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EFDSS Role in the 21st Century

01 Aug 06 - 07:31 AM (#1798571)
From: The Sandman

What should EFDSS role be in the 21 century. Should they be pressurising the government to reintroduce english folk songs ancd country dancing into primary schools, as it wasin the 1950,s. or should they be nothing other than a saturday dance club or a tuesday folk song club with only activities at cecil sharp house.

01 Aug 06 - 08:09 AM (#1798596)
From: manitas_at_work

See my post thread.cfm?threadid=93386&messages=58#1798593

01 Aug 06 - 09:01 AM (#1798650)
From: Dave Hanson

Making kids learn folk music and dance is the wrong approach.


01 Aug 06 - 09:06 AM (#1798659)
From: Paul Burke

My dad, a teacher, always reckoned that if the government REALLY wanted to stop kids smoking, they'd make smoking compulsory in schools.

01 Aug 06 - 12:00 PM (#1798872)
From: The Sandman

Well we had folk songs and country dancing at my primary school we loved it , much better than maths and a chance to dance with the girls, we hay. I bet if you asked Martin Carthy, it didnt put him off either. in fact on another thread,[ see efdss examinations] Stallion mentioned, that Martin kept uttering we had this song in the national folk song book, As the jesuits used to say get them before they are eight and they are yours for life. this time it could be taught without all those classical innuendoes. We also had Maypole dancing at primary school, a great way to teach team work.

01 Aug 06 - 12:02 PM (#1798877)
From: Rumncoke

Maybe some sort of organised social dancing would be a good idea, seeing as how fat the population as a whole is getting - but I'd say blow the kids, they get far too much, start with the oldest people able to do it. Older people are getting to be so isolated, nowhere to go, no one to see - and at least they would have some idea of how the dances were taught maybe 60 or more years ago.

Elderly singles don't want ballroom dancing - particularly for the women it is far too intimate, but country dancing in a local hall of some kind could be just the thing.

The very oldest people can often respond to songs and tunes even when they have lost the power of speach.

Music and dance would not interest everyone, but the older generations would probably appreciate it more than most.

01 Aug 06 - 12:14 PM (#1798893)

Isn't this the same topic as "efdss examinations"?

01 Aug 06 - 12:56 PM (#1798945)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: The Sandman

no its not the same topic, its EFDSS role in the 21 century, other people may have suggestions with what to do with efdss that we havent already thought of and if you read my original thread carefully, reintrioducing english dance and songs into primary schools does not have to be exam orientated, also i mentioned pressurising the government. Rum ncokes idea is however good while children are important so are other ages.

01 Aug 06 - 02:01 PM (#1798999)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: GUEST,Shimrod

All I can say is that I first encountered English trad songs, as a child, in an English Junior school, in the 1950s. I responded to them instantly. I vividly remember hating music lessons, being scared of the teacher but loving those songs. The Somerset version (Emma Overd's, I think) of 'The Raggle Taggle Gypsies' made a huge impression on my infant psyche and it's had great significance for me ever since.
It just goes to show that even unsavoury gits like my Junior School music teacher can't diminish the power of our wonderful trad. songs. Bring them back into the school curriculum I say!

01 Aug 06 - 09:08 PM (#1799415)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: Bonecruncher

My introduction to folk song and dance was in Junior School singing lessons. The songs were simple, easy to learn the tunes, and everyone could have a go!
Very few children currently learn how to sing and when they do sing it is more akin to a bellow.
However, as commented above, the teachers really ought to know how to sing properly themselves before attmpting to teach others. This where E F D S S could be useful. Happily we have today moved away from the time when that society proclaimed that folk songs should be sung in an operatic manner!

01 Aug 06 - 09:10 PM (#1799417)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: McGrath of Harlow

There are a lot of living folk music traditions in England, and many of them aren't native English. I'd like to see some organisation working to encourage all the traditions and help them stay alive and become better known and better valued.

