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talking about folk music

leeneia 25 Jun 18 - 02:11 PM
Manitas_at_home 25 Jun 18 - 02:20 PM
GUEST,Observer 25 Jun 18 - 05:35 PM
Steve Gardham 25 Jun 18 - 06:03 PM
Tattie Bogle 25 Jun 18 - 07:19 PM
GUEST,Gerry 25 Jun 18 - 09:04 PM
r.padgett 26 Jun 18 - 01:37 AM
GUEST,Observer 26 Jun 18 - 01:48 AM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 26 Jun 18 - 02:15 AM
Joe Offer 26 Jun 18 - 02:22 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Jun 18 - 02:29 AM
Will Fly 26 Jun 18 - 03:45 AM
Acorn4 26 Jun 18 - 03:55 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Jun 18 - 05:18 AM
Gordon Jackson 26 Jun 18 - 05:48 AM
GUEST,henryp 26 Jun 18 - 06:00 AM
Mo the caller 26 Jun 18 - 07:07 AM
OldNicKilby 26 Jun 18 - 07:31 AM
Howard Jones 26 Jun 18 - 07:53 AM
Tattie Bogle 26 Jun 18 - 12:10 PM
GUEST,jojo 26 Jun 18 - 12:15 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 26 Jun 18 - 01:41 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 26 Jun 18 - 02:24 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 26 Jun 18 - 02:29 PM
Mo the caller 26 Jun 18 - 05:00 PM
GUEST,Some bloke 27 Jun 18 - 09:37 AM
keberoxu 27 Jun 18 - 12:40 PM
Tattie Bogle 27 Jun 18 - 06:58 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Jun 18 - 03:47 AM
Big Al Whittle 28 Jun 18 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 28 Jun 18 - 03:51 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Jun 18 - 02:00 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Jun 18 - 05:45 AM
The Sandman 02 Jul 18 - 04:27 AM
wysiwyg 02 Jul 18 - 10:34 AM
The Sandman 02 Jul 18 - 10:37 AM
wysiwyg 02 Jul 18 - 01:58 PM
The Sandman 02 Jul 18 - 02:13 PM
wysiwyg 02 Jul 18 - 03:50 PM
Big Al Whittle 05 Jul 18 - 03:13 PM
The Sandman 05 Jul 18 - 03:17 PM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jul 18 - 04:04 PM
Joe Offer 07 Jul 18 - 01:00 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Jul 18 - 03:51 AM
Joe Offer 07 Jul 18 - 04:24 AM
The Sandman 07 Jul 18 - 04:46 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Jul 18 - 06:18 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 07 Jul 18 - 06:23 AM
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Subject: talking about folk music
From: leeneia
Date: 25 Jun 18 - 02:11 PM

In another thread about a festival, somebody asked this:

"Do you sing or play or sit round discussing obscure folky facts?"

Good question! But I want to say that we who sing and play need to assert ourselves and keep the gabbers from taking over. Have your instrument in your hands, join forces with others, and announce that now it's time to play.

To keep the music going, bring a list of pieces you know. This cuts the amount of time people spend trying to think of tunes to play.

Two weeks ago I was in a class at a workshop. I had paid more than $2000 to be there, and a class was delayed while students and teacher discussed the horrors of styrofoam.

So I turned to the college kid next to me and said, "Would you like to play this song with me while they discuss plastic?" He replied "Why not," and we started a lute and recorder duet.

Music class began 45 seconds later. I realize this did not endear me to the teacher, but hell, $2000 should matter.
========
The Mudcat is the same. People will argue over "folky facts" for years and never sing a note or get out an instrument. Worse, start a music thread, and grouches will come in to vandalize it with double entendres, ethnic troublemaking or quibbling.

It's been a long time since I got a piece of music worth doing off the Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 25 Jun 18 - 02:20 PM

But I thought it was a discussion group?


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 25 Jun 18 - 05:35 PM

Good point Manitas.

Over the years I have been to a fair few festivals and can, in all honesty, say that at no point at all have "obscure folky facts" ever been the topic of conversation.


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Jun 18 - 06:03 PM

Wow $2,000 for a workshop! You don't say what the workshop was about or give a title. Some people like to perform all the time, some people like to discuss all the time, some a bit of both.....You perhaps need to check what the workshop content includes before taking over yourself.


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 25 Jun 18 - 07:19 PM

Well there is a sort of grey area, which is more black for some, and more white for others, between talking a bit about what you're singing or playing - e.g. who wrote it and when and even perhaps why. I find this sort of stuff interesting, and absorb it like a sponge, even self-confessed anorak: whereas I know others who just go glassy-eyed, roll their eyes, and mutter, "get on with it", and couldn't care less about what the background is to whatever they are trying to sing or play. All in proportion, I'd say.


