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First time for a folk club?

GUEST,Oxymoron 15 Jan 14 - 02:18 PM
breezy 15 Jan 14 - 04:26 PM
The Sandman 15 Jan 14 - 04:38 PM
GUEST,roderick warner 15 Jan 14 - 07:03 PM
banjoman 16 Jan 14 - 06:50 AM
GUEST 16 Jan 14 - 12:21 PM
The Sandman 16 Jan 14 - 01:05 PM
The Sandman 16 Jan 14 - 03:11 PM
MGM·Lion 16 Jan 14 - 03:40 PM
G-Force 17 Jan 14 - 06:59 AM
MGM·Lion 17 Jan 14 - 07:11 AM
GUEST,Ed 17 Jan 14 - 07:49 AM
Mo the caller 17 Jan 14 - 08:17 AM
The Sandman 17 Jan 14 - 08:38 AM
GUEST,Musket 17 Jan 14 - 11:12 AM
Eldergirl 18 Jan 14 - 06:48 AM
GUEST,John Foxen 23 Jan 14 - 02:59 PM
Steve Gardham 23 Jan 14 - 06:26 PM
Don Firth 24 Jan 14 - 07:18 PM
GUEST,Oxymoron 25 Jan 14 - 04:05 AM
MGM·Lion 25 Jan 14 - 06:45 AM
Steve Gardham 25 Jan 14 - 10:19 AM
Don Firth 25 Jan 14 - 07:50 PM
Airymouse 25 Jan 14 - 11:37 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Jan 14 - 07:41 AM
Big Al Whittle 26 Jan 14 - 08:46 AM
Big Al Whittle 26 Jan 14 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,John Ernest 26 Jan 14 - 11:58 AM
Don Firth 26 Jan 14 - 04:57 PM
Acme 27 Jan 14 - 12:13 AM
Don Firth 27 Jan 14 - 02:05 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Jan 14 - 03:44 PM
The Sandman 27 Jan 14 - 04:34 PM
Don Firth 27 Jan 14 - 06:15 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Jan 14 - 06:37 PM
Don Firth 27 Jan 14 - 07:12 PM
The Sandman 28 Jan 14 - 05:59 AM
The Sandman 28 Jan 14 - 06:12 AM
Steve Gardham 28 Jan 14 - 08:14 AM
The Sandman 28 Jan 14 - 12:53 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Jan 14 - 02:05 PM
Vic Smith 29 Jan 14 - 12:51 PM
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Subject: First time for a folk club?
From: GUEST,Oxymoron
Date: 15 Jan 14 - 02:18 PM

On Friday 24th January the Guildford Institute Folk Club (www.themusicinstitute.org.uk) will be presenting what is possibly a first for a Folk Club, an evening of classical music.

Soprano Joanna Bywater and pianist Matthew Rickard will be performing a recital of English Folksong arrangements by Britten, Vaughan-Williams, Butterworth and Moeran at the Guildford Institute in Ward Street. Amongst the items they will be performing are Linden Lea, Salley Gardens, The Trees They Grow So High and Eleven Folksongs From Suffolk.

Joanna and Matthew were contemporaries of folk club organiser David Steptoe when he was at Surrey University. After graduating they pursued their careers in classical music and, since the Guildford Institute boasts a Bechstein grand piano, David decided to bring them together.

It would be interesting to know whether any other folk clubs have promoted something like this in the past.


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: breezy
Date: 15 Jan 14 - 04:26 PM

so yours is a music club then

any floor spots?


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jan 14 - 04:38 PM

breezy they are performing traditional folk songs, so why should they not be performed in a folk club.Breezy Ionce heard you perform mr bojangles[ is that a folk song?]


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: GUEST,roderick warner
Date: 15 Jan 14 - 07:03 PM

One of the ways forward, perhaps, out of the old people's ghetto that 'folk club' signifies now for many in the uk? More power to them. Music club? Why not?


