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UK attitudes to folk music

Dave the Gnome 21 Sep 03 - 03:29 AM
Sooz 21 Sep 03 - 04:15 AM
Joan from Wigan 21 Sep 03 - 04:58 AM
GUEST 21 Sep 03 - 05:51 AM
Dave the Gnome 21 Sep 03 - 06:09 AM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Sep 03 - 07:13 AM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Sep 03 - 12:17 PM
Dave the Gnome 21 Sep 03 - 02:11 PM
izzy 21 Sep 03 - 02:23 PM
Forsh 21 Sep 03 - 02:24 PM
Joan from Wigan 21 Sep 03 - 02:50 PM
Forsh 21 Sep 03 - 02:59 PM
GUEST 21 Sep 03 - 06:05 PM
GUEST,vectis 21 Sep 03 - 06:50 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Sep 03 - 07:00 PM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Sep 03 - 07:16 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 21 Sep 03 - 09:05 PM
Richard Bridge 22 Sep 03 - 04:05 AM
Strupag 22 Sep 03 - 05:02 AM
tuggy mac 22 Sep 03 - 05:06 AM
tuggy mac 22 Sep 03 - 05:08 AM
tuggy mac 22 Sep 03 - 05:16 AM
Skipper Jack 22 Sep 03 - 05:36 AM
Pied Piper 22 Sep 03 - 06:53 AM
GUEST,Santa 22 Sep 03 - 08:22 AM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Sep 03 - 08:37 AM
jacqui.c 22 Sep 03 - 08:38 AM
GUEST,Santa 22 Sep 03 - 10:12 AM
Forsh 22 Sep 03 - 12:43 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Sep 03 - 01:16 PM
DMcG 22 Sep 03 - 01:32 PM
TheBigPinkLad 22 Sep 03 - 01:48 PM
bill\sables 22 Sep 03 - 03:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Sep 03 - 03:58 PM
alanww 22 Sep 03 - 07:25 PM
tuggy mac 22 Sep 03 - 07:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Sep 03 - 07:43 PM
DMcG 23 Sep 03 - 04:43 AM
GUEST,Crystal 23 Sep 03 - 04:56 AM
GUEST 23 Sep 03 - 05:05 AM
GUEST,Santa 23 Sep 03 - 05:13 AM
smallpiper 23 Sep 03 - 05:23 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Sep 03 - 05:32 AM
Forsh 23 Sep 03 - 06:01 AM
GUEST,Santa 23 Sep 03 - 06:08 AM
Dave the Gnome 23 Sep 03 - 06:18 AM
smallpiper 23 Sep 03 - 07:02 AM
GUEST 23 Sep 03 - 10:58 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Sep 03 - 11:01 AM
Forsh 23 Sep 03 - 01:25 PM
greg stephens 23 Sep 03 - 03:00 PM
Dave the Gnome 23 Sep 03 - 04:15 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Sep 03 - 04:29 PM
vectis 23 Sep 03 - 06:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Sep 03 - 07:01 PM
smallpiper 23 Sep 03 - 07:58 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Sep 03 - 08:32 PM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Sep 03 - 11:13 PM
LadyJean 23 Sep 03 - 11:34 PM
greg stephens 24 Sep 03 - 02:31 AM
GUEST,Santa 24 Sep 03 - 03:56 AM
Richard Bridge 24 Sep 03 - 04:10 AM
Mark Dowding 24 Sep 03 - 04:11 AM
GUEST,KB 24 Sep 03 - 04:40 AM
Jim McLean 24 Sep 03 - 04:56 AM
Kevin Sheils 24 Sep 03 - 04:58 AM
smallpiper 24 Sep 03 - 05:01 AM
Forsh 24 Sep 03 - 05:20 AM
greg stephens 24 Sep 03 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,Crystal 24 Sep 03 - 06:34 AM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Sep 03 - 06:44 AM
GUEST 24 Sep 03 - 07:15 AM
GUEST,Crystal 24 Sep 03 - 07:26 AM
greg stephens 24 Sep 03 - 07:29 AM
GUEST 24 Sep 03 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,different guest 24 Sep 03 - 08:01 AM
Santa 24 Sep 03 - 08:07 AM
jacqui.c 24 Sep 03 - 08:17 AM
VIN 24 Sep 03 - 08:34 AM
Dave the Gnome 24 Sep 03 - 09:57 AM
Dave the Gnome 24 Sep 03 - 11:57 AM
Dave the Gnome 24 Sep 03 - 11:58 AM
Forsh 24 Sep 03 - 01:23 PM
greg stephens 24 Sep 03 - 02:18 PM
bazza 24 Sep 03 - 03:00 PM
treewind 24 Sep 03 - 03:02 PM
Richard Bridge 24 Sep 03 - 03:13 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Sep 03 - 03:27 PM
GUEST 24 Sep 03 - 04:30 PM
vectis 24 Sep 03 - 05:25 PM
Forsh 25 Sep 03 - 02:15 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Sep 03 - 07:33 PM
VIN 26 Sep 03 - 06:37 AM
greg stephens 26 Sep 03 - 12:14 PM
izzy 26 Sep 03 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,Crystal 27 Sep 03 - 08:38 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 11 Sep 04 - 11:20 PM
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Subject: BS: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 03:29 AM

I know we have talked about this before but it annoys me every time I come accross it:-(

Browsing through the cable TV channels about 10pm last night I noticed 3 radio channels together, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Ulster all had folk music programs on. In England? 4 BBC radio channels and not one one Folk program between them! Bob Harris on Radio 2 does a fine job of presenting some good roots music but it is not advertised as and you would not call it a folk program.

Why in England can we not acknowledge our folk heritage like they do in the other UK countries? I know the other countries have loads more folk music on than England. Why are they proud of their music while in England most mentions of folk music and dance on mainstream media are just to take the piss?

Aaarrrrggghhhhh!!! Makes me mad. There I have got it off my chest now. I'll go and have my cup of green tea and calm down a bit.

Cheers

Dave the Gnome


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Subject: RE: BS: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Sooz
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 04:15 AM

I do agree - what can we do about it?
At the moment I'm using the local paper to try to explain to the people in Gainsborough what Folk Music is and what happens at a Festival but I'm sure in a months time when the festival happens we won't have to take our shoes off to count the locals who turn up to have a goood time!


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Subject: RE: BS: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Joan from Wigan
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 04:58 AM

When I'm carrying a guitar about, I'm often asked, "What sort of music do you play?" I answer, "Mostly folk music." The usual response is, "Is that country music?" Aaarrrrggghhhhh!!!

The truth is, most people don't even know what folk music is. And never mind other UK countries, other countries outside the UK give extensive funding to their folk music because they are (quite rightly) proud of their musical heritage.