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 25 Jun 18 - 09:04 PM

Talking about folk music is like dancing about architecture?


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: r.padgett
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 01:37 AM

Does this refer to talking about tunes or talking more specifically about songs?

Songs learnt and sung surely need a reason for their singing and what they are about and mean historically and for the singer and is part of the interest

Ray


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 01:48 AM

Suggest that anybody contributing to the thread reads the OP

First attention is drawn to "festivals" and chats about "obscure folky facts"

Second there is a tale about a workshop at a festival where precious time was being wasted talking about something that had nothing to do with what the workshop was supposed to be about.

THEN the OP stated "Mudcat is the same"

Manitas in the second post to the thread points out that Mudcat IS A DISCUSSION FORUM - Now if you cannot chat about "obscure folky facts" on the Mudcat discussion forum where on earth would you discuss them?


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 02:15 AM

"Talking about folk music is like dancing about architecture?" No, it's like talking about architecture.


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 02:22 AM

I think of Mudcat as fundamentally a lyrics forum, built upon the Digital Tradition Folk Song Database. I think the study of the lyrics of songs should remain our fundamental purpose, and I have seen many fascinating studies of song lyrics and their history here. That may be tedious to some people, but I'm proud that there's no better place in the world for discussion and study of folk song lyrics.

The other stuff is fine, but the lyrics are what is of utmost importance to me.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 02:29 AM

"Now if you cannot chat about "obscure folky facts" on the Mudcat discussion forum where on earth would you discuss them?"
That makes perfect sense to me.
I have been listening to and singing folk songs for most of my life (a long time), and the most enjoyable and rewarding aspect of the time spent has been to share ideas with others on the songs I and they sang
Otherwise, you may as well stay at home and perform to your rubber duck in the bath (bit difficult if you are a dancer).
Singing (en the English language traditions anyway) is a communication of experiences, emotions and aspirations - that's why the songs were made in the first place and that's why they survived as long as they did.
My favourite quote
"if a man were permitted to make all the ballads he need not care who should make the laws of a nation, "
Andrew Fletcer Saltoun (1653 – 1716)
Says it all really
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 03:45 AM

My very first post on Mudcat, many years ago, was to ask what might have become of a guitarist who accompanied dulcimer player Roger Nicholson.

AMong the many replies was a humorous one from someone I realised I'd once played with, and with whom I'd lost touch for over 30 years (Greg Stephens of the Boat Band, if you must know). That exchange of words led eventually to us meeting up, renewing friendship and staying in contact ever since.

Good ol' Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Acorn4
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 03:55 AM

It's really up to the person running the session to ensure the chat doesn't take over.

A bit of banter and humour is all part of it as is info about the songs, but if care isn't taken it can degenerate into "Gardeners' Question Time" or discussing the merits of assembling old railway locomotives.


It's when two people start rabbiting on about something ignoring everyone else in the session that it gets a bit irritating.


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 05:18 AM

Acorn
The point the OP seemed to be raising is whether we should discuss the music we are involved in - not in a club or a session, but on a discussion group forum
He/she complains of not having picked up anything worth playing - don't no what kind of music is being referred to but there have always been many hundreds examples linked to while I've been around - I suppose you can't win all of the people all of the time.
I agree - to a point - about your 'Gardeners Question Time' point - introductions should be a setting for the song, not the other way around - The aim in the clubs I've been involved in was they generally lasted no more than a minute (at most) - banter and humour can be part of introducing a song - it can be distracting if it is not.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Gordon Jackson
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 05:48 AM

At the risk of deviating even further from the original question, I think Acorn's and Jim's points apply even more to performers.

In my band (mostly trad tunes and songs) repartee is kept pretty short. I'm not a comedian, I'm a musician. Intros tend to last about a minute, much less sometimes. Furthermore, when we play tune sets we usually play each tune twice through, unlike some bands that play them three, four or more times. This can all add up to cheating the customers! It make a lot of work for us: our full set list can contain 40-odd tunes!

Off-stage or out-of-session I'll happily talk about the music till the cows come home, but music time should be primarily music, I believe.

Same with Mudcat: mainly about the music. I, and I'm sure most of us, have learned a tremendous amount here, and get a bit irritated when discussions descend into irrelevancies, adolescent bickering, name calling and feeble attempts at humour (Do those who tell us their hilarious jokes about titles such as Fanny Power or Cock up your Beaver really think we haven't heard them a million and one times before?).


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 06:00 AM

Artisans carved wood and stone
Until plastic was invented
Where skills in music once were shown
We now find styrofoam presented


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Mo the caller
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 07:07 AM

I recently heard 2 performances of the song Sovay. The second group launched straight into the song, sang it and went onto the next. Before the first we listened to a retelling of the story and a comment about the relationship. Why? Most of us will know the story already and for those who don't the point of the song is hearing the punchline and pondering for ourselves the state relationship (if I were the 'true love' I'd have changed my name and emigrated).


