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Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding

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Subject: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Leadfingers
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 04:00 PM

Just listened to the nominations for the Folk Awards ! What struck me , it seems to be nearly all the same people in EVERY category !
What does any one else think ??
I have nothing against any of the artists , but Spiers and Boden are a fair bit of Bellowhead , Martin Carthy is in all over the place , as is Tim Van Eycken , Eliza Carthy and Seth Lakeman !


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 04:13 PM

Yes, Tel, but you always hear the same people on the show during the rest of the year. It would be nice to be surprised for a change.

I'm glad Vin was nominated for best live performance, though I suspect Bellowhead will win.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: black walnut
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 04:16 PM

What folk awards? Where? When? We don't all live in the same country here, don't forget. The first thing that came to my mind when I read the subject heading was the upcoming CFMA's in December -the Canadian Folk Music Awards...

~b.w.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: folk_radio_uk
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 04:32 PM

I tend to agree. They are all great artists and some are debut albums. But it would be nice to see more names. Doug Bailey over at Wildgoose records is knocking out some great english folk that doesn't get a look-in. Also Pete Heywood of "The Living Tradition" Mag features many new artists that you never get to hear on mainstream stations.
How about: Mick Ryan & Pete Harris, Jim Causley (surprised he hasn't had a mention, he's going to be touring with Tim Van Eyken later this year), The Queensberry Rules (another great act), Tom and Barbara Brown, Ron Taylor and Jeff Gillett, Keith Kendrick (superb album: Songs from the Derbyshire Coast), Jez Lowe and The Bad Pennies (another surprise). I could go on but I'll bore you


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: breezy
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 04:34 PM

Harding did feature a song by Pete Morton this year

'I'm in love with Emily Dickenson'

how about that for a change in programme line up then , what more can you expect.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 04:53 PM

BBC-R2 Folk Awards Nominations

Martin Carthy's not nominated at all as a solo performer, just as a duo with Swarb and as a member of Waterson:Carthy. Nor is Eliza mentioned anywhere (except as a member of W;C. I hold no brief for the BBC, not having worked there for a decade, but come on, be accurate. And Spiers & Boden are 2/11ths of Bellowhead.

The best howler is the nomination of Seth Lakeman doing The White Hare as 'Best Traditional Track' when it's a ditty he cobbled up from some crap legend and put it out on a pop vid with an out-of-work model.

All that really interests me really is the Horizon Award for 'best newcomer' which, as usual, lags behind reality. The Devil's Interval who ought to have got it last year will win. Mawkin (who aren't even nominated) who should be up there will be on a catch-up next year and Shona Kipling & Damien O'Kane (who are nominated but it's not 'their turn' yet) will get it the year after.

The Tim Van Eyken/Van Eyken multi-nominations are good news and very well deserved, but a good call is Game Set Match, Nic Jones' latest compilation, nominated for Best Album. It is not, of course, his best album at all, but until the four lost ones become available again, it's the best that's out there,


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 04:56 PM

f r uk:

Jim Causley is a member of The Devil's Interval who are nominated for the Horizon.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: folk_radio_uk
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 05:09 PM

Countess. Missed that, Blood and Honey is a great album. Also like Fruits of the Earth, his own album, "Lusty Young Smith" and a nice version of "John Barleycorn"


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,james
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 05:17 PM

I saw the devils interval at the grove in leeds recently. They were crap.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 03:47 AM

How did Show of Hands qualify for the best ' duo ' nomination ? there must have been at least five of them, mind you they will probably win because they were the ones who sounded like a pop group.

eric


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 03:50 AM

In fact they should start a new category for bands like Show of Hands,
' the folk music for people who don't really like folk music award '

eric


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 04:13 AM

Show of Hands is still basically a duo, but Miranda Sykes has been a more or less permanent 'special guest' on their latest tour. They may sound like a group of five, but that's probably due to the number of instruments they play :-)


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 04:15 AM

For those who don't know what the folk we are talking about, see details of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards here


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 04:22 AM

I already osted a link to the nominations in ful @ #6.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 04:39 AM

Oops, sorry my lady - a genuine oversight. Please ignore my link and use the Countess's.

I wonder whether the other nominees for Best Traditional Track can or will complain about the inclusion of The White Hare? Or don't folkies do that sort of thing? :-)


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 04:44 AM

In my opinion the BBC Radio 2 "Folk" Awards have had little to do with 'real' folk music for many years. The comments above about, "the folk music for people who don't really like folk music award" and the folk group who "sound most like a pop group" are all to true!

You should be hanging your head in shame, Mr Harding - but probably you don't give a toss!


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 04:47 AM

How can seth lakeman win a traditional awrd wuth a self penned song.
at least COMHALTAS for all their faults have definitions.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Mrs_Annie
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 06:13 AM

There was some debate on the BBC board about whether The White Hare qualified as a traditional track. I, like many others, thought it was composed by SL, but on checking the CD notes, I found it described as trad/arr.
Very surprising. But I would have been even more surprised if the many people involved in the nominations hadn't checked it out thoroughly.

Does anyone know of the source song, and where it was found?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Betsy
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 07:02 AM

As with all such award /self importance ceremonies - "They're all pissing in the same pot" as we sauy around here with one or two notable exceptions - who have been thrown in to make up the numbers.
Best live performer ?
For Vin Garbutt to come through and survive a very serious (non-standard ) Heart-op,whilst at the same time suffering an undetected ( burst) duodenal ulcer during the recuperation, and now being back on stage wowwing the audiences, with Traditional,self-penned and collected songs
combined with his unique humour.
There's no contest, what a live performer , and gives MORE value than the price of the entry ticket, but he won't win again, after "slagging-off" the establishment which the Folk "Hierarchy" and C.D.producers /distributors/shops are seemingly happy to support.

Cheers,

Betsy


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: melodeonboy
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 07:24 AM

I couldn't agree more with what you say about Vin, Betsy. He's been outstanding every time I've seen him perform.

As for you, Countess, I rarely agree with anything you say, so I'm genuinely pleased to tell you how much I enjoyed your comments on Lakeman's "ditty"; spot on!


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 08:41 AM

A Living Tradition?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Grab
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 08:46 AM

Show of Hands - "folk music for people who don't like folk music"?

Yes, of course they're famous for their pop songs. Like Tall Ships, Cousin Jack, Galway Farmer, Country Life, Columbus didn't find America - oh wait... ;-)

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 08:49 AM

They have an incredible version of Seven Yellow Gypsies on a CD which starts as a studio version and is followed by a live version recorded with Indian musicians in India. Two traditions in one?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 09:16 AM

I think there's a problem that anyone who is successful gets slagged off automatically by some people in the folk world, just because they are successful.

Artists like Seth Lakeman and Show of Hands are very talented and have worked hard to get where they are, just as Vin Garbutt and Martin Carthy before them. Show of Hands have been going for the best part of 20 years, so they are hardly an overnight success. Whether you like their music or not (and I do happen to like them), they have helped raise the profile of folk music with the general public, and IMO that has to be a good thing.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 11:29 AM

Seth Lakeman I'm sure is eminently hard-working, professional etc etc. The question which is raised, which I think is valid is: "What is a newly-written original song by Seth Lakeman doing in the "traditional" category?" The trouble is, if the traditional section becomes taken over by new songs, then we will have a re-run of the old "what does folk mean?" question, but this time we will need a new word to mean what the old "traditional " meant. Surely it would be much easier to confine the traditional category to traditional material.
   (I must declare a vested interest in this, I recorded a lot of traditional material this year. And it was traditional, really!)


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 11:54 AM

I wasn't talking particularly about the White Hare issue (I fully agree it's not right for a new song to be called traditional, and I would certainly question the BBC, if I was one of the other nominees for this particular award), but I've noticed a lot of slagging off of successful artists generally in this forum (Kate Rusby, Seth Lakeman, Show of Hands, etc.)

The comments in my last posting above really applied more to SOH, who as I said, have been around for the best part of 20 years now, have written some great songs and put on a cracking live show. It just seems that if someone works hard to get where they are, they get slagged off for their success instead of congratulated. Maybe there is a suspicion of sour grapes from some quarters (not you Greg, I hasten to add).


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 12:22 PM

Yes there is a traditional song called The White Hare. It's in Frank Kidson's Traditional Tunes 1891. It's not what the Lakeperson does. There was a thread only a few weeks ago in which several people (including me, I think) posted versions of the Cornish legend about some drippy woman turning into a rabbit and stalking a bloke who'd dumped her. The vid is sad (derogatory sense) or hilarious depending on what mood you're in when watching. It's a bland, trite pop song of formulaic structure based on a silly story.

Rabbits On A Beach


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 12:47 PM

So glad to hear the Royal family are doing well.....


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Hamish
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 02:43 PM

Re: Folk Radio UK's post: Mike H also played a track by The Queensberry Rules not so long ago. They're a great act (but the track he played didn't work for me...)

--
Hamish


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 24 Nov 06 - 04:08 AM

It's not so much the songs that Show of Hands sing, they perform them like wannabee pop stars.

eric


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 24 Nov 06 - 04:41 AM

I really, really don't care how hard, or for how long, certain people 'work'/have 'worked' - and I'm not envious of their 'sucess' - that's probably because I don't have the same mindset as the people who make this type of fatuous accusation. What does concern me, though, is when 'Folk Awards' are given to people who are performing a travesty of folk music or not even performing folk music at all but something more closely resembling pop music. IS THAT CLEAR ENOUGH FOR YOU!!!


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 24 Nov 06 - 04:55 AM

Ah, the annual repeats of the same arguments are upon us, I see; must be the season. Not that I disagree with much that's been said, but I would have thought that the futility of it all might have dawned on us by now. In a genre as wide (and lending itself to such a wide set of diverse interpretations) as "folk" the chances of all of us agreeing on any single set of awards would be miniscule anyway. So we just end up agreeing or disagreeing that "X is good", where x= artist/song/album.

As this particular set of awards is industry-driven (it is fairly well known how the nominations are arrived at), to try and judge it by our (mainly) club-going folk standards makes little sense. It is what it is, it has the value that it has and no more. It can never truly represent such a diverse genre and it can never satisfy the different perceptions of the genre, from festivallers to club members, from revivalists to contemporarists (my word), from acoustic introspectors to tune-pedlars.

One way to see these awards is by the ticket you normally have to pay to see any of the acts nominated. I believe we are talking £8-£15 here, depending on the environment/venue. The £2-£7 range of artists is not represented - it cannot be, of course, in such industry-driven awards which reward commercial (monetary) impact.

But this does not make Bill Whaley & Dave Fletcher any less worthwhile, in my book, or any less involved in the continuancxe of the genre. Or Martyn Wyndham-Read, Johnny Collins, Dave Webber & Anni Fentiman, Ian Giles & Graham Metcalfe, Keith Kendrick, Lynne Heraud, Craig/Morgan/Robson, Robb Johnson, Leon Rosselson and so on.

Yes, you could argue that the highest paid acts are the best anyway, and this is proven by the higher ticket price they command. But remember - this is folk, where commercialism alone is not the sole criterium of value.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 24 Nov 06 - 05:20 AM

It's not so much the songs that Show of Hands sing, they perform them like wannabee pop stars

If they did want to be pop stars, I'm sure they could and would have achieved that by now - they have more than enough talent to do that if they want to. I don't see what's wrong with putting on an entertaining and professional show, whether we're talking about pop, folk or any other genre. Phil and Steve (and indeed Miranda) still play in 'proper' folk clubs as well as 'arts centre' or theatre venues, sometimes as solo artists, and sometimes with other bands. If you met them (as I have) you would realise they are as down to earth and friendly as most other folk performers I've met.

They are not trying to become pop stars IMO, just to provide what their fans want and make a living in the process. Can you blame them for wanting to do something different from time to time, after the best part of 20 years? They don't want to stand still in a 1970s timewarp.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 24 Nov 06 - 06:33 AM

George Papavgeris is quite right, this is an industry-led competition and designed to reward those most likely to consolidate the position of that industry. It is emphatically not an artistic competition. However, it is about music, and a specific genre at that: folk. It seems entirely right that the industry should recognise the Rusbys,Carthys and Lakemans that are creating the publicity. The rising tide, as Thatcher so aptly observed, will float all the boats equally (with the possible exceptpion of those of us with the lead weight of tradition tied round our ankles).
    But, and a big but: there is the question of which music belongs to the genre. And in particular, to the sub-genre defined as traditional. And to attempt to reward contemporary compositions under this heading seems plain perverse. Why Lakeman, in any case? If his compositions are to be labelled "Traditional folk", I would suggest that the Arctic Monkeys material is in precisely the same genre, and arguably of equal or even superior quality.
   I am not suggesting the Arctic Monkeys should definitely be in the category, merely that if Lakeman's songs should go in, so should theirs.
    Other than that curious and ridiculous decision, I am all for the awards. Of course we won't agree, a bit of controversy is fine. And we can all choose the records we buy, and whether they are award winners' material, or more esoteric stuff, is entirely up to us. I may say that I have loads of records of obscure ethnic goatherds, but also most of the recordings of an extremely prolific award winner from the justly famous Royal Family.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Mo the caller
Date: 24 Nov 06 - 06:42 PM

I've just listened to Mike Harding's programme on Listen Again.
I don't know about the awards, I heard some music I like, some I don't much care for on the programme. But I'm happy for anything that gets people listening to folk of all kinds.

What infuriated me was the way he played it. Little clips of everyone nominated.

I it is worth nominating for an award its worth playing a whole track.

But he just got us interested in the story that the song was telling, then jolted us into something else.
Very clever no doubt, but not good listening.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 25 Nov 06 - 02:37 AM

From my age perspective, what ever that means, I cannot see why the Baot Band are not up for Young Folk Band of the Year.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 25 Nov 06 - 02:41 AM

And I want to form an "old boy" band - the New Block For The Kids.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Hamish
Date: 25 Nov 06 - 06:40 AM

My band will be called A Chip Off the Old Shoulder.   ;-)


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Eric
Date: 25 Nov 06 - 12:27 PM

This thread [like may others] reminds me why I dip into mudcat instead of being a regular visitor. There is a load of music out in the world which gets called folk or people call folk because they are not able to think of another label [the US seems to have similar problems to the UK with this]. Most of it I like and it is much better [to me] than the stuff that ends up in the so called pop or rock domain. I am just glad it is available and I do not see why people are continually knocking it because it isn't quite this or that. What if we did not have the Mike Harding programme or the awards? Would we be better off? I doubt it but I know some of the people who write to this list would really like to keep it all in their own dark room and are worried if other people share it. Music is for enjoyment. i had never heard of SOH until recently but I saw them on Sunday in Gateshead and thought they [and Martyn Joseph their support] were great and they were certainly what i think of as folk music.

Eric [and definitely not the Red]


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 Nov 06 - 12:55 PM

Dear 'GUEST,Eric' it may surprise you to know that your delightfully 'fluffy' world view is not shared by everyone. Far from keeping our favourite music in a "dark room" we would like to share it with the world - unfortunately the BBC and Mr Harding have other ideas and would rather broadcast unchallenging, 'commercial', vaguely poppy sort of stuff. Still, at least it keeps uncritical, easily satisfied, 'easy listening' fans like you happy ...


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 25 Nov 06 - 01:14 PM

There is a load of music out in the world which gets called folk or people call folk because they are not able to think of another label

Yes, it can be defined generally as:

(a) stuff composed in their bedrooms by angst-ridden teenagers who once lived next door to someone who once owned an acoustic guitar, and they have emerged, convinced that the world owes them a living, and

(b) pseudo-celticky, wifty-wafty new-agey crap.

What about (to wildly embrace all there is): 'music from out there rooted in a tradition) as a definition?

SoH consists of a really good multi-instrumentalist, Phil Beer, who has been involved in many excellent projects over the years, and Steve Knightley who is quite a good songwriter. I find what they do together very bland but, presumably, it pays their bills.

Martin Joseph might please some but to me he's a god-obsessed crooner. There's an awful lot of under-represented Welsh trad out there (Twm Twp, Bragod, Julie Murphy, Mary Humphreys for starters . . . )

Where would we be without Mike Harding? To be fair to him, if he was a BBC (i.e. PSB) presenter with some say in programme content (as opposed to a puppet for an outsourced production company), he might be SOME use. As he's not he's best ignored. BBC R3 is the only place to hear folk music: Late Junction, Andy Kershaw and World Routes.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 25 Nov 06 - 01:16 PM

I think Shimrod's neo-liberal attitude is what stops us all from returning the music to the people. All forms of mass communication should be distroyed, leaving the oral tradition as the only way to pass on the music of the people.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 Nov 06 - 06:17 PM

Amen to that, Les, amen to that! Although achieving that ideal might prove to be a tiny bit tricky.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 26 Nov 06 - 04:29 AM

Shim, is it that ever elusive engine of change?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 26 Nov 06 - 05:15 AM

Les, your messages grow ever more cryptic! What I think you may mean is, 'am I frightened of change' (?) Well, yes, actually - although 'wary and not blindly accepting of' may be a better description of my attitude to change/progress. There are several reasons for this:

(i) Change is an entropic process and, hence, inevitably leads to loss (of information, value, quality etc.). We should not embrace it blindly.

(ii) Progress is often just a 'figleaf' for greed. In my lifetime I have had to watch both the urban and rural environments being degraded and destroyed for no very good reason except for profits for the few.

(iii) In this country public services have been subjected to so much unecessary change that they no longer work any more. Just look at the state of education, the health service, public transport etc., etc.

(iv) Many destructive changes to our environment and way of life have been wrought in the name of fashion - not necessity. Most of the people in public office seem to be insanely ambitious careerists who feel compelled to make their mark whatever the cost or long term consequences of their actions. For such people it's much easier to be fashionable than sensible.

I see the same forces at work in popular culture. I believe that commercial Rock/Pop music is both infantile and infantilising. I also believe (contentious bastard that I am!) that this type of infantile music is one of the factors that has led to drunken, drug soaked yob culture that we see all around us. And the same bollocks (technical philosophical term) is used to justify it - commercial viability and fashion.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 26 Nov 06 - 06:12 AM

Shimrod,

I think I agree with almost all that you have written.

Do we feel we have a haven away from the evil musical industry in the world of folk? Yes, I think we do, but it is on a continuum with all other music. The social context that enabled old songs to survive and evolve in 18C and 19C rural communities has gone but I can listen to the songs on my Ipod. Not the same but the songs and tunes still excite.

I think the original complaint against "The White Hare" is fair - by most definitions it is not a traditional song. What S of H get up to is up to them.

Most young people who play in self generated guitar bands learn through an oral tradtion, make no money and have fun in their own social context. I don't think the music generates the drug scene any more than folk music causes beer abuse, but then again folkies do sup a bit?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 26 Nov 06 - 07:43 AM

Hi Les,

I think that we may be coming to a consensus.