Why doesn't it happen here? Many factors, possibly going back to Oliver Cromwell's ban on folks enjoying themselves, through to venues now being penalised for allowing folks to enjoy themselves musically if they haven't got the right PEL.

How to rectify the situation? The media could help, and some parts of it certainly do. Otherwise, we just have to carry on singing and playing in public. I run folk nights, without a PA, in public bars, as opposed to private function rooms. While there are certainly some problems with noise around the bar etc, it does open the whole thing up to the public, some of whom are pleasantly surprised and start coming regularly. These people would never have come into a private room to hear the music. And they now have a better idea of what folk music is. And even start singing it themselves.

I've no wish to criticise folk clubs who do meet privately, but I think public sessions are a good thing PR-wise. And if I understand the history of folk music correctly, the original singers, from whom the folk-songs were collected, would normally sing in a public or public-bar situation. So that would appear to be the "traditional" way of doing things!

As I said, no criticism intended, but if we're to educate the public, I think we've got to get out there where the public is. There is certainly a place for private club nights (let's face it, some people would be terrified of singing in an open bar but may be encouraged in a private situation). But, at least every so often, let the public know just how enjoyable folk music can be!

Joan


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Subject: RE: BS: UK attitudes to folk music
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 05:51 AM

Wales, Scotland and N Ireland have a motive that England doesn't have. They wish to maintain thier own identity and folk music is one means to that end. England on the other hand is quite content to be "the UK".

I know that doesn't answer why England mostly has no pride in its fine folk tradition but I think it is one big reason why the other countries within the UK try harder.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 06:09 AM

Good points indeed one and all. I agree with the public room bit. The last couple of years at Swinton Festival we have had a 'public singaround' going on all day in the bar and it has gone down great with the pub regulars. Perhaps we should have our singers nights in the bar as well and keep the room for guest nights where we have to pay the artist and therefore charge at the door?

The identity point is a as well. But why then do other Countries outside the UK have a better folk scene? Or is that just my perception? Other mans grass and all that? Do Germany or France feel the need to maintain their identities more than the people of England do? Perhaps we do need the EU as something to remind us that we need to keep our identities as well! But that's a whole new bucket of whelks...

Cheers

:D


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Subject: RE: BS: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 07:13 AM

The folk music revivals in places like France are fairly recent, and were largely inspired by the British revival of the 1950s and '60s. Germany is a bit different; it was quite dicey for a long while to seem too keen on folk tradition there because of a perceived connection (probably exaggerated, but Wolfgang and others have gone into this in more detail in the past and are the people to ask) with a particularly nasty episode of history. I suspect that "Irish" music is still more widely played in Germany than material from German traditions.

The reasons for the situation in England are complex, and you need to look quite deeply into social and political history in order to get very far. Certainly attitudes have been forming since well before the Civil War; on which subject I might just add that Oliver Cromwell liked music, and dancing, though there were Puritan factions who did not, and it is quite unfair to blame him for any of this. The bad press he received after his death is still widely believed, but much of it is propaganda-become-folklore rather than history.

I've said much the same things, and at greater length, in some of the many previous discussions on the subject. Better to be doing our bit to improve the situation, I think, rather than agonising about it; though of course we should certainly complain volubly every time some intellectually lazy comedian (or music journalist; in some cases the distinction is hard to see) resorts, through lack of imagination, to a cheap snigger at the expense of the "folk singer" or the morris dancer. They are family; so only we are allowed to laugh at them.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK attitudes to folk music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 12:17 PM

Of course sometimes the intellectually lazy comedian is also an intellectually lazy politician, like Kim Howell.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 02:11 PM

Just checked out another which I thought would be a sililar one to this. "Ashamed or proud to be English". To my surprise I find 19 posts on there to the 7 here. So, if even Folkies find other stuff more interesting than folk music what chance have we got...;-) ?

Cheers

:D


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Subject: RE: BS: UK attitudes to folk music
From: izzy
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 02:23 PM

Hallo, Dave. I AM interested in folk music (hugely) it's just that I have started a website about the other thing (not at all unrelated, if you'll have a look at it!) The sidelining of English culture includes trad music etc. It's all of a piece.

Cheers,

Isabel


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Subject: RE: BS: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Forsh
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 02:24 PM

I think that this may go deeper than we think, while I certainly like the idea of winging it in a public bar, ( I may Try it!) I doubt that this will be the full answer. It is a bit like a question I often ponder: If you are an Irish/Scottish/Welsh/Cornish Nationalist, that's fine; If you are an English Nationalist, you are a Facist.
Perhaps people are worried to dress/act/sing in the traditional English ways, or take part in anything 'ENGLISH' for fear of upsetting Hook the Moslim Cleric or other minorities. The number of councils who BAN the flying of The Cross of St George, even on the saint's own day, grows by the year, one of the main resons given for this, is that it may cause offence to said minorities; Christ! can you imagine the hoo-ha if we actually celebrated being English by SINGING about it!?
Your thought & responses to these thoughts most welcome.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Joan from Wigan
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 02:50 PM

The last few years I've made a point of organising a folkie night on St George's Day - I do ask performers to try to come with English material, but, as usual, anything goes! But I make sure the pub is decorated with St George's flags etc, and the response has been very positive. Some non-folkies have even made a point of saying that we should celebrate our own national day, and they've enjoyed what we've done. Nobody objects to celebrating St Patrick's Day, after all, so why not St George's? Any excuse for a knees-up, I say...

Joan


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Subject: RE: BS: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Forsh
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 02:59 PM

I agree Joan, but try and put that flag up in some of the 'peoples republics' in London and the West Midlands! You will have to make sure that next years event is well publicised...just to remind me! I would love to come down south (!) to Wigan for a session. (Will it be an all-nighter ? :{D )


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Subject: RE: BS: UK attitudes to folk music
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 06:05 PM

If they try to ban the cross of St George because it will offend the British born black and asian communities then they are saying that despite being born here they are not proper citizens of this country.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK attitudes to folk music
From: GUEST,vectis
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 06:50 PM

My personal opinion is that calling traditional music and song "folk" is part of the problem. I always say I perform traditional music. The normal response from Joe Public is interest because they don't know what 'traditional English Music' is. Folk has gained too many negative connotations through the press etc to be interesting to non-affecionadoes.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK attitudes to folk music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 07:00 PM

I've never heard till now of the English flag of St George being banned anywhere - the Union Jack on occasion, yes, as the flag of an empire rather than of a country.

I know the BNP seems to have taken to using the English flag more these days, but the main associations are still far more with the Church of England and the English football team.

