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Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?

Dave the Gnome 16 Oct 13 - 06:41 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 16 Oct 13 - 08:08 AM
Dave the Gnome 16 Oct 13 - 08:31 AM
Vic Smith 16 Oct 13 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 16 Oct 13 - 08:43 AM
Dave the Gnome 16 Oct 13 - 08:48 AM
GUEST,CS 16 Oct 13 - 08:55 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 16 Oct 13 - 09:06 AM
Dave the Gnome 16 Oct 13 - 09:17 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 16 Oct 13 - 09:25 AM
Lighter 16 Oct 13 - 09:26 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 16 Oct 13 - 09:36 AM
Dave the Gnome 16 Oct 13 - 09:39 AM
selby 16 Oct 13 - 10:06 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Oct 13 - 10:15 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 16 Oct 13 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 16 Oct 13 - 10:22 AM
Lighter 16 Oct 13 - 10:29 AM
GUEST 16 Oct 13 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,CS 16 Oct 13 - 10:43 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 16 Oct 13 - 11:15 AM
Suzy Sock Puppet 16 Oct 13 - 01:05 PM
Lighter 16 Oct 13 - 01:22 PM
Dave the Gnome 16 Oct 13 - 01:30 PM
Suzy Sock Puppet 16 Oct 13 - 01:40 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Oct 13 - 03:17 PM
Steve Shaw 16 Oct 13 - 09:13 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Oct 13 - 02:33 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Oct 13 - 07:43 AM
The Sandman 17 Oct 13 - 08:45 AM
Lighter 17 Oct 13 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 17 Oct 13 - 11:47 AM
Dave the Gnome 17 Oct 13 - 12:14 PM
GUEST,Gourmet 18 Oct 13 - 03:19 AM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 18 Oct 13 - 05:16 AM
GUEST,eldergirl on another computer 18 Oct 13 - 06:33 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Oct 13 - 02:59 AM
Jack Blandiver 19 Oct 13 - 03:01 AM
Jack Blandiver 19 Oct 13 - 03:03 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 19 Oct 13 - 05:13 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Oct 13 - 05:38 AM
Dave the Gnome 24 Oct 13 - 05:28 AM
Phil Edwards 24 Oct 13 - 07:07 AM
GUEST,Georgina Boyes 24 Oct 13 - 07:55 AM
Phil Edwards 24 Oct 13 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,Georgina Boyes 24 Oct 13 - 09:30 AM
Phil Edwards 24 Oct 13 - 10:30 AM
The Sandman 24 Oct 13 - 01:49 PM
SPB-Cooperator 25 Oct 13 - 04:26 AM
MartinRyan 25 Oct 13 - 04:40 AM
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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 06:41 AM

the easy listening Folk 'n' Fun of Gary & Vera is born of a different earth to the unearthly Vocal Polyphony of workers on a collective farm in Albania.

Probably, but is that a problem? Why can they not both be folk music? I, amongskt many others, can relate far more to G&Vs songs than those of Albanian peasants, regardless of the quality or authenticity of the music.

As an example outside folk, André Rieu is still classed as classical albeit far more commercial than other musicians. I liked a quote from his Wiki entry -

The fact that Rieu's focus is on highly accessible, enjoyable repertoire is not an argument against his musical credentials.

Surely the same applies to Gary and Vera, Jasper Carrot, Mike Harding and many others in the 'folk scene' (Another deliberate use of quotes :-) )

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 08:08 AM

I don't enjoy it at all - in fact, I find it irksome & depressing as hell (just as I find Les Barker totally unfunny and The Band Played Waltzing Matilda sentimental schlock). But that's a matter of taste & utter subjectivity, as all enjoyment is. But then, I'm not really a folky, only by unhappy accident and association because I just like certain aspects of Traditional Song & Balladry and it's darker offshoots. In this way 99% of so-called Folk Music goes over my head, or passes unnoticed beneath my dignity.