That could be EFDSS changing its emphasis, or it could be some broader organisation within which EFDSS would continue to focus on the native Engish traditions. I think I'd favour the latter, because there has to be someone with a specific committment to those English traditions.

But I think they are best served by being set alongside other traditions - that is what was so important about the international aspect of Sidmouth for most of its existance. I don't want to see the native English traditions seen as something exclusive and antagonistic to other traditions, and there are some people who do see it that way - and there are even some who would want it to be that way.

02 Aug 06 - 04:20 AM (#1799587)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: The Sandman

COMHALTAS recently brought out two books by David Lyth, of munster and sligo fiddler players.with bowing marked to give an idea of styles.David lyth had the brilliant idea of slowing recordings of traditional fiddle players down to 16 rpm,by hearing where the gaps were in the music he could discernthe bowing patterns. Ithink these two books are useful. The same thing could be done with english tradional and revival players, such as Stephen Baldwin Jinky Wells Dave Swarbrick, this is a way efdss could pursue their aims by giving an indication of stylesin book form , the same could be done in Scotland with players such as Farquar Macrae, and Angus Grant senior and junior.

02 Aug 06 - 05:17 AM (#1799623)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: Northerner

Well, I'm going to be doing voluntary work in a primary school starting from September. I'll be starting with telling stories. Would like to sing folk songs there as well - and teach a few of them too!

02 Aug 06 - 06:48 AM (#1799658)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: The Sandman

Good man, songs that have repetitive refrains are always good like the swan swims so bonny . and cumalitive songs like the rattling bog, one man went to mow , the barley mow etc

02 Aug 06 - 06:52 AM (#1799661)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: stevethesqueeze

I am a member of EFDSS and live and work here in wales. I help the local primary schools with country dancing and music and we have a childrens country dance club and we have a real band that I play in that plays for the children. i find the welsh schools have a much more enlightened (to a degree) approach to trad dance and song and the welsh asembly actively encourages that to happen. i find lots of children enjoy the option of having a go a trad dance and some kids like the fact its like a sport without the competition. I spend time in ireland in county kerry and in the local primary schools Comhaltas people sponsor teachers to teach traditional instruments to the kids! I am absolutely convinced the EFDSS has a role in helping english children take an interest and enjoy tarditional folk dance and song in the same way welsh and irish children clearly do. I think as members we have responsibility to do that ourselves.

best wishes


02 Aug 06 - 09:04 AM (#1799718)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: Folkiedave

There is an excellent model

02 Aug 06 - 12:32 PM (#1799859)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: The Sandman

yes that looks great folkiedave.

02 Aug 06 - 07:58 PM (#1800149)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: Malcolm Douglas

Note that both EFDSS and the South Riding Folk Arts Network were involved in the establishment of the Generations Project. The model nowadays is based on co-operation between relevant organisations; some on the ground, some as enablers. EFDSS tends to act as an enabler in partnership rather than an instigator these days, though it does also instigate projects in its own behalf; of which, more later.

Early material and project outlines can be seen at

03 Aug 06 - 03:13 AM (#1800301)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: The Sandman

Thats good work from efdss,I would like to see them take the same inintitiave and instigate the promotion of senglish folk song too. If anyone from Efdss is taking any notice of this thread , i would suggest instigating maypole dancing, which like Long sword is excellent for developing team work skills. If boys do not wish to participate then let it be girls.

03 Aug 06 - 09:01 AM (#1800458)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: GUEST,Brian

Hello there
I noticed this thread and particularly one comment from stevethesqueeze and though I might comment on it. Hopefully, you won't mind my thoughts on this issue too much and it is still on topic.

stevethesqueeze mentioned that:

" ... the welsh assembly actively encourages ..."

There is no equivalent body in England and maybe this is a factor. Simply put no one speaks for England. Perhaps no one is encouraged to because I wonder this government/elite doesn't want the English to feel English.

Please consider the following quotes:

Geisla Stuart, Birmingham MP
"It has only been in the last five years or so that I have heard people in my constituency telling me 'I am not British - I am English'. That worries me."

