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'Occupy English Folk Music!'

BTNG 08 Nov 11 - 11:17 AM
Spleen Cringe 08 Nov 11 - 12:11 PM
BTNG 08 Nov 11 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 08 Nov 11 - 12:41 PM
TheSnail 08 Nov 11 - 12:45 PM
BTNG 08 Nov 11 - 01:53 PM
glueman 08 Nov 11 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 08 Nov 11 - 03:52 PM
glueman 08 Nov 11 - 04:12 PM
BTNG 08 Nov 11 - 04:17 PM
Dave the Gnome 08 Nov 11 - 05:30 PM
BTNG 08 Nov 11 - 05:37 PM
glueman 08 Nov 11 - 05:42 PM
GUEST 08 Nov 11 - 06:02 PM
GUEST 08 Nov 11 - 06:03 PM
Dave the Gnome 08 Nov 11 - 06:03 PM
glueman 08 Nov 11 - 06:08 PM
glueman 08 Nov 11 - 06:25 PM
Dave the Gnome 08 Nov 11 - 06:43 PM
Dave the Gnome 08 Nov 11 - 06:46 PM
BTNG 08 Nov 11 - 07:01 PM
John P 08 Nov 11 - 11:20 PM
Big Al Whittle 09 Nov 11 - 12:41 AM
Dave the Gnome 09 Nov 11 - 02:27 AM
glueman 09 Nov 11 - 03:13 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 09 Nov 11 - 03:51 AM
johncharles 09 Nov 11 - 03:55 AM
theleveller 09 Nov 11 - 04:01 AM
glueman 09 Nov 11 - 04:02 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 09 Nov 11 - 04:02 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 09 Nov 11 - 04:41 AM
theleveller 09 Nov 11 - 04:55 AM
GUEST,Jon 09 Nov 11 - 05:14 AM
Banjiman 09 Nov 11 - 05:28 AM
theleveller 09 Nov 11 - 05:29 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 09 Nov 11 - 05:30 AM
GUEST,Jon 09 Nov 11 - 05:33 AM
theleveller 09 Nov 11 - 05:54 AM
Dave the Gnome 09 Nov 11 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,Jon 09 Nov 11 - 06:00 AM
Dave the Gnome 09 Nov 11 - 06:23 AM
GUEST,Jon 09 Nov 11 - 06:33 AM
theleveller 09 Nov 11 - 06:45 AM
glueman 09 Nov 11 - 06:46 AM
Dave the Gnome 09 Nov 11 - 06:53 AM
GUEST,Jon 09 Nov 11 - 06:56 AM
glueman 09 Nov 11 - 07:08 AM
Dave the Gnome 09 Nov 11 - 07:15 AM
Jack Blandiver 09 Nov 11 - 07:26 AM
glueman 09 Nov 11 - 07:28 AM
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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: BTNG
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 11:17 AM

If it wasn't for actual documentation, you'd have thought the whole 1954 thing was a sketch either written by Barry Took and Marty Feldman, the I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again gang or Monty Python.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 12:11 PM

I reckon the problem is that when we talk about English traditional folk we're all talking about slightly different things.

I don't believe we're talking about a living tradition that can be added to and developed by the people whose tradition it was. We're talking about nothing more than a series of slightly random snapshots of a past tradition that no longer exists in any sphere outside of the specialist enthusiasms of traditional music fans and academics. We can't develope or add to the tradition because there is no tradition left to develope or add to. What we can do is to add to and develope the canon of songs that exists in the revival folk world. This is a completely different thing.

Can we add to the folk canon? The answer to which is clearly "yes". Can we add to the tradition? The answer is "do you want to borrow my time machine?"

So the argument is not about the tradition but what people want the folk scene to look like. I'd say that as ever, there's plenty of room for different versions of what the folk scene might include and its a big enough tent not to get into any fights. It's only a hobby.

So when Al (for example - nothing personal!) says that traditional folk is not the music of the people, he's absolutely right. But there again, neither is he right to substitute the work of folk scene singer songwriters. If anything is the music of the people right now, its the x-Factor and whatever else tops the charts for long enough to demonstrate it's not just the kids that are buying it.