This is the problem with Folk - or else the certainties of music. As idioms it's easy to describe the easy listening of the Aspeys et al, just as Ethnomusicologists have written extensively on the vocal polyphony of Southern Albania. Both, I accept, can be thought as Traditional Musics well rooted in their respective communities*, but calling them Folk is to be talking about two very different usages of the word. Conflate the two at your peril!

* Name me one that isn't & I'll email you a pint.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 08:31 AM

Probably no need to conflate, BD - They are both distinctive in their own rights. We could of course sub-genre-ise them (is there such a word?) but then when do we stop? I think it is pretty easy for anyone to tell the difference between the traditional musics of different communities. Explaining that they are both folk music is the tough one but I think most people have enough sense to accept both the similarities and the differences. It's all part and parcel of being a 'folky' and, simply because you understand these things, you must be one:-)

Now, about that ePint. I didn't understand the question I'm afraid :-(

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 08:37 AM

Such an amazing amount of narrow minded micro-point scoring; fish in a tiny pond trying to bite one another rather than looking for the stream outlet that will allow them to swim into wider waters where they can communicate with the broader world.

Such a huge waste of time and effort that could be used constructively in some positive way - practicing and learning song & instrument, promoting events and understanding of this music to a wider audience, engaging in positive ways to proselytise the music they love.

Such a bad example of the way the great mutually supportive and encouraging community of the folk/traditional world actually operates.

If you are are outsider who has stumbled on this forum and thread by chance, please, please believe me that we are not all like this.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 08:43 AM

Traditional Musics well rooted in their respective communities - as all musics indeed are - be it Bix or Bartok or Bellamy or Bjork the Butthole Surfers. Not all are Folk...


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 08:48 AM

I thought it was getting quite interesting Vic! If I have been guilty of any of the listed crimes I unreservedly apologise. But, if I am, can you tell me how so I can be a better folky in future? :-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 08:55 AM

Oh dear, and I thought this thread was actually managing to pull itself up into something like an interesting and civil discourse!


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 09:06 AM

If I have been guilty of any of the listed crimes I unreservedly apologise

Ditto!

It's all done in the possible taste...


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 09:17 AM

I'm getting very confused (put it down to old age and poverty). Two people have now said the thread is going down the pan just as I thought it was getting better! Maybe it is me :-( Anyway, the other thing is -

Traditional Musics well rooted in their respective communities

Didn't you come up with that one, BD or were you just quoting someone I missed?

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 09:25 AM

BEST!

Sorry, I keep missing words in my old age.

Anyhoo... I'm taking this as a friendly blether over an imaginary pint and I'm sorry if Vic & CS haven't picked up on that. Apologies to anyone else who sees it as a bar room brawl.

I seek.... Serenity! In fact Serenity Now is my new motto. My life is now dependent on four different types of medication - one of which is fecking blood pressure pills.

Stressed? Then turn it round, and it become DESSERTS! Yum, yum - what's for pudding?


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 09:26 AM

An entirely erroneous assumption seems to lurk behind some earlier comments. Namely, that defining words like "folk" and "traditional" in useful and coherent ways amounts to telling people what they should like or listen to.

Weird.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 09:36 AM

No. All I'm saying is what I like & listen to. There is a difference.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 09:39 AM

I don't believe it did, Lighter, but I am always open to being corrected. (Oo, err Mrs...) I think it was said that words like folk and traditional are useful in defining what is being presented. IE - At a folk event people expect to hear folk music, at a traditional event people expect to hear traditional music etc. What has been discussed here and extensively elsewhere is exactly what do those expressions mean.

Interesting discussion point just sprang to mind. Let us start with the premise that a music venue advertised a vaguely described folk event. The event itself then presented a number of different types of music that this broad term has come to encompass. Would the people who have one narrow definition be within their rights to take the venue to task about misrepresentation? Which faction would then win the case and, presumably, be recompensed for their trouble?

