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Folklore: What Is Folk?

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GUEST,Nick Dow 02 Feb 23 - 06:19 PM
StephenH 02 Feb 23 - 02:35 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Feb 23 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 Feb 23 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,CJS 01 Feb 23 - 04:58 PM
GUEST,Lighter 01 Feb 23 - 04:55 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Feb 23 - 04:17 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 01 Feb 23 - 03:44 PM
GUEST,Roderick A Warner 01 Feb 23 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 Feb 23 - 06:36 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Feb 23 - 06:26 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 Feb 23 - 05:58 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Feb 23 - 05:43 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 01 Feb 23 - 05:41 AM
Steve Shaw 01 Feb 23 - 04:49 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 01 Feb 23 - 04:46 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Feb 23 - 04:13 AM
GUEST,1954 01 Feb 23 - 04:06 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 Feb 23 - 03:49 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 Feb 23 - 03:29 AM
GUEST,1954 01 Feb 23 - 02:06 AM
r.padgett 01 Feb 23 - 02:05 AM
Steve Shaw 31 Jan 23 - 06:17 PM
Steve Shaw 31 Jan 23 - 06:04 PM
Dave the Gnome 31 Jan 23 - 05:48 PM
Steve Shaw 31 Jan 23 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,the Sandman 31 Jan 23 - 05:29 PM
Steve Shaw 31 Jan 23 - 05:11 PM
The Sandman 31 Jan 23 - 02:32 PM
Stilly River Sage 31 Jan 23 - 01:57 PM
Steve Shaw 30 Jan 23 - 08:46 PM
Dave the Gnome 30 Jan 23 - 06:05 PM
Steve Shaw 30 Jan 23 - 05:36 PM
Steve Shaw 30 Jan 23 - 12:52 PM
Dave the Gnome 30 Jan 23 - 11:21 AM
Dave the Gnome 30 Jan 23 - 10:50 AM
r.padgett 30 Jan 23 - 10:49 AM
Mo the caller 30 Jan 23 - 08:26 AM
GUEST 30 Jan 23 - 03:19 AM
Steve Shaw 29 Jan 23 - 06:33 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Jan 23 - 05:35 PM
GUEST 29 Jan 23 - 05:30 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 29 Jan 23 - 05:07 PM
GUEST,Dan Themsan 29 Jan 23 - 04:59 PM
Lighter 29 Jan 23 - 04:44 PM
GUEST 29 Jan 23 - 04:02 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Jan 23 - 02:39 PM
Lighter 29 Jan 23 - 02:11 PM
Lighter 29 Jan 23 - 10:14 AM
Steve Shaw 29 Jan 23 - 06:15 AM
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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 02 Feb 23 - 06:19 PM

Excellent! I was waiting for somebody to suggest the informal definition. It has worked for two or three generations of singers, and it beats Tweedle dum and Tweedle dee beating each other over the head with their conference papers. Here's to an informal subjectivity. I wish more people would accept that there is no burden of proof upon the singer, folklorist or writer. Chuck Berry was asked did he play 'Black music or Blues. He answered by saying he hadn't a clue what colour his music was. The simplest answers are often the best.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: StephenH
Date: 02 Feb 23 - 02:35 PM

I have managed to make my peace with the way people fling the term "folk" around. If pressed for my definition I would say something very close to the 54 description but, if asked to describe a particular group's music, I would use the term "folk" or some variant simply to
give people an idea of what to expect.
Similarly, again if pressed, I have a pretty definite idea of what I think constitutes a sea chantey but mostly keep quiet about it unless
involved in a serious discussion about the form.
I always enjoy the discussions on Mudcat about this, not in search of a final definition, but because there are so many thoughtful responses to the question from people whose opinions I have come to value through
reading their posts on a variety of topics.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Feb 23 - 11:13 AM

Some of the most intelligent people on the planet are just as easily manipulated, sometimes even the people doing most of the manipulating.

Spot on, Jon.

CJ, at grassroots level, all of that you describe is still there, at least in my neck of the woods. Admittedly a lot of those anti-establishment twenty-somethings have now joined the middle class and have moved their folk clubs into the leafy suburbs, but there are still plenty of us left on the left.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 05:32 PM

...or it could be that the 'people' are just not very intelligent- maybe a good argument, they did vote for Brexit....

