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The Last Generation?

Mavis Enderby 03 Jul 10 - 03:38 AM
GUEST,Bo in OH 03 Jul 10 - 01:14 AM
Don Firth 19 Nov 09 - 12:41 AM
Cuilionn 18 Nov 09 - 09:49 PM
Don Firth 18 Nov 09 - 08:17 PM
Folkiedave 18 Nov 09 - 07:31 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 18 Nov 09 - 07:04 PM
topical tom 18 Nov 09 - 06:39 PM
M.Ted 16 Nov 09 - 10:58 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 09 - 07:19 PM
Folkiedave 16 Nov 09 - 07:11 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 09 - 06:13 PM
M.Ted 16 Nov 09 - 05:58 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 09 - 04:54 PM
Spleen Cringe 16 Nov 09 - 04:49 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 09 - 04:49 PM
GUEST,The Folk E 16 Nov 09 - 04:35 PM
Stringsinger 16 Nov 09 - 04:31 PM
Mavis Enderby 16 Nov 09 - 04:27 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 09 - 03:59 PM
GUEST,The Folk E 16 Nov 09 - 03:50 PM
Spleen Cringe 16 Nov 09 - 03:40 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 09 - 03:15 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 09 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,The Folk Entertainer 16 Nov 09 - 03:05 PM
M.Ted 16 Nov 09 - 01:58 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 09 - 01:58 PM
Folkiedave 16 Nov 09 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,The Fole E 16 Nov 09 - 12:25 PM
matt milton 16 Nov 09 - 09:07 AM
matt milton 16 Nov 09 - 08:54 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 15 Nov 09 - 07:17 PM
GUEST,The Folk Entertainer 13 Nov 09 - 12:07 PM
M.Ted 13 Nov 09 - 06:13 AM
JesseW 13 Nov 09 - 01:24 AM
M.Ted 12 Nov 09 - 10:01 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Nov 09 - 11:22 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 12 Nov 09 - 07:46 AM
M.Ted 12 Nov 09 - 07:42 AM
Spleen Cringe 12 Nov 09 - 03:04 AM
Waddon Pete 11 Nov 09 - 10:00 AM
GUEST,jts 11 Nov 09 - 09:31 AM
jennyr 11 Nov 09 - 09:26 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 11 Nov 09 - 09:11 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 11 Nov 09 - 09:09 AM
Mavis Enderby 11 Nov 09 - 06:30 AM
GUEST 11 Nov 09 - 05:30 AM
Spleen Cringe 11 Nov 09 - 04:22 AM
theleveller 11 Nov 09 - 03:47 AM
Mavis Enderby 11 Nov 09 - 03:26 AM
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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 03 Jul 10 - 03:38 AM

At the recent Beverley folk festival I actually felt quite old (in my 40's) given the number of young performers & audience in the beer and acoustic tents.

So I think that's good news for folk but bad news for me!

Pete.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,Bo in OH
Date: 03 Jul 10 - 01:14 AM

I found this a fascinating thread. Ironic that the "folk revival heroes" that are being lifted up and had commercial dominance in the early sixties saw the beginning of the end of their popularity with...the Beatles? I firmly believe the music of the Beatles will still be listened to and appreciated 100 years from now.

More to the point ... what has not been mentioned is that the "lack of shared experience" and "self-centered" nature of contemporary folk has perhaps more to do with a shift in the way people listen to music today vs. 45 years ago. It is no longer about the CD, let alone the album or tape. Downloading songs to an ipod, listening to lastfm or pandora, watching performers on youtube, even browsing lyrics in the DT ... these things have fundamentally changed the way the current generation of youth experience music. This is true not just of folk music, but all genres. It is perhaps a double-edged sword - unprecedented access, but greater fragmentation. Better or worse? Depends on where it is all going, which is anybody's guess. An interesting discussion, the impact of new ways of listening to music upon folk music itself.