Or are we back round the circle to 'what is folk' again? :-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: selby
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 10:06 AM

Huge problem one mans folk is another mans poison and never the twain shall meet
Does the question need to be? Is an open mind essential to enjoy folk music?
I have been in concerts that I have enjoyed immensely, to see them panned and visa versa Dance shows that are cutting edge, that have received standing ovations then talked to people, who thought it was utter rubbish. I sat next to a bloke at Warwick Festival this year, who never laughed once at Les Barker, when I asked him why, he told me it was puerile crap. Which loops round to the start of what I have just written. Huge problem one mans folk is another mans poison and never the twain shall meet
Keith


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 10:15 AM

"G&Vs songs than those of Albanian peasants, regardless of the quality or authenticity of the music."
Probably the same with most of us, but there's no reason on earth why you can't enjoy and appreciate both.
I still remember being thrilled by the hair-rising 'Plaka Grandmother's Choir' at Cecil Sharp House a dozen or so years ago.
I suggest a quick listen Bert Lloyd's 'Folk Music Virtuoso' which some kind Mudcatter put up for downloading last year - does a magnificent job for those who wish to broaden their musical outlook
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 10:16 AM

And let's not forget, Lighter, that I only came into this thread because of your negative comments about 'Rap Music'.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 10:22 AM

I suggest a quick listen Bert Lloyd's 'Folk Music Virtuoso' which some kind Mudcatter put up for downloading last year - does a magnificent job for those who wish to broaden their musical outlook

Where? When? I had this for ages until I lost it. I love his commentary as he waxes lyrical about the modal melismatics of migrating Indo-European hunter gatherers & herdsmen. Swoon! I must have this! Everyone must have this!


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 10:29 AM

I'm flattered!


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 10:36 AM

The notion, that because we are not bombarded with traditional tunes and songs in our every day life, that somehow this music has vanished is erroneous.
Search google for; folk clubs, traditional sessions etc. in the UK there are thousands. Within 25 miles of where I live I have a choice of at least 4 or 5 clubs or sessions every night of the week.
the quasi-academic arguments on here are mostly unsupported subjective views and I suspect would get short shrift in a real academic environment.
Seek and ye shall find; there is something musical out there to meet all tastes. If all else fails set up your own club, session, song circle, ballad session, traditional song debating society.
Best wishes, John


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 10:43 AM

Sorry if my last post appeared to be confirming Vic's criticisms of the thread, I'm enjoying the conversation myself!


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 11:15 AM

I'm flattered!

So you should be, just don't go hoisting me with your own petard.

Musically, I keep an open mind & an open heart. Thanks to this thread today I've had my Bix albums out, likewise my Bartok string quartets, which always leads me to Purcell chamber music; I've played Bert Lloyd's various Topic albums of his East European recordings as well as the special edition of Ommadawn that arrived this morning (bought by my wife to cheer me up from my recent medical gloom) and now I'm on with the recent Jordi Savall Balkan Spirit CD which we bought in Oxford when we were down south in the summer for the Leigh-on-Sea Folk Festival - how long ago that feels! After this it's a Nonsuch CD of Balinese Gamelan I bought last week at Action Records in Preston & promptly forgot about. Later I'll be cooking dinner with Miles Davis (Big Fun or On the Corner, yet to decide) & I've a mind to watch the Symphonic Yes DVD tonight whilst said wife does her college work upstairs. One of my current musical obsessions is the scores for the darker side of 70s childrens' TV, such as SKY, Dr Who and Children of the Stones etc. etc. which underpins a lot of my thinking about FOLK in general and the sterling work being done on the fringes by Sproatly Smith, Hare & The Moon et al, but that's just a tiny tip of a very big iceberg which is getting bigger by the day.

So much music, so little time! But I'll find time for The Folk Music Virtuoso and other Bert Radio that anyone has lying around...