Intelligent folk only? Think of the children! Oh the humanity!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,CJS
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 04:58 PM

I was attracted to the music for several reasons.
Good Storylines, good tunes, an aura of anti establishment, circa 1966, a left wing political connection,
Ironically this has largely disappeared, perhaps this is the fault of the way the UK folk revival has been led over the last 30 years, where there has been a preoccupation with making the music more commercial.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 04:55 PM

What I find most interesting, Steve, is why so many people on Mudcat - and so few anywhere else - tie themselves into knots trying to fit music they love into a highly abstract category they call "folk."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 04:17 PM

Interesting comparison there, Jim, with Brexit, and why the turkeys voted for it. I see on social media a lot of useful takes on the way the masses are manipulated on both sides of the pond, stuff like distractions by the powerful, and divide and conquer ploys by the media. I do see mass entertainment as having similar effects and probably part of the same propaganda. Mass entertainment is so ingrained in Western society now that any self-made music is seen as largely irrelevant or to be scorned.

This obsession with definitions is a waste of time. The 54 descriptors are fine when categorising songs from oral tradition but useless in trying to make sense of what comes under the folk umbrella in the modern world. This is a very complex issue and open to a wide range of opinions.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 03:44 PM

When I discovered this music, about 60 years ago now, the word 'folk' seemed to cover it all pretty well? I was happy with it anyway, although I now find the purists were at it even then (1954 definitions & such), and nowadays I shudder to hear the word.

'Folk' music has a serious perception problem- even the aficionados on here cannot define it, but there seems to be an urgent need to do this? No wonder the public have no idea what it is & still link it closely to Bob Dylan.... and don't ask me to define it!

   Rightly or wrongly, and despite their lack of comprehension, most people groan at the mention of the word. It's crucially a live music, and a delight to be involved in, so why is this?

   To take one small aspect of 'folk', here's often an exclusivity about it all, the closed circle of musicians (and singers) can be seen as unwelcoming, and there's often an element of the classical approach which does not accept the improvisation which is essential to jazz, for example - 'lets play number 37 next,' rustle of manuscripts.....

   Academic discussion is quite valid, but maybe there is also an element of one-upmanship in gatherings which is alien to the spirit of the music, sometimes involving tunes & songs from old collections which were rejected 200 years ago for good reasons, and should have been left to gather dust in a library.

I must admit I NEVER now listen to 'folk' programmes and there are no sessions where I live, so yes I'm out of touch, but I DO care about the music.
      I would be very pleased if some form of it regained its place as the people's music in 2023, but let's face it, most people yawn at the mere mention of 'folk' and simply perceive it as boring and irrelevant.
Sad, but true

ps or it could be that the 'people' are just not very intelligent- maybe a good argument, they did vote for Brexit....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Roderick A Warner
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 09:15 AM

Just read through this so a quick reply to amusing accusation: as a fluent baloney speaker and someone who has played sporadically in uk folk clubs for many years I always utilised a degree of improvisation in my guitar playing getting freer as time passed. When I was unable to sing anymore I would play instrumental guitar usually based on the twentieth century popular music canon, chromatic aaba forms in the main and would usually play improvised choruses. Added to this free improvisations based often on modal structures. I also played backup guitar often with a friend since deceased and usually improvised my accompanying lines to his basic ‘folk’ accompaniments and singing. Moreover, to tie in with another comment: given John Cage’s aims with 4 33 why could a performance not be considered as a form of ‘folk’ music? The sounds encompassed by the performative circumstance would be a democratic sonic experience created by the humans in the audience. And musician. Perhaps a concert could be launched called ‘Folk Cage?’ The score is easily accessible and a performer found with a banjo in a case maybe. Or similar sonic annoyance…


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 06:36 AM

Cyber folk? Songs from the Mudcat Worldwide Singaround.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 06:26 AM

If I got a song from my own album, I had learned it

If I borrowed the album from the library, I had reseached it :-D


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 05:58 AM

The Americans do things differently. All the bios agree, Woody learned his stuff at his local public library. Quite fond of the concept meself.

