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Suggestions for converting folkies?

Richard Bridge 07 Feb 14 - 06:47 AM
Dave the Gnome 07 Feb 14 - 07:02 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 07 Feb 14 - 07:07 AM
Will Fly 07 Feb 14 - 07:17 AM
GUEST,Grishka 07 Feb 14 - 08:50 AM
Jack Campin 07 Feb 14 - 08:56 AM
GUEST 07 Feb 14 - 09:39 AM
Steve Gardham 07 Feb 14 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,another ull lad 07 Feb 14 - 10:54 AM
GUEST,leeneia 07 Feb 14 - 12:21 PM
Richard Bridge 07 Feb 14 - 01:34 PM
Les in Chorlton 07 Feb 14 - 01:45 PM
Richard Bridge 07 Feb 14 - 02:11 PM
Big Al Whittle 07 Feb 14 - 02:29 PM
Richard Bridge 07 Feb 14 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,Grishka 07 Feb 14 - 03:14 PM
GUEST,Stim 07 Feb 14 - 03:56 PM
Richard Bridge 07 Feb 14 - 05:51 PM
Betsy 07 Feb 14 - 08:20 PM
Gurney 07 Feb 14 - 11:20 PM
Will Fly 08 Feb 14 - 04:34 AM
GUEST 08 Feb 14 - 04:45 AM
GUEST,Grishka 08 Feb 14 - 04:58 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 08 Feb 14 - 08:30 AM
GUEST,Tony 08 Feb 14 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,Stim 08 Feb 14 - 12:00 PM
Big Al Whittle 08 Feb 14 - 12:34 PM
GUEST,Gelli Harriwell 08 Feb 14 - 01:10 PM
Richard Bridge 08 Feb 14 - 07:01 PM
Big Al Whittle 08 Feb 14 - 10:31 PM
Little Robyn 09 Feb 14 - 04:41 AM
Jack Campin 09 Feb 14 - 06:07 AM
Richard Bridge 09 Feb 14 - 06:54 AM
Big Al Whittle 09 Feb 14 - 08:11 AM
Big Al Whittle 09 Feb 14 - 08:11 AM
Big Al Whittle 09 Feb 14 - 08:11 AM
Little Robyn 10 Feb 14 - 08:03 PM
Jack Campin 10 Feb 14 - 08:38 PM
GUEST,Stim 11 Feb 14 - 02:36 AM
Richard Bridge 11 Feb 14 - 09:42 AM
Bert 11 Feb 14 - 12:12 PM
Stringsinger 11 Feb 14 - 02:12 PM
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Subject: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 06:47 AM

A very nice young woman I know (well, younger than me) and her younger still friend have expressed a possible interest in singing a few songs at folk festivals (the sort where people sing not sit and be entertained) this summer.

My friend can definitely sing (astounded some friends at a party a few weeks back with a rendition of "Cod Liver Oil" as sung by Val Doonican: she had remembered it from about 20 years back when she was a student. OK, she forgot the words but pitch and vocal quality bang on!)

Her friend is a semiprofessional singer at the moment with a soul covers band.

Neither plays an instrument - but I could provide some simple guitar accompaniments.

Now comes the fun - they want me to suggest things they can sing.

Both are Yoruba and they may be able to remember a Yoruba folk song or two: over to them for that. Both these young ladies are happy to stand out. My friend is political and interested in Pan-Afrikanism.   

Bearing in mind that most UK folk festivals are fairly Caucasian-centric it would be good to come up with some suitable Caucasian songs, and I thought that it might be good to folk-ize some pop/soul/tangentially African songs.

I thought the Staple Singers' "In the Ghetto" - or "Respect Yourself" might work.
Another could be the song written by Bill Withers but my favourite version is by 3 Degrees - "Who is she and what is she to you?

Maybe Pata Pata, or The Lion Sleeps Tonight - or Iko Iko.


Now onto folk music as such - not necessarily 1954 definition - but the sort of stuff you would EXPECT to hear in folk clubs.