Lord Falconer
"We need to have an arrangement whereby the regions, and Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland, are better represented in the House of Lords" - Lord Falconer (Note the absence of a mention of England. We are now "the regions" instead)

John Prescott (attributed)
"There is no such nationality as English"

Charles Kennedy
'Scotland has a parliament. Wales an assembly. In England regionalism is growing as never before, calling into question the idea of England itself.'
ref: Scottish Liberal Democrats conference, 1999

Now consider the slogans for labour's last general election campaign

For Scotland it was "Proud of Scotland"
For Wales it was "Proud of Wales"
For England it was "Proud of Britain"

Or consider this quote from Lord Barnet about the lack of funding (via a formula know as the Barnett Formula) England receives.

'It (the Barnett Formula) was never meant to last this long but it has gone on and on and it has become increasingly unfair to ... England. I didn't create this formula to give Scotland an advantage over the rest of Britain when it comes to public funding ... It is a great embarrassment to have my name attached to so unfair a system.'

Or how about the membership of the British - Irish council (spot the missing country)

I could go on and on about the discrimination and Anglophobia that I believe exists, but I've probably waffled and ranted a bit too much.

England lacks a national assembly of its own, and lacks funding. These may help to support its folk heritage in the way that the Scottish and Welsh national assemblies do. However, I suspect this is the case partly because there are some people in power who do not want the English to be English.


03 Aug 06 - 10:09 AM (#1800504)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: The Sandman

well said, although the hertiages and cultures of England, Scotland Ireland and Wales, are interwoven owing to the factthat people and their music have freely travelled, between the four countries exchanging ideas etc. all these countries have their own natinal saints and flags and its not the Union Jack. Englands problem is that they are represented by the English folk dance and song society who put dance before song[ Ipraise them for their hallamshire instigation.] what is needed ie a seperate English folk song society. or a change in attitude at efdss as to the importance of song. If iwas in Scotland I would be campaigning for a separate Scottish folk dance and song society[If they alreadyhave one please excuse my ignorance]. and as you rightly say english politicians seem to be scared of admitting that england has its own national heritage and folk music, and reluctant to recognise and encourage it, yet they recognise that the scots, welsh and irish have their own identies and folk music,perhaps they misunderstand or are afraid that this might imply extreme right wingpolitical views, its nothing of the sort only purely logical, by the way I live in ireland but i care about all traditional music wherever its from, including England ,

03 Aug 06 - 08:12 PM (#1800997)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: Malcolm Douglas

Unfortunately, Dick, you seem to know nothing about the history of EFDSS, which was formed in 1932 when the Folk Song Society and the English Folk Dance Society were amalgamated. The "English" part of the name refers only to dance; the folk song side was never restricted to England or to the English language; nor is it now.

That's explained on the Society's website, to which you have already been directed for background information. Do read it; you may find it informative, and it might help you to ask questions from a more informed viewpoint.

Your assumptions about EFDSS, here and in the two other threads you have started on the same basic topic, are at least a couple of decades out of date. Don't assume that nothing is being done just because you haven't noticed it. There is a lot of stuff being worked on that involves song; both revised editions of out-of-print books (that's largely me at the moment) and new selections from important collections. Again, see their website. There will be a lot more if funding is forthcoming.

Of course, if more people were prepared to devote enormous amounts of unpaid time to doing all this, then more could be done.

Don't just complain that an underfunded voluntary organisation isn't doing as much as you would like it to. Give it some of your money, or your time; and help to get what needs doing, done.

03 Aug 06 - 08:17 PM (#1801007)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: Folkiedave

There is a very easy way to establish our national heritage.

Ban it.

