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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Musket Singers Nights (54* d) RE: Singers Nights 08 Mar 16

Yin and yang as ever.

Part of this thread seems to be the old "is it folk?" and part seems to be about quality of what you hear having got off your arse, stuck on fresh y fronts and wandered down the pub.

Putting the "what is folk" to one side, and concentrating on the quality. We are all of mixed ability. Backwoodsman and I bump into each other at singers nights at two places in particular. One has everything from a retired man who has been singing and playing for years but bless him, still sounds like first time ever tried to play all the way to ex pro and semi pro ability, with I'm delighted to report, singers and players in their teens and twenties too. There again, we both go to another place where I'm sure we agree, the quality is such that it certainly makes me want to raise my game (can you after almost forty years? I'm willing to try!).

Now.. As I go to these and a few others on a regular basis, you can either play the same few polished songs (the ones you play when you go sonewhere for the first time) or you can mix it a bit. I'm lucky in that many words have stuck in my head over the years and can recall, I think I'm right here, over 120 songs, mainly 'trad but others too. So I don't use crib sheets as such although not having the guitar porn objects of BWM, I'm more likely to stick crib reminders to my guitar with blu tack. (See? The Rainsong has its uses!).

So... What about my view of what goes on around me? I have no issue with people using iPads and paper, I'm not a critic reporting on a night. I may advise those trying to improve to learn more, drop the crutch and use your brain to listen to what you are doing now, not what you will be doing in five seconds time but there is a difference between not able to keep words in your head and not trying in the first place. This affects the quality of what the audience hear.

Oh and the audience.

Ok. Gloves off. Yes, it does annoy me that people are shuffling through papers and talking whilst others are performing whilst assuming people listen intensely to their turn. When real folk clubs were the order of the day, I worked hard at engaging an audience with eye contact etc. Now, at singarounds, I'm most likely to shut my eyes whilst singing. Why? Because I'm vain enough to expect people to listen to me as I do to them and seeing papers shuffled and conversations between people who are to perform themselves is demoralising.

A good friend wonders why I like one particular folk club we occasionally go to. It's because of the courtesy we give each other whilst performing.

Mind you, let's not get into performing vs your turn...   Real folk clubs used to expect two songs from a floor turn. Great for guitarists as you could do one with an easy accompaniment followed by one a bit more entertaining as your fingers had loosened and warmed. With one at a time, pretend to be Mr Carthy at your peril..,

I'm with Will on this. I really miss folk clubs.

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