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Ewan MacColl's accent

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Lox 13 Oct 06 - 04:40 PM
GUEST 13 Oct 06 - 04:11 PM
Lox 13 Oct 06 - 03:13 PM
GUEST,erictheorange 13 Oct 06 - 01:16 PM
GUEST 13 Oct 06 - 11:04 AM
Lox 13 Oct 06 - 10:48 AM
GUEST,lox 13 Oct 06 - 10:40 AM
GUEST 13 Oct 06 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,erictheorange 13 Oct 06 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,lox 13 Oct 06 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,erictheorange 13 Oct 06 - 04:16 AM
Big Al Whittle 12 Oct 06 - 08:48 PM
GUEST,lox 12 Oct 06 - 08:41 PM
GUEST,lox 12 Oct 06 - 08:09 PM
GUEST,erictheorange 12 Oct 06 - 07:32 PM
GUEST,lox 12 Oct 06 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,lox 12 Oct 06 - 04:32 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Oct 06 - 01:28 PM
GUEST,erictheorange 12 Oct 06 - 01:23 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Oct 06 - 11:53 AM
Big Al Whittle 12 Oct 06 - 10:38 AM
Lighter 12 Oct 06 - 10:31 AM
GUEST,erictheorange 12 Oct 06 - 10:11 AM
Big Al Whittle 12 Oct 06 - 09:30 AM
GUEST,lox 12 Oct 06 - 09:04 AM
GUEST,erictheorange 12 Oct 06 - 08:45 AM
Big Al Whittle 12 Oct 06 - 08:01 AM
GUEST,lox 12 Oct 06 - 07:50 AM
GUEST,Brian Peters 12 Oct 06 - 07:19 AM
GUEST,SPoll 12 Oct 06 - 06:51 AM
Big Al Whittle 12 Oct 06 - 06:04 AM
GUEST,memyself 11 Oct 06 - 04:11 PM
GUEST,lox 11 Oct 06 - 03:38 PM
GUEST,lox 11 Oct 06 - 03:31 PM
GUEST 11 Oct 06 - 03:11 PM
BB 11 Oct 06 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,Brian Peters 11 Oct 06 - 10:26 AM
Big Al Whittle 11 Oct 06 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,Brian Peters 11 Oct 06 - 06:24 AM
Big Al Whittle 11 Oct 06 - 06:07 AM
GUEST,lox 10 Oct 06 - 08:02 PM
The Sandman 10 Oct 06 - 01:29 PM
GUEST,thurg 10 Oct 06 - 12:41 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Oct 06 - 12:23 PM
The Sandman 09 Oct 06 - 05:50 PM
The Sandman 09 Oct 06 - 05:39 PM
BB 09 Oct 06 - 03:47 PM
Big Al Whittle 09 Oct 06 - 06:45 AM
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Big Al Whittle 09 Oct 06 - 06:02 AM
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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Lox
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 04:40 PM

"From: GUEST
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 10:17 AM

Only when talking through your ass."

"From: GUEST
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 04:11 PM

Another thing, when you feel the need to insult someone always say what you mean, don't hold back."

... ??? ...

zzzz ...


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 04:11 PM

Lox

"I never gained your expertise in talking through your ass"

Goldie, whos ass are you talking through here? Arstistic expression is definately your forte so stick to expressing it through your own.

Another thing, when you feel the need to insult someone always say what you mean, don't hold back.

As for "putrid jelly that you call your brain." At least we're on the same wavelength!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Lox
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 03:13 PM

Hello guest how are you are you having a nice day ... zzzzz ...

"No one is trying to hhijack anything here lox"

That's what I said ... zzzz ...

"Does it matter what accent he used?"

That's a point of view I've been advocating ... zzzz ...

"What are the other hobbies of the prime posters - watching the grass grow or the paint dry?"

The choice as I am aware of it is wider than that, and it is probably because I am aware of it that I never gained your expertise in "talking through your ass."

Having said that, both those options sound preferrable to reading the semi literate grunts that emanate from the putrid jelly you call your brain.
______________________

Sorry folks, couldn't resist. Matbe I shouldn't bite either.
______________________

Eric, :-)

No worries. You'll get to know me in time and maybe when you do you'll be curious to entertain the question "how significant is ones home environment in comparison to ones wider environment in the development of ones identity?".

I'll leave it in your hands, or anyone elses who cares to try it out. though probably best left to another thread at another time.

Till then, no stress. I'm out too, as I feel I've said everything I had to say on the question of artistic expression.
______________________


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,erictheorange
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 01:16 PM

I'm not biting Lox

eto


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 11:04 AM

No one is trying to hhijack anything here lox nor is a new thread necessary to inform how it's done. Just re read this thread and learn from the experts. I'm just amazed at the purile rubbish that is being spouted here.

Does it matter what accent he used?

What are the other hobbies of the prime posters - watching the grass grow or the paint dry?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Lox
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 10:48 AM

by the way, I found my old membership from ages ago. I will no longer be GUESTlox from now on but just plain old lox.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 10:40 AM

Eric, I promise, no attempt to drag anyone anywhere.

