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Where are the kids?

Liam's Brother 20 Jan 99 - 08:14 AM
Big Mick 20 Jan 99 - 08:51 AM
AndyG 20 Jan 99 - 10:14 AM
Art Thieme 20 Jan 99 - 10:52 AM
Art again 20 Jan 99 - 11:11 AM
catspaw49 20 Jan 99 - 11:15 AM
KingBrilliant 20 Jan 99 - 11:43 AM
Steve Latimer 20 Jan 99 - 12:11 PM
Alice 20 Jan 99 - 12:29 PM
To Alice 20 Jan 99 - 12:46 PM
Barbara Shaw 20 Jan 99 - 12:52 PM
Joe Offer 20 Jan 99 - 01:27 PM
Animaterra 20 Jan 99 - 01:30 PM
Alice 20 Jan 99 - 01:54 PM
Allan S. 20 Jan 99 - 02:00 PM
Art Thieme 20 Jan 99 - 02:19 PM
Mike Billo 20 Jan 99 - 02:22 PM
Art Thieme 20 Jan 99 - 02:50 PM
The Shambles 20 Jan 99 - 03:01 PM
Big Mick 20 Jan 99 - 06:35 PM
John in Brisbane 20 Jan 99 - 07:14 PM
alison 20 Jan 99 - 07:42 PM
Roger in Baltimore 20 Jan 99 - 08:17 PM
Frank McGrath 20 Jan 99 - 08:40 PM
Barbara Shaw 20 Jan 99 - 09:41 PM
Dan Keding 20 Jan 99 - 11:21 PM
Barry Finn 21 Jan 99 - 12:39 AM
karen k 21 Jan 99 - 01:54 AM
Gearoid 21 Jan 99 - 05:25 AM
AndyG 21 Jan 99 - 07:08 AM
George Henderson NSC 21 Jan 99 - 07:57 AM
Alice 21 Jan 99 - 10:59 AM
Jon W. 22 Jan 99 - 11:20 AM
The Shambles 22 Jan 99 - 01:37 PM
Animaterra 22 Jan 99 - 03:07 PM
harpgirl 22 Jan 99 - 04:22 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 23 Jan 99 - 04:33 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 23 Jan 99 - 04:50 PM
rick fielding 23 Jan 99 - 10:09 PM
23 Jan 99 - 10:58 PM
catspaw49 24 Jan 99 - 12:31 AM
Alice 24 Jan 99 - 12:10 PM
Pete (inactive) 24 Jan 99 - 03:25 PM
Laurel 24 Jan 99 - 05:34 PM
Laurel 24 Jan 99 - 06:54 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 24 Jan 99 - 07:09 PM
Pete (inactive) 25 Jan 99 - 04:13 AM
Rex Rideout 25 Jan 99 - 07:51 AM
Rex Rideout 25 Jan 99 - 08:07 AM
Karla Ingleton 25 Jan 99 - 06:56 PM
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Subject: Where are the kids?
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 08:14 AM

In some regards folk music is very healthy. Many people can't get enough Riverdance; Irish pubs proliferate all over Europe and beyond; there's a session just about everywhere in the States. Bluegrass continues to be very popular, etc.

When I look at the audience for what Americans and Brits would call [generic] Folk Music, I get shivers. Everyone I see is my age (not especially young) or older. Where are the kids?

I don't mean your kids or my kids - who would be used to hearing folk music in the house - but other people's kids! Someone we know professes to being part of the Next Generation; that person is 33!

Give me stories about groups of teenagers singing sea shanties, doing the Woody-Cisco-Sonny thing or committing Harry Cox's repetoire to memory and I will be heartened for sure. However, the median age group for folk music enthusiasts is rising by about 11 months every year.

As the sooner-than-we-think Mantle Passers, what are we doing wrong or, rather, what can we do better to make the music of our lives and the lives of singers long since buried more appealing to younger folk?

Any thoughts?

All the best,
Dan Milner


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Big Mick
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 08:51 AM

Hi Dan,
I have been pondering this one for a bit, and I don't think I am anywhere close to the answer. I will say this. Upon reflection, it occurs to me that this is just part of the great wheel. At various times, throughout history, other styles of music have come into prominence and the folk arts moved to the fringe. At times like that, our spiritual forebears, gathered in the music and protected it until the young ones came back around. Think about our own lifetimes, and the generation just before us. There was a golden age of folk music that got interrupted by the big band sound and early rock 'n Roll. We had a revival in the late 50's and through the 60's. Then comes Disco, back to the fringe. And so it goes. I guess I feel that our bardic task is to keep it going, until the next Woody or Pete or Bok, Muir & Trickett comes along. And he/she will. We have a lot of interest right now, which allows us to preserve more of it for posterity. I must admit to having the same concerns as you. But each time I play some venue and my 20 and 22 year old daughters show up with their friends; and the friends ask me about the music and tell me how much they like it, it helps me to understand that we couldn't kill the music if we tried. It has appeal, and only needs us to expose it to 'folks'.