I would be pretty certain that any ban on the flag of St George wouldn't have been done because of any genuine fear that it might offend those English people whose families immigrated to this country more recently than their neighbours; far more likely just it would be politicians playing silly games. And as like as not lily-white politicians.

There are a lot of different cultural traditions in England, and they are all to be welcomed and treasured. Disrespect towards any of them is disrespect to all - and that most definitely includes the native English traditions in all their oddity and variety.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 07:16 PM

That's sometimes the trouble; people who get worked up about such things tend so often to be white middle-class fashion-victims labouring under the misapprehension that they are being sensitive. When a chain of charity shops (allegedly) banned christmas decorations for fear of giving offense (not to atheists, of course, but to adherents of other faiths) representatives of the Islamic community were quick to say that there could have been no question of their being offended, and that they couldn't understand why anyone should imagine that they might be; or why, indeed, anyone should imagine that they might have a right to be offended. Sensitivity is one thing; stupidity is another.

There's always a risk, though, that "national" symbols may be annexed by extremists; the Conservative party has always, when in a corner, tended to "wrap itself in the flag", and the tactics of openly fascist organisations are only too familiar. However unfair or ignorant it may be, there will always be people who fail to understand that these symbols belong to the people (all of them), and not to any particular group. We have to fight not only bigotry, but also facile intellectual laziness: "political correctness" is actually an admirable thing in the hands of those who understand what it's for, but, regrettably, is all too often embraced and administered by idiots.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 09:05 PM

you spelled offence wrong! ;-)


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 04:05 AM

Joan, agreed

RB


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Strupag
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 05:02 AM

j0hn
Do you not mean wrongly?


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: tuggy mac
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 05:06 AM

The next generation are being brought up with no real values on thier heritage,i thing its to do with videos from the states.It seems to me that if there isnt any rap part in the music the kids dont want it.
In the imortal words of bruce willis in the last boy acout if you want to hurt me. play some "rap"


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: tuggy mac
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 05:08 AM

Spot the del spel mizt steaks,you spelling gurus!


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: tuggy mac
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 05:16 AM

Mike harding radio 2 tuesday nights,seems to be the only folk champion for us.I used to listen to radio 1 for years and followed steve wrightpop music when he moved to radio 2.but even he has started playing   CRR..RAP.THIS WILL PROBIBLY PUSH OUT ANY SMALL WINDOW WE COULD USE FOR FOLK.

There is a market for good folk music ,and i for one would welcome a pirate radio station dedicated to world folk, not just english alone.

TUGGY


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Skipper Jack
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 05:36 AM

I think that you will find that Mike Harding's programme is on a Wednesday night from 8.00pm - 9.00pm.

But I am afraid that I am not a fan of his.

I presented a folk music programme on local radio for 19 years. The powers that be decided to scrap it, along with the Jazz music programme and Classical music. However, the Country & Western show is still going strong.

Let's face it - folk music is a minority interest. What chance have we got for its future when kids are brainwashed by the rubbish that seems to dominate TV, radio and discos etc.?

Dave R.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Pied Piper
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 06:53 AM

The problem I have with "English Folk" is that English Traditional music is much more divers than Scottish or Welsh.
To say that the Northumberland tradition and the Cornish tradition have more in common because they're English, than the Northumberland and Scottish traditions, is of cause nonsense.
One of the reasons Scottish and Welsh traditions have a higher profile is basically down to subsidy from National and Local Government, and regional TV.
99.999% of the English arts budget is wasted on "High art" Bollox like Opera, witch still costs an arm and a leg to see.
Maybe if there was some democratic accountability in arts spending things would be different, but there isn't.
The self appointed Oxbridge arts fascists have control on what music your taxes are spent.
Personally I would abolish ALL subsidy of music.
With a level playing field the energy and commitment of traditional musicians would increase it's profile.
How many Orchestras and Opera companies could survive in the real world without signing on?

TTFN
PP


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 08:22 AM

There's a lovely piece in the Guardian today. The reviewer had to go to a concert at which a surprise replacement was Coope Boyes and Simpson. They knocked him over! He thought they were great, wonderful, marvellous...but he couldn't bring himself to say that this was folk music, that you could see/hear them in a club near you. He eventually came out with "post-modern folk music".

Be interesting to hear what Lester has to say when he reads that.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 08:37 AM

And of course the Guardian sub-editor put that review under the4 strapline "Pop". (Here's the review - Coope Boyes and Simpson

Pied Piper is right about regional diversity. (Though I'd take issue with some other points in the post). Roll on regional government and maybe we'll get more of a look in. That would also bring in the factor of local pride against centralisation.

I don't thing the niggling pressure against informal music by powers that be that has been exhaustingly explored in the PEL threads shouldn't be neglected as one reason why folk music of various sorts has found difficulty in establishing a niche for itself. As well as being cheaper, canned music involves fewer legal hassles.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: jacqui.c
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 08:38 AM

In Hertfordshire we have a nimbr of singarounds in pubs in local villages and towns. We do have some interested onlookers but I think that, on the whole, the general culture is against this type of music because it isn't instantly recognisable or it was the type of thing that was drummed into people at school during music lessons. All we can do is keep plugging away and trying to get the children interested in the music as a pleasure and not a chore to be got through in a classroom.

On the St George's day thing maybe we should be looking to arrange sessions wherever possible on the day and publicising them through Mudcat and anywhere else we can think of. How about having a charity theme so that people can see it, not just as a particular genre of music but as a way of raising funds for local charities? I'm sure that local landlords would be interested if it brings in the customers and, let's face it, Folkies and beer have been known to go together on the odd occasion!


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 10:12 AM

I left the paper, folded to the right place, at my wife's spot for breakfast. The word "Pop!" exploded across the room.......

Ah well, if one more convert has been made, it can't hurt.

I would argue that some of the habits of the revival, notably what can be summed up as "finger in the ear", damaged "folk music" in this country. Plus the basic irrelevance of pastoral songs in a town and city culture. I came in with the 60s swell, when folk connected to protest and commercial music in a genuine popular movement. Unfortunately, this then hurt the music when the voting turned against socialist politics.

I do agree that the way the extreme right have taken over the flag of St.George doesn't help any cause that stands up and calls itself "English". Plus the outcry from the Celtic fringe at cultural imperialism. It's OK to be Scottish or Irish or Welsh, but being English is frowned on. Strangely, I think that the growth in use in the English flag at international football matches could actually help: not all football fans are rascist loonies and the more the flag is associated with mainstream "normal" events the less any attached stigma.