1. I do feel that there is potential for us to explore the question more deeply should we so desire, though if you don't that's fine no problem. I likewise am not so shallow as "nice try" might suggest.

2. Is it fair of me to suggest that you may be volunteering yourself as conductor of the thread a little? is this a class or a forum of discussion?

I understand your reluctance, I admit to a little heckle raising earlier, but I feel you could admit to a little "stage management" too. (and so have I at points ad infinitum) but I genuinely feel the psychological aspect of the question is valid and relevant to both the main thread and the first sub thread.

Call me the missing link if you will.

______________

Guest 10:17

we wouldn't know, we use our wit here. You are welcome to start another thread if you wish to inform us how it's done, but try not to hhijack this one if you are capable of understanding that.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 10:17 AM

Only when talking through your ass.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,erictheorange
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 10:07 AM

>>GUEST,lox
>>
>>perhaps this is fodder for a second sub thread, more
>>closely related to the original context and not inspired
>by the "ewen MacColl bashing" that some of the more
>>sensitive folk here seem to be concerned the first sub
>>thread was a response to.
>>
>>I understand that one must try to be objective, but if my hypothesis >>is wrong, then => etc etc etc etc

Nice try Guest,lox but I've had my say on this and I don't think we're ever going to agree. You're not dragging me back into this topic ;-)


Now everybody. Should you sing in assumed accents or not?

eto


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 09:01 AM

perhaps this is fodder for a second sub thread, more closely related to the original context and not inspired by the "ewen MacColl bashing" that some of the more sensitive folk here seem to be concerned the first sub thread was a response to.

I understand that one must try to be objective, but if my hypothesis is wrong, then
-what is the alternative?
-What else existed within the 4 walls of the MacColl household?
-How significant are such influences?
-how important are the first 3/4 years of your life in defining your identity?
-how significant are roots in defining ones identiity?
-if we compared ourselves to a PC, what influences would constitute an operating system and which would constitute tools and mechanisms?
-is that lad a salford lad on a scots mothers knee, or a young scot surrounded by salfordness?
-are identity and roots a load of pretentious twaddle?

From an objective academic perspective of course. ;-)

Isn't it at least a deeper more involved argument than you are seemingly giving it credit for?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,erictheorange
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 04:16 AM

Well I get the feeling we're going round in circles here and I think the more general debate about whether or not to sing songs with an attempt at an original accent is a more interesting and productive thread, so I'll try to limit my responses to just a couple of quick points and then call it quits.


>>weelittledrummer
>>
>>you said he was 'trying to deceive', that he was a 'fraud'.

No I didn't. See what I said

>>In MacColl's case I think the accent/name things come up
>>because perhaps some think that he was presenting himself
>>as something other than what he actually was, and hence
>>trying to deceive.

i.e. You see a guy from Salford change his name to a "distinctly Scottish one", and sing songs in a Scots accent. If you don't know about his parentage and the Lallans thing it's not surprising people might think it's an affectation.

Another example could be what happened with the actress Gillian Anderson from the X-files. When she came over to the UK to live she got criticised for speaking in an English accent, some saw it as an affectation, because they were unaware that she had grown up in London. You get the full information it makes sense, without the full information it seems affected.



>>GUEST,lox
>>
>>Within the four walls of his home there was a little
>>scottish colony. His two most influential teachers gave
>>him an education in nuance, approach, humour, personality,
>>moral values, interpretation and an infinite number of
>>other subtleties.

You speak as if you were there. I accept what you say from your experience, I just disagree that you can extrapolate from that to a general rule. My experience of family members is the opposite. The wider societal influences seem to have been dominant.

If you take Psychology 101 I'm sure they'd cover the point that you can't make assumptions on human behaviour based on an extremely limited sample.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 08:48 PM

you said he was 'trying to deceive', that he was a 'fraud'. that sounds like villainy of some sort.

I think maybe I'm out of my depth.

I'd better give this up. I thought he was more than okay. I'm pleased I saw him, talked with him, proud that he published one of my songs. I thought he was a great man. He really tried to promote what he thought was important. worked hard to perform his songs and to present traditional songs.

I don't know what he's domne to incur so much emnity. I understand there was a period when he was dictatorial about folk music, but he wasn't when I knew him, and he accepted me for what I was as a writer of songs. something I can't say about many other factions and cliques in the folk music world.

he was okay, and so was Peggy.

my last post on the subject.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 08:41 PM

Which image is the romantic one?

A young salford lad sitting on his mothers knee learning scots folk songs hearing about the old country,

Or a young lad of 3 or 4 who is just starting to become aware of life (salford) outside his home for the first time having so far spent his time developing the foundation of his identity in the capable hands of his mother, mainly at home, who being scottish has imbued him with all her deepest characteristics, from speech to etc blah blah

you get the gist


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 08:09 PM

No - No attempt to be selective, and thanks for the respectful approach, plus respect back for not compromising at the same time.

Where You say I am being naive, I say you are underestimating the impact and power of the home.