But I do think that calling contemporary folk singers "self-centered" and "lacking in influence" is quite unfair. Without a time machine it is impossible to know what the influence will be of the many artists here mentioned. To say that songs of the last 5 years or so "won't stand the test of time like the standards" is begging the question. We'll have to see in 2050 or so...


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Don Firth
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 12:41 AM

Amen!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Cuilionn
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 09:49 PM

Reminds me of the debate over the survival of the Gaelic language. For at least three hundred years, Hie-Heid-Yins and BigWigs and Muckety-Mucks have been holding forth with their Expert Opinions that the poor wee language of those quaint island barbarians is surely hanging on by its fingernails, about to fall into the Yawning Chasm of linguistic and cultural extinction. When I started studying the language myself, about 14 years ago, there were ten thousand LESS "native" speakers than there are today, and the number of people with some degree of facility with the language has practically doubled as social and political changes have made Gaelic "ethnically hip" again.

The Music of The Folk is like that-- push it to the brink, and push The People to the brink, and several things are likely to happen:

Some Folk will declare the End and jump over. Some Folk will sit down at the edge and start sobbin' until a few of them hit a harmony, and they'll rediscover The Blues. Some Folk will stand up and shout that they don't wanna jump, until a bunch of them are shouting together, and they'll rediscover Protest Songs. Some Folk will start listening to all the amazing edge-of-the-cliff stories around them, get seized with a tune or two, start passing the stories around, and that'll be a session, a concert, a hootenanny, a ceilidh... and Folk Music will keep on keepin' on, because there's this crazy human impulse that seems to keep Folks singing--and singing together--no matter what.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 08:17 PM

I think just about every folk song and ballad collector who drew breath, going back to Bishop Percy and beyond, was convinced that they were witnessing the death throes of folk music and needed to get it written down in order to preserve it, i.e. "Reliques of Ancient English Poetry" and other such titles for some of the earlier collections. Sharp also. And the Lomaxes. "Get it down now, because it's just about all over!"

Wasn't it Mark Twain who commented that the reports of his death were somewhat exaggerated?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 07:31 PM

Sorry Ron - of course you Yanks are allowed an opinion. Just don't get too uppity. :-)

with the passing of the older folk generation, the end of folk music as we knew it is in sight.

We had folk clubs in the UK, there are not as many as there were and sometimes the ones we have don't do so well. (Others do)

But there really are young people coming in. They may not do what you and I did (and in truth there is a slight lack of singers) but they do do music.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 07:04 PM

Which will leave the folk music that you don't know!


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: topical tom
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 06:39 PM

I notice that there is yet another sign of the passing folk music
scene;Sing Out magazine is experiencing financial problems. This is a shame but it merely reinforces the fact that, with the passing of the older folk generation, the end of folk music as we knew it is in sight.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: M.Ted
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 10:58 PM

It seems to me that back in the days that most those people were popular, Folkiedavie, British folk music as it now exists had not yet been invented, and such of it that there was had not made much of an intrusion over here.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 07:19 PM

"I hadn't realised folk music was only American. Fantastic. Where was it before that? "

Judging from 99% of the posts, it was in the UK. I was assuming that those of us in the U.S. were allowed to have a discussion about our music once in awhile?

Geesh. Chill out!


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 07:11 PM

I also wonder if there's a little bit of longing for the return of one's own youth and rueing it's passing in all this

Actually there are bits of my own youth I wouldn't mind having back..... And I certainly rue its passing!

But to be serious....when I look at that list, I hadn't realised folk music was only American. Fantastic. Where was it before that?


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 06:13 PM

Alright M.Ted, whatever you wish to believe.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: M.Ted
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 05:58 PM

It's a song, Ron, and one of my favorites--but don't make it into something it isn't.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 04:54 PM

I usually buy my lightbulbs from a local hardware store, and the price is actually cheaper when you consider the lifespan of the bulb and how you will need less. I do my part and recycle the bulbs and my community does the same. I'm not looking for a lightbulb to throw off heat and I also find it a real stretch to say a bulb is "condescending".


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 04:49 PM

Folk Ent, your list merely reflects your generation, I suspect. I haven't heard of half the people on your list still less know their songs.