Far be it from me to seek to stop young people having fun in "self generated guitar bands" - it's just that, to me, their music seems to be a bit impoverished, that's all.

As for music generating the drug scene - well, I did say that I thought that it was one of the factors - an hypothesis worth exploring, perhaps?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Nov 06 - 08:08 AM

"There is a load of music out in the world which gets called folk or people call folk because they are not able to think of another label

Yes, it can be defined generally as:

(a) stuff composed in their bedrooms by angst-ridden teenagers who once lived next door to someone who once owned an acoustic guitar, and they have emerged, convinced that the world owes them a living, and

(b) pseudo-celticky, wifty-wafty new-agey crap."


Countess, I agree with you, but you are about ten years out of date. I haven't heard any new-agey crap for years, or angsty teenagers who think the world owes them a living. The trend now is for late-thirty-something ex-punks going "back to their roots". Or, anyone from america with a "wyrd" voice.

Also, since John Leonard is no longer the producer of the Mike Harding Show - he has been replaced day-to-day by Kellie While, Mike has a lot more of a say in what gets played these days. The stuff that gets aired is what he wants to play now. Which is fair enough, its his programme and he repeatedly wins the contract whenever his slot is up for tender by the BBC. There are internet radio stations that play 'proper' folk music 24/7 and they are free and just as easy to listen to. Whats to complain about??


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Nellie Clatt
Date: 26 Nov 06 - 08:19 AM

Yeah he probably wins the tender because he puts in the cheapest tender, he can do this because he merely plays the same things over and over again, Mike Harding is a very fine misician, singer and songwriter, but he is a total CRAP broadcaster, he is long overdue for retirement and should be replaced with someone with more of an understanding of good folk music unlike Mike who thinks his only criteria is to improve audience figures, and if he has to play ' pop ' type music to do it ,       then that is his idea of good broadcasting.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 26 Nov 06 - 08:21 AM

Some peopleseem to think I am being a bit noninclusive, a bit folk nazi, by not wishing to see Lakeman's self-penned ditty in the traditional section of the awards. Far from it, it is the "White Hare" supporters who are being noninclusive. Because, if they are to include Lakeman's recent compostions, how about the entire very creative world of British songwriters churning out hits both popular and well-written? Are they getting a look in? No sir, not a single chart composer has made it into the traditional section. Now, why is this?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Hamish
Date: 26 Nov 06 - 08:30 AM

Having just "listened again" (for the first time) to the program, here's my tuppence-worth: it's was a highly entertaining show. Sure there were some songs and tunes I liked better than others, and even a couple that didn't light my fire at all. But as an hour's worth of broadcasting centred around (and sometimes beyond) the folk genre, it was a fantastic advertisement for a vibrant scene.

Unfashionable as it may be, I say "Top marks for a great show, Mike and Kellie!!!"

--
Hamish


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 26 Nov 06 - 08:45 AM

Far be it for me to be seen as defending Mr Harding (I rarely listen to any but look at the playlist and cringe) but it matters not whether the programme is his idea of good broadcasting. The reality is that SmoothOps (the outsourced production company with the contract) do what R2 tells them to do. The remit (and I quote roughly from what he says himself) is to tempt listeners to stay with you by avoiding sharp edges where people may decide, without listening, that the next programme isn't for them. This, in BBC-speak, is called 'follow through'. It means 'don't frighten the punters by telling them it's f*lk'.

In a revealing interview in Living Tradition though, he admitted that he wasn't trying to satisfy the 'committed f*lk listener' with one hour devoted to a particular specialism. No surprise there, he'd be fired if he tried it and SmoothOps would fail to win the next bid. But he doesn't care that much. He's tired of people trying to tell him how he should be doing his job, doesn't want to 'waste energy arguing with someone from a f*lk club in Lower Ecclestone or wherever'. He just puts on another krusby track.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,jim
Date: 26 Nov 06 - 10:59 AM

yup, my point exactly.

Greg :- I'm a bit shocked at the inclusion of 'The White Hare' as a traditional track too. If we are going to follow your train of thought then I nominate Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy as the best exponent of well-crafted, intelligent songwriting.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 27 Nov 06 - 06:26 PM

Three factors here:

- Smooth Ops is in bed with R2, which affects what gets played and doesn't get played on the MH show, or therefore nominated for the (meaningless by definition) awards

- just because the first factor (or fact) is true doesn't mean that everything played on the show is rubbish, in fact a lot of it is good stuff, and as such we shouldn't call it crap when it isn't


- I forgot what I was going to say for the third one. Better make that two factors then.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: seaJane
Date: 27 Nov 06 - 06:42 PM

If "The white hare" people are talking about is the one I was taught last year then it wasn't written by Seth Lakeman *or* traditional ... but as I didn't hear the programme I shouldn't really be commenting *oops*


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: oggie
Date: 27 Nov 06 - 08:38 PM

Radio2 is a mainstream radio station, it tends to play the mainstream of any particular genre BUT don't forget that they also gave us the New Radio Ballads not long back.

The BBC has much more folk to offer via it's website, about 30 programs, including most of the local radio output so I've just litened to a Roy Bailey intervies from Radio Leeds and part of Johnny Coppins programne.

Even before Mike Harding I don't remember Folk on Two in it's various guises straying that far from the mainstream but I still remember the first time I heard Planxty playing Wraggle Taggle Gypsies and Give me your Hand. In it's time it was slick, commercially produced (Coulter/Quinn were top 20 producers)but as a teenager I thought 'WOW' and that started my love affair with Irish music. Who knows, as grizzled old folkies we may may consider MH's choice of music naff but it may spark something in another teenager. Without people hearing our music, even our mainstream music, we are a deadend.

All the best

oggie


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,redmax
Date: 28 Nov 06 - 05:19 AM

To go back to an earlier comment "I think there's a problem that anyone who is successful gets slagged off automatically by some people in the folk world, just because they are successful"

Surely this applies to other genres. I can remember a mate of mine being appalled when Nirvana broke through, as he knew about them when they were just another underground punk-ish outfit.

But I reckon in the folk context it's not simply "just because they are successful". It's not a genre of obvious mass appeal, so in order to be succesful it seems that you need to make it sound extra pretty and easy on the ears. Folk for people who don't like folk, indeed.

There's a lady I sit with at work who says she likes folk music, but in truth knows little beyond Kate Rusby, Show of Hands and the Oysterband. These acts have been succesful because they're dressing up their shop window in a way that attracts the less committed passer-by. Fair enough, but that doesn't mean the more passionate folk fans are being bitter just because they find these acts to be pretty insufferable.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,trevor bond
Date: 28 Nov 06 - 08:48 AM

How do you vote for the people on these short lists , and how were they chosen?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 28 Nov 06 - 08:54 AM

A good question GUEST,trevor bond - well, two questions really.

We the public can't vote - they are chosen by a panel of some sort, and voted by a panel (not sure if this is two different panels or the same one). It would indeed be interesting to know who the panel(s) are - does anyone know?

The only one we (the public) can vote for is the best folk song of all time (see the BBC website). I think you can vote for absolutely any song in that. A difficult decision for a voter, and presumably a nightmare to count up the votes for the thousands of different songs that will probably get voted for.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Nov 06 - 09:02 AM

Good luck to the young ones what ever the arguments for or against them. But why oh why does Swarbrick keep appearing what has he done recently thats worthy of mention.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,John C
Date: 28 Nov 06 - 09:29 AM

As I understand it - having been recently advised by a panel member:

The panel is made up of 150 'movers and shakers' from the folk world - agents (that's wrong imo), club organisers, festival organisers, broadcasters, journalists, record company people (also wrong imo if true) folk arts professionals etc (no artists).

The official view

The list is kept secret to avoid members being put under pressure by artists, agents or record companies (see above).

They are all sent a list of categories, in which to make four nominations each.

To help them (and, I believe, to help people think beyond the obvious choices) they are reminded of about 150 tracks THAT HAVE ALL BEEN PLAYED BY MIKE HARDING - so if you haven't been on his show you're not on the list. It IS stressed that you can suggest anyone you like, but we've no way of knowing how much this list influences people.

The votes go back to Smooth Operations, who calculate (we don't know who verifies the count, if anyone) who will be the nominations in each category, (the top four). This full list is not published.

The entire panel is then asked to vote again on the nominations, to decide who will be the winner of each award.

There would appear to be some other forces at work though.

Over the years a good few atrists have been nominated as 'best live act' for example, when they've hardly done any gigs, and there seems to be some 'muggins turn' effect at work.

That said - I'm not against the system. If you're going to have awards (and on balance I think it's a good idea - just) this is better than many, and the winners are all richly deserving.

But that doesn't mean there's not room for improvement.

Now, can someone on the panel, or from Smooth Operations correct any errors in the above, please?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Nov 06 - 02:22 PM

"To help them (and, I believe, to help people think beyond the obvious choices) they are reminded of about 150 tracks THAT HAVE ALL BEEN PLAYED BY MIKE HARDING - so if you haven't been on his show you're not on the list."

This is not true. The list comprises every album that Smooth Ops are aware of having been released that year. It is not a list of things that have been played or a list compiled by preference. This means if you didn't send a press release or a copy of the CD then you won't be on the list, but to be honest if you weren't bothered enough to send a copy then why would you be bothered if you were on the list or not?

If you'd like an explanation of why your favourite act isn't on the shortlist, then read Karine Polwarts (far more well-put) words here :- http://www.footstompin.com/forum?threadid=68321&pageid=2 about four replies down.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Nov 06 - 02:36 PM

That list, that GUEST refers to earlier, seems to be a little controversial, with people saying quite different things about it. Perhaps SmoothOps could let us all have a look at it to clear up the confusion..but perhaps it is not covered by the Freedom of Information Act?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 28 Nov 06 - 03:27 PM

Ok the take away has to be collected but I think I would like Mike to encourage people to go to their local folk club and to push that whole local folk club thing a lot.

Cheers


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Nov 06 - 04:03 PM

this is a cut and paste:

"this list as it is only attached as a reminder of some of the great albums played on the Mike Harding Show this year"


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Nov 06 - 04:09 PM

I always send my albums to Smooth Operations.

They get good to excellent reviews in folk mags large and small.

I play a lot of folk clubs (35 this year) and even headline the occasional festival.

I run my own record company.

My albums do not appear on the list.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Nov 06 - 04:14 PM

oh - and I do get a decent amount of radio air play - an average of about one track a month on one of the local BBC stations.

But never BBC2.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: breezy
Date: 28 Nov 06 - 04:16 PM

cos they dont write 'songs'

that was a rhetorical Q i presume >?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Nov 06 - 04:26 PM

So, which is it? Some selected albums played on Mike Harding, or all the new albums SmoothOps got sent. We have two authoritative(?) anonymous GUEST presenting precisely opposite "facts". Anyone any ideas? There is no conceivable reason why the authorities shouldn't reveal what they are up to.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Nov 06 - 04:32 PM

Another cut and paste from the actual invitation.

"To aid your selection, we have included a list of a selection of albums which have been released during the past 12 months and featured on The Mike Harding Show and/or on the BBC Folk & Acoustic website. Please do not feel restricted to this list as it is only included as a reminder of some of the great albums released this year."


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Nov 06 - 04:35 PM

If you actually have the list, GUEST, as you claim: let's have a look at it.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Nov 06 - 04:57 PM

I do have the list, but I will not post it here.

I'm hoping someone else will confirm that I'm telling the truth.

If I did post it there would be a debate about who was on it, which would cloud the issue.

It's who draws up the list, and how and why, that requires a proper discussion - and, if necessary, feedback to the BBC, who pay for the awards and are subject to rule and regulation.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 28 Nov 06 - 06:03 PM

Guest, most closets are empty, join us out here.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Nov 06 - 08:18 PM

What purpose do the Folk awards serve.? I have looked at them occasionally and generally think they are pointless. Is there a presentation evening? Does anyone immediately go out and buy the "Album of the Year (week, month) apart from mindless punters?. Does anyone specially go and see some of the winners?.

Who could possibly take the BBC seriously about folk music. They broadcast an hour a week nationally and then various local stations(far better in my view) have weekly programmes. Do the local BBC stations have a vote in these awards.

These awards (and a lot of the winners ImHO) are largely pointless and not worth this worthy discussion lists time.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Nov 06 - 08:27 PM

Oh ...and while I am bothering.....who votes for and therefore decides on the annual folk club of the year awards. Lsst time I heard (not from an authoratative source) It was open to "selected folk artists". Who are these "selected artists" and would they vote for a club that couldn't afford to book them.? Hmmmm Lets think about this......It would seem that the award should be for the "folk club that has the most expensive artists and dumb punters award".

But this just aint a catchy enough name for an award is it?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 02:36 AM

Guest, whoever you are, most things don't matter much and neither does posting on here. The Awards are not very important and not democratic or very fair?

They are just another attempt at raising the public profile of some great music and some great people.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 03:20 AM

On the contrary. The folk industry is hugely competitive, with an increasing number of artists chasing a dwindling number of gigs. It's also very conservative, with a majority of consumers (including bookers - who tend to be hyper-cautious) being uninterested in acts they do not already know well.

Any agent will confirm that a nomination makes a massive difference when it comes to gig-getting, gig promotion, CD sales and all those other unpleasant necessities demanded of those of us who wish to make a living as a folk musician.

But quite apart from that I suspect most people would agree that the BBC should abide by the basic principles of fairness and transparency that we expect from other public bodies.

It may be the folk awards are in fact fair (I'm actually fairly confident that they are, barring a few minor issues born of slack thinking rather than corruption) - but they are not transparent.

There are precious few ways to open up a debate on the matter and perhaps bring pressure for change.

Madcat is one of the very few places where such a discussion can begin. And there is debate here every year because a lot of people lack confidence in the way the awards are run - but no changes.

Yet.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: oggie
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 04:53 AM

Quote - 'dwindling number of gigs'

Maybe we should be asking ourselves why? Are we becoming insular, purist, ageing and irrelevant?

oggie


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 05:35 AM

Or are there fewer venues, maybe because of the change in licencing laws? (I'm not saying there are, just asking if this is the case)


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 05:53 AM

A few venues have stopped having live music because of the change in the law - but not as many as we all feared. The main reason there are fewer gigs is because clubs are closing, or stopping booking guests, or having fewer guests, or paying less for guests, or putting less effort into promotion - perhaps because folk audiences are getting older and less bothered about fighting the decline.

We only have a fraction of the clubs in the Uk we had 20 or 30 years ago when most of the big stars originaly won their reputations.

There are new places opening up, of course, but it's very hard to get audiences to come to arts centres, theatres and the like. Habitual folkies prefer clubs and festivals, and the rest of the world only turns out in numbers for people they know.

The best way to short-circuit this problem is air play. Which is why the Mike Harding Show and the Folk Awards (which do need to be televised) are so important.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 06:11 AM

'paying less for guests'

I shoud have said paying the same for guests in spite of galloping transport costs (etc).


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Grab
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 06:47 AM

I was going to oppose the view of "commercial" (ie. "successful") being a bad thing, but I don't think I can say it better than Karine Polwart did.

And I'm not sure what counts as "challenging" whilst staying traditional. If anyone cares to nominate a "challenging" traditional folk group, please let me know. Steeleye Span were as challenging as you like - today their stuff is no more than you could hear in any folk-rock pub gig, and they became challenging by dropping the trad instruments. Bellowhead - great music, but they're doing that by playing in a completely untraditional way. Artisan (sadly no longer performing) - harmony singing is definitely unusual, but almost everything they did was written by them, and they'd had the benefit of lots of formal voice training (especially Hilary). Albion Band, Fairport, Lindisfarne, and (to be fair) Show of Hands - took folk-rock to another level, but derided here as "not our kind of music". Altan, Planxty, the Chieftains - great musicians all, but they're doing nothing that hasn't been done before, and by definition you can't be "challenging" if all you're doing is playing the same pieces in the same style as people who've gone before.

As far as I can see, "challenging" means doing something original. Carthy and Pentangle were original in their arrangements. Steeleye Span and Dylan were original in adopting electric instruments. The problem here is that as soon as you do something original, a zillion hardcore folkies shout "IT'S NOT TRADITIONAL" and sulk. Whilst simultaneously saying that they never hear anything challenging...

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 07:00 AM

Whapweasle, Roy Clinging, Bellow Head, Waterson Carthy, Kate, The Boat Band, Michael McGoldrick, Cooupe, Boyse and Simpson, Duncan McFarlane, Tim van Eiken, English Accoustic Collection, Gace Notes, sorry the tea has brewed.

But we like nothing better than a winge -a thon


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,greg stephens
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 09:11 AM

Re Grab's comments: I haven't noticed anybody at all on this thread objecting to non-traditional music. Personally, I like loads of traditional music, and loads of non-traditional music. There may well be people who object to non-traditional music being labelled traditional, but those objections are inevitable when we get an organisation like |Smooth Operations trying to define things like Folk and Traditional(both notoriously dodgy areas). Grab's technique of argument is to invent a ridiculous opponent, and then attack him. Bit of a waste of time really. There may well be people in the world who only like traditional music(anythng is possible)but that is quite another thing, but as far as I know there are none contributing to this thread.
    Controversies are bound to arise whenever someone sets up a system which is designed to deliver financial and other rewards to people placed in a specific category, if there is substantial disagreement about who fits in the category.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 09:31 AM

Grab,

As a "hard core folky" I can assure you that I only sulk when attempts are made to pass off non-traditional music as traditional. And I get extra-sulky when this is attempted by our national broadcasting corporation.

On the other hand I tend to get very angry when people like you attempt to stifle legitimate debate by characterising the arguments of people like me as being somehow unreasonable - we have just as much right to our opinion as you have!

The most "challenging" singers and musicians, that I have heard in my life, have been those who have loved the music for its own sake and who not wanted to change it in order to make it more commercial or to produce an 'original sound' or to respond to the latest whim, fad or fashion. Good traditional music tends to be relatively 'ego-free' and I submit that it is this characteristic that many modern listener find most challenging!


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Grab
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 09:42 AM

Thanks for that vote of approval, Greg - love you too... ;-/

Maybe I should have been clearer. That was specifically in response to Shimrod, who *was* very clearly objecting to non-traditional music being included in folk music awards. Eric the red was also making the same argument. The "challenging" and "commercial" quotes come straight from Shimrod's post as of 12:55PM, 25 Nov 06.

As for your last paragraph, I absolutely agree. The problem is when the disagreement comes from the "Change is an entropic process and, hence, inevitably leads to loss" viewpoint. That's an opinion that I fundamentally disagree with, because it tries to embalm what it loves in its current position (or more usually, in the position it was a few decades ago). And embalming requires the thing in question to be dead as a doornail.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 09:59 AM

The problem seems to be that it's not possible for anyone performing traditional material to be different from anyone else, unless they present it in a different way from their predecessors.