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 01:05 PM

Jim, I'll attest to your open mindedness when it comes to TM. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think this open mindedness comes from an understanding of the process as something that involves change which is neither improvement nor a departure from authenticity.

It occurs to me that the process as a whole encompasses two dynamics. One of these operates within a community, this passing along of songs we discussed above. The other is migratory: a song travels and is incorporated into another community's repertoire.

I would use the following analogy. In anthropology there are two competing theories to account for the universality of themes found in myths and legends of various cultures around the world. One says that these universal themes are intrinsic to the human psyche and the other says that they spread via carriers. I don't recall the names of these theories but I must say that only in the Western mind would these theories compete. In fact, they are complementary.

You can take a seed anywhere and sow it, doesn't mean it will grow. Likewise, even if a story or song was carried from one community to another, and thus could not be characterized as an indigenous expression of the folks at the receiving end, if it didn't resonate it wouldn't be adopted. With migrations, trade alliances, political alliances, songs and stories are obviously going to be shared. Although sometimes ownership can be attributed to a particular community, I think it more common that it cannot. Each variant retains its own regional spin.

It's like the proverbial chicken and egg. It makes more sense to enjoy the mystery than to try to unravel it.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 01:22 PM

For many, the unraveling is part of the enjoyment.

For others, not so much.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 01:30 PM

Thanks, CS - I did interpret your comment incorrectly and apologise for that. I can see now what you meant.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Suzy Sock Puppet
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 01:40 PM

Not so much for me debating with Steve Gardham, lol.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 03:17 PM

Susan,
Not sure I have the expertise to respond to your interesting comments - but will take a closer look when I'm more at one with the world (not at my best while recovering from the after-effects of having to have the end of my hearing aid be fished out of my ear - oh to be young again!!)
I'm not sure there is an either/or answer to the human transmission/universality of themes question, but I'll sleep on it (Niagra Falls noises allowing)
One of the magic moments of my life was sitting in a cottage about thirty miles outside Budapest discussing (via a translator) the comparable merits of the Hungarian and British variants of The Cruel Mother and various revenant Ballads with a very elderly informant of Kodaly - they don't do package holidays like that any more!
Blandy and all:
"But I'll find time for The Folk Music Virtuoso and other Bert Radio that anyone has lying around... "
Numerous of Bert's output went up for grabs some time ago here on Mudcat.
If anybody has a problem tracing them please let me know - as somebody once said, "they're made round to go round"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Oct 13 - 09:13 PM

Hey Jim, no worries! I agree with you on almost everything, as you well know, but I can't see why it shouldn't be OK for us to part company ever so slightly on certain matters musical. No loss of respect this end!

Yes, Will, I've explored the scholarship bit on Beethoven 'til I'm blue in the face and found it seriously wanting (with one or two noble exceptions: I have a wonderful book on the late quartets written by Joseph Kerman about forty years ago, for example). But exploring the music in scholarly fashion does reveal depths that just sitting back and enjoying it might just miss. I thought it was well worth a try.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 02:33 AM

Nor this end Steve - once again I find myself in total agreement with your point to Will - lifting the corner of the music to see what's underneath is part of the enjoyment of doing what we do.
My favourite quote from Wimberley's Folklore of the English and Scottish Ballads:
"An American Indian sun-dance or an Australian corroboree is an exciting spectacle for the uninitiated, but for one who understands something of the culture whence it springs it is a hundred fold more heart-moving."
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 07:43 AM

I wonder if something that caught my eye in September's Living Tradition Magazine may be described as something that has gone wrong on the British Folk Scene?
I have to say, I never really came across it in all the years I was going to folk clubs, except when you were unlucky enough to sit down next to someone doing something equally annoying and eccentric like rattling a crisp packet or extracting belly-button fluff!
The only time I have uncounted it recently is from British visitors, some of whom I would have thought were around long enough to have known better.
I understand that it is regarded as a constitutional right in some places to give solo performances the 'Singalonga-Max treatment (sort of like carrying weapons in the U.S.)
By heartfelt support and deepest admiration to Brian for pointing out what I believe to be a growing menace.
Jim Carroll