Love rock singer Bob Dylan though.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 04:49 PM

"I also think that it's a good idea to have them invest time in learning to sing and about folk music from earlier times."

Frank, I'm with you 100% on that one - 200% if mathmatics would allow!

I think that IS an element that many people were missing, although I think it has improved in recent years. I once heard David Massengill respond to someone's question about how to write a song. This person recently bought a guitar and was anxious to try out the process. David's response was that an individual needs to take that guitar and learn to play hundreds of OTHER songs. He encouraged them to go back to the tradition and learn, as well as learn songs from others. Once you could sing and understand the way various songs are composed, you can then begin the process for yourself.

I consider myself a student. I do not have the gift to sing for anyone other than my own entertainment. My fiddle playing belongs in the closet, but I enjoy it for my own. I could not write a song worth repeating. I try to spread this "gospel" on my radio show. I certainly believe in the importance of reminding audiences of where the music came from as well as introducing them to what might be the future.

Naturally we cannot see into the future. No one really knows if the music of Bob Dylan or anyone will be remembered in the future. The fact has been that people will always sing what is familiar and meaningful to them. That is how folk music will survive.

I like to remind myself of the lyrics of Pete Morton's FOLKSONG - "Another Train".   There's always another train coming down the tracks.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,The Folk E
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 04:35 PM

The older bulbs generated a warmth, the newer ones just seem to lack.

The newer ones seem to be mostly about themselves and are cold and condescending. They also poison the environment with their content as virtually no one disposes of them properly. Of course I'm speaking of light bulbs. You can buy them the cheapest at Wal-Mart of course.

Folk music is doing well I suppose. But don't ask anyone on the street to come up with a song today that will outlive it's composer or performer like the ones will from this list:

Pete Seeger
Tom Paxton
Bob Dylan
Peter, Paul, and Mary
The Chad Mitchel Trio
The Limeliters
The Tarriers
Bud & Travis
Joan Baez
Judy Collins
Janis Ian
The Highwaymen
Many others I would think

I am sure and know there is much talent out there and I have really heard many. I am not living in a cave nor lamenting times past. However, it just doesn't compare. The music, the longevity of the music, the spirit, or the acceptance.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 04:31 PM

There will always be an audience for folk music. One reason is because of technology and the availability of material (more than there used to be) the folk songs will find people
who are interested in them.

The days of the Mighty Wind are thankfully over. (Except that I thought the movie was hilarious.)

Ron, I think that you are right to encourage young people to foster their talents.
I also think that it's a good idea to have them invest time in learning to sing and about folk music from earlier times.

I have no problem with people changing the old songs textually to make them more accessible. Alan and John Lomax both rewrote and collated many verses for their publications. John Jacob Niles created songs that he had heard as folk songs. Richard Dyer-Benett, Pete Seeger, Burl Ives and Carl Sandburg edited and changed stuff around, textually and musically. It didn't hurt the song and made another variant from it. In folk music there is no one definitive version. It's made to be messed with as long as it gets a due respect and sensitivity to its presentation.

I see no reason why there should be any waning interest in folk music. It's too vital.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 04:27 PM

Lightbulbs have an agenda now?


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 03:59 PM

" I do not lose any sleep over it either. Neither do I worry about a diminishing radio audience."

I certainly don't worry about that either, radio audiences are doing well - and thanks for asking.   With radio audiences, steady attendance at festivals, an outpouring of new songwriters as well as people re-discovering traditional music all add up to the reasons why I am confident that folk music is doing well.

You also need to shop around. You can buy new style lightbulbs that burn bright and do not cost 10x the price. They will also last a lot longer and help the environment - something the older bulbs just could not do.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,The Folk E
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 03:50 PM

Ron, I do not lose any sleep over it either. Neither do I worry about a diminishing radio audience.

"Your generation did a great job. Enjoy what you've done. The old lightbulb no longer shines, but there is a new lightbulb in it's place. Perhaps you will someday find the lightswitch."

