, one that is not the older one.

I am not aware of anyone asserting that speech habits define whether something is folk or net. Welcome to Big Al's Aunt Sally shy. Odd, really, when we here see a neat restructuring of the folk process as "The whole point of it was that it was passed on for fun by generation after generation, each generation adding their twist and accomplishments and beliefs - and that it is why it survived - it lived in the hands of those who used it."

Spleen Cringe can say "You seem not to accept that there are types of folk music all over the world, not just in the UK and America" and "every culture has its own folk and traditional music" then apparently deny that folk music can survive as such in the UK. Shome mishtake shurely.

Surely any historian would have to accept "We need to know our history through song, and to a certain extent through dance". We rightly accept it of those of foreign heritage. Why deny it to some only?

I'm all up for mucking about with melodies and rhythms (anyone who's heard me play should have spotted that) but that is the folk process. If that involves new things from different places - well, that's just the same as people moving about in this country in the past.

But none of it means that folk is dead, or that composed songs are "folk" until they are assimilated.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 19 Oct 12 - 06:56 AM

then apparently deny that folk music can survive as such in the UK

Where, Richard? My point was in response to the paranoid crap further up the thread about how multiculturalism is a threat to folk music, which the evidence clearly shows it isn't. I'd have thought you'd agree with that?


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 19 Oct 12 - 07:45 AM

or that composed songs are "folk" until they are assimilated.

Sounds like Borg Technology to me, Richard.

I say again - less prescription, more description. All music is about process - that's what makes it music. What makes it Folk Music is a matter of part aesthetic & cultural intention and part wishful thinking. If we talk about (say) The Folk Music of Transylvania, we're talking of very specific FORMS of music & revival. Same goes for all so-called Folk Musics - each defined by form, idiom, genre & canon however so derived because all music is a matter of Process of Derivation which is synonymous with Tradition.

Name me one that isn't & I'll eat my hat (and a damn fine hat it is too, though not as fine as my old Irish Hannah trilby, though hopefully soon I'll be sporting a John B Stetson...)


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: selby
Date: 19 Oct 12 - 07:49 AM

If you are in touch with the under 25's folk is alive and having a great time. The under 30's have started having children and they are all around the festivals having a great time with their kids. The under 50,s are having a great time enjoying folk music in all its forms. The over 60's are all sat at home moaning about folk music dying not been the same when I was younger, There are exceptions to this rule of course. They can be found enjoying folk music all over the place!!!!!!
Keith


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Snuffy
Date: 19 Oct 12 - 08:53 AM

Shouldn't that be "ARE Folk dead"?


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: theleveller
Date: 19 Oct 12 - 09:54 AM

"or that composed songs are "folk" until they are assimilated."

Not sure what you mean by 'assimilated'. Using that argument would mean that beer isn't beer until you piss it out.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 19 Oct 12 - 10:27 AM

Some of it isn't, Lev! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Erich
Date: 19 Oct 12 - 11:44 AM

I don't think folk is dead. Listen to performers like Gavin Davenport, Crucible, Lady Maisery, Hannah James and lots of other young people doing the old songs in their own "new" way. On the other hand the BBC is trying to kill it. Just think what happend to Folkwaves und what is going on with Mike Harding.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Sidewinder
Date: 26 Oct 12 - 07:23 AM

I went to the "Folk" Festival in Robin Hoods Bay (back in June) and heard some lovely interpretations of "You're So Vain" "If I Should Fall Behind" and "Stairway to Heaven" etc. So, take it from me; Folk is alive and sticking.

Regards.

Sidewinder.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 26 Oct 12 - 07:51 AM

"What has changed - and this has nothing to do with multiculturalism - is that the old model of the folk club as the main place for hearing folk music is declining. With a few notable exceptions it is probably in terminal decline and will probably die off with the last of the diehard 60s/70s folkies. But what that really means is that things have moved on and that the standard-issue folk club is not necessarily the model that many people want now."

While I (kind of) agree, I would say that I think it's worth trying to sustain folk clubs.

While I prefer trad folk clubs, at the end of the day it's not what songs are sung at them, it's the "club" aspect that is the clincher for me. It's that aspect of trust and commitment and sociability that is their charm and their potency and their strength.
The one really nice thing about folk clubs is that they are clubs, and regulars still appear to be prepared to turn up most weeks and pay money to sing, participate and - get this - pay over £5 to hear an act they may never have even heard before.

That last bit is now so out of step with the "pay nothing for anything" mentality prevalent in the arts that I think it'd be a real shame if it died: if folk clubs just became gigs where the act plays the album (or whatever). There are already enough gigs and they can be amazing and there probably always will be.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: cujimmy
Date: 28 Oct 12 - 11:13 AM

I went to see Ewan McLennan at the Grove Folk club in Leeds on Friday night - he sang a lot of lovely trditional Scottish songs very well, along with some of his own songs, a Bob Dylan song and a traditional American song during his concert to an audience which included many people under 30 - no folk music is definately not dead - I dont understand why some people are so pessimistic, and why people start doom and gloom mudcat threads about Folk Music when its as relevant today as it ever was.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Stringsinger
Date: 28 Oct 12 - 12:27 PM

The problem in my view lies with the commercialization of folk music. Many perceive it as another branch of show business such as rock and roll or soul et. al. and when they don't hear it on the radio or see it highly advertised as a concert, they conclude that it is dead. Actually, because of its limits in the show biz world, it has burgeoned as an alternative by people making music for themselves and exploring how others have done it.

A lot more interest in traditional music is taking place and new exponents from traditional cultures are becoming visible to a larger group of folkie aficionados.