We are all aware of the potential consequences on a persons life if their famiily home is dysfunctional and even of shallower concepts such as "like father like son."

Within the four walls of his home there was a little scottish colony. His two most influential teachers gave him an education in nuance, approach, humour, personality, moral values, interpretation and an infinite number of other subtleties.

They didn't even know they were doing it and neither did he becaause it happens in everything from "pass the salt" to "well done".

Rhythms of speech and manner of expression run deeper than the more obvious differences beetween different peoples accents. Who someone is, their soul, their heart and their passion come from their home.

His Identity was extracted ultimately from his roots and they were not wishy washy and back in the mists of time, but a real living part of his childhood and adolescence.

I would give a strong family home about 85% of the credit for shaping a person. The rest is adaptation and evolution.

This is why I so stubbornly and apparently unreasonably keep referring back to my second post. There is nothing about me that isn't Irish except for a little social camouflage.

I don't go round preaching on the subject of Irish politics, I don't pit prod against mick, I don't do many of the things that might fit the stereotype, but there is a fundamental and very deep core of me that goes back a long way and is Irish.

When I am with my cousins, be they in Ulster Munster Leinster or connaught, as I have them in each province, it shows, and though my accentt is not complete, noone feeels patronized because I speak from my heart and make no pretence about the things that I say.

I love to sing and I love to play my "instrument" (hold back on the innuendo please, I mean my voice). My accent changes for lots of reasons depending on the song, and when I sing Irish songs, a lilt comes out naturally. More than that though, something else comes through which is my character. It is the thing that identified with the song in the first place and that revels in it when I reproduce it.

There is an Irish Rhythm in delivery, and an Irish idea of spirit, humour,subtlety and melancholy. I got these things and more from my Home life and my parents. It wasn't something that they ever consciously taught me, but something that was imbued in me by spending my formative years with them.

I picked up on what got them excited. I picked up what made them upset, and how they perceived the world and what aspirations they had for it.

It's not about romance or naivety, its psychology 101 ;-)


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,erictheorange
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 07:32 PM

>>weelittledrummer
>>
>>Eric
>>
>>he was trying to give you something - an insight.
>>he did his best. there was no villainy involved.

I don't understand your post. I didn't say there was any villainy involved.


>>GUEST,lox
>>He wasn't a salford lad
>>
>>your culture comes from your home

I think you'll find the home he lived in was in Salford, Lancashire, England ;-)

More seriously I think you're naive if you believe that your sole, or even your main, source of culture comes from your home environment.


>>GUEST,lox
>>
>>eric
>>
>>you said of your first post:
>>
>> etc etc etc etc etc
>>Inother words, his mum was a scot - something you
>>already knew?
>>
>>And what accent did you expect her or his father to speak
>>in? Where's the revelation?

Do I detect by your selective reading of my posts that you're deliberately misunderstanding what I say in an effort to prop up your argument? Perhaps you should read the whole post. I think it's clear enough where I say =>

>>I am aware that his parents were Scottish, but I've got
>>quite a few cousins whose parents were Scots and they have
>>the accent of where they grew up (London and Manchester)
>>without any trace of north of the border except in some of
>>the phrases they use.

to clarify =>

Just because you have Scots parents doesn't necessarily mean that you end up singing in a Scottish accent when you come from Salford (even if you learned the songs from them).

So did he get the accent from his parents, or because he went on lots of holidays to Scotland, or because he ate porridge, or did he acquire it later in life because he thought it might go well with his new name?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 05:19 PM

eric

you said of your first post:

1. " ...My question was ... how does somebody brought up in Salford default to a Scottish accent"

2. "I think you'll find that my original post mentioned that BOTH his parents were Scots."

Then you later quoted and commented:

">>While he had a Salford speaking accent, according to his
>>contemporaries the one he used for singing was that he
>>got from his mother Betsy and other members of his family

Thankyou Jim - that answers that question."

Inother words, his mum was a scot - something you already knew?

And what accent did you expect her or his father to speak in? Where's the revelation?

Just as well I (and others) had "an additional point to add to the original question" as you so very ignorantly have coaxed.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 04:32 PM

He wasn't a salford lad


he was a scots lad living in salford

your culture comes from your home

My "experience" is exactly that.

I am a witness not counsel

___________________

As to other points, read other posts


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 01:28 PM

Eric

he was trying to give you something - an insight.
he did his best. there was no villainy involved.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,erictheorange
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 01:23 PM

>>Lighter
>>
>>Back to "Ewan MacColl's accent." What I understand from the
>>Scots on this thread is that Scottish opinion is divided
>>about whether it sounded essentially believable or obviously fake.
>>
>>I suppose that makes any opinion thoroughly subjective.
>>
>>But be it noted that to non-Scots he sounded like the real thing.

Personally I wouldn't dream of singing in a Scots accent even though my mother was born there and her father was a Scot born and bred. I don't feel Scots. Then again I have a friend who was born in England of English parents and English grandparents who is most definitely Welsh because he spent from 6 months old until age 22 in Wales.