Yes, that is true. Unfortunately the new lightbulb is one of those new style ones that cost 10 times as much and burn dimmer. Oh, yes. They also have an agenda.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 03:40 PM

By the way, when did folk music "touch a whole generation"? Nearly all the people I know in their 60s and 70s (the age range I assume is being referred to as the "last" generation) have absolutely no interest in folk music and as far as I know (especially as I'm nosy about people's record collections) never have. They may half-remember a few old songs they learned at school and know some of the pop-folk-light entertainment crossover hits, but essentially, folk wasn't their music. I suspect that when we talk about "a whole generation" grooving on folk way back when, what we really mean is that some long-standing folk singers who once had some crossover success had considerably bigger audiences in the past than they do now. You can substitute a plethora of sixties rock and pop acts and find exactly the same effect. All this means is that the young people who make up the biggest group of gig goers aren't digging the heritage circuit, daddy-o!

I also wonder if there's a little bit of longing for the return of one's own youth and rueing it's passing in all this ... and whether it's significant that this thread has appeared as autumn gives way to winter...

Far be it from me to indulge somewhat crassly in low rent psychology, tho'...


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 03:15 PM

Just a P.S. - You said "Yes, I am talking about MY generation, which is what the topic of this thread is."

Well, the title is actually the "last generation" and I suggest you go back and re-read the first post.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 03:11 PM

Folk "Entertainer" - it appears we are talking over each others head. I'm not going to lose sleep over it because as I've stated before, and by the examples I've shared, this music is alive and well. If you take comfort in taking an opposing view, knock your socks off. If the definition of "folk" is based on "performer/audience" ratio, then you are referring to folk as entertainment and not as a study of music - so we are talking to different animals.

Your generation did a great job. Enjoy what you've done. The old lightbulb no longer shines, but there is a new lightbulb in it's place. Perhaps you will someday find the lightswitch.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,The Folk Entertainer
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 03:05 PM

"You can't have your cake and eat it to. You cannot submit a list of songs that were written by singer-songwriters in the 1960's and call it "folk" music, and then declare that singer-songwriters in the 21st century are not folk."

Yes I can and I will. Because it is and I am sorry that you have to try to substantiate something that has mutated into something for convenience, or perhaps a radio format. You totally miss the point.

Personally, I believe the popular opinion is the same as what I have labeled folk music. The truth is that American (OK I said it) folk music is so diluted and so much what it wasn't that it is hardly recognizeable as such. Yes, I am talking about MY generation, which is what the topic of this thread is.

My answer is the same, Ron and I am afraid you can just deal with it, just like I said before: The folk music that was once enjoyed by a generation has for the most part lost it's way for the next. It does not "belong" to a generation today like it once did. Simply spouting that it's alive and well because there are tons more singer/songwriters than there once was sadly neglects the dynamic change in the performer/audience ratio. As in, the audience is miniscule compared to what it once was.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: M.Ted
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 01:58 PM

If you want to know what music speaks young people (which now is anyone under 40) forget about Simpson and company and check the numbers for Motley Crue --Read 'em and weep


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 01:58 PM

"These 700 artists are probably not folk singers. People who play acoustio music, perhaps They are probably all singer songwriters I would think."

You can't have your cake and eat it to. You cannot submit a list of songs that were written by singer-songwriters in the 1960's and call it "folk" music, and then declare that singer-songwriters in the 21st century are not folk.

Face it, you are talking about YOUR generation. I'm not the one in denial here. I'm not the one creating a label of "folk" music, the current generation and community that is built around makes that determination - no matter how much you wish to deny it.

Folk music is alive and well and being passed on to capable hands. Sorry to disappoint you, and you are certainly entitled to an opinion - but it does not mean you are correct.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 01:30 PM

The last (and the lost) generation began when a stream of young talent ( here in the UK ) promoted to the concert scenario without barely touching the folk clubs - therefore young people never attended 'cos they had no one to identify with as the clubs were full of older people.
We seem to be getting like an old band of soldiers who are getting older and older...........you could be right Tom.


