Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafesj

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


What is it with the English?

The Shambles 30 May 00 - 04:30 PM
GUEST,hollowfox 30 May 00 - 04:34 PM
scouse 30 May 00 - 04:45 PM
GUEST,ella 30 May 00 - 05:06 PM
TerriM 30 May 00 - 05:22 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 May 00 - 05:23 PM
Bert 30 May 00 - 06:02 PM
Ed Pellow 30 May 00 - 06:18 PM
Jo Taylor 30 May 00 - 06:31 PM
Jon Freeman 30 May 00 - 06:41 PM
Ed Pellow 30 May 00 - 06:42 PM
Mbo 30 May 00 - 06:43 PM
The Shambles 30 May 00 - 06:44 PM
Brendy 30 May 00 - 06:46 PM
Jon Freeman 30 May 00 - 06:57 PM
Catlin 30 May 00 - 08:09 PM
Malcolm Douglas 30 May 00 - 08:15 PM
Frank McGrath 30 May 00 - 08:40 PM
Frank McGrath 30 May 00 - 08:52 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 May 00 - 09:11 PM
Malcolm Douglas 30 May 00 - 09:17 PM
Frank McGrath 30 May 00 - 09:27 PM
GUEST,Dan-Nova Scotia 30 May 00 - 10:55 PM
Bill D 30 May 00 - 11:32 PM
Mbo 30 May 00 - 11:46 PM
Steve Parkes 31 May 00 - 03:21 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 31 May 00 - 04:25 AM
Ella who is Sooze 31 May 00 - 04:43 AM
McGrath of Harlow 31 May 00 - 06:24 AM
Spider Tom 31 May 00 - 07:27 AM
GUEST,A wandering minstrel 31 May 00 - 08:43 AM
Malcolm Douglas 31 May 00 - 08:56 AM
GUEST,A wandering mistrel 31 May 00 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,Auxiris 31 May 00 - 10:50 AM
The Shambles 31 May 00 - 10:55 AM
Jim Krause 31 May 00 - 12:26 PM
Bert 31 May 00 - 01:48 PM
Grab 31 May 00 - 02:31 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 May 00 - 02:54 PM
Kim C 31 May 00 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,boxman@ntlworld.com 31 May 00 - 04:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 May 00 - 07:22 PM
GUEST,leeneia 31 May 00 - 11:57 PM
catspaw49 01 Jun 00 - 12:23 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 01 Jun 00 - 04:55 AM
Ella who is Sooze 01 Jun 00 - 06:56 AM
The Shambles 01 Jun 00 - 07:09 AM
Ritchie 01 Jun 00 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,A wandering minstrel 01 Jun 00 - 07:50 AM
JohnL 01 Jun 00 - 08:13 AM
catspaw49 01 Jun 00 - 08:28 AM
Rana 01 Jun 00 - 08:53 AM
Snuffy 01 Jun 00 - 09:35 AM
GeorgeH 01 Jun 00 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,AKCW 01 Jun 00 - 10:44 AM
Ella who is Sooze 01 Jun 00 - 11:02 AM
Ella who is Sooze 01 Jun 00 - 11:08 AM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Jun 00 - 08:42 PM
GUEST 01 Jun 00 - 09:16 PM
Frank McGrath 01 Jun 00 - 09:44 PM
Mbo 01 Jun 00 - 09:48 PM
Malcolm Douglas 01 Jun 00 - 09:58 PM
Brendy 02 Jun 00 - 12:53 AM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Jun 00 - 06:39 AM
GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere) 02 Jun 00 - 06:58 AM
The Shambles 02 Jun 00 - 10:28 AM
Bert 02 Jun 00 - 11:29 AM
Malcolm Douglas 02 Jun 00 - 01:31 PM
GUEST 02 Jun 00 - 04:06 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Jun 00 - 04:49 PM
lamarca 02 Jun 00 - 05:28 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Jun 00 - 07:10 PM
roopoo 03 Jun 00 - 03:56 AM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Jun 00 - 04:03 AM
Brendy 03 Jun 00 - 04:21 AM
The Shambles 03 Jun 00 - 06:07 AM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Jun 00 - 04:11 PM
Richard Bridge 03 Jun 00 - 06:03 PM
GUEST,Hermione Heyhoe-Smythe 03 Jun 00 - 06:16 PM
Richard Bridge 03 Jun 00 - 06:38 PM
GUEST,Hermione Heyhoe-Smythe 03 Jun 00 - 07:10 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Jun 00 - 07:21 PM
GUEST,Hermione Heyhoe-Smythe 03 Jun 00 - 08:20 PM
roopoo 04 Jun 00 - 04:31 AM
Richard Bridge 04 Jun 00 - 06:16 AM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jun 00 - 07:06 AM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Jun 00 - 09:12 AM
GUEST,sajumikey 04 Jun 00 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,jon 04 Jun 00 - 11:10 AM
The Shambles 04 Jun 00 - 12:08 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jun 00 - 12:55 PM
Brendy 04 Jun 00 - 01:42 PM
The Shambles 04 Jun 00 - 02:00 PM
GUEST,Hermione Heyhoe-Smythe 04 Jun 00 - 07:41 PM
GUEST 05 Jun 00 - 02:01 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Jun 00 - 03:51 AM
GUEST,Hermione Heyhoe-Smythe 05 Jun 00 - 05:11 AM
Ritchie 05 Jun 00 - 09:27 AM
The Shambles 05 Jun 00 - 03:49 PM
Brendy 05 Jun 00 - 11:48 PM
Ella who is Sooze 06 Jun 00 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,KingBrilliant 06 Jun 00 - 05:38 AM
GUEST,MikeofNorthumbria 06 Jun 00 - 07:54 AM
Richard Bridge 06 Jun 00 - 03:30 PM
Osmium 06 Jun 00 - 04:24 PM
Sapper_RE 06 Jun 00 - 04:51 PM
Malcolm Douglas 06 Jun 00 - 05:43 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Jun 00 - 08:53 PM
The Shambles 07 Jun 00 - 05:49 AM
Ritchie 07 Jun 00 - 07:42 AM
Brendy 07 Jun 00 - 07:50 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Jun 00 - 08:56 AM
The Shambles 07 Jun 00 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,Ickle Dorritt 07 Jun 00 - 01:31 PM
Llanfair 08 Jun 00 - 05:03 AM
sledge 08 Jun 00 - 05:40 AM
GUEST,Hermione Heyhoe-Smythe 08 Jun 00 - 09:23 PM
Llanfair 09 Jun 00 - 11:39 AM
GUEST,Penny S. 09 Jun 00 - 12:03 PM
A Wandering Minstrel 09 Jun 00 - 12:43 PM
JulieF 09 Jun 00 - 03:24 PM
JulieF 09 Jun 00 - 03:36 PM
GUEST,Graham Pirt 09 Jun 00 - 06:18 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Jun 00 - 06:20 PM
Malcolm Douglas 09 Jun 00 - 09:39 PM
Trace 10 Jun 00 - 03:36 PM
GUEST 11 Jun 00 - 10:33 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:













Subject: What is it with the English?
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 May 00 - 04:30 PM

I am just back from a Traditional English folk festival. I have seen English people playing and dancing Irish, Cajun, French, Old Time, and even 'belly' dancing! They seemed to be enjoying themselves and doing it well and it was of great interest to those watching.

There were English people playing and dancing to English (Morris) tunes and they seemed to be enjoying themselves too. They were very serious and earnest about enjoying themselves and they had many books available for sale at the festival, to consult to ensure that they were doing it correctly. There was even an English Music session, which mentioned in the programme, that you would find no Celtic tunes.

It was my impression that the members of the English public were rather mystified by this English music and dance and did not understand it or even appear to enjoy it as much as they did the other forms on display. It did not appear to me that it was 'of them' or 'belonged to them' in any natural way or that there was any link apparent between those participating and those casually watching.

There are world class English performers of every kind of music you could mention, like Blues, Jazz, Indian, Bluegrass, Gamelan and whatever? Why is it that the English appear to play absorb and appreciate other's musical styles so readily and appear to have little natural or general appreciation of their own?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,hollowfox
Date: 30 May 00 - 04:34 PM

The same reason people in the United States haven't got a grip on "Americanfolk music". Or, as my mother put it, "Nobody likes the local beer."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: scouse
Date: 30 May 00 - 04:45 PM

Seems to me that the Brit's have lost their sense of identity as regards their own Trad.music. I'm a scouser and lived over here in Cloggie land for 20 odd years and I find the Dutch are crazy about any thing Celtic, however ask them to sing one of their own traditional songs and they don't seem to have a clue. I suppose it's the same over there in dear old Blighty. everyone seems to like whatever is one the other side of the fence.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,ella
Date: 30 May 00 - 05:06 PM

it wasn't Chippenham folk festival was it?

By the way - Morris Men drive me potty.

they should be a banned substance - only joking

Ella

PS

I went along on Sunday if it was


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: TerriM
Date: 30 May 00 - 05:22 PM

Is it because morris dancing has assumed a rather comical and 'sad' reputation in England, do you think and anything else by association, perhaps?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 May 00 - 05:23 PM

This weekend the BBC had a big music festival, supposed to be all kinds of music happening live "all around the country" (by which they meant the UK, which isn't "a country" in my book, but that's another matter), over a 24 hour period - but the only trace of folk music was from Northern Ireland - and that was on at 4.30 or so in the morning. English traditional music was nowhere/

As scouse says, it seems the same thing with the Dutch. And I gather it's the same in Norway, where there are some brilliant musical traditions.

It seems a pretty widespread phenomenon for people to despise their own traditional music. There are some places where it doesn't seem to happen quite like that, France and Spain, I get the impression. I've never heard any kind of explanation for it that makes sense. Anybody got any suggestions? Or information about places where it doesn't happen. When I go abroad, I want to hear music that has roots in the place I'm visiting.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Bert
Date: 30 May 00 - 06:02 PM

I think that there's more than one reason.
When I went to school in England yonks ago, English folk songs and dances were taught in schools, often by teachers with little or no real knowledge of either. Most of my classmates hated both.
In only one school that I went to, were we fortunate to have a music teacher who loved singing. All the others made singing a chore.
For many years The English Folk Dance and Song Society was run by a crowd of pompous old fogeys who tainted the atmosphere with their bossiness and pedantry.

And then Rock and Roll came along which almost completely absorbed the public's interest in Music and dancing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Ed Pellow
Date: 30 May 00 - 06:18 PM

As an Englishman, I understand and identify with much of what has been said above.

I'm pleased that artists such as Waterson:Carthy and Kate Rusby celebrate their 'English-ness'

Lest we forget, The Beatles were very English, and Hey Jude has certainly become one of the best known (and best) folk songs of the last 50 years.

Ed


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Jo Taylor
Date: 30 May 00 - 06:31 PM

McGrath, the French are heavily into musique celtique - we have the 'Irish' bars here too. (Which are, incidentally, a welcome oasis in the plethora of French bars clad in formica which close at 9pm.)I'm English, live in Normandy, playing in an band doing 'musique irlandaise' but we slip in quite a lot of English trad., which is my first love... and they don't notice. I mean, they enjoy it along with all the other stuff, not that they don't notice us playing it!

Yes, English people are remarkably ignorant of their own heritage - ask a selection of English people "When is St George's Day?" - most of them will be unable to answer. Echoing Bert, folk music as taught in schools was stultifyingly boring, sanitised, and terribly sweet. To the French (I'm obviously generalising here) all English speaking people are Anglais (or American) and all trad music from the British Isles is Irlandaise! Perhaps an exception is made for bagpipes, which of course are Scottish?:-}

Ella, not all Morris dancers are men (see previous threads). And before you turn up your nose at them - try it! The time I spent as a morris dancer is the fittest I've ever been...

Jo


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 30 May 00 - 06:41 PM

Being involved in Morris dancing never got me fit (I was a melodeon player) but it did get me out to some good pubs! I would happily get involved again but the only side left within reach of me tends to be more serious about it than I am - I just liked to view it as an excuse for a good day out and a bit of fun and when we did go away, liked joining in with other musicains but, at least when I was with them, Conwy were very much a keep themselves to themselves group.

Jon


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Ed Pellow
Date: 30 May 00 - 06:42 PM

The most important musical advance of the 20th century was The Beatles. The Beatles were English. The English have no need to preserve any dead heritage, we just go forward..

Discuss

Ed

(I make no claims as to having written the above)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Mbo
Date: 30 May 00 - 06:43 PM

Yes, Beatles RULE!!!

--Mbo


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 May 00 - 06:44 PM

Sorry, yes it was Chippenham. It was prompted in the 'gents', when I overheard a conversation between two locals after the Morris 'man' that had been standing between them had left. They were puzzled but came to the conclusion that it could reasonably do little harm for the few days of the festival.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Brendy
Date: 30 May 00 - 06:46 PM

It's a bit like the saying "a prophet is never accepted in his own country", I suppose.
There is no 'indigenous' English architecture, neither (I have heard it said), which is also curious .