All the best,

Mick Lane


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: AndyG
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 10:14 AM

Now this is personal experience but I have noticed that if I go to a Folk Club the audience definitely fits the desciption offered by Dan, but if, say, I go to a Waterson:Carthy gig in a non-Folk Club environment, the average audience is considerably younger.

I don't believe it's the clubs actively rejecting youth, but it could be youth rejecting the "old ways" (just like I did by going to folk clubs).

In the UK the music is in good young hands already (Rusby, Carthy, Cutting and many, many more) and has been for the last ten years (Morton, Hancock etc. I could go on.)

Youth is playing, singing and listening already, they just don't go to folk clubs very often, which I think is a shame but I don't know how to change it.

AndyG


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 10:52 AM

Dan,

You are correct! It used to bother me---until I realized it was only depressing me--so I let it go and simply figure that what will be will be---just a part of the cycles. My answer for it, professionally (and when my health dictated that I tour less), was to link up with a steamboat on the Mississippi where I could play music & tell jokes/lies for almost a decade while I watched the music I cared about lose it's audience. Now I see, with much less anxiety, that the law is whatever the Supreme Court says it is (USA) at any given moment (to metaphorically view this). And I joyously participate in the sorrows o' the world (as Joe Campbell pointed out the Buddhists try to do).

And I gave my main lap dulcimer to a 12 year old kid who definitely was very interested. Any time a youngster shows real interest (or even before) I'll show 'em what I can. I kept my fees very low for shows I did in the schools of the 8 counties in and around Chicago for 22 years for this very reason. This allowed the inner city students (along with the more affluent suburban kids)to be, at least, exposed to this music they'd never hear otherwise.

The fellow I gave my dulcimer to just came over to show me the electric guitar he bought. That's O.K.! He'll take the dulcimer off the wall and start playing it 20 years from now, and then he'll posess the wisdom of age that is so often needed to enjoy our music best. Where I came to the music first out of youthful rebellion, he'll come to it out of intellectual and spiritual need born of a nostalgia for the old bearded guy in his past who took him aside and gave him a gift of the music.

Art

Art


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Art again
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 11:11 AM

See the condom thread for talk of Harry Cox. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: catspaw49
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 11:15 AM

Art...you may have your "jingles" back (see condom thread). Well stated...well done! catspaw


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 11:43 AM

They are definitely at the various festivals we go to in the UK over the summer. Sitting around playing and singing and sounding really good. So they must be getting together regularly somewhere

Kris


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 12:11 PM

When I was in elementary school in the late sixties I was listening to the Beatles, The Monkees and anything else that A.M. Radio gave us. One day we had a special visit to our classroom by a couple of guys who called themselves "The Original Sloth Band." They amazed me by making music with things like a jug, a washboard, I believe I recall them having a washtub bass and it was the first time I had ever heard bottleneck guitar, which I have come to love. It was a small setting and very interactive, we were able to ask several questions and I think we were allowed to try some of the instruments.

The way I listened to music changed that day. I am forever grateful to "The Original Sloth Band" who turned out to be the Whiteley Brothers, who are still quite active and successful on the Canadian Folk/Blues scene.

Perhaps if the performers among Mudcatters would do something along these lines with their local schools the kids would realize that there is an alternative to The Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys and all the rest of the fabricated 'music' that they are being bombarded with.

For what it's worth, my eight year old daughter is learning "Willow Garden" on Guitar. My sister performs it, my daughter heard her practising it and asked to be taught it. Alas, she also listens to the Spice Girls, but there is hope.


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Alice
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 12:29 PM

I think the difference between now and the past is the way the music business markets music. There is a profit strategy that relies on 'hits' and volume of sales, which are sometimes related to a movie soundtrack, to an extensive performance tour, to the latest gimmick, etc. The idea that music is what Mudcatters all seem to think it is, does not translate into the way music is marketed to the public on radio and CD's. Music to the masses (young people) is the latest 'new' sound, not the old sounds. There are some, like the Beatles, who could compose original music that will stand the test of time, but how much music from the 90's will still be sung in 20 years? Music used to be handed down from generation to generation by personal contact. It is now a product. Young people are exposed to the music product more than they are exposed to traditional music. Fighting the tide of mass marketing is a challenge, but it is fighting the good fight.


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: To Alice
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 12:46 PM

Very well put, Thank God that there are some small independant labels trying to preserve music as an art form, not as a means to a fortune.

My brother told me the other night that it dawned on him that "Easy Listening" is an oxymoron.


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 12:52 PM

We can expose our kids to our music, but then it's up to them to develop their own taste. My younger son went to bluegrass festivals from the time he was in diapers, and still goes with us to Winterhawk, but he's going to major in Jazz Studies at college next year.

