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What is wrong with being a purist?

chris nightbird childs 26 Jan 05 - 09:43 PM
Malcolm Douglas 26 Jan 05 - 09:37 PM
Bill D 26 Jan 05 - 09:36 PM
Big Al Whittle 26 Jan 05 - 09:29 PM
GUEST 26 Jan 05 - 09:19 PM
Amos 26 Jan 05 - 09:09 PM
Teresa 26 Jan 05 - 09:06 PM
Joe Offer 26 Jan 05 - 08:55 PM
Amos 26 Jan 05 - 08:14 PM
nager 26 Jan 05 - 08:13 PM
Pat Cooksey 26 Jan 05 - 08:13 PM
Susan of DT 26 Jan 05 - 07:33 PM
nager 26 Jan 05 - 07:13 PM
chris nightbird childs 26 Jan 05 - 07:05 PM
GUEST,Sidewinder 26 Jan 05 - 06:55 PM
Teresa 26 Jan 05 - 06:55 PM
PoppaGator 26 Jan 05 - 06:53 PM
Bill D 26 Jan 05 - 06:53 PM
RobbieWilson 26 Jan 05 - 06:49 PM
GUEST,Paranoid Android 26 Jan 05 - 06:42 PM
Peace 26 Jan 05 - 06:36 PM
hilda fish 26 Jan 05 - 06:30 PM
Leadfingers 26 Jan 05 - 06:30 PM
Bill D 26 Jan 05 - 06:22 PM
Joe Offer 26 Jan 05 - 06:21 PM
Stilly River Sage 26 Jan 05 - 06:07 PM
Stilly River Sage 26 Jan 05 - 06:03 PM
GUEST,Frank 26 Jan 05 - 05:59 PM
John C. 26 Jan 05 - 05:43 PM
Big Mick 26 Jan 05 - 05:39 PM
DonMeixner 26 Jan 05 - 05:35 PM
chris nightbird childs 26 Jan 05 - 05:15 PM
Richard Bridge 26 Jan 05 - 05:12 PM
Amos 26 Jan 05 - 05:09 PM
Cluin 26 Jan 05 - 05:07 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 26 Jan 05 - 05:04 PM
Clinton Hammond 26 Jan 05 - 05:02 PM
Peace 26 Jan 05 - 04:52 PM
chris nightbird childs 26 Jan 05 - 04:50 PM
M.Ted 26 Jan 05 - 04:49 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 26 Jan 05 - 04:45 PM
Clinton Hammond 26 Jan 05 - 04:43 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 26 Jan 05 - 04:38 PM
chris nightbird childs 26 Jan 05 - 04:36 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 26 Jan 05 - 04:36 PM
Clinton Hammond 26 Jan 05 - 04:34 PM
chris nightbird childs 26 Jan 05 - 04:34 PM
Clinton Hammond 26 Jan 05 - 04:32 PM
Big Mick 26 Jan 05 - 04:30 PM
chris nightbird childs 26 Jan 05 - 04:29 PM
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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 09:43 PM

That's actually a scary thing! Not that I disagree with anything you just said Malcolm, but if one can go into a "folk" club or a pub, play Gary Numan and have it pass as "folk" because of the way it sounds, Purists and Modernists alike are in TROUBLE...


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 09:37 PM

"Purists", like the "folk police", are really just invented excuses (except perhaps for bluegrass; I don't doubt that Martin is right about that, but he shouldn't try to apply it to the UK situation, about which he obviously knows nothing). Play inappropriate music in the wrong place; you may get a bad (or unimpressed) reaction. Whose fault is that? Theirs, for not recognising your obvious genius? Or yours, for imagining yourself more important than your audience?