Bloody hell. I think I'm convinced.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: BTNG
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 12:30 PM

right


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 12:41 PM

The music's the thing for mutability, for it's the music that defines the diversity and the ebb & flo & eddy of the thing, be it rocking guitar or something more (how shall we say?) artful, febrile, delicate, gossamer, exquisite, filligree, depending on taste of course, for what one DOES with an Old Song is entirely up to you. Remember - the Tradition of English Speaking Folk Song was essentially Unaccompanied. So, to dig up the old Harvest Home adage from five years ago: A lap-top is just as valid a folk instrument as a concertina. How true, how true.

Even singing Unaccompanied there are still a myriad parameters by which to make a song well and truly ones own, depending on how far one wishes to push the accepted envelope, or even accept that such an evelope exists at all. Personally, I don't, but that's just me; I get sick & tired of being lectured on Absolutes and Correctness in the name of a Tradition which was examplified by the Idiosyncratic Diversity of the most diverse voices you're ever likely to hear, supposing one gets any joy out of listening those guys at all, which I do. I hate the term Source Singer - it implies the Revival Singers are somehow better. They aren't - just different.

The Old Songs offer such a lot in all respects; they don't insist on anything in return other than a knowing sort of respect which is hard won via research and the process of learning them, letting them into your heart where they will change your life most assuredly for the better. So whilst I don't believe that a Revival Singer / Artist / Band is part of The Tradition, they can partake of a wonderful creative process of Interpretation by which they might conduct the seance with the old songs which will bring them (the artists that is, not the songs) well and truly alive. The old songs are already alive; they are vivid in their undiminished potency and ready and willing to revivify any revival singer who feels the call.

A new maxim: It's not a matter of us reviving Folk Song, it's a matter of letting Folk Song revive us.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: TheSnail
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 12:45 PM

GUEST at 10:51 AM was me.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: BTNG
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 01:53 PM

A new maxim: It's not a matter of us reviving Folk Song, it's a matter of letting Folk Song revive us.

GUEST,Suibhne Astray, you have said, in one line, what it takes others endless paragraphs to say....Thank you for being so succinct!


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: glueman
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 01:57 PM

I think we have been allowed to bury 1954 in this thread. No flowers please. Donations to a landlord of your choice.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 03:52 PM

Suibhne Astray, you have said, in one line, what it takes others endless paragraphs to say

It takes me endless paragraphs too; probably a good deal more than most around here actually.

I think we have been allowed to bury 1954 in this thread.

Don't bank on it, glueman.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: glueman
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 04:12 PM

"Don't bank on it, glueman."

Well at least it's been killed as a topic for serious discussion. Flat-Earthers will always be with us.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: BTNG
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 04:17 PM

and you should know glueman, and you should know...


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 05:30 PM

Sorry if anyone has read this, or something similar, before. I did try similar arguments on another thread. My mistake - It was the wrong one and for obvious reasons my points went un-addressed on there. Maybe I can get some answers on here?

Although the 1954 definition is not one I apply, I understand why, in the absense of any other agreed definition, it can be important. Until such a time as another group of influential people get together and re-define folk music, it is all we have. No amount of derision or insult will alter that. Only a genuine alternative would prove constructive. And one that we can all agree on at that!

Anyway, on with the questions.

Why is it that those who would 'Occupy English Folk Music' would have us believe that they are the liberal ones, moving forward with the times and not stuck in the old traditions? Yet not one person, as far as I cam tell, from the 'side of the traditionalists' has suggested that 'modern' folk music should be occupied, banned or replaced by something else. Yet those very liberal, fun-loving 'modernists' are quite happy with the concept that traditional folk music should be replaced. Presumably never to seen again.

Why on earth would anyone want to remove the choice that people have now and leave us with just one type of folk music? Why not just tollerate all types of folk music, even if you don't like it, and accept that what some people enjoy is not to your tastes? Give people the choice. Let them decide if they want to hear Child ballads sung in their traditional form, boogie on with drum and bass hornpipes or watch American Indians performing Eurovision style stage shows?