Last Friday I went to a gig (already mentioned on here). Well-attended by both young and old people. (And at £14.00 for a full ticket not cheap).

25 year old Bella Hardy, Chris Sherburn (Mid 30's) and Corinna Hewat (late 20's?)

Tomorrow Tuesday I am off to see Spiers and Boden - early 30's I think. Been going about eight years.

Kerfuffle are on tour at the moment - oldest one about 24. Started as a band when the eldest was about 16. Hannah spent two years at Newcastle and Sam 5 weeks or so. Both were well established performers at the time.

Ruth Notman started at 14. Left the degree course after a short while. So not much of an influence there.

Jamie Roberts from Kerfuffle also sings with Katriona Gilmore - combined age about 46. Sam and Hannah also sing together. Combined age 41 or thereabouts.

Here's a band - spot the Newcastle degree student.

Another one here.

Crucible are around 30 years of age, none went on the Newcastle course. They started in 2003.

Wednesday night a new band called the "Black Hares" launch in Sheffield. Young and vibrant - no idea of they will make it onto the festival scene - I do hope so. None from the degree course.

And let's not miss out the older generation.

Martin Simpson (55) Roy Bailey (72) and Donald Grant (29)with the Red Skies Ensemble have ALREADY sold out their concert at the Sheffield Crucible on December 19th.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,The Fole E
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 12:25 PM

"I just spent a weekend with over 700 artists who are perpetuating this music and the community that it appeals to."

These 700 artists are probably not folk singers. People who play acoustio music, perhaps They are probably all singer songwriters I would think. This does not make them folk singers nor what they sing folk music. You would be hard pressed to find any one of them who can command a performace for an audience of 700 interested people at one time I am sure. Or one song that the average person on the street knows.

This is what folk music has evolved to. I can understand your special interest and also your denial. It's not a question of not hanging around the right places. It's really a question of what you vs. I want to label this music as.

The folk music that was once enjoyed by a generation has for the most part lost it's way for the next. It does not "belong" to a generation today like it once did.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: matt milton
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 09:07 AM

I often think that whoever first started calling the music 'folk' did a real service to pedants everywhere. I mean, when you take the term out, and call it 'traditional', then suddenly this argument evaporates.

It's so easy, and IMO pointless, to point to the term folk and say, 'hey, we don't exactly have a folk anymore'. But I really don't think when Cyril Poacher or Harry Cox sang songs at a local pub, either thought of them as "folk songs". They just thought of them as "songs". Songs that they knew, and which the majority of their local audience either knew, or could quickly pick up and sing along to. A scenario which, funnily enough, ain't that different to the average folk club today.

The way some people talk about 'folk', it's as if people had some kind of telepathic link hardwired in their DNA which they somehow mysteriously lost in the mid-20th century.

It's possible that 'folk' did used to enjoy, and be moved by, folk music more in the historical past than at present. But we'll never know until someone invents an Enjoyometer and a time machine.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: matt milton
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 08:54 AM

"it isn't exactly folk music at this point in time, because it neither speaks to, nor speaks for any group with a collective identity--meaning a group that is conscious that it is insulated and differentiated from the general society by some common criteria, that those criteria have priority over things that that would include them in the general society, and that, because of that differentiation, they have a shared destiny"

9 times out of 10, when you have to explain something fundamentally simple in such a convoluted and over-qualified fashion, you're labouring a point.

Granted, there is a truism in this: "it isn't exactly folk music at this point in time, because it neither speaks to, nor speaks for any group with a collective identity".

But only in the (bloody obvious and utterly banal) sense that sea shanties are no longer sung and listened to by sailors.

As long as people work, people will relate to songs about work. As long as people fall in love, people will relate to songs about love. And as long as people like strange, ambiguous stories, as long as people appreciate the intangible potency of an arcane turn of phrase, folk songs will continue to resonate.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 07:17 PM

Sorry guys, but you are dead wrong on this one - or perhaps a better way of saying it is that your definition is out of tune with the reality of what is happening today. You also fail to see the connection with the definitions that YOU are putting forward.

