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Roughyed folk song politics (86* d) RE: folk song politics 13 Apr 03


A rough and ready definition of traditional 'folk' songs is that they are peasant or workers songs (I don't want to open up any cans of academic worms here. As such they reflected the realities of working peoples lives. That included in England strikes, riots, Peterloo, but also the sort of stuff that still fills the tabloids such as 'orrible murders and idealised views of things such as war, hunting and so on.

I think that in England the revival that happened in the fifties and sixties, which is still what formed the bulk of our current clubs and festivals, was left wing generally. I think this is partly due to good old commies like Ewan McColl and A L Lloyd but also to the way that young people at the time tended to be on the left. Certainly when I was becoming aware of folk music in the late sixties, the fact that it was working class music was of interest to me as a socialist, but the main thing that hit me was its sheer beauty. I don't think we should overemphasise the political side - hey, I love Wagner's music.


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