B.
(waiting for the plethora of English architecture experts to flail me alive)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 30 May 00 - 06:57 PM

Ed, thread drift but your comments lead me to something that I have wrestled with for years. Beatles songs are known and sung by just about everyone where as folk songs (OK it depends on who's definition on what folk is...) by in large are only known by a small minority - question, has folk got divorced from folks and should these commercial songs be considered folk?

Jon


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Catlin
Date: 30 May 00 - 08:09 PM

Reading the other posts to this thread, I find I'd like to add my two-penneth worth: A big problem in England does seem to be a distinct image problem. I'm 20 and my parents are both Folkies. The few people of my age who like to listen to folk are, in the main, either music students or who, like me, have been introduced to the music as children in their familes.


This is a problem to some extent, as folk is a 'living' music. It doesn't exist in a vacum. If people of my age become uninterested, we could lose out, as folk needs to be played, and enjoyed to keep alive.


I know there are many, many people that love folk, but I have become slightly worried as I have got older. I have been looking to find other performers to sing and play with and that at least in my area (Yorkshire,UK)there seem to be so few people of my own age who are willing to listen and appreciate the that I love.


There seems to be such an appreciation of our own Traditional music and culture overseas, at least compared to where I live, that I think my best bet is to move abroad to be able to perform the music I enjoy


Catlin


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 30 May 00 - 08:15 PM

This article at  Musical Traditions  has a lot of perceptive things to say on the subject:  The Loss of the English Traditions.

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Frank McGrath
Date: 30 May 00 - 08:40 PM

I don't want (and I'm not qualified) to get into heavy subjects but England is a very complex place and just about everything in it's history and make-up works against its folk traditions.

Here is a brief(ish) list;
(a) extreme social class distinctions (even up to recently)
Royalty, Ruling Class, Upper Class, Upper Middle Class, Middle Class, Servant and Lower Class. The vast majority of the population was Lower Class, where the real folk tradition lived. But their tradition was not "cool" it was quaint at best. Everybody wanted to leave behind their existing class and "better" themselves so a certain stigma was attached to the "goings on" of the lower orders. Folk music=lower class music.

(b) many diverse cultures (French, Cornish, Saxon etc.)
Since the Norman invasions in the 11th c., "English" people, ie., South East England, are really emigrant French. Most of the "real" English were forced North and west into Wales, Cornwall, etc.

(c) worldwide imperial colonisation
This brought about even more diverse cultural pressure on "the tradition" as it freely mixed and mingled with what was already fragmented.

(d) rapid transitions to urbanisation and mechanisation
For a number of centuries the famed English countryside settled down into a stable pattern allowing a tradition to emerge with natural regional variation but with each area sharing portions of the total set. But rapid industrialization, starting in the last century and continuing into the 1960's, decimated the rural populations. There is now no real rural working class so there is no "living" rural folk tradition except for parts of Cornwall etc. "Quaint" Folk Clubs are the keepers of the tradition now.
Those who moved to the urban areas eventually succumbed to the cosmopolitan influences of the towns.
But urban traditions grew such as the Cockney traditions etc. Some of older rural traditions survived in a modified but recognizable form due to the proximity of the rural areas and the strength of the regional tradition, eg. Geordie.

(e) rapid decline in imperial power and collapse of empire
Two world wars and the collapse of the Empire in a span of only 50 years brought massive changes to the land called England. The Middle Class swelled, large influxes of immigrants came from former colonies, rural depopulisation accelerated, "old" industries (mining, textiles, shipbuilding) went into decline and the class structure started to collapse. There wasn't much time for tradition really with so much happening even the urban working class traditions went into freefall.

(f) dismemberment process of Britain via devolution
Britain is now slowly drawing in on itself with devolved governments in Scotland and Wales. "British" culture was always seen as "English" culture and by default Welsh choirs and Scottish bagpipes were "British" and therefore "English". But what of Morris dancers? Yes, this is English.

But English folk traditions have endured so much competition and pressure for so long that it needs time to re-emerge. English people are confused about what is their tradition not to mind what their folk music is. How do you define "being English", for that matter? Just because you were born in London does that make you English – even though your mother is Irish and your father is Jamaican? What is your tradition? Do you see Morris dancing as your tradition? Or rather, how can you see Morris dancing as your tradition?

Martin Carthy and a few others have given England breathing space and have kept a proud and excellent tradition alive. The wealth and organization of the old Empire has much of England's tradition safely archived. Given time and nurturing, English folk music will stand proud again on an equal footing with other folk music cultures. And of course the new branches of the tradition will continue to develop with the multitude of ethnic flavours and influences.

Now that I have offended thousands of people who misunderstand my argument I shall slip away quietly to bed. I have written far too much and far too little such that I have tried to cover as much ground as possible but have had to generalise to the extreme. No, I haven't mentioned English sea shanties etc., etc. Where do I draw the line?

Go on, all the ammunition is there, tear me to shreads.

Goodnight all.

Frank


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Frank McGrath
Date: 30 May 00 - 08:52 PM

Hey!
While I was writing all "that stuff" Malcolm Douglas posted a link which agrees with many of the points I made. Maybe I'll get off lightly!?

Definitely Goodnight!

Frank


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 May 00 - 09:11 PM

The Beatles - well, technically Liverpool is in England. But essentially the Beatles were an Irish band...But I digress.

I think Frank is right in the reasons he gives. But there are countries where the local traditions have been rejected in the same way in respect of which the same factors don't apply and the other way round.

England is good at accepting all kinds of cultural imports, and incorporating them. What I'd hope to see wouldn't be an awakening is some kind of mass reversion to a kind of Englishness in which many/most people aren't rooted, but rather an acceptance of that as one of the elements - but sometimes it seems that the one culture that can't be incorporated is the local one. There seems to be a self hatred there, a rejection of the decent and lovable things about England, in favour of the xenophobia of the football thugs and the front bench politicians.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 30 May 00 - 09:17 PM

Frank McGrath makes some good points, except for this frankly bizarre claim, however:

Since the Norman invasions in the 11th c., "English" people, ie., South East England, are really emigrant French.

Not so!  All the Norman Conquest did was import a new "top layer" of aristocracy, and an "official" administrative language; very few Norman French (who were in any case mostly immigrants -a few generations back- from Scandinavia) actually came to live here, as compared to the existing population, who mostly stayed put.  Historically, cultures that migrate to these islands either assimilate the previous population (as in the case of the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Celtic Britain) or are themselves assimilated (as in most other cases so far, including the Danish and Norman invasions) and wind up adopting the local language.

None of this, of course, has any bearing on the discussion or on the substance of the article I pointed to; just couldn't let it go unchallenged.  You know how it is.

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Frank McGrath
Date: 30 May 00 - 09:27 PM

Now Malcom you should never let facts spoil good bullshit. I have so much fun pissing English people off with that line that I just insist on it being true - even if it isn't. To date you are one of the few to question this "fact".
Spoilsport!

NOW I'm going to bed.

Frank


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,Dan-Nova Scotia
Date: 30 May 00 - 10:55 PM

I think you might be looking in the wrong places. Currently there are people like Brian Peters, Jez Lowe, Dave Webber & Annie Fentiman, Johnny Collins, not to mention Nic Jones, Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick, (I could go on) all of whom sing a majority of English Folk songs. And if you get to a singers night at most folk clubs you will find that many are singing the trad songs as well as songs they have written. I have found incredible singers and guitarists who only do it for the fun of it. I think the singers nights in many places might surprise you. And also try to check out some of the festivals that are known as singers festivals. Good Luck and enjoy.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Bill D
Date: 30 May 00 - 11:32 PM

late to the thread..and since most of my points have already been made better than I could, I'll just say...

" The most important musical advance of the 20th century was The Beatles. "....pooh! you may like 'em, you may NOT...but that's like saying that McDonalds is the most important culinary advance of the 20th century...most NOTICABLE, perhaps, but give me a break!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Mbo
Date: 30 May 00 - 11:46 PM

Catlin, you gotta get with the JUG gang! There right there in your own back yard!

--Mbo


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 31 May 00 - 03:21 AM

The Beatles were inspired and influenced by music - R&B, Rock'n'roll, Blues, etc. - bought in from the US by friends, relatives, a guy you met in a pub, who'd just come from there, Liverpool being a major seaport; notably that fine traditional musician Buddy Holly. Not first-hand English, although some English music had crossed the other way in the previous century. Most of the emigrants were Irish and Scottish, of course; not forgetting the African (and Brit too) slaves in the plantations.

Steve


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 31 May 00 - 04:25 AM

My musical tastes (jazz, blues, skiffle, '50s R&R) are American-based and my folk interest includes more American, Caribbean and "Celtic" than English but I blame that on being brought up in Birmingham where most of my teachers were Welsh or Scots and there was a large Irish and Caribbean population. American seem to idenify themselves with the folk culture of their imigrant ancestors, rather than "American" , so perhaps Brits abroad do the same? I'll leave Sultan Al-Hansell to answer that one, I've no deep insights (no change there then!).
RtS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 31 May 00 - 04:43 AM

I thought so Shambles.

I did find a good 'Irish' session in one pub, actually there were two sessions in the one pub.

It was a nice pub too.

Though I did go into the hotel up from the Four Seasons pub, and sat in on a session there. But to be honest they were all so far up their own behinds in that session that they were not being inclusive.

They ignored newcomers, even to the extent to turn their backs on us and others. Played the same tunes over about 3 different times. And were just not friendly. It was the most bad vibed session ever.

Whereas the Old Road tavern, had a lovely friendly inclusive atmostphere. Alot of the musicians there I knew already from all over the place (I get around).

And the music was excellent, and whoever you were sat next to were friendly chatty and into introducing themselves. Poles apart from the unfriendly session round the corner.

And Jo. I know that there are women morris dancers, the term Morris Men is just an easy descriptive generalisation, and there is just not enough time to get PC about this or we start getting silly.

I know quite a few women who are morris dancers.

And to say that English people don't know alot about their heritage is a huge sweeping generalisation, and simply is not true.

The whole matter just doesnt boil down to whether an English person can pin point one day in the diary for St Georges day, there is a larger heritage to understand. And that being the case I think you have a very poor view of how much English people understand.

As for trying out Morris Dancing. Thanks but no thanks, not for me, I will stick to my own tradition, Irish dancing. I am not turnin up my nose at it - it's another form of folk expression - and for those who do it you can see the enjoy it.

I just think it looks funny with the costumes (of loads of different types) and all in all the music, and the dancing is just a little to stayed for my liking.

At the end of the day, it is all down to personal tastes.

And yes Shambles, I can see how much it would confuse the locals, having all those Morris Men oops sorry and women descending on Chippenham for the day.

Regards

Ella


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 May 00 - 06:24 AM

e dancing is just a little too staid for my liking" - either you've not come across the wilder end of Morris, or you must be a very wild dancer indeed yourself, ella.

The Australians used to talk about "the Colonial Cringe" - maybe they still do. That meant running themselves down in comparison with England/Britain. What's up with the English is something you could call "the Ex-imperial Cringe", I suppose - it's just as creepy.

And the thing with inferiority complexes, as I understand the concept, is that people suffering from them are liable to act brash and arrogant and push themselves forward - and that sounds horribly familiar if you look at English hooligans, the English tabloid press, and a lot of English politicians in "populist" mode. The English traditions I'm talking about, ranging from Morris to Music Hall, are/were predominently self-mocking and mellow affairs, a million miles removed from that kind of thing.

But, as I said above, it's not just the English, this is something you get in a lot other countries as well, some with very different histories.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Spider Tom
Date: 31 May 00 - 07:27 AM

FOLK is a four letter word!
To many young people (who are in my opinion extremely conservative),it conjurs up images of dullness and the staleness, of a time they have no thoughts of.
we know the truth is different to this but who searches for truth in these times as media blitzes cut down heroes like trees and spread lies like butter.
I believe the problem lies in the fact that most youth are made felt like they are something outside society, not within.
Also so many folkies seem to dwell only on the past, singing songs no one could identify with unless they lived in a time warp, I sing songs about things I know as do many of you, that is the way forward, but how to get the young to listen with an open mind?
Have they EVER?
Spider Tom (folking amazed)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,A wandering minstrel
Date: 31 May 00 - 08:43 AM

I think it more the case that youngsters have other interests. I am sorry in a way that English traditional music seems to be the preserve of bearded middle-aged men in hairy sweaters (Oh my god I'm a living stereotype!!!) certainly the instant gratification which is an american gift to lifestyles precludes the patience needed to take time and learn tradition.

You get the young to listen by singing the songs as my father started me off into sea shanties.

Hi Malcolm, are you the Malcolm of Malcolm and Moira??


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 31 May 00 - 08:56 AM

No, a different one entirely!