Dear editor,
ONE SINGER, ONE SONG?
I recently had a rant on facebook where I expressed some strongly held opinions on the practice of harmony singing in sessions in this country. The FB post provoked some interesting reactions and consequently I feel the topic merits further discussion to perhaps get a wider perspective from interested parties. Do people see it as an issue or am I just a grumpy old fart?
So what is the problem you may ask? I think my main gripe is the fact that there are an increasing number of people in singing sessions who feel it is okay to a) join in with every song b) hum along in the absence of them actually knowing the words, and worst of all c) make usually horrendous attempts at harmonising which can involve hovering above, below or around the particular note until they achieve something resembling harmony. All this is bad enough when the GBH brigade (grievous bodily harmony) can actually sing but it is ten times worse when the offender's vocal abilities are less than perfect.
I have spent most of my life around singers and in recent years as one of the organisers of the Inishowen Singers Circle, I have had the privilege of spending time in the company of some of the most wonderful singers from all over the world. It is certainly the case in singing traditions in other places, particularly outside of Ireland, that it is the practice for everyone to sing together and indeed to harmonise in many cases. I have wonderful memories of the Sunday afternoon sessions in the North Pole Bar in Clonmany during the annual Inishowen weekend and being almost lifted aloft by the wonderful harmony singing, particularly from the Scottish contingent. However I think it's fair to say that that type of singing was relatively unknown in this country, with far less chorus songs in the body of songs than would be the case in England or Scotland. Indeed until the Voice Squad started singing some of the 'big' traditional songs (brilliantly I might add) it really was the case of one singer, one song.
For me I think it is paying the ultimate respect to a singer to actually listen to what they are singing. If someone has gone to the trouble of actually learning a song and practiced it until they feel comfortable enough to sing it in company, I think the least we should do is listen. Certainly there are times when a particular singer invites participation from those around them but I think on these occasions the singer's intentions are obvious. It should also be equally obvious when the singer's intentions are that people should not join in.
Traditional music has often been considered a minority sport, and traditional singing a minority sport within a minority sport. We all have stories of being asked to sing when the musicians want a break to go the bar and struggling to sing over the chat. Indeed the reason why so many singing only circles and groups are in existence at all is to give those who want to sing a platform and a place where they can sing and be listened to. Unfortunately, even within singing circles the level of respect for the singer from other singers, in my opinion, is eroding and it is something that should be addressed.
One of the replies to my original FB post on this topic suggested, in true singer's fashion, that I should go and write a song about it. Perhaps I will, and I take great comfort in the fact that when I sing it no one else will know it (but what about the hummers !)
Yours in harmony,
Brian Doyle


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 08:45 AM

There are grey areas re above post, The harmoniser might be brilliant[it does happen].
it is courtesy not to join in, unless you know the person well and know they do not mind, this applies to percussionists in instrumental sessions too, it is not a free for all, however this means you run the risk of losing the occasional brilliant percussionist/guitarist, the general etiquette is do not join in unless you do it very quietly, this should apply as regards singing too, unless the singer encourages you in the chorus, likewise chorus singers should listen to the lead singer and follow, not impose or slow down in the manner of Les Paisley[ a lovely man with a fine voice ,but one who was guilty of this 25 years ago , so it is not anew phenomenon
enjoyment is the name of the game but one persons enjoyment should not ruin another persons enjoyment


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 09:20 AM

> I think it is paying the ultimate respect to a singer to actually listen to what they are singing. If someone has gone to the trouble of actually learning a song and practiced it until they feel comfortable enough to sing it in company, I think the least we should do is listen.

Not the "ultimate" respect, the "least" respect. It goes for playing, too, except, obviously, at dances. Too often, live musicians are
thought of as little more than part of the speaker system.