Discussions of this sort (we've had a great many) generally pre-suppose that there really are "purists" all over the place who tell you what you must do. I've been playing 30-odd years, and I've only ever met two (Irish fiddle players. One of them was a Yorkshireman, but he did have an inherited Irish surname). Everybody else has just taken the music as it came, and liked it -or not- according to its merits. I've played songs by Gary Numan in "traditional" clubs. Nobody batted an eyelid, because I played them in a style they felt comfortable with.

That's the whole point. Don't alienate a potential audience by being confrontational. It may make you feel important at the time, but you won't get asked back; and it'll be your fault, not theirs.

There will be people round here who imagine that I am a "purist" because I like people to tell the truth, and credit their sources properly. They'd be wrong. It's important to know what you're talking about; I've only ever been challenged in a hostile fashion by people who knew less about the subject than I did. Those who knew more than I did just gave me good advice; which I took.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 09:36 PM

"Still aint heard a horse sing yet."

piffle!...and again I say..piffle!...I am getting so tired of the "horse singing" remark. It was 'cute' for about 20 minutes, but it adds NOTHING to the understanding.

"Folk music is music folk make, old or new doesn't come in to it."

and that sort of tautological definition is one of the main reasons we make no progress in these debates. Old or new is not ALL there is to it, but the term "folk music" was originally meant to describe a certain general type of music, **one** of whose characteristics WAS that it tended to be older! Using it to refer widely to "any kind of music that gets done that ain't exactly Grand Opera or Dixieland jazz" is not only being lazy, it is contributing to musical hash! (and why, then, is Dixieland NOT folk music?)

If someone offers you a 'traditional' meal, and you find out it is hamburger mixed with pine nuts and rutabaga, covered with sauerkraut and jalepenos, and served on a bagel..(all VERY traditional food, in their way), you'd maybe be willing to listen to some discussion of why we bother with categories in food, as well as music.

If you have any preferences in music at all...if you know that there are ANY sorts that you even 'tend' to avoid or seek out, then you DO use categories and definitions. "Folk" gets misused because the term is used equivocally. You simply are not using 'folk' in the same way it was intended when it was a new way to refer to music from traditional sources. Then, after 'folk' was corrupted because it sounded so useful, we tried using 'traditional', but now some of those who got their first dose in the 60s want to call Dylan and Baez and, Lord help us, "The Kingston Trio", traditional!......and again, I repeat..piffle!

Just what am I supposed to use to convey that 'difference' between Sara Cleveland and Jeannie Robertson on the one hand, and Joan Baez and Kate Wolf on the other?...I can happily listen to either Joan or Kate at times, but it ain't folk! Some it has 'folk roots' of sorts, but one is an 'popularizer' and the other is/was a songwriter...and both did not exemplify what 'folk' was meant to convey when it was coined.

I am QUITE aware I have lost the battle to keep the language from being shifted until it is so vague, it means almost nothing now....but I can still identify (and you could too, if you bothered) a list of a dozen or more things that explain why certain music and musicians just 'feel' different than what is currently the rage.

(I see 'singing horses' have set me off again....it happens once a year or so. You may all go back to your declaiming that "it's all just music" now.)


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 09:29 PM

Whats wrong with being an English folk music purist?

Let me count the ways.....

First of all it was attitude of intolerant traditionalists that broke up the folk music movement in this country and took it from being a mass movement in the 60's with three or four folk clubs in every major town to te pitiable state we have now - this was achieved with a mixture of rudeness to artists they didn't approve of and making ridiculous demands of attention on totally unsuitable audiences (fifteen minute ballads to half pissed college kids).

This had the spin off effect of making it bloody nigh impossible to make a living for professional musicians and from the time of Will Kemp and possibly before , its the pros who give the rest of us something to aim for.

Thirdly by adopting the tones of some idiot offspring of walter Gabriel you disenfranchrise the English people of their culture. Because most people just hear it and switch the heavily subsidised crap off. Whereas most kids in my day knew a goodly part of the Sharp collection from Singing together on the radio at school, the present much favoured style of delivery only serves to alienate most people who are not in the know about your obscure ideas.