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,A wandering mistrel
Date: 31 May 00 - 09:01 AM

Ah!

well hello anyway


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,Auxiris
Date: 31 May 00 - 10:50 AM

Hello, everyone. Interesting discussion. Let me just say that I think that there will always be people who take their fun very seriously and work really hard at it. I have run across several examples of this type of " folkie " if I may use the term in England, but also in America, Canada, France and even Ireland (though they seem to be rare in the Emerald Isle). As far as the future of English folk music goes, I dare say it's in good hands. If you have a doubt, have a listen to (just for example) Maggie Holland's glorious song, " A Place Called England ". My very best wishes to all.

Cheers, Aux


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 May 00 - 10:55 AM

Dan-Nova Scotia.

The point I am making is not that there are not English songs and music being performed and very well, but that this type of narrowly defined music is not and will not now link itself to the English people. This music seems to be defined, not by what is performed but by what and who is excluded from it.

At song sessions in England, I don't know how many times I have a Beatles song introduced as "I know this is not folk" or commented on afterwards by "I thought this was a folk session". This after everyone had joined in with a song that had very much gone through the folk process and resembled little the recorded versions of the song.

It is furthering the idea that traditional music is digging up the past, looking back at the way that we did it, rather than continuing the way we do it now, reflecting the present. Other countries do manage to do this.

Does there have to be exclusive English tunes only sessions? Can they not stand the competition from more robust and exciting Irish and American tunes? Can the good sea songs not compete with the Beatles? English tunes have 'balls' too, but they are too often played (usually collectively on melodeons) like museum pieces, and as if those 'balls' had been cut off.

Could it be that these English tunes, unlike the Irish and American ones are learnt and studied more from books and sound like they were too? The atmosphere, in some these English only sessions, being more like a religious revival meeting than a joyful celebration of traditional music. Is it not like expecting the whole of the population to share the excitement of train-spotting?

Thanks for your contribution Frank, for that just about covered it. I will come back to your post. As for that other McGrath, The Beatles an Irish band?……………. Please leave us something to be proud of Kevin…. You will pay for that one.

They were first a 'skiffle' group. The very best example of what the English seem to do best. Taking the elements from all the music they were hearing and turning it in to something different and of lasting quality.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Jim Krause
Date: 31 May 00 - 12:26 PM

Shambles, perhaps the answer might be the same one as to why Scott Joplin, Louis Chauvin, and all the other American ragtime composers were reviled and shunned by the musical establishment a century ago, and why jazz could in the early days be found on the "bad side of town." Same thing happened in the early days of rock 'n' roll, and country music was thought to be the province of half-witted, toothless, moonshine drinkin', banjo pickin', barefooted, hillbillies. Heck, I can remember when folk music and possession of a guitar was tantamount to admitting membership in the nearest Communist Marching Band and Chowder Society. This response doesn't answer the question of why, directly. I've never understood why folks are embarrassed by their own ethnic cultures, and why others are viewed as more chic, sexy, or cool.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Bert
Date: 31 May 00 - 01:48 PM

Well Skiff me ol' matey cock.
The English abroad, unfortunately have the habit of taking a little bit of England along with them. Very few of my English friends in Bahrain even noticed the similarity between Arabic music and dancing and English folk music and Morris Dancing.

During the celebrations of Ashur, the Shias paraded in the streets with music and dancing. Their drum was the spitting image of a bodhran. They even had a hobby horse that would have done any English Morris team proud. It was interesting to note that the hobby horse was intended to mock the British military.

Bukara InshAllah, Sultan Al-Hansell.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Grab
Date: 31 May 00 - 02:31 PM

Wandering Minstrel forgot to mention the finger in the ear and singing through your nose.

And there's the problem (mentioned somewhere in the thread - I can't be arsed to look it up, so credit to whoever you are) that the songs are done in school, and taught to kids at an early age. And at that stage the songs become nursery rhymes and lose any relevance. Would you go on stage and sing "Baa baa black sheep"? Of course not. But in a foreign language, "Baa baa black sheep" might be perfectly acceptable as a folk song of that country. The most obvious examples of this are Waltzing Matilda and Molly Malone, and Streets of London is going the same way. Some Beatles songs (especially the more 'cheesy' ones like Yellow Submarine and Octopus's Garden) may already be there - every kiddy's songbook I've seen features Yellow Submarine.

It used (19th c) to be popular to say jigs were Irish and reels were Scottish, regardless of actual origin - I guess the same way you'd expect rap artists today to be black/coloured. So maybe that's pushed it along - Irish/English/Scottish music is more a style than a matter of where the song came from. A fiddle book I've got says that one of the reels in it was actually listed in a Victorian music book published in Scotland as an English reel, even though it sounds as Scottish as you like. Name escapes me ATM - I'll look it up.

Grab.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 May 00 - 02:54 PM

Can't see the finger in the ear as being a factor really - it's hardly a particularly English thing. Moreover anyone who thinks it's just an affectation has obviously never tried singing unaccompanied in a crowded environment. It's the only way you can hear yourself, and hearing what you sound like is quite a good idea for a singer.

There are two separate questions being mixed up here. One is why folk music of any is often not valued by that many people, especially young people. The other question is why so many people who are drawn to folk music ignore the traditions of their own locality, in favour of music from far away, especially perhaps Irish music. And that isn't particularly English - in fact it's probably less true in England than it is in many European countries.

And it doesn't do just to say that Irish music is better than the others (though it's tempting) - pretty well every country and region has great stuff there, ignored. We've had threads on the Mudcat about people lookig for music sessions in all sorts of places, and the answers all seem to be about Irish sessions in Stavanger and Hong Kong and Vladivostock and all. (I may exaggerate slightly here. But probably not.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Kim C
Date: 31 May 00 - 03:11 PM

I don't know, I love the English and I love the Beatles.

When I was in England about 12 years ago now (and been pining to go back ever since), I was accosted everytime I told someone I was from Nashville. "Oh, Nashville! I love country music!" I couldn't get away from some of these people. I mean, it was nice to talk to them and all, but I was trying to get AWAY from country music.

Is there really any such thing as purely American folk music? Not trying to start an argy-bargy - this is a question I have asked myself often.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,boxman@ntlworld.com
Date: 31 May 00 - 04:42 PM

In England we need to have 'English only' sessions precisely because it is not so well known. When someone in England starts a French session, everyone knows that it's going to be French tunes with HGs/Pipes etc. but start an English session and it always ends up being an Irish one or taken over by English people playing Irish music. That is why John Kirkpatrick is so important to us, as he is the only world class player that plays English music, if it wasn't for him we would hardly know that we had any folk tunes, we have tunes dating back to the 1560s, we have fiddler's tune books from the 18th.C we have The Old Swan Band who made it their business to get in touch with Trad. players in the early 70s and record them, and we have a thriving English music sub-culture that keeps away from all things Irish, lets face it, I think we've all had enough of Irish music by now. Always remember: WE always play THEIR music; They never play ours. Things are going to change.............

Nick Jones


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 May 00 - 07:22 PM

The ould inferiority complex strikes again, friend Boxman. Don't be so defensive about it, just play the bloody music, it's good music.

Of course Irish musicians play English muisc, and sing English songs. It's just that it starts sounding Irish in the process. For God's sake, the Wild Rover is a Norfolk version of a song that noone ever sang in Ireland until the Dubliners. Living traditions borrow and steal - and transform what they borrow and steal.

Music moves around. Half the best Morris tunes come from Scotland or Ireland or elsewhere to begin with. They end up sounding extremely English. As is only right and proper.

Mind if you think John Kirkpatrick is the only world class player playing English music, I don't know where you've been hiding. I'd probably sooner listen to him than any other, but he's hardly alone.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 31 May 00 - 11:57 PM

The media have got it into their tiny minds that folk music isn't cool, and so most people don't even get to hear about opportunities to hear fine folk music in their town. How can they know they would like it if they never get to hear it?

All this enthusiasm for "Celtic" "Irlandaise" "Irish" finally took off when the networks allowed the River Dance troupe on TV. The music on their show is mediocre, but it was a revelation to people raised on Beatles, rap and rock. After River Dance, the journalists felt that they had been given permission to talk about Irish music. Not that they are going to go overboard...

As a septagenarian bodhran-player told me, "they are prisoners of pop."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: catspaw49
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 12:23 AM

Kim....Your question regarding "Pure American Folk" has been mentiones several times in this thread and other places as well. Start a new thread on that question if you like.....careful how you word the title as the "Thread Police" seem to be declaring threads with titles like this one as inappropriate without reading them. Go for something like: Is There Pure American Folk? and don't use the BS tag.

BTW, I have enjoyed reading along on this one......very interesting topic and some equally interesting thoughts on it.

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 04:55 AM

Bert, Effendi, thanks, that was interesting (I mean that most sincerely!). I suppose a hobby horse is easier than a hobby camel to construct. Isn't it true that some UK Morris sides have a "Saracen" character? Seems the global village predated McLuhan by a few centuries. It does seem that while the English are open to musical influences from all over, we don't export it well. Must be something to do with the strong pound! More likely as a society with lots of inward immigration we absorb foreign cultures more readily than some politicans would have us believe. This would parallel the US. I'm in danger of being serious here I better lie down in a dark room for a while.
RtS
:o)
PS On Monday 5th June on BBC Radio2 there is a celebration of Chris Barber's 70th birthday with guests including Lonnie Donegan. If it is anything lke the Barber Band's 40th Anniversary sessions it should be a blast for those of us stuck in the '50s!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 06:56 AM

Alot of the customs here in the UK can be found in lots of other European and World customs.

This stems right back to when paganism was the thang.

Take prossesional dances, alot of the steps can be found all over the world - and there are similarities in tunes and songs too.

The thing that happened I reckon, was when Christianity came along, they took the things they liked from paganism, and brought them into Christian stories.

Like the hobby horses (which could be the pagan horse god)

Like Wrenning - a fertility thing (poor wrens)

And as paganism was essentially one of the original religions (or whatever) all over the place, then it was only natural that there are simimlarities to be found all over the road.

Oooo too deep for me I will have to go and lie down after that thinking.

Ella

Oh my point...

That yes the English are open to all influences, but everyone has influenced each other at some point in time. Going right back to sacred rites, prossesions and all the mother earth stuff. So, I am not surprised to find similarities between cultures at all. So definately not surprised to find a hobby horse in Bahrain. It's all linked somehow sometime.

oh and double yeah I hope I get to be a septagenarian bodhran player too - prisoners of pop is so spot on, not to mention funny.

Regards

wrong side of twenty five something bodhran/whistle/flute/singer etc Ella


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 07:09 AM

The concept of a pure music of any nationality is not one I can accept. The treasure of American music and what I would welcome and describe as English music is, if you like it's impurity. I may have wrongly given the impression that I was in some way interested in the nationality of music. For it is the ability of music to speak to all of us, that means so much to me.

Frank said earlier in this thread:…. "How do you define "being English", for that matter? Just because you were born in London does that make you English – even though your mother is Irish and your father is Jamaican? What is your tradition? Do you see Morris dancing as your tradition? Or rather, how can you see Morris dancing as your tradition?"

My grandfather was Maori but I am English, if I have to chose a nationality. I like the UK, European or even Human Being, far better though as you have to work at those. The other is just an accident of birth and requires no effort and reflects no credit on you, as an individual.

To go back to Frank's point. If I write sing or play, could not what I produce be described as English music? If a third generation English musician of Asian descent, produces music, could that not be described as English music. If both of us are following continuing a tradition of producing such music, could it not be described as English traditional music?

When a group like Edward II, play English traditional tunes on melodeon, with a African/Reggae rhythm section, there is a definite link to all those people watching. That is what I would call English music, along with all of the other strange and wonderful fusion's, that are going to be naturally produced now in every country, when all the different cultures meet.

Which brings us neatly back to American music, which could only reflect all of the elements that have mixed and made the nation. Look at the effect that Blues and Jazz have had and given back to all of the world's music.

It's a process, like a river, not a stagnant pond.

I think what English traditional music and dance is waiting for, is the English Riverdance………It should be called Puddledance.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Ritchie
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 07:44 AM

Ive been wanting to write something about the 'musical extravaganza this weekend through out the 'country'.

Music for local people, we don't want any roads here.

The thing that I enjoyed most was that they had five different stages set up on the Newcastle quayside and each one had different types of music being performed there and each was being enjoyed by lot's of different types of people. Not just local people.

The North East is renowned for it's open hearted friendliness infact you can go out on a friday night in any pub and someone will immediately start up a conversation with you and will buy you numerous drinks and at the end of the evening,because it's late and you will have probably missed your last bus home will insist that you go home and spend the night at their place and that will enable you to get home safely next morning .....it's never happened to me mind although it has happened to the wife lot's of times.

local music for local people we don't want any roads here!

regards Ritchie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,A wandering minstrel
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 07:50 AM

I admit to the finger in the ear. (it's cheaper than an feedback loudspeaker as someone above remarks).