He's heard it all. Maybe he'll be back. I wasn't ready for Folk/Bluegrass at his age either. I was a rock 'n roller and then moved on as my taste changed.

Here again, the important thing is to introduce them to music. Let them experience the joys of any kind of music. Then let them be. Folk will stay around, as long as there are folk.


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 01:27 PM

I have one son who is trying to make a living as a musician, and two who would like to - all are in their twenties now. I suppose their preferred form of music is punk rock, but they have explored every kind of music you can imagine. My eldest son even recorded an album of instrumental surf music that sounds kind of like the Ventures. I tried to get into a Doc Watson - David Grasman "Doc and Dawg" concert last year, but it was sold out. I stood outside the theater to try to buy a ticket, and watched as people in their teens and twenties streamed into the building. I was disappointed because I've always wanted to see doc Watson, but I was encouraged to see all the young people going to see this type of music. I think young people have broader interests than we give them credit for. If we preserve the tradition, they will carry it on.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Animaterra
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 01:30 PM

90% is exposing the next generation, and the next, and the next. I look 30 -50 years hence and I see the few devoted middle-aged folkies going around to nursing homes and retirement communities with their tape recorders, frantically recording the last vestiges of living folk music before it dies out again. Who will be the Alan Lomax or Cecil Sharpe then? Those who will have heard Sandy and Caroline, or Art, or Alice, or any of us and liked it enough to care to preserve it!


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Alice
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 01:54 PM

I was thinking of this yesterday, as I rehearsed with the pianist on the four Robert Burns songs we will perform. I chose four songs that most people would have never heard before. I was talking with her about future performances I want to do with her in our town. My goal is to perform the folk songs... as well as Ladino, arias, and whatever is appropriate for my voice and personality that people may not hear anywhere else. They hear the standards at the session... Star of the County Down, Wild Rover, etc., but my goal is to perform pieces that I hope the audience here has never heard before, live or recorded. That is why I look for old books, like Herbert Hughes, which is filled with songs people have not repeatedly recorded. That is why I will mix in songs like Caro Mio Ben, because people in this area are rarely able to hear live singing, unless it is country/western bar bands or an occasional performer on tour.


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Allan S.
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 02:00 PM

Reading all this really makes me wonder. Many of those playing seem to be writing their own music very little of which is lasting. Othere are in to Political songs that all appear to be left wing. {save the world} I know whats best for you. The rest of the the younger crowd has swung to the right so the music has no appeal to them. C&W is still going strong but of course has changed [Folk process??] Blue grass is going strong but as one chap said "Its all the same tune only the words change" I understand that Hip Hop in now No. 1 in the USA God save us all.


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 02:19 PM

My good buddy, Dan Keding (whgo if he was here now would tell ya himself), was recently on tour in the U.K. Dan told me the "kid's getting involved in the music" factor is in wonderful and full bloom over there. The kids, complete with numerous piercings and spiked blue and magenta hair, are embracing the older music with both arms. He was truly moved by the degree to which that's happening over there. The kids doing the real thing are in evidence everywhere---festivals--concerts--coffeehouses & clubs.

Here in the USA it's just different right now! In the Midwest we always say if ya don't like the weather, just wait 15 minutes and it'll change. (My uncle, plowin' with 2 oxen--One died o' heat stroke & while he was skinnin' it, the othe ox froze to death.) But we've got the Freighthoppers & a few others too give us hope...


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Mike Billo
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 02:22 PM

I see kids at festivals, shanty sings, etc. all the time. My 18 year old daughter has the most extensive collection of recorded Celtic music I've ever seen, and regularly goes to various group singing activities with her friends. My 14 year old son and I plan to go busking across America as a Harmonica duet this coming summer, performing the fiddle tunes and Cowboy songs he plays. I recently went to a David Grisman Quintet concert, and I was by far the oldest person in the audience (I'm 49). Maybe it has something to do with living in the San Francisco Bay Area( although I'm not sure why that should be a factor), but, this younger generation seems to be turning out all right as far as I can tell.


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 02:50 PM

sorry for the above typos---too much coffee this afternoon.

A problem, as I see it, is the Folk Alliance (of which I'm a proud charter member) muddying the waters and bluring the distinctions as well as making this a real business for the first time. That wasn't true in the past except for the few mega-stars. But think how very many jobs have been created for agents and roadies etc. etc. In the old days we were a group gettin' to gigs by sticking out our thumbs (trying to be like Woody) or taking the bus. Did that until we got a $50.00 car. Thought that was how it should be done if we were in the tradtion of those who went before. Got our own gigs too--on the phone & not using the computer.

We always thought you could take all the sincerity in show business and stuff it into a flea's naval & still have enough room left over for 3 carraway seeds and an agent's heart!!!

