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why do some sing in usa accent

The Sandman 09 Nov 18 - 04:20 AM
Will Fly 09 Nov 18 - 04:25 AM
GUEST 09 Nov 18 - 04:27 AM
The Sandman 09 Nov 18 - 04:29 AM
Leadfingers 09 Nov 18 - 05:10 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Nov 18 - 05:59 AM
Dave Hanson 09 Nov 18 - 06:14 AM
Big Al Whittle 09 Nov 18 - 06:32 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Nov 18 - 07:19 AM
FreddyHeadey 09 Nov 18 - 08:10 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Nov 18 - 08:13 AM
The Sandman 09 Nov 18 - 08:44 AM
Backwoodsman 09 Nov 18 - 10:33 AM
Vic Smith 09 Nov 18 - 10:40 AM
Richard Mellish 09 Nov 18 - 10:50 AM
GUEST,MikeOfNorthumbria (sans cookie) 09 Nov 18 - 11:20 AM
Bat Goddess 09 Nov 18 - 03:11 PM
Jack Campin 09 Nov 18 - 03:38 PM
Tattie Bogle 09 Nov 18 - 05:12 PM
Anne Neilson 09 Nov 18 - 05:23 PM
Joe Offer 09 Nov 18 - 05:34 PM
Joe Offer 09 Nov 18 - 05:41 PM
The Sandman 09 Nov 18 - 07:40 PM
Joe Offer 09 Nov 18 - 07:43 PM
FreddyHeadey 09 Nov 18 - 07:53 PM
Joe Offer 09 Nov 18 - 08:06 PM
meself 09 Nov 18 - 10:42 PM
Acorn4 10 Nov 18 - 04:28 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 Nov 18 - 04:45 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Nov 18 - 05:07 AM
GUEST,Ebor Fiddler 10 Nov 18 - 09:23 AM
The Sandman 10 Nov 18 - 09:55 AM
Backwoodsman 10 Nov 18 - 10:19 AM
Anne Neilson 10 Nov 18 - 10:48 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Nov 18 - 11:20 AM
Tattie Bogle 10 Nov 18 - 12:55 PM
Anne Neilson 10 Nov 18 - 01:19 PM
meself 10 Nov 18 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,Cj 10 Nov 18 - 04:31 PM
Jos 10 Nov 18 - 06:09 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 10 Nov 18 - 06:13 PM
Andy7 11 Nov 18 - 02:46 AM
Mr Red 11 Nov 18 - 03:22 AM
Andy M 11 Nov 18 - 03:30 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Nov 18 - 03:35 AM
Andy7 11 Nov 18 - 04:26 AM
GUEST 11 Nov 18 - 08:13 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 11 Nov 18 - 08:57 AM
Big Al Whittle 12 Nov 18 - 03:39 AM
GUEST,brafud lad 12 Nov 18 - 08:12 AM
Roger the Skiffler 12 Nov 18 - 09:05 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Nov 18 - 09:29 AM
Big Al Whittle 12 Nov 18 - 11:40 AM
GUEST,Modette 12 Nov 18 - 12:34 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Nov 18 - 01:01 PM
Gozz 12 Nov 18 - 04:28 PM
Dave the Gnome 12 Nov 18 - 04:54 PM
skarpi 12 Nov 18 - 05:46 PM
GUEST,Gerry 12 Nov 18 - 07:57 PM
Mr Red 13 Nov 18 - 03:06 AM
Richard Mellish 13 Nov 18 - 05:41 AM
Backwoodsman 13 Nov 18 - 06:15 AM
Will Fly 13 Nov 18 - 09:04 AM
Vic Smith 13 Nov 18 - 11:07 AM
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Subject: why do some sing in usa accent
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 04:20 AM

I was sent a clip of a song writer,who was not American and he persistently sang in a fake accent, why do people do this


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 04:25 AM

Oh lord, not another "accents" thread - surely this has been done to death...


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 04:27 AM

I haven't neard anybody do this for a long long time. Must be coming back into fashion along with recording on vinyl.