I could go on, but what's the use......


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 09:19 PM

El Greko, just to point out "Chicken on a Raft" is a Cyril Tawney song. Jeweze, us purists eh?


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Amos
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 09:09 PM

Concur, Teresa.    The tricky part is keeping the past forms and sound salive until they are in demand.

Like femininity itself -- keeping it alive when the fads are agin it may be tricky but it is vital to the future.

A


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Teresa
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 09:06 PM

I truly believe the music won't die; it will just change. The popularity will be cyclical ... you never know: wait a year or ten and it'll be on the radio again. :)

Teresa


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 08:55 PM

I can go to Tower Records and not buy a thing nowadays, so Susan may have a point. But CAMSCO Records is gong to bankrupt me. Dick Greenhaus seems to find all sorts of traditional stuff I can't resist.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Amos
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 08:14 PM

Fine point, too, Susan.

A


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: nager
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 08:13 PM

I don't agree that it has been driven almost to extinction.
There's still plenty of people doing it and there's nothing wrong with it at all, quite the opposite.
Perhaps it's just fewer and fewer people want to hear it that way.
I sing and play lots of different tunes and songs in the true folk tradition, ie changing words, tunes, tempo, keys etc to suit.
Isn't this a folk tradition or process.
Some of these are new songs and some very very old.
Some old tunes and songs I have reworked probably a dozen times over the years.
Just because someone sung it a particular way in 1925 does not mean that is THE way to sing it forever more.
I wonder what it sounded like before 1925?
Compare some of the real early bluesmen's versions of the same songs. Which one is the traditional or definitive one?


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Pat Cooksey
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 08:13 PM

Nothing at all wrong with being a purist, however I beleive this narrow vision of folk music contributed in no small measure to the demise of English folk music as a popular culture.
I visit England fairly regularly, and see at first hand the declining numbers at folk clubs, whils't here in Germany I have no problem filling big halls.
I am no purist but some of my songs, as they say have gone into the tradition of my homeland, Ireland.
The English tradition provided some of the best songs I sing, and I respect this tradition as such, but if English folk music remains static it will eventually die.
We can all pick fault with the young, and the new, in our music, I have C.D.'s of Kate Rusby, Eliza Carthy,Cara Dillon, Show of Hands, etc, and enjoy them all, surely this diversity makes folk music the special thing it is.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 07:33 PM

The biggest problem with being a "purist" is that you find less and less to listen to. Popularized folk has driven traditional folk almost to extinction.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: nager
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 07:13 PM

PURISM: scrupulous or excessive observance of, or insistence on, purity in language, style etc ...

You can't be serious when you seek this with folk music, blues etc.. traditional or contemporary.

These are breathing, living and changing forms of music.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 07:05 PM

That's just what I said... ; )


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: GUEST,Sidewinder
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 06:55 PM

It is all a matter of personal taste, nothing more-nothing less.I really need for you to define your interpretation of "purist" in more specific terms. As I am; at a loss, after reading most of the other postings I believe just about every individual involved could, to some degree, be categorised as a purist.I love music - be it classical to current chart music (in small doses) and lots in between and I have been told that I am a purist because of my devotion to The Beatles etc.But as I say; I love and buy lots of varied music. It seems to me to come from a desire to belong to a social group, or used by others to exclude from their clique, or simply to label individuals as a means to make others feel superior or more comfortable within social groupings. There is no shame in being called a purist it signifies a commitment to the cause beyond and above the call of duty and wearing your badge with pride in a world of 5 minute wonders and fickle fashions you stay true and unwavering.

Keep The Faith.

Sidewinder.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Teresa
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 06:55 PM

The dismissive attitude I've seen towards punk music has reminded me to be careful of my own prejudices. :)

Just Google "Jello Biafra" sometime and you'll see he has nothing to do with right-wing or nihilistic ideas.