Now, I see we're all folks doing the best we can.---While some are still shysters (spelling?), others, like my good friends Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer(who once again, have been nominated for a Grammy in the kid's music category) are simply superb musicians AS WELL AS being top-notch, go-gettin', business folk!! I, to Cathy's huge frustration, hated doing that end of things. But I sure do admire it when I see it done so well by Cathy & Marcy! (And _Blue Rose_ is one of the finest bluegrass bands I've ever heard.)

Art


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 03:01 PM

The points made about the UK and the young people playing the music are true though slightly less so with the singing side. It is very exciting the open way that they approach music. The catagories don't mean much to them.

You don't see them in folk clubs though. Why not?

I suppose if I were to put myself in their position, I would not go to folk clubs either. It's not that people do not welcome the young to the clubs, at least they say the right things, but in truth there is not much for them there that they wouldn't find tedious. Our fault?

If you were to call it something else like a 'Roots' Music Club or an Original Song Club you would probably not see anyone there over 30.


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Big Mick
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 06:35 PM

Dear Dan, Alice, Mike Billo, AndyG, Catspaw49, King Brilliant, Steve Latimer, Barbara Shaw, Joe Offer, Animatterra, Allan S, Shambles,and Art,

Thanks, that is what I was trying to say as I rambled on.*******Grin******

Mick


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 07:14 PM

Here in my small part of Australia I believe that the situation is much like the UK. There are large audiences of young kids going to what I now view as world/folk music gigs, but you won't find them at normal folk venues, nor will you hear Wild Mountain Thyme or any Child ballads.

At the recent Woodford Folk Festival there was a significant proportion of people under (maybe) 28, what seemed to me to be an age gap in the 30's, and then another swag of people of 40+. I was fortunate to be one of the judges of the Grand Final of the Great Band Competition - scratch bands of pros and amateurs thrown together in a lottery just for the competition - and I reckon that the average was probably 25. And the music was fantastic, and exciting.

Folk music is far from dead, but it is evolving much more rapidly than many of us had realised. There are two factors at work in Australia that I believe are significant:

- Just as Australian's eating habits have gone through a transformation due to multi-culturalism in the last decade or so, so has our appreciation of so-called ethnic and native music. Younger people seemed to have embraced this music with vigour and melded it into Celtic and other Western styles.

- Percussion, starting with Afro-Cuban, has had a big influence on the way that young people play and enjoy music, and of course percussion is integral to many 'Eastern' music styles. Some Asian percussion styles such as Gamelan are starting to exert some influence.

I won't rave on much more - but I'm also impressed by the number of younger women in bands playing instruments that have long been the domain of males, and the almost equal gender mix in younger folk bands, and folk audiences.

Regards
John


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: alison
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 07:42 PM

Hi,

Let's face it... when you were 16 - 25 ish did you want to hang around in places with "old people" ?... (and by old I mean over 30!!!!!)........ no offence intended

When I was that age I certainly wouldn't have wanted to go and sit in a folk club with a bunch of people in their 50's and upwards..... doesn't mean I wouldn't have enjoyed the music, but it wouldn't have looked "cool" to my friends. (and that's pretty important when you're young).

There are certainly a lot of young people out there playing (and going to festivals,)but they're unlikely just to drift into folk clubs on their own ...... somehow we have to make it more attractive and they might come in bulk... and share what they've been playing in their garages / bedrooms.

Slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 08:17 PM

Youth! Where art thou?

The venues where I like to listen to folk music are usually smoke free. A great number are alcohol free, and I have never seen excessive drinking. This does not describe a place where youth "hangs out." Hell, when we were youth we would not have hung out with us. There were no smoke free coffee houses. Many a "folk night spot" was just a bar with entertainment.

I went to a concert of the "Cry, Cry, Cry" tour (Lucy Kaplansky, Dar Williams, and Richard Shindell). Lots of young people there. I suppose they were mostly drawn by Dar Williams who went on the Lillith Fair tour. These three "folk" artists in their own "write" dedicated this tour to singing the songs of the artists they admire.

I realize that these three are unknowns to many on the 'Cat, but they are part of the keeper of the flames for folk music. Hell, Richard opened for Baez on her last tour. 30 years ago that was Pete's job (partly because he was an "unknown" who deserved to be known).

I suspect Richard is a generation behind me. Lucy and Dar are maybe one half of a generation behind him. Most of the artists I go to see are younger than I am. Perhaps their time will come to lead the generation behind them.

I believe in the "cycles' thing. I figured folk music would have an increase in popularity when I got older. I figured I would make a killing by singing all the old Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul, and Mary songs. Well, the boomlet came, but it wasn't like the '60's. And I'm glad I can sing some new songs that were written last year.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Frank McGrath
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 08:40 PM

I'm glad to inform you that the kids in Ireland are singing, beating bodhrans, sqeezing boxes and having the craic as much and more than ever.

There will always be folk music and song. They just won't and cannot be killed. Of course folk's popularity will wax and wane over time as some new fad takes centre stage for a while. But it will always survive. It's in our blood.