Answers on a postcard, please, to -

Obershturmfurer Cecil von Sharpe
Folk Gestapo Division
Much Boring in the Tradition
FU2

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: BTNG
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 05:37 PM

right


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: glueman
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 05:42 PM

The issue, that's been discussed at length, is not on the validity of traditional music or the freedom of anyone who chooses to sing it. It's on the nonsense surrounding a definition which has lifted up the ladder behind it while pretending it's still in place. New music can never enter the canon. Transmission is impossible. The conditions that obtained when it was written are gone, if they ever existed in the first place. It is not under threat, it survives in rude good health as a finite, historical genre of music.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 06:02 PM

rubbish


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 06:03 PM

you need to learn the difference between fact and personal opinion, then and only then will there be progress


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 06:03 PM

I don't think that is the issue, glueman. The thread is about something else occupying the place that is currently taken by traditional English folk music. At least that is how I read it. Maybe the opening poster could clarify?

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: glueman
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 06:08 PM

If it's rubbish can someone provide examples of contemporary music that has entered the traditional canon, i.e. songs accepted by traditionalists as traditional that meet all the criteria of the 1954 definition re. adoption, adaptation, transmission.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: glueman
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 06:25 PM

"I don't think that is the issue, glueman"

I beg to differ Dave. As long as I've been listening to traditional music fans have been saying it's under threat. As I said near the start of the thread, the music is in better health than I can remember it. The threat is always 'out there' somewhere, people with guitars, rock music by the back door, the whole them and us thing that bonds groups together in adversity. There is no adversity. Traditional music is no more under threat than rap or house music.

The OP was making one of her regular jibes at the dinosaurs and they roared in unison. Someone suggested a George Gershwin song as trad earlier. I can't find any examples of incremental change in Summertime that warrants the title trad and until someone provides one I shall consider the definition extinct.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 06:43 PM

You're probably right, glueman, but it doesn't give me the answers to my questions. I do hope you are not suggesting that the thread was just a wind up after all? Well, I am dissappointed...

:D tG


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 06:46 PM

Oh aye - I was going to add. Ted Edwards (Coal Hole Cavalry, Ladybird etc.) did a re-write of Summertime.

Suppertime, and the liver is greasy.
Fish are jumping
And the sausage is high

Does that count?

DtG


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: BTNG
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 07:01 PM

Like I said glueman it's your opinion, for what it's worth.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: John P
Date: 08 Nov 11 - 11:20 PM

glueman, I gave a few examples of music that was composed and is accepted by the community of people who play and listen to traditional music as being traditional tunes. Why are you still saying the same things over and over again? A few of us on this thread have said that we have experienced learning music from other musicians who learned it from other musicians, etc. We've also said that we have experienced music changing slightly as it changes hands. Why do you keep saying that traditional music is moribund? To people who are part of it not being dead you just sound silly. It's sort of like the guy at a party who goes on about how cats don't have any reasoning skills. All the cat owners in the room just look at each other and roll their eyes. Since you don't believe the first hand experiences of the people you are talking to, it makes me wonder why you are here.

Get this:
It's not about history.
It's not about trying to revive anything.
There is no torch being borne.
It's not about whether the culture that produced most of the music is still alive.

It's about whether the music is still alive.
The culture, now, is the community of people who listen to and play traditional folk music.
It's all just about the music.

You seem to be obsessed with trying to make a very simple general definition into something very complicated. You come across like an academic who is studying traditional folk music and needs to draw lines around things.

Most of my favorite songs and tunes came from other musicians. Sometimes I even get a couple of versions, like, "Here's how I learned it years ago, but now I play it like this". Or I find songs in old books and piece together how I want to play them. If you want to call that a revival, go for it. I call it finding cool tunes in an old book. I then teach the music to my friends, who teach it to theirs. All while I'm learning the cool music they learned and sometimes adapting it somewhat for my own purposes. I also sometimes learn music from recordings, but even that doesn't necessarily stop the process. A few years back I heard the album I learned a song from for the first time in about 20 years. Without ever meaning to do so, I had made some notable changes in 20 years of playing it without reference to the recording.

The band I'm playing in now does traditional Swedish music. As I learned the music, there was rarely a CD with the tune on it. I can sometimes find the notation on-line somewhere, but it's always an approximation of what actually gets played anyway. The only way for me to learn the music is to learn from my bandmates, both of whom lived in Sweden and learned the tunes from other musicians at dances and parties.