Overall, I'm fairly optimistic. There are good signs - there's just been a mystery play in York Cathedral: not exactly folk music but an indication of an increasing interest in traditions. OK, the clubs aren't as common or as full as in the 60s, but there are more festivals. Yes, the audience is ageing but people are living longer. I don't think it actually matters that we don't have commercial superstars in the field, as long as there is continuity. Fashions can change back again. And again.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Forsh
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 12:43 PM

Yeah, maybe I will stay local next St Georges Day, and organize a Traditional Music thing ... hmmm ... could work. By the way, Northumbrian Music/ Folk/Trad wotever, is still going strong, but, alas, nor as strong as it could & should be. The Bridge Hotel Newcastle and Deleval Arms, Seaton Sluice are good uns, and likewise Ashington FC and Bedlington. More have died than have came along to replace them.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 01:16 PM

But it can be argued that Northumbria is only notionally English... The Romans drew the border in a more sensible place when they built the Wall.

Bring back the Heptarchy. I just don't believe that thinking about England as one single cultural entity makes any real sense. Though one of the oddest thing about the current folk-dance scene is the way you have groups performing styles of dancing from the other end of the country, which has nothing whatever to do with the folk tradition in their part of the country.

Border Morris in Kent and so forth. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not really that different from Samba Bands based in the Home Counties. (Which always end up looking more like Molly Dancers to my mind. Tradition will out in spite of everything.)


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: DMcG
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 01:32 PM

I wrote to the Guardian and got this reply:

"Dear Dave,

Many thanks for your email with regards to our classification of reviews.

Although we are aware that the system of classification for live reviews is not ideal, and we know that this broadbrush approach will inevitably mean that some round pegs are squeezed into square holes, we have decided to stick to these musical classifications: pop, jazz, opera, world music and classical.

With best wishes,

Aster Greenhill
on behalf of

Dan Glaister
Arts Editor
The Guardian"

Anyone want to argue that English Folk would be better in the "World Music" category? Or maybe classical!


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 01:48 PM

Interestingly (you may have already seen this news) there was a poll conducted by the Publican (newspaper for pub owners/landlords, etc) that asked about making St. George's day a national holiday. It was prompted by the Guinness PR people who were doing likewise for St. Paddy. Pretty cheeky trying to get St. Pat's Day designated a holiday in England! Anyway, St. George's Day won out by a huge margin. What I found really interesting, however, was that very soon after that another poll asked whether or not St. George should be the English patron saint. He came in a distant third behind St. Alban (runaway winner) and St. Cuthbert.

My favourite view on this topic was expressed by a good friend of mine whose observation makes him--in my opinion--quintessentially English, even though he's Geordie. When asked if he'd be participating in the St. George's day parade he said "I try to avoid those things; full of god botherers and sectarians."


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: bill\sables
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 03:54 PM

As you say St George's day is not celeberated in England, in fact if you asked most English people if they knew the date they would probably have no idea. However in the local pubs near me in Yorkshire, over the past few years, I have run a St Geordie's night with stories, songs music and food from the North East of England (the land of the Geordies) These have gone down very well even in deepest Yorkshire.
I think you have to look at the Millenium celebrations to see the real attitude of the English media controllers. The whole world, that night, showed traditional music and dance from their own countries. What did the English show? The bloddy Spice Girls. Only a couple of months before the New Year 422 the folk band with Sam Pirt, Ian Stephenson, Emily and Sophie Ball and Joey Oliver won the BBC Young Folk Musicians Award. Why then did the BBC not show that trad music was alive and well and in the hands of these fine young musicians, they only needed to show one tune after all.
It seems very strange that we can attend a Folk Music Festival every weekend of the year as well as folk clubs and music sessions every night in all regions but the radio and TV producers don't recognise this fact. They seem to play "pop" all day every day but there are only a handfull of annual "Pop" festivals. There are even less Jazz, Country, and Clasical festivals but they all seem to have media coverage, some even have dedicated radio stations.
At present on TV we have the "Pop Idols" talent programme. some of the kids have very good voices but it is evident that the reason for this programme is for the recording company executives to earn millions of pounds exploiting these kids who will in all probability be on the scrap heap in a couple of years. Perhaps we should put pressure on the TV companies to produce a "Folk Idol" who will sell millions of copies of Wild Rover (Like the Spinners and Clancy Brothers did in the 60's) and put lots of arses on seats in folk clubs


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 03:58 PM

"Perhaps we should put pressure on the TV companies to produce a "Folk Idol..."

For folk's sake no!!


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: alanww
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 07:25 PM

I have celebrated St George's day for many years by doing a "St George and Dragons" Mummers play, most recently at a pub called The George next to the St George's Church in Brailes in Warwickshire. And recently we have performed it following the dancing of two traditional morris side - Ilmington and Adderbury Village Morris Men. What brilliant nights we have had!
But the landlord tells me that he was not able to get an extension to his licence until 12 midnight, even though he had been able to do so for Burns Night and St Patrick's Day. Now is that crazy or is it me being over patriotic?
"And did those feet in ancient times ...!"
Alan


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: tuggy mac
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 07:36 PM

OPERA ? Now whats that all about?


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 07:43 PM

Not a bad browser, Opera.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: DMcG
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 04:43 AM

Given the Guardian's music section listed above ("we have decided to stick to these musical classifications: pop, jazz, opera, world music and classical.") it was interesting to see June Tabor in today's review classified as "folk".


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: GUEST,Crystal
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 04:56 AM

Hang on arn't we supposed to have a Culture minister to help keep our traditions alive by encouraging them in schools and giving grants to folk clubs/ morris teams etc to allow them to carry on?

Sorry I'm obviously getting caught up in an alternative universe, I'd forgotten that what we have is Dr Howell.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 05:05 AM

No, they shifted him - Kim Howells is in charge of screwing up Transport now.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 05:13 AM

McGrath: I believe you are thinking of the Antonine Wall. or you should be. The Northumbrian loss of the Lowlands was the greatest defeat in English history until Hastings.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: smallpiper
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 05:23 AM

No it wasn't as England didn't exist at that time.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 05:32 AM

No, Hadrians. By all rights Northumbria and Lothian ought to be seen as a single country distinct from Englkand or Scotland.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Forsh
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 06:01 AM

And of course, Brewick is in Northumberland, England, and Not in Berwickshire, Scotland! Alan ww: you illustrate my earlier points so well, (No late bar for St Georges day etc). I don't really care WHO our saint is, Cuthbert would be ok by me, as long as we (English) stand in equality with the Irish/Scots etc and HAVE a Day of National Celebration for Some Cultural reason, On Burns Night, the Hagis gets insinerated, So, lets all burn beef & over cook veg in a big way, and build little stne henges all over the place for summer solstice or what ever, In the words of William Connely, 'De Sumthin!' It's NOT about politics or the 'Nation State' but it is about the Nation and the Folk who live here. I love my heritage, I love the history of these islands, I love our folk culture,and I love the Land. F**k the political aspects of Nation, who gives ahoot for that?!