BUT WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE KILL THAT SHAGGIN' CONDOM THREAD.
Sighs......


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 09:41 PM

If you don't think the kids are playing any music, you should walk around the campsites at Winterhawk or Thomas Point Beach, or check out the crowd at Escoheag. There are LOTS of kids, LOTS of acoustic music being made at these festivals.

The jazz buff just got home, in fact, from a little session at his friend's house. They call their music funk or whatever, but you can hear strains of tradition if you listen carefully, and you can hear lots of influences from all that came before.

That damn condom thread is tempting to read, but I'm hesitant to check it out because someone may come up behind me and read over my shoulder and worry that, Oh God, she's into bad stuff on the internet! (I do have one great condom story from my after-school job in a drugstore. Maybe later).


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Dan Keding
Date: 20 Jan 99 - 11:21 PM

When I came to Springfield all those many years ago there was a third grade boy in one of my residencies. I was teaching about folk music and storytelling at one of the elemenatary schools and I became friends with he and his family. Later in high school he took guitar lessons from me and when he went to college he taught himself banjo. Now he's twenty two years old and visits me once a week for a session of music and talk. He's teaching science at a local junior high and brings his banjo and guitar to school to entertain his students. Its happening again just like it did for us. Someone hears a tune and finds where it came from, someone gets the itch to make music him/herself, someone "discovers" this music that was really here all the time. I'm seeing young people at the storytelling events, at the music events, hauling banjos and guitars. The difference is that they might be turning onto banjo because of Jerry Garcia instead of Earl Scruggs. Who cares as long as they play. It'll happen, sing it and they will come!!!! Dan


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 21 Jan 99 - 12:39 AM

My daughter's 11, she came home dying, the music teacher was teaching them "Drunken Sailor" & "South Australia" & had asked my daughter if I would come in with any of the guys I sing with & do sea songs. I can't believe she didn't toss the note out well knowing I'd say yes. It was great except my daughter died up until the whole school began belting out the choruses & what a beautiful bunch of letters we got from every class, signed with their take on the music by every kid. They found it very amazing the people sang about whales & the seas & about work & that you could make music from spoons & bones. Thank god they've got a great music teacher. We take our kids to the festivals & they meet alot of other kids & like Barbara I see quite a bit of great young players not so many singers though. Saturday we'll be heading for a Burns supper & a few of the pipers are just kids & the hosts kid is quite the trad singer. Last Mystic Sea Music Festival a group of 2 youngins, (they may not be kids but I got close to 20 yrs on them) called the Nex Tradition blew me away. Seeing how we were sharing the stage with them & a group that did river songs, us & the two whippersnappers decided to sing as one, they'd back us & we'd back them, back & forth seeing as how we did alot of the same songs. Prison work songs, us older folk did it the traditional way & damn when these two started in, it was something. If I'd been cutting wood to they way they sang I'd have been shaking my hips, tapping my toes & smiling the biggest shit eating grin. It was the swinging energy of youth (like Eliza Carthy) that I saw & heard & felt, it was a ball to sing behind them. I remember as a teen going to coffee houses, liking the music but the scene was boring & it carried off into some of the music. The 60's was a high energy time for music & a as a kid I went right to it, got bored after awhile & came back to it in the mid 70's when I had mellowed a bit. The places where I see kids today are at hot picks at festivals or hot sessions. Where the singing's low keyed or slow or just not exciting for the young blood I don't think I ever get to see an impish grin in the crowd. My take on it is that kids & teens need a more continuious & a higher level of stimuli than us older worn torn folks & their attention span keeps them jumping away to more exciting music. Face it, as others said here if you were younger would you hang out with us, maybe at a campfire jam at a festival but I wouldn't be caught dead with me & neither would my kids if I were at a coffeehouse sipping tea. Still young, if only at heart, Barry


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: karen k
Date: 21 Jan 99 - 01:54 AM

While helping to sell Folk Legacy Records at Champlain Valley last summer I was manning the booth alone and a young man (couldn't have been more than 16) was flipping through the CDs. He had one in his hand looking at it when I noticed that it was Mississippi John Hurt. I was sure he had no idea who John Hurt was, so I asked him if he knew who he was. His reply was, "Oh, sure, I've been learning to play his songs for 3 years now." I was really quite pleased. I took the opportunity to tell him that in the 60's I helped run a coffee house in Connecticut and that John Hurt had played there 3 times and had stayed at my house each time. This young man was so interested. He asked a whole bunch of questions and wanted to know everything I could remember about him. It was a great experience for me to see someone so young really interested in John Hurt and many others who have long since passed. There's no doubt in my mind that the music we all love will go on and on and on and on.......... He bought the CD and I hope his love of John's music grew even more than it already was because I was able to tell him a little bit about a truly great musician.

k


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Gearoid
Date: 21 Jan 99 - 05:25 AM

People

The voice of youth has at last rared its rebellious head.