Seriously though, was the accent fake? Have you heard his natural speaking voice?


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 04:29 AM

yes it feaking was, and Will, it seems to be coming back into fashion , bring back ewan maccoll


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 05:10 AM

Sandman - Ewan is the worst example of fake accents - brought up in Salford , he spoke the Queens English well , but was equally happy singing with Scottish , London , Lancashire or Yorkshire accents !!


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 05:59 AM

"Ewan is the worst example of fake accents"
For crying out loud - no he wasn't
Ewan probably grew up with a Scots Salford accent, just as many kids born in England of Irish families grew up with a mixture of their parents accents and those they learned outside the home -
I now have a hybrid accent, originally Liverpudlian, now tainted with Mancunian, West Londonese and West of Ireland
Hamish henderson once described Ewan's accent as "idiosyncratic" (not phoney), which was about right.
I lived with Ewan, Peggy and Ewan's mother Betsy for over a month - when Ewan and Betsy got going they may have been talking Urdu, it was sometimes that impenetrable
His interest in ballads led him o deliberately neutralising his childhood accent to make them accessible to others, much as an actor wold do for a role - as far as I'm concerned, it worked - it was his and Pegy's singing of ballads that got me hooked on them for a lifetime
If MacColl has snided at other performers the way 'fellow performers and enthusiasts' are still doing three decades after his death, he would have deserved every lump of shit that was thrown at him - he never did, not in my hearing anyway
As Peggy one wrote in 'The Living Tradition, if people are not interested in what Ewan said or did, it's about time they let him lie in peace - he's no longer here to answer for himself"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 06:14 AM

This habit seems to be peculiar to country & western singers, even people with good Scottish and Irish accents sing like cowboys and girls.

Feckin awful.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 06:32 AM

why do we do it?

Why do the actors in East Enders and Coronation Street use regional accents?

That's what a song is - a passionate soliloquy.

sometimes the magic works - sometimes -alas not.

Why do trad singers feel inclined to enforce a dull conformity. Kate Rusby/Northen, Martin Carthy/gurning, Christy Moore's brogue. Its okay to copy these guys.

Is it really so much more heinous to be Bert Trubshaw's Johnny Cash?


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 07:19 AM

The problem with those not familiar with any accent is that, unless singers work on it it invariably sounds phoney
I sing both Scots and Irish songs only if I can anglise tham without losing their character or the beauty of the Language (particularly Scots) - not always possible
Originally, the policy of singing in your own accent was proposed when Alan Lomax came to London and found singers (including Ewan and Bert), singing in mid-Atlantic Americanese
He argued that they shouldn't neglect their own native repertoires and those instigated the BBC's big collecting project, which produced the most important body of traditional songs to have been found in these islands
The argument was never about "authenticity" (is a Galswegian singing an Aberdeenshire ballad "authentic?)
It was about losing the native repertoire
It worked - we now have a large body of our own songs to draw upon.
People tend to forget that when Joe Heaney appeared onstage in Dublin at a Clancy Brothers concert he was bboed of the stage because the audience didn't like that odd sounding singing
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 08:10 AM

;) ... "anglise tham"
wo' accen' djyu type in Jim??
;)


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 08:13 AM

"wo' accen' djyu type in Jim??"
Pidgin Oirish on a bad day
Jim


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 08:44 AM

It seems to be most common [in my experience] amongst singer songwriters


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 10:33 AM

People sing in US accents for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that their ears are assailed constantly by music from radio stations where the accent used by singers is predominantly mid-Atlantic. So it's stamped on their brains to sing that way. A bit like the way British folkies in the '60s adopted a style of singing through their noses, in an accent that exists nowhere in the U.K.

There's also a strange phenomenon, amongst young singers, of assuming a 'street' accent - rather like a mixture of 'Sarf-East England' and 'Jafaican' - no matter what their natural speaking accent might be.