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: banjoman
Date: 16 Jan 14 - 06:50 AM

Great idea - once had a squad of Ghurka soldiers in a club performing their songs - a great evening.
Good luck and hope its a sellout


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jan 14 - 12:21 PM

Folk songs sung by classically trained singers sound fairly ridiculous. Lots of plummy voices and throaty tremelos. The only one I can bear is Kathlleen Ferrier singing Blaw the Wind Southerly and that is somewhat OTT.

Maybe folk clubs should be called acoustic clubs, but then some aren't. The people who run the clubs tend tp be tholder generation and are unlikely to book bands younger people are going to want to see, so they are mor likely to attend open mic nights.


Bonkers


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Jan 14 - 01:05 PM

folkclubs are for folk music, how the music is performed stylistically, ]its a good idea not to pre judge] is not a reason for a club not be called a folk club


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Jan 14 - 03:11 PM

for example if those traditional songs were being played by a folk rock band it would still be a folk club, if people dont like the stylistic treatment they can stay away, but i think it would be more open minded to turn up and make a judgement on the night, hope you get a full house.


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Jan 14 - 03:40 PM

It seems to me a fine idea, to see what sort of use classical composers have made of the tradition. As Dick so rightly says, they are no more at variance with that tradition than the sort of arrangements used during the electric folk-rock era. & it's not as if you will be having them every time.

I take it that they will be main guests, climax of an evening of varied folk, and will not be the sole performers that session?; that at least was the norm when I used to attend folk clubs, and ran one near Cambridge, 40+ years ago.

Wish you a successful occasion.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: G-Force
Date: 17 Jan 14 - 06:59 AM

Love folk music AND classical music - but putting the two together is my idea a musical hell. Simply cannot bear the sound of trained voices singing folk songs. It's just not meant to be!


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 17 Jan 14 - 07:11 AM

But it's OK if it's rockheads, is it? And no exceptions, G-F? How about Britten's setting of Lykewake in Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings. Never fails to make my hair stand on end, that one. Tho in general I think Britten's approach to folk a bit too show-offy - nice tunes to accompany over-elaborate piano flourishes. OTOH, Vaughan Williams, now... a collector himself, with some considerable sensitivity to the genre.

~M~


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 17 Jan 14 - 07:49 AM

Each to their own obviously, but I'm pretty much with G-Force here.

Britten's Lykewake has fine tunes, but I'm afraid that I find the flowery delivery and vibrato of Peter Pears entirely unlistenable.

Folk songs (indeed any sort of song) is, in my opinion, best sung in a natural voice.

But I wish you well, Oxymoron. (as long as you don't think, as far too many here do, that your name is a synonym for contradiction).


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 17 Jan 14 - 08:17 AM

I don't suppose it's the first time classical music has been played in a folk club. E.g. where does 'Early Music' fit in.

I was calling a wedding ceildh at a hotel in LLangollen and a Male voice choir were staying an extra night because they'd won their class in the Eistedford so sang in the evening, which they also won. They came and sang for the wedding guests - a folk song arrangement which sounded incongruous to my ears.

But I would suspect that settings by Vaughan Williams might be more sympathetic.


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Jan 14 - 08:38 AM

They are still traditional folk songs, therefore logically it must be folk music not classical music, if people do not like the style, they can leave, or if they think it is not going to be to their taste they do not have to go,but nobody is being lured to the club under false pretences, the songs being performed are traditional folk songs, so why not in a folk club?


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 17 Jan 14 - 11:12 AM

Sounds good.

Mind you, if you wish to hear good songs strangled and stripped of all character, listen to Andreas Scholl and his Vaughan Williams album.......


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: Eldergirl
Date: 18 Jan 14 - 06:48 AM

Dudley Moore singing Little Miss Muffet. Absolutely nails poor Peter Pears!! O please let it be on YouTube..

Folk songs, natural voice, 'nuff said.
Nevertheless, hope the concert goes well. Get folk back to the folk in every way possible?