M.Ted says that "I offer the idea that, whatever it is, it isn't exactly folk music at this point in time, because it neither speaks to, nor speaks for any group with a collective identity--meaning a group that is conscious that it is insulated and differentiated from the general society by some common criteria, that those criteria have priority over things that that would include them in the general society, and that, because of that differentiation, they have a shared destiny ."

Again, you aren't hanging out in the right places. The definition YOU quoted is EXACTLY the group that I have been referring to. I just spent a weekend with over 700 artists who are perpetuating this music and the community that it appeals to.

It is real, it exists, it will be around. You can deny it all you want - but if you open your eyes and take a step back, it is clear as day.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,The Folk Entertainer
Date: 13 Nov 09 - 12:07 PM

What MTed has said is the deal breaker for me.

"I throw this stuff out, because it gives some insight into how folk music might have come to be extremely popular at a particular period of time, and how that popularity might then have passed by, leaving a much diminished and fragmented audience."

Sorry, Ron. This is what really rings true. That audience is there, but much diminished and fragmented. That's not being dead, dying perhaps, but way too diluted to speak to the masses as the music once did.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: M.Ted
Date: 13 Nov 09 - 06:13 AM

You are insulated and differentiated from the general society because you read science fiction? And you're declining in numbers? It's the Morlocks again!


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: JesseW
Date: 13 Nov 09 - 01:24 AM

Well, if you want a coherent group with a body of song, science fiction fandom, and filk, it's body of song, presents a quite clear and lively example. It satisfies all the criteria you mentions, and, while it too is suffering decline, we ain't dead yet!


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: M.Ted
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 10:01 PM

Again, I offer the idea that, whatever it is, it isn't exactly folk music at this point in time, because it neither speaks to, nor speaks for any group with a collective identity--meaning a group that is conscious that it is insulated and differentiated from the general society by some common criteria, that those criteria have priority over things that that would include them in the general society, and that, because of that differentiation, they have a shared destiny .

This definition comes from the work of sociologists Verta Taylor and Nancy Whittier, and I use it, rather than the idea of "community", because in it allows for the inclusion of social political groups, like the anti-war movement, the civil rights movement, the labor movement,   and various social idealist movements, as well as various segments of the youth culture, who have their own bodies of music. This in addition to groups like cowboys , miners, sailors, etc who we typically regard as having their own folk music.

Maybe another way of saying it is that the music would have to be connected to a group that identify with each other for reasons other than the music.

I throw this stuff out, because it gives some insight into how folk music might have come to be extremely popular at a particular period of time, and how that popularity might then have passed by, leaving a much diminished and fragmented audience.


Again, I am not disparaging in any way--there are good, even great musicians, songwriters, and performers out there, and they each have their own, often overlapping audiences, there is just no cohesive community to support them anymore.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 11:22 AM

"according to rankins.com, it ranks 19,516 of all sites on the web in popularity. "

You are forgetting that some of us log onto this site 5 to 10 times a day. No wonder the numbes are skewed! You would be hard pressed to find 19,516 individuals posting on these threads - it is always the usual suspects.

Hey, I'm not knocking Mudcat by any stretch of the imagination. It is an extremely important site, and I do agree that it is the #1 site for serious (and nonsensical) discussion of TRADITIONAL music.   However, when it comes to what many people consider "contemporary folk music", this is NOT the place. You do not see people debating Ellis Paul's new CD or debates on whether Falcon Ridge should go back to a 4 day festival or who were the hot new songwriters to emerge from Kerrville. This ain't the place!

Sure, you can dismiss that by saying "if Mudcat says it isn't folk, then it isn't folk", but try telling the thousands of people who are attending the events and supporting THIS tradition.

Sure, you can also dismiss "contemporary folk music" as a bastardized entertainment fueled genre that lacks connection with folk roots, and I realize that I will not convince the altercockers that this style of music is "folk".   Yet if you are truely objective and look at the factors that the early pioneers of collecting used to gather their songs, you will see similarities and reasons why this music fits the criteria - filtered through the technological and social changes of our times, the same factors that musicilogists used.