If Ewan MacColl thought of himself as a Scot then he was - and even if when he sang in a "Scots" accent it came out sounding Irish, Mancunian, Russian or Outer Mongolian I don't think it really matters.
I think that it is reasonable however to ask why a Salford lad would sing in such an accent and change his name to a "more Scottish" one (a question suitably answered).

FWIW I think his accent sounds "faux Scots" but then at that time there were quite a few born & bred Scots who modified their accents, mainly to sound more like an English or American view of what a Scots accent is.


>>weelittledrummer
>>
>>Nationality affects you. Of course it does. You look to
>>your parents for how to think about life, and if they
>>come from somewhere different from where you live - they
>>will look at it differently from the indigent population.
>>
>>And even to the third generation.
>>
>>I sometimes find myself asking why my parents and
>>grandparents acted and said the things they did - how
>>they arrived at certain attitudes.
>>

This is a bit of an over-simplification. Is your parents National identity the same as yours? Certainly your parents & grandparents have an influence on your cultural identity, but then so do your peers, your language, your economic situation, your religion, your politics, your education, the culture you grow up in, etc.

>>Someone once said to me, two Irish grandparents .... of
>>course you're bloody Irish, you're just in denial.....
>>

Of course, if you've got two Irish grandparents and two Japanese ones, but you grow up in Spain as a Spanish citizen, speaking Spanish with Spanish friends and a Spanish education, you're not necessarily going to act, think & feel very Irish at all - nor are you probably going to sound very Irish when you sing their songs. If you then changed your name from Akira Kurosawa to Cahir O'Doherty and started singing Irish folk songs in a Spanish/Japanese/Irish accent it's not really surprising if some might be a bit surprised ;-)

>>Being Scottish was not something Ewan MacColl could avoid.
>>whatever his place of birth and where he grew up.

I thought the Scots are notorious for "going native", unlike say the Irish? Certainly I've several cousins whose parents or grandparents were Scots but none of them have any noticeable Scots identity - even the two of them that lived near Falkirk for 4 years during the war.


On the issue of singing songs from other areas in assumed accents I think it depends on how you identify yourself as a performer. If you are "putting on a production" presenting songs from regions in a performance, then as with acting it's surely obviously appropriate to assume an accent. You are creating an illusion for the audience.

If however, you identify yourself as a singer of songs from your heritage/tradition learning them, prserving them & passing them on, then the situation becomes less clear & you run the risk of being accused of being a fraud. It's less a case of what you do, but rather how you present it.

In MacColl's case I think the accent/name things come up because perhaps some think that he was presenting himself as something other than what he actually was, and hence trying to deceive.


eto


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 11:53 AM

In actual fact, one's accent becomes stronger the more isolated you are in some cases. You become aggressive about how different you and your family are, than those surrounding you. Thats how it happens - did to me.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 10:38 AM

Nationality affects you. Of course it does. You look to your parents for how to think about life, and if they come from somewhere different from where you live - they will look at it differently from the indigent population.

And even to the third generation.

I sometimes find myself asking why my parents and grandparents acted and said the things they did - how they arrived at certain attitudes.

Someone once said to me, two Irish grandparents .... of course you're bloody Irish, you're just in denial.....

Being Scottish was not something Ewan MacColl could avoid. whatever his place of birth and where he grew up.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 10:31 AM

Back to "Ewan MacColl's accent." What I understand from the Scots on this thread is that Scottish opinion is divided about whether it sounded essentially believable or obviously fake.

I suppose that makes any opinion thoroughly subjective.

But be it noted that to non-Scots he sounded like the real thing.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,erictheorange
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 10:11 AM

GuestLox

With all due respect. My question was not should he sing in such an accent, nor whether he should regard himself as a Scot. Rather it how does somebody brought up in Salford default to a Scottish accent. Simple question - no agenda.

>>You would have seen that Prior to my first post, it had only been clearly established that his mother was Scottish and spoke in a scottish accent.

I think you'll find that my original post mentioned that BOTH his parents were Scots.

You may belive you provided some answers to this question but I think at best all you provided was some perspective from your life experiences. I asked some factual questions, and through Jim Carroll and Eric the Red got what seem to be decent factual answers.

For some reason you seem to have decided to revert this thread back to the original question for no reason, a question which has long been answered, while the rest seem to be having a reasonably intelligent discussion about decisions they make on how to sign regional songs. Do you have an additional point to add to the original question?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 09:30 AM

Sure enough. But behind that is the bigger question.

If an artist feels thats the way he wants to express himself, why should some other character feel free to say - that's the wrong way to do it.

Its like if someone said to Van Gogh, sod that mate - you should be doing that sunflower as a clay sculpture.

Its like that annoying Harry Enfield character - I don't think you meant to do that,.... yes I did, and Ewan MacColl caertainly did it the way he meant to do it.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 09:04 AM

Likewise, if you had bothered to pay proper attention yourself you would have seen me contributing frequently to it over most of it's course.

You would have seen that Prior to my first post, it had only been clearly established that his mother was Scottish and spoke in a scottish accent.