But that's a digression. One of my favorite concert sets is when John mcCutcheon lets loose with a bunch of rock songs from the sixties. The whole audience is pounding the floor, singing at the top of their voices. :)

Teresa


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 06:53 PM

Whichever "tradition" one prefers, it generally consists of selection of the best-remembered songs, the ones that have emerged from among many other long-forgotten songs and survived to the present day.

Newly-composed songs are something else entirely, regardless of how skillfully they may have been composed to conform to the style of a given tradition. Most of them ~ even most of the works of the very best songwriters ~ will *not* survive. The vaunted "folk process" is not only a means by which songs constantly evolve and change; it's also a winnowing-out process ensuring another aspect of evolution, survival of the fittest songs

Whether the tradition you prefer is that of English ballads or that of, say, the "great American songbook" pop standards, you can draw upon a proven repertoire that has stood the test of time.

All due respect to those of you who find your creative outlet in songwriting, I feel a degree of empathy with those "elitists" who prefer the tried-and-true to the new-and-unproven. There are already so many wonderful songs to be sung (and to be kept alive) ~ new songs are not always preferable.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 06:53 PM

"Are we presuming that the word 'purist' has a value judgement implied? "
well, we shouldn't...except for valuing clarity of definition.

I certainly don't mean to claim that old music is 'better', only that I especially LIKE some of it and wish I could more easily find it in relatively less 'processed' form..(yes, yes, I KNOW that it all gets 'folk processed'...I just wish the processor were not set on 'puree'.)


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 06:49 PM

I have to disagree with the opening post in this thread in almost every part of what it said. I would not describe myself as a purist
but this does not make your chosen pejoritive "Anything Goes Brigade" applies to me, or to almost anyone I know in the many English and Scottish clubs, pubs, sesssions and festivals I regularly attend.

Nor does it apply to the performers I choose to pay to see. To take just one example Pete Morton: The only one I know who can sing any of the old, really long ballads like Tam Lin, or Gay Goshawk and keep a whole audience hanging on every word but who also writes good songs; like "Another Train" or "Battle of Trafalgar"(about a pub, not a battle.

What about Waterson Carthy? AGB or Pure? Show of Hands? AGB or Pure?

Still aint heard a horse sing yet. Folk music is music folk make, old or new doesn't come in to it. Every traditional song was new once and existed in a sea of crap contemporary music in its day. The only thing is that the great songs survive, changing as they go perhaps, but they are passed on because people like them. For the tradition to stay alive the process of writing and passing on must continue and the whole point of live music is that, even if it is familiar, it is live and different every time. If you want to hear songs the same every time get a CD and stay at home.

None of the old songs sung now in folk clubs, even by people who would style themselves purists, are sung in anything like the many different styles they were sung in 100 years ago. Last evening (Burns night)at my house eight friends listened to recordings of 200 year old songs and poems recorded over a span of around 80 years in a great variety of styles. Was this traditional?

The first problem for me with the concept of purists is pure what?
Living music can't be pure anything because it is always the product of a range of elements.

The second problem is that I get the uneasy feeling that rather than being about other people using "purist" pejoratively the point of this thread is you feel that "purists" are superior to everyone else, who you describe as AGB's.

I have music I like and stuff I dont like. It doesn't make me better than you, just different and it is the fact that we are each different which makes life, and its reflection in music worth living.
love Robbie


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: GUEST,Paranoid Android
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 06:42 PM

Did you ever go to a session where you heard a brilliant uileann piper playing and you appreciated the tune. Then he plays another and another and another...and another.. and nobody else gets a look in and what started as sweet music ends up assailing your ears like a wailing cat. Is that piper a purist or a f***ing nuisance?