One of the defintions that I found of canon is "A group of literary works that are generally accepted as representing a field". The songs I mentioned, and many others, are considered to be part of the canon of contemporary folk music. You just need to stand in the right field to realize it.

The bottom line is this - when all of us are taking our dirt naps, this music will remain and thrive. Traditional music is still alive and thriving, regardless of the lack of interest by commercial entities.   Songwriters are writing in both old and new traditions and serving a community. Folk music ain't dead - the living tradition moves on.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 07:46 AM

"Four. One to change it and three to stand around singing about the good old days when we still had the old lightbulb..."

I've looked at that twice, and both times it's made me laff something silly!

Off to take another look..


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: M.Ted
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 07:42 AM

"First of all, saying Mudcat is the number one folk discussion forum is setting a standard that the handful of people who post here are THE community that defines and understands folk."

As far as Mudcat being the #1 folk site, it's not a matter of opinion, and it's not a "handful" of people who visit--according to rankins.com, it ranks 19,516 of all sites on the web in popularity. None of the other folk music sites even fall in the top million. I think you'd be hard pressed to argue that the community that understands and defines folk is better represented anywhere else.

Furthermore, it is way ahead of both HannahMontana.com and HannahMontanazone.com, which is the official fan club website.

I don't even know what to think now. There *is* a canon of "Hannah Montana" songs, though--


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 03:04 AM

Four. One to change it and three to stand around singing about the good old days when we still had the old lightbulb...


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 10:00 AM

Hello,

We have had a number of these, "are we dead yet?" threads over the years and I think the general evidence is that it depends on your point of view!

Isn't it wonderful to be involved in a style of music that causes such deep debate, enjoyment and heart-searching?

As many thoughtful posters have noted, 'music' and 'public awareness' are difficult to grasp hold of. Certainly around me the schools are bursting with musicians and singers of excellent quality. Oh that I had had their opportunities when I was their age!

The music commonly known as Folk has to take its place in the constant bombardment of musak that flows ever outwards. And you know what? A good folk track will stop most people in their tracks! I know of a hardened pop addict who was bowled over by Garnet Rogers and now takes a lively interest in "our" style of music. Then there was the Rita McNeil song, "Working Man". Maybe not everyone's idea of folk, but it took people by storm. I saw people stop by a parked car with the radio playing that song and listening until it had finished. They then walked on again. Powerful stuff!


Many years ago, the older men in the community used to gather in the pubs every now and then to sing and dance. The songs they sang could be defined as folk although there was a levening of music hall and variety in there as well. Tonight, this 'almost old man' will be sitting in a simlar pub doing the same thing!

I don't know that it proves anything except to say that those old men thought they were the last of their generatin too!

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,jts
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 09:31 AM

I am no doubt touching on points already covered but here's my take.

Paxton and Guthrie are established, but they established themselves with strings of big commercial hits (and a movie). That always passes. But they seemed to have made the most of that start over the years. Good for them. I've seen Guthrie perform. I'm look forward to someday seeing Paxton, and John Prine.

But folk music, real folk music, is no where near its last generation. There is a group of 20 somethings in this state called "The Carolina Chocolate Drops" which is as good as any folk act ever recorded. No doubt someone will follow in their shoes.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: jennyr
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 09:26 AM

I'm not sure where the original poster is based, so maybe things are different where I am, but I see no evidence at all that folk (according to any of the above definitions) is dying out.

A couple of years ago, I went to see Tom Paxton play to a sold out concert hall.

The night before last, I went to a singaround in a local pub. I'm in my 30s, and I was about the middle of the age range. The songs included traditional and written songs, including one written by someone my age and performed by a younger singer who admired it. No, it's not a classic that's known by everybody - part of my personal definition of folk is 'songs that have stood the test of time', and time hasn't yet tested the songs of my generation.