Look at the wealth of traditional folk music that has been growing on recordings, far exceeding the amount of earlier years.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Oct 12 - 12:54 PM

'The problem in my view lies with the commercialization of folk music.'

Yes its a pity we don't seem to be able to do that.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: cujimmy
Date: 28 Oct 12 - 01:49 PM

I can appreciate your points regarding commercialism, but appart from the 1960 or 70s folk was never really commercial was it - well certainly not in England I dont think. The audience on Friday evening didnt come along due to recomendation from any radio or other medias recomendation - it was largely due to word of mouth and the fact that Ewan sang Traditional Scottish Scottish folk songs so well that people in Yorkshire understood and enjoyed them so much you could have heard a pin drop while he was singing them, and many people would have went home and tried to learn the songs themselves afterwards - ie passing on "The Living Tradition". which for me and many others im sure is what makes Folk music so interesting and enjoyable.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Oct 12 - 03:10 PM

100 - NO!


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: cujimmy
Date: 28 Oct 12 - 03:54 PM

what does that mean Richard


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Oct 12 - 04:52 PM

It means, as you said, that it is not dead. Indeed for reasons including those of yours.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Allen in Oz
Date: 28 Oct 12 - 05:08 PM

In the 1950s the pundits gleefully predicted the demise of Test Cricket.

Like Test Cricket, folk muisc will just bat on regardless.

It is somewhat like the situation when they told Dorothy Parker that President Calvin Coolidge was dead and she said " How could they tell"?

AD


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: cujimmy
Date: 28 Oct 12 - 05:51 PM

I just dont see the reason to be so pessimistic - there are threads going back 10 yrs 15 yrs telling us that folk music is dying and in 10 years from now someone will be telliing us of the same


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Oct 12 - 04:21 AM

The thing is, give Folk a prod with a stick - see if its still breathing....it might just be pissed.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 29 Oct 12 - 06:36 AM

Folk cannot be dead! If it was, acoustic music clubs would not call themselves 'folk clubs', pop/rock festivals would not call themselves 'folk festivals', and singer/songwriters of dubious talent would not call themselves 'folk singers'


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: MikeL2
Date: 29 Oct 12 - 07:31 AM

hi

<" In the 1950s the pundits gleefully predicted the demise of Test Cricket.">

Good analogy.

Test Cricket now bears little resemblance to the cricket played today. The game has been adapted by the newer generations.

So too with "folk" - it's just evolving.

cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Oct 12 - 11:10 AM

Since its nearly halloween can we just declare it undead?


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Mr Red
Date: 29 Oct 12 - 11:13 AM

Folk is not dead, Folk is wot folks do.

In a hundred years we will see Folk clubs demonstrating:

people falling asleep in front of the telly.

People yapping on their mobile phones loudly (Mortimer's reflex refers).

People with a million "friends" they have never met.

Lightbulb jokes.

How to lump all yer debts into one humungous, crippling debt.

People getting drunk (oh dear - plus ca change)

Folk is dead, long live Folk.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Mr Red
Date: 29 Oct 12 - 11:19 AM

PS
How can the new generation hope to forge their own brand of Folk if we Old Fogies don't tut and disapprove? Otherwise they would be Young Fogies.
Fashions in Folk? (shudder) - when did you last hear "Jug of Punch" or the old Norfolk ditty "Wild Rover"? Well?


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Bay City Roll Neck Sweater
Date: 29 Oct 12 - 01:12 PM

errrmm.. big problem with cricket/folk analogy is that cricket is a very tedious ordeal for non fans..


oh.. ok.. on 2nd thoughts it's a perfect analogy !!!


Though, players of folk music should hope be less likely to suffer a sudden painful impact
to the head or the groin ???


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Billy Mill
Date: 30 Oct 12 - 04:05 AM

There were 12 jolly dons came out of the south their fortunes for to try -
And these 12 jolly dons made a solemn vow that folk music should die.
They collected, defined it and sucked it dry - buried it deep where but few feared to tread...
Then these 12 jolly dons made a solemn vow that folk music was dead.


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 30 Oct 12 - 07:35 AM

Spleen Cringe
No offence taken at all Spleen. I agree not all, or even most open Mic clubs should be termed folk, I'm referring more to acoustic Singers nights. What it comes down to though is, your's is a very devisive anti mot things not trad, and I can only assume from your general comments that 'trad' to you is trad English? But trad to me is English, Irish, American, European, in fact from anywhere near enough
Fact is Trad English clubs are certainly on the decline, certainly the guest booking clubs have been dying according to their own Org Folk21. Others, including the Singers/open mic clubs are thriving, and I suggest that's because they are MUCH more welcoming than the trad English clubs, to all those other genres of FOLK music I mentioned above.
yes of course 'some' trad clubs are friendly and welcoming. But MOST are not, and they simply are not moving with the times. Fair enough if that's what they want. but then you can't be going round complaining 'Folk is Dead' because in the true meaning of the word it's never been healthier. Of course on many singers nights you'll hear some crap or overdone songs, but are you really asking us to believe you don't get that in trad clubs!? Long live FOLK


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Subject: RE: Is Folk Dead
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 30 Oct 12 - 09:37 AM

yours is a very devisive anti most things not trad

I beg to differ. Here's the evidence: Folk Police Recordings.

And for the record, traditional English music makes up about 5% of my record collection. But when I go to a folk club that advertises itself as mainly traditional music, I do assume that mainly traditional music is what I'm going to hear... ;-)

Personally I think there is some brilliant folkish stuff out there that isn't traditional. This is one of the best new songs of the year so far in my opinion, for example: Sproatly Smith: Blackthorn Winter. And oh that we had more songwriters as good as Alasdair Roberts.


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