June Tabor? Sandy Denny? Shirley Collins? Maddy Prior? Dave and Toni Arthur? Frankie Armstrong? Karine Polwarts? Open to suggestions - preferably with links to youtube performances.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 07:02 AM

I think it is quite a tough one that. By singing African based songs it may come across as stereotyping. Nothing wrong with the songs you mention but I think you need to be careful they don't get 'pigeonholed'. One of my favourite artists is the late Johnny Silvo who successfully combined Afro-Caribbean, pop, blues, jazz and folk of all kinds. And what a voice! Now, not saying do any of those songs but he is a good example of how a good voice will carry any style :-) One of my favourites. Contemporary folk I guess but just go on from there.

Hope this helps and keep us posted as to how it pans out.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 07:07 AM

Dare I suggest that it might not be too much for our Caucasian-centric (ethnocentric?) audience to listen to a few folk songs in Yoruba.

Sorry, but I hate this attitude, still far too prevelant among many folkies, that something has to be white and British before they'll listen to it.

There's a whole world of traditional music out there and you know what? In over 40 years of listening to music from the Seychelles, Namibia, Romania, Turkmenistan or practically anywhere else on the planet, I've heard very little that has failed to knock me sideways.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Will Fly
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 07:17 AM

I'm with Fred here - Yoruba songs sung by Yoruban women is perfectly good enough for anywhere. Of course if they want to dig into non-Yoruban stuff, that's entirely up to them. If festivals are caucasian-centric, it would do the festivals good to have a richer mix.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 08:50 AM

"Caucasian" - as in Sochi? Be very careful with such terms!

If the festival is intercultural, singers must be welcome to sing music from their own ("foreign") culture, and secondarily, any songs they like and can relate to personally. "In the Ghetto" - ehm - not a good idea. "The Lion" not much better. If "Pan-Afrikanism" means solidarity with "African Americans": many excellent songs have been written by these, some of which can be found suitable.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 08:56 AM

Do they normally sing as a duet? Not all traditions have solo songs, and if they come from a polyphonic one, Maddy Prior or June Tabor repertoire would be rather alien and Coope Boyes & Simpson stuff might suit them better. Or Gaelic mouth music, with its solo/chorus alternations.

It's up to them what they might find interesting. Personally I'd much rather listen to music from one of the Yoruba traditions (any of them) than an evening of Karine Polwart covers.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 09:39 AM

It's worth a try . . .


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 10:36 AM

I'm with Fred and Will here. I'd love to hear some Yoruban songs. What might make them a little more popular is if it is possible to translate them into English. Would it work, even if only a loose translation? A good starting place would be Whitby FF which is very welcoming, even if it doesn't particularly book world music acts.

Original different stuff here and there, as jack said, is much more preferable to listening to endless clones of well-known performers.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: GUEST,another ull lad
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 10:54 AM

Hear, hear lets have some Yoruban Songs sung by Yorubans, a lot better then Irish, scotish or American songs sung by an English singer trying to put on an accent that's not their own.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 12:21 PM

The best thing to do when singing for the first time for people you don't know is to sing something humorous. People will forgive almost anything in a singer who amuses them.

Later, when the others have come to know and be comfortable with the Yorubans, they can sing more challenging stuff.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 01:34 PM

Sometimes the 'cat is very helpful, sometimes over-picky.

I cannot help them source Yoruban folksongs. They will do that. All part of the plan, Fred - but that too is almost stereotyping if taken too far. They want to have some fun, not be a cultural mission. IMHO one needs a nod to "roots" if that is still an acceptable way to put it but there is no point in setting out to make yourself inaccessible.

Yes, DtG, what you say is on my horizon. Swanee and minstrelsy is definitely OFF the menu. I found an interesting site about American slave secular song - and thought - ooooh! Then I looked at the cited songs on that site and the verbal rendition was horrifyingly Uncle Tom and Topsy. Silvo was a cracking singer indeed - but many today look back at his self-guying as Uncle Tom.

Will, they will be going as punters, not as booked stage artists. My friend has been to a number of places folkie specifically with me (where, TBH, I don't think she was really "stared at", but she was the only non-Caucasian there) and part of her selling pitch to her friend was "Let's go and we can both be stared at as the only people like us".   No, she has not got a chip on her shoulder but she will pull my leg as being the only Caucasian at places she takes me to. And Caucasian is the word she and her friends use.