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: GUEST,John Foxen
Date: 23 Jan 14 - 02:59 PM

We've never had a totally classical evening at HaverFolk but in addition to traditional songs, music hall, Americana, French and Spanish songs, plus George Formby and old pop songs we have had extracts from La Boheme and Don Giovanni, usually sung by the redoutable Peter Walters. Here he is singing Linden Lea.
Very best wishes to Guildford Institute Folk Club and good luck with this initiative.


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Jan 14 - 06:26 PM

Linden Lea, Sally Gardens? Folk songs? When did that happen?


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Jan 14 - 07:18 PM

Heavy sigh. . . .

There is nothing wrong with a classically trained singer singing folk songs. The only real problem is the singer's judgment when it comes to matters of interpretation.

I have seen a film clip of bass-baritone George London singing "Lord Randal," which, to my mind, he butchers. He gets very dramatic with the song and he makes it sound like "The Death of Boris" scene in "Boris Godunov," an opera he sings so well that he was invited to song it in Russia during the Cold War. But NOT the kind of handling you want to hear in folk song or ballad.

I have heard "folk singers" butcher songs in a similar manner, so it isn't the fact that a singer is classicaly trained, it's a matter of judgment and interpretation.

What is the difference between a trained classical singer singing folk songs a ballads and a "folk" singer who is city born and bred, who listened to Frank Sinatra and Perry Como and Elvis Presley while growing up, AND who learned their first folk songs from the records of Burl Ives, Cisco Houston, Kingston Trio, and New Christy Minstrels records—and who screws up a perfectly good natural singing voice by doing his damnedest to sound like he just rode into town in a pick-up truck loaded with potatoes?

Frankly, I get a bit fed up with members of the self-appointed "folk police" who arrogate to themselves the right to determine who should and should not be allowed to sing folk songs, and try to dictate how those songs must be sung!

I have been yapped at by such because I use a classical guitar rather than a beat-up old steel-string guitar, which is the only kind of guitar, they say, is right for accompanying folk songs. I've also been yapped at because I've taken voice lessons (to be sure I don't develop back habits and mess up my singing voice) and I've studied music theory in college.

"Folk singers shouldn't be allowed to do that!!" Oh, really!??

On the other hand, over a period of years I have sung college concerts and concerts in other venues, I've done several educational television programs, and I've sung in one coffee house or another—for regual pay—for years. So besides the the carping from a few individuals, I must be doing something right—despite by classic guitar, having taken both voice and classical guitar lessons, and studied music in college.

I think exposing folk music enthusiasts to classical approaches to folk music is a good idea. You might just learn something.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: GUEST,Oxymoron
Date: 25 Jan 14 - 04:05 AM

Well, that was a very special evening. Just an ordinary club night with our excellent resident singers and musicians, a raffle and a piano recital.

Joanna Bywater and Matthew Rickard delighted the audience (approximately 50/50 folk/classical, all the young faces on the classical side of the audience) with arrangements of British folk songs by Moeran, Butterworth, Vaughan Williams, Britten and Ireland plus country dance tunes and Playford from Warlock and Howells.

I don't think the audience had heard so many traditional songs sung in one evening - classical arrangements are certainly brief and to the point! It was an education and an entertainment. The audience enjoyed the obvious pleasure and excitement Joanna and Matthew were getting from the songs they were performing (much of it was new to them, they had come together and created the recital just for us!) and they really enjoyed the informality and warmth of the folk club.

P.S. Benjamin Britten arrangements of folk song over-elaborate?! Have you been to a Bellowhead concert lately?


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Jan 14 - 06:45 AM

I think that PS aimed at me. Answer is no, not just 'lately', but ever; & no intention of doing so. Don't go to much these days, actually: too old ~~ like that Ellington/Russell fellow, don't get around much any more. But, even if I had, don't see much point in your rhetorical question. The fact that Bellowhead may over-elaborate IYO by no means excludes the possibility that so might somebody else - Britten, e.g.

Glad your occasion successful, anyhow!