Sorry, but your thesis doesn't pass the real world experience test. It only makes sense if you chain yourself to the 1954 definition and try to wring every last legalistic drop of meaning from it.

It's just not that complicated.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 12:41 AM

traditional Swedish....I shouldn't involvo myself with that, it might abba bad side effect or two.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 02:27 AM

I had a friend who married a Swede. It was a turnip for the books.

:D


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: glueman
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 03:13 AM

"Suppertime, and the liver is greasy."

This, if I may say so, is not the transmission 1954 was invented to flag up. I'm pointing out the absurdity of a defunct definition. If it's still valid prove it with real examples - not light entertainment or we'll include the output of BBC comedy for the last forty years.

"Get this:
It's not about history.
It's not about trying to revive anything.
There is no torch being borne.
It's not about whether the culture that produced most of the music is still alive."

Is that an opinion or the 1954 definition?


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 03:51 AM

I find it interesting that Lizzie, having (once again, and not for the first time) opened up this particular can of worms, is conspicuous by her abscence on her own thread...It would be enlightening to hear her views, Don't you think?


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: johncharles
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 03:55 AM

probably not Ralphie


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: theleveller
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 04:01 AM

Ralphie, you keep telling us how tedious this thread is but you keep coming back to try to have a go at Lizzie. You're turning into a bit of a troll, I'm afraid. If you're not interested in what's being said, why don't you just stay away?


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: glueman
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 04:02 AM

As someone who listens to traditional forms of music from a number of different countries, it fascinates me that we're the only country who seem unable to separate an old song from a new one without a guide to tell us the difference. Is it some national characteristic that makes us want to apply taxonomies to our preferences? Is it the folk club network of the last 50 odd years that's applied academic definitions to the product it deals in? Why can't we trust the evidence of our own ears?


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 04:02 AM

Just catching up on this thread and note that DtG made a good point somewhere above:

"Why is it that those who would 'Occupy English Folk Music' would have us believe that they are the liberal ones, moving forward with the times and not stuck in the old traditions? Yet not one person, as far as I cam tell, from the 'side of the traditionalists' has suggested that 'modern' folk music should be occupied, banned or replaced by something else. Yet those very liberal, fun-loving 'modernists' are quite happy with the concept that traditional folk music should be replaced."

For a start, yes, I agree, the 'modernists' are really just as illiberal as they (continually) claim that we 'traditionalists' are.

I still think that it's because an interest in traditional material doesn't conform to contemporary musical tastes or fashions. Some people are outraged by the fact that venues exist which attract audiences but don't present material which conforms to those people's contemporary, fashionable musical influences.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 04:41 AM

Just to clarify....

Who said traditional music should be 'replaced'? WHERE has that been said? And by whom?

My *original* post:

>>>>>YEAH!!!!!

Bring in The Singer Songwriters!
Modernise it!
Take it OFF The Holy Shrine of All That is Holy!

Let THE PEOPLE hear The New Traditionalists, for THEY are The 99%!!

:0) <<<<


What I was saying is that it's time to appreciate the singer songwriters far more. Time to recognise they are the New Traditionalists, writing the songs that will also be taken up by new generations to come..


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: theleveller
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 04:55 AM

The contemporary folk musicians and songwriters I know have a deep and abiding love of traditional music. We don't want to replace the tradition, just continue it. The 1954 definition is a barrier to this, so we just tear it up and throw it to one side as we walk across the unenclosed common land that is folk music and set up camp.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 05:14 AM

so we just tear it up and throw it to one side as we walk across the unenclosed common land that is folk music and set up camp.

Or and more realistic. There are plenty of venues that welcome "contemporary folk", the opportunity to start your own venue also exists. No one is even going to try to prevent this and the basic premise of this thread is bullshit.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: Banjiman
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 05:28 AM

In my day to day folk world both traditional & contemporary folky music live very happily side by side.

All the clubs and singarounds I attend welcome both.

I put on both at the Village Hall concerts I run.

All the festivals I attend welcome both.

(Just about) All of my favourite artists do both.