If they don't change anything, they are regarded as more of the same, and not different or innovative enough; whereas if they do change anything, e.g. use electric instruments, they are then accused of not being bona fide folk performers.

So it seems there is no solution to the problem.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Grab
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 12:36 PM

Refusing to accept passing off non-traditional as traditional is completely justified. I'm not defending that - that's clearly bogus. And I'd agree with you that good musicians love the music for its own sake.

I disagree on originality though. I assume you mean "challenging" as in "challenging preconceptions"? In that sense, a challenging musician is the one who can put their own spin and personality on the music, and make you hear it differently from how you expected to hear it (irrespective of whether that take on it is commercially viable or not). If all a musician is doing is repeating something that they've heard, note for note and phrasing for phrasing, and something that the audience also knows the same way, what are they doing that's challenging? So the challenging part is always the interpretation of ideas through the music. If there's no interpretation, it simply can't be challenging.

Stifle debate? Nope. You have the right to your opinions, as I have to mine, as does everyone else. (Opinions and arseholes, and all that.) As judged by attendance at gigs and purchase of CDs, you're probably in the minority though. And that doesn't give you the right to blithely dismiss the majority as "uncritical, easily satisfied, 'easy listening' fans" because they don't like what you like. There's plenty who'd put Dave Swarbrick or Altan in the "easy listening" box because it's pleasant music to listen to in the background - but they'd be wrong as all hell to treat it that way.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 12:48 PM

"Change is an entropic process and, hence, inevitably leads to loss"

It's not a 'viewpoint', Grab - it's physics! I'm not terribly happy with the force of gravity but I have to live with it.

"As judged by attendance at gigs and purchase of CDs, you're probably in the minority though. And that doesn't give you the right to blithely dismiss the majority ..."

No it doesn't give me any rights except, possibly, the right to rebel against the tyranny of the majority - otherwise 'eat shit - 10 million flies can't be wrong!'


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 02:47 PM

Gosh, what a long thread. Did anyone die?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 04:27 PM

Mike Harding's seems to be warming up towards the Awards season. This week's guest, Eliza Carthy. Next week's: Seth Lakeman.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Nov 06 - 04:48 PM

I must admit that I have been a long time defender of Michael, but I am begining to feel that he is a bit top end, and by that I don't mean the people he chooses are any more interesting, but they have emerged as quite good, but lots of other people are also good and not getting a look in.

Am I with the flow people?

And nobody died as a result of the creation of this thread


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 04:30 AM

I had it explained to me by one of the UK's top (and, as it happens, award-winning) acts.

According to them, the UK folk industry is run by a small informal 'cartel' of broadcasters, promoters, magazines, record companies and agents. (The majority are too small to get a look-in).

In order to secure the percentages that they require to run their businesses (and their cars), the cartel needs to make sure that there are just enough successful (and by that they mean successful beyond habitual folk consumers) folk acts to keep the market churning. Too many artists and they'd be splitting a, for the moment anyway, finite market, too few and they'd not be shifting enough units.

The Awards are one of the key ways they manage this.

Now, this may be pure bunkum - but a lot of people believe it.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 12:03 PM

So the current market is finite? So only so many people can be pro? And this is managed and controlled by the "Folk Mafia"?

Mm ....... I really don't know who believes it. I kind of doubt that anything in the folk world is organised well enough to have such a controlling effect.

Do other people have evidence of this?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 03:51 PM

perhaps finite is the wrong word, but you could put a number on it, and it would only change slowly from year to year - with peaks influenced by things like BBC4 programmes etc.

i could well believe that they have figures for projections on cd and concert sales etc. it's only what every other industry does,

it would help explain a lot of things


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 30 Nov 06 - 06:44 PM

According to them, the UK folk industry is run by a small informal 'cartel' of broadcasters, promoters, magazines, record companies and agents. (The majority are too small to get a look-in)

How does this work then? These "mafia" decide who is good and popular and then they promote them via radio and festival and sell their records? I wished I could decide who the public would like!! It would have been a damn sight easier than lecturing in FE believe me.

Looks like a wind-up to me. In over forty years as a folkie, club organiser, festivals, and more recently book seller I have never heard such a load of round spherical objects.

There is a load of folk programmes on BBC other than Mike Harding, some great agents, some better than others and some artists and agents who work harder at getting bookings than others.

Anyone who knows anything about folk music would know it is not that well organised. Yes a lot of people know each other, that is the way of folk music and damned useful it is at times too.

Frankly it looks like a dig at Steve Heap.

Since they can't have a go at him via Sidmouth looks like this is another way. It's bollocks.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 06:05 AM

It seems to me that the main gripes about this year's awards are:

1. A non-traditional song (Seth Lakeman's White Hare) has been nominated for best traditional song.

2. Many good artists have been omitted from the nominations and don't get much (if any) airplay on the Mike Harding Radio 2 show

3. Many of the artists nominated are those that have received plenty of airplay on the same show

4. Some of the artists nominated are not really folk artists at all and are really pop groups or play other non-folk music

Have I missed anything?

My response to these are:

1. Yes, I agree this is indefensible, and the correct response would have been for people to lobby the BBC and ask for the nomination to be withdrawn, and replaced by another suitable nomination (the 5th one on the list, i.e. the first one that missed out because of the inclusion of the erroneously included one)

2 and 3. There's not much you can do about this, as it is difficult to prove any connection between the presence/absence of airplay and the nominations. Those who missed out will just have to try harder to get played and hope they can push their way in next time. Unless anyone can think of something I haven't? This is the same problem that rock/pop artists face, when trying to flog their records and get into the charts. I don't believe the airplay issue is as important as it was in the past, because of the web making it easier for artists to get heard and known (via myspace etc.).

4. This is entirely subjective, and as we already know, there is no agreed definition of what is and isn't folk music. So again we can do nothing about it. My own view is that all the artists nominated are what are normally classed as 'folk', but that's just my view and I know many others don't agree. That doesn't mean I like all the arists nominated, just that I recognise they have some sort of 'folk' credentials. I don't see anything those who object can do, except over a period of time, making the sort of music they like to a high standard and trying raise its profile and gradually 'educate' the public and the BBC 'folk mafia' that there is a lot of good stuff out there that's being overlooked.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 06:38 AM

The serious allegation seems to be that a collection of people have a conspired, if that is not too strong a word, to promote a group of Folk Musicians and they use Mike Harding's programme and the Folk Awards to do this to the exclusion of other Folk musicians who are just as good.

Does such a well organised cartel exist? Is it effective in getting what it wants for it's own Musicians?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 07:04 AM

"Consoiracy" seems to be pitching it far too strong,it's a very emotive word. Surely all we have is one group of people who are wedded to a kind of Rusby/Carthy/Lakeman etc view of folk music in Britain, and they are involved with one part of the scene. Others have different views, and operate in their own various ways. Just the way the world wgas, not a conspiracy thing.
    Though I admit to finding one thing curious. Apparently, or so we are told, there is a group of independent people in the "jury"(150 it is said) who have a perfectly free hand to choose whatever they like in whatever category. And the membership of this jury is secret, so lobbying is not possible. In which case, it seems sstaistically odd to me that a very anomalous decision could get taken, like the inclusion of one specific non-traditional song in the traditional category. That seems to me a remarkable statistic freak if we really have an large jury voting independently. I mean, Seth lakeman has written dozens of songs. Odd. eh?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 07:06 AM

Yes, but I'm not sure how this allegation can be pursued - it seems to have been made by a Guest here. I don't doubt the Guest has his or her own valid reasons for remaining anonymous, but unless he/she is prepared to speak out openly I don't see how we or anyone else can take the allegations at face value - for all we know, it could be a wind-up (apologies to the Guest concerned, but you can';t be too careful when it comes to this type of thing).


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 07:38 AM

Watergate started with a small break-in.

People enjoy conspiracies - look at that daft Da Vinci rubbish. I would have dismissed the whole thing but on reading the record reviews in the latest English Dance and Song - although records by the most popular on the MH show appear, so do lots of others who don't get heard much:

The Pixies, Jackie Oates, Mawkin, Peter Cooper and Richard Bolton, Paul and Liz Davenport, Jeff Warner, Keith Kendrick, Bodega and so on.

I bet a trawl would show MH had played most of these a bit, but maybe not. I guess the point being about how many Jackie's to a Kate or Eliza? And is it possible that some "fixing" is going on.

I was shocked to find that Opportunity Knocks was fixed by Hughie Green.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 08:17 AM

I used the term 'informal 'cartel',' not 'conspiracy.' This is as much about the way all businesses operate in all fields; using market research to establish a realistic level of investment etc.

I'm not making any allegation of wrongdoing. I'm trying to explain how I've been told it works, and stimulate a proper discussion on the Folk Awards, which do suffer from a damaging lack of transparency, leaving them open to charges of wrongdoing which they may well not deserve.

I hope you can all see the difference.

The trouble is we don't really know how it all operates, and how or even if it's policed.

Meanwhile, as greg points out, we keep getting these strange anomalies - which are not easy to explain using the little information we are given:

For example:

The White Hare is somehow mis-attributed by a large number of informed folk broadcasters, jounalists, agents and promoters as trad - when anyone listening to it can tell at once it's a (good) folky pop song. The panel chose it, remember, not Smooth Operations - so a lot of people must have made this mistake, all together. Strange.

Acts who've only done a handful of gigs (and therefore whom only a handful of the panel can have actually seen perform - assuming we have a good geographic spread) are occasionally nominated for best live act, or best duo, or other awards. So do we have a good geographic spread across the UK? We don't know, and they don't say.

The same names keep copping up time and time again, when we all know there are lots of other good hard-working and very popular contenders who never get a look-in year after year. Why is that then?

Only tracks that have been played on the Mike Harding show (and not CD sent to the office) are included in the suggestions list - but this fact is not made public. If anything it seems to be kept secret and even denied. Why's that, and why can't the suggestions list be made public?

There is no attempt to find out, and include in the suggestions list, the most popular tracks played on the many local BBC folk shows (or the most prolific club or festival performers, for that matter). Local BBC shows account for far more air time than the MH show, and perhaps have more listeners in all (though we don't know). Why are these not taken into account in what is after all the BBC folk awards?

The full list of nominations is not published - denying the near-misses valuable publicity, and preventing anyone from seeing that these are indeed (as I'm sure that are) majority suggestions made by the panel. Why is the nominations list kept secret?

Agents are allowed to sit on the panel - when obviously they have a vested interest in promoting their own acts. We don't know if any record companies are permitted, but if so a similar conflict of interest would apply. Normally the BBC would object to this - but they seem not to. Why is that?

Even though, as a BBC contractor, Smooth Operations are subject to the same regulations as the BBC, we get no answers to letters written to the office, or questions posted here or on the BBC Folk and Acoustic board (which is run by Smooth Operations) about the all of above.

I'm sure there are good innocent answers to them all. It would be in Smooth Operations interests to supply them.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: stallion
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 08:19 AM

This is so so tiresome, am I bovered, do i look bovered (sigh) the whole thing isn't worth tuppence to debate. Just go out sing,play, enjoy and if someone gives you an award send it back it's all a yawn anyway, or keep it, who's bothered. True, the seth lakeman thing is a bit dodgy but take heart that if it wins "best traditional song" then others can record it without having to pay MCPRS diddly squat after all it is "traditional".Did I hear someone mention Mr Damien "You know nothing about folk music, I've got a degree" O'Kane, as being in line for a gong, I think I will stop there can't end this without swearing, too many expletives are pouring into my head, he needs to hone up his people skills, I will leave it at that although I am tempted use the word Gobsh**e


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 08:37 AM

I wasn't bovvered either but we all have a bit of 'evengelic' about this weird music and some people are not playing the same game and are not being transparent are they?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 08:40 AM

the only thing that gets me is that its out and out capitalism masquerading as folk music. Nothing wrong with making money but I thought the bbc was supposed to be a public service thing . The comment about " all pissing-in-the-same-pot" summed it up.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 09:03 AM

Thanks GUEST 8:17 AM for that well-thought out (IMO) posting. I agree that certain aspects of the awards are poorly thought out and some questions need to be answered, as you say. If the organisers have nothing to hide, they should fully explain how it works, why agents are allowed to vote (I would oppose them being allowed), etc. If they don't provide a full explanation (assuming somebody bothers to ask them for one), it will only lead to assumptions that something is wrong (like a politician who refuses to confirm or deny a rumour - everyone assumes it's true, because otherwise why would he/she not deny it?)

The idea of the organisers making 'suggestions' in a list seems totally wrong to me. This will only encourage the panel (or whatever they call themselves) to be lazy and just pick from the suggestions list instead of going out and finding their own nominees, and at worst expose the BBC to suspicion of corruption by only including people on the suggestions list if they satisfy some unknown criteria. It is also giving those on the list a distinct advantage over those not on it, and as such is reprehensible.

Who should challenge the organisers, and how should they do it?

Has anyone (even the other nominees for best trad song) challenged the inclusion of the Seth Lakeman song? If not, why not?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 09:03 AM

Oh the bile! The bitterness! Here we have a classic example of the in-crowd and the out-crowd. The in-crowd controls everything and once they're in they pull up the ladder to keep the riff raff out.The rest are invited to look on in bitter envy and get the odd crumb tossed their way. Is this really in the spirit of the folk scene ( or the bbc for that matter)?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 09:15 AM

"This is as much about the way all businesses operate in all fields; using market research to establish a realistic level of investment etc."

My advice is never to trust the findings of market research. In my experience many marketing departments first decide what answers they want and then bully the researchers into 'designing' the test such that it gives them, the marketeers, the desired answers.
I went into my bank, the other day, to conduct some business. Everything went smoothly but, at the end, the lady I had been dealing with handed me a customer service questionnaire and instructed me to tick the 'top box' because head office had decided that the branch needed to increase its 'customer service levels' from 87% to 95% (or something). This is, of course, totally absurd but it illustrates perfectly the way that these people think. So much for the objectivity of much market research!
I wouldn't be surprised to find that some music industry marketing mogul somewhere has decided that Seth Lakeman et. al. are the 'top of the folk charts', or whatever, and then fixed the market research to give that result. I always want to say to such prats, "why waste money on the f...king research in the first place, if you know what the answers are going to be?"


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 09:15 AM

I wrote for clarification on these points last year (not about White Hare, obviously) and got no reply. It was, however, a very polite and gentle letter because, as usual, I had an album coming out and couldn't afford to give up hope that in some moment of madness they'd actaully play it! (Same situation this year).

I've taken this as far as I can without cutting off my nose to spite my face (these are not people to upset if you want to do well in the folk biz). Plus a lot of the nominees are chums, and I don't to seem to be running them down - because they do all deserve to be there.

And obviously I don't want to be accused of crying sour grapes - which is why none of us speak out.

So I'm really hoping someone else will take this up with the BBC, and get some clarification, because I do care about the old beeb as well as folk music, and I really don't understand why it's this way.

Whatever those who prefer there to be no professionals or sales in folk may feel, the awards are the biggest and brightest shop window we have.

Lets make sure the glass is squeaky clean.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 09:35 AM

It would be obvious to a blind man in a dark room that these "cartels" exist. Obvious that is in as much that the promotion of a select group of artists does go on, not just by those already mentioned but I suspect, by other organisations throughout the land. It's nothing that can be "proven", more an intuitive instinct borne from observing the promotional agenda of one such organisation. I've got no axe to grind inasmuch as I don't perform and therefore don't rely on that source of income to pay the bills. It's just that whenever the gigs or tours are handed out by one such organisation in the N.E. of England, it seems to be the "chosen few" who get the lion's share time after time.
I suppose that this has some justification inasmuch as it probably makes sense to promote the few and hope for an eventual break through act rather than saturate the market. I just think that it's unfair to a lot of good performers who don't get the chance to shine because they don't get the backing, for whatever reason. Keep it in the family seems to be the attitude.
I must, in all fairness, congratulate the same organisation for the sterling job that they do in promoting the folk arts in the N.E. of England. I'd just like to see a few more performers getting a fair crack of the whip.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 11:12 AM

Good folk clubs are being discussed on another thread. Good clubs do so much to carry our music forward. If a loose organisation is being elist we have th right to question that and to ask them to be open about what they are doing.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 11:58 AM

The problem is that those who're already inside the elitist establishment hold all the trump cards. They appoint the judges, select the records , decide which artists to promote and present it all as if its the word of God . Anyone who dares to question it is dismissed as bitter and twisted.It is the opposite of democracy - whatever that is.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 12:12 PM

Jeeps - how many Guests on this thread? Thought I was the only one who dare not show my face.

The answer is to talk to the BBC - officiallly.

There's a good case for saying that the current situation does not conform to the BBC's mission - but who's got the bottle? (Not me, I'm afraid)


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 12:18 PM

Why is it that I rarely like the artists and bands I am told to like. The current BBC list (I don't need to name 'em) mostly leave me bored and occasionally embarrassed at over acting the song. The people I like to see are usually the medium level not quite national artists. I could name about 50 but it would seem unfair to some to say they wern't "national artists".

These are the artists who are approachable, affordable and generally affable too. Manchester has more than it's share of these real people who essetially keep the genre both active and dynamic. It's a real shame that they never seem to get the cream....

There are exceptions to both paragraphs above but not many....

Spot the Dog


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 12:25 PM

How much is the tail (The Awards) wagging the dog (all the clubs and all the singers and musicians)?

If not much then maybe it doesn't matter much. If a lot then the dog could get organised and bite what is best to bite. Ok I am pushing this analogy / metaphore much too far. But do you get my drift?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 12:57 PM

is there not a principle at stake?

how could it not matter?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 02:20 PM

I think you're barking up the wrong tree there Les.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 02:32 PM

Yes, one of the GUESTs (no idea which one!), I agree with you. There do seem to be a lot of GUESTs on this thread who, for no doubt very valid reasons, do not want to reveal who they are.

Could I ask GUESTs to invent a pseudonym to use when posting as a GUEST, just to make it easier for the rest of us to tell which GUEST is saying what? It makes the thread very difficult to follow at times, even I should think for some of the GUESTs themselves. Even if you call yourself something like GUEST,a or GUEST,1 it would help.

(If you are a Mudcatter signing in as a GUEST of course you could invent a totally different GUEST handle so we can't tell who you really are!)

As to whether it matters if the awards are meaningful or not, the answer is yes, if you are looking at bookings and sales, etc. But as with other forms of music, the winners of these awards are not always the most deserving, but often those who have the best PR.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 02:43 PM

Most useful Scrump, we are all getting a bit glazed.

As an original sceptic I am increasingly concerned about this issue of who is managing the Awards. Mostly because I have always felt the bedrock of clubs, singers and musicians is an interactive source of whatever folk is.