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 06:08 AM

Smallpiper: I see it as the key event that reversed the political expansion of the English (taking the Northumbrians as one of the leading political elements of the English). England as a single state did not exist at that time, true, but English as an identifiable people, with a common language, heritage and similar political organisation, did. It was the loss of Fortrenn and the collapse of Northumbrian control of the Scottish Lowlands that established the current borders, and nationalities (give or take a few miles here-and-there and over a thousand years).

McGrath: I half agree, with qualifications as to the geographical extent. Had the battle gone the other way, perhaps we could have had a Northern England from Lincoln and Cheshire up to the Grampians, including Clydeside. Whether this would have survived as an independent state against the combination of Wessex and Mercia or not is debatable. And later the Danes, the Vikings, etc etc...

I am still drawn by the statement that the term Sassenach was initially applied by the Gaelic-speaking highlanders to the Lowland Scots, who are thus clearly within the English/Anglo-Saxon world.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 06:18 AM

Let's not get too carried away into thinking that English Folk Music equates to Englishness! There are lots of people in England who do not like folk music, mummers plays or morris dancing! Let them celebrate their English heritage in their own way! Go for a curry; Climb Scafell Pike; Worship inside Old Trafford; Whatever!

My point is about the reluctance of the media to accept folk music in England. ANY folk music. The radio programs I was listening to had a great spectrum of different styles and cultures. The Welsh program was not all Welsh music, nor was the Scottish one Scottish or Irish one exclusively Irish!

It would be very nice indeed to have English folk music played but I will happily accept music from around the world. Just as we accept other peoples and cultures into England as well! However let us be just as proud of old English heritage as we are of current culture. Let us look to the future but not at the cost of the past:-)

Cheers

:D


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: smallpiper
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 07:02 AM

Eh Santa? The Romans built the Antonine wall, abandoned it and made the border Hadrians wall - The English did not exist at that time in this country or any other. It wasn't untill after the withdrawal of the legions in 4sumit or other that the Saxons, Jutes and Angles started to arrive here. They devided the country up into various kingdoms, non of which was called England. One of which ran from just outside my window (the River Humber) up to Hadrians wall i.e. Northumbria - these kingdoms eventually after much haking and slashing and other invasions (Vikings)and Normans that this place became England. And I think at the time that the Antonine wall was being built the people here were known as Brittons by the Romans and a whole lot of other things (Parisi, Briganti,Picts, Scots - even these names are roman - god knows what they called themselves but I'll bet it wasn't English).

AS an Irishman I think that The English should celebrate their national day and it grieves me that they belittle their own heritage whilst promoting that of minority cultures. I often think that the limited way Englishness is celebrated is essentially American anyway hence the pop culture thing at the millenium.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 10:58 AM

Smallpiper: I was using the Antonine wall as a geographical marker, which would have been partially visible in Anglo-Saxon times, rather than as a concurrent event. Sorry if this wasn't clear.    However, the area from the Humber to above the Forth was a single (or at least linked tribal) political area even before the arrival of the Angles into Deira/Bernicia. It was apart from the areas to the North and West. England, the land of the Angles, was England before the Vikings and Normans, even if it wasn't a single political organisation. The Northumbrian kingdom at its peak covered the whole of the Scottish lowlands,until the defeat by the Pictish rebels/freedomfighters at Nectansmere/Dunnichen, followed by a collapse to effectively the current borders.

But I suspect I have hijacked this thread...though it does perhaps illustrate the point about no single English identity!


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 11:01 AM

I think that since we're in the European Union we ought to celebrate all the national days of all the member countries. And they should all be holidays.

I agree with Dave about it not just being English folk music that gets sidelined. It's informal and self-made music across the board that is undervalued. I'd like to see a combined push for all the traditions, not some divisive squabble about what's English and what isn't. If it happens in England, it's part of what England is about.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Forsh
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 01:25 PM

|McGrath of Harlow: I agree. Lets Do It!


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 03:00 PM

Smallpiper says:
   "it grieves me that (the English) belittle their own heritage whilst promoting that of minority cultures".
    Quite a few folkies seem to share this grief but I think it is very misplaced and is a divisive attitude. We're all in the same boat here, and I think current support for minority ethnic culture can help provide a chink in the wall, or a toe in the door, that can help English trad music. I have been an obsessive activist for the music for many decades, and I also work very hard for asylum-seeker/refugee and other minority musicians, helping people get instruments, recording opportunities, performance spots at festivals etc etc. I don't regard wearing these two hats as leading to a conflict. Quite the reverse. If I get called to a meeting and asked for contacts for bhangra drummers or a capella African singers for a mulit-cultural fun day in the park, I say"Sure. Glad to help, but if it's going to be really multi-cultural we need some English fiddle and melodeon as well".
   And this approach is starting to work. As devolution has started to bite over the last decade, interest in local vernacular culture from all sectors of the population has started to rise. A softly,softly approach seems to me to be starting to work, and I don't think displaying hostility to the promotion of minority cuktures is likely to lead you anywhere, except perhaps into the arms of the BNP. Much better to applaud it, all music is wonderful, and slyly slip in a request for a bit of clog dancing as well.
    As an example, earlier this year I was asked to sort out the multi-culturaal performers for a Radio 3 "World on your street" event in Stoke. I did so, and a great day was had by all. You can find soundclips on the Radio 3 website (type in "world on your street" and Stoke and that should get you there): and nestling beside some African singing and Kurdish playing you will hear yours truly and the rest of the Boat Band playing the Stoke Hornpipe.
    Support for minority culture is not a problem to more long-standing (in England) trad indigenous musicians: it is a solution opportunity. Not to mention a chance to learn about some wonderful music!


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 04:15 PM

Well put, Greg. I add once more that my whole point was not about English folk music particulary but about the English attitude to folk music! I may have made the point poorly early on in asking why the English cannot accept their musical heritage like our neighbouring countries do. English folk heritage incorporates the traditions of many nations. It is wonderful that we can have Morris alongside Masourka (is that a dance or a greek dish...) and Ballads heard with Bangra.