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Peace
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 06:36 PM

Well said, BillD. Good thread this one.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: hilda fish
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 06:30 PM

Are purists those who have both interest/passion AND expertise in a particular area. I'm purist in my areas of expertise because I know the subjects inside out including the history, and I love where they come from and what they are. I'm paid to know and I'm relied on to know. Because of my intimate knowledge, I get a bit upset when history or identity or whatever is denied in re-interpretation. Also I know that whatever anyone else does with anything is up to them and their imagination and creativity. History like identity, doesn't stop - it continues as does everything else. Doesn't include or preclude anything else at all. Are we presuming that the word 'purist' has a value judgement implied? Given that, it seems also that there are very many open minds here. Love it!


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 06:30 PM

Interesting that this thread was started by a Brit and most of the comment is from Americans ! John - I qualify as 'Anything Goes' but do not conform to the definition given up there , as I play a number of instruments both instrumentally and as song accompaniment . I also sing unaccompanied traditonal songs and play dep in a Cheilidh band !
I have also been told by a 'Purist' club organiser 'This is a traditional club - you cant bring THAT in here!' Pointing very disdainfully at my guitar case . Folk Music is NOT an Exclusive music
form and OUGHT to be as inclusive as most of my local clubs are .


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 06:22 PM

well, John C., I can tell you that this subject has been one of the most hotly debated since Mudcat started 8+ years ago...I know...I started some of 'em! I was the resident 'purist' for quite awhile, and I have 'almost' given up saying anything because people tend not to hear what you are actually saying about 'folk' and 'traditional' and 'purist' issues, and instead go off relating THEIR particular notion of what the words mean.

I have spent many a weary hour trying to explain that:

1) I am not telling anyone what to like, or what music is good or bad.
2) The definitions of 'folk' and traditional need to have a consistent meaning, or they mean nothing.
3) There ARE people like you & me, John C., who want some way to identify that older, non-commercial flavor of music when we have a notion to buy a CD or attend a concert. If it says "folk" and it turns out to be a *gasp* singer/songwriter with an acoustic guitar and NO sense of perspective on the whole genré, I am pretty frustrated.

I do like some S/S music...and I do know that Bob Dylan wrote a few memorable songs...as did Kate Wolf and Bruce Phillips and (over there) Harvey Andrews..etc...but there IS a difference, and those who try to suggest that it's all "just music" really are missing the point!

Nope, John, it's NOT unreasonable to expect to hear some 'real' folk when you go to a 'folk' club, but sadly, the word has been co-opted because it's so durned short & convenient, and you now have to conduct an inquisition of the management and performers to have any idea whether they know, or even care, whether the music style to be presented includes anything resembling what the Copper Family sang, or whether they understand how that differs from what Kate Rusby or Lonnie Donegan or Harvey Andrews sing!

I will now sit back and read MORE posts making fun of my attempt to keep one tiny corner of the musical map clear for us old 'purists' to sit with our Victrolas and listen to the Carter Family or Walter Pardon style of music.

Bill D.--occasional folk facist and purist...who knows LOTS of other stuff too, but also knows the difference!


oh...by the way..*grin*


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 06:21 PM

When I came here to Mudcat in early 1997, I knew most of the songs of Peter, Paul, and Mary; of Simon & Garfunkel; the Kingston Trio, and some of those other folkies and pseudo-folkies of the 1960's. I also knew hundreds of the songs in the Rise Up Singing Songbook. As time has gone on, I've learned a lot about real traditional music, and it has become my preference. I'm still in the learning stage when it comes to performing traditional songs, and I don't sing them with the confidence and ability that I have with the songs I've known for years.

I was really nervous about this when I first ventured to gatherings of the San Francisco Folk Music Club and the Folklore Society of Greater Washington in 1999, but most people were very gracious about accepting and encouraging me. There are a few elitist snobs who don't have patience with us beginners, who leave the room when we sing or try to sing over us when we don't sing correctly. I think people like this betray the whole idea that folk music is the music of the people. They certainly don't do much to encourage people to enter the fold.