It's a non-issue, AFAIC.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 10:40 AM

There are examples, not so many I'd concede, of American folk singers singing in fake English accents, but some of the songs of the Copper Family heard through Yankee vocal chords would be an example.
I can also recall some early folk revival English lovers of country blues who tried to mimic those early blues 78s that they loved. They got quite close with their take on guitar licks but couldn't manage to sing like a southern states shaercropper and eventaully decided that they shouldn't be trying to achieve this anyway. They ended up singing in a 'Home Counties Blues' style. Some of it worked quite well.

Here's another thought - various morris sides, bonfire paraders, Padstow ceremonials etc. have been condemned for 'blacking up' their faces. Should Brit. singers be similarly condemned for 'blacking up' their voices?


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 10:50 AM

Perhaps it's analogous to "register" in speech, where vocabulary and accent change according to the context. Many singers seem to assume, consciously or unconsciously, that an American (or more often pseudo-American) accent is what one uses for singing, and it's different from speaking. I am not too comfortable with that even when it's a Brit singing an American song, and I hate it when it's Brits singing songs they've written themselves.

There's often something similar with "trained" singers, who enunciate their words in a completely different way from how they would speak, not just for clarity (which is fair enough) but with quite different pronunciations.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: GUEST,MikeOfNorthumbria (sans cookie)
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 11:20 AM

If you are a collector of fake accents, try listening to Dick van Dyke playing the cockney dustman in 'Mary Poppins'. As someone born and raised in London, am I entitled to shout abuse at him for insulting 'my' culture?   I don't think so. He was just an actor, doing his job to the best of his ability. If I don't like the show he puts on, I'm free to walk away or switch channels.

Another example to consider: Willard White (born and raised in Jamaica) has recorded a highly acclaimed performance as Porgy in Gershwin's 'Porgy and Bess'. Good for him! But he's also sung the role of Wotan in Wagner's RingCycle - in German - very creditably. Is this in any way reprehensible? I don't think so. We are talking about show business, not impersonation with intent to defraud.

In fact the clue to unraveling this dilemma is lurking in the first lines of a great many traditional ballads:

'Oh my name is...., and from .... I came'

Anyone who is not telling the literal truth when they sing those lines (or anything similar) is ... wait for it ... ACTING! You do not need to be a legitimate Prince of Denmark to play Hamlet - you just need to learn your craft thoroughly, and then give the part your all when you walk on stage. Same with a song, wherever it came from originally.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 03:11 PM

Tom's (Curmudgeon) accent when singing totally confused rock climber Paul Ross when he frequented the White Horse Pub at the Nereledge Inn (in North Conway, NH, USA) back in the Eighties. Paul didn't think Tom was native NH (he was), but couldn't place his accent. Tom sang traditional English and Scots songs mostly and often incorporated the language patterns and pronunciation of the singer (or singers) in the recording(s) from whom he learned the song.

Tom spoke pretty much American Standard Broadcast English, but could slip into "Yankee" (Maine, NH regional accent) if he wanted to...and quite convincingly, too.

Tom sang with the accent that was comfortable to him for the song.

Linn


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 03:38 PM

There is a Czech trad-jazz group who regularly busk (or did) on the Charles Bridge in Prague. Their instrumentals are pretty good but the result when they break into Basin Street Blues in a heavy Czech accent takes it to a whole new level. This must be going on all over Czechoslovakia with bluegrass.

There is a genre of songs that are intended for singers with foreign accents. One we've tried with our Middle Eastern band is Ya Mustafa, which was was originally written in Arabic by an Egyptian composer for a Greek-Egyptian whose accent was famously weird. It went on to be an international hit in a tossed salad of different languages. We're using at least Arabic, Greek, French and Italian, with none if them sung exclusively by native speakers. I've volunteered to contribute some of the Catalan version if needed (I only know a few words of it).


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 05:12 PM

Sure I've posted this same video in the past on similar threads about singing in an American accent: all the answers you need in this song from Nick Keir and The McCalmans!
American accent


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Anne Neilson
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 05:23 PM

With a life-long interest in Scottish ballads, I've had an ongoing concern about accent when singing. It's my preference to hear the old traditional texts sung in what has been described as 'ballad English' -- which I take to mean a text with fewer Scottish dialect words than other non-ballads, but with Scottish vowel sounds.