">> Jim Carroll wrote
>>
>>He picked up his accent from his parents - his mother had
>>a broad Scots accent until the day she died; also he was
>>surrounded by Scots people throughout his childhood and
>>early youth.
>>While he had a Salford speaking accent, according to his
>>contemporaries the one he used for singing was that he
>>got from his mother Betsy and other members of his family

Thankyou Jim - that answers that question."

You would also have read my post:

"From: GUEST,lox
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 04:04 PM "

In which I explained, from personal experience, how I know that having 2 scottish parents and growing up in a scottish home makes any attempt to undermine his authenticity in this respect a crock of shit.

So yes, "exactly true".


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,erictheorange
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 08:45 AM

>>GUEST,lox
>>
>>Thread title? "ewen MacColl's accent"
>>
>>What was his accent? "Scottish"
>>
>>Why? "Because he was Scottish, just like his parents and grandparents"
>>
>>That's that.

Not exactly true is it!

The whole point of the original question was that he wasn't Scottish, but rather of Scottish descent. He was born & raised in Salford, England. Despite this he sang in a Scottish accent and adopted a (seemingly) more Scottish name. I had seen remarks on the internet alluding to this being an affectation so I asked for clarification.

I also think that if you'd bothered to read this thread, the whole original question dealing both with his singing accent and why he changed his name was answered adequately about 2 weeks and 140 posts ago!

eto


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 08:01 AM

I'm not outraged by the criticism of me using an American accent. I'm far too used to it to feel anything much - except mild annoyance.

Its the way I sing. I've been doing it for 30 years . its the way I think it should be done, and I am entitled not to be discounted because of it. as is ewan maccoll.

As Eugene Delacroix said, to be an artist at twenty is to be twenty. to still be an artist at forty is to be an artist.

I am 57.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 07:50 AM

Thread title? "ewen MacColl's accent"

What was his accent? "Scottish"

Why? "Because he was Scottish, just like his parents and grandparents"

That's that.

_________________

I look forward to seeing you on the other thread Brian et al


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 07:19 AM

"This thread is much too long and going nowhere now
Let's call a halt to it ??"

I think Jim has put the subject to bed as far as the narrow topic of Ewan MacColl's accent is concerned - thank you Jim. I entirely agree with WLD, and with Jim's contributions to the other thread, that personal (and often politically motivated) attacks on MacColl get us nowhere. But we *should* be able to discuss his *work* - hugely important and sometimes controversial as it is - impartially, without anyone throwing a wobbler.

The parallel sub-thread about how modern singers should interpret their material (particularly, but not exclusively, traditional songs)is something we should all be considering carefully for every song we sing, and something that MacColl himself believed was very important. There's plenty more discussion mileage in that one, and perhaps it will surface again sometime, in another thread with a less emotive title.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,SPoll
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 06:51 AM

I was born in Tyneside - I have no such accent and cannot reproduce it convincingly.
Moved to Glasgow when I was 4 - don't speak any of the several Glasgow dialects. (Many Glasgow accents, depending on home neighbourhood!)
Was sent toschool in Ayrshire (wartime) but didn't 'get' that accent either.
Moved to Hampshire (parental preparations there for D-Day) Sent to a 'good' school & after considerable malicious teasing I learned to speak "Standard English" i.e. cut-glass accent. But still had a Scottish lilt.
Married & lived in Derbyshire - didn't get that accent but some of my children speak with it. To some extent, anyway
Now live in Scotland - revetrted to scottishness to some extent.

BUT my father was Australian from New South Wales - so at home I spoke With an Aussie lilt -
BUT my mother belonged to Edinburgh - Accent referred to as "High Pan"
BUT my hisband, born in Belfast, of Welsh Father, worked mostly in London area - - -

Is it surprising that I speak to other people more-or-less with a similar accent as theirs ?   [Not Lanc-ey Dawsit or Burminum though]
I'm NOT trying to do this - it just comes naturally.   tough English people think I seak with a Scots accent and Scots think I speak with english...etc.
THE ACCENT UNCONSCIOUSLY USED IS THE APPROPRIATE NE FOR THE SETTING

This is what McColl/ Dylan/ McCarthy - - and SO many others do and did.

This thread is much too long and going nowhere now
Let's call a halt to it ??


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 06:04 AM

I am not scottish - part irish/gypsy - but mostly english.

if that explains anything.

Ewan MacColl was a creative person, who did his best. Who did what seemed possible. Who made his performances as vivid as possible for his audiences. I am willing to concede that in doing that he may have altered material to his own purposes. But he did his damndest.

My point was that he was in there fighting for a place for folk music in our community. These nit picking denigrations of him - his accent, his war record, his failure to treat old songs as though they were some sort of thing in a museum not to be altered.....

If you really can't see why they piss me off, I hardly know what to say. these are accusations you could, and some people do, level at anyone in folk music - apart from the war record.