I wonder how the elitists would treat many of the traditional singers the collectors have recorded. I suppose it's not really pleasant to listen to the voice of Harry Cox or Fred Jordan or maybe Malvina Reynolds, but these people could really tell a story with their singing. The elitists probably wouldn't accept their selection of songs, either.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 06:07 PM

Good point, Frank. A great deal of what my dad was doing was along the lines of musicology. It evolved from that purist interest in folk music (particular emphasis in Child Ballads) though, so they still are closely knit terms for me.

SRS


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 06:03 PM

Richard Bridge,

Is this the thread you meant? Contemporary Song in Folk Music

And, with respect, dear Americans, if you have not experienced the UK current situation, your opinions are less valid. Examples about Monroe's style are not the same thing as the discussion of the rejection of the entire musical tradition.

I find this a rude and dismissive characterization of a the points of view of a major part of the Mudcat membership. It diminishes your whole argument when you make pronouncements like this. Or is it your ham-handed way to tell us that you don't have a clue as to what is going on in the American folk music scene so the same must be true for Americans vis-a-vis British music?

SRS


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 05:59 PM

I can see it from different views. There is folklore in folk music.
Part of the thrill of resurrecting a trad tune is learning about the cultural background and history of the song. Then the song has meaning. Also, there is the joy of learning traditional playing styles and techniques on musical instruments based on learning from traditional players as well.

Then, there is the need some of us have to be creative with it.
This might be devising arrangements of songs we like or writing or rewriting songs and this might not be considered by some folklorists and academics to be traditional.

Sometimes there is an intersection of the creative and the re-creative.

I have never been a purist but have had that label thrown at me.
I do however think it's important to learn about the tradition of folk music in a cultural and historical context but I have tried to extend that to all kinds of music and found that when I explore that side, the music comes alive for me.

I think that the role of the folklorist and musicoloigist is important to providing a substructure in interpreting a trad song.

Instead of the word "purist" I would prefer a different label that would imply a kind of musical integrity based on understanding of the idiom.

Folk music studied this way is like the process that jazz musicians go through. There is a certain amount of musical analyzing that goes on so long as it doesn't get in the way of expression. I think that most definable musics have parameters.
Using for example sophisticated chord progressions seem to obstruct a folk song performance unless they relate somehow traditionally. This is a creative judgement call.

I understand I think what traditional folk music attempts to preserve (its parameters). I think that this might be labeled "purist" in someone's book but I would prefer to think of this as a preference for a stylistic integrity.

Tradition and history also have a role here.

Frank


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: John C.
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 05:43 PM

Do you know, I think I've hit a nerve here! I drift off to watch a bit of telly and there's 40 replies!
I also I have to say that there's lots of very thoughtful and heartfelt stuff and not so much abuse as I expected - thanks everyone.
I grew up in the 50s, in the UK, and when I was a little kid I didn't get rock n' roll - it seemed noisy and alien and it even scared me a bit. As I got older I couldn't understand what all the fuss was about - was this 'Emperor's new clothes' syndrome, I wonder - or do I flatter myself?
At school we learned English folk songs and I loved them (although I was not too keen on the teacher or his style of teaching). In my teens I discovered the Beatles (well, in the mid '60s I couldn't really miss them, could I?). They temporarily changed my views on pop music but by the late '60s, and my late teens, I was beginning to find them a bit pretentious. Around this time I went to my first folk club and heard trad. songs sung as they were meant to be sung (allegedly...possibly...at least not plonked out on the piano). I became a fan of this particular music, learned to sing and made lots of good friends (a number of those friendships are still going strong today).
I also felt that I had stumbled on something worthwhile and meaningful - but folk clubs began to change and the old songs were gradually eased out by lots of stuff which seemed to me only very tenuously related to folk song - if at all. And those doing the easing out often seemed to be me to be much more narrow-minded and prejudiced than they often accused me of being.
Again, I should re-iterate that I don't believe that I have any right to tell anyone else what they should or shouldn't listen to but I do have strong personal preferences and I do have a right to state my opinions. Also, when I attend a folk club I expect to hear, at least, some folk songs - I really don't think that that is unreasonable!