I love some of both genres (and dislike some of both genres)and value both on their merits.

Why all the squabbling ??????? It has nothing do do with the real world.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: theleveller
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 05:29 AM

"the basic premise of this thread is bullshit."

In that case, why are you posting here?


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 05:30 AM

"Let THE PEOPLE hear The New Traditionalists, for THEY are The 99%!!"

What's stopping THE PEOPLE from hearing the "The New Traditionalists" (whatever they are), Lizzie? Oh, I forgot - it's us old, fuddy-duddy traditionalists! I'll go and abolish myself right away! Mustn't stand in the way of progress!


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 05:33 AM

"the basic premise of this thread is bullshit."

In that case, why are you posting here?


Hmm... mostly to disagree with some of the comments made.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: theleveller
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 05:54 AM

"Hmm... mostly to disagree with some of the comments made."

Well, if the whole thread is bullshit, that must make your comments bullshit as well, surely?

I would totally endorse what Banjiman says.

As an aside with regard to the 'set up your own club' comments, we were recently asked to perform at an open day at the Yorkshire Waterways Museum, singing some of our self-penned stuff. Afterwards we were approached by someone who is considering starting a local folk club with a traditional bias and we were asked if we would be interested in being the residents. Like I said, we're not looking to replace the tradition, just continue it.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 05:59 AM

Who said traditional music should be 'replaced'? WHERE has that been said? And by whom?

Ah - Thank you Lizzie. I am still a little unclear - My fault, I know - but you have now clarified that you do not want English Folk to be 'Occupied' -

occupied
adjective
1. in use, taken, full, engaged, unavailable three beds, two of which were occupied
2. inhabited, peopled, lived-in, settled, tenanted The house was occupied by successive generations of farmers.
inhabited empty, deserted, vacant, uninhabited, unoccupied, untenanted, tenantless
3. busy, engaged, employed, working, active, tied up (informal), engrossed, hard at work, in harness, hard at it (informal), rushed off your feet I forgot about it because I was so occupied with other things.


I mistakenly assumed the standard definition of occupied and as that is to fill-up, take, engage or any of the above definitions I am sure you will forgive me for guessing the thread was about occupying the space taken by English Folk Music and replacing it with something else. Thank you for letting me know that is not what you meant and it would have saved a lot of discussion had you have made that reply earlier.



What I was saying is that it's time to appreciate the singer songwriters far more. Time to recognise they are the New Traditionalists, writing the songs that will also be taken up by new generations to come..

I agree wholeheartedly. I do appreciate the singer-songwriters. I am sure if you look back through the thread you will find that everyone agrees with you. I am not sure what I am to appreciate them 'far more' than but if you mean appreciate them far more than the usual stuff that the music industry inflicts on us then yes - I do.

So, in a nutshell, no-one wants to replace traditional folk; we all appreciate good singer-songwriters; They can both live in harmony (4 part I should think) and everyone is happy. Yes?

See - easy when you take the time to explain.

DtG


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 06:00 AM

Well, if the whole thread is bullshit, that must make your comments bullshit as well, surely?

I said the premise of the thread.


I would totally endorse what Banjiman says.

You mean you agree there is no problem in the real world. Might be me but I thought you had been suggesting otherwise...


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 06:23 AM

I think we are now all agreed, Jon. There are no issues. Both trad and modern folk are appreciated and everything in the garden is coming up roses.

Apart from the 1954 definition which was never mentioned in the OP and probably deserves a thread of it's own

Hope that helps.

:D


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 06:33 AM

Thanks for the clarification, Dave.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: theleveller
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 06:45 AM

"You mean you agree there is no problem in the real world. Might be me but I thought you had been suggesting otherwise..."

That's not what I'm saying at all. I endorse the idea of all approaches to the music living side by side. It's what happens in good clubs and festivals but around my neck of the woods it doesn't always happen. If you'd care to do me the courtesy of reading my posts instead of putting your own garbled interpretation of my words in my mouth, you'll see that what I have complained about is those people who seek to define and segregate the different strands of folk music instead of welcoming and celebrating its diversity. A "do what thou wilt" attitude would be much more beneficial to folk music.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: glueman
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 06:46 AM

The '54 definition is relevant to the thread because it's the single weapon of choice used to discredit the singer songwriter/ nu-folk/ guitar playing barbarians waiting to batter down the pub door and impose whimsical ballads on our hearts of oak. Without The Definition traddies (me included) would have to get on with what they like just because they like it, not because they have a Neville Chamberlain document of assurance, or because they've replaced Mornington Crescent with Cecil Sharp house, but for the simple reason it tickles their fancy.