Pan-Afrikanism in case you are not aware includes specifically African cultural and social issues, but also adopts the view that persons of colour from the Caribbean and African-Americans must logically acknowledge that their heritage is African. Let's not go onto religious issues, we'll be here for hours and I've found it most educative (not least in that my friend is an adherent to a belief system that is definitely NOT Islam or Xtianity, but IS African and is NOT syncretic). At its fringes it includes the matters by which Pan-Afrikans (in the above sense) are disadvantaged outside Africa which fits very well with European left-wing politics. I therefore dispute that "In the Ghetto" or "The Lion" are inappropriate, but the young women will decide for themselves.   

Leenia - you may have a point there. So some Val Doonican without an Irish accent might work, or some music-hall Scottish without a Scottish accent might work.   Maybe female politics...

I don't think "My husband's got no courage in him" is apt. My last girlfriend used to do "An old man came courting me" so that would look like a specific rebuff. How about "the Eddystone Light"?

Polyphony is a good idea. I used to like Coope Boyes and Simpson but can't think of any wholly obvious songs. I am not at all sure about the Unthanks (although my band used their version of "Patience Kershaw" as a jumping-off point).   What maybe from the Young Tradition or Eden Hill, or the Watersons or Waterson-Carthy - or indeed the Coppers?

Right, off to look at that Silvo clip now.

Keep them clips a-coming!


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 01:45 PM

Our limited experience at The Beech M21 9EG, (songs mostlty but not exclusively traditional) is that singers form other places and cultures are always well received and much enjoyed.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 02:11 PM

Point well made Les


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 02:29 PM

I don't understand this thread, who is being converted to what....?


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 02:41 PM

People who used not to go to folk things are, I hope, being converted to like folk music.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 03:14 PM

No criticism intended, just a friendly warning, strictly FYI.

"Caucasian" can be used to describe a genetic type of person. If used for a type of music or culture, it refers to the region of the Caucasus mountains. Any other usage is dangerous.

"In the Ghetto", "Lion" etc.: there must be Mudcat threads about them. Perhaps someone invites our friend Azizi to comment, our specialist for African-American identity. Anyway: if your friends like to sing those songs, who am I to object; I just do not want to propose them.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 03:56 PM

They will sing songs they know, mostly likely "Pan-African stuff", and you will figure out how to play along, and you will throw in some things that you like. If that includes "In the Ghetto" or "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", it's all good. But don't forget to credit
Solomon Linda and the Original Evening Bluebirdsolomon Linda).

And please, what point in bringing new people into the "folk scene" if they play the same old stuff?


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 05:51 PM

I have previously read the history of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". I am also familiar with the Solomon Linda recording. I have not been able to trace authorship of the song "the Ghetto" that the Staple Singers recorded. I thought it was self-penned but have no evidence.   

My friend's friends universally refer to me as Caucasian - and the other evening at dinner I had a really nice rant (about the comparisons between Nigerian and UK service marks and illegal contracts and riders) with a chap Ayo who used, I was told, to be Fela Kuti's entertainment contract lawyer and the term we were universally using to distinguish music that came from Western Europe and white USA and Canada was "Caucasian". Nobody thought we were talking about the Caucasus mountains.

If that is alleged to be wrong (a) justify and (b) explain why it is "dangerous" and (c) suggest a better alternative, please.

I have not seen Azizi on here for a long time. I miss her wisdom.

Look, chaps, they asked me to suggest songs for them to do. They want to ease in with accessible stuff. Help me out, here, rather than assuming the worst about me, huh?


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Betsy
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 08:20 PM

Get our music into schools - make it fun - make 'em laugh , make it daft - "With her one eye on the pot and the other up the chimney" make them easy to sing - make them easy to remember "I'll tell me Ma "
Too many pseudo middle -class intellectuals claiming to be experts fucking about with our music.
They've fucked the clubs and now they're fucking the roots.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Gurney
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 11:20 PM

I have done it by just suggesting 'I know My Love' to a young lady. It IS Irish, but the accent is immaterial and most girls over 16 can identify with it :-)

There is a lyric in the DT and a version on YouTube with a guy singing it. You will have to put up 'Ottilie Patterson I Know My Love.'
A private recording in which she participated.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 04:34 AM

I think the most important thing that anyone can do, Richard, is to perform material that appeals to them - whatever it might be and wherever it comes from - in a personal way.