No seriously, I would consider myself an average 22 year old and I listen to folk music (Irish folk that is), dance, indie, classical etc.. depending on the humor. I grew up hearing all the Irish rebel songs and ballads and I learnt the tunes while playing them in a marching band.

Personally I go to all the sessions I can (much to my girlfriends dismay) and I can guarantee you that I will never have a problem getting the lads to accompany me.

Also you would be surprised how many people will join in singing when closing time arrives and you decide you want a session (much to the Barman's dismay) most will know at least the first verse to each song you massacre.

Just to prove my point (on St. Stephens day just past (boxing day 26/12 to the rest) the Wolfe tones were playing in the Mean Fiddler (for those of you unacquainted with Dublin, the Mean Fiddler is usually a "young" concert venue where new rock/indie bands play). I went to this concert with about 11 lads (ranging from 19 to 23) each one of them sang his heart out and said they never had a better night (now I find I am without my favorite CD's, but that's the price I pay for converting the non believers). The majority of the crowd that night was under thirty and the atmosphere was volatile (as mostly rebel songs were played).

Any way you can be certain that this young fella will do all he can to stop Irish folk music being ignored by the youth of today.

Trust me I won't disappoint you.

PS (I might just have a bunch of freaks for mates)


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: AndyG
Date: 21 Jan 99 - 07:08 AM

Having just re-read this thread in its entirety, it seems that generally we (the Folk Community) have successfully "passed the mantle" on to the next generation. The overall perception however is that the emphasis has changed:
a) Away from the songs to the music.
b) Away from the traditional clubs, to "more open" venues (festivals etc).
I infer from the understated comments that most of us have tried (and failed) to make traditional club venues more open and we haven't yet found a working method ?

I live and work in Cambridge (UK), and neither of the folk clubs see much of a student audience, yet as I said above the Waterson:Carthy gig, at a non-club venue, the audience was 150+ people, I'd say about 25% students and almost no-one (ie ME) from either of the folk clubs. Tickets were 10 UKP per head (about twice what a club would charge), and that's a lot of money for a student. I'm pretty sure that if a club put them on 150 different people would turn up.

Controversial Generalisation (NOT a complaint!):
From what I see at festivals etc. I'd say the youth audience wants to jump up and dance to shitkicking diddley-diddleyTM, and a lot of the young bands want to see this reaction. You can't do that in a folk club!

AndyG


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: George Henderson NSC
Date: 21 Jan 99 - 07:57 AM

Our rural circle sessions are beginning to attract younger people partly because those sessions are being held in rural parishes rather than big population centres.

However, our Nenagh singers circle DOES NOT attract many younger people. Maybe its because of our voluntary contribution - I'm not sure.

I am a lot more optimistic about it than I was 5 years ago.

Of course the tradition will survive.

You talk about revival but you must remember - some places like Ireland didn't need a revival in the 50's and 60's. It was needed in the 80's and 90's hence the massive increase in singing week-ends.


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Alice
Date: 21 Jan 99 - 10:59 AM

Hey, Gearoid, I really enjoyed what you had to say about your experience with your friends. I have been thinking about this topic as it relates to rural and urban areas. In the cities, like Dublin and San Francisco, there are opportunities to find many kinds of music. In rural areas of countries that preserve their heritage, local people still sing and play trad music. In a small rural western US town like mine, we are the envy of folkies in the state because we have three sessions a week. Helena has a bluegrass session that is healthy, but Butte, heart of the Montana Irish, has no session at all. Most folks that are serious about folk music and can afford to take the time to travel have to go to Seattle for the festival to get their yearly 'fix' of folk music. There area fiddle contests in the region and some other get-togethers, but in general, as one music teacher told me, the college, high school and junior high kids have had no exposure to trad music. He sang Shenandoah to one of his classes in the high school, and none of them had heard it before.

It is in sparcely populated areas like Montana that the radio, tv, and CD's define music for young folks. It is nice to see, though, that a large number of the people who show up to listen to session music are from the local University.


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Jon W.
Date: 22 Jan 99 - 11:20 AM

In Utah, not quite as sparsely populated as Montana (or is it?) I've see two really good local Celtic bands - one a trio of brothers 17, 15, and 13 years old at the time, the other a father and 3 daughters 18, 13, and 11 years (don't ask the age of the father). They're playing traditional stuff and writing stuff of their own that is nearly indistinguishable from the tradition (that's a complement by the way).

I myself have a young friend, now 16, who has occasionally come over to play the blues with me.

So there are some kids out there who like folk. I just wish some of my own progeny were among them.

Jon W.


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Jan 99 - 01:37 PM

Where are the kids?

