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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Northerner How to handle criticism? (134* d) RE: How to handle criticism? 19 Jun 07

Thank you Mike.

Yes, I'd say we do have a divide in some of our clubs, between song and spoken word. I do in fact try to personalise and/or localize some of my stories, where appropriate, so that they are more relevant for audiences. It's a sad fact that in England the art of storytelling had largely died out before a revival started to take place 10/20 years ago. I am extremely fortunate that I had a period of my life when I was a regular at a club with one of the storytellers from the oral tradition, so my experience is different from probably many of the other performers at the clubs in this area.

One of the performers at the local clubs told me that there was no place for spoken word at a folk club. This person is a relative newcomer, but it does indeed show that we have a task of education before us. We cannot assume that all newcomers will understand the fuller implications of the folk tradition. An old-fashioned ceilidh, what we often strive to emulate during singarounds, would have had not only songs and music, but also people reciting monologues, favourite poems, even their own poems, jokes, riddles, and of course the occasional story.   It would have been much more diverse than what is emerging as the modern folk club. What I find exhilerating about the Traveller performers is the ease with which they go between the different artforms. They just don't seem to have these divides.

Guest/Unbaised Listener, yes, these are both excellent clubs. Most people are very welcoming to me. We do, however, have a few individuals who have, shall I say this carefully? little tact in their handling of other performances. I make very little criticism of other performers and try to be positive of their performances.

I am not a novice now, but I am still a learner. It takes several years to be a really good storyteller - what you would also expect of a singer or a musician. We don't become good overnight. I am sorry if a particular performance doesn't always hit the mark, but I learn from every performance. All I ask for is a little bit more forbearance while I learn and improve. I would try to give that to another performer.

I am in the middle of arranging more workshops for myself. I have stories that I practically bled over during masterclasses earlier in the year, and which were praised highly by top, highly experienced storytellers. In them I had integrated song and music with my stories. But can you wonder if I am hesitant about doing them at a folk club?

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