Not in the bios: In Pampa, TX, The Carter Family on Mexican X-radio would come in on your dental bridgework. No radio required.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 05:43 AM

Mail sent Nick. See you soon all being well :-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 05:41 AM

What a good point Steve! I personally feel CD's are a similar form of distribution to street literature in the 18th/19th century. The big difference is that the tune performance and copyright 'fix' the song. Then again this happened in smaller communities with acknowledged singers in an area. We hear of a proposed, and maybe even achieved 'Classless global music'. This is possibly a pen and ink folklorist's view, but nonetheless inspiring. I wonder to what degree community shapes the music in this day and age. I suppose for better or worse is, as always, subjective, as i mentioned above.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 04:49 AM

So if we stick to the oral transmission thingie, can it be possible to have folk music on a CD?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 04:46 AM

Dave, Glad to see you are still participating in the discussion. Also to let you know that you are valued in the Folk scene, and I suspect upon Mudcat despite some of the less laudable comments that have been added and moved or deleted from this thread. Please send me an Email when you have time (I've lost yours), and keep playing and singing.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 04:13 AM

It is the best definition for some people and purposes but not for everything and everyone. In my opinion.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,1954
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 04:06 AM

It is the best definition to date.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 03:49 AM

Bonneville Power Administration purchase order was cut in 1941: Lyr Req: Columbia River Collection (Woody Guthrie). Not folk?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 03:29 AM

...Oral transmission. &c.
Unless there's more to that, Harry Belafonte singing anything live in a football stadium would meet the standard. The council's own published & copyrighted standards could not.

Your "house" rules are a different beastie than sterile academics. Not all gen-u-wine folk songs play equally well North-South-East-West. These things are more unspoken than oral.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,1954
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 02:06 AM

In 1954 the International Folk Music Council famously defined folk music as follows: “Folk music is the product of a musical tradition that has been evolved through the process of oral transmission.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: r.padgett
Date: 01 Feb 23 - 02:05 AM

No no, no parody ~ just part of the oral/aural tradition ~ new broadside/broadsheet? ballads had "to the tune of" and may well have been written that way (tune in mind)

Would help people to learn and sing and spread the news and currency of the song lyrics

Ray


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 31 Jan 23 - 06:17 PM

Google Woody's song called "Way Up In The North West," about the Grand Coulee Dam. He uses the tune "On Top Of Old Smokey." Anyone care to tell me that his song is a parody?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 31 Jan 23 - 06:04 PM

Simple Minds? I happen to be staying (for the third time) in a hotel in Sicily for a week this summer which was founded and owned by Jim Kerr. I'll ask him! :-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 31 Jan 23 - 05:48 PM

It's a good point Steve. Tunes are used and reused all over the place and this further blurs the lines of "what is folk?". Would those objecting to pop songs rail against someone singing The Seekers "The carnival is over" at a folk club? It is a pop song that uses a traditional Russia tune. Is Simple Minds' "Belfast Child" a pop song or does the tune make it folk? Does putting a folk song in the charts make it pop? Those trying to dictate rules have their work cut out!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 31 Jan 23 - 05:32 PM

Well that's a puzzling non-response to what I've just said..


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,the Sandman
Date: 31 Jan 23 - 05:29 PM

The Roast Beef of Old England" is an English patriotic ballad. It was written by Henry Fielding for his play The Grub-Street Opera

"The Roast Beef of Old England" is an English patriotic ballad. It was written by Henry Fielding for his play The Grub-Street Opera, which was first performed in 1731. The lyrics were added to over the next twenty years. The song increased in popularity when given a new setting by the composer Richard Leveridge

When mighty Roast Beef was the Englishman's food,
It ennobled our veins and enriched our blood.
Our soldiers were brave and our courtiers were good
Oh! the Roast Beef of old England,
And old English Roast Beef!

But since we have learnt from all-vapouring France
To eat their ragouts as well as to dance,
We're fed up with nothing but vain complaisance
Oh! the Roast Beef of Old England,
And old English Roast Beef!

Our fathers of old were robust, stout, and strong,
And kept open house, with good cheer all day long,
Which made their plump tenants rejoice in this song—
Oh! The Roast Beef of old England,
And old English Roast Beef!

But now we are dwindled to, what shall I name?
A sneaking poor race, half-begotten and tame,
Who sully the honours that once shone in fame.
Oh! the Roast Beef of Old England,
And old English Roast Beef!

When good Queen Elizabeth sat on the throne,
Ere coffee, or tea, or such slip-slops were known,
The world was in terror if e'er she did frown.
Oh! The Roast Beef of old England,
And old English Roast Beef!

In those days, if Fleets did presume on the Main,
They seldom, or never, return'd back again,
As witness, the Vaunting Armada of Spain.
Oh! The Roast Beef of Old England,
And old English Roast Beef!

Oh then we had stomachs to eat and to fight
And when wrongs were cooking to do ourselves right.
But now we're a… I could, but goodnight!
Oh! the Roast Beef of Old England,
And old English Roast Beef!


HARD CHEESE OF OLD ENGLAND
(Les Barker)

There's Cheddar and Cheshire and Lancashire too,
Leicester's bright orange and Stilton is blue.
It waxes so lyrical, what can you do but sing,

Oh the hard cheese of old England,
In old England very hard cheese.

