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Has folk forgotten feminism?

GUEST,Selby 12 Mar 14 - 06:26 AM
GUEST 12 Mar 14 - 07:11 AM
GUEST,Peter 12 Mar 14 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 12 Mar 14 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 12 Mar 14 - 10:53 AM
GUEST,Reasonable Ron 12 Mar 14 - 11:06 AM
GUEST 12 Mar 14 - 11:35 AM
Mr Happy 12 Mar 14 - 12:25 PM
Ernest 12 Mar 14 - 12:40 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Mar 14 - 07:15 PM
Musket 13 Mar 14 - 05:02 AM
johncharles 13 Mar 14 - 07:03 AM
GUEST,Reasonable Ron 13 Mar 14 - 07:23 AM
Musket 13 Mar 14 - 07:38 AM
GUEST 13 Mar 14 - 09:57 AM
GUEST 13 Mar 14 - 10:23 AM
GUEST 13 Mar 14 - 10:37 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Mar 14 - 10:50 AM
johncharles 13 Mar 14 - 12:19 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Mar 14 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,Musket 13 Mar 14 - 02:20 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Mar 14 - 03:03 PM
GUEST 13 Mar 14 - 09:43 PM
GUEST 14 Mar 14 - 03:25 AM
GUEST 14 Mar 14 - 04:26 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Mar 14 - 05:23 AM
GUEST,Reasonable Ron 14 Mar 14 - 07:11 AM
GUEST 14 Mar 14 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,Reasonable Ron 14 Mar 14 - 09:53 AM
doc.tom 14 Mar 14 - 09:55 AM
GUEST 14 Mar 14 - 10:19 AM
Ernest 14 Mar 14 - 10:28 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Mar 14 - 10:38 AM
GUEST 14 Mar 14 - 03:04 PM
Big Al Whittle 14 Mar 14 - 08:19 PM
Acorn4 15 Mar 14 - 05:17 AM
Brian Peters 15 Mar 14 - 07:05 AM
Brian Peters 15 Mar 14 - 07:27 AM
Big Al Whittle 15 Mar 14 - 09:12 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Mar 14 - 09:51 AM
Big Al Whittle 16 Mar 14 - 05:09 AM
GUEST 16 Mar 14 - 05:58 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Mar 14 - 06:16 AM
GUEST,Miriam Backhouse-Erasmus 17 Mar 14 - 12:16 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Mar 14 - 09:21 AM
GUEST 17 Mar 14 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,raymond greenoaken 18 Mar 14 - 05:06 AM
CupOfTea 19 Mar 14 - 05:05 PM
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Subject: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST,Selby
Date: 12 Mar 14 - 06:26 AM

http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2014/mar/10/folk-forgotten-feminism-music-festival-lineups-discrimination

Interesting article in the Guardian suggesting that female acts aren't getting booked at festivals. For me really couldn't give a toss whether the act is male or female as long as they are good.
We where at the Rapper Championships in Leeds this weekend and the winning was a women's side and I thought personally the top 3 sides where women's.
I personally do not agree with the quota system of we must have X amount of women just because they are women, if you are good enough you are in that to me speaks for itself.
Keith


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Mar 14 - 07:11 AM

One might broaden the question and ask whether folk has forgotten socialism - and perhaps invert the question and ask why folk should be aligned with any particuar "ism" at all. A broad church should allow tolerance for both, after all the core repertoire of trad folk is hardly non-sexist, for all the euphemism. Perhaps it's the Grauniad which is at fault, assuming that they are the source and fount of all wisdom: having experienced their feminists first-hand, they are if anything worse than those they complain of. It may suit demagogues to sign other people up to their cause whether they like it or not, but it may not suit the folk.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 12 Mar 14 - 08:50 AM

I don't do that many festivals but looking at some adverts:

EFDSS concert season - 1 male, 1 female, 2 mixed duos.
Kings Place - 2 of four concerts headline female performers, the other two are bands and I have no idea who is in them.