I'm imagining that it's the vowel sounds that push things awry, so that people then complain about an American accent when listening to more recent compositions. And there is an associated (big) question about why performers should imagine that this is either preferable or necessary.

Personally, I prefer to hear a singer who enunciates clearly (not in a clipped, precise way) and who delivers a song with an understanding of the story.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 05:34 PM

When my kid was in his punk rock phase (he's 46 now), I wondered why he thought he needed to sing in his impression of a British accent. Now that he's doing techno, he has tempered the accent a bit but still doesn't sound like the Californian he more-or-less is (but he was born in Berlin). Maybe it's just as well he doesn't perform with a California accent - Californians pronounce "house" with every vowel in the alphabet - "haeiouse."

I always appreciated that the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton sang blues with at least some effort at authenticity in their accent. Blues wouldn't be blues, without at least a nod to authenticity.

My first visit to the West of Ireland was about 2003. Every place I went, the music was American-style country music, and the singers all sang with a twang - they all sounded more American than I do, fer chrissake. But maybe that's not so bad. I can't imagine country being sung with a brogue.

So, I guess I'd say that appreciate songs being sung with a "nod to authenticity," as long as that accent doesn't become an affectation.

I usually sing in what I think is a Wisconsin accent, despite the fact that I lived in Wisconsin for only 12 of my 70 years. I'm sure my accent is tempered by my first 9 years in Michigan, and my life in California since 1971.

When I sing in languages other than English, I try to be fairly accurate in my accent, but I know I'm not.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 05:41 PM

Anne, I like your idea of "ballad English" - I take it you mean that you sing a Scottish ballad so that it sounds Scottish, but in a way that we mere mortals can actually understand it.

I'm thinking that's what Ewan MacColl and Dick van Dyke were trying to achieve - not a perfect accent, but an imitation that at least conveys the feeling that this is Scottish, or Cockney, or whatever.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 07:40 PM

I AM NOT SURE WHAT EWAN WAS TRYING TO ACHIEVE ,BUT I WOULD RATHER LISTEN TO HIM THAN THESE SONG WRITERS WHO ARE NOT AMERICAN BUT SING IN THIS FAKE AMERICAN ACCENT. apologies for capitals


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 07:43 PM

I dunno, Dick. For some people, it works. For other people it's an annoying affectation. Performers who "try too hard" are likely to FAIL. This who use a mild accent, are likely to SUCCEED. (I can use allcaps, too)

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 07:53 PM

Joe, I'm interested in how you feel about Dick van Dyke's Cockney. Did that sound quite acceptable to the average American?
I think most English or British people I've heard talk about it found it cringingly awful\comical.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 08:06 PM

I think Van Dyke meant it to be "cringingly awful\comical." It was just a fun movie for kids, after all.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: meself
Date: 09 Nov 18 - 10:42 PM

I am sure that very few North Americans have thought twice about the accuracy or inaccuracy of van Dyke's accent. In fact, I can't imagine any North Americans then or now discussing the question of whether of not his Cockney accent was/is 'acceptable'.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Acorn4
Date: 10 Nov 18 - 04:28 AM

As a rough generalisation the singers of the sixties, many of whom based themselves on blues singers, tried to sound like old men.

The fashion for youngish male vocalists nowadays tend to be to try to sound like 13 year olds.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Nov 18 - 04:45 AM

I think there is a tradition going back (at least as far as) Dicken's creations like Sam Weller of using and exaggerating working class accents for comic effect.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Nov 18 - 05:07 AM

"Ewan MacColl and Dick van Dyke "
Your chalk and cheese comparison misses te point Jow
Scots was the accent Ewan grew up with - it was the accent of his family and the lodgers his mother took in - it was the accent that the songs he got from his parents were sung in
I've just been exploring the Lomax archive and listening to what MacColl had to say about learning his songs
The fact that he was singing them to Cinema queues in the Hungry Thirties made them a part of him, not something he had to "achieve"
Van Dyke was no different from many of the actors who attempted Cockney on the screen, certainly not all American
I tried to watch the 1938 film, 'Pygmalion' last night, but was so embarrassed at Wendy Hiller's 'Cockney' Eliza I turned it off in disgust - a patronising joke