Look at the folk club movement. It is in a parlous state. The seeds of the destructive factionalism that has wrought so much damage, are in your approach to the subject of folk music. This mans accent is not pure enough, that man's guitar style.....there will be no end, unless you end it by not sniping at creative effort.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,memyself
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 04:11 PM

"I think that what you are seeing is outrage stemming from disbelief, that someone who had such a weight of positive characteristics, ... "

No offence intended to WLD, and likewise no intent to be patronizing, but my impression was that he was at least as outraged by a critic's unfavorable comments about one of his own recordings. Which is understandable. But that seemed the logical explanation of his explosion of passion in the midst of what had become a civil discussion.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 03:38 PM

Well that clears that up then - it wasn't only his mum who was a scot.

Like me, his home, ie where he ate his breakfast lunch and dinner and learned his manners and identity, was culturally a microcosm of his parents cultural background His roots were solidly embedded in scotland.

In fact, this thread is complete.

The question has been categorically answered.

There is nothing more to add

I defy you

Oh god what am I saying ...


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 03:31 PM

BB I'm not sure you're right about WLD

I think I understand how he feels, (though feel free to put me in my place for being patronizing if you like WLD).

I think that what you are seeing is outrage stemming from disbelief, that someone who had such a weight of positive characteristics, who had such an impact on the world, from "Irish Trad (?)" to Roberta Flack and Coldcut Dj's, could be diccussed in what could easily be perceived as a very arrogant snobbish and ruthlessly selective manner.

The analogy might be slagging off Bob Marley for being only half Black (another half scot incidentally for those who didn't know).

I may be wrong, but it strikes me that WLD may be a scot himself. Again I stand to be corrected, but if I'm right and he is as passionate as his prose would suggest, then who are we non scots to judge.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 03:11 PM

Perhaps it's worth clearing up a number of points about MacColl's accent.
His father, William, was from Camelon, near Falkirk, Stirlingshire and his mother Betsy from Aucherader, Perthshire. I have no idea how his father spoke, but I would guess it was in his native county accent; Betsy had a broad Perthshire accent until the day she died. MacColl had a good command of both of these, as can be heard in the handful of recordings of his storytelling and in some of the descriptions he gave us when we interviewed him in the 1980s. He also had a good command of a Hebridean accent, as witnessed by anybody who heard him re-telling some of the stories from there which he recorded for the BBC in the thirties, also from his 'Charlie Plenderleith tales, which he very occasionally told at The Singers Club. Those who heard him telling Alec Stewart's 'Jack tales' will agree, I'm sure, that he didn't make a bad fist of those either.
He sang Scots songs and ballads from an early age, a fact which was confirmed for me by this following quote about his first contact with the BBC in 1934 (from 'Prospero and Ariel' The Rise And Fall of Radio by D G Bridson (Victor Gollancz 1971)

"MacColl had been out busking for pennies by the Manchester theatres and cinemas. The songs he sang were unusual, Scots songs, Gaelic songs he had learnt from his mother, border ballads and folk-songs. One night while queuing up for the three-and¬sixpennies, Kenneth Adam had heard him singing outside the Manchester Paramount. He was suitably impressed. Not only did he give MacColl a handout; he also advised him to go and audi¬tion for Archie Harding at the BBC studios in Manchester's Piccadilly. This MacColl duly did. May Day in England was being cast at the time, and though it had no part for a singer, it certainly had for a good, tough, angry Voice of the People. Ewan MacColl became the Voice, a role which he has continued to fill on stage, on the air, and on a couple of hundred L.P. discs ever since".

Whether he sang in an 'authentic' Scots accent is a matter of opinion; I'm not sure I know what an 'authentic Scots accent' is. I think I know what an authentic Perthshire or Aberdeenshire, or Lothian, or Orkney, or Shetland accent is but……..
MacColl was not particularly interested in authenticity, either in accent or in reproducing a ballad sound (whatever that is).
He argued that traditional songs and ballads were every bit as important, skilful, creative, complex and enjoyable as any other poetical and musical form, and he decided to share that opinion with others. In order to pass on the Scots songs and ballads to as wide an audience as possible, no matter where they came from, and to maintain their 'Scottishness', complete with all the nuances and subtleties of the language, I believe he chose a modified Scots accent. I can only say it worked for me.
This isn't to say he managed accents every time. Some of his early recordings have never worked for me; (he often said he could not bear to listen to some of them himself). I still find his 'Nicky Tams', which he hams-up atrociously, rather cringe-making. He didn't make much of a job of Irish accents in his early days and as for his Liverpool accent………
Having said all this, it seems a little nit-picking to argue authenticity. He breathed life into 137 of the 305 Child ballads, many of them in multiple versions.
I will always be grateful for the fact that he introduced me to the Scots repertoire. Thirty odd years after first hearing it, his 'Bothy Ballads of Scotland' still ranks as a milestone in my interest in traditional song, despite its shortcomings. I suspect there are many like me who came to love the ballads through hearing him sing them. As far as I'm concerned that love has lasted me throughout the greater part of my life and will do for the rest of it.
Jim Carroll
PS Where the hell did the 'Bob Dylan' copying come from – come on, give us a break!
.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: BB
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 02:47 PM

Brian, I've come to the conclusion that WLD is incapable of reading this thread without deliberately mis-reading it, so I think we're probably best ignoring any contribution from him (or is it her?). His/her posts just have to be a wind-up, as surely nothing else would explain the outrageous statements made therein.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 10:26 AM

WLD - I think there's something weird going on in your computer that means you're reading a different thread to the rest of us. Some of us are *trying* to be "thoughtful". You're just being rude and ignoring most of the points others have made.