Traditional greetings

~M~


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Jan 14 - 10:19 AM

Whilst agreeing with you, Don, there is still in England the incongruity of a certain classical way of singing (let's say an operatic style) performing, for instance, a sea shanty or one of the more earthy pieces. Whilst the incongruity is so obvious it can be quite entertaining in a comical way. There is no inverted snobbery here.

I'd certainly pay good money to hear Joan Sutherland singing The Ball of Kirriemuir for instance.

A good number of our folk songs came down from the 18th century theatre and started out as art songs, Spring Glee, Sweet Nightingale, Dame Durden, Sheep Shearing, Seeds of Love, Sprig of Thyme, Bushes and Briars etc. and I would have no qualms at these being sung in operatic style as they would have started out being sung in this way.

BTW I too am a big fan of listening to the arranged folk tunes of Britten, Vaughan Williams etc. They reach parts of my mind that folk songs sung by the likes of Harry Cox don't, but I like both equally.


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: Don Firth
Date: 25 Jan 14 - 07:50 PM

Once in around 1960, I was standing in a music store in Seattle's University District, a store that specialized in folk music—folk records and song books, a line of relatively inexpensive but good quality guitars, other accoutrements. The proprietor and I, and a couple of other people, were listening to a record from the new shipment the shop had just got in. It was a recording of Win Stracke, a rich-sounding, obviously well-trained bass-baritone voice, accompanied on the guitar by classical guitarist Richard Pick (odd last name for a classical guitarist).

As we were listening, a fellow walked in laden with a back-pack complete with sleeping bag and carrying a guitar case. He stood and listened to the record for a few minutes, then he started to shake with anger. He pointed a trembling finger at the turntable and said, "That man, with a voice like THAT, has no right to sing those folk songs!!" and continued to rant and rave for several minutes while we just stared at him.

He was, of course, unaware that this man on the record was a co-founder, along with Frank Hamilton, of the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, and the compiler of at least one book collection of folk songs that I am aware of.

This dude had hitchhike up to Seattle from Berkeley looking for work. He hung around for a week or so, then moved on. He did attend a "hootenanny" (at the time, an informal gathering of singers in someone's living room—before commercial interests got hold of the term and dinked with it) at which he didn't have anything good to say about anyone. He took particular issue with the fact that a couple of us played nylon-string classic guitars, and informed us ignorant Seattlites that folk songs should be accompanied by steel-string guitars only.

Nobody missed him when he left town.

======

The Seattle Early Music Guild, which normally sponsors concerts and recitals by early music groups such as the Baltimore Consort, has announced a gathering for next month to which people are invited to come and sing any very old songs, presumably ballads, folk songs, or any other very old songs that they might know, from centuries back. Sounds like it could be one heck of an interesting gathering.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: Airymouse
Date: 25 Jan 14 - 11:37 PM

Wasn't the tune for "The old grey goose is dead" from a Jean Jacques Rousseau opera? Also I think I read that the founder of the Irish Folk Lore Society choose the folk tune "Maids of the Mourne Shore" for Yeat's "Down by the Salley Gardens", and Yeats, himself, said his poem was inspired by a folk song he heard in Sligo. Surely there is no need to argue that folk music is at the heart of much classical music. Anyway as I see it, the two forms of music inform and nurture each other. I suspect that Benjamin Britten was a far better composer than people yet realize, and from the folk point of view one way to see this is to compare his handling of folk songs with that of Aaron Copeland. I think anyone listening to Britten's piano realization of "Oliver Cromwell is buried and dead" would be interested to hear the song itself, as well as some of its other companions such as "Old crump's dead", Mulberry Hill, "Old grumble is dead" and "Sir Roger is dead." Similarly, if you sing one of these songs, and you have the ability, I think your audience would enjoy hearing the piano realization.


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Jan 14 - 07:41 AM

If you look hard enough you will find overlap between almost any genres of music, which is why we shouldn't take hard and fast boundaries too seriously. They are only general guidelines.


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Jan 14 - 08:46 AM

well I can remember the late Ian Campbell singing sn arrangement of a Britten piece in my folk club. I can't see that cross fertilisation is wrong.