I'm very attracted to Annie Neilson's 'ballad English' - if you can't 'or shouldn't try a Scots accent, it seems an excellent idea to neutralise your own - I really can't see 'Sheath and Knife' working (for me or for the audience) in broad Scousebut it works perfectly for me in neutral English
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: GUEST,Ebor Fiddler
Date: 10 Nov 18 - 09:23 AM

I tend to sing a song more or less in the accent of the person I learned it from - I can't help it, it's just the way my learning memory works.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Nov 18 - 09:55 AM

Is it the influence of the pop world that makes people with regional english speaking accents ,decide to sing their songs in bad imitations of american accents.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 10 Nov 18 - 10:19 AM

I said exactly that, at 10:33 yesterday.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Anne Neilson
Date: 10 Nov 18 - 10:48 AM

Jim Carroll and Joe Offer, my head's not on entirely straight today but the term 'Ballad English' isn't mine -- problem is that I can't remember where it originated! (My notion is Hamish Henderson, perhaps?)

Anyway, my (possibly limited) understanding of it is that the really big ballad stories -- of murder (Son David/Edward); infanticide (Cruel Mother); incest (Lizzie Wan) etc. etc. -- have more important things to say than identifying themselves as particular to a certain locale by the use of specifically dialect words, and so they usually present themselves in fairly unadorned English which is then given its local character by vowel sounds.
From my (admittedly small) experience of singing to American audiences, it seemed to me that they could follow the narrative if words were enunciated 'tidily', and they could then cope with my Scottish vowels.

IMO it would be a lovely scene if people felt comfortable singing in their own voice.

(And am I allowed to say that it would also be lovely if people could be persuaded to sing a more accessible/basic tune than the equivalent of a Mariah Carey version?)


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Nov 18 - 11:20 AM

Thanks for that Anne
Amen to both of your last comments
I am still working on the Irish Ballad project and im increasingly impressed by the was the older generation of singers treated the ballad (in particular) as stories rather than pieces of music - the Irish term "tell us a song" has always intrigued me.
That doesn't mean they didn't indulge in good tunes or ornamentation, but they didn't let either get in the way of the narrative (in contrast to the younger singers, who, in my opinion, over-ornament and (particularly irritating( far too slowly
There's a lovely sequence in a Jazz film (Round Midnight, I think) where the veteran player tells his ambitious pupil, "your notes are fine, but where's your story"
For me, the most exquisite piece of ballad singing can be heard on Tom Munnelly's 'Songs of the Irish Travellers', when Roscommon Traveller, Martin McDonagh sings a five minute plus version of 'Young Hunting' (Lady Margaret) to the distant accompaniment of his son chopping firewood for the family business
If people haven't heard it, I'd be happy to share it (I know Tom wouldn't have minded)
Jim


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 10 Nov 18 - 12:55 PM

Several of my (Scottish) songwriting friends do write in Americana style, and therefore sing in a faux American accent, which is maybe fair enough, tho' I guess our American friends would not identify it as being from any defined area of their great country, if even passing for American at all.
I would go with Anne's suggestion of keeping fairly neutral otherwise, and letting the words of the song speak for themselves, without a curious false accent becoming a distraction.
Having lived in the East End of London during my student days and beyond, for 7 years, I have a rough idea of what a Cockney accent sounds like, and genuine Cockneys are supposed to have been born and brought up "within the sound of Bow Bells": many London accents (and there ARE many to the well-tuned ear) are therefore not Cockney, so poor old Dick V-D didn't 'ave a cat's chance in 'ell, did 'e, of gettin' it raht?
(And there are many very local accents in other parts of the UK: I'm always surprised when locally raised friends say something like - "That's no' Broxburn, that's Whitburn " - the two places being but a few miles apart.)