03 Aug 06 - 10:09 PM (#1801087)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: Effsee

This seems to be an appropriate place to add this :-

"CELEBRATING CYRIL" will be held on Saturday 14th April 2007 at Cecil Sharp
House - to remember Cyril Tawney's life and work and to raise funds for the
preservation of his archive of writing, field recordings, and folk
memorabilia, which will be housed in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.
Among the many friends and colleagues taking part will be Martin Carthy and
Norma Waterson, Louis Killen, Mike Waterson, Shep Woolley, Roy Harris, Doc
Rowe, Martyn Wyndham-Read and Iris Bishop, Roy Clinging, Les Barker, Tim
Laycock, Heather Wood, and a contingent from the West of England, including
the Dartmoor Pixie Band with their caller Sarah Bazeley, Jim Causley, Ed
Rennie, Tim van Eyken, Hanging Johnny, The Claque and Graham O'Callaghan. In
the afternoon, a Westcountry Revel with entertainment by the Westcountry
performers including dancing to the Dartmoor Pixie Band, will highlight
Cyril's strong regional connections. Following this, Shep Woolley and
friends will present "Hands to Dance and Skylark", Shep's programme about
Cyril's seminal work on the traditional songs of the modern Royal Navy. The
above listing will tell you what you need to know about the evening concert.
Throughout the day Doc Rowe's audiovisual exhibition will be on display and
there will be plenty of opportunities to socialise at singarounds and in the

General enquiries to

Afternoon (12 - 6.30pm) £12;

Evening Concert (8 - 11pm) £15;

Combined ticket £25.

Tickets will be on sale in October from:

"Celebrating Cyril"

c/o English Folk Dance and Song Society

Cecil Sharp House

2, Regent's Park Road

London NW1 7AY

Cheques payable to "EFDSS".

Please be sure to mark your envelope "Celebrating Cyril"

04 Aug 06 - 10:36 AM (#1801433)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: The Sandman

well its not surprising IF I am out of date ,I havebeen living for sixteen years in Ireland, and subsequently direct my money in comhaltas direction, who do seem to be doing a lot more than efdss.However I come over to england and play every few months so imight be more in touch with the english folk song scene than you . Part of the reason for me starting this thread was in the hope    that someone from efdss would come forward and show what efdss have or have not been doing. your revising of out of print books is admirable, but efdss other instigation of song projects is pitiful, here i am not ill informed, they have withdrawn from supporting folk festivals they have not instigated one project like the hallamshire [ if they have please inform me]for song. I am pleased you pointed out efdss psition relating to english folk song as many other people seem ignorant of this. for funding to be forthcomimg there needs to be lobbying. my creating this thread was an attempt to make mudcatters aware of the problem , if you can make us all awre of everything efdss has been doing to promote folksong as well as dance, you might get more support, thats efdss remit not mine . unlike other contributors i have tried to be fair minded towards efdss. and have praised all the few inititiaves that you have furnished us with . show me some more.Folkiedave might be right.

04 Aug 06 - 11:31 AM (#1801474)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: Ruth Archer

Folkiedave is spot on. I always think it's a bit pointless comparing the situation in Ireland, Scotland and Wales to England. There are a dozen socio-political reasons why those nations have clung so fiercely to their identities and traditions while England hasn't, largely to do with empire and the resulting oppression and cultural subjugation of our neighbours. England profited enormously from her historical relationships with the rest of the nations that make up Great Britain; perhaps, ironically, she's paid with her identity. Any re-emergence of an English identity can't be healthy or positive if those historical relationships are forgotten, or indeed trivialised.

05 Aug 06 - 08:58 AM (#1802062)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: The Sandman

should they now promote international folk song as well as english folksong as this seems in their remit , what an ideal oppurtunity to include asians into efdss . to be come multi cultural and to help assimilate other cultures resident in england, portuguese , chinese etc.

05 Aug 06 - 09:28 AM (#1802070)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: GUEST,Hen Harrier

Totally agree, McGrath. I'm not motivated to return to Sidmouth unless the international element is re-introduced; the magic of the event for me, were the opportunities to meet the foreign teams, the atmosphere and friendship were difficult to put a value on.

06 Aug 06 - 06:40 AM (#1802603)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: The Sandman

Iwould suggest asuitable person to lobby is the mp for romford, Mr Rosindell, see other efdss threads efdss promotion.