Singing through the nose however... I got choral training at school and sing from somewhere much lower! Yes I do posess and play a Bodhran. Welsh tunes mostly!

The trick of English music and indeed any song is the moment when someone under the age of say, 20 says "thats a good song, can i have the words." Then the tradition will go on


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: JohnL
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 08:13 AM

A big problem with Folk in the England is visibility or rather lack of it on TV and radio. Is there really no time for the likes of Martin Carthy and Family, Kate Rusby, Dick Gaughan, Robin Williamson & Clive Palmer, John Martyn, Michael Chapman etc. etc on radio or TV? Great assets to this country but I can count the number of times I have seen them on TV on the fingers of one hand! There's only Radio 2 for a couple of hours a week, which I always seem to miss. I get my information by reading the music press and taking a chance on buying a CD by a new artist, which is hardly ideal – what about all the great ones I probably don't hear! Ireland, Scotland and Wales seem to have stronger cultural identitiesbut at what price? I think the English are vastly more receptive and tolerant as a nation to outside ideas and cultures and all the healthier for it! By the way, I am of Scots/Irish/English origins so I have a foot in each country (which is quite a good trick if you can do it).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: catspaw49
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 08:28 AM

Semantically the concept of "Pure" for almost any nationality is almost impossible and the more diverse the population, the less the possibility that anything can be "pure." I would however think that one could say that regardless of roots, certain genres eventually are so associated with one country or region as to be a class of their own and thus associated with a particular country or region....and in that sense they are pure. I think a better term is needed, what I have no idea though.

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Rana
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 08:53 AM

To re-iterate The Shambles reply to Frank re. the following point:

"How do you define "being English", for that matter? Just because you were born in London does that make you English – even though your mother is Irish and your father is Jamaican? What is your tradition? Do you see Morris dancing as your tradition? Or rather, how can you see Morris dancing as your tradition?"

I was born and brought up in England of (East) Indian background. I've been Morris dancing for almost 15 years, so I would regard it as my tradition. It all comes down to taste and where your interests lie. My taste in "English" (as well as other British folk) started before this with the likes of early Fairport and the likes and then progressed as I explored the more traditional sources.

Reversing the question might be useful - why the huge interest in the likes of Riverdance etc by a much broader general public. Possibly slick media interest on top of what is a very talented show. I doubt, however, whether 150 Morris dancers in "Morris Dance" at the Met and on TV, to be honest would have generated as much interest.

I may have missed it but no one seems to have brought the dances - English Country, Playford, which does go on.

Rana


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Snuffy
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 09:35 AM

Many English folksongs were traditionally sung unaccompanied, and tunes were played without singing. Perhaps this is part of the reason why they are not appreciated so much today.

With the pervasiveness of accompaniments, many people find it hard nowadays to listen to solo singing.

And if a traditional English song is sung with an accompaniment, do people somehow realise that it doesn't sound "right" and ignore it?

Wassail! V


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GeorgeH
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 10:02 AM

Ella, please justify your claim:

"And to say that English people don't know alot about their heritage is a huge sweeping generalisation, and simply is not true."

I'd say it has FAR more truth than your sweeping generalisation linking Folk to Paganism.

Of course, it does depend whether you are talking about the heritage of the ordinary people of these nations, or of their rulers . . .

Regards

George


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,AKCW
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 10:44 AM

This is going off the path a wee bit, but BBC Music Live! I thought it was supposed to encompas the entire "Nation" (Not that the UK is going to be one for much longer!) Only England, Wales and Northern Ireland had a Bank Holiday to enjoy it. Scotland on the other hand didn't! You would have thought they would have chosen the Holiday weekend so every one in the "nation" could take part, but No! This is just one example of the inherant arragance of the Anglo-Normans. Any way in hindsight the Music Live thing was a waste of the TV license. So we'r better of in one way! Oh, and another thing, at the moment the BBC are advertising Euro 2000, how we ask? By showing us how an English commentator enjoyed the English wining against the Scots in Euro 96. A week later There we are again being shown the same match as the underdogs but this time by the view point of a Scotsman. They made the point the first time!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 11:02 AM

George

I was talking about heritage.

And I am sorry but I don't think that linking folk to paganism is a sweeping generalisation. To say it is not and does not have any link to each other, would be sweeping a whole huge chunk of history and tradition under the carpet.

I never said, that paganism is entirely responsible for folk. It is I know far more intricate than just that. But that alot of traditions which are linked to folk music often stem from pagan ideas. Please don't or read any extra into this. There simply is not enough space to go into the finer details. Or I would be here all day trying. What I mean is that there was a starting point for somethings, and the tales or songs which stem from tales, telling about folk lore etc, may have been influenced by pagan tales. And that is not a bad thing?

I disagree that most English don't know alot about their heritage - most people know some and will usually find out more as they go on in life.

Heritage means folk traditions and festivals, not only folk but those festivals and celebrations where people use the heritage that they know of to celebrate those traditions. Like Calenig, May Day, all have songs and tunes which has stories in them that relate to pagan tales etc.

Okay, to justify all this.

I have been to many schools in my younger years. And pretty much everyone of them discussed the English and indeed heritage of the UK. We were told the stories, and tales, and were told about our heritage not only in history, but also the legends.

I know alot of people, who have a very clear understanding of their heritage, and my comment was that it was unfair to label every English person the same, saying that English don't have any understanding.

Okay so some English may not know much at a particular point in time, but that doesn't mean they won't go out and find out more...

Regards

Ella


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 11:08 AM

Apart from that I learnt about Scottish heritage because my Dad is Scottish, and my Mum is Welsh and one thing that could be deemed as missing from the schools I went to. I suppose would be the learning of traditions from all over the UK and Ireland.

If it had not of been for my parents fueling my interest with their tales, then I may not have learnt much about other heritages.

So in one way, you could say that some of the schools I went to may have been biased towards English traditions.

Not that, that has stopped me finding out more.

Thanks to M + D


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 08:42 PM

"I am of Scots/Irish/English origins so I have a foot in each country" - with three legs you really must be from the Isle of Man, JohnL.

"Many English folksongs were traditionally sung unaccompanied, and tunes were played without singing. Perhaps this is part of the reason why they are not appreciated so much today" - that's just as true of the Irish tradition.

I think a lot of it is indeed down to the tyranny (and incompetance) of the clique who run broadcasting. As witness the removal of Andy Kershaw from Radio One. (Not that I can get Radio One on my wireless anyway, but then I gather it's not supposed to be listened to by people of my years...) Mind you, that could help in the long run - "this is the music they are trying to stop you hearing..."

I had high hopes when they tried to abolish May Day, and Morris Dancers came and lobbied Parliament. I could see it all looming up ahead of us - sticks being impounded as offensive weapons, hobbyhorses sent to the knackers, accusations of Satanic ritual dancing. Street credibility for the Engish traditions at last. But then the bastards backed down and gave up the silly idea.

One thing I have noticed is that when you get anybody being nasty to or about Morris dancers, it is never the ordinary punters - they always seem to approve of the idea. The flack comes from a certain type of folkie, who seem to feel that it lacks dignity, and that this is a black mark against it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 09:16 PM

All of this talk of traditional English, and not one mention of Richard Thompson. My ancestors came to England in 1066, and left in the late 1600's. Just passing through like that, I suppose that I have no right to speak to what is traditionally English, but I do participate in the Morris as a dancer and musician (electric guitar).

I'm reminded of a story of a fellow researching the ancient dance known as the "Abbots Bromley". He was troubled that the "original" tune for the dance existed in both major and minor forms. Having exhausted his resources, he dedicated his efforts to a journey to England to locate the source of the tune. He located the village where the dance had been done for the last eight centuries (at least). He stumbled in at the one time of the year when the dance was being performed. Much to his chagrin, he found that the tune that the current troupe of dancers used was one "Yellow Submarine" by the Beatles. So much for tradition.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Frank McGrath
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 09:44 PM

"Or rather, how can you see Morris dancing as your tradition?"
"Or rather, why do you choose Morris dancing as your tradition?" Maybe this is a better question.

I have little choice in determining my nationlity. I can trace my roots back to the 17th c. in a very small townsland where I was reared. It is the family home and generations of McGraths have lived and still live there. And, if we researched it properely, we could probably trace back to the 11th c. So, I am proud to be lumbered with few options.

I am a McGrath, from, Youghal (The Ewe Wood), Nenagh (The Market), Tipperary. Every molecule in my body is of that place.

But when you have choices, what do you choose?

If I was born in London, of mixed parentage what infulences my tastes and preferences? Do I prefer my Jamacian heritage or my Irish heritage or the heritage of my place of birth?
I love Bob Marley, I am Riverdanced to death, but ... my English traditional folk music is remote and exclusive (apart from the Beatles and the Spice Girls of course).

All "traditions" have outside influences. But the primary point I tried to express in my first posting to this thread is that English traditionl folk music has been overpowerd by too many influences and pressures. It does not "live" as other adjacent traditions do, ie. Scottish and Irish. It is a minority iterest in a large country. A small fish in a large pond.

In an earlier posting, GUEST,Auxiris said "I have run across several examples of this type of " folkie " (who take their music seriously) if I may use the term, in England, but also in America, Canada, France and even Ireland (though they seem to be rare in the Emerald Isle)." How wrong can you be? In Ireland, we take our music so seriously that you cannot throw a stone but you'll hit an expert. But most people don't know they are experts because it is just part of their lives, nothing special really. Everybody here has been influenced by the Irish folk tradition and they recognize tunes and songs they have heard a thousand and one times.

And this is where the real distinction is drawn.

In Ireland we love:
Jazz
Rock
Classical
Hip Hop
Rap
Ska
Punk
Flamenco
Latin
Country & Western
Gregorian Chant (even made the to 10 albums a couple off years ago)
Reggae
Etc., etc.
But we KNOW our own music by simple osmosis because it is a LIVING tradition and we have no choice in the process. It's just there. Ask any Irish person to listen to a thousand tunes and songs and they will recognise them all … even though they may not be able to play a note or sing any more than a line or two.

The same cannot be said of English folk music. Because it is not a LIVING tradition for the majority of English people.

And there is no use in flippantly saying that "folk music cannot stand still; we must move forward; we must be open to influences; and, what about the Beatles? Don't tell me that Shakespeare is old hat and should be consigned to the archives. Shakespeare survived to today, not just because he was good, but also because he was accessible to the educated ruling classes so his work LIVED from generation to generation. What of the excellent songs which were lost as LIVING oral traditions in the mass exodus from the rural areas? Should they not be given a Shakespearean opportunity?

What is it with the English? Their folk traditions need to be nurtured and promoted and a time will come when those traditions will live again. Ireland went through a phase when our music was associated with poverty and perceived as retrograde. But as our confidence grew in our own identity as a young nation the music tradition began to thrive again as a living entity and as a part of who we are. I look forward to the day when Scottish, Welsh, Irish and English folk music will be played at sessions with equal emphasis given to all by nature of CHOICE

Frank.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Mbo
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 09:48 PM

Don't forget Breton and Galician! An douar nevez!

--Mbo


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 09:58 PM

We haven't forgotten the Breton and Galician traditions, but they really have nothing to do with this discussion.  Question of geography, you know.

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Brendy
Date: 02 Jun 00 - 12:53 AM

But Heaven preserve us from 'Morris People', or 'Morris Persons', all the same.

B.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Jun 00 - 06:39 AM

"We haven't forgotten the Breton and Galician traditions, but they really have nothing to do with this discussion. Question of geography, you know."

As I see this discussion it starts from wondering why the Enmglish don't respect their own traditions even when they are drawn to folk music - but that's just a particular case of a general question, because it's not just the English. The Dutch are the same, just for a start, and all kinds of other places. So what is is that makes the difference.

So talking about Bretons and Galicians is quite relevant. For one thing, they are examples of regions/countries which are on the edge of bigger countries, and the music is one way of expressing a sense of identity.

That would suggest that as England starts to realise that it's a region on the edge of a bigger unit, the same kind of process starts to occur. With the music involved not so much the older Morris traditions etc, but the multi-cultural amalgum that is developing, which is very different from that in other European countries.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere)
Date: 02 Jun 00 - 06:58 AM

I was going to say "Who are you calling French?" when I remembered the Huguenot component. Us peasants, though, can still distinguish the Norman types - taller, hawkier, clearly Norse in origin. They have managed to last down the millenium without being subsumed into the melting pot. I know this is a bit late to contribute, but I've been away.

I went on a course about teaching country dance once. Note the last word. I was viewed with shock because a) I taught 8/9 year olds - too young to appreciate a social form of dance apparently, b) I allowed boys to dance together - no reason given and no answer when I quoted Morris - they were all no women in Morris types, and c) I didn't insist on correct handholding and footwork. I hope I've had a cohort of children including boys who regard it as fun, and while not preferable to football, at least an acceptable alternative.