Best of luck with it! Benjamin Britten has a lot of fans - make sure you announce it on local radio - other than a folk programme. you might flush out a few more people.


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Jan 14 - 11:44 AM

Ian used to sing a song from Peter Grimes -anyone else remember that? its a bugger getting old - no one knows what you're talking about.


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: GUEST,John Ernest
Date: 26 Jan 14 - 11:58 AM

My first purchase of a folk album (because it was on the same label as Pink Floyd) was Shirley Collins' "Anthems In Eden" with David Munrow and Dolly Collins' arrangements for Early Instruments. Hardly "straight" folk singing and performance - but superb none the less and hooked me on traditional music for life.

As Big Al says, if this event is publicised properly then it might turn a whole lot of new people on to traditional music.

Hope it goes well.


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: Don Firth
Date: 26 Jan 14 - 04:57 PM

Pardon me for waxing personal again, but back in the days shortly after the Big Bang, I was very much an opera enthusiast, to the point where I was taking voice lessons from an older woman who used to sing with the Metropolitan Opera. It seems I was a bass-baritone (same category of voice as George London—and Ed McCurdy and Gordon Bok).

When a number of friends became interested in folk music, I listened to a number of records, and the voice that appealed to me the most was (fasten your seat-belt!) Richard Dyer-Bennet. Classically trained light tenor, accompanying himself on a classical guitar.

I was fascinated by the songs he sang, and although Dyer-Bennet didn't really have a great voice (he said so himself), I wasn't put off by some of the less cultivated voices that I first heard early on. I have since learned to appreciate these voices, learning, however, that it is the song that is the important element.

I have to wholeheartedly agree with a statement by Dyer-Bennet:
The value lies inherent in the song, not in the regional mannerisms or colloquialisms. No song is ever harmed by being articulated clearly, on pitch, with sufficient control of phrase and dynamics to make the most of the poetry and melody, and with an instrumental accompaniment designed to enrich the whole effect.
Some people are simply put off by untrained voices or by voices laden with what some singers of folk songs seem to consider is the way folk songs must be sung. Evenings like this could introduce quite a number of people to the songs, and lessen the danger of putting then off with assumed regional mannerisms. Which is often the case.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: Acme
Date: 27 Jan 14 - 12:13 AM

I remember attending a Richard Dyer-Bennet concert with my parents at the Seattle Opera House. And attracting his attention at one point, the enthusiastic child in the fourth row. :)

Because I grew up listening to Dyer-Bennet I never thought his operatic voice was out of character for folk. His voice is wonderful. But there are some opera folks who just overdo when it comes to the common song because they can't turn off the intensity and the vibrato. One who did a great job performing opera, popular, and folk was John Charles Thomas. I've researched him a lot lately because of an unfortunate hijacking of his good name by a nut who appropriated his name for her grandfather - long story - but there was a reason Thomas was so popular across genre. He managed to perform without blasting the non-opera audience, yet maintained his wonderful voice. I'm sure there are technical reasons he managed this, I'm not articulating them totally.

SRS


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Jan 14 - 02:05 PM

I remember listening to John Charles Thomas on the radio (you know, like television, but without the pictures) in the 1940s. Very popular baritone who seemed to be able to sing just about anything and bring it off nicely. CLICKY.

One of the popular radio comics of the era (Fred Allen? Not sure.) once referred to him as "John, Charles, and Thomas, the three little boys who sing……"

Some pertinent poop about Richard Dyer-Bennet for those not familiar with him, and for the enlightenment and edification of those who immediately dismiss him when they hear the obviously trained light tenor voice:
To understand Dyer-Bennet's work one must first appreciate his admiration of Sven Scholander (1860-1936), the famed Swedish singer. In 1935, Dyer-Bennet traveled by boat and bicycle to Stockholm in order to meet Scholander. Though initially reluctant, Scholander, then 75 and long retired, granted the young man's wish and sang a number of songs from his huge repertoire. Dyer-Bennet was immediately enchanted. "Somehow," he would recall later, "it was the greatest musical experience I ever had."