I cannot be but suspicious of people who are keeping things from us.

Nice one about the wrong tree, one Guest of many, just watch your ankles!


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,interloper
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 03:25 PM

what has struck me about this thread and about the whole folky mudcat thing, which i stumbled upon almost accidentlally, is how your all such touchy buggers. its only music. I tapped in kate rusby to get here and there's a whole thread going on there about censorship and the evils of the western capitalist society.lighten up for christ's sake. its years since i've been to a folk club. are you all like this?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,blandy
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 03:32 PM

sadly, yes!


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 03:45 PM

To Scrump - Yes, it DOES matter. The fact that we can't speak about it openly for fear of being ostracised or judged as having chips on both shoulders tells you everything. Everyone should have the courage to write in to the people who run the awards even if they don;t reveal themselves publicly here.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 04:22 PM

"its years since i've been to a folk club. are you all like this?"

Folk Clubs sustain a collection of music, singers and musicians, lots of us value this.

Are all of who like what? Probably not.

Popular music has a great traditionof ripping off talented people. Yes this does matter.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,interloper
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 04:36 PM

fair enough. faith restored.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 01 Dec 06 - 06:54 PM

Dear 'GUEST, interloper',

I'm definitely "like this" - why don't you sod-off back to the Kate Rusby site - where you probably belong?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 02 Dec 06 - 04:07 AM

To Scrump - Yes, it DOES matter. The fact that we can't speak about it openly for fear of being ostracised or judged as having chips on both shoulders tells you everything. Everyone should have the courage to write in to the people who run the awards even if they don;t reveal themselves publicly here

I take it you have written in yourself GUEST?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,whistleblower
Date: 02 Dec 06 - 04:28 AM

Err, there are at least 3 Guests here. I'm the one at 08:17 (and others) not the one above (though agree wholeheartedly).

I did write in last year, and the year before, but to no avail. I'm now pondering how I can write to the Governers without alienating my friends at Smooth Ops.

Last year I wouldn't have minded being seen to raise these points, but this year they've set a White Hare running, and the fallout might be more unpleasant.

Where are the usual firebrands when we need them?!


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 02 Dec 06 - 05:25 AM

I would be interesting and refreshing if someone could openly and coherently explain and defend the current practice of what appears to be a closed loop of singers and musicians that revolve around the MH show and the Awards.

It reminds of those who defend the idea that we need an well educated, well paid elite and all you peasants would be better off and can sod off anyway.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: stallion
Date: 02 Dec 06 - 08:39 AM

To Guest interloper,
The whole awards thing is so far removed from what I do and like doing that it has little relevance to me, that is, except maybe, the genre of the music. I don't know about others and their agendas. However i do feel that, in some way, the dyed in the wool supporters of folk music who turn up week in week out to support and enjoy the most obscure of guest performers and resident performers ought to be consulted. I think that is what is causing the furore, the awards represent a very public face of a genre of music in which a majority of the participants performers or audience feel that they are being missrepresented and yes, there is a lot of stuffiness goes on but in a civilised society there is room for everyone, even M.H. and his awards, at least what he is doing for the genre is positive


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Guest Freda
Date: 02 Dec 06 - 09:41 AM

So as not to confuse - this is my first entry on this thread.
Instead of moaning and speculating here, would it not be more sensible to submit your complaints and questions directly to Radio 2 by e-mail or via the folk message boards? Perhaps enough requests for a public vote on the awards would be then considered. Or is this a too simplistic a notion for the cross and disillusioned?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 02 Dec 06 - 09:58 AM

It's pointless submitting complaints to the BBC, I have done so a few times and been totally ignored, not even the courtesy of a reply, Mike Harding is even more ignorant, I emailed him several times with inquiries AND complaints, and only once got a reply, and that was from John Leonard, he is now far too important to deal with mere mortals like us...............but if you send him compliments.............he replys straight away and in person.

eric


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,whistleblower
Date: 02 Dec 06 - 04:51 PM

... which is why only a letter to the Governers is worth the ink.

But the Governers quite rightly won't take any letter seriously that isn't it's signed.

And if we sign it, the first thing they'll do, quite correctly, is to send it straight to JL, and say - what's your reply to this, then?

Bang goes airplay on MH, bang goes listings on the Fo2 site, bang go certain festival and other bookings, bang goes reviews and articles in certain magazines, bang goes goodwill with various folk arts organisations etc etc etc

Which is why the Awards are as they are.

And ever more shall be so.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 03 Dec 06 - 12:34 PM

It has been suggested ealier in this thread that people connected with agents, record companies etc shouldn'y be nvolved with choosing recipients of awards. I would have thought that as longs as things were done opnely, there isn't any reason why not. People running folk record labels, in my expeience are among the most lnowledgable people around(which is hardly surprising). OK, so they might vote for thir own people. Well, of course they would, they wouldn't have chosen yo put out records they thought were crap, would they? (Not often, anyway).
   It would obviously be a huge mistake, and corrupt in the extreme, to let just one record label, or one agent, in on the act. But I would have thought a good range of record company people would be a very good basis for a jury.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,whistleblower
Date: 03 Dec 06 - 01:32 PM

but only a handful of folk artists are with established record companies (or agents) - by choice. you can make a FAR better percentage producing, pressing and distributing your own CDs. only artists who shift units in huge numbers through high street stores are better off signing with a label.

but maybe it's correct that the awards should be restricted to only these


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Brakn
Date: 03 Dec 06 - 07:22 PM

A lot of posts on this thread......read most of them.......going to bed.... none the wiser.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 04:48 AM

Well, greg's right, it shouldn't matter if a wide range of interests is represented. The problem just seems to be that the whole process isn't open, and for example the lists from which the nominations are eventually chosen, the lists of 'suggestions', etc., are not made public. Only by seeing these lists can people like us make proper enquiries as to why certain artists have been overlooked (assuming they were). It could just be that certain artists were genuinely overlooked through lack of awareness of those involved in the awards, rather than there being any skulduggery at work. The whole process needs to be opened up, to avoid any accusations of fixing - it would be in everyone's interests, even those artists that gain from the present system, because they might still win anyway, and they would be seen to have won fairly and squarely, rather than by being helped by the process.

(This is entirely different from the issue of Seth Lakeman's song being nominated as traditional - that is obviously wrong and complaints should have been made. The BBC should withdraw the nomination and replace it by no. 5 on the shortlist.)


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 10:55 AM

Greg,
I have to say that any party with a financial interest in the outcome of an award should be automatically disallowed from voting. To allow record and cd producers to vote is well beyond the pail. I don't have any answers mind you but we must nbot allow pecuniary interest to cloud issues.
You wouldn't let McDonalds vote for the best burger in the world award........ This is no different. If I was producing a CD for an artist it would be wrong for me to vote my artist an award.....

Spot the Dog


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 11:03 AM

"Beyond the pail"

Is that further than the bucket?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST, ...
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 11:25 AM

It looks a bit like those cartels of wine merchants awarding medals and seals of approval to the wines they want to sell us. Does anyone expect the award winning wines to be chosen by people who are not involved in wine production or marketing?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 11:30 AM

Oooops.....of course I meant pael....


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,John C
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 03:08 PM

There's now a thread about this on the Mike Harding site which is run by the company that manages the folk awards.

People don't seem to be asking about the make-up of the panel, though - e.g. what vested interest groups may be have access in contravention of BBC guidelines (licence fee-payers foot the bill, so BBC rules should apply) or about the geographic spread of the panel etc.

BBC Forum


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Eric
Date: 04 Dec 06 - 04:27 PM

I thought I would give it a week or so and have another look back and see if there was a response to my post.
I found it very entertaining but as expected it just re-inforced my opinion that too many people on this list are "insular, purist, ageing and irrelevant?" to quote someone else. As far as the first response to my post from Shizrod or whatever she's called goes - I loved the "fluffy" and "easy listening" bits - that's not something I would normally associate with myself [as a Scott Walker fan - have you heard Tilt?] but "Far from keeping our favourite music in a "dark room" we would like to share it with the world" got a real belly laugh. That does not appear to be the tone of some of the posts [including her later ones]. Though I must admit to seeing some very sensible stuff here as well - but not enough to want to get a regular fix.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 05:40 AM

Just seen from the BBC board that the panel guidance and the approved CD list has been posted on the Froots board here http://froots.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1897 I wonder why somebody didn't just put it on the BBC board.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 05:44 AM

Perhaps the Central Committe of the Party is under threat. Time to mount the barracades?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Shimrod not Shizrod
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 06:08 AM

Hi Eric,

So, people who don't happen to share your opinions or tastes in music are "insular, purist, ageing and irrelevant" are they? Well, such insults don't do anything to support your 'cause' (whatever that is).
I happen to have had a life-long interest in traditional song and, at present, this body of music is, effectively, 'in a dark room' and is only allowed out as long as it disguises itself as some inocuous species of pop music. I object strongly to this - and if this makes me a 'purist', so be it!


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Betsy
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 06:30 AM

"Pissing in the same pot" is an industrial phrase for operating a cartel, or, a closed shop/situation.
I share most of Les in Chorlton's views - especially his irritation of Guest not revealing him / herself whilst expressing extensive views.
As to the "Award" process, we deserve more transparency and openness, and its' absence, unfortunately will give rise to some of the bile which has been manifest in this thread. Why should there be shortlists in any case. Let there be an open vote in all categories , with votes recorded by Email / On line, which may also easily govern that there is no multiple voting.
It's the "Contol" mechanism and mentality which I find abhorrent - you can be part of it , but only on our (secret) terms, and on no account will you be allowed to know, or any redress or communication with the organising Group.
Let there be a chance to vote for all the people that others have mentioned in this thread,and,further,people like Bob Fox who do a fabulous night and groups like the Doonan Family who I would love to vote for. Good luck to those who have their endeavours in the Folk world publicly recognised with much razzamatazz - there are no sour grapes from me - but this is not the way to do it , and I hope the BBC gets wind of these complaints and pulls this private company to order ,in order to avoid having the BBC's name pulled into possible disrepute for the way this whole matter is being conducted.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 06:50 AM

"irritation of Guest not revealing him / herself "

That's not really fair Betsy, when most of the people here post under pseudonyms, or only using part of their real names. Regular users may get to know eachother over time, but we don't know who you are any more than you know us - though you'd probably recognise some if we used our real names, which we simply can't afford to do).

I hate not being able to speak openly, but this is a tiny industry, and there are a couple of powerful people in the folk hierachy who've been known to tip 'boat-rockers' overboard. We can't risk that. Plus our ability to draw audiences is as much about our 'personality' as our musical skill (wrong but true).

It's all too easy for people to misinterpret posts on forums, to view attempts to get the Awards onto a proper, open footing, as sour grapes, or simply get the wrong end of some other stick.

Sorry, but that's how it's got to be.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 06:58 AM

I don't think I need to say this but .................

Most of us have no argument with any of the singers and musicians nominated or not. We feel they do a fabulous job under difficult circumstances. None of them make much and their time is uncertain. Currently their does seem to be a lot of great music about so lets get these secrets out so that we all know what is going on.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 07:05 AM

I think the ting is to view it all with equanimity.

Really who gives a bugger.

Most of us are old folkies who remember the glory glory days of the folk revival, before all the fighting and factionalism. We're a bit like the donkey at the end of Animal Farm.

Mike Harding isn't a bad bloke from all accounts. He needs his radio programme and his awards, etc. for the ubermensch of the recording/festival corner of the music industry where he works.

It got nowt to do with us. cool it.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 07:08 AM

obviously you're not trying to get gigs, fill them, or sell CDs


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 07:29 AM

I put the link from fRoots onto the BBC forum because that was the small task I was asked to do. The Editor has infinitely better things to do than visit the F&A bear garden (or here, presumably). Furthermore, as I am no longer involved in writing professionally, getting gigs or any sort of axe-grinding, I am free to say exactly what I like. Many others are not, not that is if they hope to survive in this ever-so-backstabbing industry.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 07:49 AM

this ever-so-backstabbing industry.
Is it really that bad?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 08:47 AM

Yes I went through life trying to get gigs etc.

i will pass on a lifetime's wisdom to you.

If your face doesn't fit, forget it.

The music industry laughs at the acoustic scene behind its back. The big fish in the folk pool are tiny minnows in the general way of things.

the music industry has many highways and byways where you can work at your art and still earn a living.

As an incredible string band song said, if you let the pigs decide it, they will put you in the sty.
and my advice is, don't let them.

turn your face away, leave them to it - breathe the fresh of indifference to this tiny screwed up little encampment on the VERY edge of civilisation.

Equanimity, peace, love and herb tea, etc.

Big Al Whittle


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 09:43 AM

Sound advice Al, and exactly what I'd say - if it wasn't for this little thing called fairness and the concept of giving the wee little guy (or dummer) a punt on a level field blah blah.

Call me old fashioned but I'm afraid that if we let things like this go, saying it doesn't matter, they'll take it as a carte blanch to ride rough-shod over anyone they please in future.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 10:18 AM

Fairness doesn't really come into it. This is business - and they have to flog this load of fairly unmemorable old tat.

Its an unenviable job. they represent a tradition, which no one in anybody's family has handed down to them. Playing dance tunes that nobody in England dances to. They are Rourkes Drift, we are the zulus.

Just be one of the zulus (there must have been one or two of them) who were smart enough to say sod this for a game defending our differing cultural values....


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 12:14 PM

Ok, I see what you are saying and have no reason to doubt it.

I still have this other view of folk music. I guess it is the view from the bottom so to speak, that clubs and club singers are the people who matter most. Are we the grass in the food chain?

If people can make a living as folk musicians then so be it. I don't think it is essential to the survival, growth and enjoyment fo it all. If the public face and public recognition generated by the Awards brings more people into the clubs then I guess that is a good thing.

But, we still want it to be open and transparent, regardless of peoples career prospects, I think.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 12:38 PM

Fair point Les, but I think it's worth pointing out that if there were no 'pros,' (90% of whom earn near the minimum wage, once travel and other costs are taken into account) the folk world would be a poorer place.

There would be less material for us all to learn for a start:

Less trad - because not very many people have the time or the skills to learn from archives (and the aural tradition doesn't work like it used to ), and FAR fewer new songs. Those that are made would travel very slowly because we couldn't afford to put out CDs without gigs to promote them (and if we did - without gigs - who'd ever hear them)?

You wouldn't have people like Martin Carthy inventing whole new ways to play the guitar (well you would, but most would never hear about it), you wouldn't have workshop leaders to help you learn your instrument, you wouldn't have festival acts to take your breath away and inspire you to play or sing better (as happened to all of us), and you wouldn't have performers capable of breaking into the mainstream and helping to keep folk music alive by bringing in new converts (some of whom may even become club singers - and we do need these as the old ones fade away).

We smile and hug and love you when we perform to your clubs (and we're delighted to do so), but it's a lonely cold drive home 4 hours in the dark.

The awards - and the patchy media exposure we do achieve - can represent a ray of light at the end of the tunnel, and as such are an important motivator to keep us going and to help us go on trying to achieve excellence.

We know most of us will never get a break like a Radio 2 folk award - and most of us probably don't deserve it - but leave us our dreams ok?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 02:22 PM

I don't think I disagree with your view but I think you are stating an extreme version of it. I recognise the contribution that the most popular people make, but it is not they that keep clubs alive it is, if you will excuse the phrase, a symbiotic relationship, they need each other. Another argument is that the "stars" need the clubs.

Almost all the people who run clubs and sing and play in them do it beacause they like doing it. They make no money from it and they will carry on doing it until they don't enjoy it any longer.

We have some people who want to do it for a living, however realistic or otherwise that maybe. Shady Awards will not help the clubs and it seems likely that they don't help lesser known, but quite popular singers and musicians


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 03:09 PM

The most intriguing thing about the awards(after the ludicrous Lakeman song classification) is the fact that they are called the BBC Folk Awards(I think), but the "approved list" sent to the panel is stuff played on the Mike Harding show. The Mike Harding show only represents a small proportion of the BBC's folk output: I would imagine serious devotees get a great deal more from Radio 3's Late Junction and Andy Kershaw, and from local programmes.
   Another thought that may not have occurred to everyone. Lots of people are trying to explain certain curious things about thee results, not only the White Hare incident but the fact that people would seem to be nominating live acts they haven't seen, and so on. Now, these things may seem odd, if you assume that the people shortlisted for each category are those that got the most votes. But, and here is the suggestion you might not have thought of: what makes you think the ones with the most votes go through to the final? has anybody told you that happens?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,whistleblower
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 03:13 PM

ahh - greg my boy. you're getting warm...


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 06:42 PM

You might be interested in two statements posted on the BBC forum:

(1) from Seth Lakeman's management:

Seth Lakeman is extremely proud to have recently received nominations in various categories for the 2007 BBC Folk Awards and is grateful for the support he has been given over what has turned out to be a remarkable 18 months.

However, in response to recent queries about the source of the song, The White Hare, nominated in the Best Traditional Song category, Seth would like to explain where it comes from.

He adapted a tune he had heard from a local musician as a child and combined this with lyrics, which were based on a legend he grew up with and one which was also later recounted to him in a Cornish pub - the story of The White Hare.

As Seth adapted the tune and lyrics from a combination of what he believed were largely 'traditional' sources he thought it right to credit The White Hare, on his latest album, 'Freedom Fields', as 'trad/arr..', rather than suggest that it was completely 'original'.

If the BBC, voting panel and other experts involved believe that The White Hare does not fit the true definition of a 'traditional' song, then Seth agrees that it would be entirely appropriate for it to be withdrawn from the category in which it has been nominated.



And another from John Leonard of Smooth Ops:

Having considered the points raised here, and Seth's response to them, I am happy for 'The White Hare' to remain as one of the four nominations in the category for Best Traditional Song.

Given the sources from which it was adapted, it is also my personal opinion that Seth has been very honest in calling the song traditional, rather than claiming it as entirely his own.


If you want to see the fall-out, you'd better go to the site.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 06:55 PM

So, Wagner's Tristan, Shakespeare's Hamlet and Ketas Isabella turn out to have been traditional, according to the official Smooth Operations definition. Well, if you believe that, you believe anything.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 05 Dec 06 - 07:07 PM

Some Smoothops/lakeperson apologist posted:

Maybe SL just wasn't sure he hadn't picked the song up from somewhere, remeber poor Goerge Harrison & 'My Sweet Lord'?


to which I intend to reply:

Doo-lang, doolang, doolang . . .

Are you saying:

(a) it's OK if he just forgot he wrote it

(b) it's really OK to nick off The Chiffons or

(c) it's from an American trad tune called Hare's So Fine?



unless I calm down by light of day when they open up again.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 03:48 AM

This is much more progress than we ever expected ......... who know's what's next?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 04:26 AM

"He adapted a tune he had heard from a local musician as a child and combined this with lyrics, which were based on a legend he grew up with and one which was also later recounted to him in a Cornish pub - the story of The White Hare."