Your point 1): Nowhere did I suggest that MacColl's changes to traditional songs were "not right", I just pointed out that he made some. He could write a damn good tune if you ask me. A few MacColl-baiters complained about the accent in early messages, but I think we've moved on now.

2): Did anyone raise the subject of American diction and guitar style, Al Stewart, Derek Brimstone, et al, except you?

3): Three posts out of 146 - hardly the main thrust of the discussion.

4): Again, who said this or anything lke it?

"They can't be arsed to learn the words and they frequently forget the tune.... The preferred vocal style will no doubt turn out to be something resembling Daphne Oxenford in Listen with Mother."

Baseless nonsense.

Who's the one in the "arse-kicking frenzy" around here?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 09:28 AM

well so far in this thoughtful thread, all this cerebration seems to have led to the following:-

1) MacColl's Scotish accent was execrable, and he changed traditional material until he had something he felt he could make a powerful performance with, and this wasn't right. Not right at all.

2) everybody whose music is influenced by American diction or presumably guitar phrasing, they are all sound the same and they dreadful, with no right to be in a folk club - well they don't play folk music - presumably bert jansch, Al Stewart, derek brimstone, ralph mctell, etc.

3) Martin carthy and Nic Jones 'put it on' - so they ain't up to much.

4) there were some traditional singers - now conveniently dead who were all right.

One wonders at the climax of ths arse kicking frenzy, just who will be left standing and adjudged to be the winners - the true friends of English folk music. I can't help the sneaking suspicion just creeping up on me that it will turn out to be a load of middle class characters who carry their songs round in a professorial manner, in loose leaf folders, because they can't be arsed to learn the words and they frequently forget the tune.

The preferred vocal style will no doubt turn out to be something resembling Daphne Oxenford in Listen with Mother.

All I can see is If you've seen the Muffin man, tell him where he can stuff it.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 06:24 AM

Lox, seems we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

"I will never inhibit myself or try to inhibit anyone else for expressing their art any way they choose"

Nor will I, but all of us have opinions about what is appropriate in terms of song choice and presentation. We use these opinions to govern (not 'inhibit') our own performance, and to discuss them on Mudcat is not to try to inhibit, prohibit or censure others from making their own decisions. Didn't the Critics Group do that?

"If we strip away the accent and/or vocabulary to make the story clearer, we risk seriously damaging the intended artistic character of the piece."

Surely the "intended artistic character" as perceived by any traditional singer of former times would have been to tell the story as clearly as possible to the audience they were performing to. Which, whether the singer was Scots or Appalachian or whatever, would mean using the voice that was their own and that of their peers. I have merely suggested that modern singers follow that precedent.

"And if we insist on remaining true to the story to the detriment of it's original expressive form and we subsequently make it less of an art form and more of a historical tome, are we not therefore compelled, in the interests of consistency, to make sure it is accurate and told in a manner consistent with current historical understanding."

I wasn't talking about historical accuracy. I only entered this discussion when someone was talking about the need to sing Child Ballads in a Scots accent. While some Child Ballads (although not necessarily the ones that interest me) have a specific historical background, many do not. They are ancient stories, not unlike fairy tales in their mythology and timelessness. Different versions of the same ballad collected in different places and maybe in different centuries can tell subtly different versions of the same tale. The modern singer has two principal alternatives: choose one field-recorded version as their source and remain close to that; or, collate versions to make sense out of what may be conflicting accounts, whilst remaining true to the essence of the ballad. Both can work.

"If we reinterpret them and by doing so they lose their value historically, then it follows that their story becomes less valid being further from testimony and closer to fiction."

I think you should give modern song interpreters more credit than to suggest that, by making their texts understandable, they are clumsily altering the factual content. Assuming that the song contains any factual content, which many traditional songs do not.

"Ewen MacColl has done what the original authors of the songs were unable to do and that is record them. He tried to do this in a manner that left them as close to their original form as possible."

This is simply untrue. I've no desire at all to join in the MacColl-bashing theme that has surfaced regularly in this thread, but there's no doubt in my mind he composed new tunes for traditional texts. His close colleague A. L. Lloyd regularly doctored traditional lyrics, whether simply to tell a more interesting story ("Reynardine") or gain political spin ("The Recruited Collier") - check the recent threads on this topic. One of the main points of the MacColl/Lloyd-inspired folk revival was to make traditional songs relevant to British society in the 1960s, not to preserve them in some antiquarian form.

What is the "original form" of a traditional song, anyway? Current thinking is that many more of them originated as broadsides than was once believed, but isn't the beauty of the traditional song canon precisely that the songs exist in countless variants, and in many dialects?