The old master's style of singing was something Dyer-Bennet "had never dreamed of. He looked straight at me and spun tale after tale as though singing out of his own life. A pageant of the ages seemed to pass before my eyes, and it was all evoked by the husky voice of this old man and by his simple but exactly appropriate accompaniments on the lute."

During the two months he remained in Stockholm, Dyer-Bennet saw Scholander a half dozen more times. From him the young singer learned nearly a hundred songs, many of which became staples in his own repertoire. But perhaps more important than the songs themselves was the feeling for folk music Dyer-Bennet absorbed in Scholander's presence. Years later he told Nat Hentoff that his credo remained that of Scholander: "The value lies inherent in the song, not in the regional mannerisms or colloquialisms." (from this web site:   CLICKY #2).
Although the bulk of his repertoire consisted of folk songs and ballads, Dyer-Bennet did not consider himself to be a "folk singer." He always maintained that he was attempting to follow the traditions of the minstrels of olden times.

By the way:   CKICKY again.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Jan 14 - 03:44 PM

"The value lies inherent in the song, not in the regional mannerisms or colloquialisms."

Fair comment, but should we also include here the mannerisms of operatic singers.


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Jan 14 - 04:34 PM

Steve, inmy opinion folk clubs are placeswhere folk music is performed how it is performed style wise is neither here nor there, because if the club advertises [hypothetically]that the guests are classical musicians /singers performing folk songs, then customers can m,ake up theor own mind whether to attend or not attend, the same applies to a folk club booking a folk rock band, if it is advertised as fairport convention, we know it will be folk rock.


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Jan 14 - 06:15 PM

As to the mannerisms of opera singers, it should be understood that there are a whole variety of different mannerisms or characteristics dependent on the type of opera singer one is speaking of. No one set of "mannerisms." A Wagnerian tenor is going to sound a whole lot different from a tenor more suited to Puccini, Verdi, or Rossini operas.

Wagnerian tenor, aria from "Lohengrin," in which he reveals that he is the son of Parsifal, and is a knight of the Holy Grail. ClICKY #1.

From "Il Trovatore" about a troubadour knight. He is about to be married to Leonora in the castle chapel when Ruiz runs in and tells him that the Count di Luna is outside the gates about to burn an old gypsy woman at the stake. Manrico, the troubadour knight, explodes in rage, revealing that the old woman is his mother, then calls his troops together to rush out of the castle, rescue the old woman, and kick some serious butt! (A couple of high C's at the end of the aria. CLICKY #2.

Lots of folk singers object to "vibrato," the slight variation in pitch. In most cases, this is not at all objectionable. In fact, a good vibrato should not even be noticeable unless you are listening for it. It lends "life" to an otherwise "flat" sounding voice (but not necessarily flat in pitch).   Many popular singers—and folk singers—do have this natural vibrato. The singer doesn't try for it. It should just happen naturally.

Oddly enough, perhaps, Richard Dyer-Bennet has very little vibrato.

Win Stracke, a classically trained (operatic) bass-baritone, did a beautiful, very creditable job on a whole variety of folk songs and ballads. But he understood folk songs. Where an opera singer is likely to go astray is when he or she includes a couple of folk songs in a recital, such as the performance of George London that I described above, but are otherwise not really familiar with the songs.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Jan 14 - 06:37 PM

Some fascinating ideas coming up here. They're really making me think about the whole issue. I've always understood that the song itself is more important than the delivery.

About a year ago I was asked to put together some songs as background music to the whaling displays in the local museum. Although Hull was a great whaling port no local whaling songs survived in oral tradition so I have been putting tunes to old poetry and localising other whaling songs. Wanting to produce a sound that listeners would perceive as authentic I then brought together a group of local male singers with strong local accents to learn and sing the songs. One was a guitarist but I asked him not to play the guitar on this occasion which he readily agreed to. However we did include fiddles and various squeeze boxes. The CD is now finished and I'm satisfied we completed the project in the way I set out to. I could have asked other singers, girls, men with refined voices, singers from other parts of the country. Did I do wrong?