Wildgoose Records - Three male, 1 female, 1 mixed duo
Elizabethan Session - 6 female 2 male performers

Looking at the Whitby flyer on the table, I really can't be arsed to do a detailed count but it looks like a pretty good mix to me.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 12 Mar 14 - 10:05 AM

Another way of counting, if the press must insist upon it, is to count the total number of acts available both male and female and then come with a number as a percentage of the total. So if acts are split 50-50 then the line-up would be split accordingly or if the acts were split 75-25 in favour if one or the other, then that gender would make up 75 or 25 percent of the line-up.

However this does not and cannot take into account the different types of festival, Whitby and Cambridge are different beasts entirely catering to different tastes in folk music on the whole.

Nor can it take account of the different instruments that people play, some instruments are difficult to lug into a folk club. Piano or viola for example and some instruments do not lend themselves well to folk music, perchance Saxophone. I would think there is a difference in the number of people of each gender that tend towards a particular instrument. For example I know a lot more male than female Guitarists.

Finally if the press do feel they have a duty to comment on such matters God help us the day they introduce political correctness into the debate.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 12 Mar 14 - 10:53 AM

I don't really understand the question. Over all the years that I have been collecting folksongs I think that I have collected as many songs from women as from men.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST,Reasonable Ron
Date: 12 Mar 14 - 11:06 AM

Sexism ?

I think all folk acts, male and female, young or old, fat or slim
should only wear bikinis or mankinis on stage.

So that should tick most positive equal rights checklist issues for the near future..

.. and give us all something to have a good fair minded gawp and laugh at.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Mar 14 - 11:35 AM

Trouble is, we'd be overrun with gropies


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 Mar 14 - 12:25 PM

Remind me


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: Ernest
Date: 12 Mar 14 - 12:40 PM

No,not forgotten: successfully repressed!


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Mar 14 - 07:15 PM

Is this another down with Meninism thread?


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: Musket
Date: 13 Mar 14 - 05:02 AM

I suppose The Grauniad has developed a view on folk that fits some stereotype or other. The Northern folk club scene I started getting involved with in the late '70s wasn't much of a bastion of feminism. Many of the folk comics of the day had more in common with comics on the working men's clubs circuit than politically correct talking heads preaching at us from the Dave channel of today.

It had a wide political spectrum too. Enjoying a song for the tune, performance or ambience of the room doesn't necessarily mean being in tune with the sentiments of the words. When I think of what I was part of, I don't think ethnic skirts, muesli and expressing emotions through the medium of dance. I think of beer, pork scratchings and delivering sexist jokes whilst trying to get a bloody banjo in tune.

Nothing better than getting up and saying you cant wait to get married, so you have someone to drive you to and from folk clubs. Half the audience used to laugh anyway...

On a slightly more serious note, I don't think that folk or any other culture has lost its stereotypes alone. Society is losing stereotypes. People are more sophisticated these days and you can no longer judge a book by its colour as you could at one time. Donkeys with red rosettes are a thing of the past.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: johncharles
Date: 13 Mar 14 - 07:03 AM

Musket, donkey appears to be alive and well in parts of south Yorkshire.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST,Reasonable Ron
Date: 13 Mar 14 - 07:23 AM

Funny thing is though - if you pin a blue rosette on a donkey's arse,
it'll end up voted into power as a Tory cabinet minister...


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: Musket
Date: 13 Mar 14 - 07:38 AM

Aye. South Yorkshire was my stamping ground. Where I live, South Yorkshire starts two miles down the road, literally. Yet we appear to have a Tory MP. It too was a Labour stronghold in the day.

I don't know where the tradition of feminism and the folk clubs comes from, but stereotyping is an addiction of the chattering classes.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Mar 14 - 09:57 AM

I wonder whether the members of Sisters Unlimited would agree with the thread. More likely, they are quietly congratulating themselves that it is possible to be a folk singer and a feminist without the two being synonyms: you can be a folk singer and a farmer, a professor or a tunneling engineer. A third of tunnelling engineers working in London are female: feminism has to a great extent succeeded and risks losing its way as a result. The reason it's not 50% is because the engineers aren't there in the older age groups yet, but as time passes, it's happening.
The activism of old also reflected Ewan MacColl's relationship with Peggy Seeger, opening the door to American Wobbly activism and the presence of American country folk in the clubs, which has faded. The class war model died in 1979, not so much because of Maggie Thatcher, but because the confrontational model of Union-Management relations became discredited in the previous years as it was not constructive, simply anarchic. This is to a great extent why Bob Crow, one of the last us-and-them activists, has not been greatly mourned in the UK press: for all that he achieved a lot for his members, he failed to expand in a positive direction to lift all Unions with him. Heaven only knows the increasing divergence in income levels shows the case is still there, though.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Mar 14 - 10:23 AM