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Anne Neilson
Date: 10 Nov 18 - 01:19 PM

Jim, I'm entirely with you about funereal pace and over-ornamentation. I can only imagine that such singers never actually heard a story being told! Skilled tellers IMO are well aware of pace and how to nuance a repetitious sequence so that there is drama without DRAMATICS.

I'd love to hear your 'Young Hunting' if you'd feel like sharing it -- although I suspect that we're drifting from the original poster's focus....


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: meself
Date: 10 Nov 18 - 04:02 PM

Of course, many American pop singers affect American accents that are not their own - or maybe not anybody's. Was reading some comment recently about John Fogarty in that regard. I find it amusing when, from time to time, I will hear some rap/hip-hop guy being interviewed, speaking in a flat, generic middle-class North American accent - then they play his recording, and it's all NYC ghetto .... No different than the C&W singers who sound like they're from back of Butcher Holler - when they sing.

So what you get on those islands on the east of the Atlantic is singers imitating the accents of singers imitating accents .....


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 10 Nov 18 - 04:31 PM

Dick,

Your Youtube videos show your accent jumps around at will. I like them, and I'm not suggesting you're attempting to sing in a pure American accent, but to suggest it doesn't influence you would be a lie.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Jos
Date: 10 Nov 18 - 06:09 PM

For an English singer singing in an American accent of which I have no complaints, try anything by

Jo Ann Kelly


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 10 Nov 18 - 06:13 PM

I don't think you need to sing in pretendy American accents to sing Americana.

King Of The Road

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbXapBdTT4o

And Steve Earle's "My Old Friend The Blues"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9S9WSngT5R8

Sorry the Proclaimer clips was me


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Andy7
Date: 11 Nov 18 - 02:46 AM

Many American accents tend to flow more easily than many British accents.

Try singing (to any tune) "Would you like to dance", then "Do you wanna dance"!


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Mr Red
Date: 11 Nov 18 - 03:22 AM

It is better to have tried and failed, than to have never tried.

Anyone heard Arnold George Dorsey speaking now? aka Gerry Dorsey aka Englebert Humperdink.

His market is in America, so how best to serve that market? Wanting to fit in somewhere may be pretty high on your aspirations. And when you come from a mixed cultural household, moreso.

Does that analogy work for you?


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Andy M
Date: 11 Nov 18 - 03:30 AM

Vic Smith: I love that idea of 'blacking up your voice' - pertinantly put. Billy Bragg, on his recent book tour tells a tale; at a very early singers club Peggy Seeger laughs out loud when John Baldry sings a leadbelly song in a tortured 'american' voice. The response is that Baldry is doing it to sound like Leadbelly. "I know Leadbelly, and he sounds nothing like that!" is Seeger's reply.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Nov 18 - 03:35 AM

"I'd love to hear your 'Young Hunting' if you'd feel like sharing it "
I have attached this to an e-mail
I can do this for anybody who wants to PM me their address
I don't think speed or ornamentation is really is off-topic; I believe, like accent, it relates to how the singer makes the song his or her own
I have always had problems in understanding how a singer can 'believe' their song using a phony accent
One of our Traveller singers once tole us - "It's always easier to get someone to like your song if you like it yourself"
he old singers we knew didn't 'perform' their songs, they related them as, as you would a story; the question of 'belief' or suspension of belief was a major factor in their singing
When listening to many of the older recordings it's hard not to notice the differences in approach - the speed mainly, the natural phrasing, the flow.
Not always the case, of course; I know of at least one singer with a nasty dose of 'colletoritis' who was influenced by the collector to adopting a certain approach to their singing that changed her approach.
Jim


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Andy7
Date: 11 Nov 18 - 04:26 AM

A song I like to sing from time to time is Dolly Parton's 'Coat of Many Colors', which includes the line "It was way down in the fall".

This just sounds stupid if I sing it in my southern England accent, so it comes out as an Americanised version of my own accent, somewhere between English and American.

Although I suppose I could always change the line to "It was well into autumn", that might work!


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Nov 18 - 08:13 AM

Yes, the point about words that just sound lame in my own accent is very relevant. I will generally always sing in my own accent (from one of those British regions, not the south of England).