"He (MacColl) is responsible for cataloguing historical documents in a form that meant that we might have the chance to experience them in a slightly less dry and rustly way"

If you mean "bringing old songs to life", then I'm with you all the way, both as regards MacColl and what some of us are still trying to do.

"We are a little bit richer for his contribution and I for one respect his efforts tremendously."

Agreed (please note, weelittledrummer).


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 06:07 AM

cock on! fox lox!

On top of that i would like to say that he and peggy made themselves accessible to everybody for years, going up and down the country doing gigs for not particularly high fees. they were always willing to discuss stuff with you. I never knew them to be anything except good humoured.

he may have been wrong about some things, but he did his best for us.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 10 Oct 06 - 08:02 PM

I thought I'd had enough, but -

On a personal level,

I will never inhibit myself or try to inhibit anyone else for expressing their art any way they choose, be it in their own accent or in the manner of a Kling-on.

In fact, I'll bet that there are innumerable trekkies out there who are busy cataloguing a fictional library of Kling-on war songs and laments and who present them in as "authentic" a manner as poosible.

The lord of the rings radio adaptation might have been a little less entertaining than it was had the BBC not been so patronizing as to attribute different regional accents to the characters.

Sometimes of course, we derive greater entertainment from art based in non fiction than art based on fiction.

Songs about real wars, social unrest and other historical events, minor or major in tone or consequence have a deeper resonance as we are aware that they pertain to the lives of real people.

If we strip away the accent and/or vocabulary to make the story clearer, we risk seriously damaging the intended artistic character of the piece.

And if we insist on remaining true to the story to the detriment of it's original expressive form and we subsequently make it less of an art form and more of a historical tome, are we not therefore compelled, in the interests of consistency, to make sure it is accurate and told in a manner consistent with current historical understanding.

We may find ourselves having to edit songs to compensate for bias and the original authors lack of hindsight.

Many of these songs constitute source material. In some cases they constitute secondary evidence.

If we reinterpret them and by doing so they lose their value historically, then it follows that their story becomes less valid being further from testimony and closer to fiction.

So perhaps in respect of both art and history we would do well to leave them alone.

Ewen MacColl has done what the original authors of the songs were unable to do and that is record them. He tried to do this in a manner that left them as close to their original form as possible.

He is responsible for cataloguing historical documents in a form that meant that we might have the chance to experience them in a slightly less dry and rustly way.

He breathed life into a part of history which, in this era, might otherwise have simply disappeared in a puff of post modern apathy.

He has done the world a huge favour. We are a little bit richer for his contribution and I for one respect his efforts tremendously.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Oct 06 - 01:29 PM

Pooters of the world come forth and insult Ewan Maccoll,
all you nobodies,when you have done as much as Ewan Macoll ,you might be fit to wipe his boots, nonentities with 1 percent of his talent,pathetic little Pooters.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 10 Oct 06 - 12:41 PM

Agreed - that's why I stopped contributing to that thread (not there was any great demand for my contributions!).


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Oct 06 - 12:23 PM

whereas it alright to insult the memory of Ewan MacColl.

If these threads are thoughtful, they are only insomuch as they full of unkind thoughts. And the continued existence of the other thread under that title is a disgrace.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 05:50 PM

The most important thing is to enjoy singing.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 05:39 PM

the idea that Nic jones sounds likes martin carthy is laughable, neither vocally or as a guitarist, were they similar,. anyone that thinks so should get their ears tested.
   now that guy Dick Miles, was once described as singing with a clothes peg on the end of his nose, but if he had a fiver for every time hes been told what a great voice, he had he would be very rich,so ;;;; you cant please everyone.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: BB
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 03:47 PM

GUEST, Tunesmith said:
Nic Jones' voice doesn't sound natural to me? He sounds too much like Carthy. And, surely, Carthy sings in a voice that he has invented!

Have you ever heard Nic speak? His singing is very much like his speaking in terms of accent and tonal quality. I think he may have been inspired by Carthy originally, as many were, but personally, I think he left Carthy behind very quickly. And you may have noticed that I did not quote Carthy as one of those using a 'natural' voice.

I have not got into the Ewan MacColl side of this discussion, as I was not familiar enough with him and his views when he was putting them forward. What I am interested in is 'traditional' style, and what we can learn from that.

As for WLD, you're just being unnecessarily rude and insulting, and I don't believe I have ever hounded anyone - I am merely putting my own point of view in what had been a civilised and interesting discussion.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 06:45 AM

and the idea that everybody will sound like Gerry Lockran or Jack Hudson if we adopt American accents - if only.......


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Scrump
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 06:40 AM

Yes, if a person feels uncomfortable singing in an accent other than their own natural one (as some here have indicated), that's no reason to deny others the right to do so if they wish, IMO.

I'll continue to attempt to sing songs in the 'appropriate' accent or dialect, to the best of my ability, and risk the odd person objecting because I don't happen to come from the area in question.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 06:02 AM

no Brian, but peoples right to sing in the voices THEY feel comfortable with, should be respected.

and that goes double for Ewan MacColl, who did his best.


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