We must be useing too many condoms... Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Animaterra
Date: 22 Jan 99 - 03:07 PM

The fact of kids in schools not being exposed to folk music really gets my professional (elementary music teacher) dander up! What are we supposed to be doing, for goodness sake? Sandy's wife Carolyn recently coined the phrase "the Disneyfication" of elementary music education, where the kids are entertained with bubble gum pop style feel-good music. We run the risk in the States of greatly diminishing our cultural heritage when we give into that standard. We music teachers, I mean- --


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: harpgirl
Date: 22 Jan 99 - 04:22 PM

My sixteen year old son says they aren't playing it because it isn't cool, they're not interested in history, and they like rap and heavy metal better. This from a kid who sang Dixie Darling with me at a bluegrass session last week and knows all the words to All For Me Grog and A Drop of Nelson's Blood!!! I think that if we continue to drag them to festivals and keep playing in our living rooms and on our porches, eventually they will get interested in "history!"...harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 23 Jan 99 - 04:33 PM

Natalie MacMaster is only 23 (first recording at 16)and Ashley MacIsaac not much older. There is also another band from Cape Breton Island, Slante something or other,(relatives of the Barra MacNeils) where I believe they are just graduating from high school. PEI fiddler Richard Wood is about 20 or 21. The Ennis Sisters from Newfoundland are in their late teens or early twenties. Mary Jane Lamond, a Canadian who sings in gaelic, is in her twenties. The guys in GBS can't be over thirty. In fact, if I thought about it long enough I could probably come up with a long list of Canadian folkies under thirty.

Part of the problem might be the cultural thing. In places like Cape Breton and Newfoundland, people actually play and sing this music at home for their own amusement, so the kids pick it up. Plus their festivals and dances are decidedly family affairs ,often much to my curmudgeonly chagrin.


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 23 Jan 99 - 04:50 PM

And part of the problem is that up and comers generally play bars rather than soft-seaters when they go on the road. You can have performers under 19, but not an under-19 audience. Even if technically they can be admitted, the owners don't want them because they don't drink, and if they do drink, they do it illegally and risk the license.

Folk clubs are generally so God-awful crushingly dull and pretentious, and so full of rules, New Age superstitions, exceedingly bad coffee, and anally retentive farts and fogies that I can't blame the kids for not going. A Metallica concert or a rave sure sounds more fun to me. In fact, I can't think of a place that presents traditional music more out of context than the modern folk club. The reverence and pedantry with which the music is presented reminds me of a Bible study class. At least sailors, dragoons, ploughboys, and flash girls really did roister in taverns.

There are "folkies" of a sort playing at the coffee shops that the teenagers like to frequent, but they tend to be contempory-style singer/songwriters and don't play traditional stuff. I'm not not knocking them for this, because some of them are quite good, just pointing out that traditional music is generally not heard in these places.


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: rick fielding
Date: 23 Jan 99 - 10:09 PM

Never heard the term "soft-seaters" before. Greatly descriptive, sort of like Woody's "flat wheelers" and "dead enders", from "Hard Travellin'". I started hearing the term "diaroids" used in Toronto this year to describe singer-songwriters (they're gettin' it from all sides it seems) and finally "bird feet" for the kind of footwear favoured by "non-progressive" women on stage. Whooee, what a language we have!


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From:
Date: 23 Jan 99 - 10:58 PM

It's nice to keep hammering away in a comunnity. I am now playing for the kids of the kids I played for in my town when I got back from my apprentiships for my trade from rural North Carolina and South Wales{U.K.} around 1970 .It's great to play for peaple before they are thinking of what is cool {say fith grade and less} and can get to the essence that home made music is FUN! Then the action of playing music catchs them from a real place. I don't know what Garage music is but I could amagine the kids doing that sometime might go to find Robert Johnson,or Clarence Tom Ashley to play on their back porch. I think home made music will beget home made music garage or porch.Our job is to show them how much fun we'er having and that truth will always make for new folkys.THank you Allen Block for having so much funplaying fiddle at the Sunapy Crafts Festival in 1968. Hello to all


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: catspaw49
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 12:31 AM

harpgirl: I always love to ask if the rappers think gangs, rebellion,beating up cops, terrorizing the civic leaders, and all that kinda'stuff is really cool and new. One of my rap loving 15 year olds got into a long talk with me about this and how I couldn't understand. Rather than take him to my generation (60's) of stuff we went to the the dear old "Garry Owen." Within a few weeks he was playing all kinds of my records, tapes, and CD's. Slowly, a conversion is taking place. He even got special credit for doing a paper on this for school.

We have been involved in foster care for many years and the tastes of the kids are varied ... but I have yet to have any older (12+) child arrive with any knowledge of or liking for ANY type of "folk." Oh, a little folk/rock/pop or C&W, maybe...But I have to get in this one other thing. We have had 14 teenage girls over the years and EVERY ONE has managed to find Janis Joplin doing "Cry, Cry, Baby" somehow. Most have a lot of personal issues and as I recall only 2 new who she was before...but all of them fell in love with THAT ONE SONG. No point to that story...just kinda' interesting.