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: OldNicKilby
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 07:31 AM

Acorn are you really brave enough to try to
control a session.? Even I would think twice


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Howard Jones
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 07:53 AM

A session is, or at least can be, a social occasion as well as a musical one. There's no reason why conversation should not be part of it. However there needs to be a balance.

A workshop is entirely different and there you are entitled to expect that it will keep to time and stay relevant.


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 12:10 PM

In answer to Ray, as a tunes player as well as a singer, I find it just as interesting to know the background for tunes as well as for songs. Maybe not all of them, as there as some pretty fatuous tune titles about, but if you look back a bit, there's a whole load of history to be found regarding why and for whom certain tunes were written, how they've evolved, similarities and differences between alternative versions. Not suggesting we spend hours discussing this in sessions, but equally that we don't just brush all chat aside as irrelevant. (And as for forums, there are other sites more devoted to tunes than songs, of course.)
Yes, a balance can be achieved.


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: GUEST,jojo
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 12:15 PM

I think the point Leeniea is making is that when one is actually paying to learn something they they should be taught.
I have been to evening classes for French and the teacher started to suddrnly change tactic and talked about something quite irrelevant to the subject in hand. I for one was mot backward in speaking up and saying this is not learning French which is what I and the rest of the class are paying you for.
Ray: yes I quite agree that a short intro/history about a song makes 4 interest - but some will tell you the whole story of what the song is about - and may as well not bother to sing it.


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 01:41 PM

OP: "It's been a long time since I got a piece of music worth doing off the Mudcat."

Y'get what you give, life - Mudcat, all the same.


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 02:24 PM

I am really interested to know what the workshop was teaching that the OP was prepared to pay in excess of 2000 bucks for. Teaching folk music at that price sounds like a rip off to me. Was it a five year course?


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 02:29 PM

Perhaps it was on one of those folk-cruise ships. ;-)


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Mo the caller
Date: 26 Jun 18 - 05:00 PM

yes Jojo, if you can't sing the song so that people hear what it's about, why bother.


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 09:37 AM

All together now!

I can’t hear you!

You are supposed to sing on Mudcat. Folk clubs are for discussion etc or some such nonsense....

Tsk


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: keberoxu
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 12:40 PM

Impatience! impatience!

I concur with the remark earlier on this thread
that the OP is kind of ... the message is kind of incoherent.

First you have, I guess, musicians conversing rather than playing.

Then you have a paid-admission workshop class.

And I concur with the opinion that these are two different subjects.

There is no shortage of
"pieces of music worth doing" on the Mudcat Forum.
But you have to be patient enough to receive them.


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 27 Jun 18 - 06:58 PM

And Mudcat is not just a lyrics forum: a good few of the songs in the DT have "the dots" with them, so you can find the tune as well if you read music, or can bribe a friend who can.
As for course fees: a day of singing workshops can cost anything from £8 to £400 to my knowledge, tho' I've not been to the £400 one!


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jun 18 - 03:47 AM

I've found Mudcat combined with Dropbox or the like an excellent way of exchanging material
I've always fond people more than happy to fulfil request for actual recordings and am constantly passing on stuff from our own collection
Part of the pleasure and convenience of being here
(Ive now almost reached my goal of assembling all MacColl's albums into one folder -thanks yo all who helped nearly finish the job)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Jun 18 - 02:04 PM

i tried to play the cds you sent Jim but my cd player doesn't seem to like them. are they another format?


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 28 Jun 18 - 03:51 PM

Al I don't know if this is of interest to you but there is a good freeload "VLC Media player" which should enable you to play CD's and DVD's of many types.

I have used it since I bought a Windows 10 computer.


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 02:00 AM

Sorry Al - having a senior moment (probably sunstroke!!)
What CD did I send you ?
A can send you another
Jim


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Jun 18 - 05:45 AM

Thak you Hoot. I will try that Jim before putting you to any trouble.


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Jul 18 - 04:27 AM

It's been a long time since I got a piece of music worth doing off the Mudcat" i am learning more about the music all the time occasionally from discussions, but also through musical clips and from old threads and also the mudcat collection of songs


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Jul 18 - 10:34 AM

Leenia is a Mudcat veteran who contributes positively to all aspects of Mudcat. We have a tradition here of "take the best and leave the rest". I fund her viewpoint valid, in that context.

I think it's likely the $2000 included travel to and from-- the scale of the US and the spare Ness of folk opportunities make travel expensive.

~S~


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Jul 18 - 10:37 AM

I am merely giving my opinion, which is different from leenia, the length of time of a member surely is irrelevant.i hava been a member for many years, so what


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Jul 18 - 01:58 PM

Sandman, my comment was general, not specifically in response to you.