I wonder whether the members of Sisters Unlimited would agree with the thread
Sandra is quoted in the article as being in agreement with the arguement. Remember that is is explicitly about festival booking policy.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Mar 14 - 10:37 AM

Festivals book what sells. This is why I commented on the waning influence of the socialist dialectic in English folk: the debate took a different turn, somewhat substantiating the position the Festivals have adopted. I dare say the Fire in the Mountain festival will very happily book them, though.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Mar 14 - 10:50 AM

which bleeding folk clubs had donkeys with red rosettes?


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: johncharles
Date: 13 Mar 14 - 12:19 PM

same one that had a line dancing dog?


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Mar 14 - 01:16 PM

oh you merry quipper jc!


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 13 Mar 14 - 02:20 PM

Come come Al... The Brown Cow in Mansfield. ;-)

Meanwhile over the border in The Peoples Republic of South Yorkshire, Roy Bailey got all the best Sheffield gigs.

Never saw donkey per se but John Coy used to sing Bill Caddick's Donkey Jack Donkey at The Boundary in Worksop and occasionally over the boundary at Kiveton for that matter.

Anyway, I didn't start on the donkey trail. I just mentioned that the folk clubs I used to haunt weren't exactly feminist strongholds. Tony Capstick used to tell a good joke about feminists though ...


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Mar 14 - 03:03 PM

Musket.....all this talk of donkeys!


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Mar 14 - 09:43 PM

All the bands I've ever played in have been made up of almost equal parts men and women. In my experience, there are as many good singers and instrumentalists who are women as men. I've never heard of a folk club or festival offering different pay depending on if the act was male or female. All of the booking agents and committees at festivals and clubs that I've been involved with, or were privy to the details of, have been more or less equally men and women.

Maybe no one is paying attention to feminism in the folk music scene is because the folk scene is one of the few places where, professionally, it doesn't matter if you're a woman or a man.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Mar 14 - 03:25 AM

When I saw this thread I expected it to go viral from our lady friends about injustice in the folk world. It would appear that the first post is wrong and every thing is hunky dory


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Mar 14 - 04:26 AM

@Guest Hunky dory
Not quite, but a difference exists between the Guardian's definition of feminism, which touches on female chauvinism, and sexual equality. If the Guardian reproaches the folk world of not being feminist enough, a rational reply may well be to thank them for their compliment.
One of my female friends, for example, is far less feminist than I am. A senior medic, "she enjoys being a girl", as Peggy Lee had it. So not all women want their definition of equality, the price they pay for it in carrying an equal load isn't the kind of load they want to carry. The fact men have no choice in the matter isn't something they want to consider.
So maybe we are near a rational balance: there are still glass ceilings to break, and until they are the need for radical feminism continues, but should the folk movement become defined by radicalism writ wide or narrow? No. It has a place for it, sure, but not as a definitive element of the tradition, at least in the UK.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Mar 14 - 05:23 AM

There is another aspect of feminism to what happened around the clubs not so long ago.
Some time in the late 80s it became extremely difficult to sing traditional songs which were regarded as anti-women
I never witnessed it but have been told by friends who did that singers were hissed into silence for singing 'disapproved of' songs, the result being that these songs disappeared from the repertoire altogether.
As a supporter of feminism I fully accept that some songs go beyond the pale in their nastiness and displays of violence to women, it has always seemed to me that an over-sensitivity on the part of some feminists caused many good, harmless songs not to be sung - a great pity.
The opposite of the theme, disdain and contempt for men particularly concerning men who can't manage it any more is as much a part of our tradition as is those regarding women.
It seems to me that doing away with these would leave us with an extremely anodyne repertoire - or maybe they are not as important.
Some of the best evenings I can remember having spent in folk clubs has been when a health exchange of these songs has taken place - the Singers Club, and others in London presented several 'Battle of the Sexes' themed evenings.
Would welcome any opinions on this.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST,Reasonable Ron
Date: 14 Mar 14 - 07:11 AM

A significant proportion of 1980s extremist feminist activists would have by any reasonable criteria
been diagnosed as moderately to seriously mentally unwell.

