Mudcat Café message #2288048 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #98509   Message #2288048
Posted By: Jim Carroll
14-Mar-08 - 04:27 AM
Thread Name: Folk Process - is it dead?
Subject: RE: Folk Process - is it dead?
Bryan - (hate some of these tag names),
You may be right, don't get to clubs as much as I used to, but I still get in the odd visit when I get the chance (about a year).
I rely on forums like these and magazines like fRoots and The Living Tradition for my information nowadays - and the impression I am left with was the one I have expressed. The clincher for me was when a visitor here told us of the great night he had attended in his local FOLK club when they put on an evening of Beatles songs - where's me hat!!!
There is no club scene here in the west of Ireland, though there are a number of singing clubs, most of the ones we have visited, with few exceptions are..... well, nuff sed!
Can I clear up one point that seems to have crept in.
I have never made a good-or-bad distinction between the 'revival' and the 'tradition', or between 'the folk process' and the conscious role by (some) revival clubs to keep the old songs alive (and use their form to create new songs). In talking about the two as not being the same, it's a question of difference, not of quality or importance.
There exists an odd situation at present, two different languages being used to discuss the same subject; the one used by (some) clubs and the other spoken by those who research, collect and write - from learned tomes to dictionary references). The last major work to be published was 'The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection' (8 volumes), which presents folk song as I understand it, as did Bert Lloyd's 'Folk Song in England' forty years earlier and 'The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs' eight years earlier again.
Personally, I have a foot in both camps; while Pat and I have worked to get some understanding of how the tradition was, we have both got a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction as performers and audience in the clubs. We dearly wish that others continue to get the same pleasure as we did.
In the eighties, the folk scene we were part of imploded, audiences disappeared and most of the clubs folded. I am not aware that the situation has changed radically. It seems to me that we stand a great chance in the not-to-distant future of losing entirely what Lomax, MacColl, Lloyd, and all the other pioneers set up half a century ago.
Here in Ireland the 'MUSIC' has been guarenteed a future with a huge influx of young players (80 odd teens and pre teens playing on last St Pat's parade in this town).
The same is not the case with the songs, the bulk of the singers being around my age, with no new blood coming into the scene.
It seems to me that, apart from some small pockets in the UK, the situation is pretty much the same (though I do suggest that the the standard of singing is far higher in Ireland than it is here). Please tell me this is not the case!
If we're going to salvage anything from what has gone before, it needs to be from a clear understanding of where we are and what we need to do (IMO).
It's more than a little arrogant to speak on behalf of the population at large in describing our songs as 'irrelevant'.
In my experience, the 'ordinary' people (whoever they are), gained their impression of 'folk' from school music lessons, from the folk boom, Spinners Concerts, Christie Moore performances, Riverdance.... et al, not from what happens at folk clubs, most of which seem to be as remote and mysterious as Freemason's Lodges to the general public.
Jim Carroll