Another occasion I remember which led to some people being put off the dance aspect of our folk culture occurred in an oast house on the upper floor. We started off with a long chain dance, exploring a number of figures of the threading a needle and spiral type. Unfortunately, topology doesn't seem to be part of the English folk tradition, and someone didn't realise that is you wind a lot of people into a spiral, and then attempt to unwind it by going through arches, when you are doing it around the machine which presses the hops into the pocket through a hole in the floor, there are going to be problems. It all ended in tears, and a number of children who felt they were being pulled apart in the attempt to complete the dance.

And the BBC do didn't just omit folk music - there didn't seem to be many performances of the sort which would have attracted my Dad - Cole Porter etc, nothing much between high brow opera and pop, though I did hear a brief snatch of shanties from Bristol.

Penny


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Jun 00 - 10:28 AM

I'll really have to stop agreeing with these McGraths.

When Frank says, about Ireland: "Everybody here has been influenced by the Irish folk tradition and they recognize tunes and songs they have heard a thousand and one times"

.

That is the difference. The English do not. They never will, if the tunes are played in English only sessions. People don't like a tune because of the nationality of that tune and why should they? I do not see much of a future for a music that is largely defined by what it excludes. Museum piece music in a glass case? Is that really the attraction of it to some? Or even worse, is it more part of the 'Jingoism' that the other McGrath refers to earlier in the thread?

Look at the 'new' instruments that are now considered as part of Irish traditional music. The bouzouki and the low D whistle for example. Is the bodhran (played well) really welcome at these English only sessions? I believe that the concept of these exclusive sessions will only serve to further remove fine music from English people and everyone else.

I don't think that I have ever been to an Irish session that played exclusively Irish music and most of the people listening and enjoying it wouldn't know (or care) what nationality the tune was, even if that could be established? The tunes sounding different depending on where the session was.……. Let us think carefully before we introduce these artificial divisions into music and allow the music to develop naturally and unite us, not divide us.

The English may not now have a living tradition like the Irish and if that fact is recognised it is not entirely a bad thing, for they then have a number of choices. If they choose Belly Dancing, then that is then their tradition. It would be nice to see elements of this English tradition retained, in whatever is chosen but you can't force it on people, if it won't now fit. I would have to make as much of a conscious decision to take up Morris, as I would to take up Belly Dancing. Though I am beginning to develop the necessary equipment for the later (as I notice have a lot of Morris dancers too).

I think I notice this important distinction possibly more than some other English people because I have lived among such a living tradition as Frank describes. I lived in The Shetland Islands for many years. Most of the younger people there, at that time chose American Country Music and would talk less than enthusiastic about the Shetland fiddle tunes and dances. When it came to dances in the local halls however, all ages were there, enjoying what obviously and quite naturally belonged to them. Judging by the young talent that I see now coming from Shetland, this tradition is still very much alive.

I am coming to believe that English Traditional music re-started with the introduction into the void, of the guitar and the re-introduction of (some of our) songs and tunes from America, with 'skiffle' in the 1950's. Then Blues, R&B and Rock & Roll. With, Woody Guthrie and Buddy Holly demonstrating and encouraging the writing of original material. This in turn resulted in The Beatles and English style Blues guitar, taking the music back and in turn stimulating a whole generation of American youth.

"Honey, That's A What I Like". The Big Bopper (Late,Traditional Musician)?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Bert
Date: 02 Jun 00 - 11:29 AM

Hey Rog, let us know if they put out a CD of that Chris Barber show will ya?

Re: the finger in the ear discussion. Again getting back to Bahrain, a Muezzin there will cup his hand behind his ear when singing the call to prayer. Try it when practicing it works much better than the finger in the ear.

Bert.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 02 Jun 00 - 01:31 PM

Well, Brittany and Galicia as analogies, maybe, (though I'm not at all sure that's why they were mentioned) but not particulary apposite ones.  The Shetland comparison is probably more helpful, but the situation in a relatively small and geographically separate region with very distinct traditions of its own may be too individual to provide a widely-applicable paradigm.

As other people have pointed out, the "ordinary" English (not Anglo-Normans, please: a misleading and, in this context, virtually meaningless term) -by which I mean the majority who have, historically, had no influence in the political or cultural governance of the country- have long been taught to aspire to the cultural values of the ruling classes.  "Bettering" oneself meant (and still often does, sadly) abandoning one's traditional culture, dialect, and often accent, in favour of a more "acceptable" form.  In the West of Scotland, this often also involved parents discouraging their children from learning Gaelic -sometimes to the extent of refusing to speak it in front of them- in the belief that it might hold them back in life.  That situation seems, fortunately, to have changed; whether in time or not remains to be seen.

In England, however, the attitude remains widespread.  It is only recently that Social, as opposed to Political History has been seriously taught in schools here, and the Tory governments of recent years tried to end even that.  Add to that the all-pervasive influence of the mass-media, and their considerable part in replacing the bourgeois art-music model with the American commercial music one, and it is small wonder that the English are confused about their cultural identity; as, of course, are the peoples of most industrialised nations to some degree.

It seems unlikely that "folk music" as defined by the leaders of the Revival of the 50s and 60s, still less as defined by the Collectors of earlier years, will ever again assume a large rôle in the cultural life of the country as a whole.  There is no reason, however, why it should not develop a significant one.  The Regional (and, finally, National) Arts Councils have at last accepted that the folk arts, previously disqualified because of their perceived "amateur" status, are entitled to support on the same basis as other art-forms.  The situation is still not ideal; grants are awarded by "Arts Professionals", so tend to go to other "Arts Professionals" (middlemen like promoters) rather than to those who actually do it.  It's a start, anyhow, and may go some way towards enabling the presentation of traditional music in a professional performance context, which it clearly needs if it is to be taken seriously, alongside more widely promoted musics, by the general public.  Young performers who are in a position to give it a cool, sexy image may also prove invaluable, though that sort of effect seems to be cyclic and, on its own, generally of short duration.  There is also what I would characterise as "proselytisation by stealth", done piecemeal, at grass-roots level, by people like us: in my experience, most people who think that they don't like folk music actually have very little idea of what it is, and will, more often than not, enjoy it if you don't identify it as such beforehand.  Slowly, some prejudices can be resolved in this way.

Given that, for historical reasons, a large number of English people are embarassed by manifestations of their own traditional culture (not helped by the ignorant and patronising attitudes of a good few Media professionals), and since "Celtic" music -however one defines it- is quite fashionable at present, this can lead to the assumption on the part of many people that music they have enjoyed must by definition be not English; play English tunes in an "Irish" session (in England, that is) and, so long as you play them a bit too fast, most -many musicians included- will simply assume that they are Irish.  That, I suspect, would be the rationale behind the "English" session; it gives some room for material which is often marginalised in other contexts, identifies it for what it is, and prevents it from being swamped by the sometimes over-familiar "Session Standards": this may seem separatist, but I think that it serves a useful function, in the short term, as a form of positive discrimination.  It's worth pointing out, though, that the idea that there are clearly-defined boundaries between the (Anglophone) musical traditions of the nations that comprise these islands is an illusion.  Distinctions are more usefully made between regional than national styles, and as we all know, a large part of the repertoire is in any case held in common, regardless of where it originated.  In the end, the best thing we can do for the music is to keep it alive in our own lives, and do our best to bring it to others in ways which may give it meaning and value for them, too.

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jun 00 - 04:06 PM

>That, I suspect, would be the rationale behind the "English" session; it gives some room for material which is often marginalised in other contexts, identifies it for what it is, and prevents it from being swamped by the sometimes over-familiar "Session Standards": this may seem separatist, but I think that it serves a useful function, in the short term, as a form of positive discrimination.>

An excellent point, which decribes our situation quite well, if our music was as well known as the 'other' stuff, there would be no need to be quite so extreme and apparently elitist about it; after all, it is possible to love your country's national music without being unpleasantly nationalistic. Should we ever reach the point where our music is a real part of our lives as it is mine, there will then be no need to fly the flag quite so much.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Jun 00 - 04:49 PM

A few miles from where I live once a month there is an "English Session" - in a pub called "The Welsh Harp", which I think is a nice touch. (Near the Abbey Church in Waltham Abbey, on the first Wednesday of the month.) It's thebonly "English Session" in the district within the known universe (it's a universe which stretches about 15 miles around Harlow.).

One of the main regulars plays a sort of giant Lithuanian Zither. There's normally a bodhran there and a guitar or so, as well as fiddles, whistles and squeezeboxes. Most of the people you see are people you'd be likely to run into at any other sessions.

What qualifies it to be called English is that the tunes tend to be from that sort of tradition. Unless people feel like playing one from Scotland or Ireland or Lithuania.

So I don't think anyone need worry about it being exclusive or purist. Which is the most English thing about it, maybe. The good-natured sort of English that is, not New English. Not Brit, thank God. (Almost Irish in fact - but a bit more solemn in its frivolity.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: lamarca
Date: 02 Jun 00 - 05:28 PM

I'm an American, and don't know the folk scene in England at all, but there are a few reasons for loss of traditional music that apply over here as well as there.

Perhaps part of the problem is that the communities in which the traditional English songs and tunes evolved in the first place are no longer existant. England is such a small country that displacement of people and migration from the countryside into urban areas quickly changes the sense of LOCAL community that people feel, and changes the traditions that fluorish naturally within a local community. Even in Ireland this kind of regional mixing results in the loss of particularly regional fiddle styles or tunes.

In immigrant groups that stay together in particular parts of town, kids grow up surrounded by the music which is a part of the life of that immigrant group, and take its influences with them if they leave the group.

Where would English kids absorb the traditional tunes and songs today? If a tune was used for a local rural barn dance, and barn dances are no longer a part of the life of the community, the traditional links are broken.

It becomes similar to the differences between people who practice a religion they were raised in versus people who have chosen a religion as adults. Adult converts to a religion or musical form are almost always more intense and studied about that form, because the links to childhood and daily life aren't there. And, as with religious groups, aficionados of a particular traditional music style sometimes develop an "us vs. them" mentality.

This isn't exclusive to the English. There are very few genuine "source" singers and players of many various traditional music styles here in the USA - by sources, I mean people who are a part of and learned the music from within the communities it evolved in. However, there are still musicians, young and older, who have discovered this music through recordings, festivals or having the opportunity to hear a source, who have fallen in love with the music and make it their mission to learn it and more about it, even though they aren't rural farm kids or sharecroppers or miners or ...

There will probably never be a LOT of people who love traditional music forms, either here or in England - but the communities that gave birth to those forms were mostly small groups of people bound together by similar occupations or geography in the first place. The number of "converts" that a musical form gathers will insure its survival past the survival of the community from which it evolved.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Jun 00 - 07:10 PM

That analogy with religion is a good one lamarca -"cradle catholics" and "converts" for example tend to see things differently. The latter tend to get worried about changes, the former might get pissed off at them, but don't see them as a big deal.

And as with religion, you get a next generation from the converts, and that either moves off and tries something else, or it settles in as natives born. That's what happens with the children of "first generation folkies" - if the folk inheritance sticks with them, they can turn it into a real revived gradition.

And think of all those lapsed folkies out there...They'll be back. Once a folkie, always a folkie. Deathbed repentances - "I'm going Mary - quick, send for a fiddler."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: roopoo
Date: 03 Jun 00 - 03:56 AM

lamarca - what you say may have a grain of truth.

I've lived in a village at the bottom end of the Vale of York for the last 12 years or so. (Sounds picturesque, but it's a river valley and as "flat as a f*rt" for miles). It has a long tradition of arable farming and is home to what were once small farming communities. In the "good old days" here, as in I suspect every other community wherever you choose, people made their own entertainment. Quite probably they gathered together to make music and to mark the seasons. Up until the end of the 1920s, Plough Stots used to do a circuit of the local villages from nearby Snaith at New Year, and it was something that was anticipated eagerly. In my village until perhaps 30 or so years ago there was an annual barn dance at the main farm in the village to celebrate the harvest. The guy who told me of this also said that they used to gather at his or one or two other houses for "musical evenings" round the piano and I think I remember him saying that guests used to bring their instruments along too. Now the demise of all this started long before as transport became easier, and people moved out of the villages for better jobs in the industrial centres just to the west, at Pontefract, and beyond, where they married and settled. (The old church registers show the main occupation in the last century as being "labourer" = farm worker and general workhorse). Families became fragmented and the young ones left as soon as they were old enough. (They still do). Nowadays the village is growing again, but it is the influx of people from the towns coming back looking for somewhere rural to live when they leave their office in Leeds or wherever. Unfortunately they still look to the towns (or a pool table) for their entertainment and have no desire to have anything to do with traditional music - until they experience it!