But that is the nature of any sociopathic extremist personality,
dressing up personal disfunctional antisocial attitudes and behaviour in self deluded rationalisation
of absolute theoretical ideological & moral superiority.

I say this from an objective perspective of hindsight & experience
as I was a 1980s earnest young progressive 'ideologiaclly correct' 'male feminist' Polytechnic undergraduate
in a city notorious as being a radical 'hotbed',
well immersed in the social/cultural/political activism of that time.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Mar 14 - 09:39 AM

Please don't feed the troll.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST,Reasonable Ron
Date: 14 Mar 14 - 09:53 AM

I spent some time carefully considering how to word my latest contribution to this thread.
Careful not to divulge too much of the truth of my own personal history, or experience.
If the resuting paragraphs are clumsily written, I apologise...
I'm obviously not a naturally gifted writer.

However, "Please don't feed the troll." is the kind of trite response carelessly tossed off by smug self-righteous fukwits...

And we sure encountered a lot of them back in the 1980s


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: doc.tom
Date: 14 Mar 14 - 09:55 AM

I totally agree with Jim. We used to have some great 'Battle of the sexes' theme evenings too. There have always been 'not approved' songs around - I seem to recall being hissed at Capital when we sang our local traditional hunting song way back in the seventies. And it was always a pleasure to enlighten people to the kind of songs they shouldn't sing - by singing them!

Some adherents to any 'cause' can get over-excited. We have to live with it.

TomB


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Mar 14 - 10:19 AM

When I saw this thread I expected it to go viral from our lady friends about injustice in the folk world. It would appear that the first post is wrong and every thing is hunky dory
This thread really needs to be read in conjunction with the article that it refers to and the comments made on that article.

The whole thing is based on a comment made by one festival organiser to one all female band.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: Ernest
Date: 14 Mar 14 - 10:28 AM

@Guest 14 Mar 14, 4:26 AM:

No glass ceilings at folk clubs - we need all the glass for the tankard bottoms!


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Mar 14 - 10:38 AM

Sorry Guest - my fault - I judged, maybe wrongly, that there wasn't much new being added and thought I might widen it
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Mar 14 - 03:04 PM

In a way it's because the folk tradition was in and of itself masculine. You'd not get too many women in the circles these songs were born in, in the fields and down the pub, and that's the simple demography of the tradition. But that doesn't mean women can't or shouldn't sing them, it means they need to be adapted with intelligence. It's the reason there are so many couple duets around now, because the same tale almost always has two sides, and both need to be shown.
Sure, there are some womens songs, and the idiom's not for the wilting violet or the last remnant of The National Songbook and its heirs. The simple truth is, though, that a woman tackling Roll The Old Chariot Along is not going to be too credible. Unless, that is, she's straight out of Gilray or Hogarth's cartoons of 18th century battleaxes!


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Mar 14 - 08:19 PM

well cheer up guest! maybe someone one day will write an English lady's song with as much sass as Memphis Minnie and Bessie Smith.

when Miriam Backhouse used to sing in her Laura Ashley dress, at the bottom of her belly lies the cuckoo's nest - well it was all a bit twee , wasn't it?

Still that's English folk music , as sung.....

a lot of it's a bit soppy, fa la la!


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: Acorn4
Date: 15 Mar 14 - 05:17 AM

The Poppy Folk Club this year had an all female guest-list for its folk day. There were virtually no out and out anti-male songs, and those few there were were very tongue in cheek.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Mar 14 - 07:05 AM

"the folk tradition was in and of itself masculine"

Not true. Much of the singing went on in the home, and many of the most prolific singers that Cecil Sharp et al collected songs from were women: Louie Hooper, Lucy White, Mrs. Overd, and many more. The greatest ballad singers (in terms of repertoire) in Scotland were women - Anna Brown, Bell Duncan - and most of the best ballad singers up there still are. The Child Ballads are full of tales in which woemn are heroic, quick-witted, brave and defiant, and at least one prominent scholar believes that this reflects the fact that ballad singing was mostly a female preserve.