07 Aug 06 - 04:09 AM (#1803253)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century

Don't know how successful approaches to politicians would be - Norman Buchan never had a great deal of luck - and don't forget the blessed Kim Howells.
In Ireland the Arts Council has come up trumps with two extremely thoughtful and positive reports on traditional music, though it has helped that there is an extremely healthy scene here capable of attacting visitors from abroad. We're still awaiting developments but we do have the magnificent Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin.
It does help to lay out your stall well and to show that you are serious about what you propose.
Some time ago Pat and I were involved in helping to set up a national archive in the UK. There was some progress with the 'Bright Golden Store' project at the British Library, but there's still a great deal more to be done.
Jim Carroll

07 Aug 06 - 04:25 AM (#1803260)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: Compton

Captain, I think Malcolm D is the acceptable (and only) spokesman of the EFDSS that you are going to get. Are there any others that get involved with Mudcat?

07 Aug 06 - 04:48 AM (#1803268)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: Folkiedave

In case he misses this thread Malcom has explained he is not a spokesman of the EFDSS and that the EFDSS has better things to do than to examine the internet for hypothetical questions that people may or may not post.

07 Aug 06 - 03:29 PM (#1803709)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: Compton

No, folkiedave, I agree BUT he appears to be the only mudcatter that defends the society without question.

07 Aug 06 - 03:37 PM (#1803718)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: Folkiedave

I am not sure that is entirely true. He does and will defend it against what in his opinion is unwarranted criticism. And so will I.

That's all.

07 Aug 06 - 03:57 PM (#1803734)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: The Sandman

The critcism is warranted, because they have done very little to promote songs other than the reprinting of books, and new selections from other collections, I appreciate malcolms work, but feel that dance always gets priority.

07 Aug 06 - 04:13 PM (#1803752)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: The Sandman

In relation to guest Brians comments there is one mp andrew rosindell, who has campaigned for an english parliament, now i only agree with some of the things he campaigns for, anti smoking ban. introduction of st georges day as a public holiday, but im pretty certain that he is sympathetic to tradional music. his brother whom I used to know well, ran a folk club with me, and was involved in morris dancing with blackmore morris men and took his brother the afore said Andrew Rosindell along with him to watch the Morris. Iam pretty sure he stated his love of traditional music at the time of the licensing acts introduction. now I live in ireland, and give you this infiormation because EFDSS might like to know they have a friend with influence, this occurred to me because of Jim Carrolls comments about comhaltas having influence through a senator, if you have a friend in a high place use him.

07 Aug 06 - 04:32 PM (#1803781)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: The Sandman

I googled Saint Georges day in England, it said . In recent years Andrew Rosindell m p for Romford has been putting his argument, it should include Folk dancing and music and battle reenactments.

07 Aug 06 - 06:51 PM (#1803935)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: Compton

"I appreciate malcolms work, but feel that dance always gets priority"..actually, to read the EDSS magazine, there doesn't appear to be a bias...but deep down at the house, I suggest that the executive stacks up to be dancers. Do the "singers" really want to get involved with committee work? Perhaps the society has the officers they deserve! of course, Politics!

07 Aug 06 - 07:19 PM (#1803953)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: Folkiedave

Please do not advertise your ignorance of these matters any further on this forum. I say this to protect you.

"...because they have done very little to promote songs other than the reprinting of books".

Just to put these things into perspective:

The whole of (possibly the world's) finest collection of folk material is substantially on line, a massive undertaking for a voluntary organisation.

The books are either new or substantially new with superb research and excellent writing. To say you think otherwise is nonsense.

The "Classic English Folk Songs" is a vast expansion on the original Penguin version. Malcolm Douglas is far too modest to mention his contribution to this. Look at the difference betwwen the two and guess how long it would have taken you to do that amount of research.

07 Aug 06 - 07:30 PM (#1803957)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: Folkiedave

I pressed the wrong button there, before spell checking and so on and I hadn't finished.