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Jan 14 - 07:12 PM

Nope. Sounds fine to me.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jan 14 - 05:59 AM

I do think the delivery is very important, but i accept that my taste is not the same as everybody else, in my opinion a folk club is where folk songs are performed, how they are performed stylistically should not be a barrier to their performance, I might choose to avoid folksongs being performed in a classical style, I would certainly avoid Fairport Convention performing folk rock , but I see no reason why they should not be booked at a folk club.
I would have no objection to folk songs or folk tunes getting a jazz treatment, winster gallop being improvised upon well, BY PEOPLE WHO ARE GOOD AT IMPROVISATION,would in my opinion belong in a folk club.
   no, steve, you did not do wrong,, but you are comparing apples to chocolate cake,you are talking about a recording of which you have the final say as regards style, now if it was your folk club and you were footing the bill you have every right as does the OP to make decisions about style and what is booked at the club, that is the prerogative of the promoter/organiser.
   folk clubs[imo] are places where folk songs are performed, it is up to the organiser [who foots the bill] to decide on the style of folk music he books at the club. neither is it wrong for a folk club to book classical musicians doing folk music , if we do not like it we have two options
1. stay away or 2 go with an open mind and leave if we do not like it.


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jan 14 - 06:12 AM

I am saying it is the prerogative of the person who takes the financial risk of putting the event on to decide, on all matters of club policy.
in my opinion folk songs can be performed in many different styles, performing well is not necessarily about style, but if I do not like the sound of something, example, folk music sung in classical style or folk music performed by fairport convention, I have the option of voting with my feet.
that does not mean that fairport convention or folk music sung in operatic style are not good,but it means it is not to my taste, neither does it mean that is should not be staged as an event in a folk club.


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Jan 14 - 08:14 AM

That's fair comment, Dick.


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jan 14 - 12:53 PM

what, I dont want to see again, are the repeat of the days when MacColl stopped lisa turner from singing a song in a folk club because it was an american song and she was not american. every club organiser has aright to have a policy in their club, but i had no desire to attend MacColls club, i voted with my feet, I went where i could have fun and enjoy myself, each to their own.


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Jan 14 - 02:05 PM

One wonders what he would have done if she had said her parents were American!


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Subject: RE: First time for a folk club?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 29 Jan 14 - 12:51 PM

I think that Lawrence's idea was a very good one and a successful step outside the folk club's comfort zone. Elsewhere, I have contributed to a discussion of this evening, reminding Lawrence that on another evening at the same venue he booked a Gambian kora vituoso (Jali Sherrifo Konteh) whose British tour we were organising, he once again had a full house and had to search the building for more chairs.

Having said that - and looking at the broader issue raised here of singers venturing outside their own usual repertoire area, the most important word is singing style, first raised by Dick Miles here, and then amplified in a more specific ways by Steve Gardham and Don Firth.
Let me explain what I mean by example:-
One of the most extraordinary pieces of music that I know is Pergolesi's Salve Regina in A minor , particularly when I have had the privilege of listening to it in the building where it was written and first performed, the Ducale Palace in Mantua. (Hear it here.) Sung by an exquisite conservatoire trained voice as it is here, it is unbeatable. Much as I love the singing of, let's say, Norma Waterson or Cleo Laine, they could not manage it. Similarly, if the singer on that recording was asked to sing Lord Bateman or My Funny Valentine they would undoubtedly make a hash of it.

This is not to say that cross-cultural performances cannot be successful. Listen to this superb performance by the Hungarian conservatoire trained singer (who is also a composer and actress) Márta Sebestyén. (Hear it here). She sings Leaving Derry Quay and in the middle of it segues into another traditional emigration song about the forced eviction of the Greek population of Turkey by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
A leading singer of a wide range of styles, I am tempted to say, "Don't try this at home - we can't all be Márta Sebestyéns."


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