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Jul 18 - 02:13 PM

good i will get back in the dunces corner


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Jul 18 - 03:50 PM

Lol


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Jul 18 - 03:13 PM

talking about folk music is a good idea.


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Jul 18 - 03:17 PM

it is with open minded people ,its not much good talking to people who are not prepared to change their position or who have an agenda.


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 04:04 PM

well i don't mind people who have an agenda.

i tend to think people should have strongly held ideas.

creativity is in a way as much about what you reject as what you take to your heart.

I'm not keen on Jim Carroll's view of folk music as being the product of pre-industrial communities like the gypsies and travellers. My folks were definitely post industrial, and to me folk music is the only way our lot will get it on record that we existed.

However I recognise that JIm's beliefs have energised an entire life of creativity. And that's good whether he rates Dylan and Donovan and Jansch all the people who made me wanting to be a bohemian artist , abit like Tony Hancock in THe Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man was my aesthetic ideal. Working class - but intelligent, opinionated but aware of my own absurdity.


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 01:00 AM

Big Al Whittle sez: talking about folk music is a good idea.

Yes, by all means! Talk with your children about it before it's too late.

We don't want to have our young people doing unprotected folk music....


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 03:51 AM

It would be interesting to learn what people talk about when talking about folk music
I've long believed that the best way to win people to our music is to explain what it's about and why the songs are important - particularly all the hidden pleasures they contain
Let's face it, it's pretty weird stuff to someone not familiar with it.

Slightly differently, Irish traditional song differs somewhat from British material in that Irish songs tend to be lyrical (concentrating on description and feeling), in contrast to the British and American stuff which is largely narrative (storytelling with music), usually chronologically progressing through a story

We had a very gratifying experience during a singing weekend a few years ago here in Clare
We were talking to the young son-in-law of a singer friend when I was called up to sing
I sang a longish humourous narrative song, 'The Ranter Parson' - quite different to most of the other songs that had been sung.
When I'd finished the young feller turned to Pat and said, somewhat bemused and said, "That's a story"
I don't know that I sang particularly well, but on several occasions later I was asked by the lad about the type of songs I sang
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 04:24 AM

The original post is from a person who plays tunes. I don't know if she sings or not - but for her, singing is certainly secondary. People who play tunes, want to play tunes.

Singers are different. They come not only for the music, but also for the stories. The content of the songs is important to them, and it's important that they understand the songs and their implications. They're word-oriented rather than tune-oriented - and that's a big difference.

I like to sing with instrumental accompaniment as much as I like to sing a cappella, but I often don't feel comfortable singing in a session that is dominated by instrumentalists. Too often, the instrumentalists want to lead the singing, rather than accompany it. I remember when it got to be my turn at one such session, and I wanted to sing Woody Guthrie's So Long, It's Been Good To Know Yuh, a song that paints a verbal picture of the Dust Bowl. Well, gee, they let me sing only two verses - and I think they had three instrumental breaks. And I think most songs demand at least a bit of an introduction, but I didn't dare do an introduction there.

I think there's a need for balance. A little talk, and then a balance between singing and instruments. I don't like abbreviating song lyrics to give the instrumentalists more time to play. They play on every song, and I sing only when it's my turn to sing.

Oh, and I find that a little talk between songs makes my singing better. It gives me time to get the last song out of my head and get ready for the next one.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 04:46 AM

talking about it is the only way to increase knowledge ,i think the same applies to tunes.
sometimes just to briefly chat about different versions of tunes can be pleasant,maybe why we might prefer a particular version or perhaps someone we knew who used to play the tune who might have died since etc


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 06:18 AM

There is a great deal to discuss about the background of traditional music, why it was what it was, why and where it was played
Many of the Irish tunes have great stories attached to them; for instance:

The late piper and concertina player, Tom McCarthy, told us the story of how 'The Bank of Turf' got its name
Billy Clifford, the Kerry flute player heard Padraig O'Keefe playing the tune at a session and desperately wanted to learn it
After a lot of effort and a few pints, Padraig finally agreed that, if Billy met him in the bog where he was cutting turf, the following day, he would be given it.
Clifford duel turned up next day to find O'Keefe had scrawled the notes of the tune into the side of the wet bog - when asked its name, O'Keefe replied with a grin, "The Bank of Turf"

That's well worth telling at any session if you can get people's attention
Tom McCarthy and his friend and fellow Clare-man, fiddler, Bobby used to regale audiences at the singers Club with such stories

Masterly fiddle Kevin Burke is a superb storyteller if you can get him in the mood
This sort of thing really is part of the music we are involved in
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: talking about folk music
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 06:23 AM

Agreed very strongly about the stories behind tunes. I can't imagine wanting to play "Michael's Mazurka" or "Hector the Hero" to an audience that was in the dark about their extramusical significance. If they didn't know already I'd tell them.


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