But if I am singing an American song, they will occasionally use a non-English word with a very odd pronunciation.

Airplane (2 syllables) is an obvious example. Speedmeter is another more troubling one. I mean the man who sings the song pronounces it like Speed Medder (rhyming with bedder, with a pronounced R). If I were to attempt to say Speedmeter myself, I would pronounce it with the meter rhyming with beater (and of course also rhyming with the homophone beta). But of course in real life I would never say that. I would always say Speedometer, with the omet rhyming with grommet, and the meter as in limiter. So you see it is problematic.

I have to be honest, I don't even usually like singing the ubiquitous American aint.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 11 Nov 18 - 08:57 AM

It seems that some songs I automatically sing in an accent, such as "The Bundling Song" which lends me a slight Irish sound, which seems relevant to its mention of Guinness and Irish surnames, although I have heard that the practice was common in Wales as well.
I have problems with songs with lowland Scottish words as they just don't sound right whatever I do with them.
I shouldn't have a problem with aint as I was brought up in Somerset which relies on aint, baint and taint for nearly every sentence, but it's not the way I talk all the same.

Robin


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Nov 18 - 03:39 AM

I know what you mean Jim. Not just travellers feel like that.

Jack Hudson, a very fine interpreter of Americana
, once said to me Al, your problem is - you don't 'inhabit' the songs.

All I can say is - there are different kinds of singers. About six weeks ago. I was asked to top the bill, do the finishing act at a couple of village halls for the November 11th, thanksgiving concerts. My orders simply were - lift the mood - everybody else will be going on about gas and barbed wire.

It was (to my mind) a great honour to be asked to be part of these events honouring the sacred dead. So I set to work and learned a half hour programme. Songs I sang last night, but which I never expect to have occasion to sing again. Someone said to me afterwards - well now you've got a World War One repertoire, because it went pretty smoothly.

I suppose the truth of it is. There are some people who hold a tradition close to their heart, and see the preservation of that tradition as the main focus.

And there are on the other hand - minstrels whose deepest wish is merely to entertain.

I think both aims are quite honourable. Its not like wanting to be a serial killer.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: GUEST,brafud lad
Date: 12 Nov 18 - 08:12 AM

There's a guy in Bradford called Muppet who takes great delight in taking the Mickey out of people that sing with fake American accents one of my favourite songs he does is Clogged up Road. where he get you to imagine if John Denver was a Yorkshire man, he then sings a Yorkshire version of country road ( Clogged up road ) and gets everyone to join in the chorus in their best Yorkshire accents.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 12 Nov 18 - 09:05 AM

I'll gloss over my attempts to sound like an deep South bluesman but merely mention the Polish shanty group I met in Greece this year who did their best to sound Irish on some of their songs. To sing some such genres in "Oxford English" (or Brummie English in my case) would sound very odd.
RtS


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Nov 18 - 09:29 AM

I used to love listening The Red Army Choir singing 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Nov 18 - 11:40 AM

yes theres a great scene in Das Boot where the German submariners are sailing along singing to an old recording of Tiperary. I used to love seeing Bill Caddick singing his song, The Writing of Tiperary.

Great song. Reverend Gary Davis used to sing it as well.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: GUEST,Modette
Date: 12 Nov 18 - 12:34 PM

Here you go, Jim.

Red Army Choir - IaLWtT

Fantastic.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Nov 18 - 01:01 PM

Thanks for that Mod - I'll be grinning all the way to the pub tonight
Jim


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Gozz
Date: 12 Nov 18 - 04:28 PM

We seem to have broadened this conversation quite a bit, but I would like to take us back to what Dick originally posted and examine in more carefully.

He spoke of singer/songwriters who were not from America singing in (their own approximation to) an american accent. So we are talking about someone who writes a song for themselves to sing, but in a accent which is not their own. So the question is not just why sing in an accent that is not your own, but also why write a song for yourself to sing in that false accent? I agree that taking a song in a different dialect even to your own can be challenging, but why deliberately make if more difficult for yourself to sing successfully by writing it in this way? Way up near the top of this thread people have mentioned the influence of pop culture, where the same problem has existed for years IMO. The only other explanation I can think of is that they write the song hoping some big star will take up on it, rather than for them to sing themselves.