Thanks to portable devices, music for too many people has become a soothing background hum to accompany their lives. Movie characters don't comment on the soundtrack.

Paying attention to live musicians would be like eating a bowl of corn flakes and thinking, every morning, "Gee, people actually made this stuff from corn that grows out of the ground. I bet it was hard!"

No, you just eat the corn flakes and go on to something else.

Hence the relative unpopularity of genres that do require attention.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 11:47 AM

In many cases music is a soothing background sound. Nowt wrong with that. We can't be stoned all the time.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 Oct 13 - 12:14 PM

We can't be stoned all the time.

Speak for yourself :-) Come to Swinton on Saturday and well will try to prove that wrong...

DtG


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: GUEST,Gourmet
Date: 18 Oct 13 - 03:19 AM

British FOLK is quite ok compared to british FOOD.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 18 Oct 13 - 05:16 AM

Off topic alert!

How interesting Jim, what you say about harmony singing in the folk context -

"However I think it's fair to say that that type of singing was relatively unknown in this country, with far less chorus songs in the body of songs than would be the case in England or Scotland. Indeed until the Voice Squad started singing some of the 'big' traditional songs (brilliantly I might add) it really was the case of one singer, one song."

This concurs somewhat with what we were told by Mick Moloney (The Johnstons et al) when The Copper Family first visited the U.S. in 1994. However, Mick claimed that it was returning members of the Irish diaspora in London bringing with them the then new Bob and Ron Copper L.P. that sparked an interest...he went so far as to say that he thought it was as a direct result of it, and was anxious that Bob should know. Well I don't know, but I found Mick's argument persuasive, and he's a highly respected folklorist and historian of the Irish traditional music scene as well as being a thoroughly nice fellow.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: GUEST,eldergirl on another computer
Date: 18 Oct 13 - 06:33 PM

I love devising harmonies to songs, but it's usually in the choruses, and Quietly so as not to disrupt the enjoyment and concentration of others. and many songs demand proper focused listening, in which case, should we not all Belt Up?
on the other hand, roaring along with a shanty is some of the best fun you can have.
our home town folk club runs guest nights, and singarounds. often there are twice as many at the singarounds as at the guest nights. everyone wants their little turn in the spotlight (me included). and many of the sing around habitues are singer-songwriters, some better than others. and some of them do not know trad 'standards' well enough to join in with. some just want to sing their bit, are there for the self-expression or whatever. fair play to them, but as a result it vfeels less like a Proper folk club to me! could the humming along habit be related to this Me in the Limelight aspect of folk\acoustic clubs?


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Oct 13 - 02:59 AM

There's nothing better than a good joined-in chorus, or a sensitively participated-in refrain when it's welcomed by the singer.
MacColl and Seeger used to come in for a lot of stick because of the time they took teaching choruses.
I remember particularly the first time I ever heard 'Sweet Thames' at The Singers Club; I had arrived late and couldn't find a seat, so I sat on the edge of the stage facing the audience.
I swear they breathed in time with the singer, and that beautiful refrain..... still sends shivers.
Peggy sang a ballad entitled 'The Baron of Lys' - a young woman is seduced by a nobleman, she tries to find the identity of her seducer, who prevaricates.
The choruses fall into two halves, her question - his responses/prevarications.
Peggy divided the listeners into two sections, the women joining in the woman's part, the men, the Baron's
When it worked, as it usually did, it was truly memorable.
Ewan and Peggy had stock 'finishers' to their evenings, chosen by the fact that they had longish choruses 'I'm a Rover' and 'Leaving of Liverpool' were among the most popular.
They always left me with the feeling that I had been part of something rather than merely a bystander.
Which is all a far cry from something which (I understand) has become standard practice in many clubs - an audience being allowed, even encouraged to join in anything, anywhere.
It is totally unfair of club organisers to put the onus on singers by suggesting that they should have to "ask their listeners not to join in" It's difficult enough to stand up in front of any audience, without adding a further complication which can quite often throw up barriers between performer and listener.
Simple bad manners, at the very least - artistic vandalism equivalent to painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa "because somebody told me I could" at its most extreme.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 19 Oct 13 - 03:01 AM