Derby got green bits because of the sage,
And when it gets older its kept in a cage.
What does it hum when it reaches this age but,

They say double Gloucester is twicest as nice,
They say double Gloucester there, I've said it twice,
Its nice in potatoes but nicest in mice.

Those damn foreigners aren't worth a mention,
Old Gorgonzolas is renowned for it stenchen,
His brother Emil wrote novels in French and sing,

There's Swaledale and Wendslydale, Rutland to add,
Shropshire and Cornish you may not have had,
It's not bad on salads this ballad's not sad and sing,

My young love said to me my mother won't mind,
And my father once liked you for your lack of rind,
No cheese greater love for his food than mankind.


Copyright Les Barker
A Traditional English Food song pre-dating Lymeswold
@food @English @parody


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 31 Jan 23 - 05:11 PM

I would say that it's not a parody. A parody is generally some sort of a piss-take, even if fairly reverential, of the original. Further, "Hard Times" goes back almost as far. I'm guessing that the fact that it's a "parody" (by your definition) escapes most people who sing it today. Further again, it's a song with serious intent, not quite what you'd expect of a parody. My friend Martin Cole and I recorded this 20 years ago. He sang and played the guitar and I played a diatonic harmonica in G (which I had to retune to get a low note!). It didn't make it on to our CD but it could have done. It never occurred to me that it was some sort of parody. I'd also remind you that simply recycling a tune with different words doesn't necessarily add up to a parody. Woody Guthrie reused tunes for his songs all the time. If a song carries an important message, who cares if it's using an old tune?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Jan 23 - 02:32 PM

Are Parodies Folk Music? Hard Times Of Old England.is a parody of The Roast Beef of Old England, but is considered by many to be folk music.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 31 Jan 23 - 01:57 PM

Dick, you're off your rocker. And off of the subject. Stuff has been moved or deleted.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 30 Jan 23 - 08:46 PM

Well, Dave, I have my Do*nu*el but at least you have your Dick... :-) :-) :-)

That's an amazingly good version of a song that, er, maybe, should never have been written. But that's folk for you too. Young maidens getting shagged up against thorns and taking the blame... Young maidens having to dress up as boy sailors... Young maidens getting murdered by lads with penknives...

I love it (as long as it's just yarns...)!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Jan 23 - 06:05 PM

Steve, my mate Mike does a wonderful version of 'Blackbird'. It would certainly be welcome at any folk show I attended.

And going back to to a song I mentioned earlier, I would much rather see Granny's attic perform this pop song than listen to any number of old farts discussing how folk clubs are not as good as when they were lads :-D


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 30 Jan 23 - 05:36 PM

Well now, I've just watched one of those wonderful Transatlantic Sessions repeats, and the amazing bunch of usual suspects sang a wonderful version of the Beatles' song "I will." If they came to sing it like that at my folk club, far from walking out I'd buy all the buggers a pint. Hey but Dick...it was a "pop song..."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 30 Jan 23 - 12:52 PM

As in, one man's fish is another man's poisson...?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Jan 23 - 11:21 AM

Sorry - Yes, I saw it is Ray on an earlier post. I knew I had seen it somewhere :-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Jan 23 - 10:50 AM

Yep - Good point r.padgett (Is it Ray?)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: r.padgett
Date: 30 Jan 23 - 10:49 AM

"one persons definition of folk music is not always anothers." perhaps?

Ray


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 30 Jan 23 - 08:26 AM

I've been to one or two folk sessions (the jump in and play or sing type rather than round the room clubs) where some of us regulars were put off by one or two guitar strumming singer song writers. What had been a respectful varied group who looked to see if someone was trying to play or hadn't had a turn before starting, was taken over by miserable songs that weren't my idea of folk.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jan 23 - 03:19 AM

The final product is what matters, perfomance with a crib sheet is acceptable if the perfomance is practised and good and if tha material is good, no one wants to hear three blind mice or the Birdie Song performed with a crib sheet and out of tune.
Content as well as form is important.
I do not go to a Folk Club to hear pop songs, if you want to sing Popsongs start a popular music club.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 06:33 PM

Excellent post there, Steve.

"...except that it isn't Mozart..."