Oh, how sweet! And how romantic!

And then he put a bit of bread and cheese in a spotted handkerchief, tied it to a stick and set off to join the circus ... but was abducted by a wicked witch, who lived in a crooked house, in a haunted forest. But the witch was also holding a princess prisoner and they managed to escape together and, after many adventures, got married and lived happily everafter.

I can't wait for the song!


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 05:23 AM

Guest - the thing is about a dreams. there comes a time to wake up. these people are very much looking out for themselves. look out for yourself, pal. If you're not part of the club by now, you probably never will be. Look at other sorts of music. Look at other countries in which to play. Other avenues for your talent. Listen to everything . try most things.

keep your eyes on the prize, which is, after all. a fulfilling and satisfying life. And do not be denied in this. Not by people obsessed with a style of folk music which alienates 98% of the folk in this country.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 05:54 AM

"Not by people obsessed with a style of folk music which alienates 98% of the folk in this country."

WLD there's a curious subtext here ie. that we who like trad. songs, in a trad. style, or 'purists' - call us what you will, are, in some way, engaged in oppressing the majority. Surely it would be more accurate to say that it is we who are oppressed by the 'alienated' 98% (most of whom probably wouldn't know what a trad. song was if they tripped over it and wouldn't take the time or trouble to listen to one even if it was beamed directly into their i-Pods).
I wouldn't have taken you, WLD, to be one of those people who believes in discriminating against minorities ... or do you really want to eliminate us?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Mo the caller
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 06:03 AM

Spot the Dog says
"If I was producing a CD for an artist it would be wrong for me to vote my artist an award....."

If I was an artist and my agent didn't vote for me, for that reason, I might think that wrong too.

Wee Little Drummer talks about music nobody dances too. Is he talking about that music I love to dance to? The dance bands are even worse paid that the singers; they may not be trying to make a living from it but they are dedicated and inspiring.
Slightly off topic, it makes me mad that the 'big names' singers get all the publicity at Festivals while the bands get the small print to match their fees. "The Falconers? They're just the dance band from down the road." NO! they are the reason I come to your festival, and enjoy hearing the singers, 'big names' and 'small names' while I'm there.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 06:29 AM

"WLD there's a curious subtext here"

WLD just can't stand traditional music and manages to send the bee from his bonnet buzzing into every thread he ever contributes to. End of story.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 07:52 AM

I don't think this thread is about any particular kind of music. It is about the singers, musicians and club organisers who do it because they like it and people around the MH show and the Awards, who are not unconnected with the clubs, but appear to want a bigger part of the action and the money and not as open about the Awards as they should be.

But if we keep chipping away, who knows?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Grab
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 08:09 AM

Shimrod, I just love the way you tell people "you have no right to criticise me" whilst laying into them. If you're going to throw stones, I'd stay out of that glass house. Oh, and nice move in putting someone off staying around on Mudcat - that's one more person who's started getting interested in folk music, wanting to know more and talk to people here about it, and your response is "piss off back to your easy-listening pop music where you belong, newbie".

Countess, thanks for the info about Lakeman. Interesting stuff. I guess Harding and co are dependent (at least to some extent) for knowing whether something is "traditional" by whether it's listed as "traditional" in the track details on the album. I think they should have excluded it from the list though, since it clearly was written by him.

Still, it's an interesting position from Lakeman. Even if it's a traditional story, he's spent some time arranging it and writing the words, so he's got good grounds for claiming ownership if he'd wanted to. Whether you think it's a put-on or whether you think it's a genuine thing from respect for the traditions he's based the song on, the fact remains that he's passed up a fair sum of money by doing that.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 08:18 AM

In fact I like traditional music. I just wish we had a living tradition.

My feelings however are irrelevant to what I'm saying.

Don't hang around for crumbs from the table. From what I can see every crumb is already owed to someone who can do these guys favours.

It takes intelligence and guts to break the mindset, but do it, and start living.....or at least making a living as a musician.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 08:22 AM

But one CD pressing claims it as his, another credits it as Trad/arr.

Having one's cake and eating it?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 10:28 AM

Here's what 'Grab' said - that I said:

"Shimrod, I just love the way you tell people "you have no right to criticise me" whilst laying into them."

Here's what I actually said (in reply to 'Grab'):

"No it doesn't give me any rights except, possibly, the right to rebel against the tyranny of the majority - otherwise 'eat shit - 10 million flies can't be wrong!'"

I admit that I expressed myself robustly in that particular exchange - but what the hell - sometimes robust metaphors are the best way of expressing things! Of course, everyone has a right to criticise me, in this forum or any other. But, be warned, if anyone tells me that my interest in traditional music is somehow 'wrong' or misguided because traditional music isn't popular I will respond robustly. THIS DOES NOT AFFECT ANYONE'S RIGHTS!!! Are you listening, 'Grab'?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 12:32 PM

"In fact I like traditional music. I just wish we had a living tradition."

This is a crucial point from drummer. we don't want a alternative pyramid to the one that is popular commercial music we want to participate in a continuing living tradition where lots of people sit in small places to sing and play. This is what we do. This is what our generation has been doing since the 60's.This is why the big guys can make a living and sell lots of CDs.

We don't want or need a semi-secret organisation to give awards and opportunities to the few.

Dogs and tails, dogs and tails ..........


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Pete_Standing
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 01:24 PM

we want to participate in a continuing living tradition where lots of people sit in small places to sing and play. This is what we do. This is what our generation has been doing since the 60's.This is why the big guys can make a living and sell lots of CDs.

Exactly so, except that I think there is a pyramid. It is crucial to the meaning of folk music that we sit around in sessions enjoying each others tunes and songs and the banter in between and also crucial that we have clubs with the chance for both the talented and the, erm, not quite so talented people to perform. This underpins everything right up to the headliners at concerts and festivals.

For me, the awards are irrelevent. They probably don't have much positive effect on what we do, our buying and concert going habits and possibly the opposite. They fail to honour the hard work done by all the second and third line of performers who work tirelessly and are just above the bread line at best. They also fail to ejoocait the meejia who still lampoon us with ridiculous beards, sweaters, tankards and Laura Ashley prints and the fact that they aren't televised means that they also fail to make the general public curious to explore. I'd sooner see the money ploughed into sponsoring young people at workshops such as Hands on Music or Shooting Roots or even to subsidise super morris sides (Demon Barber/OEG) going into schools to try and blow the morris isn't cool myth.

As for the White Hare, I think it was naivety on Seth's part to call it trad although I can understand why he might have done it. Although the story is based on legend and the tune might be an adaptation of a song heard as a child from a local source, that source is not identified as having a traditional root - sing the song unaccompanied, does it work? No. It has its roots more in modern pop culture than the tradition. The panel, the Beeb and Smooth Ops should have had the wit to see this for themselves and query its validity and frankly I see them and his record comapny as more culpable than Seth, it also causes doubt over the validity over the rest of the awards.

Nevertheless, the guy and his wife are going through a hard time right now with the birth of their twins, three months premature. Maybe we should just swallow hard and draw a line under this one.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 01:31 PM

Nevertheless, the guy and his wife are going through a hard time right now with the birth of their twins, three months premature. Maybe we should just swallow hard and draw a line under this one.

That's his brother Sam.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Grab
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 01:33 PM

At the risk of turning into Shambles, I'll quote:-

Shimrod: Still, at least it keeps uncritical, easily satisfied, 'easy listening' fans like you happy ...
Eric: I found it very entertaining but as expected it just re-inforced my opinion that too many people on this list are "insular, purist, ageing and irrelevant?" to quote someone else.
Shimrod:So, people who don't happen to share your opinions or tastes in music are "insular, purist, ageing and irrelevant" are they? Well, such insults don't do anything to support your 'cause'

interloper: what has struck me about this thread and about the whole folky mudcat thing, which i stumbled upon almost accidentlally, is how your all such touchy buggers. its only music. I tapped in kate rusby to get here and there's a whole thread going on there about censorship and the evils of the western capitalist society.lighten up for christ's sake. its years since i've been to a folk club. are you all like this?
Shimrod:I'm definitely "like this" - why don't you sod-off back to the Kate Rusby site - where you probably belong?

I've never said that there's anything wrong with traditional music. Nor would I, ever - be daft to say that when I like it a lot. But it doesn't mean that people who like more than just trad folk can't have an equal say. You say that you're not trying to impose your views on anyone - but then you tell someone they have no place here because they disagree with you. You insult someone, and then respond "insults don't help your cause".

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 01:49 PM

"interloper: your all such touchy buggers. its only music."

Is it? Christ, I wish someone had told me before now. Here's me thinking there's this whole cultural framework that's about heritage and tradition and values, and about having something living and engaging to pass on to future generations...but it turns out it's only music.

I've seen the light. I'm off to the Kate Rusby board.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Pete_Standing
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 02:01 PM

That's his brother Sam.

Pass me the humble pie!


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 02:27 PM

Thanks 'Ruth Archer' - I don't think anything more needs to be said on that point.

And the words, "insular, purist, ageing and irrelevant" aren't insulting aren't they? Well, call me old-fashioned but I find three of them deeply insulting - and they only deserve insults in return.

Oh yes, in case you're wondering, I wear the label 'Purist' as a badge of pride!!


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Len-y-Bruce
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 03:48 PM

I have been reading this debate here and on other web sites with interest.

John Leonard says the Awards were set up as:

"an opportunity to get artists and folk industry pundits together and say thank you for their work over the previous twelve months. It was also seen as a chance to showcase to the mainstream media just some of the artists and albums that we, the people who work in folk music, have been particularly proud of during the year"

So. The Awards were never intended to represent what's happening in the wide world of folk, or to reward what the majority of folk followers might want to see rewarded.

They are in fact an opportunity for the Industry to promote a few faces who they feel stand a half-decent chance of selling units in reasonable numbers.

For a commercial organisation, with normal business objectives, that is a perfectly acceptable mission.

If this was a fee-earning promotion, sponsored by the business sector, there would be no issue. Anyone who didn't like it could only make his point and hope for change, or start up a rival title.

But it is not. It is sponsored by the BBC.

And the problems all arise in the gaps between this purely commercial venture, and the BBC guidelines - set alongside the wishes of genuine folk lovers who not only make it all possible in the first place with their pound notes and shiny bums, but who are also, mostly, licence fee payers and therefore the owners of the BBC.

From the information I've been able to glean I surmise the following.

The panel is selected to make Smooth Operations' task easier, to include people who are likely to offer appropriate nominations. It is not selected to represent "the people who work in folk music." There is no attempt at balance or regional diversity, and the names of the panellists are kept secret as much to disguise this fact as to protect them from pressure.

The list of albums is also designed to assist in the task.

It is not "a list of a selection of albums which have been released during the past 12 months and featured on The Mike Harding Show" it is in fact "compiled by the Radio 2 folk team with help from leading distributors of folk music and production teams from elsewhere in the BBC" (quote from a Smooth Operations Employee).

In other words: We put down the names we want to.

We cannot even be 100% certain that the panel has any real influence because Smooth Operations will not confirm that the votes are actually counted and the majority respected.

They use the noun 'vote' but we have no way of knowing if they define that word the way the rest of us do.

The verb they use is 'collate.' "votes are collated and the top four artists in each category declared." This may mean "votes are counted and the most popular four artists in each category identified" or it may mean "votes are read through and the four artists we like the most in each category are announced." We don't know - and they don't clarify, even when asked.

There is no independent verification process - or if there is, we have no way of communicating with it.

So. The team approach the Awards as producers approach a production - using the panel, and other folk industry colleagues as research organs, but no more.

This would explain the White Hare debacle better than any of the other explanations.

I know a few of the panellists, and if the rest are as well informed and have as much integrity as them, then a majority could simply not have nominated the song as traditional - regardless of what the singer may have put on one or more album sleeves.

But that's irrelevant anyway. With 150 nominators, there are always so many nominated tracks and acts that Smooth Operations always need to provide a 'casting vote.'

So it's not an issue whether the track received just a handful of votes or was promoted by the office. They wanted the song on the show, so they put it in. Then they glanced at the sleeve, and said, 'oh good it's trad. We can put it in the trad category, so there will be room for one more original.'

That is why John Leonard feels he's within his rights to reply as he did when objections were raised.

NONE of this is a problem if you see the Awards as being only what Leonard states on his web page - a commercial junket.

But. The awards are funded by the BBC.

Now. Here are some quotes from the BBC site:

The BBC's "is a unique institution. It is funded by the licence fee and therefore owned by the British people and is independent of political and commercial interests.

It's aims are "to inform, educate and entertain", "to serve everyone and enrich people's lives", "to be the most creative, trusted organisation in the world"

Amongst its statements of policy are "promoting education and learning; stimulating creativity and cultural excellence; representing the UK, its nations and regions"

"The BBC strives to be fair to all - fair to those we're making programmes about, fair to contributors, and fair to our audiences."

"Under the terms of the BBC's Charter and Agreement, no licence fee or grant-in-aid funded BBC service can broadcast sponsored programmes or advertising."

"We strive to be fair and open minded and reflect all significant strands of opinion"

"We will never promote a particular view on controversial matters of public policy or political or industrial controversy"

"The BBC is independent of both state and partisan interests. Our audiences can be confident that our decisions are influenced neither by political or commercial pressures, nor by any personal interests."

"Our output will be based on fairness, openness and straight dealing. Contributors will be treated honestly and with respect."

"We are accountable to our audiences and will deal fairly and openly with them. Their continuing trust in the BBC is a crucial part of our contract with them. We will be open in admitting mistakes and encourage a culture of willingness to learn from them."

The Governors exist to "hold the BBC to the terms of its agreement with the Secretary of State, its fair trading commitments and the highest standards of probity, propriety and value for money" and to "ensure that comments, proposals and complaints are properly handled"

Enough.

Does the voting process pass muster against these statements?

That's all I want to know.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 06:06 PM

Len-y-Bruce.: well said, though I'd differ with you on a lot of points. On one key point I am firmly with you, and the Seth Lakeman farce has brought it to the fore (which is actually a very good thing). I do not believe for one moment that the selection system as presented publicly could possibly have resulted in this particular Seth Lakeman track being slected as one of the top four traditionaal tracks. Repeat, I do not believe it. It is technically possible that it could happen, but only in the sense that the Red Sea might part to let the Israelites through; or that the moon is made of green cheese. No, such a vote system(if it existed) could not have resulted in the selection of the White Hare.
    If by some incredible freak it actually did, then let Smooth Operations publish the voting figures. Otehrwise this process is so tainted that it is a disgrace to the folk music, and will give the BBC a bad name. And as an institution the BBC has an excellent name. Remember, these are not the Smooth operatio Awards, or the Mike Harding awards, or even the Radio 2 awaards. They are the BBC folk awards. A national body awarding the nations' traditional music.And is is becoming clear that the awards are not decided by votes at all, as people have been led to believe. If they are, by some extraordinary freak of chance, then publish the votes.
    This, by the way, is no criticism of Seth lakeman, or his song. it is, as far as I am aware,nothing to do with him. But, very sadly, it will not help his his image until Smooth operations straighten the matter out. I feel very sorry for him, being subjected to this: and there will, alas, be more to come.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 06:14 PM

I should perhaps make my own position clear. My name(or rather the band I play with) was on the list of records sent out by Smooth Operations to the voters. But I am a very obscure person, and do not trouble the selectors of the nominees, or exercise the balloting arms of the voters. I don't sell many records, so I am not a player in this game.
I think it would be better if this matter was transparently discussed by people using their own names, but I understand why many feel intimidated by a situation like this. If they speak out, they feel they will (a) be accused of sour grapes and (b) get unaccountably overlooked in the future. Well, it doesn't bother me, as I am always overlooked anyway!


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 06:18 PM

I think Greg and Len-y-Bruce have it exactly right.

These are not Smooth Operations Awards, they organise and run them on behalf of the BBC. Who give them their imprimatur. No-one would give a monkey's if they were called the Smooth Operations Folk Awards.

Let's get some research done on where to place the pressure on the BBC. It is such a bureaucratic organisation it may not be easy. And the "Boss" has just left. I might try "Feedback". Watch this space.

If they find out one of the organisations to whom they contract their programming is "fiddling" maybe there will be some changes.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 06:21 PM

By the way, if you like the way these things develop, watch out for the use of the word "collate". This means, in practise, in some syatems, that votes validly cast for a certain thing don't add up to a large enough total for the desired outcome: so votes cast for something else are added to that total till it gets big enough.
    Nw, allegations have been made that that is what has gone on at some point in this process. I wouldn't know if it has or not, I am nothing to do with Smooth Operations,, but I think it would better if the point was publicly answered.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 06:48 PM

I have written to the BBC Feedback programme outlining some of the issues involved and drawing their attention to the BBC message board discussion and to this discussion also.

I have emphasised 1) the remarkable coincidence whereby 150 people + John Leonard failed to recognise this song as newly-penned and 2) the lack of transparency in general.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 04:30 AM

Smooth Ops mind is made up, please don't confuse them with facts.

eric


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 05:12 AM

If I were Seth Lakeman, I would now ask the BBC to withdraw The White Hare from the nominations as traditional song. This would make him appear to be 'doing the right thing', and enhance his reputation further. He will have gained the maximum publicity from the event, whihc will no doubt act to his advantage.

The BBC may decide to ignore his request, but at least he will be able to say he tried, and deflect any criticism. If he should win the award, this will cause resentment (not least from the other nominees), but maybe the decision has already been made that it won't win.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 06:12 AM

Well, if he wins the award that's when the serious questions ought to start, anyway. Because both Barleycorn and the Grey Cock knock spots off The White Hare, regardless of what category they're all in.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 06:30 AM

Remember the award is for Best Traditional Track, not Best Traditional Song. So the performance of the song and not just the song itself should be taken into account by the judges (assuming someone does judge them). So even if the other nominations are songs of proven longevity (and hence over a long period of time, popularity), they could still lose out to the recently 'discovered' Lakeman song, mif they consider his performance better than that of the other three contenders.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 07:35 AM

Yes, but Tim van Eyken and Salsa Celtica (featuring Eliza) perform both songs spectacularly well. They are fresh and innovative interpretations of truly tradtitional tracks, and wipe the floor with The White Hare.

Any judge that could choose The White Hare over either of them would have to be so immersed in the totally commercialised, pop/folk crossover end of the market that they are simply not qualified to judge a category like "best traditional track".


Ah...


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 07:43 AM

I wasn't saying I thought Seth's performance is better than the others, just that the judges (or panel or whatever) might think it is. Whether you or I agree with that decision is neither here nor there, as it's entirely subjective and not related to the quality of the song alone.