So, rather than suggest individual titles, just get them to listen to a wide variety of music - from your collection, from other peoples' collections, from Spotify. Spotify can be particularly good for finding new stuff - as can YouTube - because, once you've found one performance, others line up alongside. The process of serendipitous jumping from one tune to another can be educative and fun.

For example, I was recently listening to Danielle Darrieux singing "Les Fleurs Sont Des Mots D'Amour", and then discovered Lucienne Delyle singing "Le Tango Des Jours Heureux". Magic!


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 04:45 AM

If they want to stand out, anything by these two would suit two female singers who can harmonise. Repertoire ranging from the comic to serious.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 04:58 AM

the term we were universally using to distinguish music that came from Western Europe and white USA and Canada was "Caucasian".
There are many more people whose genetic type is "Caucasian" and who have different cultures and music. Also, there are non-"Caucasian" people who make the same music, and the culture also exists in ANZ and other countries; think of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa as an example for both.

Summary: do not confuse genetic types with cultures, particularly if antagonisms from history are involved.
suggest a better alternative, please.
"Music of Western European heritage". To describe your folk festival, you may find even more specific descriptions. Note that many features of such music have in fact been taken over from other traditions, as amply discussed in Mudcat. Still, the audience of that festival may not be acquainted to music from, say, Latvia, even if the singers are "Caucasian" to the full satisfaction of the most picky racists. You may therefore ask for advice from that audience themselves, although like the other posters to this thread, I do not expect them to object to your plan.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 08:30 AM

A couple of ideas.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops have approached the problem of being black performers in a largely white milieu by doing old-time music generally perceived as part of white culture, and not only showing that it was part of black culture as well, they have their own take on how to perform it that makes it fresh and interesting in ways you'd never have thought of.

Wendy Arrowsmith has a terrific song "Scipio" about an African in Scotland in the 18th century - she thinks he may have been an ancestor of hers - which makes him sexy and heroic, the complete antithesis to Burns's "Slave's Lament". It would be neat to hear an African try it.

What both of those have in common is that there may be more subtle alternatives to simply dividing the possibilities up into "our music" and "your music".


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 09:55 AM

Since the subject of Wimbube came up, there's a recording of the original South African song at youtube.com/watch?v=6tZvke0G7eo

Also, a very funny telling of how that song about a plains-dwelling nocturnal hunter was transformed into "in the jungle the lion sleeps tonight" at youtube.com/watch?v=S0vpviTpukU


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 12:00 PM

We don't assume the worst about you, Richard, after years of posting, we know you;-)

To reiterate, I think that what they're really asking is that you share what you know with them--the songs where your heart is,so to speak. If you've listened much to Fela, you will get that the African way is to take a phrase, a melody, a groove that works for everybody and just go with it. Maybe that's not much help, but that's all I've got...

As to "In the Ghetto", it was written by Mac Davis and made popular by Elvis.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 12:34 PM

Deutschland Deutschland Yoruba Alles
Yoruba Cheatin Heart


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: GUEST,Gelli Harriwell
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 01:10 PM

Suggestions for converting folkies?


errrm... what to ???

metric to imperial ?, pounds to kilos ?, pissed to sober ?, ugly to sexy ? tedious to enthralling ? shite to good ???.........


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 07:01 PM

No, not the Elvis popularised "the Ghetto". This one (listen, it's great) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DpShHHvJyo

No, not folkies who are converting to something else, people who are converting to be folkies.

No, I don't really do Fela Kuti. My son Dominic does.

Yes, I have some Herauld and Turner recordings. I was looking at a much earlier recording of one they do (Maid of Islington) by someone unexpected (was it Shirley Collins?) but thought it over-risque to suggest. Although maybe "Odd Sock" would run. The colour of the sock could be changed each verse for comic effect.


"Music of Western European heritage"? You cannot be serious, can you?   How about "non-Mobo"? It would verbally include Hispanic, which might be a mistake. That would leave "non-MoBo, non-MoLo". How about "Anglo-American-Celtic"?

Anyway, I'm not getting many good suggestions so I reckon I'll just have to go back to rummaging at Youtube and in my record collection. Spotify has locked me out ever since I refused it access to my facebook login!   