There are two new bibliographies one of which is for folk song. And a list of published references to Percy Grainger's collecting in Lincolnshire.

Barry Callaghan's book on English session tunes will be published, it may take a while. It would take another few pages to tell you the research he is putting into this to make sure he gets it right.

I could go on.

This work is done by a voluntary organisation to which you (I suspect) contribute nothing. I would be happy to be corrected on that, please detail your contribution.

But very sincerely, thanks for your contribution in allowing people to publicise it.

08 Aug 06 - 04:55 AM (#1804195)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: The Sandman

My contribution to english traditional folk song, has been to go around singing it in folk clubs and folk festivals for the last thirty five years keeping the music alive promoting it in schools as well as trying to present it in an entertaining manner to the general public, very few of the songs I sing are from efdss collections, but the few that are I thank them for. I contribute nothing to them at the moment , because i think my money is better spent contributing to comhaltas, for the reasons Ihave previously explained. when efdss decide to instigate song inititIaves similiar to the hallamshire project I might consider rejoining the society. until then the people who have promoted english folk song have been all the professional folk singers who have toured clubs and festivals for a small pittance, a true labour of love.I have been proud to be one of themand i reckon we have done more to promote song then efdss.

08 Aug 06 - 05:50 AM (#1804220)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: Folkiedave

This is the second thread where you have sought a subsidy.

Could this be you needing a handout?

Is that the real agenda?

The people who run Hallamshire Traditions are keen EFDSS members.

08 Aug 06 - 09:58 AM (#1804350)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: The Sandman

HAHA . No I am not in needof cash I have all the work I want. and i have consistently praised the hallamshire traditions . now be careful you are close to a personal attack.

08 Aug 06 - 03:15 PM (#1804647)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: GUEST,Brian Peters

>> he appears to be the only mudcatter that defends the society without question. <<

Speaking as a long-standing ordinary member with no links to the heirarchy, I'm very pleased to see that EFDSS seems over the last few years to have been getting on with precisely the kind of things I'd have hoped for. For years there seemed to be little return for my membership fee other than use of the library (which alone was worth the price of admission, of course), but after doing my share of moaning in the past, I say give them credit where it's due. And the online library resources are great, thanks.

PS: It wasn't immediately apparent which thread I should post this to - could they not be amalgamated?

08 Aug 06 - 03:54 PM (#1804672)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: The Sandman

efdss role in the twentieth century , is surely a different question to what does efdss do to promote english dance and       international song.anyway once again I would like to thank Malcolm Douglas for informing me about the hallamshire traditions and the other work being done by the society. and hope they can get funding to instigate song initititaves similiar to the hallamshire. I hope some of my comments may have opened eyes to possible avenues.

08 Aug 06 - 08:53 PM (#1804904)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: Malcolm Douglas

"Hallamshire Traditions" is not a song initiative, nor is it run by EFDSS; though Paul Davenport was a member of EFDSS NEC, and editor of English Dance and Song, until quite recently. He and his wife Liz are still members of the Society. You are confusing it with the Maltby Generations Project, initiated by Paul and Liz with backing from the South Riding Folk Arts Network (with which they are both also involved, along with me and others), from EFDSS, and (I forget in what capacity) Folk South West.

You need to read the information in the links I have provided you with before making incorrect assumptions and misleading comments based on them; obviously you haven't bothered so far. Try to understand, as I have told you more than once in these confusingly overlapping discussions, that folk arts organisations in England don't, in the main, act alone: they co-operate with each other. There are a few that see other organisations as a threat (chiefly to their personal income) but I don't work with people like that.

These days, regional projects are instigated by regional organisations. The majority, I would say, are assisted by EFDSS in one way or another; and that includes the currently fashionable degree course at Newcastle University (ask Vic Gammon, who heads it and has a long involvement with EFDSS, if you don't believe me). That is the model we have in England. We don't want a state monolith like Comhaltas laying down the law. We want, and are developing, a loose federation of independent regional organisations that work together where appropriate without treading on each other's toes. EFDSS needs to be an enabling body at the centre, providing resources and frameworks for communication; and that is what it is doing.