If the award was for Best Traditional Song, then I don't see how a recently written - oops, sorry, I mean unearthed - song could possibly compete against songs that have been around for hundreds of years and proven their long-term popularity.

In view of the controversy surrounding White Hare, I somehow have a feeling that it won't win... ;-)


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 07:48 AM

"I wasn't saying I thought Seth's performance is better than the others..."

I wasn't saying you were. I was saying that, even given the parameters you supplied, the judges would have to be totally incompetent to pick it. Subjective it may be, but it's still MOR poppy twaddle.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 07:52 AM

So the performance of the song and not just the song itself should be taken into account by the judges

Surely it says "track" instead of "song" in order to allow instrumentals?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 10:33 AM

Surely it says "track" instead of "song" in order to allow instrumentals?
True, but by calling it "track" it implies to me that it is a specific recording of a song or tune that is being judged, not the song or tune itself. If they were judging the song or tune (as opposed to a track) then the ones that have been around longest ought to win because by their survival they have proven their long-term popularity; whereas we can't predict whether a newly 'unearthed' song (e.g. the White Hare) will still be remembered in the distant future.

Ruth - one man's (or woman's) "MOR poppy twaddle" is another's folk music. What I'm saying is, we can't do much about that, i.e. if the 'wrong' track wins we might or might not agree with the verdict but that would be the case for any award, folk or not. If Tim van Eycken wins no doubt some of us will say we prefer one of the other two contenders.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 11:48 AM

True, but by calling it "track" it implies to me that it is a specific recording of a song or tune that is being judged, not the song or tune itself

Well it might mply that to you and I caanot say whewther you are correct or not. Only the mysterious people at Smooth Operations would be able to tell you.

I would have thought it said "track" so that first of all instrumental music and not just songs could be included and secondly so that a "tradtional" song/instrumental could be chosed from a CD which might include traditional and non-traditional material.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 11:52 AM

Yes, but if they really mean "song or tune" and not "track" why do they specify which recording of each they mean? Why not just have the song/tune name, and forget the artist?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 12:21 PM

"Song"? "Tune"? "Track"? This reminds me of a previous life where I had to argue with marketeers about advertising claims. They seemed to believe that you could get away with telling untruths if you could just find the 'right' words. But, at the end of the day, a lie is a lie is a lie!


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 12:27 PM

If they simply meant which was the best song, they could just use the sheet music. It's obviously an award for the performance. This is a bit silly.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 12:27 PM

Before we loose sense of where we are and where we are going:

1. We know Seth's Song is not trad. Discussion over?

2. We want the process of deciding who gets what to be open and clear

3. We should bother the BBC because it is their Award

So let us heard the cats in that general direction?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 12:52 PM

Absolutely


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 01:49 PM

As far as I can, see the position is (a) rhe Lakeman track was selected, and not voted, to be nominated for the final. (b) the Lakeman track has been selected, not voted , to be one of the losers in the final.
    And, because I have a high opinion of the BBC, and a high opinion of folk music, I think many asepects of this sad affair should be scrutinised with a very intense scrute indeed.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Fiona
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 01:59 PM

Sorry for butting in as I've not really kept up with this thread and this may have been added before,

Posted on the BBC F&A board bby the BBC host (Jon from Smooth Ops)

---------------------------------------

Regarding the confusion over the nomination of 'The White Hare' as a traditional song, it would appear that it has always been credited as traditional, and Seth's management have kindly made a statement on his behalf explaining why:


"4/12/06

Seth Lakeman is extremely proud to have recently received nominations in various categories for the 2007 BBC Folk Awards and is grateful for the support he has been given over what has turned out to be a remarkable 18 months.

However, in response to recent queries about the source of the song, The White Hare, nominated in the Best Traditional Song category, Seth would like to explain where it comes from.

He adapted a tune he had heard from a local musician as a child and combined this with lyrics, which were based on a legend he grew up with and one which was also later recounted to him in a Cornish pub - the story of The White Hare.

As Seth adapted the tune and lyrics from a combination of what he believed were largely 'traditional' sources he thought it right to credit The White Hare, on his latest album, 'Freedom Fields', as 'trad/arr..', rather than suggest that it was completely 'original'.

If the BBC, voting panel and other experts involved believe that The White Hare does not fit the true definition of a 'traditional' song, then Seth agrees that it would be entirely appropriate for it to be withdrawn from the category in which it has been nominated."

------------------------------------------


Does anyone know how the other BBC Awards are chosen? That is the Young Folk Award and the World Music ones? Is it a better system?

fx


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 02:28 PM

Yes, but if they really mean "song or tune" and not "track" why do they specify which recording of each they mean? Why not just have the song/tune name, and forget the artist?

They could. But they don't.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 06:04 PM

I've not really kept up with this thread

Clearly not. I posted the EMI and Smoothops statements on the albino bunny saga on 05 Dec 06 above @ 06:42 PM.

The YFA is a competition. Musicians enter themselves and compete through various heats in regional locations until the six finalists play before an audience. This took place (for 2007) at the Union Chapel last Friday, 2 December, when Last Orders, a 4-piece from Cumberland, emerged as winners.

The fRoots/R3 Album Of The Year Award poll is organised thus:

http://www.frootsmag.com/content/voteguide/

as publicised on the fRoots site.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,ChorleyBob
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 06:13 PM

I think we're in danger of going overboard here.Like most of the contributors on this board I love folk music, I love the trad stuff and I love the new stuff. I sing the trad stuff and also the new stuff. I love ( most of)the music on the radio two folk show, not so keen on Mike H, but I can tolerate him . There are always dark mutterings when prizes are given out and I think there's a danger we are being whipped up into a frenzy over nothing much here. The stuff about the White Hare and is it or isn't it traditonal ,there are lots of examples of songs that have slipped under the net as trads when they're not, and there's a whole debate about how long something must exist before its deemed traditional. I hear the distant footsteps of Ewan McColl and his Commie enforcers.
Aren't we all on the same side? And if we're not, shouldn't we be?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 06:29 PM

Aren't we all on the same side?

Sides?

Seth Lakeman is (as far as I know) a nice young man. He has written/constructed a fairly competent, mildly folk-tinged pop song from a local legend and a dimly remembered tune he heaard once from some unidentified musician. It is not a traditional song. I don't like it much but recognise that some might. Somehow, this song has become nominated in a 'best traditional track' category in an industry awards poll. The song might have been better suited to the 'best original song' category. This is not Mr Lakeperson's fault. What is being questioned is the (lack of) competence of the panel (now overshadowed by the crass intransigence of the organisers for failing to accept the offer to withdraw the song),

It is Not Hard to read the thread. But people, apparently, can't be arsed.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,ChorleyBob
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 06:35 PM

I rest my case. I will leave you to storm the winter palace comrade


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 06:40 PM

Bob, I agree with a lot of what you say.

However IMHO it is not as simple as that.

No-one as far as I know has offered a note of criticism of Seth Lakeman.

The criticism of the BBC Folk Awards (as organised by Smooth Operations) is that the process is not as transparent as it could be. And I for one can see an argument for an anonymous panel of 150 folk luminaries remaining anonymous so they are not subject to pressure so my argument is not there.

Who elects/chooses this panel and do they have any vested interest in the results? I have been around the folk world for a long time and I would find it extremely difficult to choose 150 people who would not have at least some interest in the outcome.

And as far as the "White Hare" track is concerned how come no-one - but no-one - out of 150 people supposedly well connected in the folk world - recognised this as a newly-written song and therefore not eligible for the category in which it is now one of the final contenders.

And how come the category gets re-defined by John Leonard when challenged? It is hard to define traditional music and no-one would disagree with that. But for certain, no recently written song would be included in any definition I have ever come across.

The BBC Folk Awards have the stated objective of gaining wider recognition and publicity for folk music. Is this lack of transparency the best way to do it?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 06:40 PM

I think that Seth Lakeman is an irrelevance, and it is no longer appropriate to drag him into it. And it is not really fair to the lad, it wasn't him that fixed the votes as far as I have heard. The more interesting point is that the people chosen to go through to the final, it is now completely clear, did not necessarily receive more votes than those who did not do so. This was done by "collating" the votes. Though technically I think (in terms of dictionary definitions) the correct term would generally be "conflating".
    What this means, is that votes (or so I have heard, it is up to Smooth Operations to confirm or deny) for different things (eg separate Lakeman tracks) have been lumped together. And this is not confined to Seth Lakeman at all, which why I am sad and angry that he is getting the stick for this. The problem is bigger, the fix is much wider, which is why it needs looking into. I wish some more insiders would publish what they know under their own names, but alas people are understandably nervous. TRhere are things going on that would understandably shock simple folkies, who might naively believe that "voting" means counting up the votes and see who has won.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 02:57 AM

John Leonard and Smooth Ops have been totally discredired over this issue, the BBC should dump them along with Mike Harding and get some honesty and openness into the ' BBC FOLK AWARDS ' not the Smooth Ops folk awards.

eric


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 03:00 AM

DISCREDITED FFS.

eric


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Len-y-Bruce
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 04:18 AM

This is all about confidence. The Radio Two Folk Awards are the only major awards we have. They represent us to the rest of the world, and they matter a lot - to anyone involved in promoting folk music, whether as an artist, an organiser, a publisher or a producer.

We need to have confidence in the system - and we have none at all at the moment.

It would be nice if we could feel the awards were fair, but even that's not the issue. The Oscars are not, and we all accept that.

The issue is transparency. So that if there IS anything happening which is wrong (not necessarily corrupt, just wrong) we, or the BBC, can at least make informed suggestions and get a mature answer why, if the answer is no.

But all we ever get is stonewalling - and that's not good enough for the BBC.

I'm happy to see all the nominations there, great tracks and acts all, and fully deserving. And the chances are that exactly the same names would crop up even if the system was different.

But there has been unease over the awards ever since they were set up. And though people have complained every year, and asked for clarification on various points, we've never had proper answers.

The WH issue is crucial (I'm sorry Seth) because for the first time it seems to prove what we all suspected.

We're not asking for change, necessarily. We're asking for transparancy and BBC-standard feedback from the producers - which we have every right to expect under the producers guidelines.

Len

(Shame the Smooth Operations people don't read Mudcat, eh? By the way - I tried to log onto their site to make my comments there, but they require your email address to give you a password, and as they already know mine from emails to their office I'm afraid I chickened out. But if anyone who does have access wants to quote me over there, feel free)!


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Scrump
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 04:22 AM

They could. But they don't

OK - then why?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 04:47 AM

You've got a nerve, 'GUESTChorleyBlob', barging in here and using this thread as an excuse to bash the 17-years-dead Ewan MacColl!
Still, if his shade can still rattle an oaf like you, there's still hope ...


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 05:36 AM

ChorleyBob is as entitled to his opinion the same as you Shimrod.
MacColl was a commie, extremely self-opinionated, a fake Scotsman and a contender for the "White Feather of the Year" award. I wish everyone would stop treating him as some untouchable deity everytime someone states fact.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 05:47 AM

People are entitled to their clearly well-informed opinions about MacColl. There are plenty of threads to discuss that on.

This is a thread about the folk awards.

Len, I had no trouble emailing Smooth Operations, sending my letter to

info@smoothoperations.com It remains to be seen what sort of reply I get.

Those who may wish to do so will find it informative if they click on the link marked "Complaints". You are met by what looks like a drunken John Leonard waving two fingers at you.

Very informative about their sense of humour. Very informative about ideas of their view of complainants.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 05:48 AM

Please. please, please not McColl here.........................

Bother the BBC that is all that matters now. We ahve been around everything lots of times. greg is right Seth is a godd guy but irrelevent tot he central theme of trnasparency.

I have liked MH for a very long time but it probably is time for someone else on that programme.

Off to Duncan McFarlane - urge you all to do the same.

Cheers


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 05:58 AM

Here we go again, though unexpectedly soon after the last round of uninformed, stupidly prejudiced MacColl bashing from those who can't even spell his name, never mind ever having ventured to within a million miles of the Singers Club. I recommend such people to go away and read - at the very least - Journeyman and get a grasp of a few facts before blustering in with offensive nonsense.

As far as a music forum goes, it is of secondary importance whether you happen to agree or not with MacColl's politics. Obviously, they had a profound influence on his work but had he been instead (say) a woolly liberal or an environmental extremist, this would have equal lack of bearing on his monumental influence on the shape of the revival or the excellence of his singing technique.

And what he has to do with industry awards or a West Country singer-songwriter I cannot begin to imagine.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 06:23 AM

I decided to go down the "Feedback" road to complain.

I wonder of it would help if more complained to that particular BBC programme? It is not a programme about Radio Four but about radio in general. It seemed to me to be the best place.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/feedback.shtml


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,ChorleyBob
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 06:46 AM

"You've got a nerve, 'GUESTChorleyBlob', barging in here and using this thread as an excuse to bash the 17-years-dead Ewan MacColl!
Still, if his shade can still rattle an oaf like you, there's still hope ... "

Sense of humour failure and wilfully misunderstanding other people's points of view. I think you're in danger of getting steamed up over nothing . To be honest, I think the BBC have done rather well to actually FIND 150 folk luminaries( or however many are on the panel)to judge these awards. And hooray that folk music can still inspire such passion. Its raising the profile of the music and that's got to be good hasn't it? I've been in enough dingy back rooms of pubs playing to three blokes and a dog in the last 30 years to know which I prefer.
As for barging in - isn't that the idea of messageboards, to encourage a diversity of opinion?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 08:02 AM

As for barging in - isn't that the idea of messageboards, to encourage a diversity of opinion?

Yes it is. Go start your own anti-MacColl thread.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,ChorleyBob
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 08:18 AM

Its the tone of responses like those above that discredits the integrity of the debate. If dissenters are closed down and insulted, the impression given out is that its not worth even bothering to contribute. And it speaks volumes about the credibility of the contributers.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 08:29 AM

How can I put this gently? OK. I can't. If you want to talk about something other than the Folk Awards, find a thread with your subject of choice in the title. Or start one. Going off-topic in an existing thread speaks volumes about the lack of credibility of . . .


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 09:07 AM

Yep, 'GuestChorleyBlob', I think you're out-voted. And, just for the record, comments about 'commie enforcers' and 'storming the Winter Palace' do not constitute legitimate debate!

Now, back to the topic of the BBC Folk Awards ...


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,ChorleyBob
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 10:28 AM

errrrrrr...it was an analogy. Look it up!


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,John C
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 10:49 AM

Bob, I think most people here know all about MacColl, and why his club introduced 'rules.' It wasn't for the reasons you imply, and even if it was, an analogy with our concerns over the awards wouldn't fit.

In the past, written songs have been wrongly credited as trad and the writers have lost out on money they were due. And, conversely, trad songs have been credited as originals and artists have had money they were NOT due, and - worse still - people could no longer use that material because it now 'belonged' to someone. So the accreditation of material does matter - a lot.

But even that's not the main point.

If you read the whole thread you will see that our chief concern is that this error has thrown the validity, veracity, and maybe even the survival of the awards into question (as well as making us all look like charlies).

As people who love - and in some cases make a living from - folk music, we are unhappy about this, and if you stopped and thought about it for just one minute I think you might be tool.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 10:50 AM

Don't interrupt them ChorleyBob. They're on a mission to save traditional music as we know it. Anyone who gets in their way will be mercilessly cast into the wilderness. You will have to learn the nature of the beast.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 10:54 AM

Its the tone of responses like those above that discredits the integrity of the debate. If dissenters are closed down and insulted, the impression given out is that its not worth even bothering to contribute. And it speaks volumes about the credibility of the contributers.

On the contrary Bob, I have no desire to close down or cover up or otherwise censor your views on Ewan MacColl. Nor have I any wish to insult you.

I just want you to express your opinions on a more relevant thread.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 01:22 PM

Interesting that someone is trying to sabotage the thread. Maybe we're getting warm?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 01:42 PM

Forgot to say -

Here is a picture of John Leonard dealing with complaints


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 02:13 PM

Good for him. He'll answer you twice if you ask him nicely.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Paul Davenport
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 02:34 PM

Traditional is an interesting word applied in tis sense. As a music teacher I require students to write string quartets in the style of Haydn. This makes their output most definitely 'classical' despite their writing after 1900. Similarly I don't confuse a piece written in 'pop' style with a student's rendering of a 'Bach' chorale but neither do i accept it as anything other than 'Baroque ' music despite its being written after 1750. Surely 'traditional' means just that, written in the tradition of that sort of song and thus is a stylistic label rather than a definition of 'historical artefact'? Liz and I have just recorded a number of rewritings and re-workings of Child ballads which critics have been kind enough to recognise as 'traditional' because of their stylistic approach. But then again, we're not played by MH and so probably don't represent a threat to a perceived status quo? I thjink young Lakeman is to be congratulated, he's travelled a long hard road to this and knows better than most of us that a record deal means nothing without the hard apprenticeship in the 'tradition'. Give the guy a break, he's doing a good job.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 03:01 PM

This is an argument that may be acceptable for music teachers, who only care about music, and not for the well-being of their students.

Please go and study copyright law so you can teach it to your students. Otherwise they will come back and sue you - and it will serve you right.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: BB
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 03:02 PM

I don't think anyone is saying that he isn't, Paul - in fact, several have bent over backwards to say that he is not the one to blame.

There is a category for song-writing; there is a category for traditional track. The vast majority of people would see Seth's 'White Hare' as being in the former, leaving room for 'traditional' material in the latter.

It seems difficult enough to get traditional material appreciated within the media - at least let's have this one chance of it!

Good to see your CD getting favourable reviews, by the way.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 03:12 PM

Paul you have missed the point. The argument is not and never has been about Seth Lakeman and/or his song and whether it ought to be regarded as traditional or not.

It is about the lack of transparency in the Folk Awards and how a song that is recently written becomes regarded as traditional when there is a perfectly good category for it elsewhere within those Folk Awards.

It is about the way that out of "150 people in the folk world broadcasters, folk journalists, festival organisers, agents, promoters etc; people whose job it is to make judgement of one sort or another about folk music during their daily work" all of them failed somehow to point out that the track was self-penned and/or they were ignored by Smooth Operations.

It is about the way that the John Leonard has responded to the criticism. Try the link I posted below to give you an idea.

It is extremely hard to define traditional music (and there is an active thread where you may contribute to that debate). But one thing is for certain - no definition of a traditional track has ever included something written in the last year or so, that I have ever come across.

In the end as Tom Bliss has said on the BBC message board:

Meanwhile, it's really important that we keep a close eye on the correct attribution of material, for cultural, legal and financial reasons

I offer another longer quote from the same board...This one from the incredibly talented and very lovely joaniecrumpet.....