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Big Mick
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 05:39 PM

Amen, friend Don.

Mick


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 05:35 PM

I know what I like to listen to and I know what I like to play. I don't play everything I like to listen to but I like everything I play. As it is I am in one of the few Irish Folk bands that features yodeling, Jimmy Rogers and Western Swing. Some day when I get brave I am gonna introduce Little Anthony and The Imperials to Sunday afternoon at Coleman's Pub.

Maybe I'll start this fight. There is nothing wrong with being a purist... just don't be an elitist.

Don


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 05:15 PM

OH really?


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 05:12 PM

Nothing wrong with being a purist - but several buts.

People call me a purist - but I do 3 of my own songs, a fair bit of 60s, one Bad Company song, two Stones songs, one Who and one Small Faces, as well as quite a lot of Irish Scottish two Welsh and a fair bit of contemporary. It seems to me that the modernists actualy don't want to hear any folk music at all.

And if you trot off to the thread about an academic dissertation about folk and contemporary music (can't be bothered to find it and make a blicky, you should have been there, rather like the 60s (BG)) you will find a reassonably sensible discussion (for the most part) about the definition, and the assertions here are not worth bothering with.

Activist "folk" and punk differ considerably in kind. Many activist "folk" songs (particularly Dylan, whose perfomances I hate beyond measure but whose songs include many of musical merit) were structured, coherent, and musical. Well, of punk and near-punk that is about limited to "Peaches" and "Eton Rifles". That was the point of punk - the rejection of the hippy aesthete thing. The excitement of ugly. Bovver boots, skin'eads, the culture of violence. Hell I was DJing reggae dance halls back then and I saw it. It had a different merit.

A lot of modern pop and urban music is not rooted in creation but in cynical assembly of profit. Yet more of it in the same rejection of the current ***ocracy (whichever it was) that punk, early British reggae (and some Jamaican reggae), some of the 60s scene (maybe "Night of Fear" just so I can cite an example) and indeed early Presley had. The dispossessed will eventually attack their dispossessors, but it is not necessarily the precursor of great music (oddly the Irish revolution, the politics of which I hate, did create some very good music). The important thing is not to reject the genre as such (there was some good even in punk, once upon a time, although I wonder about 60 year olds still turning it out now - EG Welsh band the Sharpsters) but to winnow the wheat from the chaff.

The UK AGB seem to reject all traditional song. And denigrate it.

And, with respect, dear Americans, if you have not experienced the UK current situation, your opinions are less valid. Examples about Monroe's style are not the same thing as the discussion of the rejection of the entire musical tradition.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Amos
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 05:09 PM

As a general rule, I have found purists closed minded to any kind of experimentation. This is expecially true in the bluegrass music I have particpated in for years. There have always been purists who have to do it strictly the way "Bill" (Monroe) did it and anyone else was scorned.

Unfortunately, it is this attitude that tends to take any excitement and sponteneity out of the music. Purists tend to play it just like a record: the same every time. There is much room for variation, personality, and experimentation in evven the most purist of folk music. The two schools of thought I believe will never co-exist 100%.


Martin, I agree with you completely. Nothing irritates me more than having a good feast of spontaneous music interrupted by someone who has to have the details match their version. I understand that you were addressing a different definition of "purist" than was being used originally in this thread.

I don't understand it, and I really enjoy playing with others who feel as I do.

P'raps we should boogie down together sometime and see what comes out. You might be surprised what a good liberal can do bending them strings. LOL!

A


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Cluin
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 05:07 PM

Any time a group of people with common interests get together, an "US & THEM" mentality seems to rear its ugly head. Human beings are inherently tribal, I guess.