Well there's a story that the Magic Flute was so popular in Vienna that the tunes from it were widely whistled by folks in the streets, which delighted Mozart. I'd like to bet that the whistled melodies weren't always note-perfect... So does that mean that they may have gone through the folk process...?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 05:35 PM

Personally I find it quite healthy that a wide variety of music and poetry is being performed at our local singarounds. Even where traditional material is sometimes in a minority it shows that being performed well it can stand up alongside other material like pop songs and other material in a folk idiom.

The only aspect that worries me is the percentage of performers who insist on using phones and paper copy. The only way I can find to discourage this is to show how much better performance can be without these crutches. It also helps if the organisers are not using cribs, setting a good example.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 05:30 PM

The OP is no longer with us she has passed on.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 05:07 PM

No new or unique ground here. A given folk song and folk music in general are two subjects, not one or the same. OP needs to answer at least three questions: who is using the label; the target audience and what are they labeling?

According to the principle of the Five Ws, a report can only be considered complete if it answers these questions starting with an interrogative word:
Who
What
When
Where
Why


It's relatively easier to define or get consensus on a folk song. A folk song CD or set list is just that much more difficult. A club, label or artist will step on somebody's toe, at some point… c'est la vie, c'est la guerre, c'est la populaire...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST,Dan Themsan
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 04:59 PM

Perhaps UK Folk Clubs have become too concerned with bums on seats, and are happy to allow any kind of Acoustic Music, the positive of this is that it is a place for home made music, rather than passive music consumerism, the negative of this could be that you end up pleasing no one.
There are performers who want to just go to music sessions or singers who want to just sing blues, or singers who want to sing for example Scottish Traditional Bothy ballads, or singers who want to sing their own material.
Then there are some clubs where singers nights are more popular than guest nights, this might possibly indicate that there are some singers who do not want to listen to others, but just want to do their own thing, and a few of them are not aware of how mediocre they are.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 04:44 PM

The controversy mostly arose in the early '60s with celebrity performers like Burl Ives, the Kingston Trio, and Peter, Paul, and Mary. They and others had originally been singers of modernized versions of traditional songs, and were marketed as "folk singers" and "singers of folk music."

When these artists branched out into recent, pop-like material, they still were marketed as "folk singers," and what they sang became "folk" by definition.

Years ago I posted a quote from the music critic of the prestigious "New Yorker" magazine, who called a composer of radically experimental music a "folk musician," apparently because her compositions she didn't fit into any mainstream category.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 04:02 PM

I know people who no longer go to folk clubs becquse they hear little traditional music, and they occqsionally hear people performing in an unpractised manner or attempting to sing with crib sheets.
It is impossible to please everybody but not having a clear club policy does not help .
I have no problem with a club calling itself Blues Club or Acoutsic Music Club or Tradtional Song Club OR c


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 02:39 PM

None of this is rocket science...the language is constantly evolving...what used to be classified as 'folk' had more defined boundaries. However the term has evolved to cover a much wider field with much more overlap into other genres. We can't bury our heads in the sand over this. When discussing folk with different audiences I would temper my usage of the term to accord with these. Not a problem. When I'm discussing with TSF members we would use something like the IFMC 54 descriptors, but when using the word with my fellow performers we would be discussing something much wider, more a style of music, with very flexible boundaries.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 02:11 PM

In other words, if someone says "I love folk!" or "That's not folk!" or some similar generalization without explaining what they mean, they shouldn't expect the addressee to know what the heck they're talking about: except that it isn't Mozart and it isn't hip-hop. (Or is it?)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 10:14 AM

Folk" has a widely acknowledged core of specific titles like "John Henry," "The Seeds of Love," "Lord Randall," and "The Irish Washerwoman," to name a very few.

"Folkness" is a mostly (but not entirely) subjective quality shared by such pieces.

How one defines "folk" in general depends on how much kinship is thought to exist between such examples and other titles under consideration. And outside academia (and sometimes within it) the criteria of "kinship" are wildly subjective.

"Folk" was once a useful label for distinguishing "anonymous music and song of the people" from formal, attributed compositions that were performed according to the published sheet music.

For various reasons that basic distinction has been lost.

"Folk" is still a useful term, but without specific context it covers multitudes and can be downright misleading.

So caveat emptor.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What Is Folk?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Jan 23 - 06:15 AM

In flowering plant taxonomy there are lumpers and splitters. Take a species, a genus or a family and you'll have those botanists who will include and those who will exclude. I'm suspecting not dissimilar sentiments in threads like this one. Meanwhile, the
poor old music sits there in the middle, doing what music does best, being wonderful in different ways to different people. I think it was Vladimir Ashkenazy who said something like, this whole bloody music thing is a complete mystery to me...


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