The more the merrier as far as I am concerned, particulary if it stops the pratts in the press getting their cheap laughs;-)

Cheers

:D


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 04:29 PM

The cheap laughs tend to be tried for in relation to native English folk music, rather than to other traditions. And they don't come from people who are in tune with those traditions either.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: vectis
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 06:59 PM

Going back to the saints argument. Why have we got a foreigner as our patron saint.
St Augustine, St Boniface or the Venerable Bede would have been more fitting. At least they came here.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 07:01 PM

But they'd be no use in a Mummers Play.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: smallpiper
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 07:58 PM

I rather think that the point I was making is that they (the English) prefer to promote selected parts of BRITISH Culture and belittle their (English) own culture - I don't suppose you will find many English themed pubs in Ireland but this place is stuffed with them. Now if we we're talking British culture - I'm all in favour of total integration and promotion but (and I'm in danger of repeating myself here)what is being promoted as English is essentially American pop culture. We don't celebrate St Georges day because that might offend people - but we celebrate St Pat's and Burns night - which is becomming increasingly popular (often without a Scott in sight). And that is great, I also think we should celebrate Ramadan and Dwalli (Sorry about spelling)but at the same time we should be promoting English culture and not this high culture rubbish which is expensive and appeals to a well off minority. Remember I am Irish and it I still think it is a shame that the Engish can't even recognise their own cultural heritage (by and large) and I resent the implication that I am a facist, Mr Stephens!


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 08:32 PM

"We don't celebrate St George's day because that might offend people "

I don't think that's true. I've never seen any reason to think that English people are particularly worried about offending people. If anything they often go too far the other way, as anyone living in a foreign resort patronised by a certain type of English tourist knows only too well.

The reason the English don't celebrate St George's Day is because they never have done so. Insofar as there's been an English national holiday in the past, it was May Day, and alongside that, Guy Fawkes Day. The idea that once upon a time there was a big thing made of St George's, but it's been damped down for fear of upsetting other people is not borne out by the facts. St George came into his own with Mummers Plays, which were never particularly associated with April 23rd.

I'm all for making something of it mind you, St George's and Shakespeare's birth and death day. Can't get more international than that anyway, if that was a relevant issue - St George is patron saint of any number of countries anyway, and Shakespeare is universal.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 11:13 PM

It might be helpful if we were to stop referring to "the English" as if there were one simple, homogenous entity. There is not. Attitudes toward traditional culture are largely class-driven. Tradition has in the first instance tended to be marginalised so that it survived principally among the working classes, while at the same time those same people were taught to aspire, so far as music was concerned, instead to the bourgeois art music model, based largely upon fashionable foreign styles; and to despise their own culture as clumsy yokel stuff, fit only for those who didn't want to get on in the world. The targets for aspiration have changed, but the underlying principle remains the same. The ordinary working people of England were never the masters of an empire; they were that empire's first colony, and its first victims.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: LadyJean
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 11:34 PM

In their album notes for "Spencer the Rover is Alive and Well and Living In Ithaca New York", John Roberts and Tony Barand wrote of "The Jolly Poacher". "This is the sort of song you learn in grammar school, and think is corny and crummy. Then you realize it's the grammar school that's corny and crummy." That same album includes "Shine Your Buttons With Brasso", which English children also sing in grammar school.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: greg stephens
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 02:31 AM

Smallpiper: I didnt suggest you were a fascist at all, as I'm sure you know. But resentment of support given to minority cultures is a particular area the BNP likes to latch on to. as I am particularly aware of as I work in a city which has a tiny percentage of asylum-seeekers and also a tiny percentage of BNP activists looking for grievances to latch on to and stir up. Phrases like yours about "grief" for " support for minority cultures" is just the sort of stuff they love.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 03:56 AM

One key point just flipped past there - the English did celebrate Mayday, well into the lifespan of those on this board. With exactly the kind of folk dance etc whose absence we lament. Perhaps if we hung the politician who banned it we would be on the way to restoring tradition?


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 04:10 AM

Perhaps we should also hang the politician (while we still can, but can we please torture her first, as she tortured us?) who prevented Mayday as such being an English bank holiday, and gave us the spring bank holiday instead because mayday was associated with socialism.

But Malcolm Douglas you are rather right. Conversely, the idea that all folk musicians went to grammar school is rather alarming.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 04:11 AM

To quote Flanders and Swann "Whenever we do something good it's 'Another triumph for Great Britain' but when we do something bad it's 'England lose again'"
Anybody watching the programme on BBC2 on a Tuesday night at 7-30pm - The Nation on Film? A great series of programmes about the rise and fall of things like Railways, Fishing, Cotton, Mining etc. BUT it's crying out to have snatches of songs in the background to illustrate them with. Are TV producers not aware of our industrial musical heritage?


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: GUEST,KB
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 04:40 AM

Omlit (aka Amoret / Hammerite) goes to grammar school & is a folkie. And I went to grammar school AND sang Shine Your Buttons With Brasso.

Anyway - back to the point - I think attitudes to folk are changing lately. When I talk to non-folkies about folk music & singing they are usually interested & often keen to give it a try. Most people like the idea of real live music, and the "tankards beards & cardigans" image seems to have faded. Sometimes I use the word "traditional" instead of "folk" though, just in case :>)

Kris


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Jim McLean
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 04:56 AM

Why is there a BBC Radio Scotland, a BBC Radio Wales and a BBC Radio Ulster but no BBC Radio England?


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 04:58 AM

"...........gave us the spring bank holiday instead because mayday was associated with socialism."

Whilst I agree, Richard, that that was the logic behind her decisison; she and her cronies totally ignored, or most likely didn't realise, the fact that the celebration of mayday as a workers day pre dates modern socialism by centuries. Even the Catholic Church (hardly a hotbed of socialism) has May 1 as the feastday of St Joseph The Worker.

Still you couldn't expect that lot to let a knowledge of our own history get in the way of political necessity, eh? I don't see much chance of the current government changing things.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: smallpiper
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 05:01 AM

Point taken Greg. All resentment evaporated.

Perhaps, rather than English we should be talking about Anglosaxon? would that be more or an identifiable ethnicity? Just a thought.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Forsh
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 05:20 AM

Anglo Saxon? Nope, Anglo-pict or Anglo-Celtic up here in the North!
May Day Holiday? Let us ask our politicians for it back.
Why no Radio England? well, I refer you to my earlier points, To promote Englishness is almost seen as Facism.
"The ordinary working people of England were never the masters of an empire; they were that empire's first colony, and its first victims."
Briliant! I may use that in my Degree Studies!
On a serious note, maybe the average English Working Class Person has been exposed to the 'wrong sort of folk/Trad music' at school; I know this will upset some, however, I have always found that singing many of the 'Huntin Shootin Fishin, yoiks & tally -ho type songs at school, (No Aprentices song nor workers songs)left me feeling rather like I was a class traitor, perpetuating the Master/peasent attitude. Of course, as I am a little older & wiser now, I can deal with this, but as a young man, and well into my late 20s, I came to loath these songs "Jackie Boy..? yeah? sing ye well? What? Hey down..
SOD OFF!