I don't like it either Dick. It makes me cringe when I hear it at singaround sessions or open mikes around here. It often destroys the feeling of sincerity one can get from some singer/songwriters.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Nov 18 - 04:54 PM

Bloke in a pub I used to frequent sang "Delilah" in a broad Lancashire accent.

I saw a leet on the neet as I passed by er windder...

It was brilliant.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: skarpi
Date: 12 Nov 18 - 05:46 PM

I would like to hear a Fake President singing the fake song ...

well you play the tune on the instrument 100 % like it was written
right , why ?

Same with the singing , the song is from US you try to sing like it was done in the first time ,

but it is always best to sing it with you own noes as we say it ...

so don´t stay in the fake world , get real , be your self .


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 12 Nov 18 - 07:57 PM

To continue the thread drift, I'm enchanted by Marta Sebestyen singing Leaving Derry Quay


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Mr Red
Date: 13 Nov 18 - 03:06 AM

If I may quote Martin (touches forelock) Carthy MBE

"You can do anything to a folk song, anything at all, and it will survive. Except ignore it"


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 13 Nov 18 - 05:41 AM

> To continue the thread drift, I'm enchanted by Marta Sebestyen singing Leaving Derry Quay

An interesting example! Here we have someone whose native language is not any variety of English singing an Irish song. From the singing alone she could almost pass for Irish, having only slight differences in the accent. All well and good. The only thing wrong with it is that the accompaniment is a tad too loud relative to the voice, making the words a bit harder to understand.

Now, what if she had sung in RP or some sort of American English instead? That would seem to make no sense.

Or what if she (or any non-native English speaker) had lived somewhere in the English-speaknig world and become fluent in the local variety of English, e.g. Liverpool, New England, Kentucky ... and then sung an Irish song? I myself am unsure of the right answer to that one.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 13 Nov 18 - 06:15 AM

Never heard, or even heard of, Márta Sebestyén before, but I like that track very much. I'm going to check her out. Thanks for that link, GUEST: Gerry!


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Nov 18 - 09:04 AM

I'm usually a libertarian when it comes to performing and accents - do just what you will and accept the consequences is what I say - but, I do share Gozz's comments about non-Americans writing songs and then singing them with an unnecessary American accent. I know a Scottish singer-songwriter whose speaking voice is lovely. He also writes quite good songs - and then destroys their credibility by singing them with an American accent rather than his own lilt.

So, on that particular score, I would give a nod to Dick's original comment.


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Subject: RE: why do some sing in usa accent
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Nov 18 - 11:07 AM

To continue the thread drift, I'm enchanted by Marta Sebestyen singing Leaving Derry Quay
So am I.... and I love the way that she segues from that into a song of Greeks being expelled from Turkey in the days of Ataturk and then back into the Irish song.
I love the banjo playing on that track which was played by her ex-husband who produced and all the others on that outstanding album Kismet which is one of my all-time favourites.
Certainly, you can hear from her accent that she is not Irish but I don't think that you could tell this from her exquisite timing and phrasing. Of course, she had an excellent tutor of Irish music studies in Andy Irvine. In return, Andy learned a great deal about the timing and phrasing of all those Magyar and Balkan tunes from her. This dates back to the time when Márta and Andy were very close(!). Her parents were both leading Hungarian ethno-musicoligists and she has followed them with an enormous and broad knowledge of European and middle-eastern song.
Could I refer Backwoodsman and anyone else for that matter to listen to anything by her? All her albums are great, the solo albums and also the wonderful albums by Muzsikás, particularly Morning Star, The Lost Jewish Music of Transylvania, The Bartok Album, The Prisoner's Song and Blues for Transylvania but all the twelve albums of Márta and Muzsikás have their strengths. The only thing that is better than them was to hear them live - mesmerising stuff!!!

I think I'll go and sit somewhere quiet and calm down.


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