Back to the original point of the thread: I am half Irish, but my Irish born dad was raised in Scotland, and I think he considered himself more Scots. I eased into folk music via the mainstream commercial Scots stuff around in the late 60s and then the love of English music developed as I got to hear more. I got involved in Morris when my husband started dancing just before we emigrated, and my first side was in South Africa for the 2 years we were there! I remember being fanatically English in those days. I've been involved with Morris ever since and am on my third side. These days it's mainly wielding a badly played melodeon, I'm afraid to say. The thing that distresses me most about the English is not what is played in sessions so much: at the Jug we all have different tastes and the music is fairly mixed. It tends to vary according to who is there. But it's when you have a session in a pub with a fair number of "Joe Public" in too, and they only want you to play Irish music. Not Scots, Welsh or English, but Irish. They don't have any preference (apart from the "Wild Rover") as long as it's Irish. Bill Sables will tell you that they've only got to take one look at his banjo and register that there's a guitar player around too, and they only want one thing...and that's American! With regard to the Morris: I have people stop me and ask when and where the dancing will be as I walk around in kit, but when you talk to them about it, they say, "Oh I love to watch it, but I couldn't do it!"

Within the folk fraternity I think we are all aware of the various traditions, and as can be seen by the postings here, we are all aware that there is an uphill struggle in England. The general public is not exposed to English music en masse, (most only touch on it in music lessons at school, and probably think it is all "Lass of Richmond Hill") and really the majority of them seem to think that Irish music stops at Foster and Allen or Riverdance, when that could be the start of their journey. Mine started through Scottish music as I have already said (actually via Scottish dancing classes, a mad urge I went with once) - and continued. I like most traditions, but English has become my favourite.

In the hope that all the above garbled ramblings actually make sense, I will just add one more comment - Quite often in the Jug we have Dutch and French people who work locally on a couple of industrial developments. They love to sit in and listen. We often invite them to contribute one of their songs, but the usual reply is that they don't know any. The one time we got one of the young French girls to sing, she gave us Simon and Garfunkel! An Italian guy who used to regularly come in did sing occasionally, but the one thing he would insist on every time was "Bring Us A Barrel", the Cockersdale song. One night we ended up doing it about 5 times!

mouldy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jun 00 - 04:03 AM

"They don't have any preference (apart from the "Wild Rover") as long as it's Irish." - and of course the Wild Rover onlt became Irish pretty recently.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Brendy
Date: 03 Jun 00 - 04:21 AM

Well put, there, mouldy.
Tell me this, though, please. What are the 'Plough Stots'?

B.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Jun 00 - 06:07 AM

Malcolm

Are not those "Session Standards" the developing living musical tradition that The English are looking for?

Is it only the English that would refer to these as being "over familiar". Would the same criticism be levelled at these "Session Standards" if they were the well-known English tunes, that also get played to death?

If the English get fed up with playing them how do the Irish feel? It is surely just the down side to having such a living musical tradition. Isn't it the music becoming generally popular, that we say we want, only to be 'Snooty' with it when it becomes so?

Why cannot the English just accept these popular tunes, whatever their origin, as the basis for their living tradition and build on to it? Does not the fact that, an Irish tune, being played by English people in England then make it a little more English than Irish?

Is there something in us that must be constantly dissatisfied with what we have? We appear to have this in-built idea that everything needs to be progressive and consciously so. We even had a label called 'Progressive Rock', whatever that was? How do we square this idea with a living tradition? Which is valuing, being comfortable with, belonging and building on to, what is familiar.

The paradox of this is that we now have this concept of exclusive English only sessions?

The music will always change and develop naturally, if we allow it to. If we don't it will die.

What is it with the English?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jun 00 - 04:11 PM

I've just come back from Strawberry Fair in Cambridge (England). (The clicky thing there will tell yoiu more about it, with pictures and all - but you've missed it for this year anyway.)

Anyway the thing is, one of the things happening around was a big samba band. Funny costumes, funny hats, lots of painted faces, drums being banged. All doing the Brazilian bit. Great stuff. And looking at them it came over me how totally Engish the whole thing was. The self-mocking quality, combined with a real committment to gettingbit right. And the look of the whole thing, the way they moved.

I am pretty sure there was no intention to draw on the traditions of Morris Dancing and Molly Dancing - but it was as if they'd reinvented it somehow, out of the atmosphere around them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Jun 00 - 06:03 PM

I am not sure I really agree with the underlying tenet of this thread.

As far as I know I am many generations English. Every so often a song touches something (always a song, never a tune) and suddenly I can (Metaphorically) see back centuries. The issues of those times set out in the song move me as burningly as any heated current debate. Only English songs do this to me. One or two Irish songs do something different whch inspires a feeling of parallelism. ANd generally I feel ENglish song more fully than other song.

Also there are traditional songs with as much of a message today as they ever had - perhaps "rigs of the times", or "Shaking of the sheets".

No, I think that the displacement of ENglish song and music from centre stage is probably sex. Dance has become so intrinsic a part of courtship ritual that traditional song (with a time signature of "one") is marginalised, and ENglish traditional dance is Morris (single sex, if you want to be traditional) or Playford (bowdlerised).

Therefore the young, for whom the biological imperative is overpowering, go elsewhere.

Apart from a few. Like Liza Carthy who as well as all the foreign stuff she plays and sings still does ENglish music with balls (or whatever the gender equivalent is). But htese are exceptions from the general rule.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,Hermione Heyhoe-Smythe
Date: 03 Jun 00 - 06:16 PM

Why can't the English teach their children how to speak?
:( H H-S


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Jun 00 - 06:38 PM

1.Are you by any chance a distant relative of thet nice Rachel Heyhoe-Flint, the cricketer? 2.Does any other race? Try comparing Parisian French in the nice salons with les Halles, and then Mulhouse, or Sylvester Stallone with Lloyd Grossman.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,Hermione Heyhoe-Smythe
Date: 03 Jun 00 - 07:10 PM

Oh! how I long for those azure skies, those green meadows.
Those towered hills.
Oh England, my England, where are you now?
The chimes of the village bell, the cows, as they wend home in the evening?
Gone, gone. All of this
lies broken on the floor of depravity.
Thy noble halls where heroes fought and won.
In ethereal splendour they marched.
With serfs to war and die.
Oh England, Oh England, I cry.

And hurrying home in carriages splendoured.
Grouse and quail.
Steaming on the platter.
Lemon tea and croquet'd lawn.
As shadow lengthens o'er the sundial.
And Geoffery.
The Dashing White Sergeant and Jolly Dog
Amber sunsets deepen to red
Then darkness.

Oh England
Is this my Jerusalem?
This, my green and pleasant land?

:( H H-S


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jun 00 - 07:21 PM

"Sylvester Stallone with Lloyd Grossman." Sylvester must be is the one who comes off better in the comparison.

As for Hermione - ee lass, that's a reet funny sort of English tha towks in.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,Hermione Heyhoe-Smythe
Date: 03 Jun 00 - 08:20 PM

You asked about the Flints'?
'Fraid not Dickie
My husband, Reginald, is third cousin, twice removed, to the Tattons of Wythenshawe, that charming family who had a plantation next to ours, not far from Amritsar. Rachael was a chum of Reggie's half-sister, Penelope.
But we don't talk about that much.
:) H H-S


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: roopoo
Date: 04 Jun 00 - 04:31 AM

Brendy:

Plough Stots, or Plough Bullocks, Ploughboys, Plough Monday Mummers/Dancers....

the tradition goes back to the old 12 day holiday of Christmas when work did not recommence until after Epiphany. It possibly has its roots in the older Winter traditions. The Monday after Epiphany (or of it?) is "Plough Monday". The actual rituals performed varied from area to area. In some there were dancers accompanying a decorated plough, in others there were mumming plays performed. In others, it is well documented that a decorated plough would be dragged through the area, accompanied by plough-lads who would beg money, in return for which, they guaranteed not to plough up your garden! In my area, pre-1914, there is some faint evidence of a play existing, and most definitely dancers.

If you want to investigate it, I recommend a publication by Paul Davenport, called "The Forgotten Morris", which is pubished by the South Riding Folk Network, I think, and goes into it a lot more fully than I can here.

mouldy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Jun 00 - 06:16 AM

Hermione - you seem to have me mixed up with my father, Dick Bridge. He's the famous one who beat Victor Barna whan Victor was world champion. I'm Richard. Did you know Sarah Mills, who went to girls' coll. or Griselda ("Della") George or Jenny Pierce who went to the other place on the South coast?

If you were in India, did you know the Slaughters? He (Todd") was military (REME, alas) but she was a Bernay. Others you might have known were the D'Morais. He was Portuguese but married while on a previous posting elsewhere (Malaya, with Templar, I think) and they settled in India, up-country, later.

Smashing poem. Does it have a tune?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jun 00 - 07:06 AM

For Plough Monday jollifications see this link about the Whittlesea Straw Bear parade


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Jun 00 - 09:12 AM

The Forgotten Morris (revised edition) may be ordered for a mere £4.00 plus shipping, from  The South Riding Folk Network.

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,sajumikey
Date: 04 Jun 00 - 10:47 AM

If I may be permitted to voice my own opinion. I was born in Ireland , but lived in England until I was twenty three, I am now ( as of yesterday ) forty six and have been back in Ireland for twenty three years and I believe that the major reason that the English Folk music is not so popular is because unless you go to a folk club or such you will never hear it Here in Ireland it is played on local radio stations if you go out for a night out there is usually a sing song and of course with a sing song the folk music comes into its own, but I do believe that even here in Ireland the disco, and nightclub etc. are taking over and we do need to ensure that the music will survive LONG LIVE FOLK


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,jon
Date: 04 Jun 00 - 11:10 AM

Post-imperial guilt syndrome. It just isn't very English to like English culture, just as it isn't very English to win international cricket matches. If somebody invaded us the general population would all be singing Punch Ladel like good'ns.

In fact this has already happens in session circles where people who play English tunes feel invaded by Irish music and get rather snooty about it. Have to say in most cases it's people who aren't good enough to play Irish tunes (for all that they're wonderful English tunes are essentially easier.)

I can also discern a little of the opposite amongst the Irish who, after Riverdance, have effectively conquered the world, and are now increasingly very open to other traditional musics, including English.

Jon


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Jun 00 - 12:08 PM

Yesterday was a very enjoyable day, spent among (mainly, about 98% of) English people, dancing to and playing American Old Time Music. It was done with much skill and enthusiasm. If an alien had been dropped in to the middle of it, they would have probably thought it to be locals celebrating their tradition.

Were we not?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jun 00 - 12:55 PM

"In fact this has already happens in session circles where people who play English tunes feel invaded by Irish music and get rather snooty about it." I haven't found that - I suppose we tend to generalise from our own experience.

I think that there are probably English features about the way English musicians play other types of music (such as American or Irish) which are discernable to musicians from the other traditions.

The other thing is, regional differences are still important within England - eg up in the North-East it's really another country.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Brendy
Date: 04 Jun 00 - 01:42 PM

Well that was what point I read into mouldy's post. The 'invasion' of the irish music. But I think mouldy actually did mention 'The Wild Rover'

It's just a little pet hate of mine, the commercial, and dare I say, user-friendly end of the spectrum.
The command "Play Irish Music!" is quite often uttered with the expectation that a song of the above ilk will follow. Such is the general perception of Irish music.
I don't think the average English man/woman would feel comfortable with the 'commercialised' concept of an English folk tradition; the only coverage it gets by the media is of quaintly dressed people waving sticks and white handkerchiefs.

Personally, I grew up, in the '60's and '70's, trying to emulate people like John Renbourn, Richard Thompson, Martin Carthy, just as much as I did Donal Lunny, Paul Brady and Barry Moore.
I wished that Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention, Pentangle; all those groups, along with Bill Leader's efforts to showcase the industrial folk tradition, had have caught on in England.
It did elsewhere.
They did for English Folk music roughly the same job as Emmet Spiceland, Planxty, The Clancy Brothers, and The Dubliners did for Irish music.
It is unfortunate, in my opinion, that the latter was the more susceptible to commercial exploitation. It seems that Irish Folk music has unwittingly set the standard by which other Folk Musics are measured by; and that's not fair either.

It is a problem I think, as far as the English music is concerned, that a very 'modern' taste entered the scene, just as the Folk revival was going through it's heyday. And England had more home-grown 'stars' in those days than Ireland had. At least on the world stage, anyway. In Ireland, the whole essence of pariochialism kept the music in the area. And for good or bad, the music was given more lee-way to develop.
Irish emigration, quite early on in America's modern history, fanned this pariochialism outwards, and the music and dancing, which had been part of their lives in Ireland, became part of it there too.

Our music has always been a part of us, and each county, has it's own styles. Each house of music has it's own style. That 'nearness' of the music was a thing the populations of the rapidly growing cities and those with the need for a faster fix could easily discard, and with England now a multi-ethnic nation, it's 'roots' are getting harder to define.

But yes, I do think that not enough English people are proud of their rustic roots. I think, if you take the Civil War out of it, 17th century England would have been a very pleasant place to live. It's not an image most English people want to portray of themselves, however. Remember 'Finian's Rainbow'?

