Mudcat Café message #2378299 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #112375   Message #2378299
Posted By: irishenglish
01-Jul-08 - 11:35 AM
Thread Name: Glastonbury English Folk Festival?...
Subject: RE: Glastonbury English Folk Festival?...
Sorry for the non-poetic post here, but that is not my strong suit. WAV, I'm going to let you in on a little secret here about my username, because in a general sense, it speaks to some of the notions that you have. Now, on the one hand, its a pronouncement of two passions of mine-it could have been just as easily irishenglishamerica, as I am american. On the other, it is just a quick name I made up on the spot for mudcat use. Lets go with the more noble one for now though, the fact that it is two passions.

My mother was born and raised in Donegal, before coming to the States, then marrying my father who has obvious Irish roots, although we are not really sure on the particulars of his family (no one on his side seemed to really care, and as such, we don't know what part of Ireland his side is from. I prefer to keep a little privacy on here, so if you want to know my last name, PM me!). In any case, I had an awareness in me of all things Irish-literature, movies, the landscape,the beer, and of course the music.
My first exposure was probably more through my fathers Clancy Brothers albums (which I didn't like at the time-but then again neither did the 10 year old or so kid much like Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, and all the other things my father inflicted upon me which I now love!).

Ironically though, it was English music that got me more deeply interested in Irish culture. November, 1987, a sophomore at college in Worcester, Massachusetts. My friend drags me to a Jethro Tull concert. It just so happened we had great seats in a large arena, about 15 rows back, center stage. Opening band is some band called Fairport Convention. Oh look, the guy who plays bass for Tull is in this band too, whats it all about? So on Fairport comes, with electric violin, mandolin,etc, playing a music that sounded vaguely like the Clancy Brothers, but rocked up a bit. I was spellbound. Immediately I started, in those carefree, pre-internet get anything you want with a click days, to seek out this band. It progressed from their own convoluted history, into much more. Who's this guy Martin Carthy that Swarb used to play with? Who's this Cecil Sharp guy that Ashley Hutchings is always on about? And so on, and so on.
I always was an anglophile, even before I knew the term, but once I read Steinbeck's The Moon Is Down, which had a character of a German soldier who was obsessed with all things English, I knew I was not alone!

As I began immersing myself in English music, I realized somehow that I was neglecting my Irish heritage. By this point, I was deeply into many other types of music as well, blues, world, trying to stay afloat in a sea of grunge. I started reading more Irish literature, even poetry, catching up on Irish films, etc. At some point, it may have been on vacation in Ireland, I realized that after many years, my irishophile, if I may create that word, was catching up. For years I had been fighting this internal thing, and sometimes an external thing with people that I was some type of traitor. Some of the less informed people would say to me, how can you like this English folk music after what they did to us (meaning Irish). I really would not know what to say most of the time, because let's face it, the whole Irish/English political thing is still somewhat troublesome. One time though, at a bar, I remember having this discussion with some half hearted Irish-American (the kind who parties on St. Paddies's and who barely knows anything about the place). Instead of getting mad, I switched gears, and asked him something like, did you hear the new Coldplay album? "Yes, he said, it's good." My answer was, oh, so its ok to like a rock band from England, because its rock music, but its not ok to like traditional music, or things of that nature? He got my point.

My point of writing all of this was that WAV, its ok to feel strongly about aspects of your English culture. I could continue with this on my love for many aspects of American culture. Let's just keep that one simple by example-next week for my 40th birthday a bunch of us are getting together here in NY city, at a dive bar, to listen to the Neil Scott Johnson Band (great country and covers band), drinking pitchers of beer, on a hot NY night, with some baseball on the TV. Now that's America for me! Unlike you WAV, and unlike your convoluted poetry, my passions are not catchphrases. My passions come from thought, and a deep understanding, and from time. My English folk collection runs all the way from Seth Lakeman to Walter Pardon. In the first couple of years, I wouldn't have touched Walter Pardon with a 10ft bargepole, but I get it now, I appreciate it. The same with Irish music-give me Altan and Lasairfhiona and I'm on cloud 9. But it all progressed, which is what I showed through writing this. Your declarations of the direction you wish this music to go in are not commensurate with your understanding of the music. I have said it before, you disavow the words of musicians scholars and people like me, who truthfully WAV, have more understanding of the music. I have quoted you from Reg Hall, you had no comment. Professional musicians (yes thats right, professional English folk musicians) have come on here politely telling you that your notions are ill informed. Why won't you listen WAV? It boggles my mind why you aren't on here asking questions. Instead you continue with these ego boosting self promoting pronouncements. As I said to you before, learn to listen WAV. I did, and be it Irish, English, Scottish, American, Malian, or Uzbeki music, I learned how to listen, and my life is vastly different