As a programmer, I feel that "BBC Folk Award Winner" is a label that helps me to sell tickets, which is all to the good. But people who are buying those tickets need to believe that the awards mean something in order for that title to have value - and indeed, those who have won it need to believe that the contest is conducted appropriately and fairly and is sufficiently well-respected in order to take pride in their title.

If the process doesn't stand up to scrutiny, the value of the awards is undermined. And it might make people wonder whether it's worth holding them at all.


Do you feel transparency matters?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 03:18 PM

Paul, yes I hear all you say but you miss the point, No-one's condemning Seth L (except for what all the Lakepersons & their various swains did in Equation . . . but I digress). He does what he does. We (well I am anyway) criticising Smoothops for creating a situation whereby his song The White Hare (no, nothing whatsoever to do with THAT White Hare) somehow, by a non-transparent process, became nominated for Best Traditional Track, and then compounding this unfortunate occurrence by not accepting the getout offered to withdraw the song.

Put as simply as possible, this is NOT a 'traditional track', but a recent composition of known origin. As I said earlier, it is a mildly folk-tinged pop song, based on a folk tale using a half-remembered (and certainly much altered), possibly trad tune. It is certainly NOT 'in the tradition. The recent work you and Liz have been doing is and I think you do yourselves a disservice by making such a comparison.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,JC
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 03:20 PM

PLEASE will people understand that if you put Traditional after a work it means you found it, and you found it in a place where all works are out of copyright, (in common ownership), and ALSO that it achieved that found state by aural/oral transmission ONLY, over many generations.

This is not an opinion, it's a legal fact.

Traditional works are by definition in the public domain, and must remain so.

You may write 'in a traditional style', or even - if you are pompous enough - 'in the tradition' but you cannot create a traditional song. Songs do continue to evolve and be passed around, and even may be used in traditional ways, or become associated with a traditional activity - but they cannot become traditional until 70 years after the writer's death, and only then if they have entered the public consiousness, and are themselves being passed on by purely oral means - something staggeringly unlikely in these days of easy recording technology.

Seth has published the White Hare, correctly, now, after claiming complete ownership on one CD, as Author; Seth Lakeman / Music; Trad, Arr Seth Lakeman.

Actually PRS looked at their list and saw there was already a public domain tune called The White Hare on it, so gave the music credit as Trad. But this tune is nothing like the melody of Seth's song - which, he says, is based on hum he heard, once, as a child - not on the White Hare registered with PRS.

Why does this matter?

Because if the panel had listened to the song, (which one assumes they must have to have nominated it) and if they are really experts as Leonard claims, they would NEVER have nominated it as a traditional song.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Dec 06 - 03:27 PM

"Good for him. He'll answer you twice if you ask him nicely."

Leonard HAS been asked nicely, a number of times over a number of years, by people who have much to loose even by asking.

He doesn't answer. His very occasional responses delibrately miss the point.

He should be working for New Labour


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Pete_Standing
Date: 09 Dec 06 - 05:16 AM

A traditonal song (tune or dance) is one that has no attributed source (the author is not known) and has been passed from one generation to the next by oral/aural means. If the author is known, it is not trad, even if the author died 70 years ago. Songs can be written in the style of the tradition, they are still not traditional. Songs thought to have been traditional are occasionally found to have a source, some traditonal songs have allegedly been "claimed" by some people and have since earnt royalties on them. The arrangement of trad songs/tunes can be done in a contemporary manner and some contemporary songs/tunes in a manner that makes them "sound" traditional. From the point of rights and earnings and the historical context of the material, it is important to understand and maintain the the distinction of what is trad and what is contemporary, after that we just play the stuff, either trad or contemporary, and enjoy it.

Now why does this matter for the BBC F&A Awards?

We have a song that could potentially stop another song or tune from winning or to have been selected because it is in the wrong category. The WH in fact may lose but could have won in another category as best original song/tune. It matters because artists CD sales and festival/concert appearances are boosted following an award.

It matters because the credibility of the awards and the panel is now under question. It matters because of the attitude that Smooth Ops/BBC is taking over the affair.

It matters because we need to respect what is our heritage and also the craft of our contemporary composers.

If Seth and his record label subsequently decide to take complete ownership of the song, will other people who may have recorded the song, performed the song at a paid for engagement or used it in some broadcast, play or presentation have to pay retrospective royalties?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 09 Dec 06 - 05:47 AM

Without doing proper research - I believe Seth made a genuine mistake in the attribution of this song and has done his best to correct that.

To be honest I think he would get even more kudos if he now withdrew the song from the nominations. The problem there is balancing the embarassment he would cause to Smoooth Operations against the plaudits he might receive.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST, JC
Date: 09 Dec 06 - 05:47 AM

"If the author is known, it is not trad, even if the author died 70 years ago."

I'd agree in the main, Peter - because I don't think we can now add to that body of work that was created in another age - the world has moved on, and the processes no longer function.

But we have to remember that we do actually know the names of the makers of quite a few of the very very old songs, works which no-one would dispute are now traditional. So this is a grey area in some respects.

I was wanting to stress that for the lifetime of the composer, and 70 years thereafter, no-one can even START to think of the song as trad, (however 'tradish' is sounds, or however 'traditionalised' it has become in usage), and even THEN it would probably not qualify as traditional by most people's definitions - though there would be room for some debate at least.

We need new words!

"If Seth and his record label subsequently decide to take complete ownership of the song, will other people who may have recorded the song, performed the song at a paid for engagement or used it in some broadcast, play or presentation have to pay retrospective royalties?"

I think that's very unlikely in the circumstances, but it would make no difference to anyone who plays or records it. Seth would just get a bit more from PRS.

Agree completely with the rest of your post.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Declan
Date: 09 Dec 06 - 06:15 AM

The English language word traditional in English comes from a Latin root which means handed down. Lawyers and folklorists can choose to put their own interpretation on the word, and as long as people agree the definition within the context of their discussions that is fine. It would seem to me that by a normal definition of the word that any song which is handed down through even one generation can be regarded as traditional in the wider sense of the word.

I would doubt if JC's original 'legal fact' is fully correct, in that if I, for example, was to record a piece learned from,say a recording by someone who had correctly declared it to be trad, then the only legal attribution I could make would be trad (or trad arr. the source if I played it identically, ot trad arr. me if not). Of course it goes without saying that we should all acknowledge our sources and ensure they get whatever royalties are due to them.

This has little to do with the main topic under discussion, but I don't think the definition of the word traditional is as written in stone as some contributors here would suggest.

On the topic of the awards, I don't think that Smooth Ops. should necessarily be bound to a strictly legal definition of the term tradtional, but (with hindsight) it would have been a good idea for them to define the term traditional as they meant it within the context of the award, and they should now do so for future years.

From what I have read here and elsewhere I would think that Seth had nothing but honorable motivation in chosing a trad attribution, if in fact it was him, and not the record company who did so. He was attempting to acknowledge that the song was not fully his own original work. Apart from the apparent error of the nomination (which was made by others), he had nothing to gain from 'claiming' the song was trad. From the point of view of royalties, he stood to lose money by not claiming the work as his own, which I think he would have been legally entitled to do. ALthough if he had done so there would without doubt have been people on this and other internet boards saying that Seth had wrongfully claimed the work because it was based on such and such a tune, or on a Cornish legend or whatever.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 09 Dec 06 - 07:40 AM

On the topic of the awards, I don't think that Smooth Ops. should necessarily be bound to a strictly legal definition of the term tradtional, but (with hindsight) it would have been a good idea for them to define the term traditional as they meant it within the context of the award, and they should now do so for future years.

It is not just Smooth Ops who failed to see this as a self-penned song but the 150 other people who comprise the panel, experts on folk music every man and woman of them.

I have never come across any definition of "traditional" that covers a song written in the last year or so.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 09 Dec 06 - 08:39 AM

To me it is quite remarkable that John Leonard is still so adamant that this contemporay song will go forward in the traditional category, it smacks of petulance at being proved wrong or he's got a finger in the sales pie.

eric


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Pete_Standing
Date: 09 Dec 06 - 08:46 AM

Hey JC, my reply and my perception of what is trad wasn't aimed at you, so I hope you weren't slighted by my remarks. Although I referenced your post, my comments were really in reply to a couple earlier in the thread.

P


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Dec 06 - 12:04 PM

Last night I saw the Duncan McFarlane Band at the Otley Folk Club and a few weeks ago I saw the Boat Band at Swinton Folk Club. Both in small rooms at the backs of pubs.

They both produce incredible, exciting music by playing together extremely well. They both play mostly traditional music and some written by people recently. What these bands and the club organisers, residents and floor singers do is to continue to create and recreate a musical experience that goes back a very long way. This is the living tradition.

I think this is what we enjoy and value and why we are suspicious of the BBC Folk Awards. And nothing much that they say at the BBC or Smooth Opps reassures.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 09 Dec 06 - 12:59 PM

This morning I listened to a programme on BBC R4 called 'Fat Lads Don't Dance'. It was sort of hung on the recent success of the ballroom dance TV series Strictly Come Dancing but included some excellent social dance coverage. I was at first disheartened by a stereotypical comment that 'morris dancing is boring' in comparison to other countries' folk dance traditions but wait: this was immediately countered by a well-known EFDSS dance person, Diana Campbell-Jewitt, making it clear that English dance is out there and cool too:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/pip/4c90l/

There's actually quite a lot of English trad on the BBC as part of its 'normal' scheduling. Which is as it should be, as it;s a (relatively) normal part of life. Smoothops/R2 approach is to iron it out (ha!) quite severely, dumb it down and stick the 'more acceptable' bits on the playlist. Well, sod that. R3 and R4 aren't afraid to play it like it is.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 09 Dec 06 - 05:21 PM

folkiedave: you seem to think that the 150 people on the voting panel thought the White Hare was atraditional track. That seems a bit unfair, possibly one or two did(or pretended to think so) but that is another question. In fact, has this simple question occurred to you:"Did anybody at all vote for the White Hare as traditional track of the year?" We are certainly meant to suppose so, but in fact the public statements on the selection procedure are remarkably carefully phrased. A Britsh sense of fair play has possibly led you to imagine that the count the votes up, and the top four go through to the final. Well, it would be nice to think that were true, but it has been suggested forcibly, and nobody at Smooth Ops has denied it, that they dont use a vote count at all.
    Just think about it a bit: Seth Lakeman has issued loads of tracks this year. Now, is it likely that a cross-section of folk experts, unknown to each other and not colluding, would produce a majority of votes making the White Hare his best traditional track? Now, that could have happened, but it has been suggested that ther are other more likely explanations for why it has been selected. All Smooth Ops need to do to settle the matter is to publish the voting figures, and show that the four top numbers of votes were the ones selected. But, surprisingly perhaps, they haven't done so.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 05:35 AM

Indeed Greg - I doubt if the group of experts exists (as Smooth Ops seem to want us to think) along with you. I figured if we kept banging on about them (accepting the disingenuousness of Smooth Ops) we might, just might get the truth that way. Maybe it came across as naivety to you, I assure you it isn't!!!!

I'd find it extremely hard to name 150 "experts" who I didn't personally know at least some. I know one who was on the Young Person's Award a couple of years ago (Alistair Anderson) and I think Ian Anderson is on the main one. Maybe you have to be called Anderson - that'll restrict it even more!!

But (for example) I believe Derek Schofield (Editor of English Dance and Song) is not a member. A strange omission to me given the criteria they set, people who make judgements about folk music each day!


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Dan
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 07:46 AM

I know many people who voted personally and others by reputation.

Its a fairly safe guess to say that staff from Topic records, fRoots magazine, broadsheet and magazine journalists who write about folk (Colin Randall, Peter Paphides, Annie Windley, Colin Irwin, Nigel Williamson), folk music agents (ADASTRA, Alan Bearman, Rob Challice at Coda), staff from Fellside records, folk record shop owners (Whole Wide World, Rocking Chair, Roots2Music), the folk buyers for HMV, Virgin, Amazon and Borders, Living Tradition magazine, festival organisers (Mrs Casey music, Cambridge ff, Trowbridge Village Pump), folk development agencies (Folkworks, Folk South West, Taplas, Wren Trust, TAPS), other broadcasters (Genevive Tudor at BBC Shropshire, the Late Junction presenters, BBC Scotland presenters), large folk club organisers (Nettlebed, The Red Lion in Birmingham), key folk music managers (Nigel Morton, Terry O'Brien, Dave Farrow) and others will have voted.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 07:53 AM

and what do all these people think about this debate?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 08:39 AM

GUEST Dan produces an impressive list of voters. Now, I will offer a substantial prize(say a pint of bitter) to anyone who can produce the name of a single voter who will publicly admit to having voted for the White Hare. It would be exceedingly interesting to locate such an elusive creature. I have made a few discreet enquiries, and havent found one yet.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 08:48 AM

An intriguing post, 'GUEST,Dan' but you go, rather abruptly, from knowing people who voted to 'safe guesses' - how safe?
My 'safe guess' is that if any of the people you list read this thread they won't be letting us know if any of your 'safe guesses' are correct (or not).


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 10:10 AM

"Topic records, fRoots magazine, broadsheet and magazine journalists who write about folk (Colin Randall, Peter Paphides, Annie Windley, Colin Irwin, Nigel Williamson), folk music agents (ADASTRA, Alan Bearman, Rob Challice at Coda), staff from Fellside records, folk record shop owners (Whole Wide World, Rocking Chair, Roots2Music), the folk buyers for HMV, Virgin, Amazon and Borders, Living Tradition magazine, festival organisers (Mrs Casey music, Cambridge ff, Trowbridge Village Pump), folk development agencies (Folkworks, Folk South West, Taplas, Wren Trust, TAPS), other broadcasters (Genevive Tudor at BBC Shropshire, the Late Junction presenters, BBC Scotland presenters), large folk club organisers (Nettlebed, The Red Lion in Birmingham), key folk music managers (Nigel Morton, Terry O'Brien, Dave Farrow) and others"

I think you're right Dan

The questions are

1) Are we - the licence fee payers, and therefore the owners of the BBC, and therefore the owners and sponsors of the Radio 2 Folk Awards - happy with that list? Are we comfortable that these people actually know about what's going on, and are not just feeding eachother in some self-contained London-based media ecosystem? Are we at ease with the fact that a good many of those people, (if they are indeed on the panel), can be reasonably expected to vote for artists that they represent, and via whom they may benefit financially from that nomination?

2) Are those people's views even represented by the nominations and winners, and are they ahppy about it if not.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 12:42 PM

Is anybody on the list prepared to say they are in fact on the list and that they voted for said "White Hare"?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Dan
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 12:53 PM

OK, I personally know the votes of one of the people I listed (because they asked my opinion on their choices before sending their votes in). They did not vote for "The White Hare"...

My "safe guesses" are fairly safe I think. Its not exactly secret - its just that these people do not post on Mudcat (for the same reason that Ian Anderson no longer reads Mudcat).

The final votes (for the winner from the shortlist) are already in, and the trophys are handmade and are specific to the winner - e.g. a melodeon and fiddle for Spiers and Boden, or two figures playing guitars for Show of Hands. Perhaps Smooth Ops don't want to drop 'The White Hare' from the shortlist because its won...

That'd be interesting wouldn't it?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Dan
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 01:29 PM

"1) Are we - the licence fee payers, and therefore the owners of the BBC, and therefore the owners and sponsors of the Radio 2 Folk Awards - happy with that list? Are we comfortable that these people actually know about what's going on, and are not just feeding eachother in some self-contained London-based media ecosystem? Are we at ease with the fact that a good many of those people, (if they are indeed on the panel), can be reasonably expected to vote for artists that they represent, and via whom they may benefit financially from that nomination?"

I feel happy with it, but mainly because there isn't an alternative. Are you sure that anyone not on the list knows better "whats going on"? I think the same artists names come up over and over again (in the case of the Carthys, Martin Simpson, John and Jon etc) because they DO represent the cream of performance of traditional music in this country. Its not a closed shop - witness Jim Moray, Julie Fowlis etc doing well at the awards with their first albums. However, it is (quite rightly IMO) full-time pro musicians who get the the nominations - mainly because they are out working hard to be visible and promote their music. In a voting process, of course the ubiquitous names do well. Its because they've worked hard to be at the forefront of peoples minds.

Also, its London-centric because in order to work for the mainstream media you need to be in London. And by "mainstream media" I don't mean the people trotting out the same old stereotypes, I mean people like Colin Irwin and Colin Randall who are solely responsible for what little good quality coverage we get in the 'outside world'. These are THE GOOD GUYS, honestly.

Apologies if it sounds like I'm defending Smooth Ops. I disagree with their decision to include a newly written song in the trad song category. But I do think that there isn't a better practical way of running the awards.

As if you can't tell - I have a vested interest here too (no, I didn't get my own vote, and no artist I'm connected with is on the shortlist this year for the first time in five years). I work hard because I love traditional music and I want more people who might not otherwise get to hear it to get hooked. To those who suggest that the BBC is 'dumbing down' by promoting only 'easy' artists - think of it as a gateway to the harder stuff. I'm glad that the awards are as they are because through Kate Rusby people might discover Harry Cox or through Seth Lakeman the Baring-Gould collection.

A flawed folk awards is better than none and I don't think biting the hand that feeds (writing to the director general or using the official BBC complaints procedure) is a good idea...


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 02:07 PM

gateway to the harder stuff

Dan is, of course, largely right in his realism but I'm far from being happy this is how things are. It's far too 'safe', leaves Smoothops sitting prettily and lazily on its perch and smacks of the lowest common denominator.

And if there's one BBC-speak expression I loathe more than 'follow through' in terms of music programming, it's 'gateway'. People, especially young ones (Yes, I can remember) know very well when they're being patronised. They prefer to discover music they like by themselves and if it's a bit obscure, that's all the better. They do not appreciate being led through a gate into a field with Ronan Keating in it, with or without Ms Rusby.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 02:11 PM

I respect your views Dan, but how are the other professional touring artists, the ones who never get a look in, supposed to feel?

I'm talking about those who are ignored year after year after year even though they are on the road four or five days a week, though they headline festivals and get bums on seats, though they make wonderful albums (which MH never plays), and work hard to be advocates for Harry Cox and Baring-Gould in clubs, schools, pubs and other places.

I won't name names, but I can think of dozens of top quality full-time life-long pros, who are not even on the 'suggested' list - even though they've had albums out this year which have been played frequently on BBC local radio stations and had glowing reviews in the National and local folk press - and some even write regular articles in the folk press too.

Why are these people excluded?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 02:15 PM

"A flawed folk awards is better than none"

A good folk awards is better than a flawed one.

And in any event, BBC licence payers have a right to ask questions and get answers. People have been asking serious questions for weeks now.

We are deafened by the silence.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 02:24 PM

"I feel happy with it, but mainly because there isn't an alternative."

But there IS an alternative.

Here are some obvious improvements:

A panel from which people with vested interests are excluded.

