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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Mick Lowe English Tradition, part two (142* d) RE: English Tradition, part two 21 Jun 00


Oh Dear!!!!
I've been away a couple of months and this is what you get up to behind my back..
I would set about putting the "record straight" viz English Traditional music, but you've gone off on so many tangents I'd be here all night and tomorrow as well...

Let's try and address a few points... first any sexism involved with Morris Dancing... of course there is.. if you knew what Morris Dancing was all about you'd understand why.. namely that of the fertility of crops and livestock.. it is a pagan ritual (just like wassailing) born from the idea that man can fertilise Mother Nature...and thus ensure a good crop of wheat etc.. (hence it needs to be a male thing, unless Mother Nature has seen sense and come out of the closet).. over the passage of time the "Morris" has taken on board other "icons/symbolism".. i.e. the fool etc..depending upon the locality it is performed.. The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance on the 1st May has however still managed to retain much of it's origins despite Blithfield Hall being sold off and a housing estate built on it.. and yes I am bitter about this as my ancestors played a large part in making Abbots Bromley what it was.. alas no more...

I've also come across the so called reference re the blackening of faces in some Morris troupes to "Moors" hence "Morris".. nice idea apart from the fact that the English were probably dancing some form of Morris long before they ever came across the Moors (Don't believe anything in Costner's Robin Hood)..

Now's a good time to get yourself a sandwich and a cuppa because I'm going to rant on for a while yet..

It's not my fault.. you guys introduced so many varied points...

Like dancing.. apart from the Morris that is.. and let's get the record straight here.. Barn Dancing is definitely an American thing.. and yes it is or was when I was a kid , endeavoured to be taught in schools.. and consequently for years after I detested anything that bore the slightest resemblance to it.. what they should have done and in fact now do.. is teach English Country Dancing.. on face value it may seem the same but once you get down to the nuts and bolts of it.. they are worlds apart.. well continents at least..

But none of that addresses what I percieve as the main thrust of this thread in so much as why don't you find any pubs in England playing "English Traditional Music"...

The glib answer is you do.. i.e. find any Irish Theme bar and they are bound to be playing English or Scots music..that is reels, jigs and hornpipes are as Irish as the Pope is jewish..

What the original question should have been is.. Why do you only get the craic in pubs deemed as "Irish"... and that delves deep into the culture of the staid, conservative Englishman.. (I can say this because I am one).. the English having once ruled over the biggest empire this world has seen have now gone into abject withdrawl and readily denounce anything that may associate the "new liberal minded Englishman" with thoughts of tradition.. we are far too ready to take on board other cultures.. which don't get me wrong.. they are just as important (musically I mean).. but we have tended to lose our heritage in doing so...

To the extent that come Friday night I play and sing in a pub in England that "Bills" the event as being an "Irish night"..

I find it rather paradoxical that being a part of the English race that has for years endeavoured to subjucate the Irish (God alone knows why).. I now spend most of my time performing in an "Irish" pub in the heart of England..

I'm straying from the original concept of this thread...
English Traditional Music is still alive (not sure about being well). the Spinners have a lot to answer for.. they have done more harm to English Taditional music than Val Doonican did to Irish. You can not appreciate "folk/traditional music/songs" without a sense of understanding or history.. the Irish (God bless them).. maintain their heritage (albeit poached from elsewhere).. the English are far too ready to throw their heritage into the skip and embrace any new culture that may alleviate any sense of guilt..

I've said too much without saying enough.. such is life..

This is somewhat a pet project of mine (like you haven't gathered that fact).. sometime in the future I hope to write "something" that will set out to make sense of it all.. if you want to contribute or even shoot down any theories I have.. please drop me an amail at mick@prof.co.uk...

At the end of the day .. who cares where the music came from. so long as we enjoy it...


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