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: greg stephens
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 06:10 AM

Folksongs in schools were a total turn-off. The keeper did a hunting go and Strawberry Fair did nothing for me, in fact they were seriously counterproductive. It was the folkclubs in the "bliss was it in that dawn" 60's that turned me on.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: GUEST,Crystal
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 06:34 AM

Surely the television companies have to produce a certain number of programming hours of cultural stuff.
Although I sometimes wonder why we can't try to combine cultural things. For example a friend of mine plays Scottish music on a sitar. Apparently he's tried playing indian music on the bagpipes but it dosn't work very well!


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 06:44 AM

"tankards, beards & cardigans" image seems to have faded"

That may arguably be true - but of course if anybody who was out off by it decides to get back into the folk scene in the British Isles, they are rapidly going to find tankards and beards all over the place.

Would you want to pass the time of day with anybody who allowed their taste in music to be determined by that kind of triviality?


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 07:15 AM

Beer tastes better out of pewter!


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: GUEST,Crystal
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 07:26 AM

Beer tastes nasty, no matter how it is drunk!


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: greg stephens
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 07:29 AM

Most of this thread laments the fact that "they" arent interested in trad English culture..."they" being the general public, or the TV, or government supported funding bodies etc etc. But how about "we". Just how interested in Englisg trad are folk club organisers, for example? Or audiences? I play in a band that does English traditional music, and the number of folk clubs that have booked us in the last year is(give a minute with the calculator)...one. Now you're at liberty to say, tha's because you're crap, but I dont think that is really the answer. Because we work loads in Ireland, where you get pretty discerning audiences, and people love the English stuff we p[ay, and come and talk to us about it and play tunes with us and buy us Guiness and so forth.   
    And I'm singling out English folk CLUBS here, which you would think would be the very core of interest in English traditional music. Festivals are a bit different: plenty of people turn up if we run a northern english tune workshop or whatever at a festival, and learn tunes and talk about them. But the average folk club has no interest at all in what we play. Some say it is because they have all been taken over by song-writers, I dont really know, my experience is currently very limited. Any thoughts?


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 07:30 AM

NO IT DOESN'T!


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: GUEST,different guest
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 08:01 AM

I'm going to post this anonymously, 'cos I don't want to lose too much folkcred.

A few years ago I stayed in on a Saturday night and watched the Eurovision Song Contest. The first few songs were all recognisable musically (i.e. ignoring the words) as coming from their own countries - the Spanish and Portuguese songs sounded Iberian, the Cyprus and Greek entries sounded Greek.

Then came the British 'song' - a piece of sub-disco pap delivered by a prancing Australian bimbette. I really thought that the BBC were actually trying to make our country look bad. Then I remembered that the British viewers had actually chosen the thing as our entry.

Why can't people who sing in mid-atlantic accents go and do it in the mid-atlantic ?


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Santa
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 08:07 AM

Greg: There's an obvious risk here of over-generalising, but from my limited experience I'd say that music players have gone off to their own sessions rather than playing in the folk clubs, so that clubs have become more of a place for singers. Not necessarily singer-songwriters, there's a lot of traditional material sung around, but the music takes second place to the song. And the audience that remains are those who prefer it that way, building in a bias so that organisers avoid booking pure musicians (as opposed to stars such as Fitzpatrick and Laycock, who are musically second to none but don't generally do pure music gigs).

However, maybe it looks different in other parts of the country, or even other clubs locally than the one I go to.

Personally, as a non-dancing non-musician, there are only so many rigs and jeels I can take in one evening.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: jacqui.c
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 08:17 AM

The singarounds that I go to feature quite a diverse range of music. I have tried to concentrate on the English folk songs for the most part, as does Keith A, who specialises in shanties and marching songs on the whole. I think the problem is that the Irish and Scottish songs tend to be better known in general and therefore more popular. Mind you, I would agree with the suggestion that a lot of those songs were of English origin and were nicked by the other lot!

I think that it's up to us to try and make the music interesting to the general public. Singarounds in pubs mean that you may get a wider audience and maybe can be influential in bringing other people into a better appreciation of the traditional music. If we make it fun, and don't treat the music as too much of a serious thing (fingers in the ear can come to mind here!)then maybe there will be a change in attitude. Anyone who has heard Mr McGrath sing his own songs will know what I mean!


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: VIN
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 08:34 AM

Can't be doin with this music war that some people seem to get into i.e. opera versus pop versus classical versus folk etc. If you think opera or 'classical' music is crap, fair enough, its a personal opinion. For me, well i went to a crackin Kate Rusby gig last Friday and even more crackin (as usual) Roy Harper gig the following night and i'll be at he BBC phil on satday listening to Mahler 3. I reckon
the reason folk music is under-promoted so much in England (especially) is because of the predomenently upper-class, profi-motivated attitudes still embedded in our society and folk, like blues and jazz is classed by the media moguls as a 'minority' taste which is their way of saying there's not enough bloody profit in it!! Although there's some brill performers on the 'folk' circuit - professional and amateur - they can't be packaged, super-sold and exploited quite the same way as the 'pop' industry is (thank god). You only have to take a look at the unmitigated garbage classed as entertainment that's thrown out by the tv channels ('specially at w/ends) to see what 'their' priorities are!

As Roy once said...'If all of this super-sale overkill world is for real, there's no way to go kid, so you might as well start to free wheel'


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 09:57 AM

We will book you Greg. Might give you a chance to find your version of the Swinton May Song for me;-) (It was you wasn't it?)

Just ring me on 0161 737 5069. Deal is we give you what we take on the door. We usualy charge £2.50 admission and get > 20 people in so that is erm, erm... take my socks off... £50!

Not guaranteed I'm afraid but it could be lots more if you bring a following. You could also talk us into charging more for the night if you are good:-)

Cheers

Dave the Gnome
(Serious BTW)


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 11:57 AM

Couple of good points well made, Vin. I am not convinced of the money aspect though. Neither classical music nor jazz could really be called 'majority tastes' yet they both warrant their own radio stations! Jazz FM and Classic FM are commercialy funded so surely, if the advertisers see the potential in both of these, why not in folk music?

The other point, made before, is that classical music is ofteen classed as intelectual or highbrow. I am not saying whether it is or is not. Or even if that is a good or bad thing! Just that because it is seen as such people are much more willing to fund it. Jazz, to a certain extent, benefits from the same conceptions. A touch of the kings new clothes perhaps?

It is up to us, the ordinary people, the proletariat, the unwashed masses to show the funding bodies that there are alternatives, very good ones at that, to Beethoven, Bizet and Brubeck! We do want more than go to the pub, get drunk and listen to pasteurised pop karaoke crap.