You won't find me "defending EFDSS uncritically", though I will certainly defend it against unfair or uninformed criticism, of which there has been a good bit in these three threads. I've been a member for 30 years and stuck with it through some pretty stupid times. The point is that I didn't give up on it as far too many did. In discussions of this kind, all those people have to say is based on what was happening 20 years or so ago; it is no longer relevant. The point is to give the Society its due based on its (considerable, though often ignored or forgotten) achievements over its long history, in the face of far worse odds than similar organisations in other countries have had to deal with; and, most particularly, on what is happening now, and that is what I have been trying to do. It's a pity that some refuse to listen and don't seem able to move beyond their outdated prejudices.

09 Aug 06 - 03:03 AM (#1805035)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century

The problem with criticising any organisation is that when you do you end up having to explain that you are not criticising the whole membership.
I have the greatest respect for people like Malcolm Douglas who obviously work hard and make a contribution. Comhaltas is full of such people who devote their lives to teaching and passing on the music.
On the advice "why don't you join and try to make a change", I became a member of EFDSS years ago. I soon found that I was spending more time in meetings, "trying to make a change" than I was working at the music.
I abandoned the idea when I arrived at the conclusion that the leadership had their course set in a certain direction and they had no intentions of letting such an insignificant thing as a membership change that direction.
I think the clincher for me was "how can we concentrate more on song; we receive our money from the sports fund".
Jim Carroll

09 Aug 06 - 05:37 AM (#1805107)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: The Sandman

Dear malcolm. I was praising the efdss for the work they have been doing,. I never said that the hallamshire traditions were a song initiative, what I have been saying, is that EFDSS do very little to encourage english and international folk song. your work and other peoples on the revision of out of print books is admirable.but its a drop in the ocean., even compared to what efdss used to do for song in the days when they ran festivals like sidmouth.
when you refer to we do you mean yourself or all the members of efdss. personally I [ would prefer it if it was run in the same way as comhaltas[ for all their faults]I would join again, because I would know festivals including song would be promoted, I have many criticisms of comhaltas but at least they do promote what they are doing in a relatively evenhanded and efficient manner. I too would like to acknowledge the davenports and your work , and thank you for it.

09 Aug 06 - 05:48 AM (#1805112)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: Folkiedave

Comhaltas list 65 fleadhs and summer schools on their website.

Are you seriously suggesting that the EFDSS does the same?

do very little to encourage english and international folk song,

What would you like them to do?

09 Aug 06 - 05:50 AM (#1805113)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: The Sandman

Jim Carrolls last line says it all. I will now leave it up to others to judge whether the song part of the maltby project and the maintenanceof the library , and the ongoing workon out of print books [ praise worthy as it is ]compares to what they used to do when they ran three major dance and song festivals Whitby, Sidmouth ,Chippenham.

09 Aug 06 - 07:02 AM (#1805127)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: The Sandman

How much money do efdss receieve from the sports fund
Iwould be prepared to donate money to efdss,if they had a seperate aimed song project , with an explanation how the money was intended to be used.thats whatI would like them to do Dave.not unreasonable.
To Folkie Dave,Yes comhaltas lists 65 fleadhs and summer schools on their website, comhaltas were formed in 1951, efdss were formed in 1932. the population of Ireland is 4 million the population of england is 55 million ,Considering the handicap of population, no comparison. now Iam not asking of efdss very much. but perhaps a summer school once a week at cecil sharp house, listening to traditional players, Oscar woods , stephen baldwin ,, walter bulwer, billy bennington ,william kimber, jinky wells. scantester.onthe song side Harry cox,joseph taylor,sam larner,fred jordan,bob and ron copper,phil tanner jeannie robertson,even bulgarian throat singers, as well as paddy tunney sarah makem ,as the song side is international.