Purist music of any stripe has its venues, applications, and rituals. No reason to threaten it or feel threatened by it or for it. If people stop caring about it, it will go away. It's not right or wrong; that's just the way it works.

I'm not interested in the bulk of popular music put out by the recording industry today either, but generally it's the stuff with quality that lasts any length of time past the shelf life of radio and music videos. Most people listening to it aren't really "music" fans anyway; it means something else to them. But I don't feel threatened by that. I have a pretty broad musical palette otherwise. And a few gems still get through the industry these days too.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 05:04 PM

Hi Ron. I meant that this seemed to be a "troll" meant to provoke argument, which I feel is why the BS: prefix was invented.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 05:02 PM

Exactly!

LOL


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Peace
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 04:52 PM

Wrong, Chris, wrong.
























LOLOLOL


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 04:50 PM

We're only human... We're bound to disagree. That's what this is really about. Right?


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: M.Ted
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 04:49 PM

The problem with "purists" is that they think that their musical tastes are "pure"--No music is pure--its all derrivative and cross-pollinated---


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 04:45 PM

pounding sand is a worthy pastime too!! :)

I'm glad you aren't above discussing this Clinton! It is good to have your input! Most of us on are on the same page, just different corners!!


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 04:43 PM

Yer welcome to disagree... I think as a 'debate' though, this topic can go pound sand...

I'll happily -discuss- this topic though...


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 04:38 PM

Well, my words may not have been the best choice, but I do agree with what you say - except for calling it a "stupid" debate. I think it is an important debate because obviously there are great divides amongst us. Ignoring it won't make it go away.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 04:36 PM

Damn! This is a popular thread in'it? I can't post before someone's already replying! That's great!!


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 04:36 PM

Why is it so necessary to define the music you like by telling us what you don't like?    Same thing with movies, literature, religion, clothes. In complaining that others don't like what we like by saying we don't like what they like, you end up doing exactly what you're criticizing someone else for doing.. putting down something that they like. You can always say that they started it.

Are we there yet?

Jerry


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 04:34 PM

" The key here is tolerance of, and respect for, each others musical tastes"

LOL!

That's hillarious BM!!!!!!!

,-)


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 04:34 PM

Another good point, Poppa. I DO listen to music that I don't like to perform. By the same token, I'm also an Acoustic artist, but that goes for all Acoustic music. Not just Folk or Blues. If I hear a song I'd like to perform, and it fits in my style, then I'll go ahead and do it.


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 04:32 PM

"Discussions about music are not BS"

True that Ron... but this whole stupid 'debate' is NOT, I hope, "The Heart" of music as you put it...

I honestly hope MUSIC is The Heart of MUSIC....

:-)

About the only difference between 60's "Activist" folk and punk is the volume... And that's not even totally true, cause the 'hippies' were pretty damn loud in their time too...

*singing*
Come mothers and father throughout the land....
And don't criticize what you can't understand


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: Big Mick
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 04:30 PM

I guess it depends on what one considers a purist. Anyone that tells me how I have to interpret a song won't get very far. But if by purist you mean that you like a specific type of music done in a traditional manner, I agree that you have every right to enjoy that music in the manner you choose. And anyone that sneers at your right to enjoy the type of music, and the interpretation, is an idiot.

But, as a performer, I will perform it the way I hear it in my head. I often have my foot in both camps. I can, and do, perform trad folk music. But I also perform modern "folk" singer songwriter stuff. For me it has to do with whether it is a good yarn well told, or a feeling well expressed.

The key here is tolerance of, and respect for, each others musical tastes.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: What is wrong with being a purist?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 04:29 PM

Good fer you Teresa! I listen to almost anything... There are, of course, some things I like more than others, but that's the way it's supposed to be!
Besides, if I was closed-minded about my music, my influences wouldn't range from Bob Dylan to Jack White to Bach, and I don't think it would be as interesting. So, to each their own.


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