If 1954 is shown to be the set of intellectual lace curtains - if not lace knickers - it is, the Folk World would be a better place, IMHO.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 06:53 AM

The '54 definition is relevant to the thread because it's the single weapon of choice used to discredit the singer songwriter

Seeing as the original disagreements seem to have gone away I am happy to discuss the 54 definition on here. I was 1 in 1954 BTW :-)

Who uses it to discredit whom? I am not saying it doesn't happen - Just I have never in my 30-odd years of folk clubs come across anyone saying 'You can't sing that coz it's not 54'. Examples would be good.

Nearest I had was going into a folk club in Bedford, wrapped ip to the nose in a green Kagoulle because it was pissing down outside, and being told "You can't come in here like that - You look like some sort of folkie!" :-)

DtG


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 06:56 AM

Oh dear, Leveller...


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: glueman
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 07:08 AM

"Who uses it to discredit whom?"

Well I can think of a number of characters on this site alone who never miss an opportunity to tell people what they like is all very nice but it's not proper folk music. Their single source for that opinion is the 1954 definition.

If the definition holds up in a modern context they may have a point, if it doesn't we may have to re-think what we mean by folk music. I think it's flawed in the very places people hold it up as useful and I've pointed out why.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 07:15 AM

Well I can think of a number of characters on this site alone who never miss an opportunity to tell people what they like is all very nice but it's not proper folk music.

And the opinions on this site (and this thread in point) matter because? It's not as if anything said here, anywhere on the internet, by Bob Copper, Bob Dylan or Bob's your uncle have the slightest effect on what people listen to and enjoy. OK - If you are 14 and under peer pressure to listen to only the songs that are given the thumbs up by MC Godinhisheaven then yes, reviews may be important. But to us in the folk world? Come on - Most of us are too long in the tooth to be told what to listen to!

DtG


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 07:26 AM

One of the more intriguing misgivings of the revival is a particular cultish off-shoot that thinks of itself as The Tradition, be it in respect of Old Songs or New. I've heard Scowie & Giff's When All Men Sing described as having passed into The Tradition, as with many others. This doesn't have much bearing on the precepts of the 1954 Definition, for things may pass into this Tradition unchanged by dint of their perceived folk character alone, and qualification is entirely a matter of communal concensus. Bob Copper and Peter Bellamy's The Old Songs is a similar sort of song - like When All Men Sing, it's a New Folk Song about Old Folk Songs and the singing thereof in the sort of singarounds which are, perhaps ironically, very much a phenomenon of the modern revival.

Like Speen said some way above, or below, I'm always keen to keep the two things quite seperate. The Tradition is a sacrosanct musical and cultural phenomenon which we know only through the efforts of early collectors who sought to document it as best they could, to preserve it, or at least the manifestations of it, whilst they had a chance to do so. The Revival - or more properly revivals - is an entirely different thing; for a start it operates at several very significant cultural removes from The Tradition, that is as far as The Tradition can be said to have existed at all, rather than the Idyll that has come down to us determined by the sort of song that was likely to have been sung by a certain sort of person at such-and-such a point in history - be they farmers boy, huntsman or collier lad. Music has always been an important part of working-class culture, but just because a music is of the working class doesn't necessarily make it Folk Music, and the 1954 Definition is an attempt to clarify this. My personal objection is mostly one of philosphy and interpretation; I believe the entire concept of Folk is essentially a Myth - be it Folktale, Folklore, Folk Art, Folk Dance or whatever. In all cases Folk is an agenda-ridden construct hatched in scholarly isolation from the thing itself, much less the creators and participants, who were cherished for their very special purity, without which they were no longer considered to be Folk - like much of the Lancastrian processional Morris tradition which Sharp rejected as being somehow tainted. That such Traditions are alive and well today as Fluffy Morris is of genuine Folkloric significance, yet few folkies, it any, are interested.