Cheers

:D


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 11:58 AM

Mind you, on a re-read, the first two out of three in the last sentance don't sound too bad to me...;-)

DtG


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Forsh
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 01:23 PM

OK, Enough of the Talkin, how about some action? Get on line, and EVERYONE mind you, should start mailing BBC TV & Radio stations, programmers, etc and also the culture/heritage ministry, lets make it a pain in the ass for them not to do something for Folk & Traditional Music, Identify your targets, mail them, and fwd your mail to 2 friends asking them to send it to BBCTV Radio etc etc and to 1 or 2 friends, then send the E mail to the original recipients over & over every day! Bug the Sh*t outa them Who's up for IT?


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: greg stephens
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 02:18 PM

Santa: we actually tend to play mostly songs at listening gigs. Maybe you saw us at a dance? I admit our latest CD consists of Cumbrian tunes, but that's not the sum total of our repertoire.
Dave the Gnome: we'll take you up on that. Expect a PM from any second.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: bazza
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 03:00 PM

I was decorating an empty flat in London a few years ago and staying there for the week I took along my concertina as usual ,I was playing English trad tunes when a knock came on the door ,I thought some one complaining of the noise ,I answered the door and a buiseness man was standind there I said sorry about the noise Ill shut up to which he replied no please dont I really like the music what sort of music is it I said Enlish traditional music ,He was completely unaware that there was any ,I would hardley of Known myself if I had not gone into a folk club in the 60,s if people dont hear it they will never no ,What do we do to make it more broadcast to the public?Mike Harding is not the answer.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: treewind
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 03:02 PM

If anyone wants to write to the BBC they should be complaining specifically about the sudden axeing of Pete Jennings' folk programme on Radio Suffolk in Ipswich, this summer. I know there are well publicised (here on MC) instances of new local radio folk progs but it's not much use if they just cut them out elsewhere. If ever there was a topic for local radio, it was folk music.

Greg - I agree that bands don't often get booking at folk clubs. Maybe that's because many clubs are really small and can't afford to pay a band a decent rate; also as someone suggested if you are more dance oriented the typical singer audience will be less interested. I've seen the Bismarcks do a folk club gig (their very first, in fact) but recently Ed Rennie (from that band) has been doing gigs solo. I'm not surprised, frankly.

In Ireland it's different. Everybody is totally used to the idea of live music and they absolutely don't care whether it's Irish or English or even bad C&W as long as they're having fun. Not that they have no discrimination, just no hangups about not doing this or that because is isn't "cool".

Actually I've seen some sessions recently, including a newly instituted one at the request of the pub landlord, where the non-participants have really enjoyed the music and said so, and even if they don't really know what it is they like it. I wonder if overexposure to bland commercial pop is finally causing a backlash and a desire for something a bit more earthy and real?

Anahata
(living in hope)


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 03:13 PM

Er - if you think that "Jackie Boy" etc is about the upper class you have not been listening. It's about the joys of fornication. Quite surprised they let you listen to it at school. Certainly my wife vetoed teaching it to our daughter when at the age of 8 she first started singing in clubs. Later she also vetoed the Victorian music Hall Ballad "Puss Puss" on somewhat similar grounds, but that is another story.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 03:27 PM

Of course it still might be upper class fornication. The gentry do go in for that class of thing, it be said.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 04:30 PM

I don't think you can separate attitudes to English traditional music from class issues and the question of national identity. Whenever politicians try to define 'English' identity they seem to manage to exclude me. I think of myself as working class, lancashire, english in that order. (leaving aside the human, socialist, world citizen for the moment which is in my case learned rather than bred in). I think that the distaste for folk music in the English establishment is class based and when you look at their definitions of Englishness they always seem to include elements that constitute a middle class lifestyle.

The last thing these people want is to reunite the English working class with their oral history of riots, strikes and rebellion or even sexuality - hence the anodyne, bowdlerised versions of songs sung in schools. The Irish establishment in particular have a greater interest in encouraging this side of their working class history because it is appropriated as 'Irish' and used for nationalist purposes


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: vectis
Date: 24 Sep 03 - 05:25 PM

Greg... PM on way re booking.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Forsh
Date: 25 Sep 03 - 02:15 PM

Richard Bridge: Thanks for the folk lore lesson. That was one of the few we learned in school, I have heard the first line as 'the Keeper did a-hunting go' and also 'the keeper did a-wooing go' Also amongst the horrors of school I would list green-sleves and dance to your daddy. This was back in the early 60s when at infant school, we had a weekly sit round the radio session with BBC schools and suffered the stigma of getting the triangle (if you dunno what I meen, I'm sure you will figure it out!)


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Sep 03 - 07:33 PM

What would help would be if schools made a point of telling pupils why these songs are so obscene, and how they were striuctly forbidden from singing them.

At school assembly the head, red with fury and embarassment, would tell the school that there had been complaints from members of the public about pupils singing "The Keeper" and "Whip Jamboree" at the back of the bus.

That's the way to get street cred for the songs.

I say "Whip Jamboree", because I was clearing up some stuff in the attack, and found a BBC song book for schools from way way back, and it had "Whip Jamboree" in it, a fairly raw version.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: VIN
Date: 26 Sep 03 - 06:37 AM

Some good points Dave the gnome 'specially about jazz & classic fm and also the other contributors. Yeah p'raps its time for a folk fm (i'd even tolerate the adverts!).

Treewind, I attend an open session on Monday nights near where i live where a regular group of musicians sit in a corner and play/sing mostly to everyone's enjoyment...the landlord even lets em av one free drink each!

Unwashed masses Dave? Ere, i 'ad a bath last night, honest...........(might av anuver one next year!!)


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: greg stephens
Date: 26 Sep 03 - 12:14 PM

McGrath: v sorry to hear about the attack, I hope nobody was injured. Be that George Bush, I suppose, trying to stop you marching all the time.


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: izzy
Date: 26 Sep 03 - 03:11 PM

McG, the website lives! I found the pages again on my sitebuilder and the site is now at this address

Hopefully it will stay there this time! For anyone who didn't see the "Ashamed or Proud to be English" thread, this is a site devoted to a small magazine that investigates English culture and identity. Have a look if you're interested...

:)

Isabel Taylor


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: GUEST,Crystal
Date: 27 Sep 03 - 08:38 AM

Actually A friend of mine is drafting an idea I had into a proposal for the BBC. It's a television program about morris dance, it's history, importance and how its done now. If people do write to the BBC complaining that there is not enough airtime devoted to the culture and traditions of England then it might make them more disposed to consider our proposal (and maybe follow it up with another program! I can hope at least).
hmmmm I'll have to make myself a list of plausable aliases!


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Subject: RE: UK attitudes to folk music
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 11 Sep 04 - 11:20 PM


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