See you around. Maybe.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 10:31 PM

well its abit difficult choosing material for people we don't know - its sometimes quite hard choosing stuff for oneself. and breathes there a soul, so self uncritical - who doesn't think after every gig -
actually THAT would have been a better choice for tonite's audience.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 09 Feb 14 - 04:41 AM

Maybe something from the repertoire of Miriam Makeba or Odetta?
This is from one of Azizi's posts:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spuz9X8fWjI&NR=1

"A young Miriam Makeba performs Into Yam in the movie Come Back, Africa (1960)"

**

Odetta, "Another Man Done Gone"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZE6HfWbg1E&feature=related

"Odetta sings this traditional Alabama chain-gang song a cappella..From the Essential Odetta album"


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Feb 14 - 06:07 AM

Why?

The Yoruba live nearer to Athens than they do to where Makeba came from, let alone the US. And their traditional musical culture is completely unrelated to any from southern Africa. Rembetika would be just as appropriate.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Feb 14 - 06:54 AM

Jack - because (surely I mentioned) both are into Pan-Afrikanism.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Feb 14 - 08:11 AM

ain't got a clue what pan afrikanism entails....too weird. Africa is a continent. think about what you're asking.....

THEY have to decide what they relate to......Jean Bosco Mwenda, Ladyship Black Mambazo, Nusfrat Ali Khan, high life......too much diversity for any of us to make a meaningful contribution.

Only extremists like Jim Carroll reckon they KNOW what constitutes folk music in a titchy place like Ireland . I mean ....Africa....


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Feb 14 - 08:11 AM

ain't got a clue what pan afrikanism entails....too weird. Africa is a continent. think about what you're asking.....

THEY have to decide what they relate to......Jean Bosco Mwenda, Ladyship Black Mambazo, Nusfrat Ali Khan, high life......too much diversity for any of us to make a meaningful contribution.

Only extremists like Jim Carroll reckon they KNOW what constitutes folk music in a titchy place like Ireland . I mean ....Africa....


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Feb 14 - 08:11 AM

ain't got a clue what pan afrikanism entails....too weird. Africa is a continent. think about what you're asking.....

THEY have to decide what they relate to......Jean Bosco Mwenda, Ladyship Black Mambazo, Nusfrat Ali Khan, high life......too much diversity for any of us to make a meaningful contribution.

Only extremists like Jim Carroll reckon they KNOW what constitutes folk music in a titchy place like Ireland . I mean ....Africa....


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 10 Feb 14 - 08:03 PM

So check out this thread started by Azizi in 2007.
And if they can't relate to something there, there's the entire Digital Tradition to search through.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Feb 14 - 08:38 PM

There is a group called Dade Krama that tried to do a sort of Pan-African fusion music - seemingly without any political programme motivating it. I saw them about 20 years ago, thought they were a bit shambolic and was surprised to see they're still on the go. But they might float Richard's friends' boat.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 11 Feb 14 - 02:36 AM

Sorry Richard, I got muddled--"The Ghetto" was written by Bonnie Bramlett, Homer Banks, and Bettye Crutcher (Bettye Jean Crutcher Barnes) as house songwriters at Stax Records. Banks,Crutcher, and Raymond Jackson wrote a number of Stax hits, including Johnnie Taylor's "Who Making Love?" At bit more hereBettye Crutcher and Stax Records


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Feb 14 - 09:42 AM

Thanks Stim. I loved that Johnnie Taylor hit.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Bert
Date: 11 Feb 14 - 12:12 PM

They should sing what they like.

I don't know any African songs but for in between stuff they might like some of Cliff Hall's Jamaican songs. Island Woman, Shine Eye Girl, and Adam in the Garden are ones that I sing occasionally.


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Subject: RE: Suggestions for converting folkies?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 11 Feb 14 - 02:12 PM

A good song remains so regardless of who sings it provided the understanding of it is conveyed by the performance.

Anyone ought to be able to sing anything they like if they do it with perception and taste or in some cases, if it's funny, without taste.

I like the mixing of cultures, creating jazz, folk, pop, even so-called classical music.

I'd love to hear what Yoruban singers do with the Celtic, English, Appalachian or what have you music.

There is nothing holy about being a folkie. They can be bigoted, narrow-minded, pretentious, and ignorant people about music as anyone else.


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