I don't know if it's too late or not for either of our traditions. England's is in danger of being swamped by a larger sea, and Ireland's of being speeded up and vomited down some toilet bowl, just as the songs would tell us to do. Although having said that, I think the 'purer' form of Ireland's music (and I'm talking here in the 'non-commercialised' sense) will survive longer than England's will, if only because it is ingrained in us and is more a part of us, than England's is.

B.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Jun 00 - 02:00 PM

Well I am pretty sure that any American Old Time musician present on Saturday would have detected a definite English accent, in the music being played. But could it also be that the English people detected a little of themselves in the origin of this very same music?

Not too sure if the latter would be true of the English samba players or belly dancers though?…. But maybe?…. I suppose it depends on how far back you choose to go?

I did not detect however much in the way of excluding any influences from the music being played. This was my first visit to such a gathering and I played along with my less than conventional Old Time instrument, the bouzouki. I wasn't told to 'bugger off' but did receive a number of pleasant comments as to what a nice instrument it was and what a nice sound it made. During one song I was even invited to 'take a break' "on that big mandolin".

In truth I did not attempt to play any Irish or English tunes……Or did I?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,Hermione Heyhoe-Smythe
Date: 04 Jun 00 - 07:41 PM

Of course you are, Richard.
No, I'm afraid Reginald and I never did move in Ping-Pong circles We moved in other circles, Richard, and those circles moved.

But would that have been one of the De Bernays? I do remember a Bertrand De Bernay. Dear darling Bertrand. He was a member of Reginald's lodge, you know, and along with myself and Sir Rupert Bletherington-Farquar, we often enjoyed his company, punting along The Backs, down towards Grantchester. Oh, England!

The others, I'm afraid, we never quite mixed with, although, looking back, we were often quite kind to the common people.

I am delighted, though, that you like my little poem. As I composed it 'off the cuff', as it were; on the spot, and all of that, eh?, I had never thought of it with a melody. Rather, was I moved to verse to express my regret at the loss of everything that we hold dear. Good Saint George, and onward into the fray, what? But I think something by Sir Edward Elgar would be appropriate, and perhaps a little Vaughn Williams; Henry the Fifth, perhaps, as the focus of the camera pulls back, so to speak.

If I get so moved, perhaps I can compose more thoughts and share them with you. This is such fun.

Carry on!
:) H H-S


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 02:01 AM

You are all too bloody bland to have worthwhile music. You can never lay claim to the great emotion required as do the Irish. Simple as that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 03:51 AM

Hermione

1. Ah. It could have been Wimbledon when Dick played there - or the Singapore bowls team.

2. No, the Bernays. One of the previous generation was a bit of a tinkerer and designed the famous "Bernay Streamline" car. Family used to own a sqare mile or two in the middle of Hong Kong until a legal blunder lost it for them.

About the only thing left after that was the silver - and Mike had that stolen because he left the back door open after eating breakfast one day. When he died, estate duty was quite moderate because the furniture was not recognised. The French branch of the family are rolling of course after Doreen married into Dutch money. Indeed she seemed to have the fortunate sorrow to marry well but briefly and then inherit the lot.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,Hermione Heyhoe-Smythe
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 05:11 AM

How frightful, Richard. A genuine tragedy!

When Reggie was in the F.O. he knew a lot of those Portugese chappies.
Didn't trust them one bit. "Look what they did to the opium trade", he said. I mean, buggered it up for everybody else, didn't they?
How was a simple English man of business supposed to carry on with those blasted pirates on the job, I ask you?

Wouldn't have got away with that in the Punjab, I can tell you.
Strung 'em up the nearest lamp pole. And good enough for them too!

Oh no, Richard. England can well hang it's head. Gone are those halcyon days when the cultured savage would merrily skip his way back to the servants' quarters after an honest day's toil in the rubber groves.
What did we do, Richard?
Where did we go wrong?

Giving the blighters the vote didn't help.
Made the blasted thing worse!
In my opinion England is facing the gravest crisis of this kind since 1318.
And, you know, many of us still remember that date; the infernal worry, torment, and general feeling of ill.

We must have purpose, Richard. We cannot afford to be purposeless.
We must exhibit purposelessnessless.
For we don't want to end up, do we?
Like the blind man in the dark room.
Looking for the black cat.

That isn't there.

<:| H. H-S


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Ritchie
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 09:27 AM

Hermione, Could n't the blind man just have called out 'here kitty, kitty...here kitty,kitty'? I always find that this always works even if thats not the cats name !

Damn clever things cats..rather like women.

regards ritchie.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 03:49 PM

Reading the thread again from the beginning, which was informative and very enjoyable, I thought I should clarify the festival thing. The unsatisfactory session that Ella referred to was the usual casual gathering that takes place in The Angel Hotel and not one that was part of the official festival. The official (led) English session, that I referred to was in The Rose and Crown and I did not attend either of these.

The gatherings in The Angel, I find to be as Ella describes and I don't think I would attend an English only session on principle. Most of my time was spent in the official Irish session, led by Steve Morris, in the Old Road Tavern. Where I also saw a French session, about thirty chaps singing wearing night-gowns and fez's, a group of ex-pats from Oz and about every other form of music you could think of.

A very English session, in fact,,,,,,, if that doesn't sound too Irish?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Brendy
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 11:48 PM

I forgot to thank you for the explanation of Plough Stots, mouldy, and to the lads for providing the links.

B.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 06 Jun 00 - 05:15 AM

Well Shambles I am glad that is not just me who finds the Angel session to be just so too.

Well learnt my lession, won't be going there again.

I got talking to Steve Morris at the old road tavern, he was v nice and friendly. I liked that pub alot, and the French session was good too. Liked the hurdy gurdy though not quite sure if I understand it though.

Had a thought too, that as the pub was fairly packed that the only person who had THE most room was the person who was playing a whadyou ma call it

big zither thingyummy that he was hitting with hammers.

Anyway, I am going to go next year I enjoyed the Old Road Tavern, and the Italian cafe round the corner does the best pizza's I have had since I was in New York.

Ella


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,KingBrilliant
Date: 06 Jun 00 - 05:38 AM

We were at Chippenham, and it was great. Really nice atmosphere, and a total lack of officiousness from the stewards. I reckon there was a fair amount of English being sung in the singarounds etc. Didn't get to the 'English' session, but I think we were sitting outside of it (in a rare bolt of sunshine). Sounded fine to me. I don't agree that the English are bland - I'm bleeding well not! Some English playing/singing may be bland, but you'll find some of that in all cultures. Throwing a mantle of blandness over us might make someone feel superior - but it don't make it true. Chippenham highlights for me were:

The Shanty singing which was placed in context by a mock voyage (ok - I make it sound naff, but it was excellent). Hanging Johnny were especially superb.

Sara Grey (ex-pat American living now in Skye)- talk & song about North American logging songs. She is amazing!!

The Mrs Ackroyd band - but then I have a huge soft spot for Les Barker.

But it was all wonderful.

PS. I didn't think the Morris geezers were overly serious.

Kris


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 06 Jun 00 - 07:54 AM

Hi! I've just stumbled on this thread, and found it fascinating. Many of the problems discussed in it have been bothering me for a long time. For further thoughts on the matter, see my article "England, whose England?" on Rod Stradling's Musical Traditions web site - http://mustrad.org.uk/

- where you should find much else that's of interest, if you haven't visited it before.

And on the subject of The Wild Rover ...

many years ago, I got so fed up with being asked to do it that I composed an antidote. It goes to the same tune ...

I've been a folk singer for many a year, And all round this country I've played for my beer, But now I'm retiring, though I've no gold in store, And I never will sing The Wild Rover no more.

And it's no, nay, never (etc)... will I SING ...(etc)

I went into a folk club I used to frequent, And said to the doorman "Me money's all spent" He said "I'll stand you a pint, as I have done before, If only you'll sing The Wild Rover once more." (Cho)

I pulled my guitar out, and tuned up each string, Then took a deep breath and got ready to sing, When a voice from the back shouted out this request - "Won't you give us the chorus we all love the best." (Cho)

I'll go back to the Labour, confess that I'm beat And look for a job sweeping muck off the street, And if I can find one, as I have done before, I'll be b*******d if I sing The Wild Rover once more! (Cho)

Cheers,

Mike


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Jun 00 - 03:30 PM

Good point Hermione. But I think, unless you claim to be a direct descendant of Edward II (unlikely) that the treaty he signed at Leake in August 1318 (arranging for royal acts to be subject to a council one member of which was to represent the interests of the house of Lancaster)rather gave power to the aristocracy as distinct from the Crown or the peasantry. The period the aristocracy regret, surely would have been the industrial revolution with the rise of power of earned, rather than inherited wealth and, ultimately, the beginnings of steps towards the creation of a house of commons.

One other thing you say is also interesting. You mention Grantchester. My Greek was always awful at school, but yes I did feel a slight touch of Rupert Brooke about your verse - and none the worse for that, although "Ghosts" is my favourite.

But to return to this thread, what does your claim that "English" is the badge of inherited priviledge have to do with the lack of assertiveness of less priviledged English of their own tradition? As the folklore historians say, "Can it really be supposed that, alone in Europe, the English peasant did not give rein to his feelings in spontaneous and non-formalised music?"

And if not why should it be supposed that the folk memory in England is any less potent than elsewhere?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Osmium
Date: 06 Jun 00 - 04:24 PM

A couple of points from a bit English/French/Irish person who struggles to play Irish music;
The way in which Irish music is played has and is changing markedly with time, listen to the old calieh bands and then the same tune by, say, Sharon Shannon. The way in which its played changes from county to county; try polkas in Kerry or a Highland in Donegal. We are led to believe that in the early part of the century Irish folk music nearly died; vis "Bringing it all back Home". The fact that some very good musicians worked very hard at keeping it alive made the difference.
If english folk is to survive then I have a feeling it needs more good musicians playing and updating it (the way its played) so that it sounds beautiful to the modern young ear. It wasn't so very long ago that a musical scale had only five notes. If we (the english) persist in playing the music in the "old" style because that's what's right - it think it will die and so to hopefully will the (nasal/tuneless) singing that oftime goes with it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Sapper_RE
Date: 06 Jun 00 - 04:51 PM

The Irish are allowed to be Irish, the Scots are allowed to be Scottish. The Welsh are allowed to be Welsh, But the Engilsh MUST be British. Can't remember where I heard that, but we are constantly being told that to be English is to be racist. A group of people in a Birmingham pub last St. George's Day started singing "There'll always be an England" and were kicked out!!! During the '70's, Camden Council, within who's environs C. Sharp House, the HQ of EFDSS lies, tried getting the Educational Charity status of the organisation rescinded. Why? Because being the ENGLISH Folk Dance and Song Society, they were racist!!! I can not think of another country where the national customs and traditions are denigrated so much by the so called intelegensia as they are in England. Sapper


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Jun 00 - 05:43 PM

Which is where the "Post-Imperial Guilt" mentioned earlier comes in.  It is a phenomenon of the priveleged classes, on the whole; the Working Class (or whatever you choose to call it) by and large does not have such feelings, having never been master of an empire, but rather, that empire's first colony.  As I said in other words earlier, the intelligentsia (in Britain generally, but particularly in England) have long looked to cultural models that are not nationally-based, and the education system has tended to reinforce this.  We have a situation, then, where ignorance of (and perhaps contempt for) "folk" culture combines with a strong tendency to assume that attempts to define or reinforce "Englishness" must be racist, in function if not also in intent.  Hence the Camden example; I don't remember that particular case, but in practice it wouldn't have got very far.  The EFDSS, for all its faults, has never been a racist organisation: "English" in that context means simply "occurring in England".  There is a good deal more to be said, but just now, I think it's time to go to the pub.

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Jun 00 - 08:53 PM

Well, for me it's "British" that has the overtones of imperialism and so forth. As Malcolm says, English just means belonging to a geographical area. British has all kinds of sinister associations. There are all kinds of situations where the Union Jack spells trouble. The English flag of St George doesn't so far carry that sort of baggage.

And it's good to see you here MikeofNorthumbria - stick around and get registered, so you can use all the facilities.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Jun 00 - 05:49 AM

I didn't really want to go into all of this nationalist stuff too much as I think the only hope for the world is when we realise we are all one species on one planet. The opportunity to disagree with a McGrath however, is irresistible and demonstrates the difference between having a clear national identity and not having one for reasons identified by Sapper and Malcolm above.

Kevin says "Well, for me it's "British" that has the overtones of imperialism and so forth. As Malcolm says, English just means belonging to a geographical area. British has all kinds of sinister associations. There are all kinds of situations where the Union Jack spells trouble. The English flag of St George doesn't so far carry that sort of baggage".

I pretty much believe the complete opposite to that.

Kevin I know you strongly identify, with the geographical area where you live, Harlow, which is in England. Do you consider yourself then as belonging to it and to be English? I suspect not.