I am happy to say that all of them got "folk" (whatever that is nobody can agree) exposure while they were here and maybe some of that comes back to them down the road. We just need to keep strummin', pickin', pluckin', bowin', hammerin', and singin' as best we can and have a good selection playing on the stereo...Never know what will happen down the road.

catspaw


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Alice
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 12:10 PM

catspaw... enjoyed that last message. Handing down the music means being aware of handing down the instruments, too. Giving musical instruments to kids is important. Whenever there is an opportunity for you to give a child a gift, if you can give them an instrument (even a penny whistle), that is an excellent way to make sure the making of music goes on. I do appreciate the music program in our town's schools. Almost every child plays an instrument in either band or orchestra starting in the 5th grade. So, for at least one year, they all can appreciate having an instrument in their hands and performing music. The school orchestras nurture the string players and the bands nurture the wind instruments and drummers.


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Pete (inactive)
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 03:25 PM

Ahh who will carry on when we are laid to rest?

Well there are many young folk singers, as previously mentioned and so many of them show far greater talent than we did back in the 60's! Every year at our local festival (Fylde - Fleetwood, Lancashire, England) they encourage the younger people with teach-ins, competitions (the winner performing on the front stage at the final concert)etc.. and from what I've seen there will be no lack of singers, musicians to carry on our love of traditional music. However there is one problem as I see it - the music is going to the converted, as previously mentioned the children attending the festivals/clubs have been brought up with Folk Music from their family interest.

At our local sessions (Falcon Folk - Poulton-le-fylde Nr Blackpool, England) we sing in an open bar - everyone of legal age to enter a bar - is welcome to join in or just listen in some small way this will offer the music to a wider younger group, several have come to have a pint and returned a few weeks later with an instrument and joined in.

We need to repay the music by spreading the word.... not hiding away in the upstairs room of a pub and behind the closed gates of a festival --- let the people have free samples of THEIR music and maybe more will like it!

Ok so lets all take to the streets like the pied piper of Hamilin and hope the children will follow the music.

Take care and sing well

Pete (clansfolk)

ps thanx to Rusty & Stu Wright for all the hard work they have done at Fylde with the children.


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Laurel
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 05:34 PM

Dan- I am a kid. I love Celtic (especially) and folk. I don't listen to the things that most kids like. I play the Irish flute and just got a Ralph Sweet one for Christmas. From my point of view, there are kids who like folk music and that kind of thing. My parents are in a Celtic band called Faire Wind, I have friends who are in a band in the Twin Cities called The Gaels. That's all for now!

The best to all, Laurel


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Laurel
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 06:54 PM

All of my friends like folk and Celtic too.

Laurel


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 24 Jan 99 - 07:09 PM

Laurel, you are a breath of fresh air! Good luck in your flute playing and all your music making! We're counting on you and your friends to keep it going in the future- you won't be alone!


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Pete (inactive)
Date: 25 Jan 99 - 04:13 AM

what about everyone under say - 25 years of age - who's parents or close relations are NOT into folk music - post there name, age and how they got interested in Folk Music.

Maybe this would give a better idea of how Folk Music is reaching the 'Young ones'

Pete (Clansfolk)


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Rex Rideout
Date: 25 Jan 99 - 07:51 AM


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Rex Rideout
Date: 25 Jan 99 - 08:07 AM

My two boys have their own pile of musical instruments. Don't know where they got that idea from. When folks come by and we play tunes, sometimes Ben and Daniel drag out their stuff and join in. Sometimes they don't. It's whatever they feel like. I don't push it. But now Ben, (the elder of the two) is taking up violin in school. Somebody pinch me, maybe he'll learn to play it properly and then teach his dad. That's what he tells me. I join in with friends when late summer comes around. We set up a tent city out on the prairie East of Denver. Well, smack dab in Aurora we call Homestead City. The setting is always 100 years ago. This year we will be in 1899 and wondering what the new century will bring. So we all have our little occupations during the day. I repair tools and make some as well. In the evening I end up in the saloon or sometimes we have a dance somewhere. I'm always the last one to quit and when I finally do stop caterwallin' it's always the kids (late teens) that are still there. The old folks have gone to bed. Well the last couple of years these kids have been bringing old guitars and having me set them up. They will play along or go off and do their own thing. I feel like I'm priming the next generation for this tent city. In 2020 or so when I'm cooling my heels sitting in a rocking chair on the porch and telling stories, these folks will keep Homestead City or something like it going. Keep the strings ringing.

Rex


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Subject: RE: Where are the kids?
From: Karla Ingleton
Date: 25 Jan 99 - 06:56 PM

I run a network called SEEN.COM and we have been trying to get full-families out to our events which always feature live music. My question is - How do you keep the kids and parents happy? And for how long should a family night concert last?

regards director@seen.com


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