09 Aug 06 - 07:19 AM (#1805135)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: Folkiedave

But you can walk in and do this (basically).

Why would you want a summer school?

How much has comhaltas received from the state over the years?

09 Aug 06 - 09:37 AM (#1805202)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: The Sandman

The purpose of a summer, school, Would be to make aware of styles of source singers and players to children and others who may be interested. the promotion or instigation of traditional dance and song is the remit of the efdss, that is why they get a grant from the sports fund, that is why it is their responsibility not mine. your final question, you should direct to comhaltas, who can answer that better than I can. lastly you seem to be rather defensive, why

10 Aug 06 - 03:57 AM (#1805973)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century

For a fascinating article on Comhaltas you should seek out a piece entitled 'Labhrás ó Murchú' (much of it dealing with the unholy alliance between Comhaltas and the Irish Musical Rights Organisation) in the 'Pillars of Society column of Phoenix magazine - Dec 6th-19 2002 (now made somewhat out-of-date by recent grants). At the time profits were announced as £1.5m; this did not take into account the various grants received.
Also follow the debate surrounding ó Murchú's report of some years ago on the state of Irish music, which was such an embarrassment that the Irish government was forced to shelve it.
It is appalling that a music organisation which has been in existence as long as it has, has neither an accessible library or archive, no serious Journal (Treoir is a joke) and carries out no serious research.
Jim Carroll

10 Aug 06 - 07:16 AM (#1806059)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century
From: The Sandman

Good points jim, efdss does have a magnificent library,and excellent sound archives.      Comhaltas does however run workshops that I know people have found useful. Im sorry I wouldnt describe treoir as a joke it normally has pages of tunes, and articles about musicians , different instruments . origins of tunes, songs etc. and I find it more readable than the folk music journal[Thats only my opinion].undOubtedly it could be improved but then so could english dance and song and F M J.[ Would you describe them as a joke ]I wouldnt.comhaltas does also run seisuns throughout the summer which are very successful. comhaltas does not have a house, equivalent to cecil sharp house[ that could be seen as an advantage or disadvantagefrom a commercial point of view]the purchase of a building for a library may or may not be necessary in these days of the computer when things can be accessed by computer.I have an open mind on the subject. however at the next comhaltas meeting I shall endeavour to bring your points up about lack of library and sound archives.

10 Aug 06 - 01:28 PM (#1806450)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century

If Treoir was coupled with a Journal like FMJ I would agree with you, but it isn't. It is the sole publication of that organisation.
My point about archives rankles very much.
Comhaltas has had support of a great number of musicians down the years and has almost totally failed to record them. Countless thousands have passed away without trace.
A collector friend once described his job as 'a race with the undertaker'.
Comhaltas have stood by and waved as the hearse passed by.
Jim Carroll

10 Aug 06 - 02:41 PM (#1806514)
Subject: RE: EFDSS Role in the 21st Century

Sorry Cap,
That was done in a hurry, if I hadn't gone in for my meal I might have had to cook my own tomorrow!
Now that I have the ear of a Comhaltas member who apparently cares, you don't get away that easy.
Don't let them fob you off with the reply that there is a library and archive - we visited the one at Ennis a couple of months ago and there were about the comparison of half a shelf of my own collection - none indexed, and around a dozen books. I was unable to find one in Dublin at Monkstown, but that was years ago.
I have never found anybody who has visited this one. It's a little like the Yeti; people will tell you it exists, but nobody has actually seen it. Look forward to learning I am wrong!
While you're in the good deed mood, you might ask about the 'Darby O'Gill' tendency in CCE who insist on dressing musicians up in period costume, a sort of historical fetishism. I have to say I did enjoy Joe Burke's Leprechaun, but I have a theory about that!
As far as magazines are concerned, Dance and Song certainly improved under Dave Arthur's editorship, but it still has a way to go. A good combination seems to me to be that of the School of Scottish Studies, a nice balance between the academic 'Scottish Studies' and the excellent (if irregular) 'Tocher'.
Jim Carroll