As far as the article goes, it seems to be an example of festival bookers ticking boxes and operating a 'one of each' policy as regards different types of acts. However, bookers have also been known to say, for instance: "we've filled up our 'male soloist' slots", so it works more than one way.

Lady Maisery have done very well, and I hope we continue to see plenty of them and other female groups on our festival stages. All four nominees for BBC 'Folksinger of the Year' were women, as well.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Mar 14 - 07:27 AM

Oops, forgot to cancel the italics. But, while I'm here, in response to: "You'd not get too many women in the circles these songs were born in, in the fields and down the pub..." I might add that one of my most treasured family photos is of my great-grandmorther, on her ninetieth birthday, laden down with a bundle of cereal crop as she brings in the harvest.

Previous message re-pasted for legibility:

"the folk tradition was in and of itself masculine"

Not true. Much of the singing went on in the home, and many of the most prolific singers that Cecil Sharp et al collected songs from were women: Louie Hooper, Lucy White, Mrs. Overd, and many more. The greatest ballad singers (in terms of repertoire) in Scotland were women - Anna Brown, Bell Duncan - and most of the best ballad singers up there still are. The Child Ballads are full of tales in which woemn are heroic, quick-witted, brave and defiant, and at least one prominent scholar believes that this reflects the fact that ballad singing was mostly a female preserve.

As far as the article goes, it seems to be an example of festival bookers ticking boxes and operating a 'one of each' policy as regards different types of acts. However, bookers have also been known to say, for instance: "we've filled up our 'male soloist' slots", so it works more than one way.

Lady Maisery have done very well, and I hope we continue to see plenty of them and other female groups on our festival stages. All four nominees for BBC 'Folksinger of the Year' were women, as well.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Mar 14 - 09:12 AM

I think you're right Brian - the tradition is full of women who have made a massive contribution. And indeed the revival.

I suppose its a bit like the American black people who don't want their kids singing Pick a Bale of Cotton. Modern women might dislike the songs that reflect the lowly social station that women occupied in former times.

Prince Heathen or The Wee Cooper of Fife - domestic violence is ugly and all too common for us to regard it as an interesting museum piece - these songs belong on the dusty shelves of Cecil Sharp House's library. Like Christy Moore sang, some old songs aren't worth singing.

When are we going to drop this nonsense of - if its written last week it can't be a folk song. We MUST write our own folksongs to show that we've been on the planet. Songs that reflect our view of what it was like to live through these times.

I note that none of the right wing papers have the death of Tony Benn on the front page - not the The Times, The Mail, etc. The Times has a page of abuse of the man - written by media favourite/Thatcher's tame fag - Matthew Paris.

Are we going to let the nobs write the history of our times?


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Mar 14 - 09:51 AM

Elizabeth Cronin had one of the most important repertoires in Ireland, along with Brigid Tunney, Sara Makem, Te Keane Sisters, Maggie Murphy, Mary Anne Carolan......
In Scotland you have The Stewarts of Blair and Jeannie Robertson though as they were Travellers they wouldn't me served in many pubs; as Jeannie Robertson once wryly pointed our on receiving her MBE.
Skim through the BBC indexes - loads of women, including Cecilia Costello.
As Brian points out - most of the singing took place in the home, not in the pub.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Mar 14 - 05:09 AM

well yes in the home. but that didn't mean that it wasn't part ofa social occasion. My Mum spent part of her childhood in Ireland (Dublin) and she told me that what she loved about the place was that people would gather in their homes and sing, play and dance -for the smallest of reasons, and often without a reason. furthermore (unlike her home in England - her Dad, I gather was a bit of a boozer) -   tea was the main drink, drunk on these occasions.