British Music is in a pretty Fish 'n' Chip Traditional mode at the moment. There's a lot of amazing young musicians content to tread cultural water no doubt owing to wider recession / depression. Whilst that level of reaction has always been the case with Folk, it's been less obvious in popular musics, where new glories arise in the face of evident despair (i.e. Post-Punk). Now there's a nebulous underground of middle-class folk wyrd whilst more dynamic acts (like Lune Deep here in Fleetwood) are essaying cover versions with a power, wit and grace that leave old grunters like me gasping for breath in disbelief at the cunning of a bunch of fifteen-year-olds even if they are doing cover versions. But that is the nature of popular & folk music forever,right? At it's worse it's : don't come back to our folk club until you can sing something we can all join in with (I've actually had this recently; I spend days working up new ballads only to be asked if I know 'Leaving of Liverpool' Which I don't. And never will.). Talking of which right now one of my favourite bands are Liverpool busking band BOLSHY, who never fail to get our toes tapping & leave us with glad hearts for the rest of the day...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgV7vDnzSsM

As someone once said : The Folk Process continues...


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 19 Oct 13 - 03:03 AM

Jim! Honestly that was a cross post. Pure coincidence!


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 19 Oct 13 - 05:13 AM

"It is totally unfair of club organisers to put the onus on singers by suggesting that they should have to "ask their listeners not to join in"

I totally agree with that. In our club the problem is not so much with harmonising as much (which at least tends to be quite good) but with percussionists. Not the real percussionists but with ones who started on percussion as they feel they should be doing something and have that anyone can bang a drum attitude. Several months ago I had practised one of my own songs with a female friend and when we tried it at the club it was totally spoiled by a woman who'd bought a cajon and was going to bloody use it whenever she could. The song stops half way through then restarts at a much slower tempo then shifts back to the original. She started banging on the drum and made no attempt to watch and work out what we were doing etc and it ended up a real mess. We hadn't asked her to join in!

In our club you can have someone doing something quite rousing where participation is wanted. However if you are going up after that and want to do something on your own then you really now have to say "please don't join in on this" which is always a bit awkward. Much better that people only join in if asked. Especially as after our open mic we go to the pub for a free for all pub session afterwards where everyone can play all night.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Oct 13 - 05:38 AM

'S all all right Jack
I feel the same about 'Liverpool' as I do about 'Larks they Played Melodeons', 'Wild Rover' and numerous other good song which have been hammered into the ground simply because they're good.
AHave managed to find a beautiful version of 'Wild Rover (from the Carolan family and am often amused when asked "why don't you sing the one everybody knows".
There are a couple of worth-digging-out versions of 'Whiskey in the Jar' and 'Black Velvet Band' if anyone cares to take the trouble to look them out.
Leaving of Liverpool, particularly in its full version is a beautifully poignant song and works very movingly when sung with a degree of sensitivity.
Answer my last PM Jack; have made a start and might have a little time on hand in the next week or so.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 05:28 AM

Forgot to update you on the difference between a Folk festival and an Acoustic Music Festival as witnessed at Swinton last weekend.

Well, certainly for the afternoon sigaround, it was quite significant. The folk festival ran an 'anyone session' with named artists leading in the bar of the pub whereas the AM festival had it more like a concert in the back room. Both had their advantages but it was telling that toward the tail end of the afternoon a 'breakaway' informal group formed in the bar!

One big plus was that the landlord put his cask bitters on sale at £2 a pint all day. Maybe AM fans drink more than folkies :-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 07:07 AM

Sorry to hear, elsewhere, that Chris Bearman has died. I don't think I'd have wanted to cross him, or to get onto the subject of politics - I get the feeling he saw 'Marxist' as a term of abuse* - but his work dismantling the Harker/Boyes critique is valuable & deserves to last.