A panel which has a balanced UK-wide distribution (hell, anyone can drive to London for a gig)

A 'suggestions' list based on something open and sensible - such as BBC airplay (all stations)

Publication of the 'suggestions' list - together with a description of how it's made up.

Publication of ALL the nominations, and the votes for each.

A MUCH bigger panel

Dropping the panel and using a 'chart' system based on radio plays, or record sales or something else.

Dropping the panel system and going for a public vote.

Having a public vote on the panel's nominations.

Lots of other ideas I haven't thought of yet but I will!

For heaven's sake - it's an Awards show. How hard can it be to make it good?!


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Dan
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 02:25 PM

"I won't name names, but I can think of dozens of top quality full-time life-long pros, who are not even on the 'suggested' list - even though they've had albums out this year which have been played frequently on BBC local radio stations and had glowing reviews in the National and local folk press - and some even write regular articles in the folk press too."

No, do name names... Its an innocent question.

Who would you rather see on the shortlist, and who should they replace?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 02:32 PM

I don't want to replace anyone on the shortlist for goodness sake! NO-ONE's suggesting that!

They're ALL fully deserving. I like all of them, and I wish them all luck - (some of them are personal friends, and they're all colleagues).

You're missing my point and the points made by the majority of people here.

Others have said this better - but we NEED to be proud of these awards - even the winners need that. And to be proud we need to have confidence in the process.

But the process is deeply flawed - and it shouldn't be.

They set up a system in 99 and they can't be bothered to improve it.

And that's just not good enough


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 02:45 PM

GUEST Dan: you claim to know a bit of what's going on. A couple of questions. Firstly, do you believe that the White Hare got in the top four of actual votes casts for the best individual traditional track? Secondly, do you believe that the White Hare actually got any votes at all in that category. And if so, would you care to tell/guess how many?
    But what we really need are official answers to these questions, and of course similar questions about other nominees: this is of course not about Seth Lakeman, he is merely an example.
   Personally I'm all for folk awards. But my belief is that if people are given votes, the votes should be counted and used to decide the winners. The allegation going around is that they weren't. And these are publicised as the BBC Folk Awards, by the way. Not Smooth Ops, nor Mike Harding, not Radio 2.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 03:03 PM

Dan said this:

"I disagree with their decision to include a newly written song in the trad song category"

But it's not supposed to BE their decision at all.

It's meant to be the panel's decision.

However, it looks like it must have been the management not the panel (do you know for sure?) - which, if true, makes a mockery of the whole thing.

If not true, then under BBC guidelines, they should prove it happened honestly.

But they won't.

Now why is that?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 03:32 PM

I'd like to add another pint to that which is to be granted to the first of the nominees to admit they voted for White Hare.

The fact is that a number of those people have a vested interest in seeing "their" artists succeed. And there are so many linkages between people it would be very hard to avoid vested interests .

"Apologies if it sounds like I'm defending Smooth Ops. I disagree with their decision to include a newly written song in the trad song category. But I do think that there isn't a better practical way of running the awards".

I accept that you are not defending Smooth Ops but you are defending the system which you admit to having a vote and an interest in. I am not convinced there is much difference.

There has to be a better way of running a system which arrives at a self-penned song winning in a category for a traditional track when there is a perfectly good category for it elsewhere in the awards.

Would you be kind enough to tell us if you recgnised this as a self- penned song; pointed out to Smooth Ops that this was a self-penned song; and if so what their reaction was?

Finally the more is revealed about this the more it stinks.

Frankly if it walks like a fix, talks like a fix and in this case smells like a fix - then the chances are it is a fix.

And if you honestly believe that this sort of thing acts as a gateway - that is your judgment and I can do no other than respect it. But I most certainly do not have to agree with it.......................

Finally I am happy to put my full name to my postings. I think it is about time in this most contentious of arguments others do the same.

Dave Eyre


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 05:24 PM

Stick with this people and keep bombing the BBC. We have a good case and and Smooth opps is on the run. The know they have a dodgy set up.

Time for a programme busting shanty?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 06:33 PM

I must be making a difference Les, I have just had a post on the BBC message board taken off!!

All it said was that it was a fix!!

Dave


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 06:54 PM

What's the link to that BBC message board? I tried to find and couldn't, I have a cabletv internet access and it doesnt always work.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 07:20 PM

Well, I located the site, but it says you can't register to leave messages, the system isn't working.
   The Smooth operations site is interesting. Given the current controversy, I think the picture with the V-sign displayed in the "complaints" bit is a touch on the foolhardy side. JL migfht well come to regret that in a few days.
   If people are having difficulty registering their complaints with John leonard, perhaps they should try Nick Barraclough? As a partner in this business, I imagine he might take the current situation quite seriously: if the situation is not clarified quickly, he might suffer a lot. It is so sad, all this, for those of us who love folk music. How has it come to this, you can't help wondering?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 07:26 PM

The system closes down from around 9.00 or 10.00 pm.

It will open up again in the morning.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Declan
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 07:29 PM

I can understand that they might take down a message alleging that the competition is 'fixed'.

From what I have read so far, it was undoubtedly wrong to nominate Sam's composition in the traditional category, but is a large leap from there to allege tha this was done in an attempt to deliberately manipulate the result of the competition.

I would be very careful about making an assertion like that on a public forum without being in posession of substantial evidence that that is in fact the case. (This is just a piece of neutral advice, I have no interest in this debate other than as an onlooker).


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 08:20 PM

Thanks for that Declan. What I said was that it looked like a fix.

Easily solved. Say how the nominations were chosen. Publish the nominations that were sent out to the 150 people, publish their votes. Explain how a recently written song became traditional. Tell us why no-one on the panel managed to point this out or tell us why they were ignored.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 02:45 AM

The BBC Radio 2 website is heavily ' moderated ' for fear of litigation, the boards are only open when the mods are in position and ready to censor, sorry I meant moderate.

eric


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 03:48 AM

Let me rephrase that last letter.

To end this controversy Smooth Operations should publish the nominations received and the number of nominations of each track.

They should then publish the number of votes that each nomination received. They should indicate if anyone pointed out that this track is not traditional and if so why they were ignored.

They should still explain how a recently written track became to be regarded as "traditional" and not as part of the "original" category.

Hardly rocket science.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 05:46 AM

Seems fair enough to me Dave.

I have just posted this on the BBC Radio 2 Noticeboard.


"We are in great danger of losing our way here.

The central issues are two:

1. The White Hare, by any current deffinition, is not a traditional song.

2. The method of deciding who gets awards is unclear, unavailable and not trusted by lots of people who are the natural and continuing supporters of folk music.

If these points do not matter then neither do the Awards. Since the Awards are the BBC Awards, the BBC should:

1. Remove the song from the traditional catergory

2. Tell Snooth Opps to reveal the details of exactly how Awards are given

3. Organise a system that is open, transparent and trusted"

I cann't see why, well maybe I can, we cannot have "a system that is open, transparent and trusted".

If the BBC Noticeboard is the genuine route to something or other then maybe if we keep asking this simple question we may get a BBC answer?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbradio2/F2142825?thread=3721133


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 06:06 AM

Les I think you have been moderated!!

Perhaps we should set up a small exclusive dining club.

Come on Joanie - you are lagging behind me and Les!!


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 06:09 AM

I suppose I can't join. My post has stayed up. Well, it's my thread, after all.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Pete_Standing
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 07:08 AM

Hey folkiedave, I don't know if your post contravened the "House Rules", but it certainly must have touched some raw nerves. I saw it last night night and thought "WOW!".

In their silence, Smoothies and the Beeb have a whiff about them.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 07:37 AM

I have to say they were quite quick at "moderating" me and clearly finding me moderate!

I suspect that one reason they maybe refusing to respond is that the Noticeboard has lots of different threads and this issue is only one amongst many. As such it doesn't look very important.

Maybe, more of us who feel it is, need to keep asking for openess and not get side tracked into other related issues and personalities, although the two-finger John photograph is a bit difficult to missunderstand.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 07:38 AM

What about a new category for the next BBC Radio 2 Folk awards, ' The award for the traditional song that's traditional cos Johb Leonard says it is award '

eric


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 07:40 AM

Sorry, we've already got that.

eric


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST, PRS Member
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 11:22 AM

Just for the record you get the same money for Trad Arr as you do for a fully-written song.

It's all based on percentages. Trad doesn't get a percentage, you get the lot.

So
Music: Trad arr 'PRS Member'/Words: 'PRS Member'
is the same as
Words and Music: Trad arr "PRS Member
is the same as
Words and Music: 'PRS Member."

I've just double-checked


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: AlexB
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 02:04 PM

For those who talk about the whole gateway for young people to get into folk I have to ask how many they actually asked. I'm nearly 21, I think that puts me in the today's youth category. Were I not already interested in folk music I highly doubt Seth would get me interested. I'd probably have seen him as a pop singer and not looked to deeply into it. However feel free to do a survey, I for one would find it interesting how many people do find it a gateway into folk.

I have nothing really to add to the main discussion as all my views have been gone over ad infinitum by others already.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 02:40 PM

I can't do that, Dave. I'm stll hoping for an invite to the do.

*removes tongue from cheek*


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST,Dan
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 03:05 PM

I didn't say "young people" - I said "people". The demographic that spend the largest amount of money (and so bring the most trade into the industry and are most likely to splash out on further stuff) are those with the largest disposable income, and that means 30-somethings up to the fabled "£50 man" - those that leave their local branch of HMV with £50 worth of stuff every time. Its them that might hear Seth/Kate/Cara and decide to investigate and end up earning money for Nic Jones.

I once heard that John Peels show had the largest early-teen listenership of all the shows on Radio1. Thats the age when teenagers are deciding if they are going to be a goth, raver, metaller, folkie or whatever and they are the least set in their ways because they are still forming thier 'ways'. All folk music needs to do to reach them is to be visible - and on that note, Lisa Knapp has been played on the Huw Stevens show (in John Peels old slot) two or three times this week - a surefire bet for the 2008 folk awards, surely? I am 25, I think that just about still counts as 'young'.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: AlexB
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 03:26 PM

Sorry Dan, mixed up your just "people" with Countess R's "especially young people". My apologies.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 03:36 PM

I was talking about 'gateway' in the context of that particularly nauseating BBC term for leading listeners from Keating to Krusby and saying that most people. but especially young ones, don't like being told what to listen to but want to discover it for themselves.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 04:00 PM

I THOUGHT THIS WAS A PARTICULARLY LUCID OBSERVATION, VERY WELL EXPRESSED ,AND SORT OF ADDRESSES SOME OF THE UNDERLYING NIGGLES IN THIS THREAD, WHICH FOR ALL ITS DRESSED UP IN RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION ABOUT WHAT'S TRAD AND WHAT'S NOT, IS REALLY ABOUT WHO'S IN THE INNER CIRCLE AND WHO'S NOT, WHO'S SELLING AND WHO'S NOT,WHO GETS ON THE AWARDS SHORTLIST AND WHO DOESN'T. I'VE CUT AND PASTED THE FOLLWOIGN FROM THE BBC WEBSITE. BTW, I'M NOT A SEAN LAKEMAN GROUPIE NOR AN APOLOGIST FOR SMOOTH OPS....JUST A FAN OF THE MUSIC, AND SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T SEE FOLK MUSIC AND POPULISM/PROFESSIONALSIM AS MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.


As someone else who makes a living from folk music I'm with magicgillian on this one. And I'm a bit flummoxed about why making money from folk music is viewed as radically different ("tainted") to making a living from the many other skills, talents or human exchanges that used to be unpaid in communities. I mean what do all you folks who're so scornful of musical commerce actually do to pay your bills? Are you living in communes?

I'm also with the folks who point out that all of the visible folk music professionals started out playing or singing for craic or because the music connected with them on a deeply personal level. At almost any session you care to call upon in any part of Scotland you're likely to fall upon a healthy mix of amateur, semi pro and pro musicians playing for the sheer enjoyment of it. There are also unknown numbers of weekend house parties, weddings and other celebrations where the music is right at home in its "original" context.

If you don't like the idea of commerce in folk music then stop buying CDs and going to ticketed gigs. Find the music that's on your doorstep or make it only with your friends and families and be happy to let the rest of us pursue our shallow, mercenary paths.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 04:19 PM

As a programmer (and sometime dairy farmer), I don't agree that this is the issue at all. It's my job to pay people for making music. Apart from concerns about the appropriation and undermining of the "tradition", I like to see folkies do well. What is frustrating is seeing certain artists receive the support and exposure of mainstram folk radio, while other (no less talented or deserving) artists are excluded, or receive fewer of those opportunities. If this were purely driven by the market, you could maybe say "tough - that's the way it is." But when some artists receive a disproportionate amount of support (even to the point that maybe voting processed are "assisted" to ensure that they receive a maximum number of nominations in various categories), it doesn't seem very fair to those artists who miss out on valuable exposure and record sales as a result.

I don't object to commerce - I want to see more of those deserving artists getting their bite of the cherry.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 04:41 PM

BUT ISN'T THAT PRECISELY THE POINT, RUTH? THAT MARKET FORCES - EVEN WITHIN THE BENIGN CONFINES OF FOLK MUSIC - FIND THEIR LEVEL? THOSE WHO DO A GOOD TURN, GET THE GIGS AND SELL THE CD'S . THERE'S THE ODD GLARING OMISSION - BUT BY AND LARGE, THE TOP TURNS GET THE GIGS AND THE EXPOSURE. FOR THOSE WHO DON'T WANT TO ENGAGE AT THAT LEVEL, THERE IS NO COMPUNCTION TO DO SO.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 04:50 PM

*sigh*

The point is actually that we're suggesting that the nominations are fixed, and not the result of a fair and transparent voting system. How does that benefit folk?

And do please stop shouting.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 04:59 PM

OK - sorry for shouting. Lower case. Lower voice.But same point. I do think the market finds its' level. These awards aren't perfect but if you scroll back a few years, its not as if they've handed out the gongs to non-entities is it? No one's ever going to agree on who deserves an award ( and ,for Pete's sake, John Tams got one last year and he's always set my teeth on edge) but isn't that the point? There is no oracle, least of all in the ramshackle, informal, multi-disciplined world of folk music. Your cup of tea isn't necessarily mine. Even in the comradely world of folk music, egos rage.We all want to be in the tent. I wish I bloody was.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 05:08 PM

It's NOT ABOUT whether we like Seth Lakeman or not. FFS!

It's about whether Smooth Operations should be massaging the votes to ensure that Seth Lakeman, who already has plaudits coming out of his perfectly-formed arse, gets YET ANOTHER nomination, and one for which he is patently not eligible. And the fact that someone who WAS eligible for the nomination has been kept off the podium as a result.

That works for you, does it?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 05:09 PM

And John Tams got three awards last year.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 05:10 PM

Recent GUEST: I dont really mind if John Tams, God Almighty, Seth Lakeman, Elvis Presley or me end up as winners. That is irrelevant here. The general discussion here concerns allegations that the winners have not corresponded to those with the highest numbers of votes cast. That for various reasons(obviously unclear at this stage) votes have been adjusted to ensure that certain acts/songs win, irrespective of whether they received a majority of votes cast. This would be very disturbing if true. Now, the allegations may be malicious and totally unfounded, but I must confess after a lot of thought I don't see how the votes could possssibly have led to the announced results, unless some secret processing has occurred. the matter can be very easily cleared up, by someone at the BBC looking into it, and issuing a statement. Which is what should happen right away, otherwise the process becomes tainted by suspicion. And the winners, who should have every right to be delighted by their success, will instead be the subjects of a whispering campaign. Somebody must explain what happened.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 05:11 PM

Guest, why won't they simply admit the White Hare is not trad and then explain how Awards are awarded? That's what we want.

We have asked lots and lots of times and they won't.

This is the central issue. It leads to other issues but I want to stick with these two.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: AlexB
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 05:11 PM

Guest, all people want is transpareny and for a non trad song to be removed from the trad category. That is all this boils down to. Sure there are people who show up time and again when some people that others think deserving don't get nominations, but if Smooth Ops can show that it is above board people will accept it. The fact that the White Hare was nominated in a category it doesn't belong in despite the fact that the 150 panel members are folk experts just makes it worse. Show us how its decided and people will be happier.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 06 - 06:21 PM

" THOSE WHO DO A GOOD TURN, GET THE GIGS AND SELL THE CD'S ."

No - it's those who sign away their rights to the svengalis of folk who get the 'breaks.'

This is all about percentages.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 03:18 AM

and that's the way the world turns. You can choose to opt out and languish in relative obscurity....or opt in and take your chances with the others. No one ever said it was fair - but that's life.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 03:27 AM

and as it's been said before, that would be an acceptable argument (just) if we were talking about commercially-sponsored awards. This is the BBC - they can't just make up the rules, they're accountable to all of us. I, for one, don't want to opt out: I love the fact that the folk awards raise the profile of the music and help us to sell tickets and CDs, especially to those beyond our own small circle. But if the awards are going to continue to fulfil that function, they've got to have crdibility. What we've discovered this year undermines that credibility. Is that so bloody hard to understand?


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 03:53 AM

"You can choose to opt out and languish in relative obscurity.... or opt in and take your chances with the others"

Actually it's not our choice. Some only sign people they can exploit (just ask some of the good young acts how much money they really make from folk music).

Some of us are already too experienced, or we went there before and got burned (cf CM).

"No one ever said it was fair" Not in business no, but the BBC actually insist on fairness.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: greg stephens
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 06:41 PM

Interestingly, i have achieved a slight movement. i wrote to Smooth Ops and said the V-sign picture response to anyone wishing to complain was a disgrace to the BBC and an abuse of power, given the current controversy. And John leonard has agreed to remove the picture. Which I entiely agreee might have been funny a few weeks ago, but is now sick..
   He has also released a very verbose response to those asking questions about the reaward procedures. Unfortunately, I do not have the technology to put a clickie to it here(it is on the BBC message board). The intiguing thing about his response is that it purports to answer the question "Did Lakeman's the White Hare come in the top four of numbers of votes for best tarditional track". However, if you read his answer closely (with the benefit of the thought that he might have taken legal advice), you will realise he does not answer with a "yes".
    So I ask the question again.
John Leonard, did Seth Lakeman's recording of the White Hare actually come in the top four numbers of votes cast for "Best Traditional Track"? It's a simple yes or no answer.
    I don't know the answer this question. I am a boring old git who has been a professioanl folk musician for forty-odd years, and I have has some strange communications from people who prefer to remain anonymous. I am not going to win the Prettiest Folk Singer award in the immediate future, so I am not thretaened in this situation. But all of us in the folk world are threatened by the general suspicion.


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Subject: RE: Review: Folk Awards - Mike Harding
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 03:09 AM

Folk Awards - open & clear

Folk Awards Part II


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