Not sure what you're looking for that this doesn't cover.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 09:11 AM

P.S. - and traditional music is alive and well too, supported by the same esoteric fans that it always had and always will.

The sky is not falling.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 09:09 AM

"No — these are *sub-categories*, all subsumed under the OVERALL GENRE of folk. "

That is what I was saying. Thanks for the clarification.

"if there is indeed a contemporary folk canon, our cohorts here at the number one folk discussion forum would pretty much have to be familiar with it."
First of all, saying Mudcat isthe number one folk discussion forum is setting a standard that the handful of people who post here are THE community that defines and understands folk.   If that is the accepted standard, then obviously I am in the wrong place and my statements are completely wrong.

The fact is, the folk community exists far beyond the confines of Mudcat. This forum is basically devoted to the "sub-categorie" of the traditional Anglo folk style - the overwhelming majority of posts deal with traditional English folk song.

If you go to the festivals, venues, read Sing Out! or Dirty Linen, or listen to the dozens of folk radio shows around the country that are actively supporting the current folk scene.   Yes, it is easy to dismss it a "nothing more than a desperate last gasp as viable entertainment", but you would be missing the REAL folk community and only trying to justify your own opinion.

The artists who are creating, and the audience that is listening ARE " 'the common, ordinary "folk' that folk music is supposed to belong to. "

Listen to the songs of the late Dave Carter, who died tragically a few years ago. His songs are being sung by others and I daresay that "Gentle Arms of Eden" or "Tanglewood Tree" belongs on the same shelf as the songs of Bob Dylan at his best. Eliza Gilkyson's songs are in the same catagory - "Man of God" or her re-working of Woody Guthrie's "Peace Call".   Steve Earle "Christmas in Washington" or just about anything else that he writes. Listen to "One Voice" by the Wailin' Jennys.

I'm not trying to say that these songs are on the tips of everyones tongue.   The music machine that create the folk revival no longer exists and you will not have commercial radio playing these songs.   At the core, folk music has ALWAYS been an esoteric listening choice. The folk error, era, was a blip on the radar that diverted attention to the styles and created its own "sub catagory".   What grew out of that time was an influence into other styles of music and collective conscious.

Folk music is NOT a dieing topic. We are not the "last generation", but hopefully the last generation that looks at music wearing blinders.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 06:30 AM

Absolutely. That's why I made the distinction of purely oral traditions.

The internet is I think a massive advance in this respect - provided you don't forget to go out into the real world too!

Pete.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 05:30 AM

"Purely oral traditions might be dying out but different arrangements of songs/tunes are being made all the time. Does this count as part of the folk process?, and more importantly, as part of the transfer from one generation to the next?"

I actually think the Internet is, albeit at one remove, helping to maintain the oral tradition.

I have access, via youtube, myspace, spotify, emusic and lastfm, to hundreds of versions of any particular song. I can hear how different people treat a song; I can google the lyrics and compare different versions, and see how songs change, and make my own composite version of the words and/or tune.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 04:22 AM

Nicely put, Leveller.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: theleveller
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 03:47 AM

Not dying, just changing - and for the better, in my opinion - at the hands of a wide range of great new performers, both professional and amateur, who are adapting the traditional stuff and writing great new folk songs, often melding and combining with other forms of music. The folk scene is even more exciting that it was when I first got into it 45 years ago and light years ahead of the dull, dreary 70s and 80s.

All you have to do is open you ears - and you mind.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 03:26 AM

Interesting points Jesse. I'd take issue with the acoustic instruments one though - although there are more electronic instruments available now, I'm not too sure that music created with acoustic instruments is actually declining. I think there has been something of a reaction to electric/electronic instruments and that a lot of people are returning to un-amplified/un-synthesised instruments. I'd also add also that in my opinion the choice of acoustic/electric instrument doesn't necessarily dictate whether something is folk song or not.

Purely oral traditions might be dying out but different arrangements of songs/tunes are being made all the time. Does this count as part of the folk process?, and more importantly, as part of the transfer from one generation to the next?

Pete.


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