I think its easy to hear the recording of Cecilia Costello and just hear an old lady singing on her own - and think that's the way it should be in a folk club. The music had a context.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Mar 14 - 05:58 AM

It is a pity not to sing a song about something as vile as domestic violence if it is a good song. Songs should be introduced by the singer and put into their context as social comment or historical exemplars. That way the singer can usefully educate the audience and make any political point necessary.
Songs such as Fanny Blair are too good to leave in a dusty drawer for researchers only. They can be the springboard for debate and comment, even in a folk club setting.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Mar 14 - 06:16 AM

"but that didn't mean that it wasn't part of a social occasion."
No it didn't Al - but it did mean it wasn't part of a public occasion where people were 'Performing' with a capital P.
That really is the difference in function of club singing and how it was done at home.
I agree with you to a point guest - there is a difference between glorifying domestic violence (which some songs do) and ones that moralise on it - Fanny Blair is in interesting example
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST,Miriam Backhouse-Erasmus
Date: 17 Mar 14 - 12:16 AM

Thank you Big Al Whittle for remembering me. I didn't realise at the time that it was 'twee' - I wonder if the original Scottish song was thought of in that way. I am really glad that you thought if it that way, and not as 'overtly sexual' - that would have been an insult. How did people feel about Hamish Imlach singing about the 'hairs on her diddy di do hang down to her knees" ?
Yes, there have always been fewer solo female artists throughout the folk scene, even when I was one of the very first touring lasses in the -70s
I still come 'home' every summer to be able to sing the music that is in my veins, and have a full tour, thank you. I have two festivals booked for this 2014 tour and count myself lucky.
Being 'good' and being booked are two completely different creatures. Organisers have enough of a juggling act to get enough variety for their club/festival goers.
Very interested thread, thank you, and way more interesting is that I cannot see a female name on the comments list - don't know the genders of the 'Guests'. Look for me this summer, Love Mim xx


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Mar 14 - 09:21 AM

no problem Miriam - you captivated the Cambridge Festival audience. mea culpa, not your problem - but lady singers of English folk music from yourself to Kate Rusby all sound to me like Julie Andrews.

my problem -not yours. just something round the houses....


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Mar 14 - 01:59 PM

Watch it or Maddy, Bonnie and Bella will ensure you sound the same, Al...What should they sound like? You?

Perhaps you mean that once upon a time all female folk singers thought they were Julie Felix. It would have been a bit excessive as a generalisation even then, and now RP's just about disappeared it's not true at all now. Is anyone singing in a Hampshire accent, though?


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 18 Mar 14 - 05:06 AM

"Tame fag"? — Hs folk forgotten basic good manners?

Perhaps unsurprising that there are few feminine voices on this thread when some posters evince such beetle-browed masculinism.


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Subject: RE: Has folk forgotten feminism?
From: CupOfTea
Date: 19 Mar 14 - 05:05 PM

In the early days of the North American Folk Alliance (late 80s/early 90s) the subject of gender inequality in festival and concert series bookings came up regularly at conferences. At that time presenters were being urged to pay attention to slates being mostly "white guys with guitars" and while not endorsing a quota, that actively looking at female (and nonwhite) performers of similar style & skill was necessary. Interesting that the study of the numbers showed that the skewing toward many more male performers was done by both male AND female presenters. That was a shock.   

Now, I do like lots of "white guys with guitars", but not when they are the majority. When I helped do booking, I became hyper-aware of this and found that there was NO trouble whatsoever finding very good female performers, or groups with mixed gender to balance out a series. Even now, I still see the balance weighted towards male performers as the norm in way too many places. Being mindful of gender should be one of a number of factors in making judgement calls, be it in booking, broadcasting, reviewing, listening, or playing. If not, you're limiting your own experience - as for popularity- It's hard to cheer a performer/band returning if they've never been there in the first place.

The topic of songs that are nasty to either gender is a touchy one. The comparison made earlier to black performers singing songs that are overtly racist is apt. Singing songs just to be hateful is never acceptable. Singing songs about hateful things/ events/ attitudes can be educational if done with knowledge and sensitivity. Some performers just don't have that sensitivity.

Joanne in Cleveland


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Mudcat time: 19 August 9:34 AM EDT

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