I think it depends on when you are born in England too. When I was growing up, what was left of the Empire was now to be called the Commonwealth. Looking back I feel that I was very much affected by the guilt of Empire. I was educated with and had friends who were Irish, Polish, Hungarian, Indian, Chinese and so on, all now permanently resident, in addition to the Scottish and Welsh. It was not considered that the latter were English but we were all could be British.

I would suggest that the "sinister overtones" associations with "British", pre-date the more positive association (or at least damage limitation) with the concept of the United Kingdom, that a lot of my generation do. That is not to say that the sinister aspects were/are not still in evidence, during the period I describe.

As to the flags, The use of the Union Flag never prevented the English from being blamed for worst excesses of Empire and he worst elements will be attracted to whichever flag is used. The European Football Championship starts this Saturday. The same elements that made the Union Flag spell trouble will now wrap themselves in the flag of St George and do the same. At least the rest of the UK will not now be blamed.

When football trouble abroad flared up, the media would have no hesitation about saying Scottish fans but would refer to British fans when they were clearly English fans that were causing trouble. I speak as an England football supporter, resident in Scotland for many years, who had to listen to England v Scotland matches with a Scottish commentator. …..If you think English commentators are biased, try listening to a Scottish one.

There was a TV programme this week about the build-up to the England v Scotland qualifier to theses Championships. It just used the views of the supporters and was very informative because of that. Despite the attempts of the media to build it up to be a 'battle', it was seen by most of those in the programme as a game of football.

I do understand the view of the UK from the non-English members but I do regret that we may have now 'thrown the baby out with the bath water'. I for one do not look forward to all the implications of the expression of a narrow English nationality in our now multi-cultured society. I think we should tread very carefully indeed.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Ritchie
Date: 07 Jun 00 - 07:42 AM

Yes, Shambles, a lot of good points there. I also saw the C4 programme, which I thought was very well produced and presented.

Being from the North East,Hadrian could have easily decided my birthright and gave me greater affinity with the 'Scot's'.

You could see from the programme the passion that our friends north of the border had, even the drunk at the end singing 'floora scotland' in trafalgar square had the decency to say to the cameramen 'Hey take care'.

A point was made about the disrespect shown to the National Anthemn and it seemed that the 'English' thought it belonged exclusively to them.I now think of myself as European....tomorrow the world.

regards ritchie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Brendy
Date: 07 Jun 00 - 07:50 AM

The melody of 'GSTQ' is used for the 'King's Song' here in Norway. Not quite the National Anthem, but played at official engagements that the King (Harald V) attends.

B.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Jun 00 - 08:56 AM

You're right Shambles, I'd resist the label English for myself when it comes to nationality - but "British" even more so. And the geographical entity I identify with is, of course, Harlow.

As for the Union Jack and the Cross of St George - I find it hard to see the Union Jack without being reminded of people waving them as they tried to get at us on a Civil Rights march in Northern Ireland years ago. Or National Front thugs trying to come into Harlow. Or Maggie Thatcher.

St George's Cross for me in the first place means the flag they fly on C of E churches when I go to church fetes, soccer thugs notwithstanding. It's a modest looking flag, which the Union Jack with it s flashy design is anything but.

As for "the UK" - the only time I use that is when my comoputer compells me to. If they'd revert to the older usage and call it "United Kingdoms" it'd be a bit better. (And since that only changed when the Scottish Partliament was abolished, now would be an appropriate time to revert to it.)

But "the UK" is a funny concept - the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands aren't part of it (though the comoputers don't know that, I believe). And what is supposed to happen when the monarchy gets abolished? I suppose they could keep the initials and call it the United Kindreds", which sounds like something out of Tolkien.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Jun 00 - 10:41 AM

Kevin.

Well I do take your point about the flags. It is about personal association of course but I doubt if the 'infidel' will agree with you abut the lack of a troubled association with the Cross of St George. Was this not the symbol that 'The Crusades' were fought under? That was a little more than a 18-30's holiday trip to North Africa.

It was not an exclusive English planned trip I accept. It was hardly a hopeful start to joint European ventures either.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,Ickle Dorritt
Date: 07 Jun 00 - 01:31 PM

'the plays the thing' - and frankly so is the music-can't say I am interested in where it comes from -I tend to sing traditional english music because I like the sound and the pace not because of what it is or where it came from - pretty much the same philosophy as I use for liking or disliking people really. perhaps the songs that should survive are those that aren't so easily identified like that popular Irish song Fiddler's Green which is actually from Lincolnshire. Tradition song is all very well but its a little like the royal family --in danger of losing it's relevance -take for example shanty festivals -full of folk singers but how many living breathing fishermen? none. Music shoud move on, become less nationally defined and opened out to others-(I do draw the line however, when someone asked us if we knoew any Bon Jovi at our Sunday session!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Llanfair
Date: 08 Jun 00 - 05:03 AM

This is the first time I've read this thread through, and it's a very good one. A couple of points spring to mind;
The powers that be at the Beeb should see this thread. Perhaps then they will think about a modern equivalent of the radio for schools programmes that many of us learned our first folksongs from. Kids won't develop the interest if they aren't exposed to the music, and us folkies can only produce so many offspring!!
There really is no such thing as exclusive "Englishness". This island has been invaded at regular intervals since man first stood upright. The only thing we can be certain of is Hybrid Vigour.
Hermione...you are wonderful, I hope you post often. I had my first wedding reception at Wythenshawe hall, the Tattons haven't lived there for donkey's years.
Oh, and we call them "lamp posts" not poles, and i think the "Lodge" is an american concept, though I'm not sure.
Hwyl, Bron.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: sledge
Date: 08 Jun 00 - 05:40 AM

In defence of MORRIS

In a time when most music and dance that people are exposed to is dependant on slick marketing it is not hard to see why Morris is looked on as a quaint anachronism. But quaint or no it is an important part of English heratige and is worth preserving, more power to the drinking arms of those who do so.

Q:Why did god invent line dancing

A:to give Morris dancers someone to laugh at


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,Hermione Heyhoe-Smythe
Date: 08 Jun 00 - 09:23 PM

Oh Bronwyn, dear girl (what a delightful name!), I'm afraid that this is what we have been talking about, my child.
One never uses a 'post'. How vulgar. Simply unthinkable. Not the English Way, I'm afraid.
Poles, dear. Poles!
And as Reggie is The Provincial Grand Master, a more worshipful master you have never met Bronwyn, I can tell you, I think, perhaps, you may be thinking of some sort of other Lodge.
Although I can't for the life of me think what that might have been.

Oh, well.
I was saying this very thing to Cecily, wife to Sir John Bishopton-Hogworth, last morning at the 'Dog and Charles' just before The Master of the Hounds sounded the Off.
Can't think what that was, now either. But it did start with a 'J'.

Sorry for any confusion caused, Richard. I naturally assumed that this date was engrained in all of our collective psyches.
Reggie's great Uncle Cuthbert, who often had the ear of dear Queen Vic., used to gather us round the fireside in the evening. And as he would bounce me on his lap, up and down, he would often tell of the evening that grave news reached the shores of old Blighty concerning events in nether parts of the world.

Indeed, Richard, grave news. Grave news indeed, Richard!
We had time, though, to prepare, and by the time the blasted thing hit, somewhere around 1350, anybody who was anybody, had hopped off to more clement climes to ride out the storm, as it were.
Oh, we were a resourceful family, Sir Cuthbert used to say. Ended up in Tierra del Fuego, or some such outlandish place, for a while, just to get the breath back, you understand. Took a few savages back for good measure, if I'm not mistaken. Sold them at a profit as well, if memory serves me correctly.
And when we returned, it was all as before. And England was once again great.
As for who? English folklore historians? Who the devil are they? And what the duece do they know about anything? Bloody load of communists. Or irish, or something!
Nothing but a bunch of troublemakers, Richard! The whole blasted lot of them. Don't you listen to them, there's a good chap.

Well, I do like our little chats, Richard. And now Bronwyn. How splendid!
Well I'm expecting Lady Alice (one of the Wingfield-Urquarts), and Felicity, her neice, around for a rubber or two at 9.15, and I see that Fortesque has just brought in the Port. I think it is past sunset, don't you?

:) H H-S


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Llanfair
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 11:39 AM

Thank you for putting me aright, Ma'am, I will not make that mistake again. May I respectfully suggest that you spell my name correctly in future Po.........er......poles to this forum. Wyn in Welsh is male, Wen, female.
I am Bronwen.
I realise that Welsh is a barbaric language that your family, friends and ancestors almost stamped out 100 years ago, purely because they didn't like the natives saying things they couldn't understand, but it is still with us, and that is my name.
(Deep, respectful bow) Good-day to you Ma-am, mochyn saesneg, Hwyl, Bron.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,Penny S.
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 12:03 PM

Usually, I don't go along with that particular Welsh remark, but here I think it is richly deserved. It doesn't help when one only has what is ostensibly the same language to use. It was a dreadful day when that irritating minority decided to abandon Norman French and learn English, though I notice that their command of it can still be weak, since they feign an inability to understand any version not spoken in Kensington, and feel it is necessary to bellow to get their point across. Just try living without the peasants, ducky. You'd soon find out who or what the English are.

Nancy Banks-Smith, the TV reviewer in the Guardian answered the question of why the Industrial REvolution happened here by referring to a program in which scientists made a radio with a saucepan, barbed wire, a galena crystal and some copper wire. Another program referred to the way that medieval wars were really won by the engineers.

Don't make the mistake of thinking the flashy parasites are the real thing. Just ignore them. We do.

Penny


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 12:43 PM

Iachyd da Bron.

(I'm only Welsh by marriage)

I do sympathise, coming from an even more maligned race displaced by the Romans centuries ago. We still have our own style of music which we play on our own version of the pipes (not the kind you blow into) and we have some tunes and songs dating back to the early 1800's! who do these soft southerners think they are

Hadaway ye humpybacks!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: JulieF
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 03:24 PM

Ive been very, very busy for the last few days - we've got a major update going in, so I've not had the chance to read this - and I know that I really should start another one now its got to this length. Anyway ---

From the point of view of a Scot living in england can I take up several points :-

First Nationality. It has always got right up the noses of the Scots when English fans of any event have misappropiated the British Flag and National anthem - Not that we want them but there not uniquely theirs )

sorry will break as I think I've lost my link

Julie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: JulieF
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 03:36 PM

I don't know how the hell that happened - I thought I was on-line and then my mother rang sio I wasn't. Still ---

I really have no problem with the english reclaimimg a national identity - St George's Flag - St George's Day - Jigoistic English songs as long as they are done with good grace. I think that Englishness has been so closely attached to the "British" establishment that it is a difficult job and many people prefer to resort to Regions such as Yorkshire or Cornwall. I find it a worrying trend that there now seems to be a bout of nasty anti-Englishness in areas of Scotland but perhaps this is a measure of the decline of other types of sectarianism which was prevalent in central Scotland.

As for the English tradition - I find that difficult to assess. we brought our daughter up within our traditions - Scottish and Irish as we were living outside our countries- so she always knew the music, the folklore , the history and the fact that she was descended from Finn McCool. She did do English Country dancing at infant school and the Fiddle society has included many styles of music including English but other than that I can't comment on how to teach an English tradition.

Julie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST,Graham Pirt
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 06:18 PM

I've been out of touch for a few weeks but have just read through this thread - fascinating - I didn't know all this consideration took place about tradition and Englishness and all of the other items that have been discussed. I'm starting to feel guilty. I just sing songs if I like them and I think that I can sing them. Most of them end up sounding northern but that's how I speak. I'd better go off and find out more in case I'm doing it wrong!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 06:20 PM

Naah Penny - I think the mochyn saesneg is probably a Yank taking the piss anyway. So nothing to be upset at, it's a commodity in plentiful supply.

The things about the English traditions is that they are very local indeed. The same is true with the Irish or the Scots, but there the experience of exiled communities has tended to build up a sort of commonality, and then that has been brought back home in a way. The English have dispersed all over the world, but they don't seem to have carried the English traditions with them in the same way, or used them as a badge of solidarity in a potentially hostile foreign environment.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Jun 00 - 09:39 PM

McGrath is obviously right.  Because nobody else has done it, I've made a new thread where we can continue this discussion, which has now grown much too big.

English Tradition (part two).

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: Trace
Date: 10 Jun 00 - 03:36 PM

Frank, I couldn't have put it better myself! Of course having relinquised most of our empire, people have forgotten that in fact our folk music would encompass the music of a great many countries. I'm surprised that we havn't adopted Indian music into our folk music culture.

The feelings that morris dancing brings to some people, has nothing on the way I feel about accordians and bagpipes. I could cheerfully throttle anyone coming within a mile of me playing either of those.

Trace


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is it with the English?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 10:33 AM

What is it you dislike about Accordions and Bagpipes?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 17 January 2:18 PM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.