In this day and age, our concepts are perhaps a little less weighted; a term like Community is broader and more flexible in terms of the pragmatics of usage, so any reading of the 1954 Definition becomes, in effect, a nonesense. We recognise that all culture is in constant flux, and that notions such as purity are, at best, entirely bogus. However, the pure blood myths still endure, the notion of untainted cultural authenticity is still carried in many a Folkie's heart; the belief that, somehow or other in the mass-morass of 20th & 21st Century European Culture there exists a genuine 100% Authentic Folk Tradition Entirely Uninfluenced by the Outside World or The Folk Revival is one I have met with on any number of occasions. Naturally, I refute both this and the specious grounds on which it is invariably predicated; indeed, I reject the notion of cultural purity as an essentially right-wing nationalistic fantasy, and reserve my waryness when I hear Folkies opine that Folk is 'Their Culture' on a level with the ethnic cultures of (say) the Islamic communities with whom we share our true nationhood.

It is a similar weariness I have when I hear people insisting that New Folk Songs are The Traditional Songs of the future. For sure, there are New Folk Songs, and many damn fine ones too. You may catch one of ours on the Radio Three iPlayer for the next day or so; it's also on the current fRoots download compilation album. This is an Idiomatic Folk Song distantly inspired by a notion of Appalachian field-hollers (rather than a slavish immitation of actual examples) using (somewhat accidentally) the Javanese pelog mode, and a pentantonic fiddle style derived (mostly) from my life-long love of Michael Hurly, but the song is our creation. It is modern, but anciently idiomatic; whether or not it ever becomes part of the Folk Canon depends on people other than ourselves being moved to sing it, but even if they do it won't be part of The Tradition. For sure, it echoes The Tradition (as a concept) it acknowledges The Tradition (as a construct) it even celebrates The Folk Process (the words are built on a riddling sequence of images as though they were a mondegreened fragment of something else), but like other Modern Folk Songs, it's too self-consciously A Folk Song to ever become Traditional. This is both the essence and dilema of Folk (which is why I often use the term Steamfolk) but one which is, I feel, essentially very positive and highly productive and very Joyful indeed. Just look at all the amazing Revival Folk Music that has been made over the last sixty years...

When we deal in Traditional Folk Songs and Modern Folk Songs we're dealing with subjective dialogues on the nature of Folk itself, which is essentially a post-modern cultural reaction, often for the very best of reasons, and occasionally for the very worst (hence Folk Against Fascism which I would hope is very dear to us all). We do this thing out of individual choice, it asserts an individual identity - not a cultural one. Indeed, Individualism is our Culture in the the UK; it is Diverse, Complex, Multi Ethnic, Fraught With Difficulties and yet, ultimately, it is Wonderful. If Folk is about anything at all it's about certain individuals being moved to make those sort of choices, but once it becomes anything more in terms of proscriptive cultural correctness, then I really don't want any part of it. That is not my Folk, nor yet is it my cherished multi-cultural UK. Real Folklore is still measured by a complete innocence of folklore; even Bob Trubshaw acknlowdeges that much by quoting Warshaver in his very fine and highly recommended Explore Folklore (Heart of Albion, 2002 - read more HERE), thus real folklore just happens, entirely innocernt of the fact that it's folklore at all. So, despite all the mass-media talent circuses in the world, culture will always be what culture will be, and what the cultural landscapes of the future will yield are not for us to say. Will Folk exist? Does Folk exist now? Who can say? The best we can do, therefore, is just to keep on doing what we love to do and encouraging others to do what they love to do without creating false oppositions by looking for trouble which, in the present instance, just isn't there.


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Subject: RE: 'Occupy English Folk Music!'
From: glueman
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 07:28 AM

I agree in your analysis Dave. I still think the steady drip of patronisation and pedantry creates a de facto pecking order for what's 'real' and what ain't. I can say this because my tastes are very much of The Tradition (lots of traditions, actually) but hope I recognise it as the conservative reaction of a middle aged man, not because of some spurious documentary validation or imagined attacks on my preferences.


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