This isn't to say that Sharp & Karpeles were paladins of the proletariat, or that nobody ever went out collecting from a great socio-political height, like Sidney Carter's young man with a microphone. Just that if you're going to make this kind of argument you have to do it properly.

*But then, he wasn't the only one.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 07:55 AM

Bearman's 'dismanting' of The Imagined Village consisted of saying that I'd made Mary Neale the book's 'hero' - I disagree, but readers can decide. And then treating a misprint as a deliberate slight on Cecil Sharp.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 09:07 AM

Bit more to it than that, I think, but I don't pretend to be an expert on any of this - I've just read some of Bearman's polemics & thought he was making a lot of sense & advancing what seemed to be quite telling criticisms (while at the same time wishing he'd turn down the rhetoric and stop banging on about being a socialist as if it was a bad thing).

Anyway, he won't be writing any more, or so I'm told, and I'm sorry to hear it.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 09:30 AM

Perhaps you could read or re-read the book and then decide.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 10:30 AM

What, and argue on the basis of an informed opinion? Who knows, it's so crazy it might just work.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Oct 13 - 01:49 PM

OP,could be we are being too anal retentive.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 04:26 AM

I think folk can be presented at least four levels aimed at attracting different audiences/participants.

(1) The concert - either festival main acts/concert halls etc, or folk club guest nights. Aimed at attracting audiences who want to see (or be seen with) a particular act. These audiences could be folk club habitués (or sons of habitués), or those who have originally come into 'contact' through tv, radio, other internet. In this case the act, or what the act does is the draw.

(2)The folk club (back room) environment, a social gathering of people with a common interest (ie folk).

(3) The session, usually tunes rather than songs, but run in a more public space. I would also include folk dance/ritual in this category, eg morris, long sword etc etc etc.

(4) Public space performs - pub bands, bar venues at festivals etc. Apart from festivals, where the acts are engaged by festival organisers, pub bands may be engaged by pub landlords with the aim of drawing punters into venues. One example of this is a pub in Brentford but I can't remember its name.

While pub acts may perform what is seen by those who take folk music more seriously a more stereotypical image of what folk song/music is, it does draw in customers who enjoy it - and enjoying something must surely be the first step in becoming more involved in folk. When we were in Dublin the performances in the pubs where we went did come under the stereotypical category, but we still enjoyed ourselves more than is we had gone to a pub with a large screen sports match blaring out.

London does have occasional folk concerts, and folk clubs, and sessions, but if we go to other public spaces - nothing - multi sports screens, fruit machines, juke boxes, but next to no live music, and what live music there is, virtually no folk - and what there is isn't widely promoted.

To a large extent, pub landlords need to take a lead, or be convinced to take a lead in this so that more folk song/music has a chance to be seen more in public, and if the interest takes off, then it would be promoted more - at that in turn would spark more interest in folk music, people wanting to here more and a wider breadth of what folk is about - and folk clubs re-emerging to cater for the demand. And so on and so on...

In the 19th Century every port had its sailortown, virtually every city had (and probably still has) its red light district. What city like London needs (not just the square mile) is its cultural district - not just the big business theatres but an area known for where visitors can see culture - of at least a representation of culture close up, vibrant, exciting - so tourist can come away and say - yeah, I've seen London culture first hand.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Music: Where are we going wrong?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 25 Oct 13 - 04:40 AM

Have managed to find a beautiful version of 'Wild Rover (from the Carolan family) and am often amused when asked "why don't you sing the one everybody knows".

I used to sing that version regularly during my Athlone/Glasson days - and keep an eye and ear out to spot at what stage someone would say to their neighbour "Jeez! That's the f***ing Wild Rover"!" ;>)>

Regards


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